Friday Open Thread | Boyz II Men Week

Good Morning. I hope you’ve enjoyed this week of Boyz II Men.

Boyz II Men-9

one sweet day cd2

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44 Responses to Friday Open Thread | Boyz II Men Week

  1. rikyrah says:

    Update: Revenge has been renewed for a third season.

    Once Upon A Time has been renewed for a third season.

    Castle has also been renewed for a sixth season

    ABC has renewed both Grey’s Anatomy and Scandal. Grey’s is getting its tenth season and Scandal is getting its third season.

    Nashville has been renewed for a second season.

  2. Ametia says:

    JUST IN:

    Jason Richwine Resigns from the Heritage Foundation
    Source: Slate

    The Heritage Foundation tells without much more detail. The full explanation:

    Jason Richwine let us know he’s decided to resign from his position. He’s no longer employed by Heritage.
    It is our long-standing policy not to discuss internal personnel matters.

    Some background: I’d been asking whether Heritage read Richwine’s dissertation, or talked about any of the potentially explosive IQ research, before hiring him. No answer as of yet, though his deparature means the story will fade.

    Read more:

  3. rikyrah says:

    Obama Pays Down Debt, Smashes Republican House of Cards

    Wednesday, May 08, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 2:53 PM

    Oh boy. This is not good news for Paul Ryan.

    After four years of trillion-dollar deficits, the red ink is receding in Washington, easing pressure on policymakers and shattering hopes for a summertime budget deal.

    Federal tax revenue is up and spending is down thanks to an improving economy, January tax hikes and the budget cuts known as the sequester. As a result, the U.S. Treasury has slowed the pace of borrowing and actually was able to repay a tiny fraction of the $16.8 trillion national debt in the first quarter of this year.

    Wait, what? Increasing taxes on the rich is actually raising revenue? I thought it was going to kill jobs! You mean there’s no magic fairy dust to punish the socialist nemesis for raising taxes on our venerable “job creators?” And what is all this about the Big Black Spender actually paying down the national debt? Someone, please, stop the presses!

    But the real problem Paul Ryan is facing from the results of President Obama’s success in pulling the economy back from the gutter that Ryan’s party put it in is worse: Baby Ryan just lost his… erm… “leverage” on budget negotiations – leverage he was hoping to use to force an end to the social safety net

    “The debt limit is the backstop,” Ryan said before taking the stage at a Washington summit on the debt organized by the Peter G. Peterson Foundation. “I’d like to go through regular order and get something done sooner rather than later. But we need to get a down payment on the debt; we need entitlement reform; we’re very serious about tax reform because we think that’s critical to economic growth and job creation. Those are the things we want to talk about.”

    Well, that was blatant. Paul Ryan wants to play politics with the debt limit to try to force the president’s hands. His issue? The success of President’s economic policies have at least delayed that manufactured crisis time to October. With the treasury needing to borrow less, the debt limit will not be reached this month, as was previously expected. So Paul Ryan is “reluctantly” waiting till then. Well, that won’t help. Mr. Ryan, let me remind you of something that happened the last time you tried this.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Peggy Noonan and the ‘implied question’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri May 10, 2013 1:00 PM EDT.

    This comes up from time to time, but one of the challenges for conservatives pushing Benghazi conspiracy theories is the leap of imagination. In order to actually see the elusive wrongdoing that only Republicans and Fox News can see, one must accept bizarre accusations with no basis in fact.

    Take the increasingly unhinged Peggy Noonan, writing in the Wall Street Journal today about what she believes is an “implied question” surrounding the story (via Simon Maloy).

    Far worse is the implied question that hung over the House hearing, and that cries out for further investigation. That is the idea that if the administration was to play down the nature of the attack it would have to play down the response — that is, if you want something to be a nonstory you have to have a nonresponse. So you don’t launch a military rescue operation, you don’t scramble jets, and you have a rationalization — they’re too far away, they’ll never make it in time. This was probably true, but why not take the chance when American lives are at stake?

    Just so we’re clear, Noonan, a prominent Republican pundit and veteran from the Reagan White House, wants readers to believe President Obama and the U.S. military were so desperate for the Benghazi attack to be a “non-story,” they left Americans in jeopardy, on purpose, so as to achieve some kind of political advantage that no one seems able to identify.

    And when we dig deeper to the heart of the far-right argument, what we ultimately discover is that proponents of the conspiracy theory believe the president is a sociopath — and if you’re skeptical of their assertion, then the Benghazi narrative that the right has cooked up really doesn’t make any sense.

    As Marc Ambinder explained this week, “One of the reasons why Americans aren’t outraged about Benghazi is that the event is a series of tragedies in search of a unifying explanation, and one that ‘Obama is evil’ doesn’t cover. Because really, to suggest that the Pentagon or the White House would deliberately — and yes, this is EXACTLY what Republicans are suggesting — prevent special operations forces from rescuing American diplomats BECAUSE they worried about the potential political blowback because they KNEW exactly who was behind it (al Qaeda) is — well, it is to suggest that Barack Obama is simply and utterly evil.”

