Thursday Open Thread

Silver Bells” is a classic Christmas song, composed by Jay Livingston and Ray Evans. The lyric is unusual for a Christmas song in that it describes the festival in the city and not a rural setting.

Silver Bells was first performed by Bob Hope and Marilyn Maxwell in the motion picture The Lemon Drop Kid, filmed in July-August 1950 and released in March 1951.[1] The first recorded version was by Bing Crosby and Carol Richards, released by Decca Records in October 1950.[2] After the Crosby and Richards recording became popular, Hope and Maxwell were called back in late 1950 to refilm a more elaborate production of the song.[1]

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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86 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. President Obama and Susan Rice will meet in person Friday afternoon at the White House:

  2. Charges upgraded against Michael Dunn in shooting over loud music

    Michael David Dunn has been indicted by a grand jury on a charge of first-degree murder in the Nov. 23 shooting of 17-year-old Jordan Davis.

    If found guilty, he could face the death penalty.

    Dunn, who was indicted Thursday, had been charged with second-degree murder.

    In Florida, a first-degree murder charge can only be approved by a grand jury.

    Authorities said Dunn, 46, stopped at the Gate Food Post near Baymeadows Road where he opened fire on a Dodge Durango with four teenagers inside after complaining of their loud music and saying he saw a gun. Davis was killed.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Oops: Michigan Republicans Have Passed a Right to Work Law that may be Impossible to Implement

    By: Sarah Jones
    December 13th, 2012

    Did Michigan Republicans even read the ALEC-Koch “Right-to-Work” legislation they just passed?

    It doesn’t appear likely. Why? Because the law may not be able to be implemented as intended.

    Just as the Wisconsin law violated their state constitution, so it appears the Michigan law does the same, albeit for different reasons. In addition to the violation of the state constitution, just as in Wisconsin, we also have a lawsuit filed over the violation of the Michigan Open Meetings law. But to the constitutional issue…

    Michigan Senate Democrats report, “The Michigan Constitution gives clear authority to the Civil Service Commission over conditions of employment for the state’s workforce. Experts have suggested today only a vote of the Civil Service Commission could enact Right to Work policies for state workers.”


    This is the sort of thing that happens when a national organization is writing your legislation for you. But one assumes that the big boys at ALEC did not count on the uber laziness of the Republicans. Surely they were meant to fine tune the bill to suit their state. But then, when you shove a bill through in a lameduck session and don’t hold it open for debate, these things tend to happen


    Further irony is provided by Michigan State Rep. Lisa Posthumus Lyons (R-Alto), who called the passage of the “right-to-work” law “freeing” the workers. Apparently Ms. Lyons didn’t want her husband freed. He is a corrections officer and Ms. Lyons fought to have corrections officers exempted from the law. She explained, “When we talk about the brave women in police and fire we need to remember people in corrections. These guys work in conditions that we can’t even begin to imagine. It’s not financial. It’s philosophy. I am saying we need to treat our corrections officers that way we treat our police men and women and firefighter men and women.”

    So, Ms. Lyons believes that we should treat our corrections officers (like her husband) the way we treat our police and firefighters, which she implies is better than we treat the other workers, because they work in tough conditions and therefor deserve or have earned the right to be treated better. And yet, she calls denying the right to collectively bargain freedom. What we have here is an admission by a Republican that when it comes to their own personal lives, they’ll take the union, please. No doubt Ms. Lyons is familiar with all that the union does to protect her husband. If she’s lucky, the law she supported will be struck down.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Stumbling, Bumbling John Boehner

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 04:15:12 PM EST

    We can pore over the tea leaves to try to determine what John Boehner is trying to accomplish, and why. But I think it is pointless. The simplest explanation is usually the best. John Boehner is not very good at his job. He doesn’t know what he is doing, or why. Stick with that hypothesis and you are unlikely to go wrong. The man is stumbling drunk before dinnertime every single day of the week. When the president tries to call him at night, he doesn’t come to the phone. That’s probably because he is passed out.

    He doesn’t have the ability to lay out a budget plan as a counteroffer to the president because he doesn’t have a clue how the budget works, and neither does his staff. He’s a fraud and a buffoon. He can’t even figure out how to cave in. He’s just paralyzed. We’re going over the cliff because he can’t even come close to pulling his shit together to make an offer that Obama would accept and that would also be acceptable to his caucus

  5. rikyrah says:

    another fabulous comment by Rhoda:


    These emoprogressives don’t seem to understand that this isn’t 2009.

    Barack Obama won the crown: he has his second term. He won with a mandate that even a poll pushed as hard as the NBC/WSJ one can not deny. He has the best campaign organization EVER created and EVERY democrat wants in on that action. He has a network of donors that took on Wall Street and WON.

    Barack Obama owns the Democratic party.

    He is walking like a winner. He is talking like a winner. He is swinging his mother fucking dick every which way; which is why the village is in vapors.

    This is the Mr. Tibbs portion of the Presidency: he doesn’t need shit for anyone, he’s playing for his legacy. Fortunately for his enemies, he’s a decent person who doesn’t need to drink the tears of his enemies to be satisfied with his lot in life. He is kicking ass right now and will be for the next four years; so she can go sit down with that mess.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA Rhoda’s taking NO PRISONERS

      LOVE THIS: He is walking like a winner. He is talking like a winner. He is swinging his mother fucking dick every which way; which is why the village is in vapors.

  6. rikyrah says:

    December 13, 2012 10:00 AM
    NBC and WSJ Use Poll To Push For Grand Bargain
    By karoli

    This is why we can’t have nice things. When NBC News, along with all of the other main network channels, insist on overdramatizing the “fiscal cliff” — really, let’s just call it what it is: a fiscal bluff — and making it sound like Armageddon is coming on January 1, 2013, well … it’s very difficult to outshout them.

