Thursday Open Thread

What Child Is This?” is a popular Christmas carol written in 1865. At the age of twenty-nine, English writer William Chatterton Dix was struck with a sudden near-fatal illness and confined to bedrest for several months, during which he went into a deep depression.[1][2] Yet out of his near-death experience, Dix wrote many hymns, including “What Child is This?”, later set to the traditional English tuneGreensleeves

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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63 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    From TOD:

    December 20, 2012 at 9:40 pm

    Barack Michael Coleone Obama ROCKS!!!

    You better believe it!!!


  2. rikyrah says:

    Nerdy Wonka @NerdyWonka

    Shorter Boehner to Pres. Obama: “Screw you, I’m going with Plan B.” Shorter Pres. Obama: “Please Proceed, Mr. Speaker.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    From TOD:

    December 20, 2012 at 8:34 pm

    Karma? Prudence? Poetic Justice. Fate?

    They wanted his Waterloo. They wanted to break him. They worked their hardest to make him a one term president. Jan 21, 2010, SCOTUS gave them the Citizen United ruling. 32 Billionaires, Fox declared 2X in 2009 and 2010 by two of their VPs that president Obama was their opposition. Ailes tried to recruit Petreaus. Murdoch was donating millions to TBGOPers. MSM joined in.

    All For what?

    They hate pres Obama more than they love America,


  4. President Obama To Hold Moment Of Silence For Sandy Hook Victims

    WASHINGTON (AP) — President Barack Obama plans to observe a moment of silence at the White House on Friday morning in honor of the victims of the Connecticut elementary school massacre.

    The White House says the president will observe the moment of silence at 9:30 a.m. EST, about one week after the shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., in which 20 children and six adults were killed at the school.

    Obama has asked Vice President Joe Biden to produce recommendations on new gun laws by next month and pledged to push new legislation without delay.

    The White House said the president’s observance of the shootings would take place in private without press coverage.

  5. rikyrah says:

    hael viqueira @mikeviqueira

    POTUS has sucessfully turned a victoryin battle on election day into a rout of the republican party. This is the reckoning.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin’s Stalkerish Obama Obsession Gets Even Weirder and More Bizarre

    By: Jason EasleyDec. 20th, 2012

    President Obama’s celeb D-List stalker, Sarah Palin appeared on Fox News and gave a performance that was so weird it made Victoria Jackson and Ted Nugent look like a sanity convention.


    Every once in a while it is fun to check in on the remains of what used to be Sarah Palin. (Before any of you start leaving comments about how Palin should never be written about, I agree. But just like a car crash on the side of the road, sometimes morbid curiosity gets the better of you and you just have to take a look.)

    Even by Palin’s usual standard of incoherent ramblings, this one was really weird. It is obvious that the more than four years since she lost the 2008 election have done nothing to ease her bitter jealousy of President Obama. What many don’t realize is that Sarah Palin left jealous a long time ago to become this president’s D-List former celebrity stalker. She appears to be torn between bitterness, and an obsession with every move this president makes.

    It seems Sarah Palin is taking that Fox News paycheck and not even making a token attempt to follow the news. She appears to be playing some bizarre word association game that only she understands. BFF Greta said more perfect union, which led Sarah on a verbal jaunt surrounded by the word constitution that made absolutely no sense. (I wonder if Fox News has a drug testing policy for on air talent?)

    As strange as that was, what followed next was the most jealous, envious, and ridiculous thing ever to come out of Sarah Palin’s mouth.

    She claimed that Obama did not deserve to be named Time’s Person of the Year because he hasn’t done anything.

    Obama only saw the unemployment rate drop, the economy grow, ended Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, signed a version of the Dream Act, had Obamacare ruled constitutional by the Supreme Court, and for good measure, he easily won reelection over Mitt Romney.

    In contrast, Sarah Palin’s year consisted of watching two reality shows starring family members bomb, becoming the only vice presidential nominee in recent memory not to even be invited to the convention, and being essentially blacked out on Fox News while holding a book signing down the road from the Romney party in Tampa.

    Sarah Palin has gone from mean girl to political bag lady chugging Thunderbird under the overpass.

    So in case you were wondering whatever happened to Sarah Palin, now you know.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Sam Jackson on Playing the House Ni**a in ‘Django Unchained’ (Watch)

    Blacktree TV’s Jamaal Finkley spoke to Samuel L. Jackson this past weekend to discuss the actor’s controversial role in the equally controversial Quentin Tarantino film “Django Unchained.”

    In the production, Jackson plays a Steven, the “house ni**a.” No, he doesn’t do the “yessa boss, I’s comin’” thing, but there’s no doubt he’s, well a “house ni*a.” and quite frankly he’s a damn good one, too. It’s one of those roles, like the film itself, that’s going to piss of a LOT of black folk. But, you won’t be able to stop looking at what you’re seeing. Oh yeah, don’t be shocked if he gets an Oscar nod for the role.

    So, what’s the process with Sam and Quentin? They’ve have history (“Jackie Brown,” “Pulp Fiction). Finkley started things off by basically asking what is it about their relationship that allows them to work together and create great characters and chemistry?

    “Quentin writes the stories and he presents the characters to me and I look at it and say it’s a good challenge and I’ll do it,” responded Jackson. “When he sent ‘Django to me, I read it and he told me you’re Steven, and I was like it’s 15 years too late to be Django because … I wanna be a western hero with guns and you want me to be the most despised negro in cinematic history.”

    But we’re talking Samuel L. Jackson here. Once he takes a role, no matter what it is, even a lowly character like Steven, he’s going to try and hit it out the park, which he did. He adds half jokingly …

    “That’s something to aspire to. Ok, let’s see what we can do. Yeah, let’s reach for it.”

