Monday Open Thread

Carol of the Bells” is a popular Americanized version of a Ukrainian Christmas carol. It is a choral work by Ukrainian composer Mykola Leontovych as “Shchedryk and translated, or rather, adapted to English by Peter J Wilhousky who wrote and Americanized the lyrics. Leontovych’s composition was in turn, set to the words of an ancient Ukrainian carol performed during the celebration of the New Year.

The song is recognized by a four-note ostinato motif (see image to the right). It is a holiday favorite throughout the English-speaking world, having been arranged hundreds of times for different genres, styles of singing and settings. For example, it was been covered by artists and groups of many genres: classical, jazz, rock, and pop. It has also been featured in films, television shows, and parodies.

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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76 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. Talking Parrot Einstein

  2. rikyrah says:

    Marvin Gaye’s Son Begs Lenny Kravitz not to Play his Dad

    December 3, 2012

    Marvin Gaye‘s son and Lenny Kravitz may be childhood friends, but it doesn’t mean the heir wants the rocker playing his father on the big screen.

    In fact, Marvin Gaye III and his family members are against the project altogether, according to

    Kravitz will play Gaye in the biopic “Sexual Healing” (working title), which is said to follow the legend’s life in the 80s when he battled drug abuse and depression – up until his father shot and killed him in 1984.


  3. rikyrah says:

    Cissy Houston Wants Bobbi Kristina’s Inheritance Put on Hold

    October 7, 2012

    *Cissy Houston is really afraid that her granddaughter, Bobbi Kristina, will go down the same path as her mother, Whitney Houston, and end up dead from drugs, which is why she wants to withhold Bobbi’s multi-million-dollar inheritance, sources tell TMZ.

    Sources close to Cissy tell us, Cissy feels Bobbi is currently surrounded by numerous negative influences — including her boyfriend Nick Gordon and father Bobby Brown — who will drain Bobbi’s fortune given half the chance.

    We’re told Cissy also feels 19-year-old Bobbi is still extremely impressionable right now — and if left unchecked with millions of dollars, Bobbi could end up going off the rails … eventually dying just like Whitney.

    According to sources, Cissy wants to wait until Bobbi has matured significantly more before she gets her money … an estate estimated at $20 million … though it’s unclear how long she wants her to wait.

    As for allegations Cissy is trying to withhold Bobbi’s fortune to hoard the money for herself — Cissy is telling friends that’s total BS … that’s it’s about protecting her family.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Bobbi Kristina: ‘Nick and I Collect Guns’; Nick Apologizes for Pic

    September 20, 2012

    *Bobbi Kristina Brown has tweeted out a response to the outrage created after her ‘bro-friend” Nick Gordon’s posted an image of himself driving with a revolver in his hand.

    The 19-year-old daughter of the late Whitney Houston, tweeted: ”I & @nickgordon loveUall! Ha thank4ur love & support! We R both collectors of guns actually, We always have been. Lol. (sic)”


  5. rikyrah says:

    En Vogue Acrimony Worsens

    August 20, 2012

    *En Vogue as we knew them … is no more once again.

    The 90′s R&B group divided into two at the end of July this year with members Maxine Jones and Dawn Robinson looking for two new members. Terry Ellis and Cindy Herron have already begun performing with a fill-in member.

    But the drama hasn’t ended yet. Jones took to Twitter ranting about how Ellis and Herron stabbed her in the back and removed her name from the quartet’s bank account and business, LLC. She got beside herself, and her age (50), and wrote, “real arrogant b—s drunk with power.”

    Jones is also documenting the group’s fallout on a reality show that’s currently being filmed.

    Neither Ellis nor Herron has responded to Jones’ accusations … so far


  6. dannie22 says: look what the police did near my neighborhood. they should all lose their badges

  7. rikyrah says:

    Overnight, Michelle Obama made black designer Laura Smalls a name to know

    by Nana Ekua Brew-Hammond | December 3, 2012 at 2:10 PM

    It was Thursday, September 6, 2012 when Laura Smalls received a voicemail from her mother that would ultimately have fashionistas and fashion bloggers alike frenziedly Googling her name.

    “I think Michelle Obama has your dress on!” her mother reportedly gushed, having spotted the FLOTUS in a full-skirted, printed aubergine dress with a bateau neckline as she watched the closing night of the Democratic National Convention.

    Smalls, who wasn’t home at the time, contacted her husband. “Take a picture of the TV!” reports she told him. “My head was spinning.” Suddenly, Smalls had been catapulted into the mainstream on a very big stage.

    The private designer expressed to theGrio via email of the heady moment, “I am highly honored and truly blessed that our first lady has chosen to wear my designs,” but wouldn’t say more about the process that led to her creating the custom piece for Mrs. Obama, citing “the utmost respect that I have for the Obama administration.”

  8. Cain S. LaTrans‏@snkscoyote

    UPDATE: Obama answers questions on Twitter

  9. rikyrah says:

    Steve Weinstein @steveweinstein

    Los Angeles County finally finished counting its 3.2 million votes. Obama won by 42 points: 70% to 28%

  10. Report: Dick Armey quits FreedomWorks

    Former Rep. Dick Armey has stepped down as chairman of FreedomWorks, a conservative organization and dominant force within the tea party movement, it was reported Monday.

    Mother Jones reported that the former House majority leader sent a memo to FreedomWorks president Matt Kibbe, asking to be paid through the end of the year and that his name be removed from all publications affiliated with the organization.

    The split was not amicable, according to the report.

    “Obviously I was not happy with the election results,” Armey told Mother Jones. “We might’ve gotten better results if we had gone in a different direction. But it isn’t that I got my nose out of line because we should’ve done better.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    A Health Insurance Detective Story

    I’ve had a long career as a business journalist, beginning at Forbes and including eight years as the editor of Money, a personal finance magazine. But I’ve never faced a more confounding reporting challenge than the one I’m engaged in now: What will I pay next year for the pill that controls my blood cancer?

