Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Bee Gees Week!


Today’s Bee Gees tunes…




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41 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Bee Gees Week!

  1. rikyrah says:

    Silicon Valley Congressional battle takes shape: Ro Khanna to challenge Mike Honda, using Obama campaign operatives
    By Josh Richman
    Posted: 04/02/2013 12:01:00 AM PDT

    Not only will former Obama administration official Ro Khanna challenge Rep. Mike Honda in 2014 for a seat serving a big chunk of Silicon Valley — he’ll also use some of the president’s prime campaign staffers to do it.

    Khanna will announce his candidacy Tuesday. The race offers the Bay Area — long known for glacial turnover among entrenched House Democrats — its second consecutive high-profile dogfight picked by a young upstart. This time, there’s the added dimension of two Asian-American Democrats facing off in the continental United States’ first Asian-American majority district.

    Last year, Eric Swalwell, then 31, unseated 20-term incumbent Pete Stark in part thanks to Stark miffing even some longtime supporters with a series of public gaffes. The genial Honda, 71, lacks Stark’s irascibility and isn’t likely to repeat his missteps. So experts say the 36-year-old Khanna, who last year decided not to take on Stark, has a tougher row to hoe in the 17th Congressional District.

    “In order for Khanna to win, Honda’s probably going to have to open the door for him. So far it looks like he’s working hard to close that door,” said Kyle Kondik of the University of Virginia Center for Politics, an expert on House elections. “Khanna is going to have to run an exceptionally strong race to win.”

    He’ll have help: a campaign team worthy of a two-term president, even though that president already endorsed Honda.

    “What happenS
    there in Silicon Valley matters to the rest of the country,” said Jeremy Bird, Khanna’s general campaign consultant, who last year was Obama’s national field director.

    “Ro is going to run a 21st-century campaign that takes the lessons learned from both the Obama campaigns,” with deep data analysis, a big social-media drive, block-by-block organizing and more, Bird said.

  2. rikyrah says:

    T-Bones and Cadillacs
    By mistermix April 2nd, 2013

    I have a neighbor, let’s call him “Fred”, who is a mid-level corporate manager who just switched back to managing part-timers on a night shift. It’s probably the worst job his (mostly unionized) company offers, and it attracts workers who aren’t that well-educated, most of whom are working poor.

    Fred and I were having one of our every-so-often conversations about the world and its problems, and he was bringing up some of the problems his workers and their friends have. One of them is the loss of benefits after crossing an income threshold. If you’re one of Fred’s employees who is a high-school graduate with a couple of kids, and you’re on Medicaid, there’s a point where making a few dollars more means the loss of those programs, which is a huge hit. You’d have to make $1,000 a month more to afford private insurance, if you could get it, to replace Medicaid.

    So, what tends to happen is some of these employees will reject extra hours, or they’ll have a second go-nowhere job that pays them cash under the table. Fred identifies this as a problem with “welfare”, and he’s roughly right. There are structural incentives to stay on Medicaid, because the distance from making enough money to be Medicaid-ineligible, to making enough to afford private insurance, is pretty big.

    This is old ground and Fred has covered it before, but what was interesting about our conversation was that he said, out of the blue, “Maybe Obamacare will fix that”. And maybe it will–if the transition from Medicaid to premium support for a policy that has decent coverage doesn’t mean going off a $500-a-month cliff.

    Fred is fairly conservative: people need to work harder, too many handouts, taxes are killing him, etc. He’s also a bit of a bigot, and a self-described asshole, but he’s not blind. He knows, from experience, what it means to be working poor. He sees the hard life and disincentives to making the jump to the middle class. He’s certainly not the poster child for empathy, since most of the pain he feels is when he has to scramble to fill a spot because an employees can’t work extra hours. But he’s not buying the welfare-mothers-in-Cadillacs fantasy about poverty that people with his political attitudes might otherwise spout. And because of that, he knows that Obamacare, if implemented correctly, will actually get people “off welfare”, meaning into the middle class.

    If, instead of a trip to the salad bar at Applebees, David Brooks worked on a loading dock at 3 AM in the middle of the winter, let’s say for a week, he might have a bit of the insight that Fred has, even though Fred has never read Hayek or Burke, or attended the Aspen Institute.

  3. rikyrah says:

    List of homicide victims is long and strikes close to home

    By Michael Vitez, Inquirer Staff Writer
    Posted: March 28, 2013

    Mark Harris, 42, lives in East Germantown. Last summer, after another friend was shot, he made a list.

    “One night I was throwing a couple back and I said, ‘Let me see how many people I know that got killed.’ ”

    He stopped at 70.

    “I just wanted to see how many people I lost,” he said. “It scared me, though. Even though I’m not out there on the street, that’s my worst fear, too. I get hit by a stray bullet.”

    Following the slaughter of innocents in Newtown, Conn., in December, the U.S. Senate next week will debate several gun bills, including one to expand criminal background checks.

    The toll of gun violence has long been heaviest on city streets. A Kaiser Health poll this month said one in five Americans – and 42 percent of African Americans – say they personally know a victim.