    Trust us, he went for it and then some. He plays Steven to the hilt. You’ll come away hating the character, but you’ll absolutely love and appreciate Jackson’s performance in the film. He, Leonardo DiCaprio, Christopher Waltz and of course Jamie Foxx are dynamite together.

    Check out the interview below and find out what else Jackson had to say about his role in “Django Unchained.”


  8. Ametia says:

    Speaker Boehner Statement on Tax Vote

    Source: Office of the Speaker

    “The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff. The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation’s crippling debt. The Senate must now act.”

    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Brilliant comment at POU:


    You know what, the Mayan’s were right. Were starting to enter a new age of enlightenment. A new way of thinking. NOT that apocalyptic shit that some white guy invented to explain it away. I mean, the fact that now the old ways are no longer the standard. No longer can white people expect to solely rule the world anymore. No longer can they claim that they are the only race that excels in intellect, sexuality, humbleness, cleanliness, and a clear sense of understanding about simple fact. I mean, seriously, look at Sarah Palin. This bitch seethes with overwhelming envy of President Barack Obama. I mean look at her. Four years ago, I was threatened, truly threatened by her ascending to becoming either the 47th Vice President of the United States or the 45th President of the United States. And yet, this woman quit her job as Governor and went on a D-List reality tour that makes the Kardashians look like a major American success story. Now, President Obama is a two term popular the world over leader of the free world, and she is a person who Fox News cannot wait to Glenn Beck out of a network contract. In the age of Obama, the old is giving way to the new.

    Now, let me get to the shooting and more importantly, Jake Tapper’s dumbassed question. First, isn’t it something that it took a multitude of children, no babies, WHITE babies being shot for the majority to seriously look at gun laws in our nation. Don’t get me wrong, it tugged at my heart seeing all the photos and hearing all the memories of how sweet these children were, but it tugged the same heartstrings when I hear the same things from Black mothers, Latino mothers, Asian mothers. The note that the child wrote in the classroom is the same note that those mothers sometimes get before they go to collect the body of their deceased sons and daughters.

    Many here were upset when Jake Tapper asked President Obama “Where have you been?” I just laughed. Really, white bred, elite living, six figure salary, never had to work his ass off for shit Jake Tapper asked Afro-American, Chicago and New York slum living, worked his fucking ass off to get to where he is true American story President Barack Obama, “Where have you been on gun laws?” Seriously? As if Tapper were permanently on the hunt for proper gun laws in America? As if he witnessed his best friend or his family member shot down on the street or that he himself faced gunfire. HA!! Jake, where were YOU when these weapons got in our streets and gunned down our children mercilessly? Where were you when Black and Latino mothers had to talk about how wonderful and sweet their children were? Where were you with the photos of those precious lost children? Barack Obama knew where he was, he was just waiting for you and folks like you to catch up.

    But see, these folks never had to worry about it coming on to their street. Those folks in Connecticut are probably going through understandable motions right now. Its not hard to believe. But, they are also grappling with a reality that WE have always known. That a gun can kill someone as easily on West Paces Ferry Rd. as it can on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Drive. It doesn’t matter whether your school has failed AYP tests year after year or is the top national school of excellence 10 years running in the richest community. All it takes is a crazy motherfucker with access to a weapon and all those stories you hear on the news following Black and Latino folks can happen to you. Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis are no longer the only ones to have their mothers and fathers suffer to gun violence. And I seriously think that what really fucks em up was that it wasn’t one of US that did the shooting, but it was a white guy who they could picture their elder sons hanging with and their elder daughters dating that did it. Which is why they are on board with gun control legislation now.

    So, in a way I’m sort of amused by these same whites, who have demonized and bashed Barack Obama for telling the absolute truth that when Whites are scared, they grab hold to religion and guns , the same whites who after this man’s election and re-election, bought guns by the droves and instituted bullshit laws like allowing guns in parks and bars and the infamous “Stand Your Ground” law are NOW demanding he do something to alleviate them from this scourge that they have now found on their doorstep. They live and have lived in the same state that possesses the gun lobbying organization and NOW they demand gun laws? I know my post is long and this is what happens when I don’t type here for awhile and have a lot on my mind, but doesn’t it just tickle you sometimes the reaction of these folks? Its just amusing to me.

  10. Ametia says:

    House Speaker John Boehner says his fiscal cliff plan won’t come to a vote because “it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass. Now it is up to the president to work with Sen. (Harry) Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.”

    The fiscal cliff is a $7 trillion combination of automatic tax increases and spending cuts that are scheduled to start taking

  11. Daniel Inouye: Returning to prejudice

    Even a decorated soldier in uniform experienced racial prejudice back home.

    Interview outtakes from THE WAR:

    “Well, I was in Oakland getting ready to get on a ship for a boat ride back to Hawaii. I was in my uniform with three rows of ribbons and a captains bars on my shoulder, I must have looked pretty good. Like a big hero with a hook on my right hand, where it used to be. And so, I thought I’d just get a nice haircut so I’d look neat. I looked around Oakland, here was a barbershop. Three chairs. I remember that. All three empty. The barbers are just standing around, so I walked in. This one barber approached me and he looked at me and he said, ‘Are you a Jap??’ You know, that was a strange welcome. And I said,’I’m an American.’ ‘Well, I’m asking you, ‘Are you a Jap??” I said, ‘My father was born in Japan, my mother is Japanese. I suppose that makes me one.’ ‘We don’t cut Jap hair.’ And I thought to myself, here I am in uniform. It should be obvious to him that I’m an American soldier, a captain at that. And that fellow very likely never went to war. And he’s telling me we don’t cut Jap hair. I was so tempted to strike him. But then I thought if I had done that, all the work that we had done would be for nil. So I just looked at him and I said, ‘Well, I’m sorry you feel that way.’ And I walked out.”