  5. rikyrah says:

    What those edited Benghazi talking points tell us

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 10, 2013 at 11:33 am

    ABC News made a big splash this morning by reporting this about the CIA’s now-discredited Benghazi talking points:

    ABC News has obtained 12 different versions of the talking points that show they were extensively edited as they evolved from the drafts first written entirely by the CIA to the final version distributed to Congress and to U.S. Ambassador to the U.N. Susan Rice before she appeared on five talk shows the Sunday after that attack.

    ABC has helpfully posted the dozen versions of the talking points, so we can track the editing of them ourselves. Here are the main takeaways:

    1) The talking points confirm that the intelligence community had determined at the time that the “the demonstrations in Benghazi were spontaneously inspired by the protests at the U.S. Embassy in Cairo and evolved into a direct assault against the U.S. Consulate.” The key words there are “spontaneously” and “evolved.” That assessment does not change in any of the subsequent revisions.

    This confirms that the version of events the administration initially offered was, in fact, grounded in the intelligence community’s assessment at the moment (which turned out to be wrong). However, Susan Rice falsely extrapolated from the talking points during her now infamous TV appearances that the anti-Islam video was the cause of the attacks. That isn’t what the talking points say. They only say the protests were the genesis of them. The talking points don’t mention the video.

    2) The talking points clarify exactly how the reference to al-Qa’ida was edited out. In the initial versions, the talking points say that “we do know that Islamic extremists with ties to al-Qa’ida participated in the attack.” That was subsequently cut down to “Islamic extremists,” and then to just “extremists.”

    So it’s true that the reference to al-Qa’ida was in fact deleted. And at one point, the talking points specifically name the group Ansar al-Sharia, which was also deleted.

  6. Ametia says:

    Beat that ASS New Hampshire VOTERS

  7. rikyrah says:

    The Morning Plum: Bad 1990s Hillary is back

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 10, 2013 at 9:20 am

    It’s hard to explain to people who weren’t paying attention to politics at the time just what the atmosphere was like in the 1990s when it came to the Clintons. In many ways the right’s ongoing attacks on them — and on Hillary in particular — were worse than the birther/Kenyan Muslim Marxist/gun grabber stuff you see today about Obama. As Duncan Black put it recently: “It was a time when you could go on the TV — night after night — and accuse the Clintons of literally anything and no one blinked. There were multiple investigations into whether Hillary Clinton had somebody killed.”

    That’s why those of us who lived through that political era have been surprised to see Clinton treated with a good deal of respect in recent years, even by Republicans. At hearings a few months ago — hearings about Benghazi, no less — she was questioned by Republican Senators but the tone remained relatively even-handed.

    All of those bets are off, however, and we’re back in the 1990s again. While the attacks over Benghazi before the election were mostly leveled at Obama (since the hope was that the Bengazi story would help tip the election), now Hillary (who is likely to run in 2016) is the primary target. Check out the new Benghazi video released this morning by Karl Rove’s American Crossroads:

    This really does approach the tone we used to see back in the day. It features the images of Hillary looking shifty and scheming while it flatly alleges that she participated in a ”cover up” of the deaths of four Americans. It also shows footage of Hillary angrily pushing back at Republican Senators, which will be familiar to those who remember all the caricaturing of Hillary as angry and out of control.

    To buttress the “cover up” claim, the video states as fact that diplomat and whistleblower Gregory Hicks was ordered not to talk to Congress about his belief that the attacks were terrorism, and that he was subsequently punished for speaking out. But this appears to be in dispute: The State Department denies the basics of Hicks’ account. It also states that the administration knew the attacks were motivated by terrorism but instead blamed them on the anti-Islam video. While it is clear that the administration was wrong in its initial assessments — and was slow to acknowledge the role of terrorism – there is still no clear evidence that those assessments weren’t largely driven by conclusions being reached by the intelligence community in real time or that those conclusions were deliberately altered for political reasons. (The video, interestingly, makes no mention of the rewriting of the talking points that has been the subject of so much Republican criticism.)

    At any rate, do Republicans who assert that their probe of the administration’s handling of the Benghazi attacks is not politically motivated really think their case is helped by having Karl Rove’s outfit release a political video attacking Hillary (given her possible 2016 run) over it?

  8. rikyrah says:

    Eric Cantor, misunderstood
    By Steve Benen
    Fri May 10, 2013 12:05 PM EDT.

    House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) chatted with National Review’s Robert Costa this week, and Costa complained that President Obama “doesn’t seem to socialize” with House Republicans. Cantor replied that he’d “just had drinks” with White House chief of staff Denis McDonough the other night, and then reflected on the bigger picture.