    It’s also easy enough to get poll results that back up the idiocy put forward by people like the FixTheDebt gang, which is really just a stealth effort to kill Medicare and Social Security altogether.

    Via MSNBC:

    An overwhelming majority of Americans want Congress and the Obama White House to reach a deal featuring both tax increases and spending cuts to avert the so-called fiscal cliff, according to the latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

    In fact, majorities of Democrats, Republicans and political independents each support such a deal.

    Yet respondents are split over whether any kind of agreement can be reached, and nearly seven in 10 believe that the coming year will feature Democrats and Republicans in Congress showing little willingness to come to an agreement on important matters.

    After looking at the demographic breakdown and the way the questions are framed, I understand how they reached the conclusion they did. It’s one thing to poll around a person and/or candidate, and other to poll around issues. The poll is heavily weighted toward white voters, with almost no Hispanic or African-Americans, and the questions around the tax rates and sequester are phrased in a way that people wouldn’t necessarily equate to “expiration of the Bush tax rates” or agreement on the budget issues.

  7. Marcia L. Fudge‏@RepMarciaFudge

    Susan Rice is the best choice for Sec. of State. Her decision to withdraw from consideration is a loss to the nation and the world.



    • Ametia says:

      SG2; I totally feel your disappointment and angst. Here’s the deal, PBO’s very deliberative in his actions. I think he and Susan know what they’re doing. This move isn’t a cave as much as it is a calculated.

      McShame, Ms Lindsey, and that dimwit Ayotte may think they’re won the attack on Ambassadoer Rice, but I’m betting we haven’t seen PBO’s full hand on this one yet.

      The Clintonistas have been in full Hillary mode since November 7. Saw this coming, and they WILL NOT GET AWAY WITH THIS.

      ROCK ON SUSAN RICE. You’d be all kinds of awesome as SoS, and Hillary Clinton knows it.

  8. Andrea Mitchell on Susan Rice: “This is not going to help Republicans … A woman of color has been forced out”

  9. 3Chics,

    I’m crushed about Susan Rice withdrawing her name for Secretary of State. My heart is breaking and it feels like I’ve been kicked in the teeth. I have to shed a few tears over this.

  10. CTGirl7‏@CTGirl7

    @LiberalPhenom THIS! SOS Clinton came out of this unscathed! Wow!

    • Ametia says:

      This bish right here. Clinton is hardly coming out of anything UNSCATHED. Because, like we’ve said here at 3 Chics, WE AREN’T VOTING FOR YOU HILLARY. SMART Black folks are on to you and Bubba, have been from jump.


  11. BREAKING: Susan Rice withdraws her name from Secretary of State consideration

  12. Breaking Politics ‏@breakingpol

    House Speaker John Boehner will meet with President Obama at the White House at 5 p.m. today, White House official says –

  13. rikyrah says:

    Holding the Debt Ceiling Hostage

    By John Cole December 13th, 2012

    Here’s what Corker wants:

    Sen. Bob Corker (R-Tenn.) introduced a bill Wednesday to trade nearly $1 trillion in entitlement savings for an equal hike in the debt ceiling.

    Corker said the Dollar For Dollar Act would include $937 billion in savings from Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security, with an equivalent, dollar-for-dollar hike to the debt ceiling.

    Corker offered some details about his bill during a speech on the Senate floor Wednesday. Corker said his bill would raise the age of Medicare eligibility to 67 and would include the Medicare Total Health package that would increase private-sector competition for covering the elderly. Corker also said there would be a form of means-testing, making wealthy Medicare recipients pay more of their healthcare needs.

    Corker said he’d also “slowly” raise the age of eligibility for Social Security benefits, but did not specify an age.

    This is insanity. They want to gut the social safety net, and if they don’t get to, then they will trash the economy and earn us another credit downgrade because the rest of the world will realize the Republicans are so fucking crazy they might just not pay the nation’s bills

  14. rikyrah says:

    Charles Dharapak, AP
    Note to liberals: Real filibuster reform is anything but a sure thing. It may even be at risk as we speak.

    In an interview with me, Senator Jeff Merkley, one of the leaders of the reform effort, was surprisingly blunt about the risk that the proposed filibuster changes could be watered down. He predicted that without more mobilization and pressure from outside, reform could “fizzle.”

    “Filibuster reform has more momentum than it has had in a generation,” Merkley said. “But it’s not a sure thing, because there are great concerns over changing the rules in an institution that rarely changes its rules. We have a few short weeks. Unless folks mobilize outside of this building and drive a message home, then reform of the filibuster may fizzle.”

    The problem is not that filibuster reform won’t happen — if it came down to it, Dems would likely be able to mobilize 51 votes to pass reforms via a simple majority. Rather, the problem is that Democratic reluctance to go for this “constitutional option” is causing them to lean more towards negotiating a deal with Republicans — enabling it to pass without the constitutional option — that risks diluting reform. In other words, even if Dems can pass reform via simple majority, enough Dems may end up preferring instead to reach a deal with Republicans on a less comprehensive reform package.

    It’s not quite clear who is talking to whom, but a number of Republican Senators — John McCain, Lamar Alexander, Lindsey Graham — are courting some of those Democrats who are getting cold feet about the constitutional option, an effort to peel them off from Harry Reid, who seems ready to change the rules by simple majority if necessary. The question is, what would these skittish Dems be willing to trade away to reach a deal?

    One reform that some worry could be at risk in these bipartisan talks is the so-called “talking filibuster.” Merkley released a new memo last night detailing how this proposal would work: The filibustering party would be required to hold the floor nonstop, or a simple majority vote to end debate would be triggered. Some liberals worry Republicans would be happy to grandstand in this fashion, since they would be rewarded by right wing media for making a stand. But reformers insist forcing real filibustering would ultimately turn it into a far more difficult act than one Senator simply snapping his or her fingers — effectively how it works now.