    That Harris should know so many people killed by guns “is not surprising, unfortunately,” said Rose Cheney, executive director of the University of Pennsylvania’s Firearm and Injury Center.

    There were 3,883 homicides and an additional 18,172 shooting victims in Philadelphia from 2001 to Sept. 30, 2012, police say.

    Such a level of violence, Cheney stressed, harms not only individuals but entire communities, and has been shown to shorten life expectancy and increase the incidence of obesity, alcoholism, diabetes, domestic violence, and divorce.

    Harris wrote his list on a legal pad, and it runs three pages. It is largely made up of street names – Fats and Freckles, Stink and Spittage. The Inquirer looked into 15 cases and verified them through police records.

    “Growing up in the ‘hood,” Harris says, “you can’t help who you know.”

    “I never had a problem with none of these guys,” he adds. “They were stand-up guys to me, always treated me nice.”

    Stink, for instance, was Edward Williams, 22, slain June 16, 1990, in a dispute over drugs, police say. “We grew up on the same block, Fernhill Road,” Harris said. “He lived up the second house on the corner. I used to talk to his sister when I was a young buck. Stink, he was a good guy.”

    Harris heard from friends that “he died over $5.” He elaborated: “Somebody was on the corner selling bad drugs. He got paid $10 and split it with Stink. They each got $5. The buyer came back. ‘Yo, man, this ain’t real. Give me back my money or I’ll blow your brains out.’ Stink walked away. Man shot him in the back of the head.”

    And how about Freck – short for Freckles? Harris says his real name was Myron Hardy. Police records say Hardy, 22, was shot Feb. 20, 1993, in a dispute over drugs. “I was talking with some guys outside the barbershop at Wayne and Clapier,” Harris recalled. “I hear these shots. Freck’s last words: ‘Somebody take me to the hospital.’ My friends drove him, but he didn’t make it. I remember him spitting blood in the car.”

    Year after year they die.

    Last June, Harris went to the National Great Blacks in Wax Museum in Baltimore on a bus trip with Eric Murray, who had been to prison for drugs but was out working as a cook. On July 24, after 11 p.m., police say, men broke into Murray’s home and shot him as he came out of the shower.

    “We had just hung out, had a couple beers,” said Harris. “A month later, he was dead.”

    Harris has worked the last 12 years behind the grill at Abington Memorial Hospital and in December was the subject of an Inquirer story about a friendship he struck up with Jack Lawlor, 81, the husband of a dying patient.

    After the story was published, Harris said he was lucky to be alive and full of gratitude because so many people he knew had been killed. “You kind of get numb to it,” he said

  4. rikyrah says:

    Rick Perry’s post-policy approach to Medicaid

    By Steve Benen

    Tue Apr 2, 2013 9:29 AM EDT

    Over the last few months, we’ve seen a growing number of Republican governors, none of whom is especially fond of the Affordable Care Act, accept reality and expand Medicaid in their respective states. We were reminded yesterday, however, that Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) will not be joining the club.

    Texas Gov. Rick Perry (R) doubled down Monday in his opposition to expanding Medicaid under President Obama’s healthcare law, even though opposing it could cost his state $90 billion.

    At a press conference where he was flanked by other conservatives, Perry argued expanding the health insurance program for the poor would make Texas “hostage” to the federal government.

    “It would benefit no one in our state to see their taxes skyrocket and our economy crushed as our budget crumbled under the weight of oppressive Medicaid costs,” Perry said at the state capitol.

    It’s times like these when Texans would benefit greatly from a governor who better understood health care policy, or at a minimum, cared more about the policy’s outcomes.

    The Lone Star State is literally dead last in the nation when it comes to the percentage of residents with health care insurance. Medicaid expansion is practically a godsend for a state in Texas’ position — it would bring coverage to 1.5 million low-income Texans and $90 billion in federal funding to state coffers. State hospitals have pleaded with the governor, urging him to accept the deal so they’re not stuck with higher costs, but Perry, at least for now, doesn’t care.

    I generally don’t expect much in the way of policy excellence from the Texas governor, but his position on Medicaid expansion is, for lack of a better word, kind of crazy.


    Remember, Texas’ health care system is already a national disgrace, with a jaw-dropping 28.8% of the population going without basic health insurance. But as Ezra Klein explained yesterday, Perry and his GOP allies, ignoring the life-preserver that’s been thrown in their direction, are instead poised to make Texas’ mess “much worse.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    What Marco Rubio’s dance on immigration tells us about Washington

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on April 2, 2013 at 11:33 am

    It’s hard to define Florida Senator Marco Rubio’s role in the effort to craft a comprehensive immigration reform bill. Rubio has presented himself as an indispensable figure, key to moving a proposal out of the Senate and onto the House floor. But the outcome of the 2012 election guaranteed a GOP push for comprehensive immigration reform as a way to stem their bleeding with Latino voters — Rubio or no Rubio.