    After making more than 70 phone calls to 16 organizations over the past few weeks, I’m still not totally sure what I will owe for my Revlimid, a derivative of thalidomide that is keeping my multiple myeloma in check. The drug is extremely expensive — about $11,000 retail for a four-week supply, $132,000 a year, $524 a pill. Time Warner, my former employer, has covered me for years under its Supplementary Medicare Program, a plan for retirees that included a special Writers Guild benefit capping my out-of-pocket prescription costs at $1,000 a year. That out-of-pocket limit is scheduled to expire on Jan. 1. So what will my Revlimid cost me next year?

    The answers I got ranged from $20 a month to $17,000 a year. One of the first people I phoned said that no matter what I heard, I wouldn’t know the cost until I filed a claim in January. Seventy phone calls later, that may still be the most reliable thing anyone has told me.

    Like around 47 million other Medicare beneficiaries, I have until this Friday, Dec. 7, when open enrollment ends, to choose my 2013 Medicare coverage, either through traditional Medicare or a private insurer, as well as my drug coverage — or I will risk all sorts of complications and potential late penalties.

    But if a seasoned personal-finance journalist can’t get a straight answer to a simple question, what chance do most people have of picking the right health insurance option?…

  12. rikyrah says:

    Michael Tomasky: So, the House Republicans made their counter-offer today. But it’s not much of a counter-offer. Josh Barro of Bloomberg identifies three problems: 1, zero specifics; 2, what description there is of the tax numbers doesn’t add up; 3, it doesn’t really avert the fiscal cliff….

    …. It’s always the same story with these people. They have these policy goals that they know are quite unpopular outside their besotted 30 percent, so they’ll never put specifics to them until the last possible second. But until then, anyone would be a fool to trust them. The only thing they really care about is cutting high-end tax rates, but they know full well that they can’t say that, so they make us all play these silly games.

    …. Let’s keep remembering, folks, that they’re going through all these contortions basically so as not to raise the top tax rate 4.6 percent on taxable income above $250,000, which a little less than 2 percent of the population even has. Deeply unserious people.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Josh Barro (Bloomberg): House Republicans are out with their response to the President’s opening bid on the fiscal cliff, and it’s not very impressive. Here are three big problems with the letter they sent to the White House:

    1. It’s not really a proposal – it’s just a set of headline numbers without specific policies….

    2. The description of tax reform makes little sense…

    3. The proposal does not fully avert the fiscal cliff …. it would only partly delay the implementation of austerity measures (tax increases and spending cuts) into future years when the economy is stronger.

    …. The letter also says nothing about the payroll tax holiday or extended unemployment insurance benefits, both of which Republicans likely want to sunset. As such, this proposal only constitutes a partial aversion of the fiscal cliff, which would mean a drag on economic growth in 2013.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Dan Pfeiffer: “The Republican letter released today does not meet the test of balance. In fact, it actually promises to lower rates for the wealthy and sticks the middle class with the bill. Their plan includes nothing new and provides no details on which deductions they would eliminate, which loopholes they will close or which Medicare savings they would achieve. Independent analysts who have looked at plans like this one have concluded that middle class taxes will have to go up to pay for lower rates for millionaires and billionaires.

    While the President is willing to compromise to get a significant, balanced deal and believes that compromise is readily available to Congress, he is not willing to compromise on the principles of fairness and balance that include asking the wealthiest to pay higher rates. President Obama believes – and the American people agree – that the economy works best when it is grown from the middle out, not from the top down. Until the Republicans in Congress are willing to get serious about asking the wealthiest to pay slightly higher tax rates, we won’t be able to achieve a significant, balanced approach to reduce our deficit our nation needs.”

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Obama Diary @TheObamaDiary
    Gallup have President Obama approval at 54% today, highest since Oct 2009 – so, that means he’s probably 60%+ #Nice…

    • Ametia says:

      To all those Clintonistas out there; do these stats tell y’all anything? Lay off the Hillary 2016 nonsense. The voting machine are still warm, and these PUMAs are bellowing about Hillary. UGGGH

      PBO’s got 4 years to go, GET BEHIND him and support his policies to keep America moving forward.

  16. Nerdy Wonka‏@NerdyWonka

    Michael Lewis talks about how much SS & staff loves Pres. Obama because he treats them like family. (Begins at 26:24)

  17. rikyrah says:

    “Michelle is Superwoman. What can’t she do?” Samuel L. Jackson recently told Newsweek. “That’s why people love her. She can be on the Supreme Court and anywhere else she wants. She can be the president. She’s history and she’ll stay history because she is so amazingly smart and together.”

  18. Ametia says:

    Ed Rendell is on Hardball. He sooo wants Hillary Clinton to run in 2016, but says he believes her when she says she’s not going to run right now.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:59 AM ET, 12/03/2012
    Dec 03, 2012 01:59 PM EST

    The Morning Plum: No more false equivalence. Both sides are not equally to blame.
    By Greg Sargent

    The air is thick with mournful predictions that the impasse in Washington is so deep that going over the fiscal cliff may be inevitable. There will be a great deal of finger-pointing this week over who is to blame. But guess what: There is an actual set of facts here. They are central to understanding the current situation, and belong in every account of what is going wrong:

    1) Democrats have offered a comprehensive proposal that meaningfully details the tax hikes they would like to see and contains substantial deficit reduction, but Republican leaders have not offered a comprehensive proposal that meaningfully details the spending cuts they would like to see. And what Republicans have proposed — such as it is — doesn’t contain nearly as much in deficit reduction as the Dem plan does.

    2) Many experts believe that substantial deficit reduction simply requires Republicans to drop their opposition to raising tax rates on the rich.