    “The one thing I’ve always said — and I’ve said it to Rahm [Emanuel] and Jack Lew — is that this president has squandered an opportunity to use the office to do some good and actually get some things done. […]

    “Either the president doesn’t like to engage with people, or it’s somehow beneath him to do so. I don’t know, and I told Denis that the president could benefit himself and the country a lot by developing those relationships and understanding where conservatives are, instead of just thinking that he knows where we are. But that has not been the case over the last four years of his tenure.”

    Not surprisingly, there’s a quite a bit wrong with Cantor’s deeply strange perspective. First, Obama actually has gotten “some things done” — economic recovery, health care, auto industry rescue, counter-terrorism successes, Wall Street reform, civil rights breakthroughs, etc. — but the bulk of his successes came before Cantor became Majority Leader and his radicalized caucus brought the governing process to a halt.

    Second, the president has done quite a bit of schmoozing, even with Republicans who hold him in contempt, refuse to compromise with him, call him a “socialist,” embrace bizarre conspiracy theories about him, and basically do everything imaginable to try to destroy his presidency. The outreach hasn’t produced much success.

    And third, does Cantor seriously believe the paralysis in Washington would improve if Obama had a greater “understanding” of Cantor and his allies? As if there are such deep complexities to the caucus’ far-right ideology and nebulous agenda that they require deep presidential analysis to fully appreciate?

  9. rikyrah says:

    ‘That is the Texas way’
    By Steve Benen
    Fri May 10, 2013 11:10 AM EDT

    It’s been nearly a month since a fertilizer plant in West, Texas, exploded, killing at least 14 people, and injuring more than 200 others, while leveling a significant part of the small town. It’s tempting to think, after a disaster of this magnitude, that the community and their officials would start asking some important questions about prevention and public safety.

    And it’d be quite a list. There could, for example, be a conversation about the fact that the plant had no alarms, automatic shutoff system or firewall. There could also be a discussion about zoning laws that allowed a highly-explosive plant to be built across the street from two schools and a nursing home. It might also be time for a chat about liability insurance and environmental safeguards.

    But none of these conversations is likely to happen.

    This antipathy toward regulations is shared by many residents here. Politicians and economists credit the stance with helping attract jobs and investment to Texas, which has one of the fastest-growing economies in the country, and with winning the state a year-after-year ranking as the nation’s most business friendly.

    Even in West, last month’s devastating blast did little to shake local skepticism of government regulations. Tommy Muska, the mayor, echoed Governor Perry in the view that tougher zoning or fire safety rules would not have saved his town. “Monday morning quarterbacking,” he said.

    Raymond J. Snokhous, a retired lawyer in West who lost two cousins — brothers who were volunteer firefighters — in the explosion, said, “There has been nobody saying anything about more regulations.”

    The New York Times piece included some remarkable details: Texas employers don’t have to contribute to workers’ compensation coverage; Houston has no zoning laws; and not only is there no state fire code, but local communities are prohibited from creating fire codes of their own. The legislature event killed a proposal to provide resources to train volunteer firefighters because lobbyists for the real estate industry disapproved.

  10. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Young and the Restless’ Plans a Celebration to Honor the Life of the Late Jeanne Cooper

    Categories: Daytime and Soap Opera TV Ratings,Network TV Press Releases

    Written By Amanda Kondolojy

    May 10th, 2013


    Tribute to Air Tuesday, May 28

    Drama to Gather Cast Members to Remember the Beloved Emmy Award Winner

    THE YOUNG AND The Restless will air a special tribute episode to the late Jeanne Cooper on Tuesday, May 28, (12:30-1:30 PM, ET; 11:00 AM-12:00 Noon, PT) on the CBS Television Network. Cast members, friends and family of the beloved actress will gather on set next week to shoot a celebration of the life of their late friend who passed away this week at the age of 84. Cooper, the Emmy Award-winning actress who portrayed Katherine Chancellor for more than 39 years, was the show’s longest-running cast member.

    As part of the tribute episode, the cast of THE YOUNG AND The Restless will share their favorite memories of working with Cooper, along with personal recollections of their friendships with her. Additionally, interviews with Cooper from the show’s recent 40th anniversary and classic clips of her years on the daytime drama will be included.

    “Jeanne Cooper was a legend and we want to give her the tribute she deserves,” said Angelica McDaniel, Senior Vice President, Daytime CBS. “The cast will honor their longtime friend, family member and co-worker in the greatest way possible, as we celebrate her life and vibrant spirit and share it with the audience who loved her as much as we did.”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Scandal garnered a 3.2, up six tenths from last week’s 2.6 adults 18-49 rating and a new series high.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Massachusetts’ Gomez already struggling badly
    By Steve Benen
    Fri May 10, 2013 10:35 AM EDT

    Just a week after winning his party’s Senate special election primary in Massachusetts, Republican Gabriel Gomez finds himself in the middle of two fairly serious controversies. As of yesterday, the novice candidate is handling both poorly.

