Thursday Open Thread

Christmas Candles18 Jingle Bells” is one of the best-known and commonly sung winter songs in the world. It was written by James Lord Pierpont (1822–1893) and published under the title “One Horse Open Sleigh” in the autumn of 1857. Even though it is commonly thought of as a Christmas song, it was actually written and sung for Thanksgiving.[1] It was mistakenly branded as a Christmas song because being extremely popular at Thanksgiving, it was sung again around Christmas.

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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85 Responses to Thursday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    LOL Quinn gets free dental work from Huck.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Working on the Mandela Post, Ladies

  3. Breaking News

    Nelson Mandela has died.

  4. Same Old Tired Crap from Scarborough

    Update: I posted this piece in May 2012, but this morning, as I was reading my twitter timeline, I soon realized Scarborough was rehashing his old meme–Pres. Obama was too inexperienced to run for president and too incompetent to be president. I thought if Joe can rehash his BS, so can I.

    Take That, Joe Scarborough

    Joe Scarborough, the former Florida congressman, full-time pundit, and pseudo-journalist, claimed Sen. Marco Rubio isn’t ready to be vice president just like “‘Barack Obama wasn’t ready to be president in 2008, just like Sarah Palin wasn’t ready to be on the national ticket in 2008.'” So Scarborough thinks Rubio, Palin, and President Obama are and were similarly unprepared to be president and vice president. Shall we take a serious look at this comparison.

    Scarborough is right about Sen. Rubio. In fact, he didn’t go far enough. Rubio isn’t just unprepared; he’s the shallow GOP’s pretty pet parrot. Compared to President Obama, Rubio is “Bush” league. Rubio attended Tarkio College, a now closed, bankrupt Missouri college and Santa Fe Community College in Florida. I’m not casting aspersions on community colleges since I was an English instructor at one for 10 years. However, Columbia they are not.

    Rubio’s biography claims he was a football star at Tarkio College in 1989-1990, when the team went 1-8. Seriously, I probably could have been a star on that team. Rubio transferred to Santa Fe Community College and then the University of Florida, where he graduated with a BA. In 1996 he graduated from the University of Miami with his law degree. My google searches failed to produce a single prestigious award he earned from any of his colleges.

    Lawyer by trade but politician by profession, Rubio became a city commissioner and never looked back. Accordingly Rubio’s wealth grew along with his political clout. In 2000, when he was elected to the Florida State House of Representatives, he made over $82,000, and by 2008, when he was elected Speaker of the House (FL), his income was over $399,000. As a United States Senator, he has sponsored 18 bills, which is the fewest bills of any senator. He has missed nearly 7% of senate votes this session, which is below the senate average attendance.

    Shyster by trade and profession, Sarah Palin attended 5 (6 if you count the University of Idaho at Moscow twice) colleges and universities in 5 years. Frankly, I can’t imagine how any of the colleges she attended could possibly have kept up with her grades, much less her credits.

    Again her colleges were not Columbia. She went on to work as a sports reporter for an Anchorage TV station. She eventually won a seat on Wasilla, Alaska city council, a town of 7800 citizens. I would like to point out that I won a seat on the board of education in a town of 25,000, so I’m thinking that I could be …..oh skip it. Anyway, we are painfully aware of the rest of her story. Palin was catapulted onto the national stage in one of the most egregious, self-centered, damaging, not to mention unpatriotic, acts by a politician and his staff ever.

    Palin’s lack of general knowledge about American history, world history, world geography, and global politics was abysmal. She was and still is a divisive figure and should be an embarrassment to every American. Well, except to those who share the same qualities. Oh, and she wrote a book or maybe even two with a ghost writer.

    More at the link posted above.

  5. Folks are lighting up MSNBC’s natural ass on Twitter using the hastag #NewMSNBCshowName

  6. rikyrah says:

    The Defining Challenge of Our Time”: Obamacare’s Role is Leveling the Economic Playing Field
    Wednesday, December 04, 2013 | Posted by Spandan C at 2:20 PM

    In a speech today, President Obama called income inequality combined with reduced economic mobility the defining challenge of our time. He is right. We live in the richest nation the planet has ever known, yet our infant mortality rate is among the highest in the industrialized world. We are country of such plenty that our presidential contenders build out elevators for their cars, and yet every night 16 million children go to bed hungry even as our stock market hovers at 16,000. We live in a country where the same politicians arguing for unlimited campaign spending by the ultra rich balk at paying our workers a fair wage.

