Serendipity Soul | Monday Open Thread| African American Architects Week

African Americans have solid credentials that America can never deny when it comes to who built this great country. This week, 3 Chics takes a look African American ARCHITECTS.

Albert Cassell

Albert Irving Cassell, a prominent African American architect, planner, engineer, educator, and entrepreneur, was born on June 25, 1895 in Towson, Maryland. His parents were Albert and Charlotte Cassell. Albert’s father was a coal truck driver and trumpet player and his mother washed laundry to help with the family finances. Albert himself had three wives and children by each of them for a total of six children and two step-children. Cassell’s education began in a Baltimore public elementary and high school. He later moved to Ithaca, New York and enrolled in a city high school there. He was admitted into Cornell University for college, where he worked on campus to pay for his tuition.

Before Cassell could complete his college education, he served in the United States Army during World War I from 1917-1918. Commissioned a second lieutenant in the heavy field artillery, he served as a training officer in France. After his brief stint in the military, he returned to Cornell University and completed his bachelor architectural degree in 1919. His first project included the design of five buildings at the Tuskegee Institute with fellow architect William A. Hazel. In 1920 he designed silk mills and other industrial plants in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Later that year Cassell joined the Architecture Department of Howard University as an assistant professor.

And Romney’s Greatest hits continues…

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54 Responses to Serendipity Soul | Monday Open Thread| African American Architects Week

  1. Ametia says:

    Obama logo painted on a barn in Ohio.

    Show DU some love and go check it out. There’s a good write up on the family history of the man who painted the barn an. IT’S AWESOME!

  2. Ametia says:

    STATEMENT: Why Won’t Romney Reveal His Tax Rates?

    It’s not surprising that Mitt Romney – the most secretive nominee in recent history – is once again siding against transparency and breaking his promise to ‘go back and look’ at additional tax returns to see if he ever paid less than his 2010 rate of 13.9%.

    His refusal to do so raises serious questions about just how much he has paid in taxes and whether he has resorted to tax loopholes and dodges to avoid paying his fair share. He can put these questions to rest by following decades of precedent by releasing additional years worth of returns and providing the full account of the income tax rates he paid, as he promised he would just days ago.”—Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman

  3. rikyrah says:

    Real Obama vs. Fantasy Obama
    —By Kevin Drum

    | Mon Jul. 30, 2012 10:26 AM PDT


    I’ve long had my issues with Drew Westen, and they’re on striking display in an op-ed he wrote a few days ago for the Washington Post. He says Barack Obama made “three crucial errors” after he took office:

    This kind of thing is intensely frustrating. I actually agree with Westen’s broad point that Obama should have been more aggressive than he was. And yet, these three “errors” are so ahistorical that they make me crazy. First: Obama had to invite Republicans to the table. When he took office Democrats didn’t have a filibuster-proof majority. Second: Obama couldn’t get a bigger stimulus. The evidence on this score is voluminous. Whether he wanted a bigger stimulus is an open question, but it’s also moot. He just didn’t have the votes. Third: universal healthcare wasn’t an especially popular idea and the American public was far from adamant that they wanted it. Oh, it polls decently in the abstract, getting roughtly 60% support over the past decade, but that’s nothing special. It’s the worst kind of poll literalism to think this represents a genuine, intensely-held groundswell of support for national healtchare. In reality, it’s a tenuous majority.

    I really don’t understand why people like Westen can’t make their critiques of Obama’s leadership in a way that takes into account obvious political realities. Not that it would be easy. If you look at past presidents who made big changes, they were mostly surfing on waves that were already cresting: FDR and the New Deal, LBJ and civil rights, Reagan and taxes. Obama just didn’t have that.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Seen in Maine: ‘We did not vote for Paul LePage’
    By Laura Conaway
    Mon Jul 30, 2012 4:08 PM EDT.

    Senior producer Cory Gnazzo saw a couple of these bumper stickers in Maine last week. They refer to Republican Governor Paul LePage winning the three-way governor’s race in 2010 with 38 percent of the vote. Two years later, Governor LePage’s recent service gets this gloss from the Kennebec Journal’s opinion page:

  5. rikyrah says:

    What is a “Black Dialect?”

    Posted on 07/30/2012 at 2:00 pm by JM Ashby

    In a somewhat freudian and embarrassing manner, Jonathan Chait explains why he believes the Romney campaign’s “you didn’t build that” attack is working.

    The key thing is that Obama is angry, and he’s talking not in his normal voice but in a “black dialect.” This strikes at the core of Obama’s entire political identity: a soft-spoken, reasonable African-American with a Kansas accent. From the moment he stepped onto the national stage, Obama’s deepest political fear was being seen as a “traditional” black politician, one who was demanding redistribution from white America on behalf of his fellow African-Americans

    I wouldn’t have predicted the first very serious person to say the president looks like an angry black man would be a supposed liberal, but I suppose we’ve just about seen it all over the course of this presidency.

    There is little to no evidence that Romney’s “you didn’t build that” attack is actually working, by the way, but the idea that it is has now become accepted beltway wisdom.

    To witness an example of this phenomenon, observe this recent piece from the Christian Science Monitor titled “Obama widens his lead in polls. So why does it feel like he’s in trouble?”

