Tuesday Open Thread | Elton John Week

Good Morning, have a good day from all of us at 3CHICS!!

More of Sir Elton John.

The concept album Tumbleweed Connection was released in October 1970, and reached the Top Ten on the Billboard 200. The live album 17-11-70 (11–17–70 in the US) was recorded at a live show aired from A&R Studios on WABC-FM in New York City. Sales of the live album were heavily hit in the US when an east coast bootlegger released the performance several weeks before the official album, including all 60 minutes of the aircast, not just the 40 minutes selected by Dick James Music.[36]

John and Taupin then wrote the soundtrack to the obscure film Friends and then the album Madman Across the Water, the latter reaching the Top Ten and producing the hit “Levon”, while the soundtrack album produced the hit “Friends”. In 1972, Davey Johnstone joined the Elton John Band on guitar and backing vocals. The band released Honky Chateau, which became John’s first American number 1 album, spending five weeks at the top of the charts and spawning the hit singles “Rocket Man (I Think It’s Going To Be A Long, Long Time)” (which is often compared to David Bowie’s “Space Oddity”) and “Honky Cat”.[37]

The pop album Don’t Shoot Me I’m Only the Piano Player came out at the start of 1973, and produced the hits “Crocodile Rock” and “Daniel”; the former became his first US Billboard Hot 100 number one hit.[38] Both the album and “Crocodile Rock” were the first album and single, respectively on the consolidated MCA Records label in the USA, replacing MCA’s other labels including Uni.

Goodbye Yellow Brick Road gained instant critical acclaim and topped the chart on both sides of the Atlantic, remaining at Number 1 for two months.[39] It also temporarily established John as a glam rock star. It contained the number 1 hit “Bennie and the Jets”, along with the popular and praised “Goodbye Yellow Brick Road”, “Candle in the Wind”, “Saturday Night’s Alright for Fighting”, “Funeral For A Friend/Love Lies Bleeding” and “Grey Seal” (originally recorded and released in 1970 as the B-side to the UK-only single “Rock and Roll Madonna”). There is also a VHS and DVD as part of the Classic Albums series, discussing the making, recording, and popularity of Goodbye Yellow Brick Road through concert and home video footage including interviews

I can’t explain it, but this is my favorite Elton John song.

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50 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread | Elton John Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    CHIPS has an utterly fabulous post recapping the President’s foreign trips of his first term.

    so many goosebumps moments.


  2. rikyrah says:

    The pros and the pros of a Rice nomination

    Time magazine’s Jay Newton-Small itemizes the pros and cons of President Obama’s nominating choice of Susan Rice, now that “White House officials are whispering to the New York Times and other news outlets that Rice is currently Obama’s favorite to fill the top cabinet slot” of secretary of state.

    The “pro” items are unexceptional, including Rice’s youthful zeal, Obama’s admiration for her, her popularity among Democrats and her political kryptonite qualities for sane (yeah, I know) Republicans.

    Among the cons of Rice-as-nominee: Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham have already embarrassed themselves with extravagantly goofy filibuster threats; more than one GOP House committee is planning on making McCain-Graham-like asses of themselves with HUAC-like hearings on Benghazi; Rice might be “too blunt” for the job; and, “as Obama noted in his press conference, the people re-elected him to work with the other side, not get mired in partisan fights,” which would delight political junkies like us to absolutely no end.

    Wait, those are the cons?


  3. rikyrah says:

    November 20, 2012

    More confused (or confusing) than ever

    Am I missing something, or is this merely poor reporting?

    CBS News has learned that the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) cut specific references to “al Qaeda” and “terrorism” from the unclassified talking points given to Ambassador Susan Rice on the Benghazi consulate attack – with the agreement of the CIA and FBI….

    “The intelligence community assessed from the very beginning that what happened in Benghazi was a terrorist attack,” DNI spokesman Shawn Turner tells CBS News. That information was shared at a classified level — which Rice, as a member of President Obama’s cabinet, would have been privy to [italics mine].

    The head of the DNI is James Clapper, an Obama appointee. He ultimately did review the points, before they were given to Ambassador Rice and members of the House intelligence committee on Sept. 14. They were compiled the day before.

    So Rice didn’t have the unexpurgated version, although she did have the unexpurgated version, although, again, she didn’t.

    Not that any of this is explosive, but neocon outlets such as the Weekly Standard–which characteristically cuts the quote after the italicized sentence above–are all over this and will remain all over it.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow Smacks Down John McCain, ‘You need to know what you’re talking about’

    By: Sarah JonesNovember 20th, 2012

    Rachel Maddow smacked down the defacto foreign policy leader of the Republican Party, Republican Senator John McCain, for being both wrong and incompetent on foreign policy.

    After playing a Chris Hayes montage of McCain getting it wrong repeatedly entitled “Arm the Rebels”, Maddow delivered the final blow, “(E)ven if you’re just the opposition, you need to know what you’re talking about. You need to have a basic level of competence. And doing what John McCain says is not a reasonable substitution for basic competence on this subject.”