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  13. Sites to go dark for Sandy Hook victims

    (CNN) –
    Some major websites will go dark for one minute Friday at 9:30 a.m. ET as part of a national moment of silence for the victims of last week’s shooting at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn.

    It’s unclear how widespread participation will be online, but more than 100,000 people and sites have pledged to participate on the page for the Web Goes Silent campaign. People and companies are also spreading the word by tweeting their intention to go quiet with the hashtag #momentforSandyHook.

  14. Man charged in rifle stunt at Sandy Hook school in Va.

    man who was apparently trying to make a dramatic point about school safety was arrested at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Strasburg, Va., after allegedly walking into the building carrying a 2×4 labeled “high-powered rifle.”

    NBC News Washington reported that Christopher Garret Johnson, 33, faces disorderly conducts charges for behavior that officials called “inappropriate, at best.”

    The incident occurred at midmorning on Wednesday at the school in Strasburg that carries the same name as the one in Connecticut where a gunman killed 26 people, including 20 children last Friday.

    “He made general statements about school safety and safety awareness,” a Shenandoah County officer told NBC4 News. “But the reality was, it was disruptive.”


  15. rikyrah says:

    While emos shriek, Obama gives Boehner the shiv

    bit of analysis from Josh Marshall:

    But the real issue here probably comes down to Boehner’s weakness, institutional and personal. It’s a question the White House has had from the beginning and suspects the worst on — that John Boehner can’t actually deliver any deal, almost no matter what’s included in it. Someone on Twitter just called him the rodeo clown of conservative politics, which about captures it.
    We’ve been treated to a full meltdown among our True Progressive (TM) friends for the past two days—while the nation is still raw over the Newtown massacre—over the reports leaking out that President Obama is going to “cave” to Boehner and give him the Keys to the Kingdom, turning Social Security over to the corporatists and making you wait until you’re on your deathbed to qualify for Medicare. It’s predictable, and really not worth going over in too much detail. Much like the bomb throwers on the Right, those on the Left have a preternatural hatred of this president, distrusting him as much as denizens of Red State do, and look at any action and statement from him or his Administration as prelude to a betrayal. This is merely another milestone in the infantilization of our political culture, where total defeat is to be preferred to messy compromise in which you achieve at least some of your aims.

    So, as with Mr. Marshall, let’s focus on what Obama has been able to accomplish in the short few weeks since negotiations began in earnest.

    During the last hostage negotiation, John Boehner wouldn’t take a “grand bargain” where the ratio of revenue to cuts was 1:4. He couldn’t sell that to his caucus, as it would have been seen to be a victory for compromise, which in the Tea Party dominated House was anathema.

    Now? Boehner has agreed, if the reports are correct, to a 1:1 ratio between revenue and cuts. Good, no? Well, yes, but here’s the rub: if he couldn’t sell the 2011 grand bargain to his membership, he certainly won’t be able to sell this.

    But here’s the other thing: the big business community, mainstay of the GOP, has pretty much come out in favor of this grand bargain. They control the purse strings. So Boehner has to contend with that.

    It’s gone beyond that, however. The speaker has no control over his party. No one does, not him, not Cantor, not any other putative candidate for the Speakership. What Obama has done in a few weeks is reveal, once and for all, that the Republican Party as it stands today is totally unready to govern. Boehner won’t bring any bill to the floor that doesn’t have the support of his membership. But there is no bill that he could bring that would have that support.

    The reason for this is very simple: any resolution will be seen as a victory for Obama. If he and Boehner come to an agreement, the public will see it as due mostly to the President’s efforts. If we go off the cliff, the public has already made it clear that it will blame Boehner and his party, and demand that it follow the President’s and Democrats’ lead.

  16. Ametia says:

    In the wake of the attack on Sandy Hook Elementary in Newtown, Connecticut, mega-retailer Walmart has sold out of its stock of assault rifles in five states, according to Bloomberg News.

    The company said Wednesday it had no plans to stop selling semi-automatic assault rifles like the Bushmaster .223, which was used by the shooter to slaughter 20 school children on Friday.

    Bloomberg noted that Pennsylvania, Kansas and Alabama were among the states where Walmart has sold out. The big box retailer reportedly took a photo and description of the Patrolman’s Carbine M4A3, made by Bushmaster, off its website following the massacre but continued to sell the assault weapon in its stores.

  17. House Republicans Cut Food Stamps, Obamacare, And Wall Street Oversight In Ill-Fated ‘Plan B’

  18. NRA’s Wayne LaPierre going on ‘Meet the Press’

  19. Breaking News‏@BreakingNews

    Update: Newark Mayor Cory Booker says he will explore possibility of running for US Senate in 2014 – YouTube video

  20. Asheville tea party holding gun raffle

    ASHEVILLE, N.C. (AP) — The tea party in Asheville is being criticized for a fundraising raffle for two guns, including one similar to one used in the school shootings in Connecticut.

    The group posted “The Great Gun Giveaway” on its website Monday, the Asheville Citizen-Times ( ) reported. There also are several articles on the website saying gun control and gun-free zones don’t work.

    Western Carolina University political scientist Chris Cooper says he’s surprised by the tea party’s timing, when the National Rifle Association took down its Facebook and Twitter accounts after the shooting.

