Thursday 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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55 Responses to Thursday Open Thread | Curtis Mayfield Week!

  1. “I went to the mall, and a little girl called me a terrorist.

    My name is Ela. I am seventeen years old. I am not Muslim, but my friend told m
    e about her friend being discriminated against for wearing a hijab. So I decided to see the discrimination firsthand to get a better understanding of what Muslim women go through.

    My friend and I pinned scarves around our heads, and then we went to the mall. Normally, vendors try to get us to buy things and ask us to sample a snack. Clerks usually ask us if we need help, tell us about sales, and smile at us. Not today. People, including vendors, clerks, and other shoppers, wouldn’t look at us. They didn’t talk to us. They acted like we didn’t exist. They didn’t want to be caught staring at us, so they didn’t look at all.

    And then, in one store, a girl (who looked about four years old) asked her mom if my friend and I were terrorists. She wasn’t trying to be mean or anything. I don’t even think she could have grasped the idea of prejudice. However, her mother’s response is one I can never forgive or forget. The mother hushed her child, glared at me, and then took her daughter by the hand and led her out of the store.

    All that because I put a scarf on my head. Just like that, a mother taught her little girl that being Muslim was evil. It didn’t matter that I was a nice person. All that mattered was that I looked different. That little girl may grow up and teach her children the same thing.

    This experiment gave me a huge wake-up call. It lasted for only a few hours, so I can’t even begin to imagine how much prejudice Muslim girls go through every day. It reminded me of something that many people know but rarely remember: the women in hijabs are people, just like all those women out there who aren’t Muslim.”

  2. rikyrah says:

    another letter to the editor:

    Reaping the Whirlwind?

    Josh Marshall-November 24, 2012, 3:12 PM
    TPM Reader JB says they shouldn’t be surprised …

    Following up on JT’s email, I think there is one point to remember when Republicans keep saying that they are so surprised that core groups in the Obama electoral coalition, like African Americans, young voters, etc., were able to match or even exceed their 2008 turnout: Republicans did some pretty unbelievable, disrespectful and frankly unconscionable things to this President that JT’s cites: shouting “You Lie!” to him during the middle of his State of the Union address (something that was frankly never contemplated to be done to Clinton or Bush, despite rapid opposition), challenging his birthplace and religion, or Governor Brewer pointing her finger in his face on the tarmac, much of which was repeated nightly on places like Fox News.

    Regardless of whether these things were done because of the President’s race (and I think that a pretty convincing argument could be made that a lot of what happened was at least partially due to his race), the fact of the matter is that Republicans who engaged in this type of behavior honestly shouldn’t be surprised now that there was some consequence to their actions, and by this I mean that the President’s supporters, who felt and understood this disrespect, would be extra-motivated to support him in response to these antics.

    I’m not sure Republicans realize or understand this, but it seems pretty clear that people who admire and look up to this President, particularly those who share the same race as him, were not going to take this disrespect lying down. The lesson here may be is that there is always some consequence for actions in politics; it may not be readily apparent immediately, but there was always going to be a price to be paid for indulging and encouraging the most outrageous and irresponsible voices on the right. It just wasn’t until Election Day that it was clear how dear a price that was.

  3. rikyrah says:

    this is one of the Letters to the Editor over at

    TPM Editor’s Blog

    Reaping the Whirlwind Pt.2

    Josh Marshall-November 28, 2012, 9:36 AM15034
    TPM Reader JR on reaping the whirlwind …

    Josh’s blog posts recently from TPM readers JT, JB, and KE struck a nerve with me, especially the one from KE on being Asian-American and taking it personally when Republicans and conservatives attacked Obama. I am Indian-American, born and raised in Iowa (my childhood in Ames and Marshalltown and college years back to Ames) to immigrant parents. Obama’s heritage and identity as a racial minority is a big deal to me, no question, and was an attraction to me in 2007…he is the only Presidential candidate ever to get my money in a contested nomination fight, before he was the presumed nominee.

    There is no question the Obama Presidency has exposed a lot of racism and xenophobia and religious bigotry among Republicans and conservatives, disturbingly more than I would’ve guessed. PPP was mocked early on in 2011 for their polls testing whether GOP primary voters in various states believed Obama was born in the U.S., whether he was a citizen, whether he was a Muslim…even whether he was the anti-Christ! At first I was dismissive of the some of the results because I’m well-aware that people are willing to give ridiculous answers to ridiculous questions. But then after one GOP Presidential primary debate, Frank Luntz on Fox News had a majority of Iowa GOP focus group members raise their hands in earnest when he asked, in earnest, whether they believed Obama was a Muslim. And as time went on, it became clear in other polling that PPP early on was on to more than just snarky telephone survey replies, there really is a disturbingly large percentage of Republicans who are openly hostile to Obama specifically because of his race, his national origin, and his partial religious ancestry.

    That GOP electeds from Boehner to McConnell to all the GOP Presidential candidates were unwilling to call out any of it just reinforced the point, since it established they were afraid because these people were a very large part of the GOP base. You don’t worry about calling out your own party’s cranks in public if they’re marginal figures whose votes you don’t need and don’t think you’ll lose because they have no other options…Republican candidates and electeds know that they can lose primaries for openly challenging racial and other bigoted hostility toward Obama. And all this is very personal to me.

    When I was a small child in Ames, Iowa, in my immigrant family, neighborhood teenagers assaulted our home regularly, pelting fruit and whatever else at our house. Several times my dad had the police come and lecture this group of kids. It was all about race, and these kids’ parents did nothing. So when Mitt Romney in a Michigan stump speech snarks that no one asked him for his birth certificate, and his GOP allies defend the racism as “just a joke,” when so many GOP federal and state electeds endorse or tacitly condone questioning of Obama’s citizenry and engage in other dog whistle racism, these are always personal attacks equally on me…if Obama is not an American and does not legitimately belong, then they’re saying the same about me.