    Noting that the Republican Party still hasn’t admitted they got Iraq wrong, and that they ran Mitt Romney who has zero foreign policy experience, Rachel Maddow sees Republicans as allowing McCain to be their voice for foreign policy. This is a problem for the country since he is so often completely wrong on the subject.

    Maddow ended her dedication to McCain’s incompetence with this brutal smack down, “There is a basic level of interest and competence required even of the opposition party on the subject, even if the country has decided they don’t want to put you back in the White House, not after what George W Bush did with it. Even if you’re just in congress, even if you’re just the opposition, you need to know what you’re talking about. You need to have a basic level of competence. And doing what John McCain says is not a reasonable substitution for basic competence on this subject.”


  5. rikyrah says:

    Jim Messina: Jeep ad was Romney’s biggest mistake

    Posted by Rachel Weiner on November 20, 2012 at 9:25 am

    President Obama’s campaign manager said Tuesday that an ad suggesting Jeep was moving production to China was the biggest mistake made by Mitt Romney’s campaign.

    “They ended up spending the last 14 days of the election in the Midwest on the defense,” Messina said at a Politico Playbook breakfast. The ad was criticized by factcheckers and by major car companies.

    Messina said that one of the best decisions made by the Obama campaign was to hire non-political tech staff — advice he got from Google chairman Eric Schmidt.

    If you asked Harper Reed, the campaign’s chief technology officer, what the campaign did, Messina said, he would say, ”They just built a whole bunch of things to make door knocking easier.”

    Some of those tools — in particular, the social Dashboard — will be used to pressure lawmakers on a fiscal cliff deal, Messina suggested.

    “People want to be involved in supporting the president’s agenda in the next four years,” he said. Supporters were asked in a recent email how they would ”like to stay involved in the future.” That’s a shift from 2008, when Obama shut down his network after the election.

    Messina, who worked in the administration from 2009 to 2011, said he too will likely be working from the outside this term.

    “I think my future is probably outside the White House,” helping advocate for Obama’s agenda, he said. A decision on his future role will be made by the inauguration, Messina said. To start, he’s taking a vacation for the first time in five years. “The president and I were joking recently about how bad I look,” he said.


  6. rikyrah says:

    From the Maker of Unskewed Polling Comes: The Obama Voter Fraud Map

    By David Weigel


    Posted Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2012, at 12:18 PM ET

    In the last weeks of the election, Dean Chambers became famous for putting into numbers what other conservative put into words. The polls that showed Mitt Romney losing must, said Chambers, have been skewed. He launched UnSkewedPolls.com to recalibrate all national and state polling data to match the electorate he expected in November. He never showed less than a Romney win.

    Anyway, the polls were right. Chambers has moved on, launching BarackOFraudo.com, “exposing how they stole the 2012 election.” It leads off with a map of the 2012 election that blacks out Pennsylvania, Ohio, Florida, and Virginia. They are “states won by Obama fraud.” What’s Chambers going on for that?

    “I’m getting credible information of evidence in those states that there enough numbers that are questionable and could have swung the election,” he says. “I’m only putting good credible information on there, like the actual vote counts, reports, and mainstream publications reporting voter fraud. There’s a lot of chatter, though. There are articles people have sent me that don’t hold up. Crazy stuff.”

    What’s not crazy? “Things like the 59 voting divisions of Philadelphia where Romney received zero votes,” says Chambers. “Even Larry Sabato said that should be looked into.” (I’ve looked into this: 57 precincts gave McCain no votes in 2008. There’s such a thing as a 99% Democratic precinct, and such a thing as a 99% Republican precinct.) Same story in Ohio. “Some of the precincts or divisions in cleveland were projected to be 99% Obama. That’s a part of the state where it’s known that a lot of ballot box scamming has been done in the past. There were isolated reports of people voting for Romney and having votes changed, though they didn’t get much attention.

    What about Virginia, then? “When votes were being counted on election night, 97% of the precincts were counted, and Romney was still leading 50-49,” says Chambers. “When that remaining 3% were counted, a lead of 80,000 or so votes for Romney were turned into 120,000 for Obama.” I pointed out that Virginia’s stagger-stop-stagger count often works like that, with Democrats gaining in the end. “I was surprised it wasn’t being projected for Romney when 97% was in,” said Chambers. (The state was actually called earlier based on vote patterns.)


  7. rikyrah says:

    Can unions save the white working-class vote for Democrats?

    Posted by Peyton M. Craighill and Scott Clement on November 20, 2012 at 2:05 pm

    Voters in union households provided a big boost to President Obama in Ohio and Wisconsin, where key battles over public sector unions have been waged. Their strong support helped him staunch big losses elsewhere among white working-class voters.

    Are the results in Ohio and Wisconsin a road map for Democrats to win back the white working-class vote across the country? The data suggest probably not. The union vote didn’t make a difference among the white working-class nationally and union membership continues to erode.

