Wednesday Open Thread | Country Music | Johnny Cash Week

More on Country Music legend Johnny Cash.

I always appreciated that Mr. Cash was very open about his battles with his demons. It added to his humanity.

Johnny Cash-6

Outlaw image

As his career was taking off in the late 1950s, Cash started drinking heavily and became addicted to amphetamines and barbiturates. For a brief time, he shared an apartment in Nashville with Waylon Jennings, who was heavily addicted to amphetamines. Cash used the uppers to stay awake during tours. Friends joked about his “nervousness” and erratic behavior, many ignoring the warning signs of his worsening drug addiction. In a behind-the-scenes look at The Johnny Cash Show, Cash claims to have “tried every drug there was to try.”

Although in many ways spiraling out of control, Cash’s frenetic creativity was still delivering hits. His rendition of “Ring of Fire” was a crossover hit, reaching No. 1 on the country charts and entering the Top 20 on the pop charts. The song was written by June Carter and Merle Kilgore. The song was originally performed by June’s sister, but the signature mariachi-style horn arrangement was provided by Cash, who said that it had come to him in a dream.

In June 1965, his truck caught fire due to an overheated wheel bearing, triggering a forest fire that burnt several hundred acres in Los Padres National Forest in California.[41][42] When the judge asked Cash why he did it, Cash said, “I didn’t do it, my truck did, and it’s dead, so you can’t question it.”[22][page needed] The fire destroyed 508 acres (206 ha), burning the foliage off three mountains and killing 49 of the refuge’s 53 endangered condors. Cash was unrepentant: “I don’t care about your damn yellow buzzards.” The federal government sued him and was awarded $125,172 ($923127 in 2013 dollars). Cash eventually settled the case and paid $82,001.[43] He said he was the only person ever sued by the government for starting a forest fire.[22][page needed]

Although Cash carefully cultivated a romantic outlaw image, he never served a prison sentence. Despite landing in jail seven times for misdemeanors, each stay lasted only a single night. His most infamous run-in with the law occurred while on tour in 1965, when he was arrested October 4 by a narcotics squad in El Paso, TX. The officers suspected that he was smuggling heroin from Mexico, but it was 688 Dexedrine capsules and 475 Equanil tablets that the singer had hidden inside his guitar case. Because they were prescription drugs rather than illegal narcotics, he received a suspended sentence.

Cash had also been arrested on May 11, 1965, in Starkville, Mississippi, for trespassing late at night onto private property to pick flowers. (This incident gave the spark for the song “Starkville City Jail”, which he spoke about on his live At San Quentin prison album.)

In the mid 1960s, Cash released a number of concept albums, including Sings the Ballads of the True West (1965), an experimental double record mixing authentic frontier songs with Cash’s spoken narration, and Bitter Tears (1964), with songs highlighting the plight of the Native Americans. His drug addiction was at its worst at this point, and his destructive behavior led to a divorce from his first wife and canceled performances.

johnny cash-7

In 1967, Cash’s duet with June Carter, “Jackson”, won a Grammy Award.

Johnny Cash’s final arrest was in Walker County, GA where he was taken in after being involved in a car accident while carrying a bag of prescription pills. Cash attempted to bribe a local deputy, who turned the money down, and then spent the night in a LaFayette, Georgia jail. The singer was released after a long talk with Sheriff Ralph Jones, who warned him of his dangerous behavior and wasted potential. Johnny credited that experience for saving his life, and he later came back to LaFayette to play a benefit concert that attracted 12,000 people (the city population was less than 9,000 at the time) and raised $75,000 for the high school.[44]

