Monday Open Thread

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Ametia                    Rikyrah                            SG2

Sleigh Ride” is a popular light orchestral piece composed by Leroy Anderson. The composer had the original idea for the piece during a heat wave in July 1946; he finished the work in February 1948. Lyrics, about a person who would like to ride in a sleigh on a winter’s day with another person, were written by Mitchell Parish in 1950. The orchestral version was first recorded in 1949 by Arthur Fiedler and The Boston Pops Orchestra. The song was a hit record on RCA Victor Red Seal 49-0515 (45 rpm) / 10-1484 (78 rpm), and has become the equivalent of a signature song for the orchestra. The 45 rpm version was originally issued on red vinyl. This original mono version has never been available on CD, although the later 1959 re-recording is available in stereo. The orchestra has also recorded the song with John Williams, their conductor from 1979 to 1995, and Keith Lockhart, their current conductor.

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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85 Responses to Monday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    December 10, 2012 1:10 PM
    Goosing the Means-Testing Ghost

    By Ed Kilgore

    We are led to believe that another non-negotiable congressional Republican demand at the center of the big fiscal talks is “means-testing” of Social Security and/or Medicare. This has become quite the mantra for Republicans. Means-testing Social Security benefits was one of the few unchanging policy positions Mitt Romney maintained during the 2012 cycle. Means-testing entitlements generally was articulated as the very definition of “entitlement reform” by Mitch McConnell in an interview with the Wall Street Journal immediately after the elections.

    But can anyone tell you with any degree of precision what Republicans currently propose by way of supporting “means-testing?” To some extent, that bridge has long been crossed, so it shouldn’t be a matter of some big principle being vindicated. Social Security benefits are already means-tested by the pay-out formulas—and by the exposure of benefits to income taxes, which has been in place since 1993. And depending on how you look at it, so are Medicare’s, insofar as Part B and Part D premiums vary according to income. So what’s the big Republican idea? A little more along the same lines, or something more drastic? Hard to say, isn’t it?

    There are also aspects of means-testing that make it a very implausible conservative policy initiative. The Right has complained for years that means-tested programs for the poor undermine work incentives. As Kevin Drum has pointed out, means-testing retirement programs could create lifelong disincentives to higher incomes and savings. And more modest means-testing wouldn’t save a lot of money (which should be evident in the fact that so many people don’t even know it already exists). In citing this “reform” as a sort of first principle, GOPers are really goosing a ghost.

    So you got one “essential entitlement reform” that makes no sense and nobody likes (increasing the eligibility age for Medicare) and another that no one can quite describe. Throw in paring back cost-of-living adjustments for all federally provided benefits, which is guaranteed to infuriate many millions of people, and you’ve got quite the “reform” package.

  2. rikyrah says:

    December 10, 2012 3:46 PM
    Why Michigan Republicans Had To Race To the Bottom

    By Ed Kilgore

    Despite some (in my mind unjustified) hopes that President Obama’s appearance in Michigan today might produce a delay in the Republican race to enact “right-to-work” legislation during a lame-duck session, all indications are that Gov. Rick Snyder will sign the law as soon as it arrives at his desk tomorrow or even today.

    In looking at the reasons for this quite-literal “race to the bottom,” a lot of analysts have emphasized the rejection by Michigan voters on November 6 of a union-backed ballot initiative to put collective bargaining rights into the state constitution. And others (including sometimes PA contributor Rich Yeselson in his excellent summary of the background and implications of this development for TAP) have stressed the symbolism of this traditional union stronghold, the birthplace of the UAW, enacting such blatantly anti-labor legislation.

    But there is a more practical reason for the haste, as I have suspected: Michigan Republicans were rightfully afraid they wouldn’t have the votes in the House had they taken this up as normal legislation in the next session of the legislature.

    The AFC-CIO runs through the math on its Facebook page: six House Republicans who voted for this legislation will be replaced by Democrats in January. Subtracting one lame-duck Democrat who’ll be replaced by a Republicans, there’d likely be a five-vote swing if they had waited until the new session, converting a 58-52 win to a 57-53 loss.

    At Slate Dave Weigel discusses the right-to-work blitz as part of a “long tail” of consequences from the 2010 Republican election, but he’s mainly talking about the control of redistricting that made it possible (and probably will in the future) for Republicans to hold down Democratic gains in 2012. In this case, however, that wasn’t enough to guarantee the success of the anti-union coup in 2013, so they had to move right now.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Boy Stops Walking his Dog to Play in a Puddle

  4. rikyrah says:

    Reminder: Republicans Still Sitting on VAWA

    Posted on 12/08/2012 at 4:30 pm by JM Ashby

    Congress still hasn’t renewed the Violence Against Women Act. More specifically, the House of Representatives is still refusing to pass the newest version of the bill which has already passed the Senate.

    The Tea Party House originally opposed the latest version of the bill because it granted existing protection to members of the LGBT community, immigrants, and Native American tribes. But the hold-up at this point in negotiations is the latter, not the former.

    Eric Cantor is reportedly personally overseeing the final stages of passing the bill and it is he who has a problem with granting existing protections and additional rights to Native Americans.


    Why do Native American tribes need this provision? Because of this.

    In some rural villages, rapes are 12 times more common than the national rate, and for Native American women, generally sexual assault is more than twice as common as the national average, according to The New York Times. The Alaska Federation of Natives cites a 2010 report by the University of Alaska Anchorage Justice Center, finding that while only 15.2 percent of Alaskans are Native American, they are the victims of 50 percent of the domestic violence and 61 percent of the sexual assaults committed in the state.

    The vast majority of these crimes go unpunished. Local police, expected to prevent rapes and to respond quickly to reports of rapes, sometimes don’t respond at all. Hospitals lack the rape kits and cameras that would allow the collection of biological and photographic evidence to be used at trial. Most Native American rape victims don’t bother to take the nearly futile step of reporting rapes in the first place.

