Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

Good Morning. I hope you enjoy this week.

Happy Labor Day!!

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30 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 02:30 PM PDT.

    Vanity Fair writer’s BRUTAL takedown of the GOP: “They must be stopped”

    by Fokozatos siker

    I’ve mentioned before that one of my favorite people on twitter is Kurt Eichenwald, a writer at Vanity Fair. He’s acerbic, aggressive and kind of fun. (if you want to follow him, and I’d highly recommend you do, click here.)

    Today, Eichenwald tweeted a link to a blog posting he wrote. The posting is the most brutal, informed, fact-filled and delightful takedown of the Rethuglicans that I have ever read anywhere. I’m hoping that it runs in Vanity Fair or someplace other than a blog, but, even if it doesn’t, it needs to be read far and wide.

    It is also delightfully hilarious, with such comments as a reference to Michelle Bachman as “one of the dangerous Republicans whose ‘certainty to knowledge ratio’ might well be the first to exceed 100 percent.”

    Best of all, this piece will load you up with the full case against Romney and the Rethuglicans. It is devastating.

    More below the squiggle….


    The extremely long piece lists five reasons that Romney should not be elected president, but it is not simply a rant. Eichenwald cites facts, figures and history to make the case that the Rethuglicans are dangerous liars whose policies and politics threaten America’s future. His opening words set up the argument.

    The GOP must be stopped in 2012. The future of America’s ideals of democracy – and of the Republican Party itself – could well be at stake.
    It just gets more aggressive from there.
    Lying has become so ingrained into the conservatives’ national dialogue that they are now dangerously demagogic or, worse, severely unhinged. Blind rage at the election of Barack Obama has wrecked a once great political party. Its leaders have made so many deals with the devil in their almost pathological obsession with unseating Obama that they have pushed the GOP into its own version of political hell – unable to speak truths to their now-rabid and conspiracy-addled base and unable to right the party back onto a path of responsibility.
    From there, he tosses in an attack on the mainstream media for downplaying GOP dishonesty.
    Most of the major newspapers and networks have adopted Marquess of Queensbury rules when addressing the utterance of utter falsehoods by Romney, Ryan and their surrogates. A velvet glove doesn’t deter deliberate deceit, and it certainly hasn’t here. Calling the words of Romney and Ryan “at odds with the truth” and “not factually accurate” is the coward’s way of communicating that the entire GOP campaign is based on lies, innuendo and more lies. There is a dramatic difference between the usual nip-and-tucking of the presidential campaign season and the flood of prevarication pouring out of the mouths of Romney and Ryan.
    This, in turn, is creating an environment that is inviting demogogues to power.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Actor Michael Clarke Duncan, star of film ‘The Green Mile,’ has died at age 54, fiancée says – @AP

  3. rikyrah says:

    Mon Sep 03, 2012 at 07:34 AM PDT.

    Inside a Romney speech focus group – “slammin’ to the left”

    by Geronimo

    My brother was asked to participate in a focus group researching responses to Romney’s RNC acceptance speech. My brother is a registered Republican, self-described apathetic/apolitical who voted for Obama in 2008. He lives in Virginia. He’s white and in his late forties. I can see why the Romney campaign is interested in what he thinks.

    The pre-screen interview asked him who he voted for in 2008 and also his current stance toward 2012. Bro’s answer was undecided but leaning Obama. My brother described the others in the group as mostly between 40-65, mostly white, even numbers by gender. He said that people seemed to have similar views as himself, had registered and/or voted republican before but picked Obama in 2008.

    They were given dials for the speech (0 hate it, 100 love it). Bro said his dial never got above 12 the whole time. He added that there were several times that you could hear a lot of dials in the room “slam to the left”! He knows they were slamming to the left (0) because there was a very lively discussion in the parking lot afterwards among a number of participants and many had noticed the same thing and were slamming left themselves.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Romney fails to seize on a lack of momentum
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Sep 3, 2012 12:35 PM EDT.

    It’s been four days since Mitt Romney officially claimed his party’s presidential nomination, and by most accounts, he’s not exactly heading out of Tampa with the wind at his back. We’ll have more on the post-convention bounce, or lack thereof, a little later.

    But for now, it’s worth noting how Romney is spending his day. Bus tour? Major rallies? High-profile interviews? Something to take advantage of post-convention excitement? Apparently not.

    …Romney plans to spend much of the week in private preparing for the fall’s debates with President Obama, with no public appearances currently planned.