Cash curtailed his use of drugs for several years in 1968, after a spiritual epiphany in the Nickajack Cave, when he attempted to commit suicide while under the heavy influence of drugs. He descended deeper into the cave, trying to lose himself and “just die”, when he passed out on the floor. He reported to be exhausted and feeling at the end of his rope when he felt God’s presence in his heart and managed to struggle out of the cave (despite the exhaustion) by following a faint light and slight breeze. To him, it was his own rebirth. June, Maybelle, and Ezra Carter moved into Cash’s mansion for a month to help him conquer his addiction. Cash proposed onstage to June at a concert at the London Gardens in London, ON, CA on February 22, 1968; the couple married a week later (on March 1) in Franklin, KY. June had agreed to marry Cash after he had “cleaned up”.[45] He rediscovered his Christian faith, taking an “altar call” in Evangel Temple, a small church in the Nashville area, pastored by Rev. Jimmie Rodgers Snow, son of country music legend Hank Snow.

According to longtime friend Marshall Grant, Cash’s 1968 rebirth experience did not result in his completely stopping use of amphetamines. However, in 1970, Cash ended all drug use for a period of seven years. Grant claims that the birth of Cash’s son, John Carter Cash, inspired Cash to end his dependence. Cash began using amphetamines again in 1977. By 1983, he was once again addicted, and entered the Betty Ford Clinic in Rancho Mirage, CA for rehabilitation. Cash managed to stay off drugs for several years, but by 1989, he was dependent again and entered Nashville’s Cumberland Heights Alcohol and Drug Treatment Center. In 1992, he entered the Loma Linda Behavioural Medicine Centre in Loma Linda, California for his final rehabilitation (several months later, his son followed him into this facility for treatment).[46][47][48]

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39 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread | Country Music | Johnny Cash Week

  1. Ametia says:

    Federal judge strikes down Idaho ban on late-term abortions
    SALMON, Idaho | Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:05pm EST

    (Reuters) – A federal judge on Wednesday struck down a 2011 Idaho law that banned most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy, ruling that the measure is unconstitutional.

    Idaho is one of numerous states that have enacted late-term abortion prohibitions in recent years based on controversial medical research suggesting that a fetus feels pain starting at 20 weeks of gestation.

    (Reporting by Laura Zuckerman; Editing by Steve Gorman and Eric Walsh

  2. Ametia says:

    In the Age of Obama, Hate Groups on the Rise in America
    March 5, 2013 | Posted by Nick Chile

    Hate groups in America are on the rise, fueled by the election of President Obama, the poor economy and more recently, the gun control debate in the wake of the Connecticut school massacre, according to the annual report of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks American hate.

    The center said the number of anti-government patriot groups rose 813 percent since 2008, the year before Obama took office, to 1,360 groups, far exceeding the previous peak in the 1990s — when they were fighting assault weapons legislation. The anti-government groups were up 7 percent from the 1,274 in 2011.

    “The anger, angst, frustration, fear surrounding the economy have very much poured fuel on this fire,” said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at the SPLC.

    The rise in hate groups prompted the SPLC to write a letter to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and Homeland Security Secretary Janet Napolitano, warning of the potential for domestic terrorism and urging the creation of a task force to assess whether there are enough federal resources devoted to the threat.

    “As in the period before the Oklahoma City bombing, we now are seeing ominous threats from those who believe that the government is poised to take their guns,” wrote SPLC President Richard Cohen, a member of the Department of Homeland Security’s Countering Violent Extremism Working Group.

    David Gletty, a former FBI informant who spent time undercover with various militia and extremist groups, told CNN that these groups are feeling especially threatened right now.

    “They believe the Constitution is being raped. With hate groups, things are going to get worse because they feel like they’re in battle,” Gletty said. “It’s not surprising with their hatred of President (Barack) Obama that there are even more hate groups out there.”

  3. I’m back, guys! It’s over and done. No stitches but it’s sore as hell. I’m going to get a bite to eat, take my medication and lay down for a minute.

