Saturday Open Thread

Have a good weekend everyone.

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29 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    May 10, 2013
    ‘Benghazi’ is Republican ‘Cover’ for Immigration Cave-in!
    I monitor right-wing radio and so I can see right through this supposed ‘Benghazi Scandal’ scam that right-wing politicians and broadcasters are manufacturing out of whole-cloth.

    As evidence, I offer this…just go to the Facebook pages for any of the Republicans who support Immigration Reform; Rubio, Rand Paul etc. What you’ll find is that, while the hosts of these pages are mostly posting updates attacking the Obama administration on ‘Benghazi’, almost all of the comments are scathing criticisms about their stance on the Immigration issue and these comments are from people who represent the far-right base of their party.

    It’s the same thing for far-right broadcasters who are offering tepid cover for these pro-reform Republican politicians. Here’s a reply to Sean Hannity for bragging about Rubio and Paul as ‘up and coming stars’…
    “Michael Jose Marco Rubio is toast, Sean. Give it up. Marco Rubio is Spanish for Lindsey Graham. Rand Paul is teetering, depending on whether or not he renounces his previous pro-amnesty speech.”

    The powers that be in the Republican party have seen the future and they realize it means Immigration Reform if they are to remain viable, even if they take a hit from their base along the way. Their base knows this is the case too. That’s why no matter how much Republicans wave a bloody flag over Benghazi the Bloodhounds in their base are keeping their noses to the trail and threatening to break away over this Immigration Reform bill if the Republicans go for it.
    Posted by The Dixie Dove

  2. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    May 10, 2013 5:44 PM
    Meanwhile, Down in Georgia….

    By Ed Kilgore

    The latest twist in the early-developing and ever-fascinating 2014 Georgia Senate race is that U.S. Rep. Tom Price has taken himself out of the running.

    Price had been the smart-money favorite to challenge the dominant personality in the race, his House colleague Paul Broun. That’s partly because Price represents a primary-vote-heavy North Metro Atlanta district, and partly because his voting record and general positioning are much like Broun’s, without so much Crazy.

    But Price’s withdrawal creates a heaven-sent opportunity for another well-known potential GOP candidate, who is now rumored to be in the wings: former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Not only does Handel share Price’s metro Atlanta base, but her brief tour of ideological martyrdom as vice president of the Komen Foundation (which ended in 2012 when she was forced from the job after massive protests against the split with Planned Parenthood she engineered) has removed the blemish that probably cost her the 2010 Georgia gubernatorial nomination, the suspicion that she was not 100% antichoice (she opposed an effort to radically limit IV fertilization clinics in the state).

    A Handel/Broun runoff, which looks like a decent bet at this stage, would be wild and wooly sho nuff.

    But thanks to developments on the Democratic side, Handel’s likely entry sets up another interesting possibility as well.

    Earlier this week U.S. Representative John Barrow announced he would not be running for the Senate in 2014, reportedly because he could not be guaranteed a cleared field for the Democratic nomination. That means the field probably would be cleared for another much-mentioned potential candidate, Michelle Nunn, a nationally renowned civic entrepreneur with a might handy last name (her father is former Sen. Sam Nunn, still a Georgia political legend).

    I should disclose that during and after my work for Sam Nunn, I got to know Michelle, for whom I have a very high regard. She’s very smart, very savvy, and has a lot of charm and depth. But aside from what she represents in a Georgia Democratic Party desperate for new blood, you have to think ahead to a possible Nunn-Handel general election, in a state that has been very slow to elect women to Congress (none are currently in the 16-man Congressional Delegation, which returned to its traditional all-male composition when Cynthia McKinney lost a primary in 2006).

  3. rikyrah says:

    May 09, 2013 11:20 AM
    Clive Crook Doesn’t Understand Paul Krugman or Liberals Generally

    By Ryan Cooper

    There has been something of a flame war going between Clive Crook and Paul Krugman of late over fiscal stimulus, economics, and the tone of Krugman’s writing. It’s a bit silly, but it raises some interesting points I’d like to extract. Let me replay some of the history, for reasons that will become clear.

    After the first round, Crook took exception to Krugman’s intemperate tone, and made the quite specific claim that Krugman was using the 2009 stimulus for partisan ends:

    Along with small-government extremists on the Republican side, Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms. For many Democrats, the top priority in the fiscal-policy discussion was not, in fact, to make the stimulus bigger but to reverse the Bush high-income tax cuts and to make sure that the composition of the stimulus, whatever its size, as far as possible favored higher spending over lower taxes.