    What’s more, Rubio’s stated support for reform is belied by his constant search for escape hatches. Earlier this year, he claimed the Obama administration’s leaked immigration proposal threatened the prospects for reform, despite its similarity to his framework. Over the weekend, after labor and business groups reached a deal on guest workers, he demanded the Senate slow the process down. Rubio claimed that “excessive haste in the pursuit of a lasting solution” is “dangerous” to the “goals many of us share.”

    Democrats aren’t trying to rush the bill. But this hasn’t stopped Rubio from issuing a threat to kill it if the Senate doesn’t hew to his preferred process.

    One interpretation of this behavior is that Rubio is sincere in his calls for comprehensive immigration reform, but he doesn’t want to alienate Tea Party conservatives who are hostile to the idea. This is how Politico describes the dynamic: “Even if Rubio winds up signing on to the deal, he knows that selling it to hardcore conservatives will be a huge project.” Why? Because there’s little chance the base will embrace a deal supported by President Obama and the Democratic Party.

    This isn’t just illustrative of the dilemma Republicans find themselves in with regards to immigration — that GOP elites want a policy that’s opposed by their base. It’s also an excellent demonstration of the key problem facing Washington: Namely, that there’s almost nothing President Obama can do to preclude opposition from House Republicans. Indeed, pundits should keep this in mind the next time they demand ill-defined “leadership” from Obama: By simply participating in the effort to craft comprehensive immigration reform, Obama has endangered it.

  6. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: The sequester is not a Beltway joke

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 2, 2013 at 9:17 am

    It is now an established truth in Washington that the Obama administration committed a horrible strategic error in hyping the impact of the sequester: Its impact was overblown, and partly as a result, Republicans have “won” the political battle over it. The sequester is little more than fodder for jokes about White House tours.

    It’s true that in a number of specific instances the White House did falsely inflate the consequences of sequestration. But what if, on the broad strokes, it is actually true that the sequester cuts are doing real damage all over the country — damage that is only just beginning?

    The Huffington Post set out to document 100 news articles showing the sequester taking a toll on local economies and communities nationwide. It wasn’t hard to do. HuffPo summarizes the situation this way:

    The grips of sequestration are just now beginning to be felt and the effects are already quite dramatic.

    Organizations and companies have begun laying off workers, while many more have decided not to staff vacant positions. Schools on military bases are contemplating four-day weekly schedules. Food pantries have closed, as have centers that provide health services. Farmers have been forced to go without milk production information, causing alarm in the dairy industry and the potential of higher milk prices. Workers at missile-testing fields are facing job losses. Federal courts have closed on Fridays. Public Broadcasting transmitters have been shut down. Even luxury cruises are feeling the pinch, with passengers forced to wait hours before debarking because of delays at Customs and Immigration. Yes, sequestration is creating the possibility of another poop cruise.

    Meanwhile, Buzzfeed documents the tale of a 39-year-old army reservist and combat veteran who saw his Ft. Meade desk job pay deeply slashed — and is now contemplating going back to war to improve his situation.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Pennsylvania’s Casey joins the marriage bandwagon

    By Steve Benen
    Mon Apr 1, 2013 3:56 PM EDT

    There are 55 members of the Senate Democratic caucus, and of this morning, 47 of them have now publicly declared their support for marriage equality. The latest is Pennsylvania’s Bob Casey.

    Sen. Bob Casey told The Morning Call on Monday he now supports same-sex marriage. […]

    In a statement Casey said he wrote over several days, the senator asks, “If two people of the same sex fall in love and want to marry, why would our government stand in their way? At a time when many Americans lament a lack of commitment in our society between married men and women, why would we want less commitment and fewer strong marriages?”

    As we talked about last week, with each similar announcement, the pressure rises on the remaining eight Senate Democrats who have not yet endorsed marriage equality: Mark Pryor of Arkansas, Bill Nelson of Florida, Tom Carper of Delaware, Tim Johnson of South Dakota, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Mary Landrieu of Louisiana, Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, and Joe Donnelly of Indiana.

  8. Ametia says:

    Fox’s Gretchen Carlson Grills Woman Who ‘Died’ And ‘Woke Up In Heaven’: ‘What Does God Look Like?

    Here’s a SANER Interview with Crystal McVea

  9. rikyrah says:


    Last week’s Scandal was too good for words.

    Hollis cracked me up in the beginning – when he didn’t believe his daughter had been kidnapped. I felt bad for him when the ear came…..he turned on a dime.

    Cyrus was hilarious when he heard about the kidnapping..



    David is so gonna wind up working for Livvie. I loved Huck breaking it down to him..

    With us, we haven’t lost a kidnapping victim. Go to the authorities and your chances go down to 50%. I’d come to us every single time.

    Mellie is Mellie, and she told Fitz off…it was actually the first maternal thing I ever saw her do with regards to the kids. When she said that he found out that Olivia didn’t have the answer to the questions of the universe between her thighs, I nearly died…HILARIOUS. Had to rewind that moment over and over.

    Hollis’ daughter is even more hardcore than him…she cut off her own damn ear.

    I was on the fence about Jake…but, who the hell is he working for that they can take out the DIRECTOR OF THE CIA?