    Those are just facts. The White House has proposed a deficit reduction package that contains $1.6 trillion in new revenues and around $600 billion in spending cuts, much of them to Medicare. By contrast, the most specific spending cut proposal we’ve seen from Republicans came from Mitch McConnell on Friday: Higher Medicare premiums on the wealthy; raising the eligibility age; slower cost-of-living increases for Social Security; new revenues but no hike in tax rates. The revenue side of McConnell’s proposal is too lacking in detail to calculate how much it would bring in; meanwhile, Paul Krugman’s back of the envelope calculations suggest his spending cuts would amount to all of $300 billion.

    As always, there simply isn’t any equivalence here. Even if you think the Democratic offer is too light on spending cuts, the basic fact remains that Dems have made a substantial proposal, while Republicans haven’t. Dems have meaningfully detailed what they want, and Republicans haven’t. Republicans keep telling us that Obama must show “leadership” by detailing the spending cuts the White House is willing to accept, and that the Dem proposals are not “serious” because they have yet to do this. But how are we supposed to know what will count as “serious” spending cuts, if Republicans won’t detail what they want? It’s doubly curious that Republicans refuse to do this, given that they keep saying the 2012 election gave them a mandate for cutting spending.

    Look, this is just a sucker’s game. What Republicans really mean when they demand that Obama “lead” is that they want him to propose bigger concessions up front so Republicans can denounce them as insufficient — which they would do no matter what he proposed — pulling the debate further and further in their direction.

    Meanwhile, even as the White House has willingly proposed Medicare cuts, Republicans still refuse to give ground on raising tax rates for the wealthy. (This basic imbalance is not changed, even if you think the White House’s proposed Medicare cuts are insufficient.) So here’s a simple question for any pundit who is tempted to blame both sides equally for the impasse: Can you show us how substantial deficit reduction can be achieved without higher tax rates on the rich? If not, then both sides are not equally to blame.

    (Update: Post edited slightly from original.)

    * Why Obama is drawing hard line over tax hikes: It isn’t complicated. Here’s the answer, buried in this morning’s big New York Times analysis of Obama’s “unyielding” stance:

    In his first four years in office, Mr. Obama has repeatedly offered what he considered compromises on stimulus spending, health care and deficit reduction to Republicans, who either rejected them as inadequate or pocketed them and insisted on more. Republicans argued that Mr. Obama never made serious efforts at compromise and instead lectured them about what they ought to want rather than listening to what they did want.

    Can we stop pretending this basic history never happened?

    * Why Republicans refuse to detail the spending cuts they want: Paul Krugman gets to the heart of it: It’s very hard to come up with spending cuts that would seriously reduce the deficit without cutting deeply into very popular programs, which is why Republicans want Dems to go first. The problem, as always, is that cutting spending is popular in the abstract but not when the talk turns to specifics. And this time around, things are different: Because Democrats are the ones with the leverage, they don’t have to acquiesce to the GOP demand that they propose spending cuts first.

    * Dems should not get hoodwinked into proposing cuts first: E.J. Dionne makes that argument in his column this morning, and this captures the Republican strategy perfectly:

    They seem to hope a deal will be born by way of immaculate conception, with Obama taking ownership of all the hard stuff while they innocently look on.

    As noted above, this is what Republicans really mean when they call on Obama to “lead.” Get it?

  20. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:03 PM ET, 12/03/2012
    John Boehner’s exit strategy
    By Greg Sargent

    It’s widely understood that John Boehner is in a very difficult spot. On the one hand he has to worry about the Tea Partyers in his caucus who don’t want him to compromise on extending just the middle class tax cuts (what they call “raising taxes”). On the other, Obama has far more political leverage here, and as Boehner knows, the GOP is likely to take the blame if middle class taxes go up on millions of people at the end of the year.

    But it’s worth noting that Boehner does have a way out. Think back to what happened when Boehner was in a similar position in the battle over the payroll tax cut — which led to Republicans capitulating. I wouldn’t be surprised if this one plays out just as that one did.

    Remember, Tea Partyers were adamant that Boehner not give in to extending the payroll tax cut. Boehner vowed darkly that Republicans would not cave. But as the deadline loomed, individual Republicans and GOP-aligned commentators began calling on the GOP to concede and regroup to fight another day, noting that Republicans had to recognize when the time had come to fold. As you’ll recall, the way it played was that Boehner was simply bowing to the inevitable. He had been forced by circumstances to capitulate. If he has paid a major price for doing that, I’m not aware of it — even conservatives acknowledged he had done the right thing politically for his party and his vulnerable members.

    The same thing could happen this time. Boehner can simply wait until the deadline looms and until more Republicans come out and say the battle is lost. That may well happen, since some House Republicans will not relish returning to their districts to explain why taxes went up on the middle class. And then Boehner can allow the House to vote on and pass the Senate bill extending just the middle class tax cuts. He won’t have caved; he’ll have fought the good fight up until the end; and Republicans can regroup for next year. Indeed, it’s not clear this is such a bad outcome for them. As David Dayen notes, if Republicans remove the middle class tax cuts from the equation, they could enjoy increased leverage over other Dem priorities, such as extending unemployment benefits and (again) the payroll tax cuts, and raising the debt ceiling.

    In this scenario, even if some vulnerable Republicans do vote to extend the middle class tax cuts, conservatives don’t even have to. Republicans can suffer huge defections and the Senate bill will still pass, because House Dems will vote for it.

  21. rikyrah says:

    House GOP crafts ‘Doomsday Plan’

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 3, 2012 3:22 PM EST.

    The House Republican line on taxes is pretty straightforward: unless President Obama agrees to extend lower tax rates on income above $250,000, the GOP will force higher tax rates on everyone. The problem, of course, is that everyone knows Republicans don’t really mean it.