    “If you have the pre-eminent gun rights group in the country stepping back, at least temporarily, it’s a bit surprising the local tea party chapter would do the opposite,” Cooper said

    Jane Bilello with the Asheville Tea Party says the fundraiser was planned before the shooting which killed 20 students and six staff members.

    “I can understand their initial reaction,” Bilello said. “We’re taking flak, that’s fine. If anything, this brings this issue to the surface.”


    This is the face of evil. Raffling Rifles while 6 & 7 year old kids are still being buried. Evil has no bounds.

  21. Ametia says:

    The Lesson of 2012? It Was Never About Obama, It Was About Us

    by Manuel Pastor, Gihan Perera
    Thursday, December 20 2012, 10:06 AM EST

    On Florida’s last day of early voting, I was visiting polls making sure things were running smoothly. When I arrived at the the North Dade Regional Library, 850 people were patiently waiting in line, and many more were rushing to join before the poll shut down. With two minutes left before closing, poll workers made their way to the end of the snaking queue to stop anyone else from joining. A woman pulled up and pleaded with poll workers to give her time to findparking, but they said it was impossible. We looked at each other—and even though we were complete strangers, she threw me her keys and scrambled to join the line without looking back. I jumped in and drove off to find parking. Later,

    I found her in line to return her keys. We said nothing to each other, but we didn’t need to—we knew what this was about. One of our organizers gave her a card, and she called the offices of Florida New Majority two days later to report that she voted at 12:34 am. And she asked us: what’s next?
    In a sense, the results of this year’s presidential election were perplexing. How could a president with an economy in the doldrums, an energized opposition, and an approval rating that had been sagging for years actually pull off a re-election victory?

    Was it the early branding of Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist? Was it the Latino reaction to an anti-immigrant tone? Was it the sophisticated data mavens in Chicago who combined behavioral science with “big data” methods to facilitate a remarkably
    accurate approach to voter targeting?

  22. Ametia says:

    Cogent, methodical, and sans hair on fire analysis here:

    Thursday, December 20, 2012
    A few facts on the “fiscal cliff” negotiations (updated)

    Things are getting a little confusing on the so-called “fiscal cliff” negotiations. And with all the screaming from the poutragers, it can be hard to understand what’s going on. So I thought I’d summarize the latest actions in bullet points to see if it helps clarify.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Are Still the Same Old Republicans
    —By Kevin Drum

    | Wed Dec. 19, 2012 12:22 PM PST

    John Boehner’s “Plan B” is obviously just political theater. Hell, it’s not even good political theater. Sure, it allows the the top marginal rate for millionaires to increase to its fiscal cliff level (i.e., the level it will be at if we do nothing), but capital gains rates would go down, dividend rates would go down, and estate tax rates would go down. “Pease” limits on itemized deductions are eliminated, and the planned phaseout of the personal exemption goes away too. On net, millionaires do pretty well for themselves. At the same time, tax rates on the poor and middle class would go up.

    This is just a bad joke. But the negotiations of the past few weeks have made clear that nothing has changed in Republican-land. Boehner just flatly doesn’t have the support of his caucus for a real deal. So he makes up weird stuff about interest expenditures “not counting” as a pretense to reject Obama’s latest offer, and then tosses out a plainly unserious plan as a way (he hopes) of creating a land mine for Democrats.

    This is grade school stuff. Apparently, there’s simply no way to make a deal with House Republicans. Boehner is doing his best to mask that uncomfortable fact, but that’s where we’re at. The lunatics are still running the asylum.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Boehner struggles, scrambles to pass tax gambit
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 20, 2012 9:37 AM EST

    On Monday, House Speaker John Boehner was very close to reaching a fiscal deal with President Obama. On Wednesday, Boehner was moving away from his own negotiations, presenting a transparent p.r. stunt as an alternative, and finding that his own Republican colleagues have very little interest in following his lead.

    In his extremely brief press statement yesterday afternoon, Boehner boasted in passing that the House “will pass” his plainly ridiculous “Plan B.” The bravado was misplaced — the Speaker proceeded to spend the day pleading with House Republicans to do as he asked, and was even forced to add new spending cuts to his doomed proposal in the hopes of enticing his own GOP caucus to help bail him out of the jam Boehner put himself into.

    Making matters slightly worse, Boehner was forced to scrap a scheduled vote on Obama’s original offer — tax breaks on all income up to $250,000, higher marginal rates for higher income — in part because it might pass (which would undermine the Speaker’s leverage) and in part because he couldn’t risk it failing (if all else fails, he might need to pass it before Dec. 31).

    And in case these troubles weren’t quite enough, an analysis of “Plan B” from the non-partisan Tax Policy Center concluded that “nearly half of households in the top one percent would see a small tax cut under Boehner’s plan,” thanks to cuts in taxes on capital gains, estates, and dividends, while “lower and middle income households would see a tax increase under his plan,” thanks to the elimination of existing tax policies designed to help working families.

    John Boehner, in other words, isn’t having a great week.

  25. rikyrah says:

    From: Mark Ames
    TO: The Shootings Desk
    Date: Dec 17th, 2012

    From “Operation Wetback” To Newtown: Tracing The Hick Fascism Of The NRA
    I’ve been writing about these rampage murders for about a decade now, but Friday’s rampage massacre was Different. So I’m going to approach this piece somewhat Differently than I usually do — I’m going to look at what’s most obvious.

    For one thing, this massacre had pathos, and I’ve never really dealt with pathos like this in all my years researching and writing about these rampage killings. I’m used to digging into a story that has no pathos, and finding it where no one bothers looking, usually hidden in all the obvious places.

