Monday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

Curtis Lee Mayfield (June 3, 1942 – December 26, 1999) was an American soul, R&B, and funk singer, songwriter, and record producer. He is best known for his anthemic music with The Impressions during the Civil Rights Movement of the 1960s and for composing the soundtrack to the blaxploitation film Super Fly, Mayfield is highly regarded as a pioneer of funk and of politically conscious African-American music.[1][2] He was also a multi-instrumentalist who played the guitar, bass, piano, saxophone, and drums. Mayfield is a winner of both the Grammy Legend Award (in 1994) and the Grammy Lifetime Achievement Award (in 1995), and he was a double inductee into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame, inducted as a member of The Impressions into The Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 1991, and again in 1999 as a solo artist. He is also a two-time Grammy Hall of Fame inductee.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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77 Responses to Monday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

  1. Pingback: Curtis Mayfield; And Motown: They’re True Legacy « angrymanspeaks

  2. Ametia says:

    So now some in the GOP are running away from Old Grover Norquist like he let off a huge, smelly fart!

  3. Maya Soetoro-Ng: My Brother is the President of the United States

  4. gillemsmoothdianna, where are you? I hope all is well. 3Chics misses you!

  5. Ametia says:

    Tee hee hee. Where that 2012 Blog of the Year plaque come from?

  6. I’m cooking a Chuck Roast. It smells so good. No more Turkey…it’s all gone! :)

  7. Thomas Ricks Accuses Fox News Of ‘Operating As A Wing Of The Republican Party’


  8. rikyrah says:

    The View From Your Thanksgiving

    Original bleg here, where we asked readers to share any red-blue political discussions with family members that added more light than heat. A previous reflection from a reader here. Another writes:

    My mother was a life-long Republican. She’s a devout Christian who reads her Bible and spends time in devotion and prayer daily. She voted for George W. Bush in 2000 and was pretty disgusted with my reaction when I warned her that we would be lucky to get through his presidency alive. But something happened: by the 2004 election, although she couldn’t bring herself to vote for John Kerry, she did not vote for Bush – the first time she hadn’t voted in a presidential election since her first vote in 1948. By the 2008 election, she’d had it with two wars, torture, and the cock-up during Katrina. She became a regular listener to MSNBC and cried when she cast her vote for Obama, saying she never dreamed she would live long enough to vote for an African-American for president.

    This year, at the age of 88, she formally changed her registration to Democrat because she didn’t want anyone to think she ascribed to the Republican ideology.

    She became totally fed up with the Fundamentalist obsession with abortion (she says people are going to have them no matter what and they should be medically safe) and homosexuality (she has come to support gay marriage, putting her at odds with her church). We watched the returns on election night and spent a pretty delightful evening cheering every Democrat declared a winner.

    I realize how blessed I am that my mom and I are on the same page politically. You can’t imagine how fun it is to see a woman in her late 80s watch the Daily Show and know who Nate Silver is, tell me how good Rachel Maddow’s latest show was, and see her sitting at the computer to read Brian McClaren’s blog. My mom is still a conservative, but she should serve as a warning to the Republicans (losing a white, Christian Senior Citizen? Really?)… I know she serves as an inspiration to me.

    • rikyrah says:

      The View From Your Thanksgiving

      A reader writes:

      My 81-year-old father, a retired Marine and lifelong straight-ticket Republican, has gone through an amazing shift over the last four years. When McCain had named Palin as his running mate, my dad defended the choice because she “was a fighter and everyone underestimates her”. Four years ago he quaked in his boots and railed against Obama, who “was going to take everybody’s guns away” and was responsible for the shortage in ammunition (part of the plot to take away guns was his plan to remove ammo from the store shelves). Obama didn’t have the experience to end the wars. Obama wouldn’t be able to deal with the economy. Our country was going to hell in a handbasket with that man in charge.

      This election? Straight-ticket Democratic voter and big contributor to both Obama’s campaign and Claire McCaskill’s senatorial campaign against Todd Akin. As we would drive by homes where Akin or Romney yard signs were displayed, he’d say, “There’s a lot of crazy people in this neighborhood”. A month ago my mother called me, worried that my father had become too militantly Democratic and wished he would settle down just a little bit in his zeal. We can sit down as a family and intelligently discuss politics, and I can’t express how wonderful it is to share this with him for the first time in my life.

      To what do we attribute this change? I believe it started with having multiple children, grandchildren and in-laws who didn’t have health insurance due to self-employment and the difficulty with getting an individual policy.

      My father worked 40 years in the government and always had wonderful insurance and a lot of security in terms of retirement, and I believe he wanted the same for all of his children and grandchildren. He realized that the guns weren’t going away (he’s an avid skeet shooter), that the president was an intelligent man who approached the nation’s problems with calm, deliberate reasoning and an eye towards the greater good. Dad paid attention to the obstructionism within Congress and was disgusted by these supposed “patriots” who were focused on preventing recovery. Obama was bringing the soldiers back home, which was a huge deal to a man who saw far too much of the damage caused by war during his Vietnam stint.

      It takes a lot to change a man’s position so enormously. I’m more proud of my father than I have ever been and see him as a lesson to the Republican party. If they are losing someone like him, how many more must there be

      • rikyrah says:

        I was riding around with my uncle, hunting for Redskins swag, when he and I got to talking politics. My uncle is the bluest of blue-collar workers, born and raised in Bristol, VA, then moved to North Carolina where he still lives. He’s worked HVAC, landscaping, and myriad other manual labor jobs over the years. It also wasn’t more than a decade ago I’d hear cringe-worthy racist and homophobic comments from him and other members of my family from North Carolina on a regular basis. They still slip occasionally, but nowhere near as often as they used to.

        But this week he said something along the lines of, “I could NOT bring myself to vote for Mitt Romney. Rich bastards making money off the backs of regular people.” We also talked about his girlfriend’s daughter being diagnosed with MS and I mentioned that Ann Romney had MS. He said he knew, and then went off on how Mrs. Romney said during the campaign if she were First Lady she was going to focus on MS (and breast cancer I think), but wasn’t doing it already. I then mentioned how it must be nice to have all the money in the world for treatment, but the first thing Mitt was going to do was repeal Obamacare, and my uncle was in total agreement.

        He also said he didn’t want to say he’d never vote for Republican for President, but at the moment it wasn’t going to happen. I said I liked Jon Huntsman, but by and large I couldn’t either, that the anti-gay marriage stand of the GOP was a deal-breaker for me for one thing, and he was also in total agreement on that point. Know hope.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Will Immigration Reform Help The GOP?

    Eliza Gray argues that Univision will help decide the answer to that question:

    If the GOP’s strategy of embracing immigration reform has any chance of wooing back Latino voters, it will have to depend on Spanish-language media, particularly Univision, to get its message across. Eighty-eight percent of Latinos watch Spanish-language television, according to the American Journalism Review, and Univision is the clear leader in that market. For many Latinos, Univision is their only source of news.“72 percent of Latinos who watch Univision’s main evening news broadcast with Ramos and Salinas do not see any other television news,”according to the Guardian.

    She adds that this “will be difficult for Republicans, because Univision has helped drive the perception that the GOP is hostile to Latinos.



  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:31 PM ET, 11/26/2012
    Nov 26, 2012 05:31 PM EST

    The real lesson to be drawn from ‘Lincoln’
    By Greg Sargent

    Everyone in the political world saw Stephen Spielberg’s “Lincoln” this weekend, and leading commentators are telling us that one of its primary lessons is that today’s legislators need to re-learn the need for “compromise.” David Brooks set the tone for this interpretation, and others, such as Al Hunt and yesterday’s Meet the Press panelists, have pushed similar conclusions.