    After spending Sunday and Monday at his summer home on New Hampshire’s Lake Winnipesaukee, Romney will travel to Reading, Vt., for several practice sessions at the home of Kerry Healey, who served as his lieutenant governor in Massachusetts. Joining them will be Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio, who was tapped recently by the Romney campaign to portray Obama in the mock sessions after the rave reviews he received for playing Obama during GOP nominee John McCain’s debate prep in 2008.

    Romney’s campaign previously had said he would be making public appearances this week during the Democratic convention, but senior adviser Kevin Madden told reporters on Saturday that no public events are now on the schedule.

  5. rikyrah says:

    A fleeting, illusory supermajority
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Sep 3, 2012 3:42 PM EDT.

    It’s in Republicans’ interest right now to characterize the Democrats’ congressional majority in 2009 and 2010 as enormous. As the argument goes, President Obama could get literally anything he wanted from Congress in his first two years, so Democrats don’t have any excuses.

    The stimulus wasn’t big enough? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. There’s no comprehensive immigration reform? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. There was only one big jobs bill? Blame Dems; they had supermajorities in both chambers for two years. And so on.

    The right continued to push the line over the weekend.

    Fox News Sunday host Chris Wallace falsely claimed Democrats had a 60-vote Senate majority for the first 2 years of his presidency.

    “For the first 2 years he had a filibuster proof majority in the Senate,” Wallace told LA Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, making the case that Obama has only himself to blame for his poor economic record.

    I realize memories can be short in the political world, and 2010 seems like a long time ago, but it’s unnerving when professionals who presumably keep up with current events are this wrong. Even if various pundits lost track of the specific details, I’d at least expect Fox News hosts to remember Sen. Scott Brown’s (R) special-election win in Massachusetts.

    Since memories are short, let’s take a brief stroll down memory lane, giving Wallace a hand with the recent history he’s forgotten.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Testing the efficacy of a ‘ground game’
    By Steve Benen

    Mon Sep 3, 2012 11:20 AM EDT.

    The New York Times had a piece over the weekend on President Obama’s focus on Colorado, where his campaign “has opened more than 50 field offices in Colorado, compared with about a dozen for his Republican rival, Mitt Romney.”

    This larger strategy comes up quite a bit and it extends well beyond Colorado. For Democrats, there’s a broad realization that they’ll never be able to keep up with Republicans’ financial edge — there are simply too many conservative billionaires who intend to buy the election for Romney — but Dems hope to counter this with a superior “ground game.”

    To that end, political scientist Seth Masket, who’s researched the use of field offices, has come up with some interesting observations and posted this chart over the weekend.

    Masket relied on the Obama and Romney websites to “tally up the number of field offices in the 11 swing states.” You’ll notice that the Democrat has the advantage in every battleground state. (There’s probably a clerical error for Indiana — it’s implausible Romney wouldn’t have a single field office there.)

    “I had figured earlier that these differences were a result of the fact that Obama just had an early head start while Romney was still slugging it out in the primaries, but by this late date, I’m not so sure,” Masket wrote. “It seems more like the campaigns have different philosophies when it comes to deploying campaign resources, with the Romney folks believing they can win in the air and the Obama folks believing this will be won on the ground.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Don’t call it a comeback
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Sep 3, 2012 1:27 PM EDT.

    With only nine weeks remaining in the presidential election, Republicans clearly hoped their national convention would give Mitt Romney a bounce that would leave him better positioned for November. So far, that’s not even close to happening.

    I put together this chart showing the last eight days of Gallup’s daily tracking poll, including the results released this afternoon, and if you’ll notice a certain consistency to the results.

    That’s not a bounce; it’s a hiccup. In Gallup’s poll, Romney’s in slightly worse shape than he was a week ago, and in Reuters’ poll, he’s in slightly better shape, but it’s hard to characterize this as a meaningful post-convention bump in the polls.

    Adding insult to injury, Gallup reports today that Romney’s convention speech had the worst public response of any major-party acceptance speech since Bob Dole’s 1996 remarks


    For now, however, it’s fair to say Republicans hoped to be in a much stronger position today than they are, and given the size of the “bounce,” it looks like the 2012 Republican convention was a failure

  8. rikyrah says:

    With ‘peace on the planet’ on the line
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Sep 3, 2012 1:52 PM EDT.

    Towards the end of a speech in Jacksonville over the weekend, Romney tried to rally his supporters by telling them what they “deserve.”

    “We’re going to take America back. The future demands it. The future is out there for us to take it. Our kids deserve it. You deserve it. The nation deserves it. Peace on the planet depends on it.”