    Unlike some of the other recent hostage standoffs, GOP officials don’t seem at all interested in pulling the metaphorical trigger. The challenge for House Republican lawmakers becomes one of how best to lose gracefully. Apparently, the “Doomsday Plan” is taking shape.

    …House Republicans would allow a vote on extending the Bush middle class tax cuts (the bill passed in August by the Senate) and offer the President nothing more: no extension of the debt ceiling, nothing on unemployment, nothing on closing loopholes. Congress would recess for the holidays and the president would face a big battle early in the year over the debt ceiling.

    Two senior Republican elected officials tell me this doomsday plan is becoming the most likely scenario…. Under one variation of this Doomsday Plan, House Republicans would allow a vote on extending only the middle class tax cuts and Republicans, to express disapproval at the failure to extend all tax cuts, would vote “present” on the bill, allowing it to pass entirely on Democratic votes.

    That’ll show ’em — Republicans would refuse to vote for middle-class tax breaks to spite those rascally Democrats.

    Nevertheless, as a practical matter, this would more or less be a strategy based on Rep. Tom Cole’s (R-Okla.) advice that Congress take President Obama’s offer on taxes, and then move on to everything else. Republicans wouldn’t get the blame for new tax increases, and they’d regain some leverage for the next self-imposed, man-made, easily-avoided crisis.

    It seems like a fairly smart move, though GOP leaders will reportedly avoid making it unless/until the rest of the fiscal talks fall through.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Boehner offers $4.6 trillion counter-proposal
    Posted by Lori Montgomery on December 3, 2012 at 3:06 pm

    House Republican leaders endorsed a far-reaching plan Monday to rein in the national debt that would raise $800 billion in new tax revenue, slice $600 billion from federal health programs and apply a stingier measure of inflation to Social Security benefits.

    In a letter to President Obama, House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) and other senior Republicans suggested that the framework, first laid out by Democrat Erskine Bowles during last year’s budget battles, should serve as a starting point for budget talks aimed at averting the year-end “fiscal cliff.”

    “With the fiscal cliff nearing, our priority remains finding a reasonable solution that can pass both the House and the Senate, and be signed into law in the next couple of weeks,” the letter says. “The best way to do this is by learning from and building on the bipartisan discussion that have occurred [earlier in] this Congress.”

    The framework serves as a counteroffer to the plan Obama put on the table last week, which was essentially a reprise of his most recent budget request. While both frameworks would reduce borrowing by more than $4 trillion over the next decade, Obama’s proposal would raise $1.6 trillion in fresh revenue — double the amount in the GOP plan — and produce only about $350 billion in savings from Medicaid and Medicare, the biggest drivers of future borrowing.

    Republicans were outraged by the president’s proposal, calling it a step backward on the path to compromise. On Monday, Boehner referred to it as the president’s “la-la land offer.” Senior GOP aides said the equivalent response would have been slapping the House Republican budget on the table, an austere document that cuts deeply into the social safety net and would cut tax collections further.

    “We could have responded in kind. But we decided not to do that,” Boehner told reporters. “What we’re putting forth is a credible plan that is worth serious consideration.”

    The proposal marks the first time Republican leaders other than Boehner have explicitly and publicly backed new tax revenue. In addition to Boehner, the letter is signed by Majority Leader Eric Cantor (Va.), Whip Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Ways and Means Chairman Dave Camp (Mich.) and Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (Wis.).

    The proposal calls for $800 billion in higher tax collections through an overhaul of the tax code next year that would push the top rate below the current level of 35 percent and raise cash by wiping out loopholes and deductions.

    The plan also seeks $600 billion in health savings. One option, GOP aides said, would be raising the Medicare eligibility age from 65 to 67. It also includes $300 billion in savings from other mandatory programs, such as farm subsidies. And it would save $200 billion by applying a less generous measure of inflation government wide, including to Social Security benefits, which would rise more slowly as a result.

  23. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2012 4:03 PM
    Thomas Jefferson is “one of the most deeply creepy people in American history.” Agreed!

    By Kathleen Geier

    “No, it’s not merely Jefferson’s appalling personal behavior that is so deeply disturbing. It’s the way he proselytized in favor of racism in its most horrific form as ideology and national policy. Robin quotes at length from two of the more repellent passages from Query XIV in his Notes on the State of Virginia. In it, Jefferson writes that, due their moral, intellectual, and physical inferiority, the slaves, if freed, could never live in the same society as whites. According to Jefferson, there were but two “solutions” to this “problem”: deportation or elimination. Robin writes:

    “If blacks were set free, Jefferson warned, it would “produce convulsions which will probably never end but in the extermination of one race or the other.” The only alternative was an “effort…unknown to history. When freed, he [the slave] is to be removed beyond the mixture.”

    “Robin rightly links these sentiments to Nazi ideology about how to deal with “the Jewish question.” The parallels are real, and they are chilling. No wonder why Jefferson is a hero to many of the extremist racists on the American right like Pat Buchanan and the Tea Party types. Yes, the man also accomplished great things, but nothing could atone for the noxious of stench of the deadly, quasi-fascist ideology that permeates his writings on race.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Wankers of the Day: Politico and J.C. Watts

    by BooMan
    Mon Dec 3rd, 2012 at 09:31:39 AM EST

    This is really stupid even by Politico’s standards. J.C. Watts is not going to run for chairman of the Republican National Committee, and, if he does, he isn’t going to unseat Reince Priebus. The article should have never been written. And I don’t know what we need to do to convince Republicans that they won’t win any votes by placing minorities in token positions of responsibility. Maybe we could poll every minority in the country and find out if any of them would vote for the Republicans if J.C. Watts is their chairman.