    White voters without college degrees made up nearly half of the total electorate in both Ohio and Wisconsin, according to exit polls, and Obama won a far greater share of these voters than he did nationally. In Ohio, 42 percent of non-college whites supported the president, as did 45 percent in Wisconsin; nationally, 36 percent backed his reelection.

    Union households proved a key difference. More than one in five working-class whites in each state lives in a union household, and these voters backed Obama by double digits over Romney. By contrast, white non-college voters from non-union households supported Romney by wide margins.

    There was no such union household divide at the national level. Roughly six in 10 non-college whites voted for Romney, whether they were in a union household (59 percent) or not (61 percent).


  8. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:44 PM ET, 11/20/2012

    Poetic justice: Romney likely to finish at 47 percent

    By Greg Sargent

    When all the votes are counted, could Mitt Romney really end up achieving perfect poetic justice by finishing with 47 percent of the national vote? Yup. Dave Wasserman of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report says new votes in from Maryland put Romney at 47.56 percent. He predicts with certainty that with all of New York and California counted, Romney will end up below 47.5 percent of the vote.

    Rounded, of course, that would put the final tally at 51-47. Anticipating this moment, Markos Moulitsas has inaugurated the “Romney 47 percent watch.”

    At risk of piling on, a 47 percent finish would represent a perfect conclusion to the Romney political saga. If Romney ran a campaign of unprecedented dishonesty and lack of transparency, virtually all of it was geared towards misleading people about the true nature of his — and his party’s — actual beliefs and governing agenda. This was the case on multiple fronts, from Romney’s dissembling about the size of the tax cut he’d give to the rich, to his evasions about the overhaul he and Paul Ryan planned for the safety net, to the obscuring of the massive upward redistribution of wealth represented by the Ryan agenda — the GOP’s central governing blueprint for nation’s fiscal and economic future.


  9. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:16 PM ET, 11/20/2012

    Here’s a thought. Why don’t we make voting easy?

    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Of course: Republican Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker is reacting to Democratic electoral victories by trying to make it harder for people to vote. He wants to end same-day voter registration.

    Same-day voter registration is, in fact, a bad policy — because registration should be automatic. But in the current situation it’s the least-bad of bad policies. That’s because everything about voter registration in this country is awful. We should have universal, automatic voter registration. Period. End of story. Just as most democracies do.

    Having an extra burden on voters to get themselves registered (and, given how often Americans move, re-registered and re-registered again) is a bad idea. Granted, automatic voter registration for all would take federal government action, and there’s not much chance the the Republican House of Representatives will agree to anything like that any time soon. Still, it would be good to see some real movement on this in Congress, even if passage is unlikely this time around.

    That’s not the only reform Congress could adopt. Senator Chris Coons has drafted promising reform legislation. Among his ideas: Giving federal grants to states that develop plans to make it easy to vote through streamlined registration, early voting, better training of election officials and other fixes. Separately, as Greg noted here recently, the Brennan Center for Justice has suggested a long set of reforms that would especially help alleviate election day problems.

    Look: either you believe in democracy, or you don’t. If you do, you should be trying to make it easier for people to vote. Full stop. American elections administration right now is an embarrassment, but it’s actually a fairly easy problem to fix. Even if Democrats can’t do that alone, at the very least they should be fighting for better procedures. In the process, they would be making it clear that one side supports well-administered, high-participation elections — while the other side wants to select which voters will participate, with the goal of designing an electorate that suits its political needs.


  10. rikyrah says:

    Today at 12:20 AM

    Romney Camp Is Fairly Confident That Christie Made Them Lose the Election
    By Margaret Hartmann

    Mitt Romney has suggested that the presidency was stolen from him by primary debate moderators and President Obama’s devious plan to improve Americans’ lives, but his former staffers know that isn’t the only reason he lost the election. Chris Christie also deserves some of the blame. Despite Christie’s argument that months of acting as a loyal Romney surrogate aren’t negated by thanking his nemesis during a crisis, since the election many Republicans have lashed out at Christie, and the Romney team is convinced that he hurt them in the crucial final moments of the campaign. The New York Times reports that in a “lengthy autopsy of their campaign,” Romney’s political advisers found that a large number of voters who were undecided toward the end wound up voting Obama, and many said Hurricane Sandy was a major factor in their decision. “Christie,” said a Romney adviser, “allowed Obama to be president, not a politician.”

    In the days following the storm, Christie tried to frame his repeated praise of the president as a virtue, saying he couldn’t even think about politics during the crisis. The response from Republicans wasn’t what one would hope for, especially from a party trying to emphasize its compassion for voters. Per the Times:

    But in the days after the storm, Mr. Christie and his advisers were startled to hear from out-of-state donors to Mr. Romney, who had little interest in the hurricane and viewed him solely as a campaign surrogate, demanding to know why he had stood so close to the president on a tarmac. One of them questioned why he had boarded Mr. Obama’s helicopter, according to people briefed on the conversations.