    I imagine I’m not alone, that people of color across the board see what I see, and the election results confirm this. It’s striking to me, and IMO underreported, that Obama clearly lost great amounts of white support in Florida and indeed his 37% in the exit poll with Florida whites has always been disastrous…and yet he wins the state with an absolute majority. It’s striking to me that the national exit poll has not only people of color increasing to 28% of the total, but also that it has both Hispanics and Asians giving over 70% to Obama. These things tell me that people of color across the board see what I see, an appalling racism and xenophobia in the Republican Party that is enraging

  4. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:51 PM ET, 11/29/2012

    Does Nancy Pelosi have any leverage in fiscal cliff talks?

    By Sargent and Greg Sargent

    With John Boehner continuing to (publicly) rule out a hike in tax rates for the rich, Nancy Pelosi fired back today by drawing her own hard lines. She told reporters that another round of big spending cuts is unacceptable, and in an interview with NPR, she rebuffed the idea of raising the Medicare eligibility age.

    Which raises a question: Does Pelosi have any leverage in the talks to begin with?

    The Beltway chatter holds that she doesn’t — Politico describes her as a “bit player in the unfolding drama.” It’s certainly true Pelosi’s influence over the outcome will likely be minimal. But there are factors worth considering that render this a bit of a simplistic take.

    While Pelosi will have little sway over the final deal Obama and Boehner reach, she may have some influence over Obama’s handling of the talks. A sizable number of House Dems will be required to get a final deal through the House. Unlike the debt ceiling and government shutdown deals, this final deal will include tax increases — almost certainly through a hike in tax rates. This could mean large Republican defections. After all, the debt ceiling deal required dozens of Dems; this time more could be required. Dem aides believe as many as 100 House Democrats or even more could be required to pass the final legislation. Will Dems back the president no matter what? Probably, but this time, many Dems see it as a desirable outcome if the deal fails and we go over the cliff.

    What Pelosi is doing in publicly drawing a hard line against spending cuts and a rise in the Medicare eligibility age is signaling to Obama what will and won’t get significant support from her caucus. “She’s let him know that these are the things she thinks are really important to her caucus,” one House aide told me in describing the dynamic. “She’s saying, Now you know what we need; go cut the deal with Boehner.'”

  5. rikyrah says:

    The Medicare cuts the GOP refuses to identify
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 1:20 PM EST

    Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen report today that the fiscal talks appear to be going poorly on the surface, but “behind the scenes,” top officials seem to agree that the “contours of a deal … are starting to take shape.”

    The argument over taxes appears to be the most straightforward. President Obama will not budge from his position of higher rates on income over $250,000, and Republicans realize they lack leverage on the issue.

    But to complete a larger bipartisan agreement, Republicans will demand “specific cuts to entitlement spending.” What kind of cuts? No one has the foggiest idea, and even behind closed doors, GOP leaders won’t say.

    A top Democratic official said talks have stalled on this question since Obama and congressional leaders had their friendly-looking post-election session at the White House.

    “Republicans want the president to own the whole offer upfront, on both the entitlement and the revenue side, and that’s not going to happen because the president is not going to negotiate with himself,” the official said. “There’s a standoff, and the staff hasn’t gotten anywhere. Rob Nabors [the White House negotiator], has been saying: ‘This is what we want on revenues on the down payment. What’s you guys’ ask on the entitlement side?’ And they keep looking back at us and saying: ‘We want you to come up with that and pitch us.’ That’s not going to happen.”

    This is critically important, in large part because the fate of the talks hinge on whether Republicans get the entitlement cuts they want — which means they’ll have to figure out which entitlement cuts they want.

    Some of this is the result of a noticeable lack of Republicans with real policy chops. GOP officials have some relatively clear ideas about ending Medicare and replacing it with a voucher scheme, but since that’s not going to happen, the party opens its file named “Our Other Medicare Ideas,” and finds it empty. They want Obama to go first because, beyond knowing they want cuts, their own vague wish list is superficial and lacking even hints of depth.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Greg Sargent‏@ThePlumLineGS
    Boehner today: Dems have never been serious abt spending cuts. Boehner in 2011 on cuts in debt deal: “I got 98% of what I wanted.”

  7. Steve King: GOP Shouldn’t Try To Win Latino Vote Because Dems Will Just Give Them ‘Great Big Checks’

    Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa) maintained his hardline immigration stance this week in the face of disconcerting signs for Republicans regarding their recent failure to resonate among Latino voters.

    Speaking to radio host Janet Mefferd on Wednesday, King argued that post-election efforts by top Republicans to shift the discussion on immigration reform and Latino outreach were misguided. He said their party could never appeal to Latinos more effectively than Democrats, whom he said would simply be willing to counter them by handing out massive gifts in return for support.

    Keep digging that hole, Steve King.

    I laugh out loud because this clown’s party will never hold power again.

    bwa ha ha ha ha ha

  8. rikyrah says:

    Folorunsho Alakija: The Richest Black Woman In the World

    November 29, 2012 | Filed under: Business,Featured |
    Posted by: Editorial_Staff

    Move over, Oprah – there is a new richest Black woman in the world. And she’s Nigerian. Meet Folorunsho Alakija, a Nigerian billionaire oil tycoon, Fashion designer and philanthropist who is worth at least $3.3 billion- contrary to a recent Forbes Magazine ranking which pegs her net worth at only $600 million.