  10. Man held for 42 years in deadly Arizona hotel fire set to be released

    An Arizona man who has maintained for 42 years that he had nothing to do with a horrific hotel fire that killed more than two dozen people is set to be freed from prison Tuesday.

    Louis Cuen Taylor was just 16 years old when he was sentenced to multiple consecutive life sentences for a fire that ripped through the Pioneer Hotel, a Tucson landmark that went up in flames in December 1970 while employees of an aircraft company were there for a Christmas party.

    Taylor, who is black, claims police pinned the crime on him and an all-white jury gave him an unfair trial. A 2002 examination of his case by CBS’ “60 Minutes” found evidence that he had been railroaded and led volunteer legal group The Arizona Justice Project to take on his case.


    42 years for nothing! An all white jury railroaded an innocent kid and took away his life!

  11. Ametia says:

    The next SCOTUS battle
    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on April 1, 2013 at 3:35 pm

    Sooner or later, there’s going to be another Supreme Court nomination — indeed, if Ruth Bader Ginsburg wants to maximize the chances of being replaced by a justice with similar views, it could be as early as this summer. What can we expect?
    Well, to begin with, a filibuster. That’s pretty much certain: Republicans will insist on 60 votes for confirmation. They may not force a cloture vote if the nominee clearly has 60 or more votes, but the target will certainly be 60, not a simple majority.
    So the question becomes whether a filibuster can be defeated. Let’s assume the nominee is basically similar to Barack Obama’s first two choices, Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan. In both cases, the objection basically came down to one thing: they were likely to vote with the court’s “liberals” and against the “conservatives.”

  12. Ametia says:


  13. Ametia says:

    Exclusive: Heidi Klum Saves Son Henry From Drowning: “We Were Able to Get Everyone Out Safely”

    Heidi Klum is counting her blessings. While vacationing in Oahu, Hawaii, March 31, the German supermodel’s 7-year-old son, Henry, was swept away in a large riptide along with two nannies. Klum, 39, and her bodyguard boyfriend Martin Kirsten sprang to action and saved the trio from drowning.

    Ummmm; something doesn’t QUITE add up here….

    Read more:
    Follow us: @usweekly on Twitter | usweekly on Facebook

  14. Ametia says:

    Legislators in Connecticut Agree on Broad New Gun Laws
    Published: April 1, 2013

    HARTFORD — More than three months after the massacre of 26 people at Sandy Hook Elementary School in Newtown, Conn., state legislative leaders announced on Monday that they had agreed on what they called the most far-reaching gun-legislation package in the country

  15. Ametia says:

    Ben Carson is one of those NEGROES who is trying to help the few 2520s who want to maintain the status quo REVISE our history. They want us to forget about the ATROCITIES OF SLAVERY, but WE WILL NEVER FORGET, NIGGA!

  16. Ametia says:

    This is what CNN and CBS found fit to report on . Erin Burnett gets plenty of digs in. Why don’t they ask about the banks and how they have been and still are STEALING our money?

  17. rikyrah says:

    Will Obama’s Majority Survive?
    By Jonathan Chait

    Since November, the prospective death of the Republican coalition has hovered over American politics, and the autopsy has gained renewed attention in light of the debates over gay marriage and immigration, both of which split the GOP from rising chunks of the electorate. I’m an advocate of the theory, first put forward a decade ago by Ruy Teixeira and John Judis, that the electorate is forming a natural Democratic majority. The Republican Party appears to be caught in a double bind, in which the electorate is growingly progressively less white, and even younger white voters hold less conservative views than older ones. What’s more, evidence suggests that voters maintain the partisan allegiances they form at a young age. The picture looks grim for the GOP.

    The Emerging Democratic Majority thesis has always had its critics, though. Before the 2012 election, Sean Trende argued repeatedly that the apparently ineluctable rise of the nonwhite vote was non ineluctable at all. Since the nonwhite vote in fact did continue to rise in 2012, the critique has shifted, and it hasn’t come entirely from the right.

    Political scientist John Sides provocatively argues in the Washington Post, “it’s premature to make similar predictions about a Democratic majority or write the GOP’s epitaph.” Sides’s primary evidence is that most voters in 2012 viewed Mitt Romney as ideologically closer to the center, and to themselves, than Obama. To Sides, this suggests the Republican Party does not have a fundamental image problem. To me, it suggests that abstract measures of proximity to the center aren’t a very good measure of a party’s standing – since, after all, Romney was seen as more moderate but still lost by five points.

    The Nation’s Rick Perlstein has launched an epic three-part series arguing that conservative Republicanism will come back. Part one argues primarily that various pundits have, at various times, made predictions about the future that have turned out to be wrong — an argument that seems to have no real relevance at all. (You could compile an endless list of economists wrongly forecasting a recession, but it wouldn’t invalidate any particular prediction of a recession.) Perlstein, more interestingly, delves into the history of the sixties — his specialty — to detail the way the New Deal coalition crumbled apart over race. Perlstein concludes that the ability of conservatives to divide the public over racial and other fears is permanent and unyielding, that the strategy that was used to pry apart the New Deal coalition will keep working forever.