    Income inequality is the defining economic challenge of our time. And it’s the biggest reason why we need Obamacare. The income gap among the rich and the poor is, if you will, the economy’s pre-existing condition that needs a cure. One of the most important factors widening that gap – if not the most important factor – was the disparity in health care cost and affordability among the rich and the poor. The old health care system not only resulted in it being by far the biggest cause of personal bankruptcies, a system could not have performed more efficiently were it designed to intentionally keep poor impoverished and enriching the already-wealthy.


    Most importantly, because of Obamacare, tens of millions of Americans will be eligible for tax credits and subsidies to purchase coverage (or be eligible for Medicaid). People in the individual market will be able to pool their purchasing power through exchanges the same way that big businesses do for their employees. No longer will the dream of an entrepreneur be deferred simply because she needs her employer’s plan to pay for her child’s care. No more will an accident or a diagnosis of a chronic illness put whole families on the streets. The number one cause of bankruptcy will become a footnote in history.

    Yes, those benefits are righteous. But those are also perhaps the most important step America can take to break the logjam of our gaping economic inequality and social immobility. Taking the burden of health care off the shoulders of the neediest and holding insurers, employers, and individuals accountable will go a long way towards taking that shackle off our society’s feet. It will free entrepreneurs, increase productivity, and level the playing field.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Confronting the Skulduggery
    by BooMan
    Thu Dec 5th, 2013 at 02:43:04 PM EST

    This is some low down and dirty skulduggery.

    Following our post on California Republicans’ misleading health insurance website, numerous readers reached out to us with examples of how the Assembly Republican Caucus, which created the thing, has been marketing it.
    As we reported, the GOP website,, looks like an effort to steer citizens away from, which is the legitimate enrollment site for California’s individual insurance exchange. (Kudos to the sites and, which glommed on to the GOP stunt on Monday even before we did.)

    As we reported, the GOP site was launched during the summer, but Republican legislators appear to have stepped up their promotion of the site in recent weeks. A good example is this mailing from Assemblyman Jeff Gorell (R-Camarillo), which has been landing in constituents’ mailboxes over the last week or so. Like the website, the mailing purports to be a “resource guide” for Californians. It’s not: It’s merely a promotion for the website.

    The best resource for Californians seeking information about the Affordable Care Act and how it affects them is But that link appears nowhere in Gorell’s mailing, and the exchange itself is mentioned only once, referred to as a “marketplace called Covered California.” Gorell’s staff didn’t respond to our calls for comment.

  8. Ametia says:

    It’s going to more than a few classes to UNLEARN centuries of mysogynistic, chauvanistic, white male privileged behaviors and attitudes

    Republican Staffers And Candidates Are Taking Classes To Learn How Not To Offend Women
    By Annie-Rose Strasser on December 5, 2013 at 9:48 am

    The National Republican Congressional Committee is offering tutorials to staffers of men up for election next year on how not to offend women. Politico reports the sessions are meant specifically to assist Republican men in how to speak on the campaign trail when they are up against Democratic women.

    The classes are surely a response to a gender voting gap that favors Democrats, one that has been bolstered in recent years as male candidates use certain wording and language that offends female constituents.

    During the last election cycle, several male Republican candidates lost popular support after making flippant remarks about women. Senate candidate Todd Akin (R-MO), for example, stirred up controversy by suggesting that victims of “legitimate rape” can’t get pregnant because “the female body has ways to try to shut that whole thing down.” That comment was followed up just weeks later by another Senate candidate, Richard Mourdock, saying that pregnancies resulting from rape are a “gift from god.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Study Finds That Red States Rejecting Medicaid Expansion Will Lose Billions Over Time
    By: Justin Baragona more from Justin Baragona
    Thursday, December, 5th, 2013, 11:35 am

    On Thursday, USA Today ran a story about a study that was done by The Commonwealth Fund. This study was done to see what the benefits are of the expansion of Medicaid, and what effects will be had in the states that have rejected the increased federal funds. The results were somewhat unsurprising, as it showed that overall, states that reject the increased funds will lose money. However, the amount and the impact might be larger and greater than was previously thought.

    Basically, the gist of the Medicaid expansion is that it helps to cover more people under the federal health insurance plan by expanding the criteria. Now, per the criteria under the ACA, those who make 138% or less of the federal poverty level are now eligible for Medicaid. To pay for this expansion, the federal government is using increased taxes to those making over $250,000 a year and other smaller tax increases, like on tanning salons. They then provide 100% of the funds to the states until 2016 and then 90% after that. This means that the states will only ever have to kick in 10% of the additional funds needed to pay for the increase in Medicaid.