    And so, from the point of view of reformers, it’s now gut check time — nervous Senate Democrats must declare where they stand, and say they’re for real, and not watered down, reform, by simple majority if necessary. The only way this will happen, though, is if there is real mobilization outside the building, from labor unions and liberal groups. Some of these have started to organize, but Merkley fears it’s not enough.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Sorry, Boehner, spending isn’t the problem
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 13, 2012 12:45 PM EST.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio), still struggling badly to persuade the public that his fiscal rhetoric makes sense, held another Capitol Hill event this morning — except this one included charts and hashtags (thanks to my colleague Nazanin Rafsanjani for the tip

    The point of the Speaker’s remarks was to push a new message that Boehner seems excited about: “Spending is the problem.” It’s a phrase that Republicans seem to think solves their political troubles — why won’t the GOP compromise and accept higher tax rates on the wealthiest Americans? Because revenue isn’t the problem; spending is the problem.

    The Speaker even had a Paul Ryan chart, and it’s not like Ryan has a reputation for making things up, right?

    By focusing solely on one side of the ledger, Boehner hopes to push the debate onto more comfortable terrain. He doesn’t want a debate about reducing the debt and moving towards a balanced budget; he wants a debate about shrinking government. This isn’t about finding a post-election compromise with those who won with broad public support; this is about the Republican crusade to cut public investments and weaken public institutions for purely ideological ends.

    If the Speaker and his caucus can persuade folks that “spending is the problem” — and there are no other problems — it will serve as a counterweight to Democratic goals of a “balanced,” bipartisan solution.

    The flaw in Boehner’s pitch? Spending is not the problem.

  16. rikyrah says:

    How Reckless?

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 01:10:53 PM EST

    The president has said that he won’t play the debt ceiling “game” with the Republicans anymore. When he said it, he seemed to be suggesting that he wanted the debt ceiling raised or put under his control as part of any potential Grand Bargain. But, since it appears that we are going to go over the cliff and there will be no Grand Bargain, I wonder how Obama plans on avoiding the game next year. I don’t think he will mint trillion dollar coins. He might invoke the 14th Amendment, but probably not preemptively. I guess the real question is whether the Republicans would dare to threaten our credit rating again so soon after allowing us to go over the fiscal cliff. I think they might wind up finding themselves friendless in the business community if they do that. On the other hand, they don’t seem to be able to help themselves.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Merkley’s Talking Filibuster is a Good Idea

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 13th, 2012 at 10:22:23 AM EST

    Sen. Jeff Merkley of Oregon has circulated a memo on his “talking filibuster” reform. It’s nice to see the details spelled out. The key element pertains to situations where there are at least 51 votes for cloture, but not sixty. Next year, there will be 55 members of the Democratic caucus and 45 members of the Republican caucus, so any party-line vote would fall into the affected category.
    Under the current rules, the filibuster works by being tied to the unanimous consent requirement of the Senate. As such, it is much more powerful than a rule tied strictly to ending debate. Whenever the Majority Leader makes a motion to move to a new issue, he must receive the unanimous consent of all 100 senators. If anyone objects, he needs to file for cloture, wait two days, get 60 votes to approve his move, and then allow 30 hours of post-cloture debate.

    Merkley’s talking filibuster doesn’t change any of those basics. But let’s say that Harry Reid wants to hold a vote on extending the middle class tax cuts for 98% of Americans and makes a motion to move to that bill. If anyone objects, he will still file for cloture. After two days, when the cloture motion has “ripened” there would be a vote. If it were a party-line vote, he’d get 55 votes. In today’s world, he would be defeated. Under the proposed reforms, however, having received a majority of the votes a new process of “extended debate” would be triggered. During this extended debate, at least one minority senator would have to be on the floor at all times talking against the bill. If they failed to keep talking, a new cloture vote could be scheduled requiring only a majority to pass. Otherwise, the 60 vote threshold would be maintained.

    If you want additional details, follow the link.

    How would this look? Let’s imagine a Supreme Court nomination opposed by the Republicans. As of today, it would take 41 Republicans to prevent even having a debate on that nominee. Under the proposed reforms, 51 Democrats could force a debate to the floor. Once on the floor, the Republicans would have to speak against the nominee incessantly to block a simple majority confirmation vote. Would the Republicans be able to block a nominee under these circumstances? The answer is that they could if they were determined enough.

    But they wouldn’t be willing to do it unless there were exceptional circumstances.

    Thinking back to the nomination of Robert Bork, the Democrats ultimately defeated him 58-42 without needing to filibuster. That was, in part, because six Republicans opposed him while only two Democrats supported him. Yet, if the composition of the Senate had been more favorable to the Republicans (as it was when they confirmed Samuel Alito, for example), the Democrats could have stopped Bork by using the extended debate period to essentially win the argument in the court of public opinion.

    I think that is how the filibuster ought to work. The majority gets to govern, but if they try anything crazy, the minority can hold everything up and make a determined plea to the people to reject what has been proposed.

    I think these reforms make sense. I support them.

  18. rikyrah says:

    From grandparents to grandchildren
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 13, 2012 11:26 AM EST

    In the closing months of the 2012 campaign, Republican candidates up and down the ballot came up with a new strategy to respond to news that GOP policymakers want to end Medicare and replace it with a voucher scheme: they hit the campaign trail with their parents.

    The gambit wasn’t subtle: voters were supposed to see a Republican congressman alongside his elderly mom, for example, and think, “Well, he can’t be that bad; his mom says he doesn’t hate Medicare!”

    The strategy didn’t work out too well — Democrats fared very well in the 2012 elections, and polls showed Americans strongly rejecting GOP Medicare plans — and so Republicans have a new photo-op idea. Grandparents are out; grandchildren are in.

    Many politicians talk about the impact of the soaring U.S. debt on the nation’s children. On Wednesday, Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.) actually trotted them out.