    Here’s my very different version of that history. The Democrats forged a national majority beginning in 1932. That majority came apart beginning in the mid-sixties, from which point, through about the nineties, Republicans were generally able to cast Democrats as carrying out an agenda that redistributed resources from the white middle class to the (disproportionately nonwhite and presumptively undeserving) poor.

  18. rikyrah says:

    How did the right lose on gay marriage?

    Posted by Jennifer Rubin on March 31, 2013 at 12:30 pm

    Social conservatives have lost the fight on gay marriage, even Rush Limbaugh observes. Regardless of the Supreme Court’s ruling, public opinion seems to have shifted irreversibly. How did it happen? Here are seven ways in which social conservatives fumbled the issue:

    Anti-Prop. 8 protestors (Justin Sullivan / Getty Images)

    1. They never explained how same-sex marriage “harms” heterosexual marriage.

    2. They confused their own beliefs with those of mainstream Republicans, who were far less ideological and, in fact, were following the general societal shift.

    3. They did not drum out of their ranks anti-gay (as opposed to pro-traditional marriage) voices, who portrayed the entire movement as intolerant and exclusionary.

    4. They had no logical objection to states’ popular referendums in favor of gay marriage. With no imperial judiciary to rail against, they were reduced to making an anti-democratic argument that voters couldn’t or shouldn’t be allowed to define marriage as they saw fit.

    5. They ignored the plight of heterosexual marriage (soaring divorce rate, rise in single-person households), which made their defense of “traditional” marriage seem insincere.

    6. As more gay and lesbian Americans came out to friends, family and co-workers, the anti-gay-marriage voices were handicapped; they argued against an issue in the abstract while gay-marriage proponents could argue that Mike and Sam down the street or Sue and Ann at the office shouldn’t be denied the right to marry.

  19. rikyrah says:

    “Real Hearings”: The Search for Another Scapegoat if Conservatives Want to Stop Immigration Reform
    By David Weigel

    My colleague Matthew Yglesias walks through the unseen but generally unrebutted “deal” on immigration between the Chamber of Commerce and the AFL-CIO. (This is sometimes, just as accurately, referred to as the deal between “business and labor.” But credit where due.) This isn’t very Slatey, but I agree with him — it’s hard to see what labor really lost here. The guest worker program doesn’t allow businesses to duck below the prevailing wage and save money. In the very long term, the guest worker can switch jobs and eventually earn citizenship.

    But if labor’s happy, conservatives are out one scapegoat. That’s the context in which to read Sen. Marco Rubio’s tut-tutting statements about the deal, which were released in a burst yesterday. “We will need,” he said, “a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments.” In a long letter to Judiciary Committee Chairman Pat Leahy, he goes on about the need for “fresh hearings, “meaningful hearings,” “careful examination,” and “full and careful consideration of legislative language and an open process of amendments.”

    What’s he doing? He’s signing up with the Senate conservatives’ current scapegoat game. Last month, Sen. Jeff Sessions wrote another open letter asking for hearings on immigration and for an amendment process. It seemed odd at the time — there’s no way to do this without pushing it through judiciary — but it bolstered the idea that the White House was cramming something scary though Congress before there would be time to read it. And like Benjy Sarlin says, the ol’ “I’m with you, but I have some unanswerable process questions” gambit has harpooned many a bill.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Monday, Apr 1, 2013 02:46 PM CDT
    What is Marco Rubio up to?

    He wants credit with Latinos for brokering an immigration reform deal, and with the Tea Party for slowing it down
    By Joan Walsh

    It was the mystery left in the wake of the Sunday shows: Just before Sen. Chuck Schumer was set to tell “Meet the Press” that the so-called Gang of Eight is on the verge of a deal on immigration reform, Sen. Marco Rubio sent out a statement headlined, “Rubio: No Final Agreement on Immigration Legislation Yet.” It read, in part, “Reports that the bipartisan group of eight senators have agreed on a legislative proposal are premature.”

    Schumer went ahead and kvelled about being close to a deal, anyway. “With the agreement between business and labor, every major policy issue has been resolved on the ‘Gang of Eight,’” he told NBC’s Chuck Todd. A GOP Gang member, Sen. Jeff Flake of Arizona, sounded more cautiously optimistic. “We’re much closer with labor and business agreeing on this guest-worker plan,” Flake told Todd. “But that doesn’t mean we’ve crossed every ‘I’ or dotted every ‘T’ or vice versa.” They were referring to a deal on the status of low-skilled immigrant workers brokered Friday night by AFL-CIO president Richard Trumka and U.S. Chamber of Commerce head Tom Donohue.

    So why was Rubio contradicting his fellow Gang members? Because he’s running for president in 2016, and trying to balance two pretty incompatible constituencies: his Tea Party base and Latinos.

    The freshman Florida senator wants the stature bump that would come with being key to hammering out a deal, but he can’t let it come about too quickly, lest he seem to have capitulated to Schumer.