  4. Ametia says:

    Nope, Not Racist At All
    Posted on March 6, 2013 at 3:30 pm by JM Ashby
    This extensive profile of Fox News chief Roger Ailes that was published by Vanity Fair yesterday contains the following passage

    Lewis then read Ailes a summary of the flap over Democratic operative Hilary Rosen’s comment that Ann Romney, mother of five, had never worked a day in her life. Ailes spun it without hesitation. “Obama’s the one who never worked a day in his life. He never earned a penny that wasn’t public money. How many fund-raisers does he attend every week? How often does he play basketball and golf? I wish I had that kind of time. He’s lazy, but the media won’t report that.” He noticed my arched eyebrows and added, “I didn’t come up with that. Obama said that, to Barbara Walters.” (What Obama said was that he feels a laziness in himself that he attributes to his laid-back upbringing in Hawaii.)

  5. rikyrah says:

    Unusual Ways to Rid Your Home of Spring Bugs

    by Homesessive

    As we head into March, it’s time to say goodbye to winter and hello to spring. Unfortunately, however, the change of season brings more than just warmer weather and the beautiful flowers. The spring season also brings with it the arrival of spring bugs. Whether it be garden slugs or honey bees, spring insects have one thing in common: they’re unwelcome! But before you call in the professionals, take a look at our list of ways to get rid of these pests and enjoy the season without having to share your home with these creepy critters.

    View the slideshow above for tips on how to remove spring bugs from your home and garden!

    Many homeowners know one of the sure signs spring has sprung when they start to see ants in their kitchen. But there’s no need to let these and other pests run the show in your own home! To kick out the unwanted guests, don’t look any further than your cupboard. Roaches? Zap them with hot sauce from your fridge. Ants? No problem! Try some onions or cinnamon. And don’t let those slimy slugs bring you down… all they need is some beer and they’ll be out of your hair!

  6. rikyrah says:

    Keenen Ivory Wayans To Oprah: Funny People Are ‘Innately Disturbed’ (VIDEO)

    Is being funny something that can be learned? When Keenen Ivory Wayans and his siblings Kim, Shawn and Marlon sat down with Oprah for “Oprah’s Next Chapter,” the funny family shared their thoughts on whether or not comedy and humor are innate qualities.

    “Aspects of comedy can be learned, but I think that most people who do comedy are just naturally funny,” Kim says in this clip.

    “I think you learn humility first,” Marlon says. “Then you can take the journey to learn comedy.”

    Elder Wayans brother Keenen digs even deeper. “What people don’t understand is that comedy is the mask for pain,” he says. “People who are innately funny are innately disturbed.”

    “We’re just a mess, Oprah,” Shawn quips. “We all need a hug.”

    In the clip, the Wayans siblings explore Keenen’s assertion about comedy, reveal whether or not they view themselves as naturally funny and open up about what they were each like as children attending public schools. (Guess which Wayans sibling was the straight-A student rather than the class clown?)

  7. rikyrah says:

    Senate GOP blocks another judicial nominee

    By Steve Benen

    Wed Mar 6, 2013 12:43 PM EST.


    Associated Press

    Judicial nominee Caitlin Halligan, blocked by Senate Republicans

    So, how’s that agreement to limit filibusters and prevent mindless Republican obstructionism working out?

    Senate Republicans on Tuesday filibustered the nomination of Caitlin Halligan to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the District of Columbia Circuit, blocking a nominee tapped last year by President Obama to serve on one of the country’s most powerful courts.

    Tuesday’s final roll call vote on cutting off debate was 54 to 45. One Republican — Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R-Alaska) — joined all 53 members of the Democratic caucus in voting to move ahead with Halligan’s nomination, leaving the former New York state solicitor general six votes short of the 60 votes necessary for ending debate.

    The broken process is becoming increasingly ridiculous. Halligan was clearly qualified, and Republicans spent the last decade insisting that to deny judicial nominees up-or-down votes is to tear at the fabric of American democracy.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Wanker of the Day: Susan Collins

    by BooMan
    Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 11:03:38 AM EST

    The Special Inspector General for Iraq Reconstruction, Stuart Bowen, has issued a final report to Congress, and it concludes that we wasted our time and money in Iraq. It looks like we spent an average of about $80 billion a year in Iraq, but don’t forget about the cost of caring for all our veterans.