    The newly elected chairwoman of the House Republicans convened a press conference outside the Capitol with about 10 fellow GOP lawmakers and more than a dozen littler Republicans, in an effort to highlight the real-world effects of the fiscal crisis.

    “As the debate is looming over the fiscal cliff, we stand here to fight for those hard-working Americans and their families,” McMorris Rodgers said as she stood surrounded by children whose ages ranged from toddler to teenager, including one who wore a tuxedo.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Hurricane Sandy relief aid already in jeopardy in Congress

    By Steve Benen

    Thu Dec 13, 2012 10:06 AM EST.

    President Obama has submitted a $60.4 billion relief package for areas affected by Hurricane Sandy, which is actually below the total aid request from the governors of New York, New Jersey, and Connecticut, but as promised, Congress is not in a generous mood.

    House lawmakers don’t intend to introduce an emergency funding bill anywhere near as large as the $60 billion the Obama administration is seeking to help rebuild the Northeast after superstorm Sandy, saying the administration hasn’t provided sufficient details to justify spending that amount, two senior GOP aides said Wednesday.

    If the Republican-controlled House doesn’t take up the measure this year, it would push debate on a large rebuilding bill into next year — something New York and New Jersey officials have said they want to avoid.

    Though Republican leaders in both chambers have been cautious, saying very little about Sandy-related relief, The Hill reports that several rank-and-file House GOP lawmakers have already explicitly said they will demand funding offsets before emergency aid is approved. In other words, unless Democrats accept $60.4 billion in spending cuts, affected areas can forget about $60.4 billion in disaster relief.

    And that’s a real problem.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Thu Dec 13, 2012 at 08:04 AM PST.

    Grover Norquist insults Obama

    by blue aardvark

    NORQUIST: We got lots of things Obama claims to be for, and we will make — we, the Republicans in the House and Senate — will make him actually make those spending restraints, in order to get the continuing resolution out [for] a week, two weeks, a month. Obama will be on a very short leash, fiscally speaking, over the next four years. He’s not gonna have any fun at all. He may decide to go blow up small countries he can’t pronounce because it won’t be any fun to be here, because he won’t be able to spend the kind of cash he was hoping to

    So much wrong from a pathetic little man.

    Note that Norquist identifies himself as being one of the Republicans in Congress. He’s part of the caucus, evidently. And he claims that Americans for Prosperity is non-partisan.

    Norquist still has not let go of the idea of using a debt ceiling crisis on a weekly or monthly basis to force spending cuts. That idea is both evil and stupid in many ways.

    Obama, starting wars for fun? Really?

    Obama can’t pronounce the names of foreign countries? I’ll tell you what, Grover; we’ll set up a Trivial Pursuit game between you and BHO, loser leaves national politics. Only geography questions will be used.

    This pathetic loser keeps on acting like he’s in charge, like he can dictate terms, like he can force his 12 year old’s fantasy of small government upon an unwilling body politic by sheer force of will.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Heikamp is on the Indian Affairs Committee in the Senate.


    Thu Nov 08, 2012 at 06:41 AM PST.

    American Indian voters and Indian organizers gave N.D. Senate edge to Democrat Heidi Heitkamp

    by Meteor Blades

    When Democrat Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota takes her seat in the U.S. Senate come January, she will owe her margin of victory to American Indians. Heitkamp defeated Republican Rick Berg in a tight race, with her tallying 160,752 votes and Berg 157,758, a slim margin of 2,994. The four North Dakota counties with the highest percentage of Indians gave the former state attorney general a margin of 4,352 votes.
    On a per capita basis, North Dakota ranks seventh among the states in terms of citizens who are Indian, with five federally recognized reservations. The Indian population is about 36,200, 5.4 percent of the state’s total, of which three-fourths lives on reservations. Here’s a breakdown of the vote in the Heitkamp-Berg Senate contest for the four counties (with the names of reservations in those counties included in parentheses). Reservation boundaries in two cases extend over parts of more than one county:

    • Sioux County (Standing Rock Sioux Reservation) with 85 percent Indian population: 962 votes for Heitkamp; 184 for Berg
    • Rollette County (Turtle Mountain Band of Chippewa Indians) with 73 percent Indian population: 3,660 votes for Heitkamp; 900 for Berg
    • Benson County (Spirit Lake Tribe) with 48 percent Indian population 1,451 votes for Heitkamp; 707 for Berg
    • Mountrail County (Fort Berthold Indian Reservation) with 30 percent Indian population 1,742 votes for Heitkamp; 1,672 for Berg

    Some of the credit for the Indian turnout for Heitkamp goes to Prairie Rose Seminole—an enrolled member of the Three Affiliated Tribes (Mandan, Hidatsa and Arikara) who serves as native vote director for the Democratic Party-NonPartisan League of North Dakota—and to Heitkamp’s campaign staffer Diane Johnson, who is also enrolled in the Three Affiliated Tribes

  22. rikyrah says:

    Republicans reap the fruits of redistricting

    By Will Femia
    Thu Dec 13, 2012 9:02 AM EST.

    The graphics in last night’s opening segment on gerrymandering were so clear and illustrative I wanted to give you a second look. What these show is the total number of votes for Democratic and Republican House candidates in each state. Or, as Rachel put it, more people in Michigan voted for a Democrat than voted for a Republican. But the point of gerrymandering is that more people voting for a Democratic representative does not mean more Democratic representatives were elected to represent those voters. In fact, the opposite. And in cases where more voters chose Republicans, the apportionment of representatives for those voters is disproportionate

    H/t Mother Jones, where they got this rolling and have tons more. After the jump, the graphics for Wisconsin, Virginia, Pennsylvania and Ohio…

  23. rikyrah says:

    Nothing ‘reluctant’ about First Father Obama
    Posted by Jonathan Capehart on December 12, 2012 at 5:30 pm

    In “The reluctant First Father,” my Post colleague Kathleen Parker takes President Obama to task for not “us[ing] his bully pulpit to emphasize the importance of a two-parent family, and especially of fathers, to children’s well-being.” She couldn’t be more wrong.