    This is bad history. It’s folly to apply the Civil War to the present to begin with, but if we must do this, one of the key lessons of “Lincoln,” and his life and times, is that he knew when not to compromise. History was shaped largely by Lincoln’s intransigence at the right moments.

    It’s true that Lincoln was not an abolitionist. He believed working within the political system was more productive than insisting on grand goals he deemed beyond reach at the time. But that’s only part of the story. What’s more notable from the events depicted in the movie is Lincoln’s refusal to budge on core principles — when it counted most.

    “Lincoln” depicts the machinations that went into passage of the 13th Amendment, and much has rightly been made of the ugly horse-trading that made it possible. But this shouldn’t be confused with a willingness to drop core ideals to enable legislative change. In fact, the opposite happened. Lincoln was being pressured during the 1864 campaign to abandon the push for the constitutional amendment to abolish slavery, in order to make peace possible. He refused.

    “Democrats were saying, `Your insistence on abolition is prolonging the war,’” Civil War historian Eric Foner tells me. “That was the Democratic campaign against Lincoln: If you drop emancipation we can have peace. But Lincoln rejected the Democratic position that he had to make a choice between abolition and peace.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Why Democrats should continue using super PACs
    By Jamelle Bouie
    Democrats made effective use of super PACs in the 2012 election, deploying devastating ads that harmed Mitt Romney in key states like Ohio, and helping congressional Democrats capitalize on major missteps by their opponents (see Akin, Todd). Now Democratic donors are gearing up for the next round of elections, in an effort to make these outside groups even more influential:

    Shortly after Election Day, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi, New York Sen. Chuck Schumer and top White House aides spoke at a three-day secret meeting of major Democratic donors and officials from liberal outside groups gearing up for 2014, POLITICO has learned….
    Their goal: a permanent network of officially blessed independent groups that leverages liberals’ increasing acceptance and appreciation of outside money to compete with a much-better-funded Republican shadow party.
    This, of course, leaves Democrats open to charges of hypocrisy. After all, liberals form of the bulk of the opposition to Citizens United — the Supreme Court ruling that opened the doors to the proliferation of mega-donors and outside groups — and have been fighting for campaign finance reform at all levels of government. It’s hard to reconcile this with efforts to bolster the position of groups that can raise huge sums from a handful of wealthy donors. Indeed, several donors and organizers see the tensions inherent in this project:

    “There will always be in the Democratic Party and the progressive community a skepticism about outside money writ large,” said [Priorities USA official Rodell] Mollineau, whose group is considering jumping into governors’ races and possibly state legislative and ballot campaigns. “But I also think there were converts won over this last election cycle, and there is now a sense that we need to compete with super PACs and outside groups, and we can win elections if we do.”
    This gets to the key point worth remembering when evaluating the decision of liberal groups to embrace super PACs. The only way to limit the influence of big donors and outside groups is to win elections

  12. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:06 AM ET, 11/26/2012
    Nov 26, 2012 02:06 PM EST

    The Morning Plum: Republicans whitewash history of filibuster
    By Greg Sargent

    So it’s looking more and more likely that Harry Reid and Democrats will introduce some sort of package of filibuster reforms at the start of the next Congress. Politico reports this morning that Republicans are preparing to go to war against the reforms, and are threatening to grind the Senate to a halt in retaliation:

    “I think the backlash will be severe,” Senator Tom Coburn, the conservative firebrand, said sternly. ”If you take away minority rights, which is what you’re doing because you’re an ineffective leader, you’ll destroy the place. And if you destroy the place, we’ll do what we have to do to fight back.”
    “It will shut down the Senate,” the incoming Senate GOP whip, Texas Senator John Cornyn, told Politico. “It’s such an abuse of power.”
    Also, up is down, black is white, war is peace, and slavery is freedom.

    Senator Cornyn claims reform will “shut down the Senate.” In reality, Republicans used the filibuster itself in an effort to effectively do just that, rendering the Upper Chamber dysfunctional to deny Obama bipartisan victories, pin the blame for ineffectual governance on him, and render him a one-term president. That Republicans adopted this goal is not in doubt. It has been publicly confirmed by Republican Senators themselves, including the Senate GOP leader.

    As Norman Ornstein and Thomas Mann detailed in “It’s Even Worse Than It Looks,” no matter how many times you hear the claim that Dems also engage in such tactics, GOP obstructionism is, indeed, unprecedented, both in nature (the extensive tying up of routine Senate business) and scope (the dramatic rise in filibusters in recent years).

    Senator Coburn, meanwhile, warns that reform would require Republicans to finally “fight back” (as if they’ve been a passive observer of Senate business for the last four years) because it will “take away minority rights.” So let’s be as clear as possible: The package of reforms most likely to be adopted would not take away the ability of the minority to block legislation supported by a majority of the Senate.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Fox News’ Shortest Benghazi Segment Ever

    Perhaps the Fox News producers didn’t care for writer Tom Ricks’s accusations that the network is “operating as the wing of the Republican Party.”
    posted Nov 26, 2012 11:40am EST

  14. rikyrah says:

    All they have to do is surrender to their nature…”

    By Kent Jones
    Mon Nov 26, 2012 2:15 PM EST

    Overwhelmingly, women voted for President Obama in 2012. That’s a fact. Nonetheless, Fox Nation has a message for those women: you’re wrong and what’s more, you’re angry wrong.

    In a nutshell, women are angry. They’re also defensive, though often unknowingly. That’s because they’ve been raised to think of men as the enemy. Armed with this new attitude, women pushed men off their pedestal (women had their own pedestal, but feminists convinced them otherwise) and climbed up to take what they were taught to believe was rightfully theirs.

    Now the men have nowhere to go. It is precisely this dynamic – women good/men bad – that has destroyed the relationship between the sexes. Yet somehow, men are still to blame when love goes awry. Heck, men have been to blame since feminists first took to the streets in the 1970s. But what if the dearth of good men, and ongoing battle of the sexes, is – hold on to your seats – women’s fault?


    Contrary to what feminists like Hanna Rosin, author of The End of Men, say, the so-called rise of women has not threatened men. It has p***ed them off. It has also undermined their ability to become self-sufficient in the hopes of someday supporting a family. Men want to love women, not compete with them. They want to provide for and protect their families – it’s in their DNA. But modern women won’t let them… It’s the women who lose. Not only are they saddled with the consequences of sex, by dismissing male nature they’re forever seeking a balanced life. The fact is, women need men’s linear career goals – they need men to pick up the slack at the office – in order to live the balanced life they seek. So if men today are slackers, and if they’re retreating from marriage en masse, women should look in the mirror and ask themselves what role they’ve played to bring about this transformation. Fortunately, there is good news: women have the power to turn everything around. All they have to do is surrender to their nature – their femininity – and let men surrender to theirs. If they do, marriageable men will come out of the woodwork.

  15. rikyrah says:

    From The Nation:

    The Myth of the Obama Cave-In

    With the “fiscal cliff” looming, the conventional wisdom is that the president capitulated during the last tax cut fight. Here’s what really happened.

    —By David Corn

    | Mon Nov. 26, 2012 3:03 AM PST

    At President Barack Obama’s first press conference after winning reelection, CNN’s Jessica Yellin posed a saucy question: “Mr. President, on the fiscal cliff, two years ago, sir, you said that you wouldn’t extend the Bush-era tax cuts, but at the end of the day, you did. So, respectfully, sir, why should the American people and the Republicans believe that you won’t cave again this time?”