    But there’s no point in being clever here. The slaughter of so may little children means approaching this from a more “obvious” angle.

    Also, this isn’t the sort of rampage massacre I studied for “Going Postal,” my book that examined workplace massacres in which employees massacre supervisors and/or coworkers, and “middle America” school shootings where middle-class students attack their schools and fellow students.

    Until relatively recently, those types of mass-murder were freakishly rare in America; they only appeared at the end of the Reagan Era. First they happened in the workplace, concurrent with the destruction of labor unions and the transfer of wealth and workplace power into few hands. Then, by the late 1990s, the workplace massacres had seeped down into the employees’ children’s schoolyards.

    The dead Newtown killer, Adam Lanza, wasn’t a student at the school he shot up, nor did he work there. He apparently suffered from mental illness — no shit he did — and his mother was reportedly a gun enthusiast, a “prepper” who stored up weapons for the end of the world.

    There’ve been other massacres like Newtown in the past — where the killer has no direct relationship or grievance to the victims or the site of the shooting, a lone and severely mentally ill adult for some reason chooses to massacre school children in their school. They’re rare and often spectacular. It happened in Stockton in 1989, leading to California’s assault weapons ban; it happened in Britain in ’96, leading to a total handgun ban; it happens in China more and more lately, the adult attacker always uses a knife rather than a gun, meaning lower to nil death counts, and astronomical numbers of wounded.

    Until now, I have largely avoided getting dragged down into the gun control debate, in part because gun proliferation doesn’t explain why “going postal” first exploded into the culture in the late 1980s, and has worked its way into the American DNA ever since. Gun control or lack thereof doesn’t explain why these kinds of rampage shootings only appeared in the late Reagan era and spread ever since then. And there must have been my own personal prejudices too — I grew up with guns, and despite a couple of bad episodes involving guns and a drunken violent stepfather, I have a reflexive contempt for people who haven’t gone shooting and tell you that gun control laws are the answer.

    Well, guess what? Their knee-jerk solution is more right than mine.

    Passing gun restrictions today probably wouldn’t do much to slow down rampage massacres, at least not for awhile — but the politics of sweeping gun control laws could have a huge transformative effect over time. It’s no longer impossible for me to ignore that fact.

    Which means it’s also no longer possible for me to ignore the National Rifle Association, and its hick fascism politics that’ve been poisoning our culture ever since the NRA’s infamous “coup” in 1977, when the NRA was taken over by far-right fanatics led by a convicted murderer and onetime US Border Guards chief named Harlon Carter — whose previous claim to fame was when he led a massive crackdown on Mexican immigrant laborers called “Operation Wetback.” That’s not a typo by the way.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Why Top Colleges Miss Great Students

    By Betsey Stevenson & Justin Wolfers Dec 18, 2012 5:30 PM CT

    The real crisis in American higher education is that our best colleges never see a large chunk of our smartest students.

    In an important recent study, the economists Caroline Hoxby and Christopher Avery found that very few high achievers from low-income families ever apply to top colleges, and that the missing applications from these kids largely explain why they’re underrepresented at our leading universities.

    At first glance, poor students’ reluctance to aim for the Ivy League might seem to make sense. After all, there’s no way the typical low-income family can afford tuition of $50,000 a year. But in reality, they don’t have to pay anything for these schools.

    Leading private universities such as Harvard, Yale, Princeton or Stanford work hard to counter the lack of income diversity on their campuses. In recent years, they have adopted policies reducing the costs of tuition, room and board for middle-class and low-income students all the way to zero. Qualified students who settle for less-selective colleges often end up paying more to do so.

    Safety Schools

    Irrational as it may seem to sell oneself so short, the behavior is strikingly pervasive. Hoxby and Avery systematically studied the college applications of all high-achieving students in the U.S., zeroing in on those who earned at least an A-minus grade point average and scored in the top decile on college admissions exams. They found that high-achieving kids from high- income families applied to colleges much as any good guidance counselor would recommend, aiming for a few top-tier “reach” schools, a handful of “match” schools, and one or two “safety” schools, where admission was pretty much guaranteed.

    Similarly qualified students from low-income families followed a completely different pattern. Most didn’t apply to any selective college or university, and some didn’t apply to college at all. Too often, the best schools they approached should have been their safety schools. They effectively gave up a chance for upward mobility the day they sent in their college applications.

    The result is that university admissions officers see a very skewed picture of their potential students. Among applicants to selective colleges, high-achieving, high-income students outnumber their low-income peers by 15 to 1, leading colleges to perceive the latter as a rare species. But this is wrong. The true ratio of high-income to low-income high achievers is roughly 2.5 to 1, according to Hoxby and Avery.

    Why haven’t the generous subsidies for low-income students at elite colleges generated a stampede of smart, working-class applicants?

    Some insights come from analyzing the kids who break the mold by applying to elite universities. Overwhelmingly, they tend to live in major cities where they meet other students who are also high-achieving. These students both share information and form a critical mass that attracts visits from admissions officers. Their teachers are also more likely to have attended a strong university. Many of these low-income students attended magnet schools, or other feeder schools, which have historically sent their best students to good colleges. The common denominator is that low-income students who apply to top schools typically come from an information-rich environment.

    Once they gain admission to a good university, their educational paths largely parallel those of similarly qualified students from better-off families. Whatever doubts they might harbor about their abilities, these students are just as prepared as anyone for success at selective universities.

  27. rikyrah says:

    The Fundamentals Were Right!

    Jamelle Bouie

    December 19, 2012

    Odds were always good that President Obama would win reelection.