    Brad DeLong pointed out that this is, in fact, not the case, citing chapter and verse. He finds no Krugman posts in 2009 arguing that the high-income Bush tax cuts should be reversed. Where is your evidence? asks DeLong.

    Today, Crook is back, and his response is a textbook example of moving the goalposts. He conveniently forgets the stimulus debate, around which all his previous claims were centered, and digs up a Krugman column from December 2010, almost two years later. It’s about the budget debate at the time, and Krugman argues that since Republicans were holding the Bush tax cuts for the middle class hostage for the ones for the rich, Democrats should refuse to negotiate. Indeed, this is a pretty partisan column which downplays the effect of tax-side austerity. But it is essentially a point about negotiation strategy—faced with an extremist and absolutist Republican party, Krugman argues, the Democrats would do well to demonstrate their willingness to play hardball.

    In any case, this is small bore stuff. What is unquestionably clear is that Crook’s earlier claim that “Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms” is completely bogus, and he clearly knows it.

  4. rikyrah says:

    May 09, 2013 9:30 AM
    Small Donors May Make Politics Even Worse

    By Ezra Klein

    Can small money overwhelm big money? Faced with a hostile Supreme Court and a gridlocked Congress offering little chance of passing legislation, today’s campaign-finance reformers sure hope so.

    The notion is alluring. Online fundraising has made it easy to collect large sums in small increments from thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Soon, proponents hope, politicians won’t have to go to lobbyists and corporate bundlers; the Internet will simply disrupt campaign finance as it has upended so much else.

    Freed from corporate money, which always wants something in return, politicians could instead rely on citizen money, which merely wants good government. And if by some happy political accident campaign-finance legislation eventually becomes possible, it need only reinforce the democratizing tendencies of the Internet, perhaps by creating a federal matching system for small donors.

    So goes the theory, anyway. Add some transparency rules to identify the anonymous (and seemingly unlimited) flood of cash from independent groups facilitated by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and its sister rulings from lower courts, and all of a sudden you’ve got a pretty good campaign-finance system.

    Begging Lawmakers

    This week, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, a freshman Democrat from Connecticut, spoke at a Yale University conference on money, power and inequality. He described the pathetic spectacle of elected representatives spending hours each day in warrens at their political party’s headquarters, acting more like telemarketers than statesmen. “If it looks bad from the outside it feels even worse from the inside,” he said.

    He argued that American politics now selects people willing to devote themselves to that soul-crushing task for hours each day. “Comfortable asking total strangers for money” is not, I think, a character trait most Americans admire. Now it’s a prerequisite for running for office — and thus it distorts who actually ends up holding office.

    But Murphy was also a realist about the prospects of small donors fixing what ails the system.

    “We have to admit that everybody who is giving is giving for a reason,” Murphy said. “Some of them are your friends and family and they care about you. But most of the time they care about an issue, whether they’re a corporation or an individual. We draw these arbitrary lines, but corporations want things from the government, and so do individuals.”

    That’s the secret of small money. We tend to assume “small donors” hail from that mythical, much-beloved class of people known as “ordinary Americans.” They’re not. Even if tens of millions of Americans are donating, hundreds of millions of other Americans aren’t. The tiny minority that donates is different from the vast majority that doesn’t: They’re much, much more ideologically polarized.

    What individual donors tend to want, Murphy said, is partisanship. “When I send out a fundraising e-mail talking about how bad Republicans are, I raise three times as much as when I send out an e-mail talking about how good I am. People are motivated to give based on their fear of the other side rather than on their belief in their side.”

    According to, the three top fundraisers in the House of Representatives in the 2012 election were Speaker John Boehner — makes sense, the guy runs the place — followed by former Representative Allen West and Representative Michele Bachmann.


    • rikyrah says:

      I enjoyed this reply

      janinsanfran on May 09, 2013 8:41 PM:

      Hey Ezra — isn’t this just your classic false equivalence column? The partisanship of the Republican small donor is aimed at burning the house down before the black and brown hordes take over. The partisanship of Democrats is closer to asking government to do its job of promoting the general welfare. There’s a difference. And there is something very false in an article that treats these two as having the same implications.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Budget request denied, Sebelius turns to health executives to finance Obamacare

    By Sarah Kliff, Published: May 10, 2013 at 4:12 pmE-mail reporter

    Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.

    Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.

    Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.

    An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.

    But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.

    “To solicit funds from health-care executives to help pay for the implementation of the President’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law.”

    Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens “if you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,” according to Justice Department regulations.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Rand Paul Says Hilary Clinton Should Never Hold High Office Again

    It is no wonder, since Hilary Clinton trounces any of the top three Republican 2016 contenders -including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) – that Rand Paul (and other Republicans) will do anything in their power to pre-empt any Clinton run in 2016.

    Such fear has never before existed in Republican ranks. It is a fear difficult for thinking people to fully grasp; it is the stuff of pants-wetting nightmares. The prospect of two terms by our first black president followed by a term or two by our first woman president – all Democrats – is the stuff of apoplexy. I mean, think heads exploding. Not a cranky old white male in there anywhere.

    Twelve to sixteen years of blacks and women? My God! It’s Sodom and Gomorrah inside the Beltway! There won’t be an America an angry white man could recognize. God won’t even have to waste a tantrum.

    Unfortunately for Rand Paul in particular and the GOP as a whole, which has all along been its own worst enemy, that’s the future many are seeing.

    So Rand Paul, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees, took to the pages of the ever-GOP-friendly Washington Times yesterday to pen an op-ed piece extolling his own virtues and to condemn Clinton’s imagined malfeasance, writing,

    When I took Hillary Rodham Clinton to task in January for the mishandling of security in Benghazi, Libya, I told her that if I had been president at the time, I would have relieved her of her post. Some politicians and pundits took offense at my line of questioning.

    Yes, you’re such a hero Rand. Our loins tingle at the sight of you. The world trembles in awe at your approach.

    The GOP problem – and this is Rand Paul’s problem too – is that the GOP cannot see what the problem is: that as long as they act like they have been acting, they are not going to win the presidency back. Period.

  7. rikyrah says:

    When Pressed Conservatives Can’t Name One Reality Based Example of Obama Tyranny

    Irrationality is cognition, thinking, or acting without adequate use of reason, and includes taking offense or becoming angry about a situation that has not occurred, expressing emotions exaggeratedly, maintaining unrealistic expectations, engaging in irresponsible conduct and falling victim to confidence tricks. People with a mental illness like schizophrenia exhibit irrational paranoia, and America is plagued with an epidemic of paranoia fostered by manipulating a segment of the population who have come to believe they are living in pre-revolutionary war America. Mental illness is often the result of a life-altering traumatic event, and in America, the mass trauma was the election of an African American man as President that instantly transported victims to 1776 when English colonists rebelled against the tyranny of a king.

    It was reported two days ago that a group of lunatics plans to march from the Arlington Cemetery, across the Potomac, and in front of the White House, with loaded rifles slung across their backs on Independence Day to put the government on notice that they “will not be intimidated and cower in submission to tyranny.” The event’s organizer, Adam Kokesh, wrote “We are truly saying in the SUBTLEST way possible that we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees,” and whether or not Kokesh watched too many movies portraying life in revolutionary war America, one wonders why he and his cohort believe they are living on their knees cowering in submission to tyranny. Because the cries of tyranny began within days of President Obama’s Inauguration, it is painfully obvious that to millions of Americans, tyranny is a Black man in the Oval office. In fact, last week Kansas Secretary of State, Kris Kobach, wrote a letter to Attorney General Eric Holder charging that President Obama began violating the Constitution months before he was sworn in office as further proof that the right’s lunatic fringe are disaffected racists and cries of tyranny are cover for rage an African American leads the Executive Branch of government.

    The rest of America gets it; neo-patriots are angry. So angry in fact, that at the same time President Obama gave them a substantial tax cut in the American Recovery and Reinvestment Act (stimulus), they draped themselves in teabags, donned revolutionary war attire, and marched on Washington claiming they were “taxed enough already.” That’s not tyranny; it is irrational outrage that an African American just gave them a tax cut to help the economy the former white president and his party just decimated. Pseudo-patriots also claim their religious liberties are being abridged because the Constitution forbids them from forcing the government to impose their beliefs on the rest of the population, and when this President upholds their “sacred document” according to his oath of office, they cry tyranny and threaten revolution because the Founding Fathers prevented America from becoming a theocracy. That is not tyranny, and the rest of the nation gets it; religious fanatics are angry an African American man is in the White House leading them to wrap themselves in the flag, clutch a bible to their bosom, and grab assault rifles to show “they will not be intimidated and cower in submission to tyranny.”