    The men who commit these crimes are often not Native American themselves. Indian Country reports that “non-Indians commit 88%” of rapes and domestic violence against Native American women, but they are beyond the reach of local justice: “antiquated jurisdictional laws” prevent tribal justice systems “from prosecuting non-Native criminals.”

    A decent human being would clear the way to pass the additional provision without delay, but Eric Cantor has decided that “epidemic levels” of rape, sexual assault, and domestic violence against Native American women is political.

  5. rikyrah says:


    I just finished watching the Oprah Show with Kerri Washington and Shonda Rhimes. I absolutely loved it.

  6. Houston Texans vs. New England Patriots

    Cheer leader Pictures, Images and Photos

    What we gone do! What we gone do!
    What we gone do! What we gone do!
    What we gone do! What we gone do!
    What we gone do! What we gone do!

  7. rikyrah says:

    Sunday, December 09, 2012

    Obama, intrextrotrovert

    For a year or two, we’ve been awash in stories casting Obama as a singularity among politicians: a successful introvert. He doesn’t schmooze congress-folk, we read ad infinitum; he doesn’t butter up billionaires, or at least doesn’t keep them well buttered.

    It’s true he’s no Bill Clinton, sniffing out crowds to soothe a recurring jones for mass adulation. But he’s no classic introvert, either, as this remembrance from Maraniss’s Obama reminds me:

    There were certain aspects of organizing at which he excelled. 280 While Loretta Augustine-Herron and Yvonne Lloyd were wary of some streets, even in familiar neighborhoods, and warned Obama away, he had no qualms about walking down any block or entering any house, no matter how threatening or odd. His life’s history was at work here. When you spend several formative years starting at age six immersed in an unfamiliar culture on the other side of the world, walking the exotic alleyways and pathways of the Menteng Dalam neighborhood of Jakarta, and figure out how to survive and thrive there, learning the language, seeming so at home that Indonesians come to think of you as one of them, nothing after that can seem too intimidating. But Lloyd was shocked one day when Obama reported that he had eaten at the house of a woman who was known for being a packrat, with old newspapers and detritus stacked high everywhere. “I said, ‘Did you go over and eat in that house? It’s not exactly the safest place in the world.’… He’d say, ‘Yeah, it was interesting.’ We’d say, ‘You need to stay away. Don’t walk through there.’ He’d laugh. It didn’t bother him. He was on that level with all of those people. I don’t know how he managed it because they were leery [of anyone walking up to their doors]. It was the way he approached them. That has a lot to do with why they would let him in. It’s like he belonged. Now he didn’t, and we know he didn’t, but he gave them kind of that feeling.”

    Over time Obama proved to be a first-rate student, and then teacher, of one-on-ones. In this realm again he drew on the adaptability and universal sensibility he had acquired from his life experiences and from his mother, the academic anthropologist who could relate to her subjects on a warmly human level. As a teacher, he was the sympathetic participant observer. David Kindler, who joined the Chicago organizing effort about a year after Obama, observed his teaching methods at the training workshops the Gamaliel Foundation sponsored at the Divine Word Seminary at Techny, near Northfield, about nineteen miles north of the city. In that setting the one-on-ones would be conducted in front of an entire room of forty or so people. The method was for the trainer to share something of his own vulnerability in order to draw similar revelations from the subject. Obama would “get somebody up in front of the room. He’d listen to them. He’d encourage them. He’d share something about himself [usually about the father he never knew], not because he was a manipulator,” Kindler said. “He was great at it because he actually cared about people his mother, the academic anthropologist who could relate to her subjects on a warmly human level. As a teacher, he was the sympathetic participant observer. David Kindler, who joined the Chicago organizing effort about a year after Obama, observed his teaching methods at the training workshops the Gamaliel Foundation sponsored at the Divine Word Seminary at Techny, near Northfield, about nineteen miles north of the city. In that setting the one-on-ones would be conducted in front of an entire room of forty or so people. The method was for the trainer to share something of his own vulnerability in order to draw similar revelations from the subject. Obama would “get somebody up in front of the room. He’d listen to them. He’d encourage them. He’d share something about himself [usually about the father he never knew], not because he was a manipulator,” Kindler said. “He was great at it because he actually cared about people (pp. 532-533, Kindle ed.)

    In fact Obama is a singular blend of introvert and extrovert. There is an interior distance to him, a tendency to hold his core in reserve, but also a rare confidence in the way he reaches out to other people, and an empathy inherited one way or another (genetically or by example or both) from his mother.

  8. rikyrah says:

    No Commentary Required 12/9/12
    Here’s a few things I found interesting today.

    For those who still aren’t clear about why Ezra Klein is wrong in assuming there is some imminent deal on the so-called “fiscal cliff” that includes what Republicans want with regards to Medicare, just take a look at how Republican Bob Corker framed the situation today.

    CORKER: The Republicans know they have the debt ceiling, that is coming up around the corner, and, the leverage is going to shift, as soon as we get beyond this issue. The leverage is going to shift, to our side where hopefully we’ll do the same thing we did last time and that is if the president wants to raise the debt limit by $2 trillion we get $2 trillion in spending reduction and, hopefully, this time, it is mostly oriented towards entitlement and with no process. […]

    [Obama] has the upper hand on taxes and you have to pass something to keep it from happening. We only have one body. If we were to pass, for instance, raising the top 2 rates, and that’s it, all of a sudden we do have the leverage of the debt ceiling and we haven’t given that up so the only way the debt ceiling.

    The real fault line the Republicans are trying to draw is to use the debt ceiling (not the fiscal cliff negotiations) as a way to force changes in entitlements. If you want to know just how serious President Obama is about NOT playing that game, read David Corn’s article about the firm stand he took in not agreeing to a short-term extension of the debt ceiling during the last negotiations.