    Anyway, the Medicaid expansion was supposed to roll out to all the states. However, when the Supreme Court ruled that the ACA was constitutionally legal, they also ruled that individual states could opt out of the expansion. Suddenly, every state with a Republican governor or majority GOP legislature decided they weren’t going to accept the money. While some Republican governors and red states acquiesced and are now accepting the money, there are still 20 states refusing to participate. The main excuses used are that their states ‘can’t afford it’, even though they wouldn’t pay anything into it for three years and then only 10% after that.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Immigration Reform Babeeeee!!!!

    Its true that President Obama has a lot on his second-term plate right now. But other than getting a budget deal done, the next thing on the checklist is immigration reform. We’re not hearing all that much about this topic lately since the right wing is completely focused on Obamacare and the left wing (except for the real activists) is totally caught up in things like whether or not Elizabeth Warren is going to run in 2016. But getting something done on this issue is not only important for the 11 million undocumented workers in this country right now, it is a real test for how our political challenges will be affected by this country’s changing demographics. In other words, the Republicans can’t afford to lose this one and hope to survive as a party.

    There are some signs that Speaker Boehner is aware of all this and might have a plan in mind. First of all, he recently hired Becky Tallent as his immigration policy director.

    Boehner’s decision to bring Tallent on as a top aide is as encouraging to supporters of reform as it is disappointing to opponents. Mark Krikorian of the hardline Center for Immigration Studies derided Tallent as “McCain’s amnesty captain” on Twitter and warned Boehner was signalling his intention to push for reform.
    But you have to travel the back alleys of wingnutistan in order to get some ideas about what he has in mind. Both Red State and Breibart are reporting that Boehner plans to wait until after filing deadlines have passed for primary challengers to incumbent House members to make a move on immigration reform. They are basing this on what Boehner has supposedly told people behind closed doors.

    …in recent weeks, various Texas business interests have told Quorum Report that Boehner has been telling them that he will start holding immigration votes not long after the filing deadline has passed.
    Who knows whether this is true or not? But it does make some political sense and so I think its possible. We’ve known for a while now that the votes are there in the House to pass immigration reform and the only thing holding it up was Boehner. Perhaps the Speaker is smart enough to figure out that he doesn’t want to go into the 2014 midterms facing a strong Latino backlash due to his failure to move on this issue.

    If so, we’ll be chalking up yet another MAJOR accomplishment to President Obama’s list of reforms. As he said to the Fast for Families folks…”it is not a question of whether immigration reform will pass, but how soon.” Your call, Speaker Boehner.

  11. Ametia says:

    Florida State University quarterback and Heisman Trophy hopeful Jameis Winston will not be charged in a case of alleged rape, the state attorney for Lee County, Florida, said today.

    “We have a duty as prosecutors to only file … charges if we have a reasonable likelihood of a conviction,” State Attorney Willie Meggs said. “We did not feel we could meet that burden.”

    A woman said Winston raped her in December, 2012. But Winston’s attorney said the two had consensual sex.

  12. rikyrah says:

    @TheObamaDiary: Greatest. Ever. Fox. Headline. #WarOnPope #WarOnObama #WarOnAllGoodThings

  13. rikyrah says:

    By RAY FAURE— Dec. 5, 2013 12:58 PM EST

    JOHANNESBURG (AP) — A movie depicting the life of Nelson Mandela has become South Africa’s highest grossing picture after its opening last week, its producers said Thursday.

    The film, “Long Walk to Freedom,” has already earned $427,000 (Rand 4.4 million), according to Videovision Entertainment.

    The movie stars British actor Idris Elba as Mandela, the 95-year-old liberation struggle icon. It’s based on his autobiography with the same title.

    • Ametia says:

      I sincerely hope folks who participated in aparthied see the film. I read the book “The Long Walk to Freedom” decades ago. Can’t wait to see the movie here

  14. Rikyrah & Ametia, where you @?

  15. Xena says:

    Boycotting MSNBC is what White Supremacists want.

    Wish they would clean house and get rid of the entire BGI huckster lineup at MSNBC
    The Conservative Outhouse
    December 4, 2013 at 3:20 pm

    The Conservative O ~ that was a good article, I like FOX & Megan Kelly, it is somewhat of a double standard I guess in some statements but imo, the behavior of Bashir/Baldwin has hurt MSNBC or they would not have taken action. FOX has consistently remained in the # 1 slot in nearly all their shows because America likes what they have to say.

    I like Rush, no doubt he can be over the top but he has NEVER been over the top more than Sharpton/j Jackson. The thing is, Rush is worth $ 370,000.00 at last count, Rush could buy/sell MSNBC over & over, American’s either like him or hate him, he has produced consistently for over 20 yrs. the # 1 talk radio show in his time slot, the advertisers pay a bundle to run their adds during his show, I love to hear him imitate J Jackson.
    art tart
    December 4, 2013 at 6:52 pm

    I would provide the link, but don’t want to promote that blog.