    Folorunsho Alakija, 61, was born into a wealthy Nigerian family. She started out her professional career in the mid 70s as a secretary at the now defunct International Merchant Bank of Nigeria, one of the country’s earliest investment banks. In the early 80s, Alakija quit her job and went on to study Fashion design in England, returning to Nigeria shortly afterwards to start Supreme Stitches, a premium Nigerian fashion label which catered exclusively to upscale clientele.

    The business thrived, and Alakija quickly made a tidy fortune selling high-end Nigerian clothing to fashionable wives of military bigwigs and society women.

    Oil Prospecting License

    In May 1993 Folorunsho Alakija applied for an allocation of an Oil Prospecting License (OPL). The license to explore for oil on a 617,000 acre block – (now referred to as OPL 216) was granted to Alakija’s company, Famfa Limited. The block is located approximately 220 miles South East of Lagos and 70 miles offshore Nigeria in the central Niger Delta.

    This was in 1993. Many wealthy Nigerian businessmen and military bigwigs who had been allocated oil blocs by the military administration at the time had no clue as to the technicalities in operating an oil block, so many of them typically acquired OPLs, and then flipped them off to international oil companies for substantial profits.

    But Folorunsho Alakija was intelligent. She had no expertise or experience in running an oil field, but she decided not to sell off her license. In September 1996, she entered into a joint venture agreement with Star Deep Water Petroleum Limited (a wholly-owned subsidiary of Texaco) and appointed the company as a technical adviser for the exploration of the license, transferring 40 percent of her 100 percent stake to Star Deep. Subsequently, Star Deep sold off 8 percent of its stake in OPL 216 to Petrobas, a Brazilian company. Folorunsho Alakija and her family owned 60 percent.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Finally, in June 2011, Romney came to Doug and Stella Scamman’s farm in Stratham, N.H., to announce that he would run once again for president.

    “President Obama’s European answers are not the right solution to America’s challenges,” Romney declared after serving up portions of his wife’s turkey chili to an adoring crowd. “In the campaign to come, the American ideals of economic freedom and opportunity need a clear and unapologetic defense, and I intend to make it – because I have lived it.”

    Glen Johnson‏@globeglen
    CAMPAIGN 2012: Ann Romney’s turkey chili to kick off 2012 campaign for Mitt Romney, Obama’s turkey chili to end it… #mapoli

  10. Ametia says:

    National News Alert

    U.N. votes to recognize Palestine

    The U.N. General Assembly voted overwhelmingly today to recognize Palestine as a “non-member observer state” at the United Nations, delivering a stinging defeat to American and Israeli efforts to block the bid.

    The resolution approved by the U.N. body stops well short of granting Palestinians independence, but provides them with limited privileges as a state, including the right to join some international treaty bodies.

    Read more at:

  11. Ametia says:

    Worth a listen. Brazile really breaks it down about Romney’s LYING. Yes; she goes there.

    Donna Brazile at Westminster Town Hall Forum

    Broadcast: Minnesota Public Radio News Presents, 11/29/2012, 12:00 p.m.


  12. Obama and Romney eat chili, promise to stay in touch

    President Obama and former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney dined Thursday on white turkey chili and Southwestern grilled chicken salad, according to a statement from the White House on their first meeting since the election.

    “Romney congratulated the President for the success of his campaign and wished him well over the coming four years,” the statement added. “The focus of their discussion was on America’s leadership in the world and the importance of maintaining that leadership position in the future. They pledged to stay in touch, particularly if opportunities to work together on shared interests arise in the future.”

    White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters earlier that press was barred from the lunch because “each man wanted to have a private conversation.”

    • Ametia says:

      LOL PBo prolly kept his other hand in his pocket to keep from smacking the living shit out of Mittens!

      *Whelp! so much for “Start packing.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    CBO: extended jobless benefits would boost economy
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:50 PM EST

    When it comes to the ongoing fiscal talks in Washington, some high-profile policies — Bush-era tax rates and the sequester — tend to get the most attention. But as the end of the year approaches, these measures aren’t the only important policies with looming deadlines.

    As Jamelle Bouie explained this week, the unemployment insurance extension, which President Obama included in his 2010 deal with Congress, is also poised to end in January. Bouie added, “If it does, more than 2 million Americans will lose their federal jobless benefits, a key lifeline in an economy that’s still trudging towards recovery.”

    It’s hard to overstate the economic impact of the policy.

    Fully extending the current level of jobless benefits provided by states and the federal government through next year would add the equivalent of 300,000 jobs by slightly boosting spending and growth in 2013, the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office estimated in a report released Wednesday. […]

    Extending the current slate of extended federal jobless benefits would cost roughly $30 billion and increase gross domestic product by 0.2% in the fourth quarter of 2013, according to estimates from CBO, the independent budget arm of Congress. Because the unemployment insurance program puts money in the pockets of people likely to spend it, the subsequent boost in demand for goods and services would likely create about 300,000 full-time jobs, according to the report.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Michigan again: ‘This bill … disenfranchises voters, ends their local control, and unconstitutionally hands taxpayer-owned property over to for-profit companies.’

    By Laura Conaway
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 12:20 PM EST.

    This month Michigan voters repealed the state’s far-reaching emergency manager law, saying that struggling towns, cities and school boards should be allowed to keep their democracies despite being broke. Now a new round of legislation in Michigan would allow the state to take over struggling school districts and farm out education to private companies.

    Eclectablog has the full roundup of who’s saying what and when, including this call to action from the schools superintendent in Bloomfield Hills:

    •This bill will not directly affect our district, but disenfranchises voters, ends their local control, and unconstitutionally hands taxpayer-owned property over to for-profit companies. Characterized as parent-empowerment, this bill does little to develop deep, community-wide parent engagement and organization.