    Overall, including all military and diplomatic costs and other aid, the U.S. has spent at least $767 billion since the American-led invasion, according to the Congressional Budget Office. National Priorities Project, a U.S. research group that analyzes federal data, estimated the cost at $811 billion, noting that some funds are still being spent on ongoing projects.
    Sen. Susan Collins, a member of the Senate committee that oversees U.S. funding, said the Bush administration should have agreed to give the reconstruction money to Iraq as a loan in 2003 instead as an outright gift.

    You know, we might have made an entirely different case for taking out Saddam Hussein than we did. But we said that he had weapons of mass destruction and was about six seconds away from detonating a nuclear device in Times Square. So, when it turned out that our government was totally full of shit, we could have handed Saddam a check for $767 billion, or $811 billion, and just said “bygones.” That wouldn’t have been politically popular or even particularly smart from an imperial point of view, but it actually would have wound up being cheaper and it would have saved the lives of thousands of Americans who died for no good reason, and possibly tens of thousands of Iraqis who also died for no good reason. Saddam certainly did not deserve the money, but it wouldn’t have been any stupider than invading his country in the first place, or staying there for almost a decade presiding over one of the worst examples of graft ever produced in world history.

    Or, you know, we could have followed Susan Collins’ advice and put everything on the Iraqi credit card.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Boehner explains ‘the battle of cliffs’

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:53 AM EST

    When it comes to American politics, I imagine most of the country, regardless of party or ideology, is completely sick of the series of manufactured crises.

    Since Republicans took control of the House two years ago, we’ve seen a string of self-imposed standoffs unlike anything the country has ever seen: a threatened government shutdown, followed by a first-ever debt-ceiling crisis, followed by another threatened government shutdown, followed by another threatened government shutdown, followed by a “fiscal cliff,” followed by “the sequester,” followed by another threatened government shutdown, followed by another debt-ceiling crisis.

    It’s not just exhausting, it’s a damaging way for a modern superpower to try to function in the 21st century. And yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) tried to explain who’s to blame.

    “Because of the president’s reluctance to cut spending, we’ve been caught in this battle of having cliffs and having these deadlines. This is no way to run a government. But until the president gets serious about the serious structural spending problem that we have, we’re going to have to deal with it. I suggested to the president the other day, the best thing we can do is find some way to get the Senate to finally do their work, have a large agreement that begins to address the spending problem, puts us on a path to balance the budget over the next 10 years, and get out of this cliff business. It’s not good for the country for us to continue to go through this.”

    Even by Boehner standards, this one’s a doozy.

  10. rikyrah says:

    The Voting Rights Act? What Voting Rights Act?

    By Kay March 6th, 2013


    As they entered and exited weekly party luncheons Tuesday afternoon, I and other reporters asked many GOP senators if they consider a centerpiece of the law, which was battered by conservative justices during Supreme Court oral arguments last week, should be upheld. Every one of them dodged the questions, some more artfully than others.
    “Uh,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), before a long, awkward pause, “I haven’t even thought about it.” He laughed and said, “I’ll leave that to the courts. I’m having a hard enough time being a senator, much less a Supreme Court justice.”

    I asked the same question to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who, like Graham, voted to renew the law in 2006. “The Voting Rights Act?” he asked. Yes, I said. Should it be upheld? “Oh, I don’t know,” Inhofe replied. “I’ll let someone else answer that.”