    • America is always going to have white supremacists wanting blacks out of jobs, riding the back of the bus etc. Money trumps racism. The racists didn’t want blacks riding in the front seat of the bus. They resisted the idea fiercely and arrested folks and threw them in jail but the Montgomery Bus Boycott proved they loved money more.

      • Xena says:

        @SG2. We’re coming from two different perspectives. Boycotting buses because of discrimination is a different animal from boycotting a network because a reporter resigned. I liked Keith Olbermann and feel that his resignation was just as controversial as Bashir’s. However, it was by Olbermann’s resignation that a door opened that subsequently led to Politics Nation replacing him.

        This is something that we maybe should agree to disagree.

    • Ametia says:

      I see your point, Xena. It is what they want. they want to silence voices. But at the end of the day, if enough of us rise up and turn them off, they loose advertising, just like Rush did for a while after his Sandra Fluke debacle.

      His show didn’t get cancelled, he just dialed back the hate enough to stay on. But that station lost a ton of ads. The thing is, over time, folks move on and forget, and he ramps up the vileness.

      We can speak out and let these stations know that we know their game. If they want to go the route of FOX news, because that is where the crazies are, they will loose viewership.

      I want our voices to be heard.

      I want the few folks who sit behind those desk to provide us with facts, not fiction. but the media is coporate-owned and it dictates who, what, wheres and hows of these shows.

      They’re nothing but infotainment.

      It really is about the BENJAMINS.

  16. TURN MSNBC OFF! Hit them where it hurts. They have no respect for real journalism. For crying out loud they report what Limbaugh says as news.

    • Ametia says:

      It was very disheartening to watch Rev Al’s Politics Nation yesterday. I thought that was the one show on MSNBC that would provide some respite from the crazy rightwing. But over the past few months, even Rev. Al has been throwing up clips of Limbaugh almost daily. If the purpose is to fight back the crazy, I’m not seeing it.

      All it does is showcase Limbaugh and his crazy, instead of reporting or discussing RELEVANT issues that affect Americans. Limbaughs audience will follow him to the pits of HELL. We already know that. Let FOX air his shit. I don’t care to hear or watch that fat fuck.

      • ALL OF THIS!

      • Ametia says:

        They’ve already started on Rev Al. That’s why they’ve got him reporting on Limpballs, to chase away his black audience. They’ll replace him with some house negro or some cracka ass cracka to appeal to the wingnuts Wait and see.

        • PREACH!!!!

          Rev Al don’t give a fuck about drug addict Rush Limbaugh. It’s his bosses pushing Limbaugh’s racist rants on viewers. MSNBC will soon be coming for Rev Al. They have him there for ratings b/c of the black Potus. But when the black Potus is gone they’ll push the negroes out the door. Now is the time to raise your voice and let it be heard!

  17. I will be boycotting MSNBC! Nothing hurts them more than getting hit in the pocketbook. They understand money. It’s their God.

  18. Ametia says:


  19. Ametia says:

    Mike Smerconish is making the rounds on MSNBC

  20. Ametia says:

    SheDaisy version of Jingle Bells makes me want to take a carriage ride through Central Park.

  21. Ametia says:

    Seems everyone’s jumping on PBO’s and the Pope’s bandwagon now

    December 4, 2013
    Who Belongs to the Lower Middle Class, and Why Does It Matter?
    Posted by Vauhini Vara

    It’s been a good week, rhetorically, for those who care about reducing inequality. Last Tuesday, in his first papal exhortation, Pope Francis bewailed the unequal distribution of global wealth, using language that sounded, at times, quite Marxist: “But until exclusion and inequality in society and between peoples are reversed, it will be impossible to eliminate violence.” On Wednesday, President Obama cited the Pope’s argument in a speech that laid out his economic priorities for the rest of his second term, adding, “But this increasing inequality is most pronounced in our country. And it challenges the very essence of who we are as a people.”

  22. rikyrah says:

    Why Obamacare Could Help the Democrats in 2014
    Michael Tomasky
    By Michael Tomasky
    December 5th 20135:45 am

    followMore Stories by Michael Tomasky

    Here’s a nightmare for John Boehner: Eight or 10 months from now, Republicans’ obsession with getting rid of the health-care law is going to look awfully stupid to a majority of voters.

    If some Republicans are sounding just a little bit desperate right now, I think I know why. “Obamacare is not just a broken website,” House Speaker John Boehner sputtered the other day in retreat as it emerged that the website is now working well. “This bill is fundamentally flawed.” He sure hopes he’s right about that—and by the way, Mister, it’s a law, not a bill. But I bet late at night, when he’s having that last smoke and thinking back over his day, he fears that he’s wrong and that the central Republican…“idea,” if you want to call it that, of the last three years—get rid of Obamacare—is going to look awfully stupid to a majority of Americans eight or 10 months from now.