    I’ve never considered myself a conspiracy theorist — until now. This package of bills is the latest in a yearlong barrage of ideologically-driven bills designed to weaken and defund locally-controlled public education, handing scarce taxpayer dollars over to for-profit entities operating under a different set of rules. I believe this is fundamentally wrong.

    That superintendent has company. At a public forum this week, Oakland Schools Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Markavitch called what’s happening in the state capitol “unbelievable” and way too rushed. “There is really important work that has to be done,” she told the parents there, according to the local Patch. “What’s worrying me about this work that has to be done is it’s being pushed forward so quickly, so fast and in such a rushed order that it’s almost faster than people can learn about it.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    A wonderful series of pictures of the First Lady

    First Lady of the United States: Michelle Obama Embodies Class and Substance.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime’

    Posted by Ezra Klein on November 28, 2012 at 1:59 pm

    Chrystia Freeland is editor of Thomson Reuters Digital and author of “The Plutocrats: The Rise of the New Global Super Rich and the Fall of Everyone Else.” We spoke Tuesday about how the plutocrats she reported on for the book were handling Mitt Romney’s loss. A lightly edited transcript of our conversation follows.

    Ezra Klein: You’ve written about the revolt of the very rich against President Obama, and all the money they spent and time they dedicated to defeating him. So what’s the mood in those circles now that they’ve lost?

    Chrystia Freeland: There’s a great joke on Wall Street which is that the bet on Romney is Wall Street’s worst bet since the bet on subprime. But I found the hostility towards Obama astonishing. I found the commitment to getting him out astonishing. I found the absolute confidence that it would work astonishing. On that Tuesday, the big Romney backers I was talking to were sure he was going to win. They were all flying into Logan Airport for the victory party. There’s this stunned feeling of how could we be so wrong, and a feeling of alienation.

    The Romney comments to his donors, for which he was roundly pounced on by Republican politicians, I think they accurately reflected the view of a lot of these money guys. It’s the continuation of this 47 percent idea. They believe that Obama has been shoring up the entitlement society, and if you give enough entitlements to enough people, they’ll vote for you.

    EK: Here’s my question about those comments. Romney was promising the very rich either a huge tax cut or, if you believe he would’ve paid for every dime and dollar of his cut, protection from any tax increases. He was promising financiers that he would roll back Dodd-Frank and Sarbanex-Oxley. He was promising current seniors that he wouldn’t touch their benefit. How are these not “gifts”?

    CF: Let me be clear that I’m not defending any of them. But I think the way it works — and I think Romney’s comments were very telling in this regard — there are two differences in the mind of this class. First, they’re absolutely convinced that they’re not asking for special privileges for themselves. They’re convinced that it just so happens that their self-interest coincides perfectly with the collective interest. That’s where you get this idea of the “job creators”. The view is that to seek a low tax environment or less regulation, that’s not special pleading for yourself, it’s not transactional politics. It’s that this set of rules is the most conducive to economic growth for everybody. It will grow the pie. Now, it also happens to be an incredibly convenient way of thinking. If you’ve developed an ideology that what’s good for you personally also happens to be good for everyone else, that’s quite wonderful because there’s no moral tension.

    • rikyrah says:

      EK: One explanation for the deteriorating relationship between Obama and this class of very, very rich folks is that it comes down to taxes. But in 2008, many of these same people supported Obama, and he said then, too, that he wanted to raise their taxes. Another explanation is that the dislike is personal: They feel that Obama doesn’t respect them, and so they hate him. Where do you come down?

      CF: I think that it was both. I do think that Obama was particularly bad at dealing with these guys. Unnecessarily so. And I don’t really understand why. It’s of a piece with the general knock on him, which is that he’s too aloof. He was certainly aloof with his rich donors.

      I’ve heard from people who worked in the White House that he doesn’t like rich people. I don’t actually think it’s true. I think he has a kind of Harvard Law School sense of kinship with these guys. He’s a member of the same technocratic elite. He could have taken that path. He has an admiration for those skills. But what he doesn’t have at all is a belief that the pure fact of having made a lot of money makes your views more valuable, or makes you more interesting or smarter than anyone else.

      But remember, there are two different issues. One is, are you going to pay a higher tax bill? At the end of the day, rich people really don’t want to, and I think they’re finding they’re more averse to it than they actually thought they would be as it comes closer to reality. But second, iIthink what Obama has done is quite striking: he has said the economy isn’t working for everybody, and he has said it’s possible in this economy for economic acts to take place that are really good for a wealthy person and neutral or even bad for the middle class. The Bain Capital ads were such a lightning rod and so alienating even to some Democrats because they put that on the table. That is something no one has said in political power for 30 years. That is profoundly threatening for this group. It’s threatening politically, but it’s also emotionally and morally threatening.

      I think the thing which has been so comfortable about being a member of the super-rich, especially in the United States, is that you have been able to feel that the act of becoming wealthy, absent everything else, was also an act of civic virtue. That’s so wonderful! You’re not just pursuing your own self-interest talking about lower taxes at the top but the collective self-interest.

  17. rikyrah says:

    On Filibuster Reform

    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 29th, 2012 at 11:46:42 AM EST

    Sens. Carl Levin (D-MI) and Mark Pryor (D-AR) are identified in this Roll Call piece as two “Old Bulls” who are skeptical about Harry Reid’s plan to change the Senate rules to make it harder to for the minority to obstruct the day-to-day business of the upper chamber. They are more concerned, however, with how Harry Reid intends to change the rules than with the rule changes themselves.
    I don’t want to get too technical in the piece because your eyes will glaze over if I do. So, I am just going to lay out some basics about how the Senate works and what these rules changes would mean.