    Obama believed a constitutional principle was at stake: If the Republicans could threaten default to get their way on budget issues, it would distort the separation of powers. This was not what the framers of the Constitution intended, he believed. Moreover, it was embarrassing for the United States. He was determined to prevent this scenario from occurring again.

    His aides could see that Obama would not bend. He was willing to go to the brink. Toward the end of that day’s meeting with Hill leaders, when House Majority Leader Eric Cantor raised the idea of a short-term extension, Obama angrily said, “I’m not going to do it. We’re not putting the country through this again. Don’t call my bluff.

  9. rikyrah says:

    now this is some racist ass shyt here:

    Serena Williams Impersonation: Is Caroline Wozniacki\’s Imitation Of The Tennis Star Racist?

    The Huffington Post | By Lucette Jefferson Posted: 12/10/2012 4:10 pm EST | Updated: 12/10/2012 5:40 pm EST

    Serena Williams\’ assets became the focus of a mid-game prank by tennis player, Caroline Wozniacki. Stuffing both her chest and shorts with padding, Wozniacki pranced out onto the court mid-game to the guffaws of the crowd. Serena wasn\’t there. Caroline went on to lose to her opponent, Maria Sharapova.

    The reactions to this joke have been mixed. Yahoo Sports called the impression, \”hilarious\” and noted, \”The likeness to Serena, you\’ll surely agree, is uncanny.\”

    On Tumblr, bloggers weren\’t so happy about it. One blogger adding:

    …this isn’t “harmless fun” as one article described it. its racist. out and outright racism. mocking and making fun of the bodies of black women for a laugh? real funny, stupid white girl. real real funny.

    Another blogger pointed out,

    So a white woman can do something like this, but Serena Williams can’t crip walk to celebrate a victory? Wozniacki stuffed her bra and underwear so that she could appear like Serena. It may have been done in “jest,” but I love how people can can turn a black woman’s body and sexuality into a caricature. However, we should not have the autonomy to celebrate any successes of our own.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Beyoncé signs $50 million Pepsi deal

    Dec. 10, 2012, 11:22 AM EST


    Beyoncé has cemented her place as a top earning pop superstar by signing a lucrative deal with Pepsi worth an estimated $50 million.

    The singer has previously appeared in Pepsi ads, but she has now stepped up her involvement with the company by becoming the face of the brand and giving Pepsi sponsorship for her albums, concerts, photo shoots and music videos. Pepsi will also provide a multimillion dollar fund for Beyoncé to use to bankroll her own creative projects over the next few years, according to the New York Times.

    Beyoncé says in a statement, “Pepsi embraces creativity and understands that artists evolve. As a businesswoman, this allows me to work with a lifestyle brand with no compromise and without sacrificing my creativity.”

    Lee Anne Callahan-Longo, who runs Beyoncé’s Parkwood Entertainment company, insists the deal is more than just a regular brand sponsorship agreement, adding, “It’s wise for a brand like Pepsi to give an artist the ability to truly express herself. Instead of just the old-school way of, ‘Do you want to be in an advertisement?’ This is much bigger. This is, ‘How can we create something together that is truly unique?'”

    Beyoncé will collaborate with Pepsi on America’s upcoming 2013 Super Bowl halftime show, and an image of her face will be stamped on the side of limited edition cans due for release in the spring. The singer’s next album is due for release around the time of the massive televised concert in February.

  11. Prosecutor: Zimmerman trying to ‘co-opt the mantle of victimhood’ from Trayvon Martin,0,7660340.story

    In a blistering response to a recent filing by George Zimmerman’s defense team, prosecutor Bernie de la Rionda accuses the second-degree murder defendant of attempting “to co-opt the mantle of victimhood for himself.”

    Zimmerman’s legal team had asked Circuit Judge Debra Nelson to force an attorney for the family of Trayvon Martin, the Miami Gardens teen shot by Zimmerman Feb. 26 in Sanford, to turn over a recorded interview of a witness described as the teen’s girlfriend.

    In its filing, the defense argued Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump was not forthcoming in response to requests for the original copy of the recording of the girl, who is identified in prosecution documents as “Witness 8.”

    That request is set to be among several motions heard by Nelson tomorrow, but today, de la Rionda fired back at what he described as the Zimmerman team’s “revisionist history.”

    “No matter how often, how viciously, or how vociferously Defense Counsel tries to attack Mr. Crump and make him a feature of this case, he is not the issue,” de la Rionda writes in his response, arguing Zimmerman’s “goal… is not legitimately to gather relevant evidence in this criminal case. Rather, he is clearly more interested in defending his own supposed ‘reputation’ than in permitting a judge and/or a jury to consider his actions.”

  12. rikyrah says:

    Obama slams Michigan GOP’s anti-union push

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 3:56 PM EST

    Last week, after Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder (R) and state Republican lawmakers launched an unexpected anti-union crusade, the Obama White House issued a statement criticizing so-called “right-to-work” laws.

    With this in mind, and following up on Laura Conaway’s reporting earlier, President Obama was in Michigan today, where he was even more forceful in condemning the proposal that Snyder has not yet signed into state law.

    President Barack Obama weighed in on the contentious labor battle playing out in Michigan, condemning the Republican push to make Michigan a so-called “right-to-work” state as nothing more than a partisan maneuver that will hurt the working class.

    “We should do everything we can to keep creating good middle-class jobs that help folks rebuild security for their families,” Obama said Monday in a speech at the Daimler Detroit Diesel plant.

    “And by the way, what we shouldn’t do — I’ve just got to say this — what we shouldn’t be doing is trying to take away your rights to bargain for better wages and working conditions,” he added to loud applause from the audience. “We shouldn’t be doing that. The so-called ‘right-to-work’ laws — they don’t have to do with economics, they have everything to do with politics. What they’re really talking about is giving you the right to work for less money.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    “Right to work” push guarantees all out war in Michigan
    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 10, 2012 at 11:23 am

    The “right to work” battle in Michigan may not be over quite yet.