    With this pointed query, Yellin was reviving a notion that took root within the mainstream media and progressive circles: Obama surrendered in the lame-duck session of late 2010, when he and the Republicans tussled over continuing George W. Bush’s tax breaks for the well-heeled. In this view, weeks after the president’s party was trounced in the midterm congressional elections and weeks before the tea partyized GOPers were to take control of the House, Obama, who had vowed during the 2008 campaign to kill those tax cuts, acceded to Republican demands for continuing tax relief for those pocketing more than $250,000 a year. The establishment media reported that Obama had lost the showdown; liberal House Democrats and progressives off Capitol Hill complained Obama had turned his back on his promise and blinked. There was grousing that Obama either had no taste for a political battle or no spine (or both) and that he had sold out a fundamental principle.

    The ghost of that narrative haunts the current moment, for as Obama heads into a similar dustup—those Bush tax cuts are again set to expire at the end of the year, just as automatic across-the-board budget cuts are scheduled to kick in, and another debt ceiling fight looms—members of the politirati (such as Yellin) are suggesting that Obama might once more turn tail and betray his promise to say no to another extension of these tax breaks for the rich.

    But that narrative was wrong when it emerged—and it is not the key to predicting what Obama will do in the present predicament. Obama didn’t wave the white flag in 2010. He turned a face-off over the Bush tax cuts into an opportunity to enact a second stimulus that he otherwise could not get past Senate Republicans. His failure at that time was not that he mustered insufficient mettle; he failed to convey to the world that he had jujitsued the GOPers.

    For months prior to that tussle, the conventional view was accurate: The main issue was whether the tax cuts for the wealthy would continue. All the Bush tax cuts were due to evaporate at the end of 2010. (Bush had set that expiration date to diminish the tax cuts’ impact on the long-term deficit.) During the 2008 campaign, Obama had promised not to raise taxes on middle-class earners and not to keep those Bush tax cuts for the top 2 percent. So he and his Democratic allies wanted to decouple the tax cuts for the rich from those for the rest—and extend only those for the bottom 98 percent.


    There was solidarity on the GOP side, but not among the Democrats. In the summer of 2010, as the midterms approached, several Democratic Senate candidates told Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and the White House they preferred not to vote on any legislation that would keep only the middle-class tax cuts alive. They feared the GOP effort to brand them tax raisers—which would be backed by unregulated special-interest campaign cash unleashed by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision—would work. If there were a vote on decoupling the Bush taxes, White House aides figured, it was indeed possible that the president could not hold his side together.

    In the White House, Obama and his aides gamed out various scenarios. With the economy sputtering in the second half of 2010, they worried that if the GOPers were hell bent on winning this game of chicken, taxes would go up for all at the start of 2011—as unemployment benefits were ending (for the Republicans were blocking an extension of those, as well)—and this would lead to a decrease in consumer demand that would roil the fragile economy. Lawrence Summers, the head of Obama’s National Economic Council, fretted about a double-dip recession. Obama and his aides felt boxed in. The president had political promises to keep; he also had to prevent the economy from taking another downward turn.

    In the fall of 2010—both before and after the midterm elections—Obama and his aides cooked up a different script. Fretting that the slow recovery was bottoming out, they had been searching for ways to juice up the economy. But they knew the notion of additional stimulus was a political nonstarter. Though Obama’s original stimulus had worked, raising employment levels by millions of jobs (according to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office), Obama had lost that message war. The idea of government spending to boost the economy had become discredited. (See the tea party victories in the congressional elections.)

    Obama’s aides, though, also knew that by the end of the year there would be some legislation regarding the Bush tax cuts—however that knotty issue was to be resolved—and they came up with a plan to turn this measure into something of a Trojan horse that could contain (or hide) various stimulative measures. Before the midterm elections, Obama’s economic team began compiling a list of possibilities, including a payroll tax cut and various tax credits.

    At a postelection meeting with labor leaders and progressive activists, several of whom were itching for a tax cut fight with the Republicans, White House aides were blunt. To win these stimulative shots, Summers told them, we’re going to have to give up on killing the tax cuts for the rich. “Getting more for our people is more important than getting less for their people,” he said at the meeting.

    Many House Democrats, though, were leaning on the White House to mount a battle royal. “We heard Democrats say, ‘Let’s make them vote over and over again on tax cuts for the rich,'” David Axelrod, a top Obama adviser, told me afterward. “‘Go until January or February and people will know that’s what the Republicans stand for.’ We were flabbergasted. They missed the overall point that taxes would go up and unemployment insurance would be lost by 2 million. Obama was determined to get something done.” Especially now that unemployment was near 10 percent and economic forecasts were worrisome.

    read the rest at the link above

  16. rikyrah says:

    Buki Williams‏@jidts07
    MANDATE!!! : Obama’s popular vote is now 50.79%, exceeding Reagan’s 50.75% in 1980.

  17. Arkansas man arrested in shooting death of his employee

    An arrest has been made in the case of an Arkansas man allegedly shot to death by his boss near Little Rock, Arkansas.

    Christopher Reynolds, 34, was arrested and charged with first-degree murder in the killing of Ernest Hoskins Jr. Hoskins, 21, was attending a business lunch at Reynolds’ home in Ward, along with three other employees of Reynolds’ company on November 9th, when Reynolds allegedly retrieved a 44 Magnum “Desert Eagle” pistol and shot Hoskins point blank in the face. Reynolds then allegedly called 911.

    Hoskins’ mother and widow held a press conference over the Thanksgiving holiday weekend demanding Reynolds be arrested. At least two witnesses to the shooting have allegedly come forward in the case, confirming that Reynolds shot Hoskins.

    Reynolds was being held Monday at the Lonoke County jail. He is charged with one count of first-degree murder and two counts of aggravated assault, according to local news reports, and is scheduled for his first court appearance Tuesday.

    Arkansas State Police are assisting with the university, but spokesman Bill Sadler referred theGrio to the local Ward police department for further information in the case, citing statutes that protect the state investigation from public review while the case is ongoing.

    TheGrio will have more information on this story as it develops.

  18. Tim Hall

    You can’t make this shit up. The person in charge of furthering Israel’s good image via social media is found to have posted a picture of himself in blackface on Facebook, along with a reference to Obama. Classic, Israelis believe nothing has changed since the 1930′s and Jim Crow. But keep those US handouts rolling, so they can indulge in their minstrel show. Ill-educated land grabbers

  19. rikyrah says:

    Private-sector ‘job creators’ warn GOP on debt ceiling
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Nov 26, 2012 11:38 AM EST

    As a rule, Republican policymakers believe corporate leaders, captains of industry, and private-sector “job creators” should get exactly what they want from politicians. After all, the GOP argues, business leaders are the backbone of the American economy and the free-enterprise system. If they have a request, it should be honored.

    With this in mind, it’s fascinating to see Republicans’ Big Business allies telling their political allies not to screw around again with the debt ceiling

    The Treasury Department says the government will reach its $16.4 trillion borrowing limit by the end of the year. But “extraordinary measures” could delay the need for a new, higher, limit until early 2013.

    Businesses and Wall Street want Washington to fix the issue well before that. Specifically, they want Congress to agree on a lame-duck package that avoids the automatic spending cuts and tax hikes dubbed the “fiscal cliff” and provides a framework for a broader deficit reduction deal next year. At the same time they want to prevent 11th-hour brinksmanship of the sort that triggered a U.S. credit downgrade in the summer of 2011.

  20. In Wisconsin, Election Clerks fight Gov. Walker’s plan to make voter registration more difficult

  21. rikyrah says:

    The President and the First Lady have 2 children to raise.

    They don’t have time to be socializing with people who don’t want to do anything in the first place.
    Tell me ONE THING

    ONE VOTE that the President would have received if he had schmoozed with the GOP over the past 4 years…

    yeah, I didn’t think so.

    The President is doing his job…

    When the GOP decides that they have the intention of actually helping to GOVERN this country..