    Remember, J.C. Watts’ father said, “A black man voting for the Republicans makes about as much sense as a chicken voting for Colonel Sanders.” Except, the Republicans are so grateful to have even one black supporter that they’ll make it lucrative for you:

    Since leaving Capitol Hill a decade ago, Watts has formed J.C. Watts Companies, which including [sic] a lobbying shop representing clients like defense giant Lockheed Martin Corp. and energy producers. Watts also owns several John Deere farm equipment dealerships, and he frequently appears on TV to discuss the GOP and minority issues

    J.C. Watts already received his reward for being a token black Republican. He ought to follow his own advice:

    These old, tired, pathetic models of saying, ‘Okay, in the black [community], when there’s a presidential election, we will form an African-American Coalition for [Mitt] Romney or [Sen. John] McCain,’ I’ll never do that again. That is a joke, that is so tired,” Watts said. “It’s window dressing to say, ‘African Americans for Romney’ or ‘African-American Coalition’ or ‘African-American Advisory Council.’ That’s insulting to the people that they ask to do it when you don’t put an permanent infrastructure in place to give it credibility.

    Here’s a newsflash, J.C. The Republicans don’t like you. They don’t like black people. They think all black people are moochers who won’t take personal responsibility for their lives and just want free phones and crack cocaine. I don’t know how much more evidence you need for you to realize it, but the GOP has been trying to tell you this for the longest.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Weird Fear of Europe

    by BooMan
    Mon Dec 3rd, 2012 at 01:19:09 PM EST

    I haven’t documented it, but I got the distinct impression that the vast majority of right-wing commentators were in full agreement with Mitt Romney’s comments about the 47% and his explanation that he lost because the president gave “gifts” to his political base. I certainly noticed a lot of agreement in the comments sections of right-wing blogs. It seems to be almost an article of faith on the right that the Democratic Party is filled with “takers” and the Republican Party is filled with “makers.”
    There is also a strange obsession with Europe. Specifically, it seems to be desperately important to a lot of right-wingers that America not become more like European countries. Europe is supposed to be full of people who lack all initiative and have sunk into a horrible state of dependency. Part of what makes America great, and certainly better than France or Germany, is that we don’t pamper our poor by giving them “gifts.”

    Most of the people expressing these opinions have never been to France or Germany, or even Greece. Having traveled to Europe a few times, I can confirm that the people there have nice things. I usually wind up wondering why they have so many nice things compared to Americans. We can’t even agree to pay for grass seed for the National Mall.

    In any case, most of Europe is quite nice and they seem to be pretty good at business and commerce, too. They have their problems, but then so do we. I don’t consider the Democratic Party to be a “European” party, at least not a left-wing one. But, even if I did feel that way, I wouldn’t see it as any kind of threat to traditional America.

    But, I don’t have contempt for anyone who signs the back of a paycheck instead of the front.

  26. rikyrah says:

    rolandsmartin ‏@rolandsmartin
    The #BlackAgenda meeting was convened by @thereval @marcmorial @benjealous Melanie Campbell @coalitionbuildr

    rolandsmartin ‏@rolandsmartin
    I was told by a staffer of @RevJJackson Sr that he was not invited to today’s #BlackAgenda meeting in DC

    rolandsmartin ‏@rolandsmartin
    .@thereval just sent me an email saying @revjjackson was invited. I’ll be asking Rev Jackson’s team why they said he wasn’t #BlackAgenda

  27. rikyrah says:

    Josh Rogin ‏@joshrogin
    Kerry introduces McCain at presser. McCain says, “Thank you very much Mr. Secretary.” Kerry turns beet red.

    Josh Rogin ‏@joshrogin
    Kerry quips back at McCain, “Thank you very much Mr. President… This is what happens when two losers get together.” Crowd laughs heartily

  28. LiberalPhenom‏@LiberalPhenom

    Jay Carney just announced POTUS will take Qs on twitter at 2pm about his tax plan. Hashtag is, of course, #My2K.

  29. Ametia says:

    BREAKING: Britain’s Prince William and Catherine Middleton are expecting their first child, the palace has announced.

  30. Ametia says:

    December 03, 2012 11:39 AM
    Telling Old Folks the Truth
    By Ed Kilgore

    I think we’ve all come to realize that the biggest Republican dilemma during the fiscal talks—as it’s been under the surface for years now—how to reconcile the fundamental desire to undermine

    Medicare as a safety-net program with the GOP’s heavy reliance on older voters—and its associated habit of Mediscaring seniors with claims of trying to save them from horrible cuts to the program by Democrats.

  31. Ametia says:

    Chocolate for Rik


  32. rikyrah says:

    December 03, 2012 9:38 AM
    Whatever Sheldon Wants

    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the things about the pace of contemporary American politics is that it’s dangerously easy to get used to outrageous developments. That’s how I feel, anyway, about the post-Citizens United atmosphere for campaign finance, and the ability of super-donors to exert a degree of influence that would have embarrassed Mark Hanna.

    At HuffPost, Peter Stone has a piece on Sheldon Adelson that kind of illustrates this point. It seems Adelson’s then-preposterous claim early in the 2012 cycle that he’d spend $100 million personally to beat Barack Obama wasn’t so preposterous: he may have actually spent $150 million. We’ve all gotten used to Adelson and his eccentricities since it became obvious he was personally keeping Newt Gingrich’s presidential campaign afloat long after it had reached its natural expiration date. But I encourage you to forget all preconceptions and just read Stone’s piece and ask yourself if Sheldon’s the sort of guy whose preoccupations—which Stone at least believes affected Mitt Romney’s policy positions and political strategy tangibly—are likely to have a healthy or unhealthy impact on his beneficiaries.