    “Christie,” said a Romney adviser, “allowed Obama to be president, not a politician.”

    Um, Barack Obama IS the President.

    ‘ALLOWED’ Obama to be president.

    White Entitlement is a helluva drug, isn’t it?

  11. rikyrah says:


  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:03 PM ET, 11/20/2012
    No surrender? The GOP’s latest tactic to undermine Obamacare
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Republicans failed to block Obamacare from passing Congress. They failed to get it overturned by the Supreme Court. They failed to repeal it by electing a Republican president.

    And now, with the law apparently here to stay, they’re rolling out their latest strategy to undermine it: Make it work badly, so the public wants to repeal it later.

    Obamacare is moving forward. The administration is rolling out new regulations today under the Affordable Care Act — regulations that will finally eliminate “pre-existing condition” from the vocabulary of insurance-seeking Americans.

    But Republicans are committed to ensuring that the law’s implementation fails. Right now, as Jonathan Cohn notes, Republican governors are trying to accomplish this by turning down the chance to run state-based exchanges. Remember that under the health law, state governments will set up on-line insurance marketplaces so that those without insurance can easily compare and purchase the private-market package best for them. The law did allow for states to opt out, in which case the federal government would do it for them. Now, normally Republicans would assure us that the states do a better job of running things than the federal government in Washington, especially states with Republican governments. The key, however, is that they simply don’t want this policy to work, so they’re simply refusing to implement it: The latest in the GOP scorched earth policy on health care, now that it’s been defeated everywhere else.

    This effort to undermine the law by undermining implementation may be unprecedented. Can anyone think of a similar historical example?


  13. rikyrah says:

    Avoiding Cliff Not That Important

    by BooMan
    Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 12:43:14 PM EST

    I’m getting pretty bored with stories about the Fiscal Cliff. The administration can insist on what it wants and give some face-saving measures to Speaker Boehner. The ultimate deal has to be something that the vast majority of Democratic senators support, and that means that it has to be something that a very significant percentage of House Democrats support. Here is what Speaker Boehner should be presented with.
    He should be presented with a deal that he can only pass with most of the Democratic caucus and a minority of the Republican one. This will break him on the rack and he’ll either force the thing though and lose his influence or he will refuse to try and get blamed for taking us over the cliff.

    A deal is preferable to going over the cliff, but we have little reason to pay much of a premium for that. A small face-saving premium? Yes. A premium that most House Republicans support and most House Democrats oppose? Hell no.

    In that case, let’s go over the cliff and talk again once we have more congressional members in both Houses in January


  14. rikyrah says:

    What GOP governors hope to accomplish on health care
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Nov 20, 2012 2:28 PM EST

    Following up on an item from last week, a variety of governors are still making decisions on how (and whether) to create state-based health care exchanges under the Affordable Care Act. States that refuse invite the Obama administration to create exchanges for them.

    The latest announcement came from Oklahoma Gov. Mary Fallin (R), who announced yesterday that her state would also refuse to create a health insurance exchange, leaving the job up to federal officials. Oklahoma is now the 17th state to make this decision, and that number may yet grow.

    As a rule, when I cover this, I marvel at the irony: many far-right governors who claim to oppose federal control are making a conscious decision to invite more federal control. But let’s take the next step and consider why they’re doing it.

    Some are eyeing higher office and have been warned that cooperating with the Obama administration on health care would ruin their careers. But Jonathan Cohn raises an even more salient point about the larger sabotage strategy.

    The subsidies are in the form of tax credits. So Oklahoma officials and everybody else making this argument are essentially calling upon states to block their citizens from receiving federal tax breaks, worth as much as several thousand dollars per person. Aren’t conservatives and libertarians supposed to be the party that likes giving tax money back to the people?

    Of course, Obamacare critics believe that, by blocking the subsidies, they’ll undermine the law’s effectiveness and eventually erode support to the point that people clamor for a conservative alternative.


  15. rikyrah says:

    Linda McMahon campaign worker: I got condom and bad check
    Posted by Rachel Weiner on November 20, 2012 at 1:14 pm

    After complaining to a local news station about not getting paid after Election Day, workers for Connecticut Senate candidate Linda McMahon’s campaign say they were given checks that bounced. One worker says he got a bad check and a condom.

    “Checks have been mailed to campaign workers. Replacement checks were issued for those who did not want to wait for the mail,” campaign spokeswoman Kate Duffy told WTNH. ”The original checks were then voided once replacement checks were issued.” They plan to follow up with staffers who reported receiving bad checks.

    But one staffer says she only got the mail check, which no longer works. Another says he was handed a check that bounced — along with something else.

    “Basically [a campaign staffer] handed me a check with a condom in it, told me I was screwed,” Twaine Don Gomes told the station. “That’s the rudest gesture you can ever do to a person, it’s like spitting in a person’s face.”


  16. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie’s other clean-up effort

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Nov 20, 2012 11:36 AM EST.