    Top Democrats in the Michigan Congressional delegation just wrapped up their meeting with Governor Rick Snyder, during which they urged him in no uncertain terms: If you go forward with “right to work” legislation, you’ll be consigning the state to years of discord and division. They urged him to consider vetoing the legislation or postponing it until the next session — or even agreeing to subject it to referendum.

    According to Dems who were on the call, Snyder told them he would “seriously” take into account their objections — which they took as a genuine indication of possible willingness, for now, to reconsider.

    “The Governor listened, and he told us he would seriously consider our concerns,” Senator Carl Levin said on a conference call with reporters.

    The tenor of the meeting, which participants described as urgent and intense, underscores the gravity of the situation — not just for Democrats, but for the state itself. Dems told Snyder that forging ahead with “right to work” legislation risked undermining the progress in labor-management relations in the state and could create a situation similar to Wisconsin, where an ongoing battle over collective bargaining tore the state apart for over a year.

  14. Likely Increase in Births Has Some Lawmakers Revisiting Cuts

    When state lawmakers passed a two-year budget in 2011 that moved $73 million from family planning services to other programs, the goal was largely political: halt the flow of taxpayer dollars to Planned Parenthood clinics.

    Now they are facing the policy implications — and, in some cases, reconsidering.

    The latest Health and Human Services Commission projections being circulated among Texas lawmakers indicate that during the 2014-15 biennium, poor women will deliver an estimated 23,760 more babies than they would have, as a result of their reduced access to state-subsidized birth control. The additional cost to taxpayers is expected to be as much as $273 million — $103 million to $108 million to the state’s general revenue budget alone — and the bulk of it is the cost of caring for those infants under Medicaid.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Looking a little past the horse race – to wages, income inequality and public versus private

    By Kay December 10th, 2012

    You have probably all heard about this:

    campaign and has generally supported him since, blasted his decision toram through a union-busting “right-to-work” law in a lame-duck legislative session. At Snyder’s urging, the state House and Senate each passed versions of the law this week. The editorial board slammed his move as a “failure of leadership” and observed that his “about-face” amounted to a betrayal of Michigan’s voters.
    The paper noted that while it “trusted Snyder’s judgment,” that trust “has now been betrayed.” It expressed disappointment on behalf of independents who thought Snyder more independent and visionary “than partisan apparatchiks like Wisconsin’s Scott Walker or Florida’s Rick Scott,” adding:
    His insistence that the legislation was designed to promote the interests of unionized workers and “bring Michiganders together” was grotesquely disingenuous; even as he spoke, security personnel were locking down the capital in anticipation of protests by angry unionists.
    Snyder’s ostensible rationale for embracing right-to-work legislation — it was, he insisted, a matter of preserving workers’ freedom of association — was equally dishonest.
    The real motive of Michigan’s right-to-work champions, as former GOP legislator Bill Ballenger ruefully observed, is “pure greed” — the determination to emasculate, once and for all, the Democratic Party’s most reliable source of financial and organizational support

    I disagree with Mr. Ballenger’s framing here. I think liberals and Democrats have adopted a media-conservative horse race narrative that sets this up as a Big Labor (Democratic) politicians versus Big Business (Republican) politicians and that narrow story benefits conservatives. It’s “both sides do it”, it ignores real-world consequences to ordinary people with an exclusive focus on politicians and it misses the point.

    Why are lobbyists writing these state laws? Beating Democrats isn’t an end. That isn’t the goal. It’s pure greed, all right, but it’s much bigger than donations to Republicans or Democrats. Destroying private sector unions drives down wages in the private sector and destroying public sector unions leaves the field clear to move in and privatize public services, including public schools. It’s about the money, and I don’t mean campaign contributions. I’ve written about public school deregulation and privatization here frequently in both Ohio and Michigan. There is a lot of money to be made driving down private sector wages and there’s a lot of money to be made privatizing publicly funded services and entities. Limiting this discussion to campaign contributions and Republican politicians versus Democratic politicians benefits those who seek to drive down wages and privatize public services and entities, because we never reach the real issues, which are stagnant or falling wages and for-profit privatization, respectively, depending on whether we’re talking about private or public sector. We can win on those

  16. rikyrah says:

    Vindictive Republicans Are Out to Punish Obama and America with Austerity

    By: RmuseDecember 10th, 2012

    It is nearly impossible to understand what motivates human behavior, especially when the result is bound for failure or catastrophe. For nearly four years, political observers proffered several theories to explain why Republicans have made governing an exercise in futility. Also why they have had no compunction in causing undue damage to the economy and the American people who elected them. It is entirely possible they are so entrenched in neo-conservative ideology that they are unable to recognize their gross and egregious adherence to a failed economic theory. This does not entirely explain their willingness to jeopardize the economy or people’s well-being. Many pundits believe the GOP’s obstruction was a result of Republicans hating President Obama more than they love America. Although it is true, there must be more to the story than just hate for one man, and a Republican representative may have revealed the GOP’s dysfunction that is preventing a working government.

    On Friday last, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi introduced a discharge petition that, if signed by 218 members, could force the House to take-up the Senate-passed measure extending Bush-era tax cuts for middle class Americans. Some Republicans showed a willingness to allow the vote, but Rep. John Duncan (R-TN) explained that he would not sign the petition because, “I’m not going to give control of the floor to the Democrats.” Whether or not Duncan realized it, he revealed what many observers have alluded to for four years; Republicans cannot accept they are not in charge. Now, after losing another election, the Republicans have a plan to unleash austerity on America regardless that the people rejected them at the polls. For two years Republicans voted for Paul Ryan’s Path to Prosperity budget that, simply put, is austerity for 98% of the population and more entitlements for the rich and their corporations.