    The first issue is Gomez’s involvement in a head-shaking tax scam — he claimed a $281,500 tax deduction by claiming not to change the facade of his house, despite the fact that he was already forbidden under local bylaws from changing the facade of his house. The Senate candidate, in other words, accepted a very generous reward for failing to do something he couldn’t do anyway.

    Asked for an explanation, Gomez said it’s “disgraceful” and “dishonorable” for his opponent, Rep. Ed Markey (D), to bring this up. Apropos of nothing, Gomez added that the veteran congressman is a “hack.”

    Of course, that didn’t answer the question about his apparent tax scam. Neither did this.

    Republican US Senate nominee Gabriel E. Gomez, facing questions about a $281,500 historic tax deduction on his Cohasset home, rejected calls Thursday from the media and Democrats to release tax returns and other details about the deal.

    “I have nothing to hide,” said Gomez on a campaign stop in Lawrence, when asked by a Globe reporter why he would not make public the details about how the federal tax deduction was calculated for the easement to limit changes on the home that the candidate and his wife bought for $2.1 million in November 2004.

    Here’s a tip for politicians everywhere: don’t say you have nothing to hide while you’re hiding things without explanation.

    Complicating matters, while this story was raising questions about Gomez’s integrity, another story was putting the Republican’s credibility in doubt.


    Gomez is a rookie when it comes to seeking public office — his only previous experience was running for a local office in his small hometown, and he came in third out of three candidates — but he’s not entirely new to politics. In fact, just last year, he worked with a right-wing super PAC called the “Special Operations Opsec Education Fund,” which seemed to exist only to attack President Obama over the mission that killed Osama bin Laden.

    This week, Gomez sought to distance himself from the smear operation, saying he didn’t work for the group he used to work for.

  13. Arlene Castro cries for the kidnapped victims

  14. Rikyrah, I just love your photos. You always find such good ones!

  15. rikyrah says:

    ‘Raging Grannies’ Turn Up the Heat On Conservative N.C. Proposals

    Like a motorist swerving to avoid an accident, lawmakers in North Carolina have pulled the state to the far right, proposing a series of laws that seem intended to weaken voting rights, environmental protections, and protections for the poor.

    But over the past two weeks, college students have been trying to bring the state back to the center with acts of civil disobedience and planned arrests designed to draw attention to the state’s conservative policies.

    Now it looks like veteran reinforcements are on the way.

    Call them the “Raging Grannies.”

    A group of activist grandmothers, “Raging Grannies” joined a protest “pray-in” that included students, civil rights advocates, and clergy from around the state. About 30 people were arrested at the statehouse in the demonstration designed to force the state legislature to reconsider some of the bills that wouldreduce funding for preschool education, reduce aid to the state university system, and ease restrictions on gun purchasing.

  16. rikyrah says:

    root_e So how come all our civil liberties pundits are so unconcerned about criminalizing high school for Kiera Wilmot?

  17. rikyrah says:

    Boehner, McConnell block their own Medicare goals

    One of the funny things about congressional Republicans and health care policy is the extent to which they set clear goals and then oppose efforts to reach those goals. For example, GOP leaders want Democrats to accept policies that curtail Medicare costs, and then try to sabotage Democratic efforts to curtail Medicare costs.

    In a largely symbolic move, Republican leaders in Congress told President Barack Obama on Thursday that they will not participate in picking members of a controversial healthcare panel intended to restrain cost growth in the Medicare health insurance program for the elderly and disabled.

    House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner and Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell informed the president in a May 9 letter that they will not recommend appointments to the 15-member Independent Payment Advisory Board, or IPAB, and want the panel repealed instead.

    I realize IPAB may seem like a relatively obscure part of the larger health care law, so in case anyone needs a refresher, let’s quickly recap.

    As Paul Krugman explained a while back, “Arguably the most important thing we can do to limit the growth in health care costs is learning to say no; we cannot afford a system in which Medicare in particular will pay for anything, especially when that’s combined with an industry structure that gives providers a strong financial incentive to engage in excessive care.”

    As we discussed in June, the Obama administration seeks to solve this problem through IPAB — putting the difficult decisions in the hands of qualified medical and health care professionals, free of the political process on Capitol Hill. And why is this necessary? In large part because Congress has failed so spectacularly in its ability to make these choices on its own.

    In theory, Republicans should be delighted — we’re talking about a panel tasked with cutting entitlement spending and saving money. Indeed, it was rather gracious of the White House to reach out to GOP leaders to ask them to recommend officials to serve on the board.

    The surface-level problem, however, is Republicans say they want to lower costs and cut spending, but also oppose a panel that would lower costs and cut spending. And the deeper problem is that they hope to sabotage IPAB because they prefer an alternative approach.


    In terms of fiscal goals, both parties want roughly the same thing: a more stable fiscal future for health care costs, especially for seniors. Democrats see value in IPAB, and there’s ample reason to believe this is a responsible approach. Republicans, meanwhile, argue that Medicare should be eliminated, and replaced with a voucher program in which seniors effectively bring a coupon to the private insurance marketplace. This, too, would lower costs by shifting the financial burden from Medicare to financially vulnerable families.