    First, you should know that it normally takes 67 senators to agree to any rules change. For this reason, the rules almost never change. However, there is an opportunity at the opening of each new congress for the majority party to change the rules with a simple majority vote, with the vice-president potentially breaking a tie. The Republicans threatened to do this during Bush’s second term because they were frustrated at their inability to confirm more judges. Back then it was called either the Nuclear Option or the Constitutional Option. A Gang of 12 moderate senators brokered a deal on nominating more judges in order to avoid use of the Nuclear Option. The fear was (and is) that once one party invoked the Nuclear Option it would become the norm any time power shifted hands in the Senate. Better, skeptics think, to broker a deal that has more support than to open the genie’s bottle and to create a bunch of bad blood at the beginning of a new session.

    That’s fair enough, but we also have to consider why Harry Reid is seeking the rules changes in the first place. To understand this, you have to understand a little bit about routine Senate procedure. The Senate operates by something called “unanimous consent.” There are 100 senators, and any one of them can stall things by refusing to lend their consent to whatever it is the Senate Majority Leader wants to do. If the Senate is engaged in open debate, for example, and Harry Reid wants to take up a bill on military spending, he will ask for unanimous consent to end open debate and begin debate on his bill. If even one senator objects, then Harry Reid needs to do something called “filing for cloture.” This isn’t quite the same thing as a filibuster, but it is the key element of how a filibuster works.

    Filing for cloture basically means that Harry Reid has notified the Senate that there will be a vote to override the objections of one or more senators for moving to the next piece of business (in this case, a military spending bill). A couple of legislative days will go by while Sen. Reid waits for the cloture to “ripen.” When the cloture has ripened, there is a vote that requires 60 votes to pass. If less than 60 senators vote for cloture, then the bill has been successfully filibustered.

    Let’s stop for a moment to think about this before moving on to other elements of the Senate rules. If the Republicans can demonstrate to Harry Reid that they have 40 or more votes against cloture, Reid will know that the bill is blocked and he won’t bother going through the whole process unless he wants to make a political point and put people’s votes on the record. But, even if only one senator objects, it will add a couple of days to the process of beginning debate on the bill. In recent years, the Republicans have refused to grant unanimous consent for many bills and nominations, not because they opposed those bills or nominations, but solely to chew up legislative days so that the Democrats would be able to produce less legislation in general. In other words, the Republicans under Minority Leader Mitch McConnell have been exploiting the “unanimous consent” requirement to gum up the works of the Senate. In particular, they have objected to “motions to proceed” to the next order of business simply as a stalling tactic and not on the merits.

  18. rikyrah says:

    November 29, 2012

    The absolute best Jennifer Rubin piece ever. EVER.

    Oh this is classic. Jennifer Rubin assails Stuart Stevens–her man’s former chief strategist–for his parting op-ed in which he “[refuses] to acknowledge real and material incompetence by himself and others on the [Romney] campaign.”

    You read that right. Rubin–yes, Rubin, yes, Jennifer Rubin, that Rubin, the Romney-triumphalist Rubin who blindly trumpeted every word, every step, every appearance, every speech, every debate, every awful minute of her candidate’s prodigiously wretched campaign–is assailing Stevens for possessing inadequate self-assessment skills.

    It would be fitting, and certainly less grating, if Stevens included some real acknowledgment that the narrow loss is, in large part, attributable to the errors (we now know) he and his fellow, well-paid advisers made.

    That assault, notwithstanding that Ms. Rubin for months hailed Mitt Romney as a masterful CEO with a peerless history of brilliantly analyzing any organizational defects–whether corporate or state–and single-handedly repairing them, pronto. The ultimate technocrat, the consummate fixer, the veni and vidi and vici of American leadership. That was Mitt, according to Jennifer.

    Now, Mitt Romney’s a victim–he was merely a helpless cog in the uncomprehending machinery of Stuart Stevens’ grinding incompetence.

    And that’s just classic.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:34 AM ET, 11/29/2012

    Inside the ‘fiscal cliff’ haggling over Medicare

    By Greg Sargent

    Some more quick notes about that big Politico piece on what’s going on in the fiscal cliff talks. The piece makes two points about the haggling over Medicare’s future that are worth addressing. First, it says in passing that Dem aides say raising the Medicare eligiblity age is on the table. If true, that would be a nonstarter for the left.

    But as best as I can determine after talking to Dem aides, this isn’t on the table. It’s something Republicans want to be part of the talks but not one Dems are seriously entertaining, at least for now. Dick Durbin and other Democrats have repeatedly said raising the retirement age is off the table. Obama reportedly signaled openness to it during the 2011 debt ceiling talks, so if some on the left still want to be vigilant about this possibility, it’s understandable — after all, ultimately Dems will likely fall in line behind what Obama wants in the end. But keep in mind Obama was in a significantly weaker position last time and may not see the need to make that concession now.

    The second, and more interesting, point is that Republicans are insisting that the White House go first in laying out proposed entitlement cuts — and the White House is balking. From the piece:

  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:06 AM ET, 11/29/2012

    The Morning Plum: GOP will buckle on high end tax rates

    By Greg Sargent

    The papers this morning are filled with gloomy assessments of the fiscal talks — see the Post’s overview — with predictions mounting that we are going to go over the cliff. A lot of noise has been kicked up by all the finger-pointing, so let me summarize the situation in two sentences:

    1) Democrats are willing to agree to hundreds of billions of dollars in Medicare cuts.

    2) Republicans are not willing to agree to one penny in higher tax rates from the wealthy.