    It is possible Republicans will compromise on increasing tax rates for the rich, but there are murmurs they may allow a vote on extending middle class tax cuts, but not extend the debt ceiling, unemployment insurance, payroll tax holiday, or close tax loopholes; they will concede nothing to the President. The thinking is after the holiday recess with the economy over the fiscal cliff, Republicans will hold the debt ceiling hostage. Then sending America’s economy into a GOP-caused recession, they risk triggering a GOP-caused global financial crisis. Their goal in such a risky maneuver is enacting harsh austerity measures they voted for in the Path to Prosperity budget for the past two years, and lacking control of the Senate and White House, their only chance of passing it is taking the nation’s economy hostage. It is a power play to wrest control of the government to cut taxes for the rich and corporations, and cut social safety nets, privatize Medicare, and cut Social Security in a grand austerity plan destined to fail.

  17. rikyrah says:

    The ‘all-out drive’ for comprehensive immigration reform

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 2:05 PM EST.

    For many advocates of immigration reform, the post-election message to President Obama was not subtle: they turned out on Election Day, helped deliver a second term, and now it’s Obama’s turn to step up.

    There’s little doubt the president got the message and takes it seriously.

    As soon as the confrontation over fiscal policy winds down, the Obama administration will begin an all-out drive for comprehensive immigration reform, including seeking a path to citizenship for 11 million illegal immigrants, according to officials briefed on the plans.

    While key tactical decisions are still being made, President Obama wants a catch-all bill that would also bolster border security measures, ratchet up penalties for employers who hire illegal immigrants, and make it easier to bring in foreign workers under special visas, among other elements.

    The blitz will reportedly start as early as January, with cabinet secretaries fanning out to “make the case for how changes in immigration laws could benefit businesses, education, healthcare and public safety.”

    Clarissa Martinez de Castro, director of civic engagement and immigration for the National Council of La Raza, told the L.A. Times, “It’s going to be early. We are seeing it being organized to be ready.”

    On Capitol Hill, legislative hearings are likely to begin in late January or early February, and the White House has told congressional offices that the president will be “all in” on this issue.

    What’s less clear is whether that’ll be enough. Jim VandeHei and Mike Allen report today that Republican establishment leaders “insist they are now very much open to a comprehensive package, including eventual citizenship for illegal immigrants,” but rank-and-file congressional Republicans “remain skeptical.”


    The problem, apparently, is that many GOP lawmakers are well aware of the election results, the polls, and demographic trends, but can’t quite get around the demands of right-wing activists who dictate so much of the Republican Party’s agenda.

  18. rikyrah says:

    On debt ceiling, Graham vows to ‘play that game’
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 12:35 PM EST.

    With memories of last year’s brutal debt-ceiling crisis very much on his mind, President Obama said last week, “We can’t afford to go there again.” He added, “The only thing the debt ceiling is good as a weapon for is destroying your credit rating…. I will not play that game.”

    This morning on Fox News, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) responded, “Yes, we will play that game.”

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Graham’s on-air comments about the “rude awakening” awaiting the White House were pretty remarkable.

    “In February or March you have to raise the debt ceiling. And I can tell you this, there is a hardening on the Republican side. We’re not going to raise the debt ceiling. We’re not going to let Obama borrow any more money or any American Congress borrow any more money until we fix this country from becoming Greece. And that requires significant entitlement reform to save Social Security and Medicare from bankruptcy. Social Security is going bankrupt in about 20, 25 years. Medicare is going bankrupt in 15 or 20 years. […]

    “Yes, we will play that game, Mr. President, because it’s not a game. The game you’re playing is small ball. You’re talking about raising rates on the top 2% that would run the government for 11 days. You just got re-elected. How about doing something big that’s not liberal? How about doing something big that really is bipartisan? Every big idea he has is a liberal idea that drowns us in debt. How about manning up here, Mr. President and use your mandate to bring this country together to stop us from becoming Greece.”

  19. President @BarackObama Speaks At A Detroit Diesel Facility

    Now streaming..

  20. rikyrah says:

    Can GOP Say Yes on Immigration Reform?

    by BooMan
    Mon Dec 10th, 2012 at 08:34:14 AM EST

    Today is a travel day for me, but I will be back to my regular routine tomorrow. I want to drop a quick note on this POLITICO/George Washington University Battleground poll on people’s attitudes about immigration reform. The overall numbers are encouraging, but let me point out that only 49% of Republicans support a path to citizenship, while 45% oppose it. And guess which half of the Republican Party has all the energy on the issue?
    Therein lies the rub. In many Republican districts, voting for a path to citizenship is a very risky move. In fact, I’d like to see a poll of just Republican opinion within Republican House districts. After all, it doesn’t matter what a Republican in Minneapolis thinks.

    The president appears ready to make a full-court press for immigration reform. The timing appears to be good. He just won reelection thanks to the heavy support of Latinos in key states like Nevada, Colorado, and Florida. The GOP knows that they can’t win the next presidential election unless they repair their relationship with the Latino community. The stars would seem to be aligned.

    Yet, the GOP is tearing itself apart on the issue. Can they be divided and conquered, or will their racist base prevail?

    I know what side of that fight I want to be on.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Casual Observation

    by BooMan
    Sun Dec 9th, 2012 at 10:32:19 PM EST

    I still don’t see how John Boehner can convince his caucus to vote for a bill that the president negotiated and that the Democratically-controlled Senate will support. I think the right spent too much time turning Obama into a monster. And they can’t support anything he is trying to do.
    I keep reading about how the fiscal cliff will be averted by some last-second compromise. I believe a compromise can be reached. I don’t believe the House Republicans can supply enough votes to make the compromise stick.

    What do you think?

  22. rikyrah says:

    a fabulous comment by Rhoda about Susan Rice:

    Rhoda 2 comments collapsed Collapse Expand
    Hello, POU!

    I hope everything is going well with everyone; and lamh I read about your move. Good luck and congratulations!