    Harry Reid wrote this in 2006, after conservatives voted to re-authorize the Act, and former President Bush held a signing ceremony surrounded by civil rights leaders:


    Reid was right, of course.
    I think it’s fascinating how the conservative position on voting rights is a political liability for elected, national Republicans. It’s delicious to think about how Justice Scalia’s attempts to protect Senators from accountability for their beliefs could backfire, politically.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul is Stupid

    by BooMan
    Wed Mar 6th, 2013 at 02:10:50 PM EST

    I grow weary of the stupid. Rand Paul asked Attorney General Eric Holder if he believed that the administration had the legal right to use drone strikes on American citizens while they are on American soil. It’s a perfectly legitimate question. Eric Holder responded by saying basically, no because we have courts and prosecutors and juries and stuff. Then he scrinched up his brow, thought really hard, and wrote this:

    “The question you have posed is therefore entirely hypothetical, unlikely to occur, and one we hope no president will ever have to confront. It is possible, I suppose, to imagine an extraordinary circumstance in which it would be necessary and appropriate under the Constitution and applicable laws of the United States for the President to authorize the military to use lethal force within the territory of the United States.”
    “For example, the president could conceivably have no choice but to authorize the military to use such force if necessary to protect the homeland in the circumstances like a catastrophic attack like the ones suffered on December 7, 1941, and September 11, 2001.”

    Or, you know, an alien invasion or zombie apocalypse.

    Would the president have the legal right to use our military to defend against a massive aerial attack on our navy or a bunch of hijacked planes hurtling towards our skyscrapers and the Pentagon?

    Obviously, not. That would be tyranny.

    Because remember when Dick Cheney waited too long to issue an order to down Flight 93 and then lied about it? That was only a problem because he wasn’t the commander in chief and he wasn’t deputized to give orders. No one seriously suggested that the problem was that Americans would be killed if the plane was shot down. They were going to die anyway.

  12. Rikyrah, you’re rocking this Johnny Cash thread!

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Obama urges Republicans to take Yes for an answer

    Posted by Greg Sargent on March 6, 2013 at 9:20 am

    Multiple reports this morning tell us that President Obama is going around GOP leaders by privately courting Republican lawmakers in an effort to win their support for a grand deficit reduction bargain. The New York Times reports that Obama has spoken by phone with GOP Senators and has invited a dozen of them over for dinner tonight.

    It’s not hard to figure out what Obama is telling these Senators: He’s telling them what his actual deficit reduction plan contains — a mix of real entitlement cuts and new revenues.

    If you want to understand what this is really about, go back to Ezra Klein’s interview with an unnamed GOP Senator, in which the lawmaker professed himself surprised to hear that Obama had offered Chained CPI on Social Security, along with other real entitlement cuts, in exchange for new revenues via the closing of loopholes enjoyed by the wealthy and corporations.

    In short, Obama will tell all these Senators that he’s offering them what they want, i.e., serious cuts in retirement programs, in exchange for less in new revenues, and that this is actually a very good deal for them.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Response to a concern

    By Kay March 5th, 2013

    I saw this comment on one of mistermix’s Obamacare posts, and I think it’s a good point to discuss

    I’m not talking about people with good salaries who don’t buy insurance, I’m talking about people who are living paycheck to paycheck and yet don’t qualify for the Obamacare tax credits. These people do not have an extra few hundred bucks a month to pay for health insurance, they can barely pay the bills they have. Don’t you know anyone like that?
    As an aside, most people with good salaries already have employer-provided health insurance and will continue to have it after Obamacare is implemented. I’m talking about people with part-time jobs and so on.

    If we want to compare two people after the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act we could compare two people with the same modest income, where one has employer-provided insurance and the other doesn’t, because people who have employer-provided health insurance generally pay something towards it. How much does the person who has employer-provided health insurance pay towards their employee plan and how much will the person who doesn’t have employer-provided health insurance pay towards the PPACA? I think that’s a worthwhile comparison, because the idea was to put the uninsured person on roughly the same footing with the insured person, not to have the Obamacare person come out ahead of a person who is insured through their employer. Love it or hate it, the idea was to preserve the existing system, and add the uninsured.