    And why do Republicans hate IPAB so intensely? Largely because they’re afraid it might work — if IPAB lowers costs and cuts spending, there won’t be any reason to listen to far-right lawmakers demanding the elimination of Medicare altogether.

    So, Boehner and McConnell have come up with a plan, and it goes like this: if they can stop IPAB, they can prevent the panel from doing worthwhile work. And if IPAB is unable to lower costs, Medicare will become more fiscally unstable in the coming years. And if Medicare’s finances worsen, Republicans will have a stronger hand when they say they want to kill the Medicare program and privatize it out of existence.

    Remember, for GOP lawmakers, the goal is not to solve a problem. Rather, the goal is to advance an ideological agenda that calls for slashing public investments and shrinking government, regardless of the consequences.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Cyrus was too harsh with James. He was just too cruel. Broke my heart for James.

    I still can’t even talk this morning. Mind is still processing it.


    Good points – I love John Barrowman. I mean, I really love him, so whatever has to happen to keep him on – I want it done. When he read Mellie about herself, I was as speechless as she was. He’s a keeper.

    Harrison always looking out for Olivia – warmed my heart. I mean, he’s true blue to the end.

    As for Senator Byron – WHO THE FUCK IS HE?


    I mean, he’s got CIA teams running around, Cyrus did just what he asked, and didn’t blink.

    WHO IS HE?

    Cyrus works for THE PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES, and he gives him lip.

    He didn’t give Senator Byron ANY LIP. it was like ‘ YES, SIR.’

    Billy Chambers as the MOLE
    and David working with him.

    Still trying to wrap the mind around that. I could have accepted one or the other…but both…that unholy alliance…. the evil that swirls in this combination is frightening.

    • Ametia says:

      BWA HA HA HA Girrllllllllll, I’m DONE after last night’s Scandal. Shonda tryna give us all a heart attack, right along with Cyrus.

      I’m so glad I watched the entire season 1 of Scandal last weekend. Yep; that’s right; I OWN THE DVD!

      Cyrus just excoriated poor James. That’s the thanks he gets for GOING DOWN SOUTH on him! LOL

      Senator Byron is ONE SCARY MOFO. Dude running ’round DC singing

      I ‘OIN’T why this dude has so much power

  19. rikyrah says:

    Conservative Immigration Scholar: Black and Hispanic Immigrants Are Dumber Than European Immigrants

    Jason Richwine, who coauthored a Heritage Foundation study on immigration, didn’t just argue that certain minorities are dumber in his scholarship–he also said it at a public panel.

    —By Adam Serwer

    | Wed May. 8, 2013 4:50 PM PDT

    Jason Richwine, the coauthor of the conservative Heritage Foundation’s controversial study on the supposed $6.3 trillion cost of comprehensive immigration reform, has received much attention and criticism for his 2009 Harvard dissertation that argued there was “a genetic component” to racial disparities in IQ. But this dissertation wasn’t the first time Richwine had expressed such views publicly. In 2008, he told an audience at the American Enterprise Institute that “major” ethnic or racial differences in intelligence between the Irish, Italian, and Jewish immigrants who flocked to the United States at the turn of the 20th century and the immigrants coming to the US today justified severely restricting immigration.

    Richwine’s remarks, which he made as a resident fellow at AEI, did not receive much public notice at the time, but they go beyond the arguments presented in his 2009 dissertation. In that dissertation, “IQ and Immigration Policy,” which was first reported by Dylan Matthews of the Washington Post, Richwine argued for restricting immigration based on IQ differences, which he believes are partially the result of genetic differences between ethnic groups. In the dissertation’s acknowledgements, Richwine wrote that “no one was more influential” than AEI scholar Charles Murray, coauthor of the much-criticized book The Bell Curve, which argued that racial disparities in IQ are partially the result of genetic differences between races. After the Post broke the story about the dissertation, the Heritage Foundation distanced itself from Richwine’s immigration reform study.

    At the 2008 talk, Richwine said, “I do not believe that race is insurmountable, certainly not, but it definitely is a larger barrier today than it was for immigrants in the past simply because they are not from Europe.” The 2008 AEI panel focused on a book by immigration reform opponent Mark Krikorian, the executive director of the Center for Immigration Studies, which favors strict limits on all immigration. Krikorian’s book, The New Case Against Immigration, Both Legal and Illegal, began with Krikorian stating that the difference between modern immigration and immigration at the turn of the century “is not the characteristics of the newcomers but the characteristics of our society.”

    Richwine firmly disagreed with part of Krikorian’s assessment. The “major difference,” he said, was the race of the immigrants: “There are real differences between groups.” He contended that today’s nonwhite immigrants are dumber. “Race is different in all sorts of ways, and probably the most important way is in IQ,” he said. “Decades of psychometric testing has indicated that at least in America, you have Jews with the highest average IQ, usually followed by East Asians, then you have non-Jewish whites, Hispanics, and then blacks. These are real differences, and they’re not going to go away tomorrow, and for that reason we have to address them in our immigration discussions and our debates.”