    “The true story of fatherlessness in this country can’t be repeated often or forcefully enough,” Parker wrote. She went on to cite the high rate of out-of-wedlock births among African Americans. And she cited the controversy surrounding comments made by University of Texas law professor Lino Graglia on the BBC about how single-parent households put black and Latino children at a disadvantage.


    But the president has uttered words very close to that on many occasions since moving into the White House. In fact, he’s said them so much so that some African Americans complained (erroneously) that Obama only saved his stern lectures on personal responsibility and fatherhood for them.

    Obama brought his “we must do better” message to the dinner celebrating the 100th anniversary of the NAACP in July 2009 in New York City.


    [Capehart has examples from 2007, 2008,2009,2010 of POTUS talking about fatherhood]

    In June 2011, the president stressed the importance of fatherhood during an address to military fathers and their families. “[O]ne of the things that we’ve been trying to do is to stress the importance of fatherhood,” he told them. “We’ve hosted town halls; we’ve supported local programs. We’ve reached out to over 10,000 dads through our fatherhood pledge. For those fathers who may have trouble living up to their responsibilities, we’re trying to give them some support, but also give them a strong nudge to understand how important they are in the lives of their families.”

    And almost exactly a year later, the administration released a 30-page booklet on its work in “Promoting Responsible Fatherhood.” “Being a dad is one of the most important jobs a man can have,” the report opens. “The greatest advantage a child can have is the love and support of a strong and stable family and the research clearly indicates the benefits to children who have two actively engaged parents.”

    Parker called on Obama to use the power of his oratory to get through to fathers. “[N]othing like the power of words: Men, be men. Marry the mother of your children. Be a father to the children you sire. Go home and stay there,” she wrote. “No one could say these things better than Barack Obama.” She’s right. And he has.

  24. rikyrah says:

    another great comment from Rhoda:


    Good Morning, POU.

    So, the drumbeat is on from the village. Apparently, POTUS has to help Boehner and Republicans save face and climb down from their position. Meanwhile, Greg Sargent reports that Republicans have yet to put pen to paper and define the loopholes they want to close to reach $800 billion in revenue increases OR define what cuts they want in entitlements. How fucked up is this, I ask you? I honestly believe that the MSM is in vapors because (1) POTUS is clearly winning the war here and the country is on his side (despite that both sides bullshit that NBC tried to pull to give Republicans cover) and freak out blue dog Democrats, (2) POTUS is winning while black which is a cardinal sin in America, and (3) it is starting to dawn on folks that with the re-elect over POTUS has gone into his Mr. Tibbs phase and is determined to break the Republican party and end the insanity and that would derail the Citzens’ United gravy train for a lot of folks.

    This is going to be an incredible four years folks.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Smiley Hits O’Kelly with ‘Cease and Desist Notice for ‘Talking Bad About Him’

    *Oh, the drama!

    It used to kinda private, but the rancor between Tavis Smiley and Morris W. O’Kelly a/k/a “Mo’Kelly,” has gone public. A recent article by columnist Betty Pleasant in the Los Angeles Wave newspaper did the trick.

    Pleasant writes that the situation between the two outspoken media personalities has heated up to the point where the attorney for Smiley, whom she also refers to as a “public TV showman and ‘poverty tourist,’” sent radio commentator and blogger Mo’Kelly a “cease and desist” letter demanding that he stop talking and writing bad about him!

    Yes, Tavis is not pleased that Mo’Kelly is not down with him and his partner, Dr. Cornel West and their ongoing national anti-poverty campaign.

  26. ELECTION SPECIAL: Barack Obama Singing Can’t Touch This


    MC Hammer dancing

  27. First Lady Michelle Obama Talks to the TJMS

    If you thought that the re-election of President Barack Obama marked a time of rest, think again. First Lady Michelle Obama is prepared to challenge anyone thinking along those lines. The first lady talked to Tom and Sybil today about the election and why the push forward is just beginning.

  28. Ametia says:

    Take it out of the DC BUBBLE, PBO

    Affiliates interviewing Obama: WPVI, Philadelphia, PA WSCV Univision, Miami, FL WCCO, Minneapolis, MN and KCRA, Sacramento, CA

  29. Ametia says:

    38 days, 12 hours until January 21, 2013, Inauguration Day!

    Latest and greatest with videos here:

  30. Chris Christie: I Didn’t Help Obama Win Reelection.

    New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is adamant that he did not aid in President Barack Obama’s reelection by heaping praise on his leadership in the wake of Hurricane Sandy.

    “First of all, I didn’t help [Obama] win,” Christie told ABC News’ Barbara Walters in an interview for part of her “10 Most Fascinating People of 2012” series, which airs Wednesday. “The fact of the matter is President Obama won the election pretty comfortably … I was doing my job as I saw fit to do it. And I told the truth, like I always do. The president did step up and help tremendously in New Jersey.”

  31. Ametia says:


    I have to get my hip replaced now, because ObamaCare is cutting that off for old folks”

    My parents are elderly, mid-80’s. Retired, live down in the Republican bastion of Marco Island, Florida. Life-long Republicans who watch Fox News.

    Today my father called me to say he was having a hip replacement in February. He’s had a lot of back and hip trouble. I mentioned that ‘s a big deal for someone his age.

    His answer: “Well, my doctor said I should probably go ahead and do the hip replacement now, before Obamacare cuts it off from the old folks”.


    “Obamacare is cutting all that stuff out for old folks. I won’t be able to get it done if I don’t do it now”

    “Dad, your DOCTOR told you that? That Obamacare was going to cut off services from old folks? Your DOCTOR told you that to get you to have a hip replacement in February or Obamacare would prevent you from having one?”