    If you haven’t gone to just for kicks, I certainly recommend now that you do. Pretend that you’re from a state that didn’t create an exchange, if you aren’t, because if you’re from a state with its own exchange, you’ll just be kicked to the state website, and what you want to test here is the federal one. So just choose a yahoo state that didn’t play ball, where the law was mocked as just so much socialism.

    I just did, for the first time in weeks, an hour before scribbling these sentences. I was amazed. It was lightning fast. Explanations were clear and straightforward. Instead of bureaucratese, I encountered something I didn’t expect at all: plain English!

    And here’s the key thing. It gave me loads of choices. I pretended to be a 35-year-old man from Kansas with a spouse and child. Without even having to enter my fake income, the site delivered me in a split second to a page with loads of plan options.

    Choice. That’s what America’s about. As I heard Sen. Joe Manchin (D-WV) say on Alex Wagner’s show a couple of weeks ago, we’re a nation of shoppers. It’s what we do best. Alas, he is correct. That’s what we want. From TVs to smartphones to flavors of potato chip that have been stretched to include ketchup and dill pickle (who eats those?), we believe that endless options are our right.

    How many options? An amazing 42, to be precise. Forty-two plans! That might be more than the number of available potato-chip flavors in America. I would have to think it will shock people, in a highly positive way, to see they have so many choices. And most of all, it will feel…American. Something that offers a person 42 options ain’t socialism, as Americans know in their bones.

    The plans ranged from $70 a month, which would have covered only me, to $742 a month for the Rolls-Royce family version, with $0 deductible and $6,500 out-of-pocket. It was an astonishing menu. And take it from a guy who just moved house and has been on the phone and online interminably with private-sector service-providers, mostly but hardly limited to the cable/Internet/phone company: This looked easy. The interface was great, really user-friendly, really clear.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Bloomberg News ✔ @BloombergNews
    BREAKING: U.S. initial jobless claims fall 23,000 to 298,000

    7:30 AM – 5 Dec 2013

  24. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2013 1:31 PM
    The Awful Specter of Perry ‘16
    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s been apparent for a good while (certainly after he decided not to run for another term as governor) that Rick Perry’s planning another presidential run. At the Daily Beast today, David Catanese confirms this bad news, and discusses why it may not be the best idea.

    But Catanese and the political hands he quotes seem to have a bit of amnesia about why Perry’s 2012 originally formidable campaign ran aground, emphasizing his debate gaffes—particularly the “oops moment” (when he couldn’t remember the list of federal agencies he was promising to shut down)—to the exclusion of all other factors.

    Actually, Perry’s original “oops moment” was ideological, not stylistic, when he defended his advocacy of a state version of the Dream Act and suggested his critics were lacking in compassion. Mitt Romney ruthlessly exploited this ideological heresy, and partially burst Perry’s balloon before the Texan deflated it entirely with his debate problems. And even the better known “oops moment” was partially ideological: authentic anti-government zealots don’t have any trouble remembering the agencies and programs they want to kill.

    So I can see how Perry might think another run might be successful if he strictly avoids straying from the “true conservative” line this time around. Yes, his own state’s Ted Cruz is an immediate and potentially fatal obstacle, but I can see how he might size up the junior senator as the kind of guy who might self-destruct along the way. And Perry probably figures the intense anti-Washington sentiment in the party and the country will give him a thumb on the scale if the primary-within-the-primary—-the competition for True Conservative Champion—comes down to him versus Cruz and Rand Paul. For that matter, his eagerness to sell out his state to “job creators” might make him preferable even to the union-busting Scott Walker among the ranks of those most focused on destroying regulatory and tax barriers to untrammeled cowboy capitalism.

    Perry’s real ace in the hole is his intense relationship with the Christian Right and its various Texas-based strongholds. So I wouldn’t write him off just yet.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Slowly, the political-media narrative on Obamacare turns
    By Greg Sargent
    December 5 at 9:12 am

    It’s now clear that news organizations are beginning to take seriously the idea that Democrats are not uniformly on the defensive over Obamacare. Stories are beginning to note the nuances in Dem messaging, reporting that Dem candidates are sticking to a “keep and fix” message on the law, and acknowledging that calling for improvements does not constitute running away from it, despite GOP spin to the contrary. Stories are pointing out that the GOP repeal stance could also prove problematic, and that some Republicans are edging away from it.