    Wait, what? Peace on earth is dependent on electing the Romney-Ryan ticket? On Tampa on Thursday, Romney mocked President Obama’s lofty rhetoric, but what are we to make of a presidential candidate who believes “peace on the planet depends on” his victory?

    This has come up before. In January, after he won the New Hampshire primary, Romney complained about Obama’s “lofty promises,” before explaining:

    “Our campaign is about more than replacing a president; it is about saving the soul of America.”

    First, I didn’t realize there was something wrong with our soul that we need a politician to fix. Second, what was that about lofty promises?

  9. rikyrah says:

    Ryan’s Bad First Impression

    by BooMan
    Mon Sep 3rd, 2012 at 11:39:44 AM EST

    Even senior Bush strategists admit that Paul Ryan’s convention speech was completely dishonest. Here’s what I don’t get. Shouldn’t Paul Ryan have been presented as the All-American boy next door? He’s young; he’s fit; he looks wholesome and eager and ambitious and sincere. He might be the kind of guy you’d like to see marry your daughter. The Republicans really could have pushed that angle. But what happens when your daughter’s date comes over and lies about his family and his job and then breaks his promise to have her home by eleven?

    You never get a second chance to make a first impression. Why would the GOP send Ryan out to meet the American people with a script filled with distortions and misrepresentations? I mean, even if they ultimately wanted to use Ryan as an attack-dog who would push the edges of truthfulness, couldn’t that wait for later? Couldn’t they let him come across as a golden boy instead of a prevaricating slime ball?

    Frankly, I don’t understand why Romney chose him at all, but if they were going to pick such a polarizing figure, they could have at least made the most of his assets before they completely squandered them. I don’t get it.

  10. rikyrah says:

    FLOTUS’ itinerary for the DNC.

    10:35 PM EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the Democratic National Convention
    Location: Time Warner Cable Arena

    10:50 AM EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the African American Caucus Meeting
    Location: Charlotte Convention Center

    11:20 AM EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama Speaks at the Hispanic Caucus Meeting
    Location: Charlotte Convention Center

    12:40 PM EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama Delivers Remarks at the Human Rights Campaign/Victory Fund Luncheon Honoring LGBT Elected Officials
    Location: Marriott City Center

    Evening: First Lady Michelle Obama Attends Democratic National Convention Evening Program
    Location: Time Warner Cable Arena

    Morning: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Participate in USO Service Project
    Location: Charlotte Convention Center
    Details: The First Lady and Dr. Biden will help pack care packages containing comfort items like shampoo, razors and wash cloths for service members returning from overseas deployments who often don’t have access to these types of items on their first nights back in the United States. The service project, organized in cooperation with the USO of North Carolina, is part of the 2012 Democratic National Convention’s commitment to service and active participation in the local community. In March 2012, the Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) announced the “2,012 Hours for DNCC 2012″ program, a commitment by the DNCC staff to perform at least 2,012 hours of service before the start of the convention.

    11:35 AM EDT: First Lady Michelle Obama and Dr. Jill Biden Speak at the Women’s Caucus Meeting
    Location: Charlotte Convention Center

    Evening: First Lady Michelle Obama Attends DNCC Evening Program
    Location: Bank of America Stadium

  11. rikyrah says:

    Romney camp explains ignoring war, troops in Tampa

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Sep 3, 2012 10:00 AM EDT.


    Associated Press

    Even Mitt Romney’s allies found it hard to believe: in his first national address as the Republican Party’s official presidential nominee, Romney delivered a 4,000-word speech that failed to acknowledge the war the U.S. is still fighting.

    The word “Afghanistan” was not uttered, even in passing. There were no references to “veterans” or “troops,” either. The Associated Press found that, despite the fact that the U.S. is in the midst of the longest war in our history, Romney “became the first Republican since 1952 to accept his party’s nomination without mentioning war.”

    Yesterday, Team Romney tried to justify the omission.

    Eric Fehrnstrom, a senior campaign aide said on CNN’s State of the Union on Sunday that in giving a talk to American Legion in Indianapolis, Romney had mentioned Afghanistan and possible defense cuts.

    “Governor Romney thought it was a privilege to be speaking to people who had served,” he said, “and in that speech, he talked about Afghanistan, and he also talked about the $1 trillion in defense cuts taking place under this president.”

    First, half the $1 trillion in defense cuts are coming from congressional Republicans, including Romney’s running mate. For Fehrnstrom to suggest otherwise is dishonest.