    And to be sure that Chait’s original words weren’t misinterpreted, he issued a clarification hours later and said the same thing.

    The trouble with the Obama clip is that it catches him in a moment, as he occasionally does, when he alters his normal cadence to more of a black-sounding inflection, and takes an unusually angry tone, and seems to be telling middle-class Americans they don’t deserve what they have

    When I watch a clip of the president, even one deceptively edited by the Romney campaign, I do not see an angry black man. I do not hear a “black dialect.” I don’t even hear anger. All I hear are words distorted to make it seem as though the president is attacking success.

    Chait is suggesting the Romney campaign chose to flog the president’s “you didn’t build that” speech to make it seem as though the president is an angry black man, but I saw no inference of that until Chait himself referenced the president’s use of a “black dialect.”

    What is a black dialect anyway? According to Chait’s own description, a black dialect seems to be the language of black people who, as you know, are always angry by default!

    And what does “black-sounding” mean? I don’t think I’m going out on a limb here by saying that Chait is necessarily associating sounding angry with sounding black.

    I sound angry quite frequently, especially after I stop laughing and realize that you’re very serious, but I’m fairly certain that doesn’t mean I sound black.

    There are certain things you simply shouldn’t publish if you feel they are open to this much interpretation. And if saying the president is speaking in a “black-sounding” tone or that he appears to be using an ‘angry, black dialect’ doesn’t give you pause, you should probably spend more time on self-examination.

  6. Ametia says:

    Great scene from Aaron Sorkin’s “Newsroom”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Romney Sounds Medicated
    by BooMan
    Mon Jul 30th, 2012 at 02:37:39 PM EST

    I do think that differences in cultural values can help explain differences in the relative wealth of nations, but it’s not something to be discussed casually. And, as a political topic, it’s radioactive. If you’re running for office, you’re running to represent all your constituents, and if some of them are from Ecuador or Mexico or Palestine, they’re not going to like being told that their cultures are inferior. That’s what Mitt Ronmey did at a fundraiser in Israel. Of course, the Palestinians are outraged that Romney would overestimate their annual income by a factor of ten, blame their culture for their economic hardship, and assert that their misery is the result of providence. Even many Israelis were offended by Romney’s basic argument.

    Talking Points Memo received a transcription of Romney’s remarks from his campaign. Reading it made me wonder if Romney is taking some kind of powerful medication because his words are almost nonsensical.


    I can kind of follow along with what he’s saying, but it’s a whole lot of bullshit. There’s nothing particularly important about what he had to say, except that it revealed a lot about how he thinks. And it one more demonstration that Romney has a gift for insulting people unintentionally.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Romney In Israel: How High To Jump?

    Haaretz’s Barak Ravid goes over the speech:

    The speech itself sounded as if it could have been written by Netanyahu’s bureau. So it’s no surprise that when the two met later for dinner, Netanyahu thanked him for his “support for Israel and Jerusalem.” In general, Netanyahu embraced Romney as no Israeli prime minister has ever before embraced a candidate running against an incumbent U.S. president: Aside from their working meeting in the morning, Netanyahu also hosted Romney and his wife and sons for dinner at his official residence.

    The crowd told you everything you need to know:

    Religious American immigrants dominated the crowd; secular Jews and native-born Israelis were few and far between. Those present included Jewish-American millionaires, settler leaders like the former chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements Israel Harel, and former Netanyahu aides such as Dore Gold, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Yoaz Hendel.

    Settlers and religious fanatics: it’s striking how the entire foreign policy position of the GOP in the Middle East has essentially been out-sourced to the Likud.

    • Ametia says:

      Sheldon Adelson was in attendance. You know the dude who is shelling out $10 million to help Romney defeat President Obama.

  9. rikyrah says:

    July 30, 2012 11:06 AM


    By Ed Kilgore

    During the long rise of the U.S. conservative movement, every time it appeared a breakthrough victory was in sight, a frustrating defeat occurred that was invariably blamed on circumstances that had nothing to do with the conservative ideology itself. Goldwater lost in 1964 because of national mourning over John F. Kennedy, and LBJ’s diabolocal ability to exploit it. Nixon turned out to be a traitor who very nearly ruined the GOP “brand.” Reagan’s bold plans were cramped by a recession caused by his predecessor. The 1994 “Revolution” was partially coopted by an amoral member of the opposition, and partly destroyed by the personal weaknesses of GOP leaders. And George W. Bush, as we have been told repeatedly since 2008, “betrayed his conservative principles” and thus invited economic and electoral disaster.

    Now, many conservatives believe, the great gittin’-up morning is finally here, or will arrive on November 7 when Barack Obama is defeated and Republicans also take over control of both Houses of Congress. And who will their leader be in the long-awaited effort to roll back three-quarters-of-a-century of legislative and judicial “activism” and cultural “relativism” that has all but destroyed the country? Mitt Romney? No, no, a thousand times no! Romney will enable the revolution, because he has no choice to do otherwise, but The Leader’s identity is pretty obviously Paul Ryan.