    THEN and only then, should the President consider it.

    And, not even then.

    As an African-American, I completely understand the President and First Lady and their position on this. They bring Black Professional sensibilities to the White House.

    Their JOBS are President and First Lady. They do their JOBS.

    But, when it comes time to socialize, they have an entirely different set of friends. And, rarely will the two ever meet.


    The limits of schmoozing
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Nov 26, 2012 10:15 AM EST

    It’s hardly a secret that President Obama’s efforts to reach out to congressional Republicans in recent years haven’t been especially successful. Jon Meacham suggests today that the president might have better luck in a second term if he relies more on “socializing.”

    In this hour of reflexive partisan division, with Americans frustrated by Washington’s seeming inability to address significant fiscal questions, among other issues, an inevitable question arises: Can President Obama do anything to create enough good will to pass some lasting reforms?

    Here is a modest proposal, one drawn from the presidency of another tall, cool, cerebral politician-writer: use the White House and the president’s personal company to attempt to weave attachments and increase a sense of common purpose in the capital. Dinners with the president — or breakfast or lunch or coffee or drinks or golf — won’t create a glorious bipartisan Valhalla, but history suggests that at least one of our greatest presidents mastered the means of entertaining to political effect

    In this case, Meacham is plugging Thomas Jefferson, the subject of his new book, but I’ve heard this advice before.

    In April 2011, David Brooks argued Obama and Paul Ryan would better understand each other’s agenda if only the president invited the far-right congressman over for lunch. Soon after, New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg (I) advised, “The president’s got to start inviting people over for dinner. He’s got to play golf with them. He has to pick up the phone and call and say, ‘I know we disagree on this, but I just want to say — I heard it was your wife’s birthday or your kid just got into college.’ He has to go build friendships.”

    In December 2011, Roll Call ran a piece complaining that the president is “aloof” when it comes to schmoozing with lawmakers, and the article included a quote from Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-Maine) complaining that Obama doesn’t do enough to keep in touch.

  22. Florida Republicans Admit Voter Suppression Was The Goal Of New Election Laws

    Floridians endured election chaos and marathon voting lines this year, largely thanks to reduced early voting hours, voter purges, and voter registration restrictions pushed by Republican legislators. In an exclusive report by the Palm Beach Post, several prominent Florida Republicans are now admitting that these election law changes were geared toward suppressing minority and Democratic votes.

    Former governor Charlie Crist (R-FL) and former GOP chairman Jim Greer (R-FL), as well as several current GOP members, told the Post that Republican consultants pushed the new measures as a way to suppress Democratic voters. Crist expanded early voting hours in 2008 despite party pressure, but Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) targeted early voting almost immediately when he took office in 2011. Scott’s administration claimed the new laws were meant to curb in-person voter fraud, despite the fact that an individual in Florida is more likely to be struck by lightning than commit voter fraud.

    Current party members and consultants confirmed the motive was not to stop voter fraud but to make it harder for Democrats and minorities to vote:

  23. Which Slave Wrote His Way Out of Slavery?

    100 Amazing Facts About the Negro: This African penned a letter powerful enough to lead to freedom.

    From the time when they first landed in Florida in the early 1500s, African Americans did their best to run away from the inhumane conditions of slavery. Over the course of slavery in the United States between 1513 and 1865, tens of thousands of people managed to escape, first south from the Carolinas and Georgia to the haven afforded by Spanish Florida before 1763, and later, north from the Southern colonies and states across the Mason-Dixon Line. More than a hundred of these “fugitive slaves,” as they were called, even wrote or dictated books about their deliverance from bondage, detailing how they were able to escape. While each escape was something of a miracle, some of the methods that they used are astonishing.

    Everyone has their favorite slave narratives, as the genre of books is called. My own short list includes the stories of Henry Brown, William and Ellen Craft and Frederick Douglass. In 1838 Frederick Douglass donned a sailor’s uniform, sewn by his soon-to-be wife, who was free, and rode a train from Baltimore to Philadelphia disguised as a free man using papers he had obtained from a free black seaman. In 1848 Ellen Craft, who had a very light complexion, did a double cross-dress as white man and, accompanied by her dark-complexioned husband, rode to freedom on a train ride from Macon, Ga., to Philadelphia, masked as master and slave. A year later Henry “Box” Brown actually had himself nailed into a wooden, claustrophobic, coffin-like box, and then shipped from slavery in Richmond to freedom in Philadelphia.

    But the oddest way that a slave escaped from slavery, to me, without a doubt, is the story of Ayuba.

    Ayuba wrote his way out of slavery. As incredible as this may seem, this is literally true. The man who came to be known in England as “Job ben Solomon” was born Ayuba Suleiman Jallo (or, in French, “Diallo”) into a prominent family in Bundu, an independent, precolonial country located in current-day Senegal. Bundu was situated where the Falémé River meets the Senegal River, and it was a strictly Muslim country.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Lindsey Graham’s reasonableness comes with fine print
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Nov 26, 2012 9:16 AM EST.

    There’s been quite a bit of coverage over the last 24 hours of some Republican lawmakers, most notably Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), saying publicly they’re prepared to blow off Grover Norquist’s anti-tax “pledge” as part of a larger deal. Before the political world gets too excited, though, it’s worth paying attention to the fine print.

    A pair of congressional Republicans reiterated their willingness Sunday to violate an anti-tax pledge in order to strike a deal on the “fiscal cliff,” echoing Sen. Saxby Chambliss, the Georgia Republican who suggested last week that the oath may be outdated.

    Sen. Lindsey O. Graham (R-S.C.) said he was prepared to set aside Grover Norquist’s Taxpayer Protection Pledge if Democrats will make an effort to reform entitlements, and Rep. Peter T. King (R-N.Y.) suggested the pledge may be out of step in the present economy.

    Yes, all of a sudden, Norquist’s pledge is losing friends fast. Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R-Ga.) said last week, “I care more about my country than I do about a 20-year-old pledge,” and the political establishment swooned when Graham proclaimed yesterday, “I will violate the pledge, long story short, for the good of the country, only if Democrats will do entitlement reform.”

    To be sure, Norquist’s waning influence is a positive development, as is the larger shift in the debate — Washington is no longer arguing whether to include more revenue in a debt-reduction deal, but how to include more revenue.

    But to characterize Graham’s position as some kind of major concession is a mistake. Indeed, while the South Carolinian’s position is ever-so-slightly more constructive than some House Republicans’, the closer one looks at his approach, the less reasonable it appears.

    What he’s proposing is Republicans to get what they want on both sides of the budget ledger.


    Let’s unwrap this a bit. On the one hand, Graham is willing to accept new revenue. Through slightly higher tax rates on millionaires and billionaires? Absolutely not — Graham specifically proclaimed, “I will not raise tax rates to do it.”

    So what will the Republican senator tolerate? Mitt Romney’s plan. Here’s what Graham offered yesterday:

    “When you’re $16 trillion in debt, the only pledge we should be making to each other is to avoid becoming Greece, and Republicans should put revenue on the table. We’re this far in debt. We don’t generate enough revenue. Capping deductions will help generate revenue. Raising tax rates will hurt job creation. So I agree with Grover, we shouldn’t raise rates, but I think Grover is wrong when it comes to we can’t cap deductions.

    In other words, Graham — being singled out for praise today for being so “reasonable” — would demand that Bush-era tax rates be left in place for everyone, including the very wealthy, but he’d consider a cap on deductions. As a practical matter, his “concession” is being open to adopting Romney’s revenue proposal.

    In exchange, Graham expects Democrats to reward Republicans with “structural reforms” to support programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security. What kind of “reforms” are they seeking? We don’t know — no one in the Republican Party has been specific about the kind of entitlement cuts they expect to get in a bipartisan deal.