    The irrationality infecting the Republican party was on display in Missouri this week when Republicans passed a law nullifying all federal gun laws, banned imposition of Islamic Sharia law, and banned the non-binding, voluntary action plan of the United Nations with regard to sustainable development known as Agenda 21. The Missouri Republicans define irrationality in acting on situations that have not occurred, and it is a consistent pattern among Republicans and their supporters who see tyranny in every aspect of government with an African American President, and it is getting old. The rest of America gets it; racists, faux patriots, Republicans, and all manner of conservatives are angry, and psychologists agree that actions and emotions borne of anger never produce beneficial results. However, those crying tyranny loudest are not remotely interested in beneficial results and rabid to transform America into a nation ruled by a loose coalition of theocrats, plutocrats, and irrational gun fanatics.

    It is noteworthy that regardless the cries of tyranny, conservative and libertarian devotees never cite one example that could be construed as President Obama is a tyrant based in reality, and it fits the definition of irrational people easily “falling victim to confidence tricks.” The Koch brothers, ALEC, corporate media, and conservative belief tanks have spent no small amount of time and resources convincing angry Americans that President Obama’s tyranny is robbing them of their freedoms that explains the bizarre statement, “we would rather die on our feet than live on our knees.” However, bizarre or not, the idea of 2,500 angry patriots who whipped themselves into frenzy marching on the White House with loaded weapons over their irrational perception they are living on their knees cannot possibly end well. The organizer said if they are met with “physical resistance” it means they are not welcomed in Washington and they will turn back, but he also said he cannot speak for any individual’s mindset that the march is a peaceful protest. Washington law enforcement and federal park rangers said the protestors are welcomed to peacefully protest in the city, but “If you’re coming here to break the law, we’ll take action.”

  8. rikyrah says:

    Scandal’ has become must-tweet TV
    Critic’s notebook: The ABC drama ‘Scandal’ has become a social-media phenomenon and a test case for TV networks trying to navigate new media.

    By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic

    May 11, 2013, 6:00 a.m.

    ABC’s “Scandal” revolves around a beautiful, law-breaking Washington power-fixer with killer instincts and a matching wardrobe. She’s madly in love with the very flawed president of the United States, who, among other things, recently murdered a Supreme Court justice. And they’re the good guys.

    This is the show that Twitter built.

    Premiering midseason last year to tepid reviews (including mine) and low ratings, “Scandal,” ABC’s drama about crisis manager Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her love affair with President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn), now approaches its second season finale as a bona fide hit — the show’s many and vocal fans call themselves “gladiators” because that is what Olivia calls her team. Some of this success springs from our eternal fascination with the dark side of D.C. and the simple delight many feel about a fast-paced drama starring a strong black female character.

    But the essential ingredient is Shonda Rhimes. The creator of three successful shows, Rhimes has a sorcerer’s ability to combine suspense with sentiment, soap with cynicism.

    More important, the woman can work social media.

    She regularly sends her close to 350,000 followers mash-notes of fan appreciation (“Gladiators: Scandal would not have the opportunity to be on magazine covers without all of you watching. Thank you for making it happen!”), personal professional insight (“Here comes my favorite Olivia Pope line I have ever written ever. #youwantmeearnme”), and perhaps more important, a feeling of direct “I’m Watching With You” connection — “West Coast Gladiators: GET OFF TWITTER NOW! #spoilers #752.”

    Many of the “Scandal” cast have followed Rhimes’ prolific example; it is not uncommon for one or several to tweet photos of them on set, tweeting.,0,741230.story

  9. rikyrah says:

    Review: ‘Peeples’ a refreshing and warm romantic comedy
    Writer-director Tina Gordon Chism makes a winning debut with a smart cast that includes Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington and Melvin Van Peebles.

    By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times

    May 9, 2013, 4:11 p.m.

    Tyler Perry is credited as a producer on “Peeples,” but don’t let that scare you away. Written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, “Peeples” is witty, charming and light, standing apart from the heavy-handed moralizing of so many of Perry’s own movies.

    Its upbeat freshness is also distinctive from the bitter flavor of so many recent Hollywood rom-coms.