    Ryan’s role in conservative history is nicely underlined in Ryan Lizza’s latest piece on the Wisconsin wonder boy for the New Yorker. It’s been all but forgotten that Ryan was one of the major forces behind George W. Bush’s 2005 Social Security privatization plan, which most non-ideological observers regarded as a terrible squandering of the political capital Bush took out of his 2004 re-election victory. And it’s nearly been forgotten that the quasi-universal acceptance of the Ryan budget by today’s Republicans was not initially a foregone conclusion: by and large, GOPers did not campaign on it at all in 2010, and as recently as last year, most political professionals considered it a toxic swamp of unpopular proposals and a Democratic oppo-research wonderland. But in Lizza’s account, the direct criticism of Ryan in Obama’s big “budget speech” in April of 2011 all but destroyed internal GOP resistance to his budget:

  10. rikyrah says:

    another good comment from Washington Monthly:

    ET on July 30, 2012 2:40 PM:

    I don’t know if Wimp is the word I would choose.

    It seems a lot of negative things coalesce in him as a candidate. Much like Dubya, his relationship with his dad and how his dad fared politically seems to drive a him. And not in a good way. He seems to just the opposite of what his dad did and because his dad stuck to his principles and was punished for that, Romney does just the opposite and jumps from “principle” to “principle” depending on what holes he needs to fill up.

    He is also pathetically desperate to be president – never a good thing in a presidential candidate. Those that want to so much are the last that should have it.

    He seems to feel entitled to the presidency. He already suffers from an overweening sense of entitlement because of his family’s wealthy and standing that I wonder if this is something he just feels is owed to him.

    That sense of entitlement seems to also mean that the rest of us should just take him at his word. He is “Mitt Romney,” “upstanding” Mormon, successful capitalist, former governor, scion of a powerful family – how dare people actually demand to know more about him. All of those things = good person and good people don’t need to be vetted so shut up “you people.”

    Then after all that throw in the arrogance from his Wall Street days shake and stir and out pops Mitt.

  11. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at Washington Monthly:

    Texas Aggie on July 30, 2012 2:13 PM:

    It isn’t that Mitt doesn’t hold to his principles. It’s that he doesn’t actually have any principles related to the things most people are concerned about. He couldn’t care less about personal integrity, making the world a better place, helping people who need the help, democracy, being productive, any of that. They aren’t even on his radar.

    The principle that he is attached to is that he is going to show the world that he’s better than his father, a failed presidential candidate. I suspect that he would even sacrifice a goodly portion of his personal fortune for that goal if he had to, although I’m sure it would be like having his gonads pulled off with pliers.

  12. rikyrah says:

    July 30, 2012 1:48 PM

    Is Romney a “Wimp?”

    By Ed Kilgore

    Many of you may have read or heard about Mike Tomasky’s cover story for Newsweek entitled: “Mitt Romney’s Wimp Factor.” It’s a pretty savage piece that has some serious sport with “daddy party” pretensions about the “manliness” of conservative leaders.

    What personally interests me about Romney’s “wimpiness,” if you want to use that loaded term, is that his transparently flexible principles create a toxic dynamic in his relationship with his own strongest supporters. Here’s how Tomasky puts it:

    Precisely because conservatives have abundant reasons not to trust him, along with abundant reasons to believe they can bully him, Romney will perpetually be in what I call the “primary phase” of his political career. And that will make him a weak president who is never quite the leader of his own political party. That’s why I was suggesting in an earlier post today that whatever names appear on the signs at the Republican Convention in Tampa and on the bumper stickers of all those red-state SUVs, the real ticket is Ryan-Romney. This has nothing to do with Romney’s “manliness” or “wimpiness,” and everything to do with the devil’s bargain that’s brought him to the brink of his Oval Office dreams.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:11 AM ET, 07/30/2012
    Why Romney keeps attacking things Obama didn’t say
    By Greg Sargent

    Mitt Romney’s ongoing distortion of Obama’s “didn’t build that” quote has been debunked by, Politifact, the Associated Press, and many others. Romney’s other leading distortion of the moment — his use of Obama’s claim that “our” plan “worked,” in which Obama was talking about the Clinton/Obama approach to taxes, not Obama’s economic policies — was dismantled convincingly today by Post fact checker Glenn Kessler.

    So how is the Romney campaign responding? Easy. It will make both quotes central to the campaign for the coming week, and likely beyond.

    The two major press releases out this morning from the Romney campaign are centered on the debunked claims about those two quotes. Romney also released a new Web video that distorts the “it worked” quote yet again. In other words, some of Romney’s most important campaign arguments continue to be premised on complete fictions.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 07/30/2012
    Romney was audited, but that may not mean anything
    By Greg Sargent

    Dems are pouncing on Mitt Romney’s admission in an interview with ABC News that he has been audited in the past:

    QUESTION: From what you have released and from what we have seen we know that there was one year when you paid about 13.9% tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than 13.9%?
    ROMNEY: I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due. I don’t pay more than are legally due and frankly if I had paid more than are legally due I don’t think I’d be qualified to become president. I’d think people would want me to follow the law and pay only what the tax code requires.

    In fairness to Romney here, the fact that he has been audited may mean nothing. “Being audited by itself doesn’t mean anything,” Roberton Williams of the nonpartisan Tax Policy Center tells me. “Any audit can result in absolutely no change in taxes. Others can result in many changes. Audits can find lots of mistakes. Some of them are purely mathematic.

  15. rikyrah says:

    On the offensive on women’s rights, redux
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 30, 2012 11:25 AM EDT.