    “The Senate is littered with Republicans who negotiated with Chuck Schumer, thinking they had one deal when he had something else entirely in mind,” Florida-based GOP consultant Rick Wilson told Chris Cilizza of the Washington Post. Cilizza concludes:

    In the end, Rubio has to be able to say to conservatives something along these lines: “I fought with Democrats. I told them what we needed to allow undocumented workers a path to citizenship. They didn’t want it but I held firm and we got it done.”

    And that can’t be seen happening so quickly, I guess. But the entire charade requires something even tougher than merging the interests of Latinos and the Tea Party: Rubio wants credit for being a tough backroom deal maker, without letting it be known he’s making deals in backrooms. As he harrumphed in his statement to reporters on Sunday:

    Arriving at a final product will require it to be properly submitted for the American people’s consideration through the other 92 senators from 43 states that weren’t part of this initial drafting process. In order to succeed, this process cannot be rushed or done in secret.

    It will be interesting to see how Rubio reconciles so many seemingly irreconcilable interests. Meanwhile, there’s reason to wonder how much even an immigration reform deal will help him with Latino voters as long as his party is also associated with repealing Obamacare. The Los Angeles Times reports that Latinos support Obamacare by a 2-to-1 margin, and “overwhelmingly see guaranteeing healthcare as a core government responsibility.”

    That’s why for now, anyway, he’s putting the Tea Party over Latinos. It’s obviously more important that he be seen as an obstacle to a quick deal (especially one with a path to citizenship) than a champion of fast, decisive justice for the undocumented. In the end, if Rubio is forced to choose between his Tea Party base and Latinos entirely, watch him choose the Tea Party, because making inroads with an increasingly reliable Democratic voting bloc is going to be hard for any Republican in 2016, even if your name is Rubio

  21. rikyrah says:

    How to lose the future

    By Steve Benen
    Tue Apr 2, 2013 8:43 AM EDT.

    Reflecting on a Head Start center in Indiana getting slammed by sequestration cuts, Jared Bernstein said something yesterday that caught my eye.

    Bernstein, an economist at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities and a former member of Vice President Biden’s team, noted that two Indiana Head Start programs have been forced to adopt “random drawings” to see which children can stay and which will have to go without in the wake of the sequester policy that the much of political world seems to have forgotten about.

    Got that? A lottery to see who gets kicked out of preschool? That’s how we’re building the future? Really? That’s a better way forward than closing the carried interest loophole or lowering the housing subsidy to the most affluent homebuyers?

    “Columbus resident Alice Miller told WTHR-TV that her 4-year-old son, Sage, was one of the children cut from the program. She spoke about how the program has helped her son advance academically and socially… ‘He loves school,’ Miller said. ‘I don’t know how I’m going to tell him he’s not going back.'”

    If that doesn’t break your heart, you might want to get to the emergency room to see if it’s still there.

    Quite right. Nothing says “21st century global superpower” like forcing eager pre-school children out of Head Start centers because of pointless spending cuts.

    The sequester continues to do real harm to real people, just outside the headlines of national news, and the consequences can be heartbreaking. Just ask Jeff Maryak.

    But it’s these Head Start centers and their sudden need for a lottery system that reminds me of a story.


    President Obama, several months into his first year in office, traveled to East Asia for a series of meetings and events, and when he returned, he shared an anecdote about a luncheon he attended with the then-president of South Korea that continues to resonate.

    “I was interested in education policy — they’ve grown enormously over the last 40 years. And I asked him, what are the biggest challenges in your education policy? He said, ‘The biggest challenge that I have is that my parents are too demanding.’ He said, ‘Even if somebody is dirt poor, they are insisting that their kids are getting the best education.’ He said, ‘I’ve had to import thousands of foreign teachers because they’re all insisting that Korean children have to learn English in elementary school.’ That was the biggest education challenge that he had, was an insistence, a demand from parents for excellence in the schools.

    “And the same thing was true when I went to China. I was talking to the mayor of Shanghai, and I asked him about how he was doing recruiting teachers, given that they’ve got 25 million people in this one city. He said, ‘We don’t have problems recruiting teachers because teaching is so revered and the pay scales for teachers are actually comparable to doctors and other professions.’

    “That gives you a sense of what’s happening around the world. There is a hunger for knowledge, an insistence on excellence, a reverence for science and math and technology and learning. That used to be what we were about.”

    Yes, exactly. Used to be.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Marco Rubio joins the “slow down” caucus

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 1, 2013 at 3:32 pm

    Even as the Sunday shows were alive with predictions that a deal is close on immigration reform, Marco Rubio took the occasion to cast doubt on the prospects for success by joining other Senators who are calling for the process to slow down:

    “We will need a healthy public debate that includes committee hearings and the opportunity for other senators to improve our legislation with their own amendments,” he said on Sunday. “Excessive haste in the pursuit of a lasting solution is perhaps even more dangerous to the goals many of us share,” he said on Saturday.

    As my Post colleague Evan Soltas points out, Rubio has effectively built himself a “very clear escape hatch” on immigration. If he needs to bail, he’s got his excuse: The process was rushed, or Democrats were unfair procedurally to Republicans.