    Stepping back, consider the general framework of the proposal we heard yesterday: on the one hand, Republicans would get the tax rates they want. On the other hand, Republicans would also get the entitlement changes they want.

    And because Grover Norquist doesn’t like it, this is considered the reasonable GOP offer.

    Democrats, after a very successful election cycle, are being asked to accept a deal in which Dems concede on tax rates, concede on entitlements, and accept the reward of Romney’s revenue plan? This is what passes for bipartisan compromise in late 2012?

  25. rikyrah says:

    Obama Campaign Polls: How The Internal Data Got It Right
    Posted: 11/21/2012 2:46 pm EST Updated: 11/21/2012 2:54 pm EST

    Summing up the lessons learned from a massive investment in data and technology, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina has a blunt message for pollsters: “We spent a whole bunch of time figuring out that American polling is broken.”

    At a Politico forum on Monday, Messina spoke about the campaign’s “three looks at the electorate” that gave him a deeper understanding of “how we were doing, where we were doing it, where we were moving — which is why I knew that most of the public polls you were seeing were completely ridiculous.”

    David Simas, the Obama campaign’s director of opinion research, provided The Huffington Post with more details about those three sources of polling data:

    • Battleground Polls. The Obama campaign never conducted a nationwide survey. For a broad overview of public opinion, it relied on lead pollster Joel Benenson to survey voters across 11 battleground states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin) at regular intervals throughout the campaign.

    Benenson conducted the aggregated battleground polls once every three weeks during the spring and early summer of 2012, every other week during the late summer, and twice a week for the final two months of the campaign. These surveys were used to test messages and to glean overall strategic guidance, but not to make individual state assessments.

    • State Tracking Polls. To gauge the battleground states, the campaign conducted state-specific tracking polls on a similar schedule, shifting to three-day rolling-average tracking in each state after Labor Day, with sample sizes ranging between 500 and 900 likely voters every three days. The surveys were conducted by a team of Democratic pollsters: John Anzalone, Sergio Bendixen (among Latino voters), Cornell Belcher, Diane Feldman, Lisa Grove and Paul Harstad. These surveys helped drive message testing and strategy but also tracked the standings of Obama and Mitt Romney in each state.

    • Analytics. Overseen by its internal analytics staff, the campaign also conducted parallel surveys in each state to help create and refine its microtargeting models and to provide far more granular analysis of voter subgroups. These surveys used live interviewers, very large sample sizes and very short questionnaires, which focused on vote preference and strength of support, with no more than a handful of additional substantive questions. During September and October, the campaign completed 8,000 to 9,000 such calls per night.

  26. rikyrah says:

    The Republican Party’s “Black Friends”
    Categories: Original Opinion
    November 26,2012

    By Bob Cesca:

    Jonah Goldberg’s recent column, To Appeal to Black Voters, GOP Must Run Gauntlet of Racism Accusations, is hilariously awful. I’ll swing back around to it presently.

    But first, over the weekend, Charles Johnson of Little Green Footballs tweeted that if you’re wondering whether the baseless Republican attacks on UN Ambassador Susan Rice were racially motivated, you should read the comment sections on any random conservative blog and your worst suspicions will be confirmed.

    I’m sure for many hardline right-wingers this might be true, especially after minority voters helped to resoundingly crush their tiny shriveled souls in the election. But, frankly, I don’t think it’s the case across-the-board. Conservatives hate everything the president does, and everyone with whom he surrounds himself, including Rice. So as soon as Rice stepped onto the Sunday show sets and talked about the Benghazi situation, she was the next Obama administration player in line for the wackaloon conspiracy theorist and conservative entertainment complex meat grinder.

    Yes, if she’s nominated for Secretary of State, conservative racists will oppose her because she’s black. And yes, others will oppose her because it’s the opposite of what the president wants. And others will combine both, using flimsy attacks on Rice’s character mixed with subtle dog-whistles. All three approaches are predictable modern Republican Party strategies.

    But Jonah Goldberg doesn’t believe there are any racists in the Republican Party. In his pre-Thanksgiving column, he began by explaining that the Republican Party is, in fact, not racist at all, therefore it can’t possibly be attacking Rice because she’s African American.

    Apologies if you reflexively spat out your beverage, soaking your keyboard. Send the bill to Goldberg.

    The Democratic Party, Golberg wrote, is totally the racist party and yet it somehow wins nearly all of the black vote. Therefore the Republicans should get more “racist” in order to win more black votes. (“Scare quotes” his.) Are you following this?

  27. rikyrah says:

    November 24, 2012
    But the GOP (and the Times) repeats itself
    For 77 years Republicans have pissed and moaned about the Hayekian injustice of Social Security; it’s a monstrous insult to all that’s divinely ordered–every man and woman for him- or herself. And for 47 years Republicans have pissed and moaned about Medicare; it, too, is a monstrous insult to all that’s divinely ordered–basic healthcare just isn’t for everyone. Now, Republicans are pissing and moaning about ObamaCare, yet another monstrous but statutorily fixed insult to all that remains divinely ordered–see above.

    Yet the NY Times finds Republican Speaker John Boehner’s persistent, petulant resistance to ObamaCare not merely objectionable, but apparently unique: “[T]his kind of gamesmanship is an unwelcome reminder of unyielding Republican opposition.”

    Yes many of us of course find the speaker and his hideous party objectionable. But to single out this particular GOP abomination as though it’s particularly abominable–as opposed to the party’s periodic but pretty much unremitting pissing and moaning of the last eight decades–makes about as much sense as the Times’ redundancy of unyielding Republican opposition.

  28. rikyrah says:

    November 25, 2012, 9:02 am
    The Fake Skills Shortage
    by Paul Krugman

    Kudos to Adam Davidson for some much-needed mythbusting about the supposed skills shortage holding the US economy back. Whenever you see some business person quoted complaining about how he or she can’t find workers with the necessary skills, ask what wage they’re offering. Almost always, it turns out that what said business person really wants is highly (and expensively) educated workers at a manual-labor wage. No wonder they come up short.

    And this dovetails perfectly with one of the key arguments against the claim that much of our unemployment is “structural”, due to a mismatch between skills and labor demand. If that were true, you should see soaring wages for those workers who do have the right skills; in fact, with rare exceptions you don’t.

    So what you really want to ask is why American businesses don’t feel that it’s worth their while to pay enough to attract the workers they say they need.


  29. rikyrah says:

    November 25, 2012
    Exposed: Mitt Romney really did have a staff (of at least one)
    It’s a well-known fact. No one voted for Nixon in 1972. Others voted for Nixon in 1972, but no one voted for Nixon. Ask around. You’ll see that I’m right.

    I thought the same ghostly miracle had happened in, to, and for, the Romney campaign; it all just sort of came to pass, no one was actually responsible for that mess, or, at the very least, no one would ever take the discredit. It was merely an abstraction; an ‘SNL’ spoof of lower politics; an Edgar Bergen skit of Mortimer Snerd on the stump; or, perhaps, darkly, a Dickensian undigested bit of beef, a fragment of underdone potato stuck in our national amygdala.

    Hence my shock upon seeing this tag line in a NY Times ‘Business Day’ commentary: “N. Gregory Mankiw is a professor of economics at Harvard. He was an adviser to Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential campaign.”

    That disgrace of an economic whodunnit or rather who’lldoit mystery game or maybe it was a ‘You Bet Your Life’ roulette-wheel thing had an adviser? An economic adviser? An economic adviser from Harvard? And he’s willing to be identified, by name?

    One of the many benefits of tenure.