    A few weeks ago, President Obama and his campaign team made it clear they have the advantage on hot-button, culture-war issues by launching a new ad, slamming Mitt Romney over his opposition to abortion rights. The spot was apparently successful enough to spur a sequel.

    In this ad, viewers see a voter named Jenni arguing, “I’ve never felt this way before, but it’s just a scary time to be a woman. Mitt Romney is so out of touch.” A narrator walks through the Republican’s policy positions, including opposition to contraception coverage as part of preventive care and support for overturning Roe v. Wade.

    The spot also includes a controversial claim: “Romney backed a bill that outlaws all abortion, even in cases of rape and incest.” It’s the part of the ad that’s generating the most pushback, and by way of a defense, the Obama campaign cites Romney comment from a debate in November, when he said he would be “delighted” to sign a bill returning abortion rights to the states if the Supreme Court struck down Roe.

  16. rikyrah says:

    The Substantive Dangers of Romney’s Israel Visit
    By Bernard Finel July 30th, 2012

    So, John and Dennis G. and mistermix have already noted the bizarre obsequiousness of Romney’s visit to Israel. But in some ways that misses the point. I mean, look, if it just so happened that American interests lined up perfectly with those of Israel, then this would be all about tone, and I find discussions of tone fairly empty. We’ve all had good fun pointing out the absurdity of the “Obama apology tour” line of attack. That is also about tone, and whatever, I just don’t care. But what I do care about is that Romney’s attitude betrays some real, and bizarre, foreign policy commitments. Two jumped out at me. In John’s piece, he quite a Dan Senor statement, but misses the most interesting part, where Senor says,

    Senor said that Romney believes in a zero enrichment policy in Iran and that Tehran must believe “the alternative to zero enrichment is severe, and that’s why the threat of military force has to be critical.”

    Now, here is the thing. This basically moves the goalposts significantly.It moves the issue from preventing the acquisition of nuclear weapons to the existence of a nuclear program at all. This isn’t actually current USG policy. And what’s more, it is a goal that is virtually impossible to get support for internationally since under international law, Iran has an absolute right to peaceful nuclear energy, and that includes enrichment activities consistent with that.

  17. rikyrah says:

    1:31 PM EDT, Monday July 30, 2012
    GOP Poll: Brown Leads Ohio Senate Race, Presidential Contest A Toss-Up

    A new poll from a Republican pollster finds Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) ahead in Ohio’s U.S. Senate race, while President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney are neck-and-neck in the Buckeye State.

    The latest poll conducted by Republican polling firm Magellan Strategies on behalf of Opportunity Ohio shows Brown, who was first elected to the Senate in 2006, leading GOP challenger and state treasurer Josh Mandel, 45 percent to 38 percent.

    In the presidential race, Obama holds a 2-point lead over Romney among likely Ohio voters — an edge that is well within the poll’s 4.01 percent margin of error.

    The PollTracker Average shows that Ohio currently favors both Democrats, with Brown leading Mandel, 45.9-40.8 percent, and Obama holding a 47.2-42.1 percent advantage over Romney in the perennial swing state.

  18. rikyrah says:

    2:10 PM EDT, Monday July 30, 2012

    Jonah Lehrer Resigns From New Yorker Magazine After Fabricated Quotes Found In His Book
    Celebrated science writer Jonah Lehrer has resigned his staff writing position at The New Yorker after quotes in his latest book, “Imagine,” were found to be fabricated. In a statement released by his publisher, Lehrer said:

    The lies are over now. I understand the gravity of my position. I want to apologize to everyone I have let down, especially my editors and readers. I also owe a sincere apology to Mr. Moynihan. I will do my best to correct the record and ensure that my misquotations and mistakes are fixed.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Romney: Socialized Health Care Good For Israel, Not For U.S.
    Sahil Kapur- July 30, 2012, 12:45 PM

    During a trip to Israel, Mitt Romney hailed the nation’s health care system for holding down costs and broadening coverage more effectively than the U.S.

    The irony: Israel contains costs by adopting a very centralized, government-run health care system — anathema to Romney’s Republican Party.

    “Do you realize what health care spending is as a percentage of the GDP in Israel? Eight percent. You spend eight percent of GDP on health care. You’re a pretty healthy nation,” he said Monday at a breakfast fundraiser, according to the New York Times. “We spend 18 percent of our GDP on health care, 10 percentage points more. That gap, that 10 percent cost, compare that with the size of our military — our military which is 4 percent, 4 percent. Our gap with Israel is 10 points of GDP. We have to find ways — not just to provide health care to more people, but to find ways to fund and manage our health care costs.”

    Israel’s health care system is an instructive exercise in all that rankles American conservatives — replete with government mandates, price controls and centralized payments funded mostly by high taxes.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Ms. Rubin and the Death of Truth
    by BooMan
    Mon Jul 30th, 2012 at 12:12:53 PM EST

    Jennifer Rubin is a real piece of work. Let’s take a look at part of her Washington Post piece on Mitt Romney’s visit to Israel.