    By my count this is the third such escape hatch Rubio has created for himself. The first came when word leaked that the White House had drawn up its own plan that was marginally different from what pro-reform Republicans want. Rubio said this had threatened the prospects for success, even though his plan was very similar to the President’s. But then John McCain and Lindsey Graham publicly proclaimed their belief in Obama’s sincere desire to make the process work. The second came back when Rubio claimed that unions were putting reform in peril because of their dispute with business groups over the guest worker program. But now that dispute has mostly been resolved.

    Now, escape hatch number three is to join the “slow down” caucus. Only in so doing, Rubio is joining with other Senators who are urging a go-slow approach, such as Ted Cruz and Jeff Sessions, who may be urging a slowdown so the armies of the right have time to mobilize and strike fear into any reform-minded Republican officials, killing reform.

    Indeed, one group opposed to reform has explicitly called on Senators to slow the process down, apparently for the purposes of derailing it. And we’ve seen this before: back in 2007, opponents of reform similarly tried to slow the process, with Senator John Cornyn urging colleagues to “slow down and read this bill” because Americans had not yet digested the plan. Now, six years later, we’re again hearing the calls to “slow down.” But the American people have made their verdict clear: They want a path to citizenship.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Don’t let Senators off the hook on guns

    Posted by Greg Sargent on April 1, 2013 at 1:10 pm

    Every Senator who is refusing to support expanded background checks — Republican or Democrat — needs to be asked a simple question: Do you support the current background system, or do you see it as an infringement on the rights of the law-abiding?

    Every one of them will answer with a Yes, because they are taking refuge behind the idea that the current law needs to be strengthened in various ways but not expanded. Once they are on record confirming they don’t view the current system as a threat to Constitutional rights, the arguments against expanding it dissolve into incoherence.

    The Senators who are threatening to filibuster Obama’s gun proposals (Rand Paul, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, and Mike Lee) have said that they will “oppose any legislation that infringes on the American people’s right to bear arms, or on their ability to exercise this right without being subjected to any additional government surveillance.”

    But even libertarian Tea Party chieftain Rand Paul has allowed that current background checks “work.” And on the Sunday shows yesterday, other Republican Senators, such as Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake, said they could support improving the current system through better data sharing by states on the mentally ill and other such moves, while opposing expanding checks to private sales. As Steve Benen notes, this means “leaving the massive gun show loophole in place.”

    That’s true, and I’d add one other point: It means these Senators view the current background check law as constitutional. Which means there is no logical way to argue that expanding background checks is an infringement on Constitutional rights. Here’s why: The compromise background check expansion being negotiated would simply build on current law, which requires gun dealers (who would conduct the checks on private sales) to keep records on those sales; it explicitly forbids the creation of a national registry; and it requires the feds to destroy info collected on legit gun transfers within 24 hours. None of this — none of it — would change. If the current law is not an infringement on constitutional rights, then neither is an expanded one.

  24. rikyrah says:



    Obama image machine whirs as press access narrows

    By By NANCY BENAC, Associated Press – 20 hours ago

    WASHINGTON (AP) — A photo of the Obamas hugging that was released on Election Day 2012 has become the world’s most popular tweet on Twitter. A dressed-up version of Barack Obama’s State of the Union speech, packed with charts and graphs, is huge on YouTube. A playful picture of the president cavorting with a 3-year-old in a Spiderman costume is a favorite online.

    It’s all courtesy of the Obama image machine, serving up a stream of words, images and videos that invariably cast the president as commanding, compassionate and on the ball. In this world, Obama’s family is always photogenic, first dog Bo is always well-behaved and the vegetables in the South Lawn kitchen garden always seem succulent.

    You’ll have to look elsewhere for bloopers, bobbles or contrary points of view.

    Capitalizing on the possibilities of the digital age, the Obama White House is generating its own content like no president before, and refining its media strategies in the second term in hopes of telling a more compelling story than in the first.

    At the same time, it is limiting press access in ways that past administrations wouldn’t have dared, and the president is answering to the public in more controlled settings than his predecessors. It’s raising new questions about what’s lost when the White House tries to make an end run around the media, functioning, in effect, as its own news agency.

    Mike McCurry, who served as press secretary to President Bill Clinton, sees an inclination by the Obama White House to “self-publish,” coupled with tactics “I never would have dreamed of in terms of restricting access” for independent news organizations.

    “What gets lost are those revealing moments when the president’s held accountable by the representatives of the public who are there in the form of the media,” says McCurry.

    Obama himself took note of complaints about limited access in his jokes last month at the Gridiron dinner, an annual event where political leaders, journalists and media executives poke fun at one another.

    “Some of you have said that I’m ignoring the Washington press corps, that we’re too controlling,” Obama said. “You know what, you were right. I was wrong and I want to apologize — in a video you can watch exclusively at”

    Three days later, it was no laughing matter when the White House live-streamed on the Internet Obama’s meeting with his export council and allowed just one reporter in the room.

    Still, the White House rejects the notion that it is turning to new media it can control at the expense of the old, instead describing an all-of-the-above strategy.