    Two weeks ago, as New Jersey was still very much in the midst of a post-Sandy crisis, Fox News’ Rupert Murdoch insisted that Gov. Chris Christie (R) “re-declare” his support for Mitt Romney. The New York Times reports today that the governor took this quite seriously.

    A few days after Hurricane Sandy shattered the shores of New Jersey, Gov. Chris Christie picked up the phone to take on a different kind of recovery work: taming the Republican Party fury over his effusive embrace of President Obama.

    On Nov. 3, Mr. Christie called Rupert Murdoch, the influential News Corporation chief and would-be kingmaker, who had warned in a biting post on Twitter that the governor might be responsible for Mr. Obama’s re-election.

    Mr. Christie told Mr. Murdoch that amid the devastation, New Jersey needed friends, no matter their political party, according to people briefed on the discussion. But Mr. Murdoch was blunt: Mr. Christie risked looking like a spoiler unless he publicly affirmed his support for Mitt Romney, something the governor did the next day.


  17. rikyrah says:

    Bharat Manghnani‏@bmangh
    Routine HIV testing will now be covered under Obamacare (via @TPHealth) http://thkpr.gs/SNEyIi

  18. rikyrah says:

    Why Denny’s is in damage-control mode
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Nov 20, 2012 1:00 PM EST

    In the wake of President Obama’s re-election, a few restaurant chains raised eyebrows by making threats related to the Affordable Care Act. An Applebees franchise owner, for example, vowed to stop building and hiring because of the health-care law.

    But it was Denny’s franchise owner John Metz who caused the biggest stir, publicly declaring his intention to impose a 5 percent surcharge on customers at his 30 Denny’s outlets to offset “Obamacare” costs. “Customers have two choices: They can either pay it and tip 15 or 20 percent, or if they really feel so inclined, they can reduce the amount of tip they give to the server,” Metz said.

    The backlash didn’t take long. Denny’s diners, including many that aren’t owned by Metz, immediately saw a drop in sales, and were inundated with phone calls from angry customers. With other franchise owners panicking due to boycott threats, the corporate office is in damage-control mode.

    Denny’s chief executive John Miller privately reached out to Metz to express his “disappointment” with the Florida franchisee’s controversial statements about Obamacare, which sparked a wave of backlash for the national restaurant chain over the past few days. Metz released a statement Monday night expressing “regret” over his statements.

    “We recognize his right to speak on issues, but registered our disappointment that his comments have been interpreted as the company’s position,” Miller said in an email to The Huffington Post


  19. rikyrah says:

    Secession is not ‘a deeply American principle’
    By Steve Benen
    Tue Nov 20, 2012 8:40 AM EST

    I’d like to think most reasonable people can agree that casual discussion of secession is unsettling.

    Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) said Monday that secession was a “deeply American principle,” amid a growing number of people petitioning the White House to let their states secede from the U.S.

    “Secession is a deeply American principle. This country was born through secession. Some felt it was treasonous to secede from England, but those ‘traitors’ became our country’s greatest patriots,” the former presidential candidate wrote in a post on his House website. “There is nothing treasonous or unpatriotic about wanting a federal government that is more responsive to the people it represents.”

    He continued: “If the possibility of secession is completely off the table there is nothing to stop the federal government from continuing to encroach on our liberties and no recourse for those who are sick and tired of it.”


  20. GOP’s Benghazi Conspiracy Falls Apart: White House Didn’t Change Susan Rice’s Talking Points


    Intelligence officials told CNN that the intelligence community, not the White House, changed the now infamous Benghazi talking points given to U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice before her appearance on several morning news shows in September. CNN quoted both the spokesperson for the Director of National Intelligence and an anonymous official “familiar with the drafting of the talking points.” The DNI spokesperson said that the only “substantive changes” came from the intelligence community and not the White House.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Sabotaging ObamaCare

    by BooMan
    Tue Nov 20th, 2012 at 09:33:58 AM EST

    There are still at least two ways for conservatives to fight the implementation of ObamaCare. Thanks to the stupid ideological ruling of the Supreme Court, the states don’t have to accept federal money and expand Medicaid. They can just let their poor suffer. The states can also refuse to set up any health care exchange.
    As Jonathan Cohn helpfully explains, you can think of the state health care exchanges as websites like Expedia or Travelocity. But, instead of renting a car or booking a hotel room or flight, you are shopping for a health insurance plan. You will also be eligible for a rebate if your income is low enough. In some cases, the entire cost of your health care plan might be covered, or, more likely, you might just be enrolled in Medicaid.

    In refusing to set up a state health care exchange, the Republican governors don’t prevent their citizens from accessing ObamaCare. The law allows the federal government to set up the exchanges for them. In this respect, the citizens of Oklahoma, for example, won’t have a different experience from the citizens of New York or Massachusetts or California. However, James Capretta and Yuval Levin argue in today’s Wall Street Journal that the law won’t function if the states don’t create their own exchanges.