    After he made his remarks in 2008, the Southern Poverty Law Center reported that “Richwine’s remarks were warmly received on white nationalist blogs.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    The Internet Declares War on the NRA
    By Francis Wilkinson May 9, 2013 1:19 PM CT

    The Internet is good for many things — conspiracy theories, shopping, sharing funny pictures with friends. But it may prove to be very, very bad for the extreme gun-rights movement.

    Here are a few recent stories that the Web, in its collective wisdom, has plucked from relatively obscure locales in the past week and elevated to national prominence.

    We have the case of the 2-year-old who shot himself in the head with a handgun about 50 miles from Dallas. He is dead.

    There is the matter of the 3-year-old Tampa boy who fatally shot himself this week with his uncle’s gun. (Like 1 million Floridians, the uncle has a state permit to carry a concealed weapon. The boy apparently found the weapon in the uncle’s backpack.)

    A 13-year-old in Florida this week shot his 6-year-old sister, who survived.

    And, of course, there is the now notorious tragedy of the 5-year-old Kentucky boy who shot his 2-year-old sister to death with a rifle specially manufactured and marketed to small children.

    In his blog at the Daily Beast, David Frum has been posting stories of hapless gun owners causing pointless tragedy. Here is Frum responding to a typically unnecessary death:

    Here’s the blunt fact: for all the talk about “responsible gun ownership,” guns are easily available to everybody, responsible or not. It’s an empty compliment even to refer to “responsible gun owners” – many of them are people who through good luck simply have not had their irresponsibility catch up with them yet, as so tragically happened yesterday to the Wanko family.


    The NRA has been remarkably successful in suppressing government research on gun violence and hindering dissemination of data on guns. Legislators in Washington and state capitals have been ghoulishly accommodating. The Internet, it seems, won’t be so easily bought.

  21. rikyrah says:

    The Myth of Presidential Leadership

    Many Washington pundits are critical of the president’s ability to wrangle concessions out of Congress, but they forget that his power has limits.

    This article appeared in print as Is Obama Failing to Lead?

    By Norm Ornstein

    Updated: May 9, 2013 | 1:51 a.m.
    May 8, 2013 | 9:30 p.m

    The theme of presidential leadership is a venerated one in America, the subject of many biographies and an enduring mythology about great figures rising to the occasion. The term “mythology” doesn’t mean that the stories are inaccurate; Lincoln, the wonderful Steven Spielberg movie, conveyed a real sense of that president’s remarkable character and drive, as well as his ability to shape important events. Every president is compared to the Lincoln leadership standard and to those set by other presidents, and the first 100 days of every term becomes a measure of how a president is doing.

    I have been struck by this phenomenon a lot recently, because at nearly every speech I give, someone asks about President Obama’s failure to lead. Of course, that question has been driven largely by the media, perhaps most by Bob Woodward. When Woodward speaks, Washington listens, and he has pushed the idea that Obama has failed in his fundamental leadership task—not building relationships with key congressional leaders the way Bill Clinton did, and not “working his will” the way LBJ or Ronald Reagan did.

    Now, after the failure to get the background-check bill through the Senate, other reporters and columnists have picked up on the same theme, and I have grown increasingly frustrated with how the mythology of leadership has been spread in recent weeks. I have yelled at the television set, “Didn’t any of you ever read Richard Neustadt’s classic Presidential Leadership? Haven’t any of you taken Politics 101 and read about the limits of presidential power in a separation-of-powers system?”

    But the issue goes beyond that, to a willful ignorance of history. No one schmoozed more or better with legislators in both parties than Clinton. How many Republican votes did it get him on his signature initial priority, an economic plan? Zero in both houses. And it took eight months to get enough Democrats to limp over the finish line. How did things work out on his health care plan? How about his impeachment in the House?

  22. rikyrah says:

    God Love You, Joe

    by BooMan
    Thu May 9th, 2013 at 08:08:14 PM EST

    It’s funny how some things happen. Joe Biden’s greatest virtue may be his tendency to go off script.

    Last May, in the heat of President Obama’s reelection efforts, Biden went on “Meet the Press” and said he was “comfortable” with same-sex marriage. Obama had not at that point announced his support for gay marriage, and the vice president’s endorsement left the campaign lurching to clarify the administration’s position.
    The following week, Obama acknowledged he had decided to make an announcement endorsing gay marriage before the election, but Biden’s comments forced his hand early.

    Biden at the time said he apologized to the president for putting him in that position, but in the Rolling Stone interview, Biden said Obama couldn’t have been happier.

    “I got blowback from everybody but the president,” Biden said. “I walked in that Monday, he had a big grin on his face, he put his arms around me and said, ‘Well, Joe, God love you, you say what you think.’ I knew he agreed with me. It wasn’t like he was in a different place.”