    Without specifically criticizing President Obama in his speech in Jerusalem, Mitt Romney delivered a blow to the Obama campaign’s frantic efforts to defend the president’s hostile stance toward the Jewish state simply by saying: “It is a deeply moving experience to be in Jerusalem, the capital of Israel.” The Obama administration can’t even say that much, a sign of how reflectively protective of the Palestinians’ sensibilities is this president. Of course, Jerusalem is the capital. It was declared so in 1948. The Knesset is there. The disposition of its borders is a matter for final status negotiation, but only an uninformed or virulently insensitive administration would be unable to distinguish the two.

    Okay. First we have the idea that the Obama administration is hostile to Israel based on their refusal to call Jerusalem the capital of Israel. Let’s deal with some facts. In 2002, Congress passed a bill that would allow American citizens who were born in Jerusalem to put the word ‘Israel’ on their passport. This was in response to State Department policy that neither Jordan nor Israel be listed on such passports. George W. Bush signed the bill but he issued a signing statement declaring that the language on Jerusalem was unconstitutional.

  21. rikyrah says:

    13 PM EDT, Monday July 30, 2012
    Poll: Obama Tops Romney By 4, Approval Rating Reaches 50 Percent

    President Barack Obama leads Mitt Romney among likely voters nationwide, according to a new poll released Monday.

    A survey conducted by Democratic firm Greenberg Quinlan Rosner on behalf of Democracy Corps shows Obama earning the support of 50 percent of likely voters, while trails with the support of 46 percent. The president’s job approval rating also reaches the 50 percent plateau in Monday’s poll. Among those surveyed, 50 percent approve of the job Obama is doing, compared with 46 percent who disapprove.

    The PollTracker Average shows Obama’s approval rating still underwater —46.8 percent approve while 49.4 disapprove — although it has improved markedly in 2012.

  22. rikyrah says:

    A peek behind the voter-suppression curtain
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 30, 2012 1:30 PM EDT.
    Associated Press

    Floridians line up to vote.
    Former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist recently wrote an op-ed condemning “zealots” for imposing new restrictions on voting, “overreacting to contrived threats of voter fraud by significantly narrowing the voting pool.” As it turns out, he’s not the only former Florida Republican with these concerns.

    In a 630-page deposition recorded over two days in late May, [Florida’s former Republican Party chairman Jim Greer], who is on trial for corruption charges, unloaded a litany of charges against the “whack-a-do, right-wing crazies” in his party, including the effort to suppress the black vote.

    In the deposition, released to the press [last week], Greer mentioned a December 2009 meeting with party officials. “I was upset because the political consultants and staff were talking about voter suppression and keeping blacks from voting,” he said, according to the Tampa Bay Times. He also said party officials discussed how “minority outreach programs were not fit for the Republican Party,” according to the AP.

  23. Ametia says:

    Former CNN anchor TJ Holmes was pulled over by police this morning and documented the entire thing on Twitter. After immediately getting pulled over, Holmes posted a photo of the cop car behind him with the caption “Driving while black ain’t no joke!”

    TJ Holmes✔

    Still pissed beyond words right now. But Lord knows I’m not the only this will happen to today. #showmeyourpapers

  24. rikyrah says:

    Diplomacy, Bain-Style

    Paul Krugman adds his thoughts to a Fred Kaplan piece on how Romney’s private equity past differs from his predecessors:

    T]he bankers of yore operated by building relationships; Bain made its investors money in large part by breaking relationships, e.g. by walking away from implicit promises to workers. It’s not a style that makes for good diplomacy

    Mitt has been a $250 million virtual dictator in his own bubble for decades. He isn’t used to asking people, he is used to telling them. So he told the Brits they were unprepared for the Olympics and he told the Palestinians that their culture is inferior to Israel’s. He’s like a Bain consultant arriving at a new company each time he visits a new country. Generally speaking, the arrival of a consultant is not a source of great joy among a company’s employees. Ditto countries and people.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Putting a value on a people
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 30, 2012 12:40 PM EDT.

    Mitt Romney had quite a few interesting things to say during his visit to Israel, with much of the focus on his perspective on Iran. But there were a couple of other quotes — one amusing, one not — that are nearly as important.

    At his Jerusalem fundraiser last night, for example, the Republican candidate spent quite a bit of time praising the Israeli health care system, which covers more of the nation’s population than we do, while spending less as a percentage of GDP. Romney may not have thought this one through — Israel has a socialized system and a national mandate. The kind of health care policy he was praising in Israel is the same kind of policy he routinely condemns.

    But that’s not all he said at the fundraiser.

    Culture makes all the difference,” Mr. Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.”

    “As you come here and you see the G.D.P. per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000, and compare that with the G.D.P. per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” he said.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:

    kay Says:

    The Sherrod Brown-Barack Obama interplay in Ohio is interesting.
    It’s such a mutually beneficial accident that they’re both up at the same time. Brown validates Obama with labor and white working class, and Obama validates Brown with turnout in the “3 C’s” (Columbus, Cleveland and Cincinnati). Brown has added this line to his stump speech “Obama is better on trade enforcement than the last 4 Presidents” and Brown is absolutely credible in Ohio on trade with labor, because that’s been his career-long issue, House and then Senate.
    They’re perfectly complimentary on women’s issues, too.
    The state convention had an undeniable Focus on Women feel, and Connie Schultz (Brown’s wife) was up first. She took a really unusual approach for a political spouse. She presented herself not as Brown’s wife, but as an Ohio Democrat (which she was, first, they didn’t marry until she was 46) and then explained why she, as an ordinary Ohio Democrat and a feminist, would support Brown and Obama.