    “From press conferences to interviews with national, regional and constituency press, to new social media platforms, we have worked to both expand the scope of communication and also deepen the level of engagement between the American people and the work of the White House,” says Jamie Smith, deputy press secretary.

    Statistics compiled by Martha Kumar, a political science professor at Towson University in Maryland who studies presidential communication, show how Obama’s strategy has differed from his predecessors’.

    In his first term, Obama engaged in 107 short question-and-answer sessions with reporters during events in the Oval Office, the Cabinet Room and similar settings. President George W. Bush, by contrast, had 354.

    By the same token, though, Obama held twice as many solo press conferences as Bush: 36 compared to 17. And in the first term Obama did 674 interviews — TV, radio, Internet, print — compared to 217 for Bush and 191 for Clinton.

    With interviews, the president has more power to choose his timing, questioners and format, in hopes of delivering a certain message in a setting that’s not always hard-hitting. In impromptu Q-and-A’s, the questions fly about anything and everything from the national press corps — and these wide-open opportunities to challenge the president on the events of the day have become increasingly rare.

    Even in regional interviews, though, Obama can and does sometimes get asked about breaking or embarrassing news of the day.

    “There’s no question that he’s opening and closing the door at his choice,” says Gerald Shuster, a professor of political communication at the University of Pittsburgh. “He’s controlling the flow as much as he can.”

    The will for presidents to get their story out without media intervention has always been there.

    What’s different now, says Mark Jurkowitz of the Pew Research Project for Excellence in Journalism, is new technology that allow the White House to distribute its own content far more widely and effectively than past presidents could. At the same time, it’s getting harder for cash-strapped news outlets to resist using photos, video and other content supplied by the White House.

    Obama’s strategy is part of a broader mass communications trend in which politicians, corporate leaders and others in public life are using digital tools to send their messages directly to the public without a media filter.

    “It’s all about control,” says Eric Dezenhall, an image consultant who has worked for years with politicians, celebrities and business people.

    • Ametia says:

      LMBAO You got that right, Rikyrah!

      Tough going for you press Jackals. Join the rest of us in the 21st century.

      Why wouldn’t PBO want to use technology to get his message out and speak DIRECTLY to us. He knows the press want fodder to distort, twist, and spin his words, and policies? Why they take GOP rightwing talking points and run with them, instead of CHALLENGING them; you know the 2520s.

      Yet they want to run with PBO and push gossip and inuendo. FUCK’EM!

  25. rikyrah says:

    Must-See: Venus and Serena Release Trailer for Upcoming Documentary
    By Nicole Marie Melton

    The story of how Venus and Serena Williams grew to become two of the world’s most notable tennis stars is quite fascinating. The sisters, who are only 15 months apart, are finally telling their story from the beginning with the release of the documentary, Venus and Serena.

    Watch the super-trailer above to see the sisters give a never-before-seen glimpse into their lives as not only world-renowned champions, but sisters and best friends, too.

    The film will be released on iTunes April 4 and in theatres May 10.

  26. rikyrah says:

    let the GRIFT BEGIN


    Juan Williams’ Son To Run GOP Outreach To African Americans, Youth

    Meet Raffi Williams. posted on April 1, 2013 at 6:54pm EDT

    significant part of the Republican Party’s future rests on the shoulders of Raffi Williams, the 24 year-old son of Fox News’ Juan Williams.

    Not long after RNC chair Reince Priebus admitted his party has been unable to appeal to the youth and minorities, Raffi Williams got the job of selling the GOP to youth outlets and the African American press as a Deputy Press Secretary.

    He admits making young and black voters consider voting Republican is a tall order. But Williams told BuzzFeed a visible African American media outreach program can reap political rewards for the GOP beyond the black vote.

    “I think it’s a slow process. If you expect us to get a ridiculous amount of African Americans in the next election, that’s not going to happen probably,” he said. “But we can start to make inroads, and the more inclusive we are as a party the better optics we get to other demographics as well — not just African Americans — and that helps us in the long run.”

    Williams knows politics, having grown up in Washington, DC with a famous pundit for a dad. He’s also a rising star in the GOP. In 2012, he worked for Michigan Rep. Dan Benishek’s successful reelection campaign and served as Deputy Communications Director for the conservative Republican Study Committee before joining the RNC just a couple weeks ago. Black Enterprise just named him one of “10 Black Republicans You Probably Don’t Know But Should”.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone at 3CHICS!

  28. Ametia says:

    Catholic leader Archbishop Dolan: More and more people ‘have some troubles with the church’
    By Georgetown/ On Faith, Published: April 1

    QUOTE OF THE DAY: “More and more people are saying, you know what, I don’t have trouble with God, I don’t have trouble with Jesus, I don’t have trouble with faith, I do have some troubles with the church. That’s a major pastoral challenge, not only for us as Catholics, but for the other revealed religions.”

    -Cardinal Timothy Dolan on the major challenges for religion in the United States on CBS’s Face the Nation,

  29. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone! :-)

    FYI: 5:35 p.m. EDT: President Obama hosts cast and crew members of the movie ’42′, a biographical film about Jackie Robinson, for a screening at the White House.

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