    “Yes. All the doctors down here say that, and use it to justify everything they do now”.

    “Dad, that’s not true. That’s a lie. There is no restricted access or ‘death panels’ in Obamacare. Not true. Besides, you are on Medicare, and that’s not changing. You have free preventive visits now, in fact”.

    “Humph. Well, don’t believe everything you hear. My doctor says it’s true”.

    “Dad, it’s not true – it’s a lie”.–I-have-to-get-my-hip-replaced-now-because-ObamaCare-is-cutting-that-off-for-old-folks

  32. Ametia says:

    Advice for federal leaders looking over the ‘Best Places to Work’ rankings
    By Tom Fox, Published: December 12

    Tom Fox is a guest contributor to the Washington Post and is the vice president for leadership and innovation at the Partnership for Public Service. Fox also heads up the Partnership’s Center for Government Leadership.

    The release this week of the 2012 “Best Places to Work in the Federal Government” rankings provides federal leaders with an opportunity to engage employees about their jobs and work environment, and about potential improvement.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Jobless claims improve sharply, match four-year low

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:41 AM EST

    With the economic effects of Hurricane Sandy starting to subside, it was widely expected that we’d see an improvement in initial unemployment claims, but few thought the new report from the Department of Labor would be this good.

    New applications for U.S. unemployment benefits fell by 29,000 to a seasonally adjusted 343,000 in the week ended Dec. 8, putting claims at the second lowest level of the year, the Labor Department said Thursday. Initial claims from two weeks ago were revised up to 372,000 from an original reading of 370,000, based on more complete data collected at the state level. Claims are now below pre-Sandy levels and near their lowest point in about four years. Economists surveyed by MarketWatch expected claims to decline to 370,000.

    To put this in perspective, this new weekly total matches the best unemployment-claims report since President Obama took office nearly four years ago. It exceeds expectations in a very encouraging way, though Congress may yet screw things up.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Did the mainstream press blow the biggest campaign story of 2012? Chris Matthews revisits one of Hardball’s biggest stories—the radical right-wing, off-the-rails lurch of the Republican Party—and discusses with Mother Jones’ David Corn and Salon’s Joan Walsh.

  35. rikyrah says:

    A Supreme Court silver lining?: How Medicaid dodged the deficit debate
    Posted by Sarah Kliff on December 12, 2012 at 9:16 am

    Rep. Chris Van Hollen, the top-ranking Democrat on the House Budget Committee, says Medicaid cuts now would “send the wrong signal to states.”(Source: Washington Post / Melina Mala)
    On Monday, the Obama administration quietly reversed its support for a policy that would cut billions in Medicaid funding.

    For health care advocates, the small move reaffirmed a big message already delivered by White House staff: Medicaid is largely off the table in deficit reduction negotiations.

    Medicaid’s $389 billion budget has found protection in an unlikely place: The Supreme Court ruling in June, which found that the Affordable Care Act’s expansion of entitlement program must be voluntary. The decision disappointed health law supporters, as it left a program meant to cover 17 million Americans in the hands of the states, some of which oppose the new reforms.

    Now, as legislators eye entitlements as one way to cut the deficit, advocates see a silver lining in the Supreme Court’s decision: The White House appears reticent to cut Medicaid at the same time it’s trying to woo governors into participating in a crucial Affordable Care Act provision.

    “There’s a deep realization among Democrats that the Supreme Court altered the dynamic on Medicaid,” said Neera Tanden, president of the left-leaning Center for American Progress. “We live in a new reality where any additional burdens to Medicaid could have new meaning.”

    “I have participated in many different types of meeting that included White House staff, and there’s a strong conviction that Medicaid really deserves the highest protection,” said Ron Pollack, president of health advocacy group Families USA. “The Supreme Court decision changed the dynamic of the process, in a way that requires stronger protection of federal funding to the states.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 12:46 PM

    Why Republicans Can’t Propose Spending Cuts
    By Jonathan Chait

    “Where are the president’s spending cuts?” asks John Boehner. With Republicans coming to grips with their inability to stop taxes on the rich from rising, the center of the debate has turned to the expenditure side. In the short run, the two parties have run into an absurd standoff, where Republicans demand that President Obama produce an offer of higher spending cuts, and Obama replies that Republicans should say what spending cuts they want, and Republicans insist that Obama should try to guess what kind of spending cuts they would like.

    Reporters are presenting this as a kind of negotiating problem, based on each side’s desire for the other to stick its neck out first. But it actually reflects a much more fundamental problem than that. Republicans think government spending is huge, but they can’t really identify ways they want to solve that problem, because government spending is not really huge. That is to say, on top of an ideological gulf between the two parties, we have an epistemological gulf. The Republican understanding of government spending is based on hazy, abstract notions that don’t match reality and can’t be translated into a workable program.

    Let’s unpack this a bit. We all know Republicans want to spend less money. So the construction of the debate appears, on the surface, to be a pretty simple continuum based on policy preferences. Republicans like Mitch McConnell say government spending is “out of control” and would, at least ideally, like to bring it into line with revenue entirely through spending cuts. Democrats like Obama endorse a “balanced” solution with revenue and taxes. Right-thinking centrists, like the CEO community and their publicists like Mike Allen and Jim VandeHei, think we should cut deeply into entitlement spending while also raising tax revenue. (VandeHei, in a video accompanying his execrable story, asserts, “There’s money to be cut everywhere.”)

  37. rikyrah says:

    Watchdogs warn House ethics process is at risk
    Posted by Ed O’Keefe on December 12, 2012 at 7:00 am

    Government watchdogs are warning that the independent office responsible for overseeing ethics investigations of House lawmakers runs the risk of becoming a toothless entity if leaders fail to appoint new board members in the closing weeks of the year.