    Next up was Lilly Ledbetter, who started with “Obama as feminist” and then went to Democrats in Congress as working for equal pay. They’re making women’s issues a populist issue, an economic issue. Lilly Ledbetter isn’t a feminist in an abstract way. Lilly Ledbetter is a feminist because she was paid 40% less for the exact same job for 20 years. She said that hurt her family finances, her children’s standard of living, which of course it did.
    It’s just funny to watch the speculation on whether Romney will pick Portman to “help” in Ohio when there’s this OTHER Presidential/Senatorial Ohio synchronicity campaign that is completely ignored nationally, going on NOW and may actually be more important in terms of moving the needle.

    I sort of hope Romney picks Portman because then it becomes Obama/Brown versus Romney/Portman, in a way, within the state

  27. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney: Israel’s economic success over Palestinians ‘due to providence

    ‘Speech in Jerusalem puts Israel’s accomplishments down to ‘power of at least culture and a few other things’

    Israel’s economic success compared to its Palestinian neighbours was due in part to “the hand of providence”, Mitt Romney told a $25,000-a-head fundraising event in Jerusalem on Monday.

    “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognise the power of at least culture and a few other things,” the presumptive Republican candidate told his audience. He cited a climate of innovation, the Jewish history of thriving in adversity and the “hand of providence”.

    Around 40 people attended the fundraising breakfast at Jerusalem’s famous King David hotel, raising more than $1m (£600,000) for Romney’s campaign. The event was moved from Sunday after Romney aides realised it had been scheduled during Tisha B’Av, a Jewish day of mourning and fasting.


    The Palestinian official Saeb Erekat condemned Romney’s comments. “What is this man doing here? Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn’t this racism? Israelis and Palestinians have a conflict, but they are people, they are equal, it is not a better culture or advanced culture.

    “It’s Israeli occupiers and Palestinians under occupation, and that’s why Palestinians cannot realise their potential,” he said.

    Erekat earlier said Romney’s description of Jerusalem as “the capital of Israel” in his speech on Sunday evening was “absolutely unacceptable”.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Still shambling, from London to Jerusalem
    By Steve Benen – Mon Jul 30, 2012 9:46 AM EDT.
    Associated Press
    Mitt Romney’s unpleasant trip to the U.K. last week quickly became the stuff of legend. No one can even remember the last time a prominent American politician traveled abroad, visited with officials from a close ally, and bungled an excursion this badly.

    Perhaps the Republican presidential hopeful would have more luck in Israel? Not really.

    Initially, Romney’s team said it would bar U.S. reporters from covering an Israeli fundraiser, but in the face of criticism, the campaign reversed course. Worse, Romney’s top foreign policy aide, Dan Senor, suggested to reporters that Romney is prepared to support a unilateral Israeli military strike on Iran, and the campaign spent the next few hours scrambling, trying to carefully “clarify” Senor’s comments, without actually rejecting his underlying point.

    Perhaps the most notable embarrassment came shortly before Romney arrived. The Republican has spent months boasting about his close, personal friendship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, only to have Vanity Fair publish this item over the weekend:

  29. Ametia says:

    LEAD: Pro-Obama crowd greets Romney during Poland trip

    Warsaw (dpa) – US presidential hopeful Mitt Romney met on Monday with Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk on the last stop of a foreign tour aimed to showcase his foreign policy.

    The Republican hopeful arrived in Gdansk, northern Poland, for a two-day visit he hopes will attract Polish-American voters. The visit was also aimed at showing Romney would be tougher on Russia than his opponent President Barack Obama, who is running for a second term.

    Romney arrived at Gdansk‘s city hall and briefly chatted with locals before meeting with Tusk. A group was heard chanting, “Obama! Obama!” as Romney later made his way to his next meeting with anti-communist icon Lech Walesa, the former leader of Solidarity.

    Both Tusk and Walesa, winner of the 1983 Nobel Peace Prize, had stressed they wanted to hear Romney‘s views of Poland and the European Union, where Poland is an increasingly influential member.

    Walesa, who had invited Romney to Poland, had been critical in 2009 of Obama‘s reconfiguring of an anti-missile shield to be situated in Poland and the Czech Republic.

    The shield was planned by former president George Bush, but was scaled back during Obama‘s term.

    Romney recently called that move a “sudden abandonment of friends in Poland and the Czech Republic,” and criticized Obama for being too soft on Russia.

    Romney was later to visit two historic sites: the Gdansk Shipyard, where Walesa lead protests in the 1980s that helped topple the Communist regime in 1989, and a memorial at the spot where World War II began.