    People who make $25,000 a year at one large company here pay about $110 a month towards their employer-provided health insurance plan. In comparison, an uninsured 30 year old adult who makes $25,000 a year will pay $144 a month under Obamacare. I recognize that employee contributions towards employer-provided health insurance vary widely, but I do think $110 a month is about the middle locally. I’ve seen higher and lower. Looking at this 2012 report (pdf) on what people are contributing towards employer-provided insurance, this is the average they have, annually:

  15. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama put a stake in the heart of the Southern Strategy.
    he won the Presidency without needing ONE SOUTHERN STATE.

    Willard won 61% of the White vote – and got his ass handed to him.

    that voter suppression shyt? people took it seriously and PERSONALLY. they STILL don’t get how viceral it was to Black folk.

    America Has Passed Them By

    by BooMan
    Tue Mar 5th, 2013 at 11:19:02 AM EST

    It is possible that Judicial Watch founder Larry Klayman is totally insane. But, if he wasn’t writing this stuff, someone else would have to do it because it is an integral and necessary component of the conservative strategy. First, let’s look at what Klayman is saying. He’s arguing that President Obama wants to turn conservatives into “the new niggers.” He says that the president’s effort to add revenue to the government’s coffers is his way of seeking reparations for slavery. He says that Obama’s reelection was fraudulent. He says that Obama hates white people despite being half-white himself. He says that the president has “provoked [a] burgeoning race war.” And then there is this:

    Put Obama’s Muslim identification, his anti-Semitism and his pounding of rich whites together and you have a certified, and highly dangerous Black Muslim in The White House – ala (pun intended) Malcolm X, Elijah Mohammed and Louis Farrakhan.

    Most of this kind of crazy talk has died down now that the election is over. This is because these ideas were disseminated to maximize the racial polarization of the country so that the Republicans could increase their share of the white vote rather than compete for votes among non-whites.

    Keep this in mind when you see Newt Gingrich say, “No Republican pollster thought you could get 87 percent turnout in Milwaukee.”

    Keep it in mind whenever you hear a Republican admit that they didn’t think blacks would vote in the same numbers they did in 2008. Their strategy depended first on decreased black participation and, second, on a greater share of the white vote, with both working in concert to overcome McCain’s deficit. They succeeded in the latter but failed in the former because the racial polarization they stoked riled up the blacks just as much as the whites. It didn’t help that the courts struck down one voter suppression scheme after another.

    So, why is Larry Klayman writing crazy paranoid racist shit? Maybe it’s because he crazy and paranoid and racist. Maybe it’s just his role in this strategy.

    They thought the country would reward them for all their talk about birth certificates and Islam and the president hating whitey. Instead, the country treated them like wannabe Donald Trumps. And that’s when they woke up and freaked out and realized that the old America where being a racist asshole was a winning game had passed them by.

    But, they’ll keep trying. The alternative is unthinkable.

  16. rikyrah says:

    More evidence GOP isn’t serious about reform

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on March 5, 2013 at 11:37 am

    Among other things, the fight over sequestration has revealed the extent to which there isn’t a real constituency for policy reform in the GOP. Most Republicans — from elected officials to activists and thinkers — remain committed to the agenda crafted in 2010 and 2011, the one Mitt Romney ran on unsuccessfully in 2012.

    Indeed, if anything, congressional Republicans are moving to the right with a new budget — crafted by Rep. Paul Ryan — that seeks to balance the budget in a decade. Here’s The Hill with a few details on a new policy that has inspired discontent for the more moderate members of the House Republican caucus:

    House Republican centrists are furious that GOP leaders are considering abandoning their pledge not to change Medicare retirement benefits for people 55 years and older. […]

    After agreeing to write a budget resolution that will balance the budget over the next decade, Ryan conceded that he might have to adjust the age to as high as 59…The 2012 measure would have balanced the budget by 2040 — this year’s would do it by 2023, meaning there would be greater spending cuts.