    This afternoon, Drew Linzer—whose election forecasting site, Votematic, rivaled Nate Silver’s for accuracy–tweeted two charts showing key election fundamentals: Second quarter GDP growth, and the president’s net approval rating in June. Those presidents with a growing economy and a positive approval rating almost always win, and those with a shrinking economy and a negative approval rating almost always lose. And while Republicans spent the year thinking this wouldn’t be true for President Obama, as Linzer shows, it was.

    Here’s where 2012 fell on a graph showing 2nd quarter GDP growth and the incumbent party’s share of the two-party vote:

    In other words, with just those two data points from the middle of the summer, you could have predicted an Obama win with a small majority of the two-party vote, and that’s exactly what happened.

    Does that mean the campaign was irrelevant? Not at all. The best way to think of fundamentals is an “all things equal” context. Assuming either no campaign, or both campaigns doing their best, the results will land close to the election fundamentals. But if Obama had run a poor campaign, or Romney an exceptionally good one, the final result may have differed significantly from what the fundamentals projected.

  28. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: White House should let Boehner keep twisting in the wind

    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 20, 2012 at 9:14 am

    , the House will vote on John Boehner’s alternate fiscal cliff proposal, which would raise taxes only on income over $1 million. It’s unclear whether it will pass. Boehner can only afford around two dozen defections, The Hill’s whip count shows that 11 Republicans will likely vote No and more than a dozen more are undecided. If “plan B” fails, Boehner will be badly weakened, and perhaps left unable to broker any kind of compromise with Obama in January if we go over the cliff. It’s unclear how that would play out.

    But what if “plan B” does pass? How do the White House and Dems respond? There are some on the right who think that if Boehner gets the bill through, it will put pressure on Senate Democrats to take it up or take the blame for going over the cliff.

    I don’t see it. The more likely outcome is that Democrats will just let Boehner continue to twist in the wind. As Politico puts it:

    Senate Democrats haven’t settled on a final strategy, but the most likely option is they don’t even take the House bill up — if it passes — and pound the speaker for refusing to cut a deal with Obama

    Good. There is no reason for Dems to sweat the House bill. A new poll from CNN explains why: The GOP’s brand is in terrible shape and Republicans are poised to take the blame for any failure to reach a deal. Fifty three percent of Americans see GOP policies as too extreme. Fewer than a third trust the Congressional GOP more than Obama to deal with the nation’s most pressing problems. Obama’s approval rating is at 52 percent. Forty eight percent will blame the GOP if we go over the cliff; only 37 percent will blame the President

  29. rikyrah says:

    John Boehner, scourge of the wealthy, ctd.

    Posted by Greg Sargent on December 19, 2012 at 6:17 pm

    The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has just completed a new analysis of John Boehner’s “plan B” fiscal proposal, which would raise taxes only on income over $1 million. The analysis makes it pretty clear just how ludicrous it is for House Republicans to be expecting Obama to agree to it.

    The new analysis sheds fresh light on just how tiny a slice of taxpayers would see a tax hike under Boehner’s plan. It also reveals in new detail just how many households that are very wealthy (but make under $1 million) would actually see their taxes go slightly down.

    The basic findings: Nearly half of households in the top one percent would see a small tax cut under Boehner’s plan. Meanwhile, lower and middle income households would see a tax increase under his plan (more on this later).

    The key table you want to look at is right here. It shows that 48.3 percent of households in the top one percent would see their taxes go down by an average of $240. Those are people who make between $521,000 and $1 million. Only 28 percent of those in the top one percent (the ones with the highest incomes) would see a tax hike, of around $97,000.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Dear Liberals, Chained CPI is NOT a “Cut” to Social Security. Get Over It.

    Wednesday, December 19, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 5:08 PM

    There is a big freakout over a possible fiscal cliff deal including the use of something called “chained CPI” to calculate increases in Social Security benefits. Go to Huffington Post, Daily Kos or another “liberal” blog and you will see people who never supported the president in the first place but nonetheless claim to be his “base” lamenting over what a backstabber he is.

    The president, as part of the fiscal cliff negotiation offers and counteroffers, has apparently opened the possibility of slightly adjusting the way cost of living increases are calculated for Social Security, by tying it (and all other government accounting) to a “chained CPI” model, a more accurate measure of inflation that accounts for the idea (and fact) that consumers often replace an item with increasing prices with a less expensive substitute. Apparently, this set off more alarm bells on the Left’s media than Pearl Harbor. But as with most hair-on-fire freakouts, there is less here than meets the eye.

    What is this Chained CPI thing?

    Let me begin by restating something I explained almost a year and a half ago, in the wake of the debt limit negotiations of 2011, on this exact subject:

    There are no cuts being proposed to social security’s basic benefits. Social Security benefits are currently calculated using a formula that takes into account your income and replaces a certain percentage of it. Here is exactly how that’s done: by determining one’s average monthly income – wage-inflation adjusted – in the 35 best earning years of one’s life, and then applying a “bend point” formula to determine your base benefit (fashionably known as PIA or the “primary insurance amount”). If you retire in 2011 at your normal retirement age, for example, your basic benefit is determined using the following formula:

    (a) 90 percent of the first $749 of his/her average indexed monthly earnings, plus
    (b) 32 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $749 and through $4,517, plus
    (c) 15 percent of his/her average indexed monthly earnings over $4,517.