    So, just got online to read the paper and some blogs and the Susan Rice story about her ties to Kagame and blaming her for issues in Rwanda makes it clear IMO that the Clintonistas don’t want a woman in the SoS position for one reason. It diminishes Hillary,

    I was watching Meet the Press and as everyone is falling all over themselves to praise Hillary Helene Cooper accidentally told the truth: she couldn’t think of anything Hillary herself has done as SoS to distinguish herself. Think about it. She had Holbrooke running the talks to end the war in Afghanistan. She hasn’t touched the Isreal/Palestine issue (and the administration has backed off from there). She was on the wrong side of ending the war in Afghanistan. She was against the Bin Laden raid. She was isolated in Foggy Bottom. And POTUS sent John Kerry out to speak for him in Iran, in Afghanistan, and in Iraq frequently. She blew the Russian reset thing big time.

    She’s been a decent Secretary of State; but she’s done nothing to make a name for herself because she’s been incredibly cautious and I’d argue she doesn’t have the President’s ear or share his values on a lot of decisions. Meanwhile, Rice does. Susan Rice is close to POUTS. She has his trust. And she has been on the winning side of many policy fights; which is why Hillary’s camp particularly loathes her. POTUS made the UN Secretary a cabinet chair so she reports directly to him and not Hillary as has been the case before.

    They are worried in a second term POTUS will go all out to deal with the Israel/Palestine situation (and in backing Israel so hard he’ll have real chits to play at home), that he will engage deeply on trade issues with China and Asia, that the European Union (which is facing a deep crisis) will be a major diplomatic and economic challenge for America, and that doesn’t even delve into Iran and the overtures for diplomacy as well as the Arab Spring fallout. These are a consequential four years and they’re worried that Susan Rice will make a name for herself a’la Kissinger and with Hillary likely running in 2016 that is a problem. They fear a challenger saying Hillary did a good job; but look Susan Rice did better. Given how she didn’t make a name for herself in the senate and we’ve got tape of Sinbad clowning her in ’07; Hillary has a lot of vulnerabilities going into a primary that are masked right now. But the Clintonaistas see and know them; and they’re trying to burnish her legacy by having Kerry follow her. The comparisons then won’t be as clear or odious to them; and if brought up can be spun as sexist. That’s my opinion; but I think POTUS is going to give Susan Rice the job. Just as he did Geithner when everyone and their mother tried to take him down.

    I don’t know what’s going to happen in four years. But you can put me down in the anyone but Hillary bandwagon.

    • Ametia says:

      Me & Rhoda 0/0 like this. I was thinking this last night that Hillary is threatened by Rice’s smarts and that Rice would show her up as SoS.

      • It was stunning to see Hillary remain quiet while white men attacked Susan Rice’ character day after day calling her “not very bright” & “incompetent”. We heard the whistle. After weeks of attacks on Susan Rice, then Hillary comes forward with a weak ass defense. GTFOOH!

      • Ametia says:


  23. Ametia says:

    Pot meet kettle

    Joe Scarborough: Conservative Media Is ‘Destroying’ Republican Party (VIDEO)

    These type of people who have the ability to make… the compassionate conservative argument — they’re thrown to the side because they don’t sound enough like Glenn Beck or a blogger,” Scarborough opined.

    Mike Barnicle wondered if it was possible for someone to break through the “loudness and the shrillness” of voices on both sides.

    “Do you think any of these people in talk radio, if they’re punched in the face by a Republican nominee, do you think they would push back?” Scarborough said. “No, they’re cowards, they’re bullies. Punch them in the face and they’ll back off.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Boehner’s gavel is secure, isn’t it?

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Dec 10, 2012 11:31 AM EST.

    Just last week, the New York Times reported that House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) is “enjoying the broadest support of his tumultuous” tenure, and benefits from “the strong embrace from a broad spectrum of the rank and file.”

    Well, maybe. National Journal notes that some conservative activists are “launching an all-out effort aimed at about 100 House Republicans to see if it can find at least 17 of them angry enough, and bold enough, to block Boehner’s reelection when the new Congress commences on Jan. 3.” The Week also reported that Boehner’s gavel is at risk if ongoing debt-reduction talks go poorly.

    And this morning, National Review pointed to a possible challenger to Boehner from his own conference.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Michigan, here comes Wisconsin

    By Laura Conaway

    Sun Dec 9, 2012 5:13 PM EST

    When the protests start this week over anti-union legislation at the Michigan state Capitol, union workers from Wisconsin will be there. The so-called Right to Work bills would weaken labor unions in Michigan, except for those belonging to police and firefighters. An organizer from Ironworkers Local 8 tells the Wisconsin State Journal that after what Wisconsin has been through, it’s easy to get people to cross state lines to stand up for union rights:

    “A lot of things are eerily similar to parts of what happened here in Wisconsin,” said [Randy] Bryce, who expects 40 to 50 people from his union to travel to Lansing, Mich., by Tuesday when lawmakers reconvene and Snyder plans to sign the bills into law. “I would say what’s under attack there is even bigger because they decided to go after the public- and private-sector unions.”

    The image up top comes from the Overpass Light Brigade in Wisconsin, who write: “We Wisconsinites understand exactly what’s going on in Michigan. Right to work is deceptively named. It kills wages and destroys the middle class.”

  26. Barack Obama‏@BarackObama

    Help the President by picking up the phone: http://OFA.BO/fFJ7aQ ,

    • Ametia says:

      I made my call 10 minutes ago. My Rep is a GOPer. The youngman who answered teh phone was cordial and said he’s deliver my request to Rep. Erik Paulsen.

  27. Ametia says:

    From steph Cutter

    Help the President with just one phone call

    Who will decide if your taxes increase in just 22 days? A few dozen members of the House of Representatives, that’s who.

    Cutting taxes for the middle class shouldn’t be difficult, especially when Republicans claim they agree with the President on the issue. But some Republicans are still holding middle-class tax cuts hostage simply because they want to cut taxes for millionaires and billionaires.