    Chism finds new twists in a fairly standard premise: as Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington) is reluctant to introduce her boyfriend to her father. Her beau, Wade (Craig Robinson), is a children’s singer whose most popular song, “Speak It (Don’t Leak It),” encourages kids to use the bathroom. Her father (David Alan Grier) isn’t just judgmental, he actually is a federal judge.

    The bulk of the story is set amid the upscale enclave of the Peeples family’s summer home, creating something of the casual bourgeois feel of a Nancy Meyers movie. S. Epatha Merkerson as Grace’s mother and Tyler James Williams as her teenage brother provide capable comedic support.

    A sub-story involving Grace’s sister (Kali Hawk) and her reluctance to come out to the family is handled in a way that feels pleasantly nonjudgmental on all sides.

    When Melvin Van Peebles walks on as Grandpa Peeples it is funny in many ways, as a pun on his own name, as a tweak of Perry-esque literalism, as well as a tip of the hat to an African American independent filmmaker of an earlier generation. Van Peebles brings the perfect amount of grumpy gravitas as he dresses down Grier’s character in just a few lines.

    Diahann Carroll as the family’s grandmother matriarch is an equally smart piece of casting.

    Washington, long a reliable presence too often asked to do a lot with too little material, has been on a tremendous recent career upswing thanks to TV’s “Scandal” and “Django Unchained.” She handles the female lead here with her typical grace and ease. Robinson, best known for his role on “The Office,” makes for a convincing Everyman.

    And a frisky scene involving an old schoolgirl uniform, knee socks and a ruler encapsulates both the exuberant playfulness of the movie as well as Washington and Robinson’s strong, natural chemistry.,0,2655360.story

  10. rikyrah says:

    Yesterday at 5:12 PM
    How Jason Richwine Passed Immigration Reform

    By Jonathan Chait

    The fallout from the Heritage Foundation’s immigration reform study has developed into a watershed moment for the prospects of passing a bill. The release of the study prompted a fierce backlash from proponents of reform, which compounded when Dylan Matthews reported that Jason Richwine, a co-author of the study, wrote a dissertation arguing, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”

    Heritage has found itself in a public relations crisis, and announced Richwine was leaving the conservative think-tank. Right-wing blogger and anti-anti-racism activist Michelle Malkin called the treatment of Richwine a “crucifixion,” which seems perfectly appropriate. According to Heritage, the crucifixion was entirely voluntary (“he’s decided to resign from his position.”)

    It seems to me that Richwine made a tragic error in his chosen field of study. Both the financial structure of the conservative think-tank world and the unique branding advantages of his last name should have pushed him into the safer field of denouncing the excessive tax burden on the well-to-do, the largest and safest sub-specialty within the conservative and libertarian think-tank and pseudo-think-tank world.

    The practical fallout of the episode will play out in two ways. First, it has demonstrated that the balance of power within the party has shifted. The pro-business, libertarian wing of the GOP has held the whip hand for many years now. But its control always relied on setting the party’s agenda subtly, directing its political capital into anti-tax, anti-regulatory policies, and paying as little attention to social issues as possible.

    Republican elites were hesitant to rile up social conservatives directly and explicitly. When the base revolted against immigration reform in 2007, the GOP elites had no responses but to cover their face and try to absorb the beating. In this instance, though, elites have actually struck back and inflicted real harm on the social conservatives. There will be a fight, but both sides now understand that it will have two sides, not merely endless placating of nativists.

    Second, Richwine’s quote is exactly the sort of political nightmare Republicans hope to put behind them by passing some kind of reform. The party’s dilemma is that immigration represents a nagging, unresolved issue in American politics. Every time it is discussed, conservative Republicans remind Latinos why they hate Republicans. The shrewder Republicans grasp that passing immigration reform is not a sufficient condition for winning a respectable share of the Latino vote, but it is a necessary condition.

    If the Gang of Eight bill fails, Richwine’s comments will continue to linger and recirculate in the Latino-American media until immigration reform finally passes. Republicans will never be able to convince Latinos they killed the bill for any reason other than racial animus. The need to put this behind them is growing desperate.

  11. Ametia says:


    A Butler Well Served by This Election – 2008

    White House Butler Eugene Allen Witnesses Swearing-In (of Barack Obama) – 2009

    Eugene Allen, White House butler for 8 presidents, dies at 90 – 2010

    White House butler Eugene Allen’s humility recalled at funeral – 2010

  12. Ametia says:

    Nancy Pelosi’s on MHP one-one.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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