    Again, these “bend points” are adjusted by a formula that has been set in law since 1979, are based on wage-growth, and there is absolutely no changes to that formula in the gang of six plan, and the changes proposed to it in the Fiscal Commission plan actually increases the base benefits for the poorest workers who are also likely to have the least in savings or other retirement income

  31. rikyrah says:

    Another coach for change on guns
    by Laura Conway

    Wed Dec 19, 2012 8:54 PM EST

    Last night on the show, we played tape of Syracuse basketball coach Jim Boeheim using the occasion of his 900th win to talk about the Newtown shooting and gun reform. Tonight while we were prepping the show, Rachel sent over another news story — this one about Winthrop University coach Pat Kelsey. From AP columnist Jim Litke:

    “The last thing I want to say,” Kelsey began, as reporters scrambled to turn their tape recorders back on Tuesday night, “is I’m really, really lucky, because I’m going to get on an eight-hour bus ride, and I’m going to arrive in Rock Hill, South Carolina, and I’m going to walk into my house, and I’m going to walk upstairs, and I’m going to walk into two pink rooms with a 5-year-old and a 4-year-old laying in that pink room, with a bunch of teddy bears laying in that room.

    “And I’m going to give them the biggest hug and the biggest kiss I’ve ever given them. And there’s 20 families in Newtown, Conn., that are walking into a pink room with a bunch of teddy bears with nobody laying in those beds,” he said. “And it’s tragic.”

    No one in the room knew that was coming, nor the call to action that came next. The only thing that was certain was that Kelsey’s voice grew stronger the longer he went on.

    “I know this microphone is powerful right now because we’re playing the (seventh)-best team in the country. I’m not going to have a microphone like this the rest of the year, maybe the rest of my life. And I’m going to be an agent of change with the 13 young men I get to coach every day and the two little girls that I get to raise. …

    “But,” he said, “we’ve got to change

  32. rikyrah says:

    Economic growth revised up, exceeds expectations

    By Steve Benen

    Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:49 AM EST

    The initial estimate on economic growth in the third quarter — July, August, and September — was an underwhelming 2 percent. Since then, the numbers have been revised up, and then revised up again.

    The U.S. economy grew more quickly than previously stated in the July-to-September quarter due to stronger trade, faster health-care spending and increased local government construction, the Commerce Department estimated Thursday. The Commerce Department said third-quarter gross domestic product grew at a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 3.1% in the third quarter…. Economists polled by MarketWatch had anticipated a 2.9% reading in the third and final estimate.

    For context, note that the 3.1 percent GDP figure is the best since the end of 2011, and the second best quarter of the last three years. It’s short of what most would consider a “robust” recovery, but it’s nevertheless heartening.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Big Picture

    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 20th, 2012 at 08:45:38 AM EST

    Here is why we have to break the back of the Republicans now, in preparation for Obama’s second term:

    The president, in an interview for TIME’s Person of the Year award, said the economy, immigration, climate change and energy would be at the top of his agenda for the next four years.

    The interview took place before the Newtown Massacre, so you can add gun control to the president’s top priorities.

    The Republicans oppose Keynesian economics, which means that they won’t vote for any stimulus spending.

    The Republicans hate brown people, so they won’t vote for any kind of immigration reform.

    The Republicans are in the pockets of Big Oil and Big Coal and Big Gas, so they pretend to disbelieve in climate change and oppose efforts to promote clean and renewable energy.

    And the Republicans are totally beholden to the NRA, so they oppose all efforts to curtail the acquisition of lethal arsenals by deranged lunatics.

    If the Republicans are not splintered on the rocks of their deluded and extreme agenda now, then the president’s entire second term agenda is dead in the water.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Their Defenses Will Not Hold

    by BooMan
    Wed Dec 19th, 2012 at 09:56:21 PM EST

    By any reasonable historical standard, the Republicans should control the House of Representatives for the remainder of the decade. The districts are gerrymandered six ways to Sunday. The Democrats just won the national popular vote in House races by well more than a half a million votes and still came up 17 seats shy of taking control. Very few of the races the Democrats lost were even remotely close, meaning that there is little hope of winning more than a handful of those seats in the near future.
    Add to this that the party of a two-term president is normally not just beaten in the sixth-year of his presidency, but completely decimated. It happened to Truman, Eisenhower, LBJ, Nixon (Ford), Reagan, and the Lesser Bush. The only exception was Clinton, and that is explained by the public’s backlash against the impeachment proceedings that were underway at the time. The Democrats should expect nothing better than disaster in November 2014.

    But the Republicans are probably going to screw it up.

    People are going go to be pissed when we go over the Fiscal Cliff. They are going to be pissed when the Republicans continue their obstruction next year. They won’t like their refusal to address climate change in the face of Superstorms and powerful hurricanes and unprecedented droughts. They’ll be furious when the House refuses to pass any gun control laws in the wake of the Newtown Massacre. They will flip out when the Republicans mess with the Electoral College in a desperate effort to stave off demographic doom. They’ll hate them when they mess with the debt ceiling again. There will be a backlash against the anti-union laws. There will be a price to pay for refusing to do anything about immigration reform. The war on women will continue in the states, and the resistance will build.

    More and more Republicans will disassociate themselves from the national party.

    ObamaCare will kick in and people will like it.

    I think by November 2014, it will be pretty clear that the only way for the country to move forward is to give the Democrats control of the House. The gerrymandering has created a nice seawall for the Republicans, but it is probably going to be inundated much like the Atlantic Coast was during Superstorm Sandy.

  35. rikyrah says:

    When Sandy Hook commentary reaches rock bottom
    By Steve Benen
    Thu Dec 20, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    It struck me as unfortunate this week when Megan McArdle published a piece on the massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School, which, among other things, said unarmed “young people” should be taught to suppress their self-preservation instincts and “instantly run at” well-armed madmen. What I didn’t appreciate was how much worse the commentary surrounding the tragedy could get.