    With this in mind, here’s Harry Reid, in an interview with a Nevada TV station, making the startling and counter-intuitive claim that the health law could actually be a plus for Democrats in the 2014 elections. Asked about the rollout problems, and whether they would hurt Dems, Reid replied:

    “This is something that America needed. We cannot have health care just for people with money…I think it’s going to be good for them. By that time, there will be a lot of people on it that have already signed up. It’ll be fine…Politics ebbs and flows. This has not been fun, the last month or so. But it’s getting better, even the last few days.”

  26. Xena says:

    Good morning everyone! This is why I will not boycott MSNBC.

  27. Yahtc says:

    From March 2013:

    >Acts of Kindness: Giving the Coat on Your Back to a Complete Stranger

  28. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2013 5:30 PM
    Obamacare As a Culture-War Issue
    By Ed Kilgore

    Salon’s Brian Beutler, who has been covering the war on the Affordable Care Act with great skill, offers some perspective today on parallels between the Right’s Obamacare obsession and earlier culture war crusades:

    [T]he hostility has become so deeply rooted that it now stands on its own, detached from the ideological and partisan antipathies that gave rise to it.

    It has forced conservatives to blind themselves to the law’s positive, unobjectionable qualities, and police those within their ranks who dare to acknowledge them….

    [O]n the battlefields of partisan warfare, this sort of post-principled contempt, combined with the inception of benefits, has turned the fight over Obamacare from a dispute over first principles, into a culture war, in which signaling matters more than tactical victories.

    The repeal campaign — once marked by earnest and sustained efforts to wipe the law off the books — has all but burned itself out. But the law remains a potent political organizing force — a rallying cry Republicans believe they can use to channel the right’s Obamacare obsession into voter turnout.

    An astute friend remarked to me on Tuesday that the GOP’s position on Obamacare is coming to resemble its position on abortion in one key way: loudly, consistently, uniformly opposed, but ultimately not really driven to eliminate it. The backlash they’d face would be brutal, but they might stand to gain by fighting it on the margins and keeping the issue alive.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Economy in U.S. Grows at 3.6% Rate on Bigger Inventory Build
    By Victoria Stilwell – Dec 5, 2013 7:53 AM CT

    The U.S. economy expanded in the third quarter at a faster pace than initially reported, led by the biggest increase in inventories since early 1998. Consumer spending slowed.

    Gross domestic product climbed at a 3.6 percent annualized rate, up from an initial estimate of 2.8 percent and the strongest since the first quarter of 2012, Commerce department figures showed today in Washington. The median forecast of 77 economists surveyed by Bloomberg predicted a 3.1 percent gain.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Insurance Commissioner Compares Pre-Existing Conditions To Car Wrecks: ‘It’s Your Fault’
    By Sy Mukherjee on December 4, 2013 at 3:25 pm

    Georgia Insurance Commissioner Ralph Hudgens (R) has a message for the estimated 57.2 million Americans suffering from diabetes, asthma, cancer, genetic disorders, and other pre-existing medical conditions: it’s your fault.

    The Atlanta Journal-Constitution uncovered video of Hudgens from a November meeting at the CSRA Republican Women’s Club in Evans, Georgia in which he makes the case against the Affordable Care Act’s mandated coverage for Americans with pre-existing medical conditions. In fact, Hudgens compares requiring insurance companies to cover people with pre-existing conditions to requiring auto insurers to pay claims to any reckless drivers without comprehensive auto insurance who crash their cars:

    HUDGENS: I’ve had several companies come in and they have said just the fact — just the fact — that in the individual market pre-existing conditions have to be covered on Jan. 1, that that is going to double the cost of insurance. And if you don’t really understand what covering pre-existing conditions would be like, it would be like in Georgia we have a law that says you have to have insurance on your automobile. You have to have liability insurance. If you’re going to drive on Georgia’s roads, you have to have liability insurance. You don’t have to have collision. You don’t have to have comprehensive…. But you have to have liability.

    But say you’re going along and you have a wreck. And it’s your fault. Well, a pre-existing condition would be you then calling up your insurance agent and saying, ‘I would like to get collision insurance coverage on my car.’ And your insurance agent says, ‘Well, you never had that before. Why would you want it now?’ And you say, ‘Well, I just had a wreck, it was my fault and I want the insurance company to pay to repair my car.’ And that’s the exact same thing on pre-existing insurance.

    Perhaps it isn’t surprising that Gov. Nathan Deal’s (R-GA) administration is advancing the insurance industry’s line on Obamacare. In September, Deal revealed that he had taken over half a million dollars in contributions from the health care industry through a Super PAC whose activities were kept secret until an investigative reporter uncovered corporate donations to the group over the summer. Many of those donations — including $50,000 checks from United Health Care, Inc. and WellCare of Georgia — came from major insurance companies that are opposed to Affordable Care Act’s consumer protections, like the coverage requirement for Americans with pre-existing conditions. Other donors included Humana, Blue Cross, and Aetna.