    The commentary itself is as useless, as unoriginal, as unthoughtful, as drearily Romneyesque as the Romney ‘campaign’–a tedious kind of Jeffersonian riff on heart vs. mind, only in Mankiw’s version, it’s Obama the Liberal debating Obama the Moderate about fiscal choices. In short, it’s a waste of time. But it’s Sunday, a good day for that sort of thing, so here’s the link.

    Anyway, I salute N. Gregory Mankiw for ‘fessing up in the tag. Perhaps others will now do the same; and some may even confess to having voted for Nixon in 1972.

  30. rikyrah says:

    A Cautionary Tale of Infiltration, Betrayal, and the Activist Community
    Posted on November 25, 2012 by Melissa Brewer

    I’m writing this post today to tell you a story. It’s the story of a man who wanted to “infiltrate” a movement and manipulated many people so that he could “make his way” as the next Breitbart or James O’Keefe.

    This is a difficult story to tell. It’s embarrassing. In fact, humiliating, for some of the people involved. For those who worked in politically-minded organizations, it could have been career-ending. For me, it’s been downright traumatizing. Over the course of eight months, however, I have been for the most part emotionally numb to the behavior, the accusations and the subsequent “hush up” whisper campaign. That changes today.

    This is the story of how Jason Wade Taylor, alias Randy Hahn, attempted to “out” and silence the StopRush campaign. It’s also about the help he had along the way.

    StopRush was created in early March, 2012 in a visceral reaction to Limbaugh’s hate and vitriol. Rush Limbaugh called Sandra Fluke a slut because she stood up to Congress demanding that birth control be accessible and affordable to women of all ages. Over the course of 3 days, Mr. Limbaugh made over 46 attacks on Ms. Fluke, including implying that every birth control pill she ingested was symbolic of how many times she (the “slut”) got laid. A rash of crude Republicans joined in on this political narrative, ultimately driving the War on Women into a terrifying and harsh reality that – thankfully – led to a record-breaking number of women being elected into our Legislative branch on November 8th. Before this minor victory, there was outrage – massive, and unprecedented outrage at the way women are viewed in the world today.

    In reaction, a number of groups were formed, seemingly out of nowhere, saying it was time for Rush Limbaugh to take leave of his radio days. I joined one of these groups on Facebook in early March. It was called “Join the Fight to Flush Rush” and from its humble beginnings, it today has 3000+ people who have joined it.

    I felt good about my involvement in StopRush. I was true to the boycott, too. In fact, because of StopRush, I’ve learned how to vote with my wallet in a number of ways. I’m a conscientious consumer. I have StopRush to thank for that.

    Every time I contacted a sponsor to speak about Rush Limbaugh, I reflected on the reasons I had joined the movement, and I spoke with sincerity about how their advertising reinforces a hateful culture of race-baiting and slut-shaming.

    When I talked about these things, I spoke from experience. Part of my activity as a volunteer with StopRush was listening to Rush Limbaugh and broadcasting the names of his sponsors on social media.

    Limbaugh himself often fueled my anger and I felt like was pushing back against a lifetime full of slut-shame. When I thought about the Fluke tirade, I envisioned the man who called me a slut, or a whore, or something similarly vile right before he put his fist in my face. I thought of the men who raped me when I was 17, one who held me down while the other touched me and called me filthy names. Every time I looked at the birth control pill that I take for medical purposes (endometriosis) , I thought about the men and women who, if Rush Limbaugh owned the world, would point the finger at me and scream, “Look at that slut!”

  31. rikyrah says:


    November 23, 2012, 4:57 pm125 Comments
    Pennsylvania Could Be a Path Forward for G.O.P.
    The last ballots in the presidential election were cast more than two weeks ago. But votes in 37 states, and the District of Columbia, are still being counted, with the results yet to be officially certified.

    President Obama’s national margin over Mitt Romney has increased as additional ballots have been added to the tally. According to the terrific spreadsheet maintained by David Wasserman of the Cook Political Report, Mr. Obama now leads Mr. Romney by 3.3 percentage points nationally, up from 2.5 percentage points in the count just after the election.

    Turnout has grown to about 127 million voters, down from roughly 131 million in 2008. The gap could close further as additional ballots are counted. The newly counted ballots have also shifted the relative order of the states.

    Immediately after the election, it appeared that Colorado was what we called the “tipping-point state”: the one that gave Mr. Obama his decisive 270th electoral vote once you sort the states in order of most Democratic to least Democratic.

    Mr. Obama’s margin in Colorado has expanded to 5.5 percentage points from 4.7 percentage points as more ballots have been counted, however. He now leads there by a wider margin than in Pennsylvania, where his margin is 5.0 percentage points. Neither state has certified its results, so the order could flip again, but if the results hold, then Pennsylvania, not Colorado, will have been the tipping-point state in the election.

    Does this suggest that Mr. Romney’s campaign was smart to invest resources in Pennsylvania in the closing days of the campaign?
    The short answer is yes. The longer answer is that it might have been better served by contesting Pennsylvania throughout the campaign, rather than just at the last minute.

    Pennsylvania alone would not have won the election for Mr. Romney. But if the national climate had been slightly better for him over all, he might have won Ohio and Florida. Winning Pennsylvania as well would have given Mr. Romney the Electoral College, even if he had lost Colorado, Virginia and the other swing states that Mr. Obama in fact carried.

  32. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s bizarre attack on Susan Rice
    By Editorial Board, Nov 22, 2012 11:41 PM EST

    The Washington Post Published: November 22

    SINCE THE Senate is solely responsible for the confirmation of Cabinet officers, it’s not often that members of the House of Representatives jump into a debate about the nomination of a secretary of state — particularly before there has been a nomination. That’s one of the reasons a letter sent to President Obama this week by 97 House Republicans, challenging his potential choice of U.N. Ambassador Susan Rice for the State Department job, is remarkable.

    Another is blatant disregard of established facts. Drawn up by Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-S.C.), the letter alleges that “Ambassador Rice is widely viewed as having either willfully or incompetently misled the American public” about the Sept. 11 attack on the U.S. Consulate in Benghazi, Libya. But as congressional testimony has established, Ms. Rice’s comments on several Sunday television talk shows on Sept. 16 were based on talking points drawn up by the intelligence community. She was acting as an administration spokeswoman; there was nothing either incompetent or deliberately misleading about the way she presented the information she was given.

    Though the Benghazi attack involved clear failures of U.S. security, Republicans have concentrated on a dubious subsidiary issue: the alleged failure of the administration to publicly recognize quickly enough that the incident was “a terrorist attack.” In fact, Mr. Obama has acknowledged that “the information may not have always been right the first time.” But if there was a White House conspiracy to cover up the truth, Republicans have yet to produce any evidence of it — much less a connection to Ms. Rice, who had no involvement with the Benghazi attack other than those television appearances.

    Nor was her account of what happened as far off the mark as Republicans claim. Though investigations are not complete, what has emerged so far suggests that the attack was staged by local jihadists, not ordered by the al-Qaeda leadership in Pakistan. Officials believe that it was inspired in part by demonstrations that took place that day in Cairo. That is not so far from Ms. Rice’s explanation that “this began as a spontaneous . . . response to what transpired in Cairo.” Republicans claim that Ms. Rice “propagated a falsehood” that the attacks were connected to an anti-Islam YouTube video. How then to explain the contemporaneous reports from Western news organizations quoting people at the burning consulate saying that they were angry about the video?

    The oddity of the Republican response to what happened in Benghazi is partly this focus on half-baked conspiracy theories rather than on the real evidence of failures by the State Department, Pentagon and CIA in protecting the Benghazi mission. What’s even stranger is the singling out of Ms. Rice, a Rhodes scholar and seasoned policymaker who, whatever her failings, is no one’s fool.