    Congress didn’t allocate money for administering federal exchanges, and the law as written seems to prohibit federally run exchanges from providing subsidies to individuals. The administration insists that it can provide those subsidies anyway. But if the courts read the plain words of the statute, then federal exchanges couldn’t really function.

    So, this issue will head to the courts where it will be decided whether or not there was some kind of legislative miscue that undermines the clear intent of the law.

    It is important, however, to understand what Capretta and Levin are arguing. They are saying that the federal government can set up the exchanges but they have no money to administer them and no authority to send rebate checks to policy-holders who sign up on federally-created websites. So, for example, someone in Oklahoma could sign up for a policy but no one could process that transaction. And, if they did process it, no one in Oklahoma would be receiving the rebates. I think you can imagine how popular this will be with the people of Oklahoma.

    The hope, obviously, is that by creating chaos in the implementation of ObamaCare, the Republicans can keep the program unpopular in their states.

    How do you think that is going to work out?


  22. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:43 AM ET, 11/20/2012
    Nov 20, 2012 04:43 PM EST

    Is White House prepared to go over fiscal cliff if necessary?
    By Greg Sargent
    Some leading liberals and Dems are hoping the White House — if the fiscal talks break down — will prove willing to let us all go over the fiscal cliff and let all the Bush tax cuts expire. That way Dems could return in 2013 and pass the tax cuts for those under $250,000 again — the Obama tax cuts for the middle class! — while leaving taxes on the rich at Clinton-era levels.

    So it raised some eyebrows on the left when the Associated Press reported, almost in passing, that the White House regards this idea “frostily.” If true, this would be a big deal, because it would mean the White House is nixing one of its key endgame options.

    On reflection, however, I’m not too worried about this — yet. Here’s why: If the White House were open to going over the fiscal cliff, it would be folly for it to signal it publicly. The White House needs to publicly suggest it isn’t really open to the idea.

    If the White House publicly signaled openness to it, that would risk squandering its leverage. One key reason the White House has the advantage in this battle is that the election’s outcome — an endorsement of a mix of tax hikes and spending cuts — is putting pressure on Republicans to drop their opposition to tax increases, or be perceived as deaf to the will of the people. If the White House blithely declares it is ready to go over the cliff, that allows Republicans to argue that Obama isn’t serious about reaching a compromise, perhaps allowing them to evade some of the blame if we do go over it. The prospect of bearing that blame has to be weighing heavily on GOP leaders.


  23. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:47 AM ET, 11/20/2012
    Nov 20, 2012 01:47 PM EST

    The Morning Plum: Left warns Dems not to cave on fiscal cliff
    By Greg Sargent
    So how far are Dems willing to go in making concessions on entitlements in the fiscal cliff talks? The general sense in liberal and labor circles is one of cautious optimism — tempered by an awareness that a cave is always possible.

    A coalition of unions — SEIU, AFSCME, and the NEA — has released new ads today pressuring Dems not to give in to GOP demands for deep spending cuts. The ads — which target Dem senators Mark Udall, Michael Bennet, Claire McCaskill, Jim Webb, and Mark Warner in their states — make the key point that the best way to reduce the deficit is to invest in job creation and grow the economy, and they demand that the senators protect Medicare, Medicaid and education. They insist that Dems “continue to stand up for us,” rather than cut “programs that families rely on most.”

    This comes as some self-described “centrist” Democrats are already making noise about not necessarily supporting the Obama plan to raise taxes on the rich. And the centrist group Third Way, in a message intended to generate inside-the-Beltway chatter, released a new poll supposedly showing support for a bipartisan deficit “deal.”

    What you’re really seeing here is a battle over the meaning of the election. Labor and liberals contend the message was clear: At a time of runaway inequality, the rich must sacrifice more to bring down the deficit; the American people do not want any change in the core mission of Medicare; and they continue to support a strong safety net and an expanded role for government in spurring growth and social mobility. After all, the election was a straight up clash of ideological visions over tax fairness, the proper scope of governmental involvement in the economy and in reducing inequality, and the question of whether we should preserve the social contract underlying the major progressive reforms of the 20th Century. One side won decisively — liberalism.


  24. rikyrah says:

    Wisconsin’s Walker eyes new barriers to voting

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Nov 20, 2012 9:05 AM EST

    After Republican policymakers nationwide imposed the most sweeping voting restrictions since the Jim Crow era, GOP officials saw the election results, realized that the restrictions didn’t produce the desired effect, and decided it’s time to end the “war on voting.”

    No, I’m just kidding. Actually, some of the same officials who wanted new restrictions in advance of 2012 are now looking to expand the barriers between voters and their democracy in the future. Take developments in Wisconsin, for example.

    Gov. Scott Walker has joined one of the Legislature’s most powerful Republicans in saying he’s considering ending the state’s same-day voter registration law, drawing quick criticism from leading Democrats, including Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett.