    Hudgens himself has even deeper ties to insurance companies. In fact, Consumer Watchdog singled him out in a 2011 report on insurance commissioners’ relationships with the industry they regulate. It found that private insurers were Hudgens’ top supporters for his 2010 race, donating just under $150,000 to his campaign.

    Over 20 percent of Americans who applied for insurance in the pre-Obamacare individual market were denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition in the 46 states that didn’t already ban those practices.

    As of press time, Deal’s office had not responded to a request for comment.

  31. rikyrah says:

    December 04, 2013 2:36 PM
    Hardly a Distraction
    By Ed Kilgore
    Plum Line’s Greg Sargent put it all better than I could:

    The speech on inequality that President Obama delivered just now will mostly pass unnoticed by the political world, with Republicans dismissing it as “class warfare” and an effort to distract from Obamacare, and pundits describing it more judiciously as an effort to “pivot” away from the law.

    But experts who see inequality as one of the most urgent moral, political and economic long term challenges facing the country will see it as one of the most important speeches of the Obama presidency – more ambitious than his similar 2011 speech in Kansas.

    “This is a major speech on a topic that American presidents normally stay away from,” Tim Smeeding, an expert on inequality at the University of Wisconsin, tells me, adding that it compares in some ways to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s addresses. “The fact that a sitting president faced with a crowded agenda had the courage to discuss this overarching problem is historic.”

    It’s a symptom of all sorts of political and media dysfunction that a major presidential speech on one of the overriding topics of the day is being treated as a “distraction” or an effort to “change the subject” from obsession over the president’s polling numbers or the likely-to-be-forgotten travails of Inequality and the general decoupling of productivity and GDP growth from income gains and full employment aren’t new, but they have reached crisis levels, and any day’s the right day for the president of the United States to address this tangle of problems. Indeed, you can argue that talking about much of anything else is a bit of a “distraction” from what Obama today called “the defining issue of our time.”

  32. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Warren, Liberals Hit Back Against Third Way After Economic Populist Attack
    Posted: 12/04/2013 1:46 pm EST | Updated: 12/04/2013 3:16 pm EST

    A Monday op-ed by the centrist think tank Third Way railing against economic populism has sparked a liberal counterattack, with Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass.) calling on big banks to disclose their financial contributions to think tanks and progressive groups calling on Rep. Allyson Schwartz (D-Penn.), who is running for governor, to drop her affiliation with the group.

    Without mentioning the group, Warren’s office released a letter Tuesday to six large financial institutions calling on them to voluntarily disclose their donors. The letter came one day after the Wall Street Journal op-ed, written by Third Way’s president Jon Cowan and senior vice president Jim Kessler, urged Democrats not to follow Warren over the “populist cliff.”

    The Progressive Change Campaign Committee, Progressives United and Democracy For America all called on Schwartz Tuesday to resign from her position as honorary co-chair of Third Way. Democratic primary opponent John Hanger echoed the demand. Mark Bergman, a spokesman for Schwartz, said she would not resign but said in an email to The Huffington Post that she thought the op-ed was “outrageous, and strongly disagrees with it.”

    While Third Way, like most think tanks, is organized as a nonprofit and not required to disclose its donors, it has ties to large corporations. The Nation reported Tuesday that the group uses a Washington consulting firm that represents financial institutions such as Deutsche Bank and MasterCard. The liberal blog DailyKos pointed out that many of its trustees are investment bankers.

    “Policies by your institutions to conceal those contributions from public view are wrong. Greater transparency will benefit your shareholders, policymakers, and, ultimately, the public,” wrote Warren in the letter. “Just as there is transparency around your direct efforts to influence policymaking through lobbying, the same transparency should exist for any indirect efforts you make to influence policymaking through financial contributions to think tanks.”

  33. rikyrah says:

    ‘Scandal’ sneak peek: the team meets Olivia’s mom…and secrets come out — EXCLUSIVE
    By Sandra Gonzalez on Dec 3, 2013 at 2:28PM @EWSandraG

    In the last scene of the most recent episode of Scandal, Olivia Pope came face-to-face with her thought-to-be-dead mother for the first time in years. And if the scene left you with your jaw on the floor, just wait till you see this week’s new episode.

    The exclusive sneak peek below gives you an idea of what’s in store. For one, Team OPA will meet Olivia’s mom in this hour, and as you’ll see, things don’t go smoothly. But also, Mama Pope is silent no more, and secrets are coming out.

    • rikyrah says:

      was listening to a Scandal Review on youtube, and the folks made a great observation..