    Indeed, one of the good things about Adelson—his relatively high degree of transparency about his political donations and why he provides them—makes this issue kind of unavoidable. Adelson fears prosecution in connection with the overseas gambling business that has made him so insanely rich; he hates unions; and he is deeply committed to a particular political faction (and an important political journal) in a foreign country that receives crucial financial and military support from the United States. If you look at immensely rich political donors over the years, some have been politically very naive and essentially just like to be known as players and/or want access in case they ever need it; most others have been happy to identify with the party that represents their general interests. Adelson has very, very specific wants and needs, and particularly so long as there is an open Republican presidential nomination in the immediate future, he’s in a position personally to bankroll a candidate or two who is certain to pay attention to them.

  33. rikyrah says:

    December 02, 2012 5:04 PM
    Why do Asian Americans vote so heavily Democratic? Political science research has some answers

    By Kathleen Geier

    One of the more surprising voting trends in American politics over the past two decades is the dramatic shift of Asian Americans toward the Democratic Party. Only 31% of the Asian American electorate voted for Bill Clinton in 1992, but 73% supported Barack Obama in 2012. What accounts for this change? Working with data from the National Asian American Survey, two political scientists, Karthick Ramakrishnan of the University of California, Riverside and Taeku Lee of the University of California, Berkeley, have some answers.

    The professors reject a variety of explanations that have recently been offered. No, it’s apparently not because, as David Brooks proposed, Asian American voters are less individualistic or less antagonistic toward government than are other Americans. Nor is it, as Andrew Gelman hypothesized, because they are more likely to reside in blue states. Richard Posner’s argument that newer voting groups support incumbent parties is similarly dismissed, as is Charles Murray’s idea that Democratic economic policies have nothing to do with Asian Americans’ support.

    Rather, say the professors, there are are cluster of “push and pull” factors that seem to be drawing Asian Americans towards the Democrats and away from the Republicans. Some of the pull factors: Asian Americans like President Obama’s policies on health care, education, and the Iraq War. They also appreciate that Obama has appointed a record number of Asian Americans to high office, including such nominations as Goodwin Liu for the U.S. Court of Appeals, Jim Yong Kim as head of the World Bank, and Steven Chu as Secretary of Energy. Those appointments have received a great deal of attention in Asian American media outlets.

    As for the “push factors”: well, the Republican’s anti-immigrant bias and its alliance with the Christian right are not doing them any favors so far as Asian Americans are concerned.

    Personally, I believe that the “push” factors may have gone deeper than we will ever know. During the past four years especially, Asian Americans, like every other nonwhite group in America, clearly received the overwhelming message from Republicans that: “You’re not welcome here. You don’t belong.” It stung. It’s worth noting that not a single prominent Republican ever stood up to Limbaugh and the other racist, xenophobic bullies in the party. The targets of those bullies’ wrath will never forget that. The Republican party will be spending the next decade or two at least repairing the damage.

    Over at Josh Marshall’s blog, he’s recently published some fascinating emails he’s received from Asian Americans and others from immigrant backgrounds about why they so strongly support President Obama and have been so profoundly disgusted by the Republicans. I’ve pasted and copied one of them in full, which you can read after the jump. I strongly urge that you do so. It’s quite powerful.

    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. Sadly, the early signs of the post-election period show only continued GOP hostility, even more bitterness and resentment than before. I do believe that Obama and Senate Democrats are going to play hardball these next few months on Senate rules and the most immediate legislative issues of the budget and taxes and debt ceiling, and it will make me happy. That will be necessary, because it appears that Congressional Republicans are remaining adamant in their unwillingness to deal with a black President as an equal to previous white Presidents. That might change out of necessity, but for the time being federal Democratic electeds will simply have to bring the hammer down. The next key test for Republicans will be immigration reform: will resentment and bitterness overwhelm their recent recognition of the need to try to bend toward the demands of immigrant communities? I actually suspect yes, it will. They’re bitter toward losing and now will become only more bitter and intransigent after getting forced into budget and tax legislation they hate, and getting steamrolled on Senate rules. My next big electoral hope is that more people of color wake up and realize the importance of voting in non-Presidential elections, meaning the federal midterms and in places like Virginia where I live the odd-year state-level elections. Outsized minority turnout in 2014 might still be needed to make national Republicans feel compelled to change their ways, as I’m not sure this election will ultimately be enough. Thanks for indulging my rant, this particular topic strikes a very personal nerve and these recent posts on TPM meant a lot to me./i>

  34. Ametia says:

    Clips from Oprah’s interviews with the actors from movie Lincoln.

    Loved The” voice is the FINGERPRINT of the SOUL.”

  35. rikyrah says:

    Three Big Whoppers Republicans Tell About the Fiscal Cliff

    By Rebecca Leber on Dec 2, 2012 at 1:00 pm

    After voters rejected Republican economic proposals, the GOP sought the appearance of “compromise” with the president on averting the so-called fiscal cliff. The gesture was strictly rhetorical, since their stance just restates the Romney/Ryan tax plan to disproportionately benefit the wealthiest Americans, coupled with steep cuts to entitlement programs for the middle class.

    On Fox News Sunday, House Speaker John Boehner summarized the three major myths Republicans have used in fiscal showdown negotiations:

    MYTH: Feigning shock at economic proposals that voters endorsed: Boehner said the White House’s initial outline to avert the so-called fiscal cliff was a complete surprise: “I was flabbergasted. I said you can’t be serious. I have never seen anything like it.” However, much of President Obama’s current proposal appeared in his 20-page plan, released in October, which has explicit mentions of tax cuts for the middle class, small business tax breaks, and entitlement savings. At the time, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT)dismissed it as a “glossy” brochure, and “nothing but a rehash of the same failed ideas of the past four years.” Boehner and Hatch are pretending to encounter Obama’s economic plan for the first time, when it has been on the table well before he won reelection.