    Does this mean that Dems shouldn’t be expected to make more concessions than they already have? No, it doesn’t. Obama has already proposed a budget that contains around $340 billion in Medicare cuts, but as Politico reports in its overview of the talks this morning, Dems are likely going to have to put more on the table to secure a deal. The left has drawn a sharp line against any cuts that result in higher costs for beneficiaries, as opposed to targeting providers, and I hope that the final deal doesn’t hit middle or low income beneficiaries. But it does seem likely Dems will ultimately decide they have to agree to some concessions the base won’t like.

    There is no equivalence between the Democratic and Republican sides, however. The GOP has not given an inch when it comes to the core question of whether tax rates on the rich will go up. Yes, Republicans have agreed to new revenues from the wealthy via closing loopholes and deductions. But many experts believe the math simply can’t be made to work without a rise in high end rates, and this was perhaps the central issue in the election that Obama just won decisively. The contrast is simple: Dems have given ground on the need for Medicare cuts — even if you think they haven’t given enough ground, they have given some ground. But Republicans have not given any ground on the central concession they will have to make for a deal to be possible.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:03 PM ET, 11/28/2012
    Boehner: No tax cuts for middle class without tax cuts for top two percent

    By Greg Sargent

    As you know, GOP Rep. Tom Cole made waves today by urging Republicans to give in to the Dem demand that they extend the Bush tax cuts for everyone under $250,000. Cole argued this would remove the leverage Dems have and give the GOP more leverage to fight to extend the high-end tax cuts later, since Dems want the fiscal cliff averted and also want a debt ceiling hike.

    Today John Boehner rejected Cole’s suggestion. But in the process, he said something pretty revealing:
    “I told Tom earlier in our conference meeting that I disagreed with him,” Boehner told reporters after a closed-door meeting of the House Republican Conference. “He’s a wonderful friend of mine and a great supporter of mine. But raising taxes on the so-called top 2 percent — half of those people are small-business owners that pay their taxes through their personal income tax filing every year. The goal here is to grow the economy and to cut spending.

    “We’re not going to grow the economy if we raise tax rates on the top two rates,” the Speaker added. “It’ll hurt small businesses. It’ll hurt our economy. That’s why it’s not the right approach. We’ll willing to put revenue on the table as long as we’re not raising rates.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Flip Out as Obama Takes Case to The People

    Wednesday, November 28, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 2:36 PM

    You know when the ridiculed the president for saying on the campaign trail that Washington has to be changed from outside? Well, here’s what he meant: he’s taking his case to the people.

    Mr. Obama will meet with carefully selected small-business owners, middle-class taxpayers and corporate leaders over the next couple days, then fly to Pennsylvania on Friday to tour a toy manufacturer that he argues will be hurt if automatic tax increases take effect at the end of the year

    I guess it’s not so funny when the president wins re-election and really does take it to the people, outside of DC. This has Republican leaders very concerned and uncomfortable.

    “Rather than sitting down with lawmakers of both parties and working out an agreement, he’s back out on the campaign trail, presumably with the same old talking points we’re all familiar with,” Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the Republican leader, said on the floor on Tuesday. “Look, we already know the president is a very good campaigner. What we don’t know is whether he has the leadership qualities necessary to lead his party to a bipartisan agreement on a big issue likes this.

    No, Sen. McConnell, you aren’t worried about whether the president has leadership qualities. The American people just spoke about it earlier this month. The “old talking points,” Senator, are the policies of the president that the American people resoundingly affirmed, so yes, he’s going to take it to the people if your loser party does not cooperate.

    There is good reason for the Republican leadership to be nervous about this move by the President, as senators in McConnell’s own caucus are caving under the fiscal cliff to let taxes go up on the wealthy, and there are fresh cracks even in the House GOP leadership. Rep. Tom Cole, the Chairman of the Republican conference in the House openly advocated for Republicans to stop blocking the extension of tax cuts for the first $250,000 in income. But of course, John Boehner quickly rebuked Rep. Cole:

  23. rikyrah says:

    Who killed the CRS report?
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Nov 28, 2012 1:47 PM EST

    We talked several weeks ago about the non-partisan Congressional Research Service pulling a report that documented what many already knew: giving tax breaks to the rich helps concentrate wealth at the top, but it does not boost the economy. By all accounts, Republican lawmakers, led by Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), had the report killed.

    But the ongoing effort to find out exactly what happened continues.

    Democrats still want to know why the Congressional Research Service withdrew a report that found no correlation between top tax rates and economic growth. Their suspicion that it might have been because of Republican political pressure is being piqued by internal correspondence between CRS officials and senior GOP aides.

    A series of email exchanges from Sept. 25 and Sept. 26 obtained by Roll Call reveals displeasure among staffers for Senate Finance ranking Republican Orrin G. Hatch of Utah and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky.

    For weeks, the official Republican line has been that GOP policymakers and even folks outside Capitol Hill raised concerns about the economic report, but did not explicitly call for the analysis to be withdrawn.

    Roll Call’s report features a series of complaints between Republican Senate aides, including one in which a McConnell aide specifically lamented “partisans” misusing the CRS’s conclusions, adding that “a retraction should be considered.” Arguably more damaging is an email from a high-ranking CRS employee, who told a colleague at the time, “Now they are asking for the report to come down,” in reference to Hatch and McConnell staffers.

    This is consistent with what Thomas Hungerford, the CRS researcher who produced the report, told the Huffington Post earlier this month: the analysis was taken down due to “pressure from the Senate minority.”

    In other words, the GOP denials about the Congressional Research Service are looking a little shaky.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Now, folks, what is somebody BLACK had said something this stupid?