    Here’s what’s going on right now: President Obama is asking Congress to move forward on a plan that would prevent 98 percent of American families from paying higher taxes next year. The Senate has passed that bill, and the President is ready to sign it — but the Republican leadership in the House of Representatives won’t even bring the bill to the floor for a vote. House Democrats have filed a petition that would force a vote if it attracts 218 signatures.

    If a bill has enough votes to pass, Congress should vote on it and pass it. It’s a pretty simple proposition. And every Member of Congress who hasn’t signed on to keep taxes low for the middle class needs to hear from you.

    Call your representative today and ask them to sign the petition in support of a vote. According to our records, here’s who you should call:

    Find Your Representative

    Not sure of your congressional district or who your member is? This service will assist you by matching your ZIP code to your congressional district, with links to your member’s website and contact page.

  28. Jeff Zucker Thinking Of Moving Erin Burnett To CNN Morning: Report.

    Could Soledad O’Brien be replaced in the mornings on CNN by Erin Burnett?

    Maybe, according to Monday’s New York Post, which reported that newly appointed CNN chief Jeff Zucker is reportedly setting out to shake up the network’s morning show.

    A former executive producer of the “Today” show, Zucker was responsible for turning the NBC property into the number one program in morning television—a position the show held for 16 years. He introduced signature “Today” show elements, including moving the show to its current studio on Rockefeller Plaza and introducing the summer concert series.

    When Zucker was named CNN Worldwide president late last month, Turner Broadcasting Chairman Phil Kent said that Zucker was not hired because of his morning TV experience, but that “one of the great byproducts of [Zucker] is he’s an absolute expert in morning television.”

    • Ametia says:

      LOL So Erin Burnett’s ratings in the evening must be in the hopper. No surprises here. Let the black lady build up the ratings in the morning, and then throw her over the cliff, so the BECKY can step in and claim credit.

      Good luck CNN; so pathetic. Maybe they’ll continue giving Soledad those shameful BLACK IN AMERICA specials.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Trading one hostage for another

    By Steve Benen

    Mon Dec 10, 2012 7:59 AM EST.

    When Sen. Bob Corker, a prominent Republican lawmaker, said yesterday that he’s prepared to throw in the towel in the fight over taxes, it was widely seen as a step away from the current GOP strategy. A closer look, however, reveals a far more troubling gambit.

    Just hours before the White House meeting, Senator Bob Corker, Republican of Tennessee, said on “Fox News Sunday” that a small but growing group of Republicans had begun considering acquiescing on tax rates so that the negotiations could shift to entitlement programs.

    Mr. Corker, a member of the Banking Committee who had presented a deficit-reduction plan of his own, said that if Republicans gave in to the president’s chief demand, then “all of a sudden the shift goes back to entitlements, and maybe it puts us in a place where we actually can do something that really saves the nation.”

  30. rikyrah says:

    Gingrich envisions ‘permanent’ partisan warfare

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 9:26 AM EST.

    Last week, Rep. Pete Roskam (R-Ill.), a leading lieutenant to House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), complained that President Obama should do more to make congressional Republicans happy.

    “President Obama has an unbelievable opportunity to be a transformational president — that is, to bring the country together,” Roskam said. “Or he can devolve into zero-sum-game politics, where he wins and other people lose.”

    On “Meet the Press” yesterday, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich (R-Ga.) made a similar argument.

    For those who can’t watch clips online, Gingrich, making his ninth “Meet the Press” appearance of 2012, argued:

    “This president has a chance as he did in ’09 to come in and say, ‘I’m going to sit down and work with you. We’re going to be bipartisan, we’re going to put the country first,’ or he has a chance to do what he did in ’09, which is say, ‘I’m going to write a stimulus package with only Democrats and ram it through unread.’ He can continue down the road he’s on right now. He guarantees a permanent war because everybody on the right at every level sooner or later is going to get sick of it.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    How a Powerful D.C. Fixer Would Have Handled the Tiger Woods Scandal

    From: Kerry Washington and Shonda Rhimes

    Read more:

  32. I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells
    Those holiday J-I-N-G-L-E bells
    Those happy J-I-N-G-L-E B-E, double-L-S
    I love those J-I-N-G-L-E bells

  33. Ametia says:

    Thanks Chauncy DeVega! So glad I didn’t sit through this nonsense.

    WTF is wrong with Soledad and these folks? WEEZ ALWAYS BEEN A MIXED BAG OF THIS AND THAT. JUST ASK MASSA.

    Monday, December 10, 2012
    Imitation of Life Made Real: CNN’s “Black in America” and NPR’s “State of the Re:Union” Offer Up a Potpourri of Tragic Mulattoes and Other Assorted Racial Tragedies

    Watching CNN, and listening to NPR on Sunday night, reminded me that Imitation of Life was not just a movie or a play; for many of us, such stories of racial identity, confusion, denial, and shame are all too real.

    CNN’s special on colorism and mixed race identity went as expected. It profiled many maladjusted young black people who would fail any brown paper bag test, yet desperately want to be white. I was laughing at the TV screen at some moments during the show because these brown complected black folks, who desperately want to “pass,” would have been more comfortable on Chappelle’s Show, than discussing matters of “race” and “culture” on national television

  34. rikyrah says:

    The abrupt end to the ‘epidemic of open-mindedness’
    By Steve Benen
    Mon Dec 10, 2012 10:05 AM EST.

    For critics of the Republican Party, today’s GOP is plagued by intellectual stagnation, a lack of interest in creativity and problem-solving, and epistemic closure that deliberately repels independent thought and ideological diversity. For David Brooks, critics have it all wrong — there’s actually “a vibrant and increasingly influential center-right conversation” underway.

    To bolster the point, the New York Times columnist trumpeted a “heralded paper on intellectual property rights” from “rising star Derek Khanna,” a Republican Study Committee staffer. Brooks added, “Since Nov. 6, the G.O.P. has experienced an epidemic of open-mindedness. The party may evolve quickly. If so, it’ll be powerfully influenced by people with names like … Derek Khanna.”