    Romney drew scorn for a series of gaffes during a stop in Britain. He also visited Israel, where he expressed strong solidarity over Israel‘s concerns over a nuclear Iran. dpa dam mat Author: Dominika Maslikowski

  30. Ametia says:

    NY Magazine: “Romney was unable to say whether he’d ever paid less than his 2010 rate of 13.9 percent, which is a lower rate than many middle-class Americans pay. However, he assured voters that he hasn’t beenoverpaying his taxes (which we’re not sure anyone was worried about).” Romney’s Unsure If He’s Paid Less Than 13.9% Tax Rate, Positive He Hasn’t Overpaid:

  31. Ametia says:

    USA Today: “What is this man doing here?” Saeb Erekat, an aide to Palestinian Authority President Mahmoud Abbas, told the Associated Press about Romney.”Yesterday, he destroyed negotiations by saying Jerusalem is the capital of Israel, and today he is saying Israeli culture is more advanced than Palestinian culture. Isn’t this racism?,” Erekat said.”Palestinians criticize Romney’s comments in Israel:

  32. Ametia says:

    Update about the upcoming Democratic National Convention: “Former President Bill Clinton will have a marquee role in this summer’s Democratic National Convention, where he will make a forceful case for President Barack Obama’s re-election and his economic vision for the country” Key role for Bill Clinton at Democratic convention:

  33. Ametia says:

    Bill Clinton to Have Leading Role at Party’s Convention
    Published: July 29, 2012

    WASHINGTON — Former President Bill Clinton is set to play a central part in the Democratic convention, aides said, and will formally place President Obama’s name into nomination by delivering a prime-time speech designed to present a forceful economic argument for why Mr. Obama deserves to win a second term.

    The prominent role of Mr. Clinton, which is scheduled to be announced on Monday, signals an effort by the Obama campaign to pull out all the stops to rally Democrats when they gather for their party’s national convention in Charlotte, N.C. An even more important audience will be the voters across the country who will see the address carried by television networks.

    “There isn’t anybody on the planet who has a greater perspective on not just the last four years, but the last two decades, than Bill Clinton,” David Axelrod, a top strategist to the Obama campaign, said in an interview on Sunday. “He can really articulate the choice that is before people.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:21 AM ET, 07/30/2012
    The Morning Plum: A window into Mitt Romney’s foreign policy instincts
    By James Downie

    On some level, Mitt Romney’s Olympics gaffe last week was relatively harmless. Screwing up a visit to the United Kingdom, the underhand toss of foreign policy pitches, did in some ways suggest that Romney lacks the finesse to handle the nuances of international diplomacy, but the Olympics was hardly the most dangerous topic to shoot off one’s mouth about. Romney’s visit to Israel, however, is cementing the impression that on foreign policy, he is a disaster waiting to happen.

    First, in a break with decades of U.S. policy, Romney referred to Jerusalem as the capital of Israel. Right wingers and neoconservatives may love to hear that, but there’s a reason no president has ever recognized Jerusalem as the capital of Israel: Such a step would throw a wrench in any American push for a future Palestine-Israel negotiations. Second, senior foreign policy adviser Dan Senor told reporters that “if Israel has to take action on its own, in order to stop Iran from developing the capability, the governor would respect that decision.” Romney declined to back up Senor’s tacit approval of an Israeli strike, but the comment was a revealing window into the advice Romney is hearing from his foreign policy advisers, almost all of whom are from the Bush White House. Worst of all, though, was this:

  35. rikyrah says:

    Romney to ‘go back and check’ on tax rates
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 30, 2012 8:35 AM EDT.

    We can only speculate as to why Mitt Romney refuses to disclose more of his tax returns, but one of the leading theories has to do with the tax rate the very wealthy candidate has paid. Thanks to loopholes, Romney already pays a lower rate than most of the middle class, but thanks to his creative accounting, it’s possible years went by in which he paid nearly nothing.

    ABC’s David Muir sat down with Romney in Israel yesterday, and asked the question in a good way.

    MUIR: [F]rom what you have released and from what we have seen we know that there was one year when you paid about 13.9% tax rate. Can we clear this up by asking a simple yes or no question? Was there ever any year when you paid lower than 13.9%?

    ROMNEY: I haven’t calculated that. I’m happy to go back and look but my view is I’ve paid all the taxes required by law. From time to time I’ve been audited as happens I think to other citizens as well and the accounting firm which prepares my taxes has done a very thorough and complete job pay taxes as legally due.

  36. rikyrah says:

    In Jerusalem speech, it was Romney’s voice but Netanyahu’s words

    Netanyahu embraces Romney as no Israeli prime minister has ever before embraced a candidate running against an incumbent U.S. president.

    Romney’s staff picked the 150 guests carefully. Religious American immigrants dominated the crowd; secular Jews and native-born Israelis were few and far between. Those present included Jewish-American millionaires, settler leaders like the former chairman of the Yesha Council of settlements Israel Harel, and former Netanyahu aides such as Dore Gold, Naftali Bennett, Ayelet Shaked and Yoaz Hendel.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Romney candidacy has resurrected last days prophecy of Mormon saving the Constitution
    By Thomas Burr
    The Salt Lake Tribune

    Published June 4, 2007 6:34 am

    It’s Mormon lore, a story passed along by some old-timers about the importance of their faith and their country.

    In the latter days, the story goes, the U.S. Constitution will hang by a thread and a Mormon will ride in on a metaphorical white horse to save it. The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints says it does not accept the legend – commonly referred to as the “White Horse Prophecy” – as doctrine.

    The issue, however, has been raised on those occasions when Mormons have sought the Oval Office: George Romney was asked about it during his bid in 1968, Sen. Orrin Hatch discussed it when he ran in 2000, and now Mitt Romney.