    The independent Office of Congressional Ethics was established in 2008 to serve as a clearinghouse for ethics complaints against lawmakers. The OCE has launched 101 cases and referred 37 to the 10-member House Ethics Committee for further review and possible referral to the Justice Department.

    When he took control of the House, Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) kept the OCE intact despite voting against its creation in 2008. In the years since, some members of both parties have sought to shutter the OCE or significantly curtail its budget.

    The OCE is co-chaired by former Reps. Porter Goss (R-Fla.) and David Skaggs (D-Colo.) and four other appointed members whose terms are expiring. None of the board members are eligible for new terms, meaning Boehner (R-Ohio) and House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) must tap new people to oversee the OCE.

    Despite weeks of inquiries from independent “good government” groups and reporters, Boehner’s office hasn’t said when it plans to appoint new board members.

  38. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Dems hold the middle ground. GOP is on fringe.
    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 13, 2012 at 9:07 am

    I spoke this morning to an official familiar with the fiscal cliff talks. He tells me that ever since Republicans rejected the first White House fiscal offer, White House negotiators have been asking Republicans to detail both the spending cuts they want and the loopholes and deductions they would close to raise revenues while avoiding a hike in tax rates for the rich.

    According to the official, Republicans continue to refuse to answer.

    “No answer ever since the Geithner meeting,” the official said. “To date they have been unwilling or able to identify a list of specific cuts or changes they would like or a single loophole they are willing to close.”

    This is borne out by reporting in both the New York Times and Politico. How on earth can there be any progress under these circumstances?

    There is a great deal of consternation this morning over the failure to reach a deal and what it says about the failings of our “political system.” But the main problem is not the “system,” it’s the behavior of one of the participants. It is overwhelmingly clear at this point that Republicans are the primary obstacle to any compromise. Admittedly, this is not a surprising assertion, coming from this blog. But let’s put it this way. There are three basic points about the current situation that make that conclusion inescapable. And I would ask anyone tempted to blame both sides equally whether they are wrong:

  39. rikyrah says:

    Didn’t Quite Shut That Whole Thing Down

    By mistermix December 13th, 2012

    Remember how “legitimate rape” Todd Akin was a pariah, rejected by all, should just slink away, wasn’t our kind of person, certainly didn’t reflect the values of the party, blah blah fucking blah? Well, he got $760K from the NRSC on the weekend before the election. (Of course, John Cornyn doesn’t want to talk about it.)

    Here’s the thing: McCaskill completely whupped his ass. He lost by 15 points, and even if you assume every libertarian vote would have gone to him, he still lost by 10 points. It was pretty clear on election eve that he was going down in flames, so the NRSC wasn’t spending that money in hopes of pulling out a win. They either did it out of gross incompetence, or they were throwing down a marker to appease teabaggers after the election (see, we tried!).

    Either way, fuck them for thinking we wouldn’t notice

  40. rikyrah says:

    GOP struggling badly with public attitudes

    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 13, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    The latest national NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll, released late yesterday, includes quite a bit of bad news for congressional Republicans, as they continue to resist compromising in the fiscal talks they initiated. Indeed, the poll shows the GOP on the wrong side of just about every issue.

    But lookingthrough the internals (pdf), something else jumped out at me: Republicans are really unpopular. I put together this chart pointing to favorability ratings throughout 2012 for President Obama, the Democratic Party, and the Republican Party.

    Note that the figures were fairly consistent throughout the year, but as 2012 draws to a close, it’s the president and his party that are on the upswing, while it’s the GOP that’s faltering.

    What’s more, that’s where things stand now — it’s likely attitudes towards Republicans will get worse if GOP lawmakers refuse to strike a fiscal agreement and begin 2013 by threatening to hurt Americans on purpose in a new debt-ceiling crisis.

    At this point, only two groups of Americans have a favorable opinion of the Republican Party: rural Americans and white Southerners. That’s it. That’s not exactly a recipe for a competitive national party in the 21st century.

    Wait, it gets worse.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Fed’s big decision is victory for liberal economics
    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on December 12, 2012 at 4:33 pm

    In the “elections have consequences” department, add today’s announcement by the Federal Reserve that it will not only tolerate somewhat more inflation, but will do so until unemployment drops below 6.5 percent. It’s a decision that pushes the Fed more and more in the direction of liberal economists who have supported monetary policy designed to encourage economic growth, not fight inflation. (See Mark Thoma’s explanation of the new policy.)

    Or, to put it another way, it’s a sign that the current Fed board is increasingly taking the “dual” part of its dual mandate — to seek stable prices and full employment — a lot more seriously than it seemed to earlier in Barack Obama’s presidency.

    And so today’s decision is a consequence of an election, but not the one we just had — it’s a consequence of the November 2008 election, which allowed Obama to appoint and a Democratic Senate to confirm members of the Fed Board of Governors; he’s now appointed six of seven, all of whom voted for today’s policy.

    Republicans, meanwhile, have moved in the other direction, with many of them rejecting entirely the Fed’s responsibility for improving the economy in favor of having it worry only about inflation. In fact, just last week, Marco Rubio implied that he may adopt that as a key position in his possible presidential campaign. Yes, that’s right: it didn’t get that much attention during the recent campaign, but many Republicans believe that (at least when it comes to monetary policy) the United States has been paying too much attention to jobs and not enough to fighting inflation.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Obama Keeps Promise to Send first-time nonviolent drug offenders to rehab over jail

    By: Sarah JonesDecember 13th, 2012

    Obama Keeps His Promise in the War on Drug Users
    Obama Gets Moved Up from Compromise to Kept Promise on War on Drug Users

    Lots of people think Obama hasn’t changed anything on the drug war front (Bill Maher is one of them, but who can blame him – drug policy isn’t exactly hot media stuff). But it turns out that PolitiFact is giving Obama a “promise kept” on this one. They write, “(T)he administration has supported drug courts, which allow low-level drug offenders to have their charges dropped if they successfully complete a court-monitored treatment program.”