    Could it be, as members of the Congressional Black Caucus are charging, that the signatories of the letter are targeting Ms. Rice because she is an African American woman? The signatories deny that, and we can’t know their hearts. What we do know is that more than 80 of the signatories are white males, and nearly half are from states of the former Confederacy. You’d think that before launching their broadside, members of Congress would have taken care not to propagate any falsehoods of their own.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Grand Old Planet
    Published: November 22, 2012

    Earlier this week, GQ magazine published an interview with Senator Marco Rubio, whom many consider a contender for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, in which Mr. Rubio was asked how old the earth is. After declaring “I’m not a scientist, man,” the senator went into desperate evasive action, ending with the declaration that “it’s one of the great mysteries.”

    It’s funny stuff, and conservatives would like us to forget about it as soon as possible. Hey, they say, he was just pandering to likely voters in the 2016 Republican primaries — a claim that for some reason is supposed to comfort us.

    But we shouldn’t let go that easily. Reading Mr. Rubio’s interview is like driving through a deeply eroded canyon; all at once, you can clearly see what lies below the superficial landscape. Like striated rock beds that speak of deep time, his inability to acknowledge scientific evidence speaks of the anti-rational mind-set that has taken over his political party.

    By the way, that question didn’t come out of the blue. As speaker of the Florida House of Representatives, Mr. Rubio provided powerful aid to creationists trying to water down science education. In one interview, he compared the teaching of evolution to Communist indoctrination tactics — although he graciously added that “I’m not equating the evolution people with Fidel Castro.” Gee, thanks.

    What was Mr. Rubio’s complaint about science teaching? That it might undermine children’s faith in what their parents told them to believe. And right there you have the modern G.O.P.’s attitude, not just toward biology, but toward everything: If evidence seems to contradict faith, suppress the evidence.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Putting the permanent campaign to good use
    By Steve Benen – Mon Nov 26, 2012 8:35 AM EST.

    For much of the year, millions of voters received frequent emails from Obama for America, invariably about one aspect of the campaign or the other. Nearly all of the messages involved fundraising, organizing, or some form of election-related activism.

    With this in mind, it came as something of a surprise last week when Obama for America sent out a new, post-election message last week, which read, “Thanks to your feedback, we’re taking immediate action on one of your suggestions: keeping you informed about how the President is fighting for you so you can continue to talk to your friends, family, and neighbors.” The topic: ongoing talks about the nation’s fiscal future, and President Obama’s “concrete plan to reduce the deficit so we can grow the economy.”

    Jim Messina, the president’s campaign manager, told reporters last week, OFA intends to do far more activism along these lines. “People just spent five years winning two elections together,” he said. “They’re not now just going to walk away.”

    The New York Times reports today on Team Obama’s “second chance to keep his election-year supporters animated.”

    With lawmakers scheduled to return to work on Monday to begin intense discussions before a looming fiscal deadline, Mr. Obama’s aides are trying to harness the passions that returned him to the White House, hoping to pressure Republicans in Congress to accept tax increases on the wealthy. The president’s strategists are turning first to the millions of e-mail addresses assembled by the campaign and the White House.

    Already, supporters are being asked to record YouTube videos of themselves talking about the importance of raising taxes on the rich. Aides said those videos would be shared on Facebook and Twitter and would be forwarded to centrist Democrats, as well as to mainstream Republicans, who they hope will break with their Tea Party colleagues. […]

    The president is planning rallies in influential states to remind supporters of the need to keep the pressure on lawmakers during the fiscal talks. And should negotiations break down, Mr. Obama’s team is arranging for Republican lawmakers to hear from of tens of thousands of riled-up activists through angry Twitter posts, e-mails and Facebook messages.

  35. rikyrah says:

    November 25, 2012 2:20 PM

    The Walmart way is not the only way

    By Kathleen Geier

    To follow up on yesterday’s post about the Black Friday Walmart strikes, I wanted to write about an argument that Walmart and its apologists frequently make — namely, that so far as retail work goes, low wages are the nature of the beast, particularly for retailers that emphasize low prices. But that isn’t the way it has to be. Indeed, for some notable retail chains, that isn’t the way it is at all.

    Two of my favorite stores in the world are Costco and Trader Joe’s. Like Walmart, they make a point of offering rock-bottom prices. But in total contrast to Walmart, which exploits its employees and sells cheap crap, Costco and Trader Joe’s feature high-quality products and treat their employees well. I love Costco and Trader Joe’s both for their delicious food items, especially their cheese and chocolate (the chocolate truffles I recently bought at Costco were were frighteningly good, and extremely popular at my family’s Thanksgiving feast this year). I also go to Costco to buy dog food (their house brand is very high quality, and astonishingly cheap) and to fill my prescriptions. Generic meds at Costco are dirt cheap, which has been a godsend for me during times when I’ve lacked health insurance.

    I’ve often wondered how Costco and Trader Joe’s manage to simultaneously provide high quality and low prices, while treating their employees decently in the bargain. Recently I came across an article from earlier this year in the Harvard Business Review which explains why. It’s written by Zeynep Ton, a visiting assistant professor at the Sloan School of Management at MIT. Ton looked at the practices of four retailers which not only have excellent labor records but also boast “the lowest prices in their industries, solid financial performance, and better customer service than their competitors.”

    Those retailers are Costco and Trader Joe’s; QuikTrip, an American convenience store chain; and Mercadona, a Spanish supermarket. Here’s how employee compensation at these companies stacks up, vs. the competitors:

    Employees of these retailers have higher pay, fuller training, better benefits, and more-convenient schedules than their counterparts at the competition. Store employees earn about 40% more at Costco than at its largest competitor, Walmart’s Sam’s Club. At Trader Joe’s, the starting wage for a full-time employee is $40,000 to $60,000 per year, more than twice what some competitors offer. The wages and benefits at QuikTrip are so good that the chain has been named one of Fortune’s “100 Best Companies to Work For” every year since 2003. All of Mercadona’s employees are permanent, and more than 85% are salaried full-timers

  36. rikyrah says:

    Close Susan Rice and the Power of Postracial Thinking
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Nov 25 2012, 11:45 PM ET

    Chad Connelly, who lead the South Carolina GOP, talked to The Hill about the net effect among South Carolina Republicans of Lindsey Graham’s nonsensical attacks on Susan Rice:
    “I’ve been all over the state lately and people are, they’re thrilled and delighted that Sen. Graham has taken such a lead role on Benghazi,” state party chairman Chad Connelly said…

    His effort with respect to Benghazi “is improving his conservative Republican credentials here,” he said.

    “His name is on people’s minds and they’re talking great about him. If they had a problem with him, I would say it’s been greatly reduced,” Connelly said.
    I argued the other day that the contents of Lindsay Graham’s heart are basically irrelevant to any analysis of race and the GOP’s response to Susan Rice. It doesn’t much matter who Lindsey Graham is. What matters is his base.

    I would really like to look at the history of the Republican Party in the South, and in South Carolina in particular, and conclude that race rarely if ever plays a role in anything. And I would be thrilled to believe that Graham sees no upside in attacking a black woman, set to become the face of American diplomacy. I would also like to eat pie a la mode as part of a complete breakfast. Perhaps if I say it enough times my dentist will believe me.

    The truth is only what we admit. And what we don’t admit can’t hurt us.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Gallup’s 2012 election polling debacle: what went wrong?Of all major polling organisations, Gallup got the result most spectacularly wrong – with Romney ahead. Here’s likely why

    Gallup was very wrong.

    Their final poll had Mitt Romney defeating President Obama by 1 percentage point, after giving Romney a lead as high as 7pt during the final month of the campaign. It seems now their final poll could end up being nearly 5pt off the mark.

    To understand what went wrong, let’s talk about where Gallup didn’t go astray.