    The idea was part of the agenda that Walker put forward Friday in an appearance before a sold-out crowd at the Ronald Reagan Library and Museum near Los Angeles, a traditional venue for Republicans looking to run for president.

    For nearly four decades, Wisconsin has allowed voters to register at their voting precinct on Election Day. The results have been terrific — the state has one of the highest voting rates in the nation. This year, voting rates in Milwaukee, for example, reached a stunning 87 percent.

    Why would Wisconsin’s governor and leading state GOP lawmakers want to scale back a system that’s worked so well? According to Walker, the state has “poll workers who are wonderful volunteers, who work 13-hour days and who in most cases are retirees.” He added, “It’s difficult for them to handle the volume of people who come at the last minute. It’d be much better if registration was done in advance of election day. It’d be easier for our clerks to handle that.”


  25. rikyrah says:

    Clyburn: GOP letter criticizing Rice uses racial ‘code words’

    Rep. James Clyburn (D-S.C.) said Tuesday that a letter from nearly 100 House Republicans urging President Obama not to appoint Susan Rice as secretary of State employed racially charged “code words” to make its case.

    The letter, signed by 97 House Republicans, says Rice, the U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, “is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public in the Benghazi matter” — language Clyburn saw as racially loaded.

    “You know, these are code words,” Clyburn, the third-ranking Democrat in the House, told CNN. “We heard them during the campaign — during this recent campaign we heard Sen. Sununu calling our president lazy, incompetent, these kinds of terms that those of us, especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South, we would hear these little words and phrases all of our lives and we’d get insulted by them.

    “Susan Rice is as competent as anybody you will find, and just to paste that word on her causes problems with people like [incoming Congressional Black Caucus Chairwoman] Marcia Fudge and certainly causes a big problem with me,” he added.

    In a press conference earlier this week, Rep. Fudge (D-Ohio) said she believed criticism of Rice contained “a clear … sexism and racism.”

    “It is a shame that anytime something goes wrong, they pick on women and minorities,” Fudge added.

    Clyburn described himself as frustrated by the criticism of Rice. While he said it is fair to criticize her for having initially claimed the attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya, was the result of a protest against an anti-Islam video, he objected to the language used by Republican leaders.

    “I don’t like those words,” Clyburn said. “Say she was wrong for doing it, but don’t call her incompetent. That is something totally different. A lot of very competent people sometimes make errors, and to say that she erroneously did it, I don’t have a problem with it.”

    Clyburn also hit Sens. John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) for their statements last week that they would seek to block Rice’s nomination to head the State Department — comments that earned them a sharp rebuke from President Obama.

    “To call her incompetent, a Ph.D., Rhodes scholar being called incompetent by someone who can’t hold a candle to her intellectually, by someone who said, and Sen. McCain called her incompetent as well, but he told us that [Sarah] Palin was very competent to be vice president of the United States,” Clyburn said.


  26. McCain got some support for his effort Monday afternoon, when a group of 97 House Republicans sent a letter to President Obama urging him not to nominate Susan Rice. The lawmakers wrote that Rice’s “misleading statements” about the Benghazi attacks “caused irreparable damage to her credibility both at home and around the world.”



    John McCain and the GOP are trying their best to damage Ambassdor Rice’s credibility. This is why they’re mad!

  27. Democratic Congressman: Attacks On Susan Rice Racially Driven


    Rep. Jim Clyburn (D-S.C.) said attacks on U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice, an African-American woman who is a top candidate for secretary of state in the second term of President Barack Obama, used racial code words.

    The House member was asked directly on Tuesday whether there was a racist or sexist component to the criticisms of Rice’s appearance on Sept. 16 Sunday television, during which Rice said that the Sept. 11 Benghazi attacks were based off an incendiary anti-Muslim video, rather than a terrorist attack.

    Clyburn took issue with legislators calling Rice “incompetent” in the wake of the interviews.

    “You know, these are code words,” said Clyburn on CNN’s “Starting Point.” “These kinds of terms that those of us — especially those of us who were grown and raised in the South — we’ve been hearing these little words and phrases all of our lives and we get insulted by them.”

  28. Rikyrah, you played one of my favorites…

    And I think it’s gonna be a long long time
    Till touch down brings me round again to find
    I’m not the man they think I am at home
    Oh no no no…. I’m a rocket man…

  29. Eric Holder to stay on as Attorney General


    Eric Holder appears to have some gas left in the tank after announcing his plans to continue as the Attorney General under the Obama administration.

    Fox News confirmed on Monday that Holder accepted President Barack Obama’s request to remain in the position, and he’ll be doing so for about a year.

  30. Messina Takes On Gallup, Says ‘A Bunch Of Polling Is Broken In This Country’


    President Obama’s campaign manager Jim Messina on Tuesday took multiple swipes at public pollsters, namely Gallup, in an interview with Politico.

    Messina claimed that the campaign’s internal model on early voting was within a percentage point of the ultimate results, and the campaign was within .2 percentage points of nailing the final outcome in Florida.