  12. rikyrah says:

    We built that
    Our view: The levees that saved New Orleans show why government investments in infrastructure are critical

    The whole nation was metaphorically holding its breath last week as Hurricane Isaac bore down on New Orleans, almost seven years to the day after Hurricane Katrina destroyed large parts of the city. Fortunately, the destruction inflicted by Isaac didn’t cause anywhere near the damage wrought by the earlier storm, which left much of the city underwater after the levees protecting it collapsed. Though Isaac flooded some surrounding areas to the roof-tops and left hundreds of thousands of residents without power, the loss of life in the city proper was minimal compared to Katrina’s toll, and the scale of property damage was also substantially less.

    This week, as New Orleans and its surroundings begin the long process of recovery from the storm, it’s useful to examine some of the lessons of its narrow escape. First, it’s clear that New Orleans was spared another catastrophe in large part because of the massive investment in infrastructure the federal government put into strengthening the region’s network of levees and dams in recent years. Since Katrina, the Army Corps of Engineers has spent some $14 billion to rebuild what had become a sadly neglected flood-control system designed to keep the city from being inundated when a major storm strikes. Had the levees failed during Isaac’s visit, as they did when Hurricane Katrina came to town, there’s little doubt that much of the city would have been swept away again. (The breached levees in Plaquemines Parish that resulted in the worst damage this time were not federal government projects.)

    But it wasn’t just the levees that prevented another Katrina-type tragedy. This year the city was far better prepared for a crisis, and long before the storm hit, officials there had organized a huge relief effort that anticipated the needs of residents for emergency food, clothing, shelter and medical supplies if an evacuation were ordered. And when that order eventually did come for residents in the most threatened areas, authorities were ready not only to direct the evacuees to safety but also to assist in the rescue of those who were trapped by the rapidly rising waters. This time, preparedness wasn’t just a slogan but a policy for which officials had planned.,0,5859256.story

  13. rikyrah says:

    Professor Krugman is tired of listening to high-level Republicans lie:

    … Obviously nobody cares how fast Mr. Ryan can run, and even his strange marathon misstatement wouldn’t be worth talking about in isolation. What makes this incident so striking is, instead, the way it resonates with the essential Rosie-Ruizness of Mr. Ryan’s whole political persona, which is built around big boasts about accomplishments he hasn’t accomplished.

    For Mr. Ryan, as you may recall, has positioned himself as an icon of truth-telling and fiscal responsibility, while offering policy proposals that are neither honest nor responsible. He calls for huge tax cuts, while proposing specific spending cuts that, while inflicting immense hardship on our most vulnerable citizens, would fall far short of making up for the revenue loss. His claims to reduce the deficit therefore rely on assertions that he would make up for the lost revenue by closing loopholes that he refuses to specify, and achieve further huge spending cuts in ways that he also refuses to specify…

    Still, Mitt Romney, not Mr. Ryan, is the presidential candidate, although that’s sometimes hard to remember. So how does Romney/Ryan differ from Ryan alone? It’s worse. Like the Ryan plan, the Romney plan offers huge tax breaks to corporations and the wealthy, while pledging to offset these cuts by closing unspecified loopholes; but Mr. Romney adds to the implausibility by also demanding higher defense spending and eliminating the Medicare cost savings contained in Obamacare. Realistically, the Romney plan would explode the deficit, not reduce it…

    So what is this election about? To be sure, it’s about different visions of society — about Medicare versus Vouchercare, about preserving the safety net versus destroying it. But it’s also a test of how far politicians can bend the truth. This is surely the first time one of our major parties has run a campaign so completely fraudulent, making claims so at odds with the reality of its policy proposals. But if the Romney/Ryan ticket wins, it won’t be the last.

  14. rikyrah says:

    The obvious answer to the ‘better off’ question

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Sep 3, 2012 10:40 AM EDT.


    Much of the Sunday shows were dominated by a simple question: asking Democrats whether Americans are better off than they were four years ago. Dems inexplicably seemed to be caught off guard by the question, and struggled with the answer. Maryland Gov. Martin O’Malley (D) even felt compelled to clarify his “no” answer from yesterday.

    This morning, Democrats tried to get back on message.

    With a definitive “absolutely,” Obama campaign spokeswoman Stephanie Cutter said the country was moving in the right direction by pointing to job growth and the auto industry.