    Mike Lee: GOP shielding rich to protect the poor
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 8:00 AM EST

    In the ongoing fight over taxes, Republican lawmakers are not in a comfortable position. The public supports President Obama’s plan; the GOP does not. The public wants Republicans to compromise; the GOP doesn’t care. The public wants the wealthiest Americans to pay more; the GOP has made the opposite goal its top priority.

    Republicans generally defend their position by saying they’re looking out for “small businesses,” but only about 2 percent of small businesses would see a small increase in the top marginal rate. So, as Scott Keyes noted, Sen. Mike Lee (R) of Utah rolled out a new defense yesterday.

    Cloaking his predilection for the rich as concern for the less fortunate, Sen. Mike Lee (R-UT) argued Wednesday that raising taxes on the wealthy would primarily hurt the poor. Lee’s comments came on former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee’s (R) radio show as the two discussed the looming fiscal showdown in Congress.

    “The reason we worry about raising taxes on anyone — even raising taxes on the rich,” Lee argued, is “that will hit the poorest among us the hardest.” Lest listeners get the wrong idea, the Utah Senator insisted, “it’s not that we’re looking out for the rich.”

    In case there’s any confusion, let’s reemphasize that under the Democratic plan, all income below $250,000 would be taxed at a lower rate, and all income above $250,000 would pay a slightly higher rate. Giving “the poorest among us” a tax cut and hitting them “the hardest” are not the same thing.

    So what is Lee talking about? It’s a perfect crystallization of supply-side economic theory — the far-right senator believes asking the wealthy to pay Clinton-era rates on income above $250,000 would invariably “hit the poorest among us,” because it would undermine economic growth and provide fewer opportunities for those struggling most. The wealth, the argument goes, won’t “trickle down.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Economic growth improves significantly
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:09 AM EST

    The initial estimate on economic growth in the third quarter — July, August, and September — was an underwhelming 2 percent. This morning, revised figures point to a much healthier economy.

    The economy grew at a substantially faster pace in the third quarter than first thought, powered by increases in business inventories and federal spending.

    After initially saying output increased at an annual rate of 2 percent, the Commerce Department on Thursday revised its estimate to show growth of 2.7 percent in the three months that ended Sept. 30.

    While businesses have remained cautious amid fiscal uncertainty in Washington and weak growth overseas, consumer spending in the United States has moved along in recent months at a healthier pace.

    The 2.7 percent GDP figure is the best since the end of 2011, and the second best quarter of the last three years. Talk of a “double-dip recession,” common earlier in the year, is now nowhere to be found.

    It’s also worth noting that economic growth would have been even stronger had it not been for austerity-like policies at the state and local level, where public spending has been curtailed sharply.

    As for the politics, the conventional wisdom suggests President Obama won a second term in spite of a struggling economy, but in light of the stronger growth shortly before the election, it may be time to consider whether Obama prevailed because of an improving economy.

    Above, you’ll find a chart showing GDP numbers by quarter since the Great Recession began. The red columns show the economy under the Bush administration; the blue columns show the economy under the Obama administration.

  26. rikyrah says:

    President Obama widens lead on Wednesday to 50.90% vs Romney’s 47.37%. The last Million votes: Obama: 65% of the votes, Romney: 30%. Est total: 51% – 47.2%

  27. rikyrah says:

    Is McCain’s Rice temper tantrum because he thought he’d be Sec of Defense under President Romney???

  28. rikyrah says:

    Inspiring a New Generation

    by BooMan
    Thu Nov 29th, 2012 at 09:10:36 AM EST

    When I was growing up I heard it again and again. People said that they were moved to get involved in public service or volunteer work by John F. Kennedy. “Ask not what your country can do for you, but what you can do for your country.” People ran for office, they joined the local school board, they joined the Peace Corp, they enlisted in the armed forces. And they did it because an inspiring president asked them to do it. President Kennedy had a great influence that way.
    More than a million people responded to the Obama campaign’s survey (including me) and almost 800,000 of them said that they want to continue doing community organizing. Even more amazingly, 100,000 respondents (not including me) indicated an interest in running for public office. You can’t look at that in any other way than as an indication that the president’s campaign inspired and restored millions of people’s confidence in the capacity of our government to do good things.

    And most of the those people have gained at least a little experience in the art of political or community organizing. Obama has created a veritable army of community organizers. Most of them currently indicate an interest in working to advance the president’s agenda, but their skills will be put to other uses this year and in the decades to come.

    Kennedy inspired a generation. Obama has done the same thing on a much bigger scale and with a whole set of tools and skills for that generation to put to use in the effort.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Revision Of Labor

    By Zandar November 29th, 2012

    Gosh, I wish President Obama’s Chicago Machine thugs would quit rigging the economic numbers to make him look worse.

    The U.S. economy grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate in the third quarter, the Bureau of Economic Analysis says. That’s a sharp upward revision in its estimate of gross domestic product growth from mid-summer into the fall. In its first look at the quarter’s GDP, the agency estimated growth at a 2 percent annual rate.

    According to BEA, consumer spending, inventory investment, exports and federal spending all contributed to growth from July 1 through Sept. 30.

    In the second quarter, GDP expanded at a 1.3 percent annual rate.

    Also, jobless claims down to 393K. Darn that economy, actually growing. It’s like the guy knows what he’s doing with this whole “stewardship of the economy” thing.

    I wonder where the economic numbers would be without the House GOP blocking all the big league economic boosters, ya know?

  30. rikyrah says:

    Collins’ silly Sunday-show standard
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:48 AM EST.

    If Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) wants to be considered the last moderate Republican standing, she’s going to have to drop this outrageous campaign against Susan Rice. Consider this latest complaint (via Kevin Drum).

    Collins told reporters she was “troubled” that Rice had “decided to play what was essentially a political role at the height of a contentious presidential election campaign” by appearing on five political talk shows to present the administration’s position.