    Alas, the “epidemic” didn’t last. Industry lobbyists demanded that the Republican Study Committee withdraw Khanna’s report, and GOP policymakers obliged. As of last week, Khanna, the “rising star” cheered by Brooks, suddenly finds himself out of work.

  35. Ametia says:

    It’s on the house; Ladies. We need lots of it today.


  36. Ametia says:

    Rikyrah, let me know when you’ve watched teh Oprah-Rhimes/Washington interviews, please. I watched it last night. We must discuss!

  37. rikyrah says:

    Charlie Crist’s Evolution is Complete

    For a guy who hasn’t held any public office in nearly two years, former Florida Gov. Charlie Crist sure does generate a lot of attention, especially from his former party. The Tampa Bay Times reported recently that Republican Party of Florida “seems to be mighty worried” about Crist.

    Indeed, state GOP officials have furiously sent out press releases about Crist for months, attacking his every move, even running televised attack ads, even though he isn’t currently a candidate for any office.

    Friday night, the rationale behind the fury became clearer: Crist attended an event at the White House, and announced he’s now officially a Democrat.

  38. Ametia says:

    60 Minutes Scott Pelley-Hug Jackman interview- Watched this last night; great viewing.

    Hugh Jackman’s role of a lifetime
    December 9, 2012 4:00 PM

    Scott Pelley profiles the Australian actor known for his “X-Men” role as Wolverine, who now says he’s doing the “role of a lifetime” as Jean Valjean in “Les Miserables.”


  39. rikyrah says:


    Students told to ‘draw Obama drowning and White House underwater’ for grade in art class (video)

    4:28 PM EST 12/8/2012 by Yvette Caslin

    Students at Rancho Dominguez Prep School in Long Beach, Calif. received an assignment in their Digital Imaging class from a long-term substitute teacher to create images of the White House submerged underwater and some White House inhabitants had to appear to be drowning.

    “My (project) was the president being saved instead of drowning him … so I drowned his wife and the dog. I felt bad. It didn’t feel right drowning the president,” shared Carnal Washington, a junior.

    The student that received the most praise and the highest grade was a girl who created an image of President Obama swimming toward a bucket of chicken instead of trying to save his family.

    Parents were disturbed by the assignment, saying it was “uncalled for” and couldn’t see what the “kids get from this project.”

    • Ametia says:

      Of course the teacher or substitute needs a good ASS WHUPPING & FIRED. But these are 11th graders, for God sake! Can’t they say NO to this foolishness? RIGHT IS RIGHT & WRONG IS WRONG. I’m afraid for the students who followed this racist ass prick’s instructions. Didn’t they know better? Something’s not right here.

    • What kind of ish is this? The substitute’ ass need to be kicked 40 ways to Sunday.

      • Ametia says:

        The insanity is maddening. One year shy of graduating from high school and the students actually did the computer project. Yes, they should have reported that bigoted, racist, maggot, but I can’t wrap my head the fact that these students followed the instructions and did this project.

  40. Ametia says:

    Crackin up at Stephanie Miller this morning. “who walks into a room and annouce that they’re a LOSER? Mitt Romney to the boxer Manny Pacquiao …BWA HA HA HA

    Mitt Romney attends Pacquiao-Marquez boxing match

    • Ametia says:

      … as Manny Pacquiao readied himself in a dressing room for his fourth mega-fight with legendary Mexican foe Juan Manuel Marquez, Mitt Romney appeared. A guest of the Nevada Athletic Commission, Romney had dropped by to wish the Filipino superstar good luck.

      A seated Pacquiao was having his hands taped in preparation for putting on his boxing gloves. An aide casually introduced him to Romney, who expanded on the introduction: “Hi, Manny. I ran for president and lost.”

  41. Ametia says:

    Heavy snow belts Minnesota, Wisconsin

    MINNEAPOLIS The heaviest snowstorm to hit the region in two winters dumped heavy snow across a broad belt of Minnesota, including the Twin Cities area, as well as parts of western Wisconsin.

    Forecasters say up to 15 inches of snow are possible in the Twin Cities by Monday night.

    The slow-moving storm was causing difficult driving and scores of mostly minor traffic accidents across much of Minnesota, highway closures in eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, and flight cancellations and delays at Minneapolis-St. Paul International Airport.

    A blizzard warning was posted for much of eastern South Dakota and southwestern Minnesota, while a winter storm warning was up for much of central and eastern Minnesota and western Wisconsin.

    The Minnesota Department of Transportation reported difficult driving conditions across much of the southern two-thirds of the state, with no travel advised and several highways closed in west-central and southwestern Minnesota.

    But for many, the snow long overdue: Good times in the snow with family. “You’re never too old to play in the snow,” said Joy Ann McChesney told CBS station WCCO in Minneapolis.

  42. Ametia says:

    Obama to visit Michigan auto plant to rally support for plan to avert ‘fiscal cliff’
    By Associated Press,
    Dec 10, 2012 09:30 AM EST

    AP Updated: Monday, December 10, 3:30 AM

    WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama is heading to Michigan to ask auto workers to support his plan for averting the so-called fiscal cliff.

    Obama will tour an engine plant Monday in Redford, Mich., a suburb of Detroit. He’ll also speak to workers at the plant before returning to Washington in the afternoon.

  43. My heart is sad to hear this.

    Nelson Mandela ‘has stopped talking’

    South African leaders issued assurances about the health of former president Nelson Mandela on Sunday night after the 94 year-old was airlifted to hospital having reportedly stopped speaking amid a deterioration in his condition.

    The Sunday Times, a South African newspaper, quoted an unnamed person close to the Mandela family as saying: “He has not been talking … he is not looking good. It’s clear that something is troubling him.”

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