    MYTH: “We have laid it all out for them, a dozen ways to raise the revenue from the richest Americans.” Boehner claimed that Republicans have detailed their revenue counterplan to Obama’s proposal to allow Bush tax cuts to expire for the wealthiest 2 percent, while extending them for the middle class. On Sunday, pressed to provide details on their biggest proposal since the election, Boehner dodged answering. Rather than increase marginal tax rates on the richest Americans, Republicans back eliminating tax loopholes and entitlement cuts mirrored in Paul Ryan’s budget. The pitch is much like Mitt Romney’s, which attracted criticism for his lack of specificity on which loopholes could make up for lower tax rates for the wealthiest Americans.

    MYTH: Obama has “put $400 billion worth of unspecified cuts” on the table. Boehner claimed Obama’s “unserious proposal” lacks details on what entitlement savings he would put forward. But the details for Obama’s proposal for $400 billion in savings in Medicare and other social programs have existed for quite some time, in his FY 2013 budget released in February. It includes $600 billion in “reforms and savings, to our health care and other government programs,” without the dramatic restructuring that Republicans propose, as well as $1.6 trillion in revenue.

  36. rikyrah says:

    GOP: if cuts aren’t ‘painful,’ they’re not ‘serious’
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 3, 2012 8:40 AM EST.

    The debt-reduction plan President Obama put on the table last week includes several hundred billion in savings, on top of the cuts that the administration has already accepted in social-insurance programs. Republicans responded by saying the cuts aren’t “serious” enough.

    And why not? Because as Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) argued yesterday, “painful cuts … have to happen.”

    This matters insofar as policymakers seem to be having a debate over the qualitative nature of “cuts.” As Igor Volsky noted, the right seems to believes “serious” plans are ones that “directly reduce benefits or substantially increase out of pocket spending for seniors and poor Americans.”

    Quite right. If at-risk Americans aren’t adversely affected by the cuts, then GOP policymakers aren’t interested. As Corker seemed to suggest yesterday, “painful” = “serious.”

    Even putting aside the callousness of the argument, the larger Republican approach doesn’t stand up well to mathematical scrutiny, either.


    As Paul Krugman explained over the weekend, the White House’s call for higher revenue through increased taxes on high incomes “gets treated with an unmistakable sneer,” while Republicans’ calls for raising the Medicare eligibility age “gets very respectful treatment.”

    • Ametia says:

      This ain’t Les Miserables, MOFOs. The GOP can go sit down with their paternalistic, we know what’s good for you “poor folks” nonsense. It’s all further & continued attacks the poor, women, minorites, you know punish us all for not being white, male, and RICH! GTFOH

  37. rikyrah says:

    Geithner sets conditions for fiscal deal

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Dec 3, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner appeared on several Sunday shows yesterday, and for the first time, made explicitly clear that higher rates on income above $250,000 is a precondition to any fiscal agreement.

    “There’s not going to be an agreement without rates going up,” Geithner said, reinforcing the fact that the White House sees no reason to give up on this central tenet of President Obama’s platform, which enjoys broad public support.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), of course, has a very different approach in mind. Here’s what he had to say on “Fox News Sunday.”

    “Listen, what is this difference where the money comes from? We put $800 billion worth of revenue, which is what he’s asking for, out of eliminating the top two tax rates. […]

    “We’ve put the revenue on the table. And, again a dozen different ways to get there without raising tax rates.”

    And this, in a nutshell, is why talks aren’t going anywhere. The White House has a plan on the table, which includes $1.6 trillion in new revenue, relying largely on higher rates on income above $250,000. Congressional Republicans, by their own admission, have no plan, and a vague promise about being able to find $800 billion in new revenue without raising rates, by closing loopholes and ending some deductions.

    For those who take arithmetic seriously, the GOP approach borders on laughable. Indeed, Republicans refuse to put pen to paper, responding to requests by effectively saying they have a secret plan to collect $800 billion in new revenue. How? Where? So far, Boehner & Co. simply won’t to say. How reassuring.


    Also note, as far as the White House is concerned, GOP leaders won’t offer a detailed proposal because they can’t — there’s simply no credible way to get $800 billion in new revenue through deductions and loopholes, without forcing the middle class to feel the pinch, which both sides say they will not do.

    • Ametia says:

      LOL GOP better get their shit together and sign jobs bill, tax cuts for middle class. They’ve got nothing! And might as well tag their time is congress as PAID American taxpayers.

  38. rikyrah says:

    I love Carol of the Bells

  39. rikyrah says:

    Class Wars of 2012


    Published: November 29, 2012

    On Election Day, The Boston Globe reported, Logan International Airport in Boston was running short of parking spaces. Not for cars — for private jets. Big donors were flooding into the city to attend Mitt Romney’s victory party.

    They were, it turned out, misinformed about political reality. But the disappointed plutocrats weren’t wrong about who was on their side. This was very much an election pitting the interests of the very rich against those of the middle class and the poor.

    And the Obama campaign won largely by disregarding the warnings of squeamish “centrists” and embracing that reality, stressing the class-war aspect of the confrontation. This ensured not only that President Obama won by huge margins among lower-income voters, but that those voters turned out in large numbers, sealing his victory.

    The important thing to understand now is that while the election is over, the class war isn’t. The same people who bet big on Mr. Romney, and lost, are now trying to win by stealth — in the name of fiscal responsibility — the ground they failed to gain in an open election.

    Before I get there, a word about the actual vote. Obviously, narrow economic self-interest doesn’t explain everything about how individuals, or even broad demographic groups, cast their ballots. Asian-Americans are a relatively affluent group, yet they went for President Obama by 3 to 1. Whites in Mississippi, on the other hand, aren’t especially well off, yet Mr. Obama received only 10 percent of their votes.