    I wonder what would or wouldn’t have happened if Biden had taken the official line on that question. It seems like it was a seminal moment. Ever since, there has been a flood of progress on gay rights issues.

  23. rikyrah says:

    The real lesson of Benghazi

    Posted by Jonathan Bernstein on May 9, 2013 at 4:46 pm

    What’s the real lesson of Benghazi? It’s that the party-aligned press works so well for Republicans that they’ve become too lazy to bother explaining their ideas, or doing the hard work of actual oversight.

    Look, it’s May, and they’ve been at this since September, and still, no one outside of the conservative information bubble has any idea what the “there” is. Never mind whether the accusations are true; no one has even bothered laying out a set of accusations that makes sense (see Marc Ambinder for more; see also also Andrew Sabl for what a real set of accusations would look like).

    Remember, to begin with, Benghazi was a policy disaster: Four people died, and there’s every possibility that it didn’t have to happen. A normal political party could get some mileage out of that (yes, it’s crass, but that’s politics). In fact, the political system depends on the out-party demanding that the president, the White House, and the executive branch in general be held to account when things go wrong.

    Instead, we’ve had months of gobbledegook about a set of talking points that supposedly were part of an effort to…you know, I don’t even want to bother. What matters is whether there were mistakes made that caused the disaster, whether people who made those mistakes were held accountable, and whether things have changed to make another disaster less likely. Unfortunately, Republicans don’t seem very interested in any of that.

    Part of what’s happening is, as Jamelle Bouie pointed out today, the strong demand within the conservative marketplace for scandal. But there’s more than that; it’s not just a demand for scandal, but how easily the customers accept anything presented to them. The result — and Alex Pareene is very good on this today — is that they don’t bother putting together a “coherent or convincing narrative.”

  24. rikyrah says:

    Colorado strikes a blow for voting reform

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 9, 2013 at 3:17 pm

    It hasn’t gotten the national attention it deserves, but a sweeping measure to overhaul elections in Colorado is swiftly moving towards passage — one that could function as a model for other voting reformers in other states, and perhaps even nationally. The Colorado measure will represent a big step forward, because it sticks to the most fundamental principle that most reformers think should guide our efforts to fix voting: That voting should be made easier for as many people as possible.

    This, at a time when conservative groups are working to restrict voting in the name of “voter fraud.” As Reid Wilson recently put it, the Colorado measure is “the Democratic comeback to voter ID.”

    Reform advocates who have been briefed on Colorado Governor John Hickenlooper’s plans tell me they expect him to sign the legislation tomorrow. The measure, which has cleared both houses in Colorado, contains a number of key provisions. It requires a ballot to be mailed to every registered voter; voters choose how to vote, whether by mail or dropping off the ballot, or even in person, early or on election day. It lengthens the early voting period and shortens the time required for state residency in order to qualify to vote. It expands voter registration through Election Day. And it allows people to vote at any precinct within their county.

    “The biggest problem is people showing up at the wrong precinct,” Ellen Dumm, spokesperson for Coloradans for Voter Access and Modernized Elections, tells me. “This is unique in that expands all options. It really does expand access to voting at a time when we’ve seen a lot of restriction of voting. This makes voting a lot easier.”

    Republicans in Colorado strongly opposed the measure, arguing that it could facilitate vote fraud, and it comes after a number contentious legislative battles. But to reformers, what’s notable about this campaign is that even some Republicans — those who bureaucratically grapple with voting problems, that is — could support it. “We never would have gotten this passed without county clerks and county commissioners who are Republican,” Dumm says.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Can immigration reform really be made much more `conservative’?

    Posted by Greg Sargent on May 9, 2013 at 1:19 pm

    We keep hearing that in order for immigration reform to pass Congress, it will have to be pushed considerably to the right. But given the current Gang of Eight compromise’s heavy emphasis on border security — combined with a path to citizenship that now stands at 13 years — how much more conservative can the measure actually become? And what would that look like, anyway?

    Today we got the first glimpse of an answer to these questions, as the Senate Judiciary Committee took its first stab at marking up the bill. And the answer is pretty clear: While there may be some room for movement, the bottom line is that this bill just can’t be made much more conservative without undermining the very things that make it amount to comprehensive reform.

    There were two main votes today that underscored this reality. First, the Judiciary Committee rejected a Chuck Grassley amendment that would have required the border be secure for six months before the 11 million get legal status. This would have struck directly at the bill’s core — requiring a trigger for legalization to occur later, rather than setting legalization in motion while requiring various security benchmarks to be hit. The fact that two Republicans — Lindsey Graham and Jeff Flake, both members of the Gang of Eight — voted this down shows that there is bipartisan support for rebuffing the right’s most ambitious efforts to undermine reform.