    National Review, a leading conservative magazine, published an item yesterday by Charlotte Allen, which offered observations that are nothing short of stunning

    There was not a single adult male on the school premises when the shooting occurred. In this school of 450 students, a sizeable number of whom were undoubtedly 11- and 12-year-old boys (it was a K–6 school), all the personnel — the teachers, the principal, the assistant principal, the school psychologist, the “reading specialist” — were female. There didn’t even seem to be a male janitor to heave his bucket at Adam Lanza’s knees.

    Women and small children are sitting ducks for mass-murderers…. [A] feminized setting is a setting in which helpless passivity is the norm.

    Allen noted that the school’s principal “seemed to have performed bravely,” and some of the teachers saved lives, but she lamented the notion that “male aggression … has been forced out of the culture of elementary schools.” Allen wondered what might have happened if “some of the huskier 12-year-old boys” at the school had “converged on” the shooter.


    She wrote there was “not a single adult male on the school premises,” which isn’t true. She wrote that Sandy Hook was “a K–6 school,” which isn’t true. She wrote all of the teachers at the school were women, which isn’t true. She said there was no male janitor, which isn’t true. Indeed, Andrew Kaczynski noted that the “first two sentences” in Allen’s piece “contain five factual errors.”

    What’s more, there were no “husky 12-year-old boys” at the school.

    And even if there were, I’d remind Allen that Y chromosomes do not contain magical bullet-resistant powers. Look at any of the recent mass shootings in the United States and you’ll find victims of both genders.

    As for the Flight 93 comparison, it’s true that the people on that flight showed remarkable bravery, and saved countless lives on the ground, but I hope folks will appreciate the qualitative differences between charging at men holding box cutters and men holding AR-15s.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Does anyone really think that the WH didn’t know about Patraeus and the neo-cons?


    I think POTUS and ‘ em let him put enough rope around his neck to hang him.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Charles Pierce: Following the announcement by Cerberus, the capital management firm that said yesterday that it was getting out of the firearms business, it appears that the notion of divestment is starting to catch on around the country:

    The $150.1 billion New York State Common Retirement Fund is reviewing its investments in firearm manufacturers, a spokesman for New York State Comptroller Thomas DiNapoli said on Tuesday. New York City’s pension funds are also reviewing investments and may sell nearly $18 million worth of stock in four companies that manufacture guns and ammunition, a spokesman said on Tuesday….

    …. If you’re wondering why the NRA is extending what Joe Scarborough called “the olive branch” this time, there’s your reason … These clowns didn’t grow a conscience over the weekend. Their sugar daddies are losing money, and that’s all that ever has mattered.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Great comment by Rhoda:


    Evening, POU.

    I can not believe Jake Tapper. Thanks for the info on how to make our voices heard. You know, this crystallized for me the problem I’m having since the leaks over Chained CPI started. I have no problem with people pushing their opinions, objecting, demanding, or the like because we are in a democracy; I have a problem with the way it’s done for THIS President. The disrespect on the left outrages me; because these people expect me to support this party when they treat THIS President to a different standard and they refuse to acknowledge what is happening. Why is POTUS called weak, stupid, doesn’t know how to negotiate, the only hard thing he did was beat the Clintons etc etc?

    Bill Clinton essentially became a Rockfeller Republican WHILE in office and was re-elected and shamed his party. He is idolized. He isn’t called weak or stupid for having a clear sex addiction; nope. He’s just a guy.He isn’t called out for NAFTA, he isn’t called out for destroying Glass-Stegall, he isn’t called out for pumping up a bubble economy, he isn’t called out for DOMA or DADT, he’s called out for diddly squat.

    But POTUS, apparently Jake Tapper had to go all the way back to Columbine to make his excuses. POTUS is to blame for all the problems other Presidents’ didn’t correct.

    Fuck that.

    This party is going to have to earn my vote. I am changing my registration come 2016. We’ll see who comes out of the primaries and if I’m willing to support them or I sit this one out.

  39. rikyrah says:

    December 20, 2012 at 8:07 am

    This story about the Obamas from People Magazine is freaking cute! Pres. Obama likes to humble-brag a lot.

    President Obama likens election night to “a wedding,” has danced “Gangnam Style” before, and says his school age kids are “cooler than I am.”

    When asked by People magazine what it felt like to win reelection on Nov. 6., Obama replies, “It’s like a wedding. You’re hoping everybody is having fun at the reception, that Aunt Mabel is getting a ride home, the crazy cousin didn’t drink too much.”

    The commander-in-chief and Michelle Obama also give rare details about daughters Sasha and Malia in the wide-ranging magazine interview. The first lady reveals that 14-year-old Malia “has expressed some interest in filmmaking,” while with Sasha, 11, “what she likes today will change in an hour.” The youngest West Wing residents also don’t sound like big fans of the latest viral sensation. When the glossy mag inquires whether Sasha and Malia are into anything that Obama is embarrassed to admit he likes as well, the president says, “No. They’re cooler than I am. There are things I like that they think are cheesy, like ‘Gangnam Style.’ I love that.”

    Obama discloses he’s even done the gallop-filled dance: “Of course I have, but I’m not going to be doing it on front of you.”

    The president takes a playful jab at his wife during their chat with People. When the first lady informs him that she was nominated for a Grammy award for the audio version of her book, American Grown, Obama quips, “Well, when you win two, like me, then let me know.”

    Obama picked up two Best Spoken Word Album awards for the audio books for his tomes, Dreams From my Father and The Audacity of Hope.

    Michelle Obama remarked back at her husband, “Snap — oh!”

    The People interview with the Obamas appears in the Dec. 31 issue of magazine.

  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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