    These anomalies, however, weren’t enough to change the overall pattern. Meanwhile, Democrats seem to have neutralized the traditional G.O.P. advantage on social issues, so that the election really was a referendum on economic policy. And what voters said, clearly, was no to tax cuts for the rich, no to benefit cuts for the middle class and the poor. So what’s a top-down class warrior to do?

  40. rikyrah says:

    December 1, 2012, 5:37 pm

    What Defines A Serious Deficit Proposal?

    Just a thought: if you follow the pundit discussion of matters fiscal, you get the definite impression that some kinds of deficit reduction are considered “serious”, while others are not. In particular, the Obama administration’s call for higher revenue through increased taxes on high incomes — which actually goes considerably beyond just letting the Bush tax cuts for the top end expire — gets treated with an unmistakable sneer in much political discussion, as if it were a trivial thing, more about staking out a populist position than it is about getting real on red ink.

    On the other hand, the idea of raising the age of Medicare eligibility gets very respectful treatment — now that’s serious.

    So I thought I’d look at the dollars and cents — and even I am somewhat shocked. Those tax hikes would raise $1.6 trillion over the next decade; according to the CBO, raising the Medicare age would save $113 billion in federal funds over the next decade.

    So, the non-serious proposal would reduce the deficit 14 times as much as the serious proposal.

    I guess we have to understand the definition of serious: a proposal is only serious if it punishes the poor and the middle class.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Why the Obscenely Wealthy Whine When They Have It So Good

    Romney’s 47% comments are exactly what wealthy conservatives think: that they are the true victims.

    October 9, 2012 |

    So, Mitt Romney now tells Sean Hannity he was “completely wrong” about the 47%. On the surface that looks like a typical etch-a-sketch campaign pivot. But I think there is more to it than a little clean up in aisle three.

    My theory is that after careful research and analysis, the smartest guys at 1% World Headquarters reached a disturbing conclusion. They decided that the whole fiasco needs to be contained as much as possible because it has the potential for serious damage well beyond the November election.

    First, the setting. This is how they think and talk among themselves. It’s not just at fundraisers, but in their churches, country clubs and board rooms as well. Their servants hear them all the time. But they can’t tell for fear of being easily dismissed. Thanks to YouTube we now get to see and hear for ourselves.

    Yes, they really do believe there is something wrong with the people. What is it? It’s that our default preference is to be lazy moochers. As employers this is definitely how they think about us as workers. This is why there are entire schools devoted to “management”. We also hear a lot about their true worldview any time we start to talk about forming a union.

    The roots of this mindset run very deep. Did the job creator plantation owners ever want to consider there was anything wrong with the slavery system? Of course not. But they were very eager to talk about all the things that were wrong with the slaves.

    That legacy is very much with us They still don’t want anyone to think there is anything wrong with the system.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Business owners warn against a fiscal cliff deal that sacrifices entitlements to save tax cuts
    By J.D. Harrison, Published: November 30 | Updated: Monday, December 3, 7:00 AM

    […] “If I could talk to Congress, I would tell them to stay away from entitlements,” Mary Black, owner of a UPS franchise in Baton Rouge, La., said in an interview. “I’m willing to pay more taxes if that’s what’s needed to pull up the country, and my business would be okay. But cutting Medicare and Medicaid could have some really bad consequences for small businesses.”

    Without government-backed insurance, Black would no longer be in business. During the summer of 2010, her 71-year-old husband fell ill with pneumonia and was hospitalized for more than four weeks, much of it in an intensive care unit. He recovered, but not before the medical bills soared to more than $130,000.

    “Had it not been for Medicare, my business would have gone under,” Black said, noting that her business would have likely been the first thing sold to cover the expenses. “No question, I would have had to close the doors.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    The New Pot Barons: Businessmen Bank on Marijuana
    Oct 22, 2012 1:00 AM EDT

    Pot use in the United States is rising sharply, and voters may make it fully legal in two states this fall. Smart businessmen are banking on that happening.

    Full dark in downtown Denver, and inside one of the twinkling high-rises that make the skyline, drug dealers are putting money into envelopes. They’re trying to be discreet. No one signed the security logbook in the lobby. All assume the room could be bugged. But if your image of the drug trade involves armed gangs or young men in parked cars, these dealers offer a surreal counterpoint. There’s a finance veteran, two children of the Ivy League, multiple lawyers, and the son of a police chief. At their side is a Pulitzer Prize–winning communications consultant, two state lobbyists, and a nationally known political operative. And the guest of honor: a state senator who likes the look of those envelopes being stuffed.

    What’s the maximum contribution?” one of the dealers asks. “Do you take cash?” wonders another. A third man breaks into a smile. “You better,” he says, eyebrows dancing, “because the banks don’t like doing business with us.” Laughter fills the room as the envelopes are passed forward and slipped into a briefcase. “Huge thank you, everyone,” the politician says, guiding the conversation back to the next legislative session and the kinds of legal changes this group would like to see. Here again, it’s not what you’d expect: there’s talk of a youth drug-abuse-prevention program and a bill to define “drugged” driving. When the politician finally rises to leave, after more than an hour, the dealers, in their pressed shirts and suit jackets, clap heartily. The average participant looks to be about 35, white and male, and on good terms with a barber. “Thank you,” the politician says, bowing slightly. “Thank you for what you do.”

    What they do is sell marijuana. And not on street corners. Colorado is the developed world’s only regulated for-profit cannabis market, and sales—to the 100,000 residents who have a thumbs up from their M.D.s—are closing in on $200 million this year, a sum that generates tens of millions of dollars in local, state, and federal taxes. (Yes, the IRS taxes marijuana operations, even as the Justice Department attempts to shut them down.) Colorado is not the world’s only experiment in free-market pot, but it’s the most sophisticated, pushing beyond the Netherlands’ confusing ban on wholesale and California’s hazy nonprofit status. Denver’s former city attorney has called it California “on steroids.”

  44. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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