    Meanwhile, four Republicans (Graham, Flake, Orrin Hatch, and John Cornyn) voted with Dems to pass what’s called a “substitute amendment,” i.e., a new version of reform tweaked to deal with various problems — which signals strong bipartisan support for the compromise. The four Republicans who voted against this — Grassley, Ted Cruz, Jeff Sessions, and Mike Lee — illustrate that a hard right bloc remains opposed at all costs to reform that includes a path to citizenship, but that they were unable to derail the bill so far.

  26. rikyrah says:

    What right-wing opposition to Lindsay Graham tells us about the GOP

    Posted by Jamelle Bouie on May 9, 2013 at 11:12 AM

    By any definition, South Carolina Senator Lindsay Graham is a conservative. Yes, he voted to confirm President Obama’s nominees for the Supreme Court and has voiced support for climate change legislation and higher taxes, but those are small deviations.

    On almost everything else, Graham sides with the right flank of the GOP. He supported Paul Ryan’s budget and its variations, touted the “Cut, Cap, and Balance” plan — which calls for huge reductions in federal spending — and has been a vocal critic of the Obama administration on national security issues, including the ongoing controversy over the attack in Benghazi.

    But for right-wing activists in South Carolina, Graham’s credentials still aren’t conservative enough. Politico reports that there’s a solid chance he’ll face a challenge from the right. It’s not just because of the issues, however. As Jonathan Martin writes: “What so irritates his conservative critics is not just his issue positions but the way he’s unapologetically pragmatic about politics in a way that’s gone out of fashion on GOP circles.”

    That’s just another way to say that Graham’s critics are as upset with his willingness to compromise and legislate — even if it advances conservative priorities — as they are with his votes. The mere fact that Graham occasionally works with Democrats to accomplish something is enough to earn him opposition from the base of the Republican Party.

    When observers like Jonathan Bernstein say that the Republican Party is “broken,” this is what they mean. The structure of our government doesn’t require comity or non-ideological political parties; after all, ideological polarization doesn’t preclude compromise.

  27. rikyrah says:

    these mofos still haven’t learned…



    Fox’s Bolling: Had It Been Sasha Or Malia Obama Who Died In Benghazi, Wouldn’t We “Be Asking Different Questions?”

  28. rikyrah says:


    Any Questions? I Have Many After Scandal’s Episode 221

    [ 16 ] May 10, 2013 | Luvvie

    After last week’s episode of Scandal left us all feeling all hot and bothered, I knew Shonda was gon turn the tables and just leave pour jaws on the floor for a completely different reason. The show team had told us that this episode is where we find out who the mole so we were dehydrated for it! Let’s just jump right in.

  29. Ametia says:

    Republicans lead a witch hunt on Benghazi
    By Eugene Robinson,

    Those who are trying to make the Benghazi tragedy into a scandal for the Obama administration really ought to decide what story line they want to sell.

    Actually, by “those” I mean Republicans, and by “the Obama administration” I mean Hillary Clinton. The only coherent purpose I can discern in all of this is to sully Clinton’s record as secretary of state in case she runs for president in 2016.

  30. Ametia says:

    The successes of Obamacare
    By Nancy-Ann DeParle,

    Nancy-Ann DeParle was assistant to the president and deputy White House chief of staff for policy from February 2011 to January 2013. From March 2009 to February 2011, she was counselor to the president and director of the White House Office of Health Reform.

    For more than 100 years, leaders from both parties struggled to bring affordable health care to all Americans. When President Obama took up the fight, many people predicted defeat. Three years, 34 repeal votes, one Supreme Court decision and a presidential election later, some are questioning whether government is capable of implementing the historic law. Concern is understandable: The Affordable Care Act (ACA) transforms a health-care system that accounts for one-sixth of the U.S. economy and is central to our lives. But recent history shows that big changes in health-care policy can be implemented.

    The worries being voiced are familiar to those who follow health-care policy. They’re certainly familiar to me. I became the administrator of Medicare and Medicaid in 1997, just as Congress passed the most sweeping changes in Medicare’s history. The Balanced Budget Act of 1997 cut nearly $400 billion from providers such as doctors, hospitals and nursing homes; cracked down on waste and fraud; created a new Medicare HMO program; and launched the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP) with a goal of covering millions of uninsured children.

  31. Ametia says:

    ATM thieves conducted massive cyberattack

    Video: Federal prosecutors charged a gang of cyber thieves with robbing banks around the world of $45 million. John Miller reports on how it was all coordinated by a global operation that has found a new way to steal cash in staggering amounts.

    By Zachary A. Goldfarb,

    A global posse of cyberthieves, armed with laptops in place of guns, hacked into financial institutions and stole $45 million from automated teller machines in a first-of-its-kind heist made for the 21st century, authorities in New York said Thursday.

    Over a seven-month period ending last month, the authorities said, hackers broke into computer networks of financial companies in the United States and India and eliminated the withdrawal limits on prepaid debit cards.

  32. CarolMaeWY says:

    Beautiful music all week. Thanks. It’s been a rough week.

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