    There’s a real question as to whether this budget will include savings from Obamacare and revenue from the fiscal cliff deal. If it does, then Ryan has room for less draconian cuts. But if it doesn’t — if House Republicans still seek to repeal the Affordable Care Act and lower taxes on the wealthy — then this Ryan budget will be as reactionary as the agenda that defined Romney’s unsuccessful bid for the presidency

  17. rikyrah says:

    We got about 7 inches out my way. Some places got over 10.

  18. rikyrah says:

    ‘Holding onto’ stories that don’t seem true
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Mar 6, 2013 9:18 AM EST.

    We talked yesterday about The Daily Caller’s allegations against Sen. Bob Menendez (D-N.J.), which appear to be quickly unraveling. As the day progressed, we learned a little more about the story, none of which is helpful to the controversial conservative site.

    To briefly recap, The Daily Caller reported in November that Menendez allegedly paid for sex in the Dominican Republic. The article appeared to be based on largely non-existent evidence; the FBI found nothing to support the allegations, and yesterday, the Washington Post reported that a Dominican escort now says she was “paid to make up the claims and has never met or seen the senator.”

    The Daily Caller has not retracted its report and is now trying to verify the accuracy of the article it ran four months ago. Tucker Carlson, meanwhile, seems delighted to have his often-derided website get so much attention.

    The more interesting twist came when ABC News said it was also offered the story, but didn’t want it.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Bush’s best subject
    By Steve Benen
    Wed Mar 6, 2013 8:00 AM EST.

    Just to close the loop on Jeb Bush’s immigration controversy, the former Florida governor has spent the last couple of days crawling out of a ditch he put himself in, and it appears he’s almost out. It’s still unclear, however, how the Republican managed to screw up this badly in the first place.

    To briefly recap, Bush, an active participant in the larger debate over immigration reform, endorsed a pathway to citizenship as recently as six weeks ago. On Monday, with the release of his new book, Bush took the opposite position, saying he now opposes citizenship. Yesterday morning, Bush told MSNBC his position is complicated, but he’s open to the possibility of a pathway to citizenship. Later in the day, he told CNN he can support “both a path to legalization or a path to citizenship.”

    What in the world is going on with this guy? By lunchtime yesterday, Bush’s new line was that he was thrown off by his publishing deadline.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Republican Senators Bob And Weave On Voting Rights Act

    Sahil Kapur-March 5, 2013, 4:35 PM4587
    A number of Republican senators Tuesday either didn’t know or wouldn’t say if they consider the Voting Rights Act to be constitutional, even though many of them voted to reauthorize it in 2006 and the Supreme Court is currently considering whether to invalidate a key section of it.

    As they entered and exited weekly party luncheons Tuesday afternoon, I and other reporters asked many GOP senators if they consider a centerpiece of the law, which was battered by conservative justices during Supreme Court oral arguments last week, should be upheld. Every one of them dodged the questions, some more artfully than others.

    “Uh,” said Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC), before a long, awkward pause, “I haven’t even thought about it.” He laughed and said, “I’ll leave that to the courts. I’m having a hard enough time being a senator, much less a Supreme Court justice.”

    I asked the same question to Sen. James Inhofe (R-OK), who, like Graham, voted to renew the law in 2006. “The Voting Rights Act?” he asked. Yes, I said. Should it be upheld? “Oh, I don’t know,” Inhofe replied. “I’ll let someone else answer that.”

    The landmark 1965 law has been reauthorized four times by Congress and was most recently renewed by a 98-0 vote in the Senate. Now some of the same senators who voted for it then aren’t sure about the validity of the law’s requirement that specific parts of the country with a history of racial discrimination win federal pre-approval before changing their voting laws. That requirement is at the heart of the current challenge to the law that is pending before the Supreme Court. The court’s five conservative justices — a majority — appear prepared to invalidate that portion of the landmark, half-century-old law which is widely considered one of the most successful civil rights law and a key instrument in ending Jim Crow in the South.

    “I haven’t — I’m worried about other things,” said Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), nodding his head as he entered an elevator.