    “It is being raised,” says Phil Barlow, a professor of Mormon history and culture at Utah State University. “I’ve heard it a bit lately.”

    Romney says he doesn’t believe in the supposed prophecy, nor did his father when he ran.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Mitt’s trip to Israel and what he said actually matters.

    Him being a fool in England has no context on POLICY MATTERS.

    But, when a candidate for President of the United States,

    stands up and calls JERUSALEM the capital of Israel

    and, has an advisor that says, ‘It’s ok if Israel pre-emptively strikes IRAN’

    that’s POLICY. and, it’s serious.

    Folks better wake up to the fact that Willard wants to send young men and women BACK into War on the ground -WITH IRAN.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Scalia rejects privacy rights
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Jul 30, 2012 7:59 AM EDT.

    Ordinarily, U.S. Supreme Court justices avoid television interviews, leaving the cameras for politicians. Justice Antonin Scalia apparently prefers a higher-profile approach.

    Fresh off his widely-derided political antics towards the end of the court’s last session, Scalia recently appeared on CNN, and just 10 days later, sat down with Chris Wallace on yesterday’s edition of “Fox News Sunday.”

    The two covered a fair amount of ground, including Scalia’s argument that there’s “no way” the Affordable Care Act’s individual mandate should be regarded “as a tax.” (Those who can afford coverage but refuse to buy it pay a tax penalty on their tax returns.) They also touched on gun control, and Scalia’s belief that firearms protected under the Second Amendment must be “hand-carried.” He added, in reference to the law, “It’s to keep and bear, so it doesn’t apply to cannons.”

    What about “handheld rocket launchers that can bring down airplanes”? Scalia said it’s unclear whether that’s protected, and “it will have to be decided.” I’ll look forward to it.

    But of particular interest to me was Scalia’s opposition to privacy rights. Unprompted, the justice noted his opposition to reproductive rights, and it led to this exchange:
    WALLACE: What about the right to privacy that the court found in known 1965?

    SCALIA: There is no right to privacy. No generalized right to privacy.

    WALLACE: Well, in the Griswold case, the court said there was.

    SCALIA: Indeed it did, and that was — that was wrong.

    In case anyone needs a refresher on Griswold, the Supreme Court, in a 7-to-2 ruling in 1965, struck down a Connecticut law that restricted married couples’ access to birth control. The court majority, in a landmark ruling, said such statutes are impermissible — they violate Americans’ right to privacy.

  40. rikyrah says:

    From Charles Pierce, warning us about a Willard Presidency:

    The Shredder Campaign

    Let us take a step back from Willard Romney’s Excellent European Adventure — I can’t wait until he gets to Poland and asks three people to change a lightbulb — and, now that’s he’s outside of the country, let’s take stock of the campaign he has presented to the Help in his attempt to become CEO of the United States Of Capital Gains, LLC. He has based his campaign on two-and-a-half pillars: 1) his experience at Bain Capital and general economic awesomeness; 2) his stewardship of the 2002 Winter Olympics in the middle of nowhe…er…Salt Lake City, and 3) his brief sojourn as governor of the Commonwealth (God save it!) of Massachusetts. (That’s the half-a-pillar, by the way.) Of course, the Help is only allowed a very limited assessment of all two-and-a-half pillars. The Help can’t really judge fully his performance at Bain because The Help is not entitled to see any more financial documents than he’s already released. The Help can’t really judge fully his performance with the Olympics because a whole bunch of documents went into the shredder. And the Help can’t really judge fully his time as governor because he and his staff scarfed the hard drives from a whole bunch of computers at the State House in the aftermath of his barely distinguishable leadership. That is his whole campaign theme: Mitt Romney: Take It Or Leave It.


    Corporate America has led the way in the battle against transparency of any sort anywhere. In this, the government learned from business. (Any time you hear a politician suggest that we run government “like a business,” this is what he really means.) Romney grew up in the culture of the shredder.He made his pile in a culture that disdains openness and scoffs at transparency. He simply doesn’t know any other way, and he’s not intellectually deft enough to pretend that he does. If he were, he’d have released those tax returns all in a great lump at five o’clock one Friday afternoon, probably prior to a three-day holiday weekend. Instead, he seems determined to brazen it out. On this issue, he’s removing the country’s hard drives and feeding democracy into the shredder…

    Read more:

  41. rikyrah says:

    Found this in the comment at TOD about Willlard’s trip to Israel:

    July 30, 2012 at 7:52 am

    Can we be clear on one thing: Mitt doesn’t give a damn about Israel. He doesn’t give a damn about Bibi. He doesn’t have a clue what his ‘principles’ are concerning the Mideast or anything else. He is the embodiment of the lizard brain: he has a goal and only understands ruthlessness as a means to that goal.

    This Israel trip was nothing more than a whoring expedition for money from Adelson.

    A little-known fact is that his speech was to a handpicked audience of mainly American RW Jews. There weren’t even a whole lot of Israelis there. And although we hear about the standing ovation, reports from inside that room said even this handpicked audience knew they were looking at a ruthless empty suit.

    Mitt the whore. There — I said it. This was all about Adelson’s money and nothing more.

  42. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. Happy MUN-dane! :-)

  43. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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