    Thus we have the “drug courts” which operate mostly at the state and local level.

    There are approximately 2,700 drug courts. The administration estimates that we are now sending about 120,000 people to treatment instead of jail. That’s a lot of drug users who would have been languishing in jail, where they don’t get help and often don’t belong. President Obama requested $13 million more for drug courts and treatment in 2013 than he did in 2012.

    Rafael Lemaitre, spokesman for the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, pointed out that in the “last fiscal year, the Obama administration spent $10.4 billion on drug prevention and treatment programs compared with $9.2 billion on domestic drug enforcement.”

  43. rikyrah says:

    It’s on: Elizabeth Warren versus Wall Street
    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 12, 2012 at 3:17 pm

    Republicans have long derided Elizabeth Warren for describing herself as an intellectual godmother of Occupy Wall Street. Now the intellectual godmother of Occupy Wall Street will occupy the Senate committee that oversees it.

    The Senate Democratic leadership is announcing today that Warren will be given a seat on the Senate Banking Committee. As Forbes put it recently, Warren’s ascent to the Senate alone was “Wall Street’s worst nightmare.” This could make that nightmare a good deal worse.


    This is going to give Warren a choice perch from which to continue to press the crusade for Wall Street oversight and accountability. And it continues a battle between her and Wall Street that stretches back literally years. Warren, a consumer advocate and expert in bankruptcy law, angered Wall Street when she pressed state attorneys general to demand a huge settlement from major banks and financial institutions they were investigating for improper foreclosure procedures. Warren was also the inspiration behind the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, which produced one of the ironies of her career.

    The big banks won a victory when Obama declined to appoint Warren to head the Bureau. But as a result, she ran for the Senate. Wall Street made a big bet on defeating her candidacy, investing huge money in opponent Scott Brown, explicitly because of Warren’s longtime advocacy for tighter Wall Street regulation and oversight. They lost. She won.

    And now Warren sits on the committee responsible for such regulation and oversight. As one hedge fund manager recently lamented: “At exactly the time that big banks don’t want more oversight — or another potentially activist regulator — that’s what they’re getting,” Or, as Andy Kroll recently put it: “Big banks versus Elizabeth Warren: It’s on (again).”

    Warren’s appointment to the committee is likely to anger some top Republican Senators who hate her relentless push for more oversight and have crusaded against her consumer protection bureau as an example of oppressive liberal governance. Indeed, some Republican Senators even joined Wall Street in lobbying against her appointment to head that bureau. Now she sits among them, and is likely to get into spirited fights with them over future battles involving Wall Street regulation. Indeed, some progressives see her as a good counterbalance to Dems on the committee who might be overly solicitous towards Wall Street, too.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

    in 1960, talking about UNIFORM VOTING STANDARDS.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Maddow talks about voting and the attention it is getting from Attorney General Holder.

  46. rikyrah says:

    Rachel Maddow shows how Republican legislatures have manipulated state voting districts to ensure disproportionate Republican election victories with the potential to secure a White House win.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Retired basketball athlete Scottie Pippen and his wife, Larsa, have just signed on for a new reality series.

    Announced Wednesday, the series will find the couple joining WE TV’s growing line up of programming that includes “Braxton Family Values,” “Tamar & Vince” and “Mary Mary.”

    Titled “Big Pippen,” the series will document the Chicago based couple’s “charmed life.”

    “Big Pippen revolves around Chicago power couple Larsa and Scottie Pippen. From private jets to designer digs, diamond rings and six NBA championships, the Pippens live a truly charmed life,” reports THR. “Add in her overbearing family and his clan from Arkansas, and this duo is living life Big Pippen style.”

    Reality television is not new for the Pippen family. Larsa Pippen appeared on the first season of “The Real Housewives of Miami” in 2011. She did not return for the second season, which premiered earlier this year.

    “Big Pippen” is due to premiere in 2013.

  48. rikyrah says:


    Who watched Amish Mafia?

    I thought it was friggin HILARIOUS.

    Esther just needs to up and marry the Mafia Don. Amish or not, that girl has the soul of a Mob Moll.

    • Ametia says:

      Sereiously? Amish-Mafia in same sentence, side-side? BWA HA HA HA Is this a reality show?

      • rikyrah says:

        Not only is it a reality show, but it was funny as hell.

        It’s almost surreal….because some of the scenes could be taken from The Godfather.

        Last night they dealt with the following:

        1. A woman had her buggy (as in horse and buggy) damaged by a car. They asked for a description of the car, and the mafia went to look for the car. They approached the home, said that they believed he was involved in an accident and would he like to pay for the damages to the buggy. The guy was like ‘ f ‘ you. The mafia guy then went back to his truck, pulled out a rifle, and shot the car. …then quoted the Bible – ‘ an eye for an eye’.
        2. Next, we had a neighbor come to them because she suspected that her neighbor was having an affair (because a man, not her husband, was visiting her). The mafia did a stakeout of the house. And, after 4 days, confronted the woman. Turns out that her husband had left her, and she just thought this man was helping her out. ….then, he wanted favors of the sexual kind in return for his financial help. The mafia guys tracked down the guy and his buggy, told him to get out and had a ‘ talk’ with him.
        3. Another case was of a Church Elder that had been seeing a prostitute. The mafia went and got a camera, staked out the motel, and took pictures.

        You would have cracked up watching the Mafia ‘ Don’ go around the community, doing good deeds…i.e. pull up to a house, and tell the woman inside ‘ I heard your husband was injured…here’s some money to hold you over financially. ‘

        It was hilarious.

      • Ametia says:

        OMG This sounds funny as HELL. What channel and is it a regular Wednesday night show?

      • rikyrah says:

        It’s on the Discovery Channel

  49. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!!

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