      They believe Mama Pope is this decade’s Irina Derevko ..

      For the non-Alias fans, Irina Derevko was Sydney Bristow’s KGB Mama from Russia…and one bad woman…

      I, too, believe that Mama Pope is on Daddy Goon level if not more. NO WAY he keeps her locked up in Supermax for no reason.

      Olivia really was raised by the Black equivalent of Mr. and Mrs. Smith. …that’s my theory and I’m sticking to it.

      • Ametia says:

        I’ll have what you’re having, Rikyrah. Watched Alias and saw the Mr. & Mrs Smith movie. Mama & Papa Pope got a brand new bag, and it’s loaded to the gill with danger, intrigue… Can’t wait for tonight’s episode.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Dems make their bet: Repeal is a loser
    By Greg Sargent
    December 4 at 4:32 pm

    The Wall Street Journal has a good little piece of reporting here that helps explain why Democrats are not running away from Obamacare in any meaningful sense:

    Democratic leaders have decided that the best course is to show voters they are working to fix the law and to fault Republicans for trying to repeal it.

    This strategy is driven in part by polling that House Democrats conducted over the summer in 68 contested districts. It found that 55% preferred a Democrat who wanted to fix the Affordable Care Act, compared with 40% who wanted a Republican who would repeal it.

    “That’s been a very durable result through thick and thin, and, obviously, we’ve had a lot of thin lately,” said Geoff Garin, the pollster who conducted the survey. “Even with all the problems associated with the rollout, voters very clearly prefer somebody who wants to fix and improve the law over somebody who wants to totally repeal it.”

    Now, obviously, this summer polling was done before the awful rollout. But it’s notable that Dems continue to fashion their strategy around the idea that ”fix and improve” is ultimately superior to repeal, even if this idea is born of necessity — i.e., that the alternative, running from the law, is worse.

    The notion that repeal could actually prove a liability to Republicans is catching on with political observers. As NBC’s First Read crew put it today:

    Republican leaders are no longer talking about repeal, which is now harder to pull off after Americans are purchasing their new health insurance….not a single Republican lawmaker used the word “repeal” on a Sunday show in the last two weeks. That’s not an accident. “Repeal” does not play well with swing voters…it does seem as we’ve entered a new stage in the health-care battle, with Democrats regrouping (and dare we say unified), and with Republicans running out of new attacks

  35. rikyrah says:

    Greg Sargent: Inequality is ‘the defining issue of our time’

    The speech on inequality that President Obama delivered just now will mostly pass unnoticed by the political world, with Republicans dismissing it as “class warfare” and an effort to distract from Obamacare, and pundits describing it more delicately as a ”pivot” away from the law.

    But experts who see inequality as one of the most urgent moral, political and economic long term challenges facing the country will see it as one of the most important speeches of the Obama presidency – more ambitious than his similar 2011 speech in Kansas.

    “This is a major speech on a topic that American presidents normally stay away from,” Tim Smeeding, an expert on inequality at the University of Wisconsin, tells me, adding that it compares in some ways to Franklin Delano Roosevelt’s addresses. “The fact that a sitting president faced with a crowded agenda had the courage to discuss this overarching problem is historic.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Report: Will Smith’s Business Partner Warned Him About Scientology Interfering with Career

    Leave it to Tony Ortega. The intrepid investigator of all things Scientology has gotten an exclusive first interview ever with Jacqueline Olivier. She was the original headmistress of Will Smith and Jada Pinkett Smith’s private school, the New Village Leadership Academy in Calabasas, California. Olivier was fired after the school’s first year and replaced with a Scientologist who was only too happy to teach the kids L. Ron Hubbard’s Study Tech curriculum.

    The school, which closed in June, was all about Scientology. Olivier tells Ortega: “I started finding out that everyone was a Scientologist, and what they were really up to.

    More importantly, Olivier clears up what has long been suspected but never confirmed and sometimes denied by the Smiths.

    On Will Smith: “If he isn’t [a Scientologist] now, at least at that time he was, or seriously considering it. He was so into Study Technology,” Olivier says.

    In 2008, Olivier says, Smith’s business partner James Lassiter warned him about the movie “Hancock”: “Don’t let Scientology get in the way of this movie. Don’t let the school and Scientology get in the way of the bottom line.’ I’m paraphrasing, but that’s the point of what he said,” Olivier says.

  37. Yahtc says:

    Video interview:

    In-Depth: Brad Byrd Talks African American Museum with Founder Sondra Matthews>/blockquote>

  38. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  39. Yahtc says:

    Local Nonprofit Launches Respite Care Center

  40. Yahtc says:

    Wishing all of you a very Good Morning!

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