    So, let me get this straight. The week of a terrorist attack against a U.S. consulate, the Obama administration dispatched a U.S. ambassador with foreign policy experience to the Sunday shows to update the public and the media on what transpired, based on the best available information. This, according to Susan Collins, is “troubling” because it made Rice “political.”

    Is there something in the water in the Republican cloakroom?

    Administration officials go on Sunday shows all the time, this has been the case for decades, and I can’t recall any policymaker from either party ever complaining about the practice before. Indeed, Collins’ whining is arguably dumber than John McCain’s — McCain complains about what Rice said on the Sunday shows; Collins is complaining that Rice agreed to appear on the Sunday shows in the first place.

    Funny, in 2004, National Security Advisor Condoleezza Rice appeared on a Sunday show shortly before a presidential election and repeated campaign talking points, praising George W. Bush as “a strong leader” after a debate performance. A few months later, Rice was nominated as Secretary of State, drawing praise from Susan Collins. If she found it “troubling” that Rice was being “political,” Collins forgot to mention it.

    Indeed, the Rice-to-Rice comparison is especially problematic for Collins, because it makes her indictment yesterday seem that much more ridiculous.


    Yesterday, the Maine Republican complained, for example, that Susan Rice, in her capacity as the assistant secretary of state for African affairs during the Clinton administration, failed to appreciate the “threat assessment” surrounding two U.S. embassies attacked by al Qaeda in 1998.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Jon Stewart Mocks John McCain & Lindsay Graham For Hypocritical Outrage Over Susan Rice

    by Josh Feldman | 11:29 pm, November 28th, 2012

    Jon Stewart tonight focused on the spotlight currently surrounding U.N. ambassador Susan Rice and the growing opposition to her potential nomination to become the next secretary of state. Stewart acknowledged there were legitimate national security issues involved in the attacks on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi that were subsequently “thrown out” and replaced with a bunch of political rhetoric.

    Stewart reminded viewers that in the immediate aftermath of the attacks in Libya, Rice went on TV and said they were not pre-meditated, and in were response to an anti-Islamic film. Well, Stewart admitted, we know now the consulate was not targeted by “angry film critics

    Stewart then turned to the criticisms being leveled at Rice by John McCain and Lindsay Graham, the loudest critics of Rice so far. Stewart couldn’t help but think the two of them, of all people, shouldn’t get to be “self-righteously angry” about Rice considering they both rang the alarm bells over bin Laden and Iraq early on in 2001 and 2002.

    But it just so happens that McCain and Graham have not always been so skeptical of black, female White House officials who go on TV and share potentially misleading intelligence and whose last name happens to be Rice. Condoleezza Rice was defended by both McCain and Graham, despite previous comments about WMDs in Iraq that “she knew… was bullshit.”

    Of course, Stewart also managed to find some comedy in the reaction to McCain and Graham’s crusade, doing a full-on mockery of the Congressional Black Caucus for the press conference in which McCain and Graham were accused of singling out Rice for being a black woman, complete with a posse of Daily Show correspondents behind the desk to preach alongside him.

  32. rikyrah says:

    say it with me, boys and girls…



    Limbaugh: “I Have A Great Fear There Is Going To Be Economic Growth” In The Energy Sector Because Obama May Get Credit

  33. Ametia says:

    U.S. Economy Grew at 2.7% Rate, More Than First Estimated
    By Shobhana Chandra – Nov 29, 2012 7:59 AM CT

    The economy in the U.S. expanded more than previously estimated in the third quarter as a narrower trade deficit and gains in inventory overshadowed a smaller gain in consumer spending.

    Gross domestic product grew at a 2.7 percent annual rate, up from a 2 percent prior estimate, revised figures from the Commerce Department showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 82 economists surveyed by Bloomberg called for a 2.8 percent gain. Household purchases climbed at a 1.4 percent rate, the least in more than a year and down from a previously reported 2 percent rate, and income gains were also cut.
    “We’re just muddling through,” said Brian Jones, a senior U.S. economist at Societe Generale in New York. “The mix between final demand and inventories was far less favorable. The consumer spending numbers are a reflection of the fact that job growth remains sluggish.”
    The report helps explain why Federal Reserve policy makers have said they’ll continue to pump money into the economy to spur growth and reduce joblessness. At the same time, an improvement in housing, employment gains and healthier household finances may help underpin consumer purchases, the biggest part of the economy.

  34. Ametia says:

    By BRIAN MONTOPOLI / CBS NEWS/ November 29, 2012, 6:00 AM
    Presidents meeting with vanquished rivals: A recent history

    Later today, President Obama will host Mitt Romney for a private lunch at the White House. The president vowed to meet with Romney during his election night speech “to talk about where we can work together to move this country forward,” but there had been skepticism about whether the meeting would actually take place.

    That’s because presidents have not always been quick to welcome their former rivals to the White House after Election Day.

    For instance, it was not until 2007 that Al Gore – who had won the popular vote seven years earlier – finally made it to the White House. In November of that year, the former vice president returned to the Oval Office for the first time since the Clinton administration for a reception honoring Nobel Prize winners. Gore, who shared a Nobel Peace Prize for his efforts to bring attention to climate change, reportedly spent more than 30 minutes in private conversation with then-President Bush.

    Still, Mr. Bush had reached out previously: The two men met on December 19, 2000, roughly one week after the Florida recount was settled by the Supreme Court. The pair reportedly spent less than 20 minutes meeting at the official vice-presidential residence, the Naval Observatory. Mr. Bush, of course, would not move into the White House until January.

  35. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-) Loving Curtis Mayfield this week.

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