    “That’s why I knew most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous,” Messina said. “A bunch of polling is broken in this country.”

    Messina also criticized Gallup’s performance in the 2012 campaign. The national firm has emerged as a punching bag for its polling in this year’s cycle, but Messina said Gallup’s poor showing is hardly a new development.

  31. Rise of the Left: Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnnell Beat Fox for an Entire Week


    Changing demographics aren’t just winning elections, they are also reshaping cable news. MSNBC’s Rachel Maddow and Lawrence O’Donnell beat their Fox News competition every day last week in the key 25-54 demo.

    According to TVNewser, “For the week of November 12-16, Maddow’s 9 p.m. program averaged 480,000 A25-54 viewers, while “Hannity” had 439,000. In the 10 p.m. timeslot, “The Last Word” averaged 396,000 viewers in the demo, and “On the Record with Greta Van Susteren” had 362,000.” Thanks to Bill O’Reilly, Fox News edged MSNBC in total prime time 25-54, 454,000-420,000. Partially due to the fact that they are available in more homes, Fox News still dominates in total viewers, but the fact that younger viewers are powering MSNBC is a definite threat to the Fox News empire.

  32. Alex Wagner on President Obama’s Burma visit



    Beautiful report!

  33. rikyrah says:

    Big Banks vs. Elizabeth Warren: It’s On (Again!)

    The fight between the financial industry and Senator-elect Elizabeth Warren heats up again over her possible nomination to the Senate banking committee.

    —By Andy Kroll

    | Mon Nov. 19, 2012 3:03 AM PST

    Not even two weeks have passed since Democrat Elizabeth Warren rode a wave of grassroots support to victory in the US Senate race in Massachusetts, ousting Republican incumbent Scott Brown. Senator-elect Warren has not yet hired her staff. She has not yet moved into her Senate office. But the banking industry is already taking aim at her, scurrying to curb her future clout on Capitol Hill.

    Lobbyists and trade groups for Wall Street and other major banking players are pressuring lawmakers to deny Warren a seat on the powerful Senate banking committee. With the impending departures of Sens. Herb Kohl (D-Wis.) and Daniel Akaka (D-Hawaii), Democrats have two spots to fill on the committee before the 113th Congress gavels in next year. Warren has yet said whether she wants to serve on the committee. But she would be a natural: She’s a bankruptcy law expert, she served as Congress’ lead watchdog overseeing the $700 billion bank bailout from 2008 to 2010, and she conceived of and helped launch the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB).

    But the big banks are not fans of Warren, and their representatives in Washington have her in their crosshairs. Aides to two senators on the banking committee tell Mother Jones the industry has already moved to block Warren from joining the committee, which is charged with drafting legislation regulating much of the financial industry. “Downtown”—shorthand for Washington’s lobbying corridor—”has been going nuts” to keep her off the committee, another Senate aide says.

    Sen. Jack Reed (D-R.I.), a banking committee member, has been angling to get Warren on the committee, “but there are many bank lobbyists pushing to keep her off,” a top Democratic Senate aide told Politico’s Morning Money tipsheet. But the aide added, “If she really wants banking, it will be very tough politically to keep her off.”

    Several banking trade groups—including the American Bankers Association, Securities Industry and Financial Markets Association, and the Mortgage Bankers Association—declined or didn’t respond to requests for comment. A spokesman for Warren also declined to comment.

    The big banks’ opposition to Warren, a fierce consumer advocate, is no shocker. She supported the Dodd-Frank financial reform law, and she blasted Brown, who did vote for Dodd-Frank, for launching a “guerrilla war” to undermine its implementation. She backs the Volcker Rule, a limit on how much banks can trade with their own money. What may trouble the big banks most is Warren’s call for revisiting the Glass-Steagall Act, which separated riskier investment banks from more staid commercial banks. Reinstating Glass-Steagall would mean breaking up sprawling Wall Street institutions such as JPMorgan Chase, Citigroup, and Bank of America.


  34. Ametia says:

    Clinton to Visit Middle East in Move to Defuse Gaza Conflict

    PHNOM PENH, Cambodia — President Obama sent Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton to the Middle East on Tuesday to try to defuse the conflict in Gaza, the White House announced.

    Mrs. Clinton, who accompanied Mr. Obama on his three-country Asia trip, left on her own plane immediately for the region, where she will stop first in Jerusalem to meet with Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu of Israel, then head to the West Bank to meet with Palestinian leaders and finally to Cairo to consult with Egyptian officials.

    The decision to dispatch Mrs. Clinton dramatically deepens the American involvement in the crisis. Mr. Obama made a number of late-night phone calls from his Asian tour to the Middle East on Monday night that contributed to his conclusion that he had to become more engaged and that Mrs. Clinton might be able to accomplish something.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Ametia, SG2 and Everyone :)

  36. Ametia says:

    Hold me closer, TINY DANCER. Good Morning Everyone. :-) “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.” It’s my favorite Sir Elton John tune.

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