    I asked Sen. Pat Toomey (R-PA), who was exiting a conference meeting and walking into the same senators-only elevator, if the law should be upheld. “Uh, I’m not…” he said. As the elevator door closed, he shrugged his shoulders.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Canceled White House tours, not projected job losses, cause uproar

    By Steve Benen
    Wed Mar 6, 2013 8:31 AM EST

    The White House announced yesterday that is canceling public tours, citing budget cuts and the fact that sequestration will slash as much as $84 million from the Secret Service budget.

    A phone recording on the call line for White House visitors informs callers that White House tours will be canceled, starting this weekend.

    “Due to staffing reductions resulting from sequestration, we regret to inform you that White House tours will be canceled effective Saturday March 9th, 2013 until further notice,” the recording says. “Unfortunately, we will not be able to reschedule affected tours. We very much regret having to take this action particularly during the popular spring touring season.”

    The reason for the cancellations, an official with the Secret Service told NBC News, is because the Uniformed Division Officers normally tasked with securing the tours will be reassigned to other security posts at the White House. The move will reduce overtime costs and may reduce the number of furloughs the Secret Service could potentially face, according to the official.

    Generally speaking, this is hardly scandalous. The news will no doubt disappoint some tourists, and there’s arguably a symbolic significance, but when evaluating the sequester’s effects, this seems fairly minor. Indeed, if scrapping tours helps prevent Secret Service furloughs, it’s a no-brainer.

    It’s why it came as something of a surprise when congressional Republicans reacted furiously to the news. The Huffington Post published a sampling of angry responses from GOP lawmakers, and Roll Call noted several more. Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers (R-Wash.), the chair of the House Republican Conference, said, “[I]nstead of making responsible spending cuts, the president has now denied American people access to the White House.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    World’s Wrongest Man Ventures Latest Prediction
    By Jonathan Chait

    Michael J. Boskin — former George W. Bush economic adviser, Hoover Institute fellow, and staunch advocate of conservative anti-tax doctrine — appears today, as is his wont, in The Wall Street Journal op-ed pages to warn that the Democratic president’s economic policies will lead us to misery.

    If you are an investor, Boskin’s doomsaying is a sure sign of a coming bull market. Four years ago, Boskin penned a Journal op-ed whose thesis was captured in the headline, “Obama’s Radicalism Is Killing The Dow.” That was the signal for the Dow to go on a tear, doubling over the next four years. As Kevin points out, the Dow’s current “high” is an overstated artifact of dumb, unweighted statistics, but the underlying reality remains that the stock market has enjoyed an incredibly good four years under Obama’s radicalism.

    One might suppose that Boskin has simply suffered a single unfortunate coincidence. In fact, his career is a mighty testament to the power of enduring, invincible wrongness. In 1993, Bill Clinton enacted an economic program centered around some public investment, coupled with deficit reduction with higher taxes on the rich. Boskin was very, very sure it would fail. In a Journal op-ed entered into the Congressional Record by grateful Republicans, he accused Clinton’s administration of “fundamental distrust of free enterprise.” He made a series of predictions: “The new spending programs will grow more than projected, revenue growth will be disappointing, the economy will slow, and the program will reduce the deficit much less than expected.”

    Boskin repeated his prophecies of doom in a summerlong media blitz. Boskin labeled Clinton’s plan “clearly contractionary,” insisted the projected revenue would only raise 30 percent as much as forecast by dampening the incentive of the rich, insisted it would “take an economy that might have grown at 3 or 4 percent and cause it to grow more slowly,” and insisted anybody who believed in it would “Flunk Economics 101.” (The preceding pre-Internet quotes are all via a Lexis-Nexis search.)

    As it happened, literally every Boskin prediction turned out to be the opposite of reality. The economy grew much faster than predicted, revenues surged by a much greater amount than forecast, and the deficit shrank by a much greater amount than Clinton forecast.

  23. Ametia says:

    Happy HUMP day, Everyone! :-)

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