    “By any measure the country has moved forward over the last four years,” she said on NBC’s Today. “It might not be as fast as people hoped. The president agrees with that. He knows we need to do more. That’s what this week is about, laying out a road map of how we can continue this progress, how we can continue moving the country forward.” […]

    This attack was echoed by Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, the Democratic National Convention chairman…. “[T]he answer is yes, we are better off. But we’ve got to keep on working harder.”

    While Dems struggled with this yesterday, I think they may be missing the importance of this opportunity. If Republicans and many in the media are going to be focused on the “are you better off” question, it’s a chance for Democrats to remind the public of something much of the country has forgotten — just how cataclysmically terrible things were before.

    Indeed, I’m at a loss to explain how this is even a debate. Whether you love the president or hate him is irrelevant — four years ago the economy was shrinking, now it’s growing; four years ago the nation was hemorrhaging jobs, now it’s adding jobs. The auto industry, the stock market, American manufacturing, the deficit — they’re all better now than when Obama took office.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Bush’s lingering presence over his party
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Sep 3, 2012 8:44 AM EDT.

    Over the weekend, Bill Maher presented a worthwhile new rule about the Republican Party and its reluctance to acknowledge the most recent GOP president.

    Republicans don’t have to accept evolution, economics, climatology, or human sexuality, but I just watched a week of their national convention, and I need them to admit the historical existence of George W. Bush,” Maher explained. “If your party can run the nation for eight years and then have a national convention and not invite Bush, Cheney, Rumsfeld, Colin Powell, Karl Rove, or Tom DeLay, you’re not a political movement, you’re the witness protection program.”

    To borrow a Homer Simpson line, it’s funny because it’s true. Bush is the only former president from either party in 40 years to stay away his first national convention after leaving office, and for the most part, Republicans pretended he doesn’t exist.

    But before the political world completely shifts its attention from Tampa to Charlotte, it’s worth pausing to appreciate the fact that Bush and Cheney may be carefully hiding from public view, and the GOP may seem largely ashamed of them, but their influence hasn’t faded at all.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:42 AM ET, 09/03/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obama’s delicate balancing act at Dem convention

    By Greg Sargent

    The Democratic National Convention kicks off this week. How aggressively should Obama and Dems make the case that the economy is improving on the president’s watch?

    On the one hand, many Dems think Obama needs to avoid going too far in extolling the recovery. It could anger swing voters who aren’t experiencing the recovery and could make Obama look overly eager to fluff his record in the face of still-widespread economic suffering, which remains a full-blown crisis.

    On the other hand, Obama needs to argue persuasively that the economy is improving, for two reasons. First, to rebut Mitt Romney’s claim that his presidency has been a failure. I don’t think it’s clear yet that swing voters have concluded this. But they are about to be bombarded with hundreds of millions of dollars of ads that could prove persuasive. So Obama needs a convincing reply.

  17. rikyrah says:


    Leader Pelosi: under the ACA “Being a woman is no longer a pre-existing condition!” #dnc2012

  18. rikyrah says:


    3 million donors to @Obama2012 – milestone reached nearly 4 years to the day after Obama ’08 reached TWO million

  19. rikyrah says:

    DNC 2012: Still Kitschin’
    By David Weigel

    Posted Sunday, Sept. 2, 2012, at 3:52 PM ET

    The first difference I’ve spotted between this convention and the RNC is the ready availability of candidate kitsch. Real passion eludes Mitt Romney. He’s like the median presidential candidate — his base will vote for him, but not venerate him.

    But the Cult of Obama staggers on. North Carolina is 21.5 percent black; Charlotte, 35 percent. In 2008, Obama won North Carolina by a scant 14,000 votes. He carried Mecklenberg County — Charlotte and suburbs — by 100,000. (That was up from a 12,000-vote margin here for the Kerry-Edwards ticket.) My plane into the city was chock-a-block with black delegates, and the streets near the convention zone are dotted with vendors selling for-us-by-us Obama merch. Below is James Hickman’s “Keep the Dream” calendar, which I was offered by a man who identified himself as the maker’s nephew and gave his name as “Red Storm.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Ride or Die Joe:

    “It is that simple. We are for Medicare, they’re for voucher-care. It’s basic.” http://OFA.BO/S8USFS

  21. rikyrah says:

    Ride or Die Joe:

    “It is that simple. We are for Medicare, they’re for voucher-care. It’s basic.” http://OFA.BO/S8USFS

  22. rikyrah says:

    Folks in baggage claim broke into “Fired up, ready to go!” chant. Charlotte already feeling very different than Tampa. #DNC

  23. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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