    First, 50% of Gallup’s respondents in its nightly tracking poll were reached on cellphones, so they weren’t missing cellphone owners (who, as a whole, tend to lean Democratic). This 50% actually has to be weighted down to be closer to the one-third of Americans who have only cell service, as in the network exit poll.

    In the National Journal, Steven Shepard noted in a great article, which sums up the general critiques of Gallup, that the firm had fewer young voters than the exits. Gallup’s final poll had 18 to 29 year-olds only at 13% of the electorate, as opposed to the 19% of the exit polls, which seems like a huge difference considering that young voters went for Obama by 23 percentage points.

    Believe it or not, this youth voter disparity is likely not the cause of Gallup’s problems. Gallup’s 2008 electorate had young voters at only 14%, while the exits were at 18. As I’ve pointed out in the past, exit polls usually have more young voters than pre-election data.

    This year, for instance, Pew Research saw young voters drop from 15% of the electorate in 2008 to 13% in 2012, the same as Gallup. That didn’t stop Pew from projecting Obama to win by 3pt – very close to the final margin.

    Two other criticisms seem to be closer to the mark.

    Gallup’s likely voter sample had white voters at 78% of the electorate. The issue here isn’t that Gallup had more whites as a percentage of the electorate than the exit polls, which is usually the case for pre-election surveys. Gallup’s racial breakdown problem has more to do with the fact that this 78% matches 2008. Although other pre-election polls also had a higher percentage of whites than the exits, they all showed a drop in the white percentage of the electorate from 2008.

    The ABC/Washington Post, for example, had whites at 78% of the electorate in 2008, just like Gallup, but they showed whites creeping down to between 74.5% and 75% in 2012. That’s a drop of 3-3.5pt. Had Gallup shown a decrease as the ABC/Washington Post poll did, Obama would have led in their final poll by 2pt, instead of trailing by 1pt.

    Why did Gallup have too many whites? It seems the most likely answer at this point that Gallup’s likely voter screen cuts off too many minority registered voters. Remember that likely voters are those registered voters who a pollster thinks are ones that will come out and vote. Gallup’s final registered voter poll had Obama defeating Romney by 3pt – near perfect.

    It probably doesn’t come as much surprise that Gallup’s registered voter model was, by my calculation, near where the likely voter sample should have been, based on other pre-election firms’ samples: about 74-74.5% whites.

    Gallup’s wide gap between the registered and likely voter screens has bitten them in the past, as well. In 2010, Gallup’s final registered voter generic congressional ballot had Republicans leading by 4pt. The likely voter result gave Republicans a 15pt lead. The ultimate national House vote was Republicans by 6.6pt. The registered voter result, then, too, was far more accurate.

  38. rikyrah says:

    From Smartypants:

    Saturday, November 24, 2012

    Everything you need to know about Obamacare

    Apparently one of the biggest challenges we’re going to face next year is the lack of accurate information about Obamacare. As you probably know, many of the most important provisions kick in on January 1, 2014. But most people have only heard about the individual mandate portion of the reforms.

    Enroll America held focus groups in Philadelphia in mid-November, working exclusively with those who probably would qualify for benefits. Looking to understand how much public education will be needed, the researchers came back with a simple answer: a lot.
    Participants’ hands shot up when researchers asked whether they had heard about a requirement to buy health insurance. But when asked about whether they had heard about any provisions that might make insurance more affordable, none of the 31 participants in the four groups answered yes.

    Who knew that having the American public lied to for almost two years would leave them uninformed and confused? ()

    The truth is that there is tons of information out there to help people understand these reforms. And so I decided to compile some of where you can find it in order to help us spread the word. I’ll be putting this post in a tab at the top of the page (titled simply: Obamacare) so that you can come back and find it when/if you need to.

    First of all, bookmark the page for Enroll America. They are the non-profit group that is going to be working over the next year to get the word out.

    One of the group’s that has consistently put out quality information on the Affordable Care Act is the Kaiser Family Foundation. To get started on how much you do/don’t know about the reforms, take their short quiz. They also have a pretty helpful video that gives a summary.

    And they have a calculator to help people determine if they’ll qualify for a subsidy.

    Of course one of the best places to go for information is HHS’s own Two of the things I found most helpful there are the map that provides implementation progress by state and the tool to help people find their insurance options.

    Healthcare and You also has lots of helpful information – including some details broken down by state.

    Young Invincibles is specifically working on getting good information about health care reform out to young adults. And yes…there’s an App for that!

    The Washington Post can help you find out exactly how Obamacare will affect you.

    That does it for now. But it should be enough to get you started. We have NO excuse for not knowing/sharing all the good stuff that is about to happen with the implementation of Obamacare. My plan is to link one of these resources per day on Facebook and Twitter. What’s yours?

  39. rikyrah says:


    SUPERB choice for the week.

    Mr. MAYFIELD is a musical classic.

  40. Ametia says:

    A Minimum Tax for the Wealthy
    Warren Buffett

    SUPPOSE that an investor you admire and trust comes to you with an investment idea. “This is a good one,” he says enthusiastically. “I’m in it, and I think you should be, too.”

    Would your reply possibly be this? “Well, it all depends on what my tax rate will be on the gain you’re saying we’re going to make. If the taxes are too high, I would rather leave the money in my savings account, earning a quarter of 1 percent.” Only in Grover Norquist’s imagination does such a response exist.

    Between 1951 and 1954, when the capital gains rate was 25 percent and marginal rates on dividends reached 91 percent in extreme cases, I sold securities and did pretty well. In the years from 1956 to 1969, the top marginal rate fell modestly, but was still a lofty 70 percent — and the tax rate on capital gains inched up to 27.5 percent. I was managing funds for investors then. Never did anyone mention taxes as a reason to forgo an investment opportunity that I offered.

    Under those burdensome rates, moreover, both employment and the gross domestic product (a measure of the nation’s economic output) increased at a rapid clip. The middle class and the rich alike gained ground.

  41. Ametia says:

    BWA HA HA HA Dude on The Bill Press Show calls senators Lindsey Graham and John McCain


  42. Ametia says:

    Your Smartphone’s Dirty, Radioactive Secret

    The rare earths inside microcomputers make our lives easier. But just how toxic are the guts of your smartphone?

    —By Kiera Butler

    | November/December 2012 Issue

    It’s a sweltering late February afternoon when I pull into the Esso gas station in the tiny town of Bukit Merah, Malaysia. My guide, a local butcher named Hew Yun Tat, warns me that the owner is known for his stinginess. “He’s going to ask you to buy him tea,” Hew says. “Even though he owns many businesses around here, he still can’t resist pinching pennies.”

    An older man emerges from the station office. His face and hands are mottled with white patches, his English broken.

    “I’ll talk to you,” the man says, “but only if you buy me tea.” He grins.

    “You should be ashamed of yourself,” says Hew, laughing. “A rich man like you.”

    At a bustling open-air café nearby, we order tea and ais kacang, giant shaved-ice desserts laden with chopped-up jello and sweet, sticky red beans. I dig in, but the station owner—I’ll call him Esso Man, since he doesn’t want me to use his real name—is moodily stirring his into a slushy puddle. We’re here to ask him about something he doesn’t like to talk about: a job he did 30 years ago, when he owned a trucking company. He got a contract with a local industrial plant called Asian Rare Earth, co-owned by Mitsubishi Chemical, that supplied special minerals to the personal electronics industry.

  43. Good Monday.
    Curtis was definitely one of the greats of his time; all time really. I grew up listening to Curtis along with so many other great musicians from most genres. I admit to being a dyed in the wool fan of Marvin Gaye as well. Truly beautiful music and totally rockin’ as well.

    Hey; How do I get one of those Presidential hugs?

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