Thursday Open Thread | Obama’s Immigration Town Hall

Townhall in MiamiWASHINGTON —  President Barack Obama said Wednesday that Republicans can go after his immigration programs in the courts and in Congress, but his confidence will not be shaken.

“In the short term, if Mr. McConnell, the leader of the Senate, and the speaker of the House, John Boehner, want to have a vote over whether what I’m doing is legal or not, they can have that vote,” Obama said at a town hall in Miami hosted by MSNBC and Telemundo’s José Díaz-Balart. “I will veto that vote because I’m absolutely confident it’s the right thing to do.”

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 | Obama’s Immigration Town Hall

  1. Whew lawdy! *Faints*

    Watch Louis Farrakhan defend Nigeria in interview with Mike Wallace.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Pretty Foot @PrettyFootWoman
    Feds can’t charge Darren Wilson because the Supreme Court gutted civil rights law. By @mjs_DC … via @slate
    7:54 PM – 24 Feb 2015

  3. rikyrah says:

    Patricia Arquette’s remarks explain why some black women don’t call themselves feminists
    Too often when a white feminist says “we,” she doesn’t mean women of color.

    By Nyasha Junior February 24

    After Patricia Arquette won the best supporting actress Oscar for her role in “Boyhood,“ she offered this in her acceptance speech: “To every woman who gave birth to every taxpayer and citizen of this nation, we have fought for everybody’s equal rights, it is our time to have wage equality once and for all and equal rights for women in the United States of America.” Meryl Streep and other celebrities in attendance cheered Arquette’s remarks.

    “We” who?

    When white women say “we,” the side-eye from African American women swiftly follows. African American women have had a stormy relationship with the notion of women’s rights. Arquette’s remarks are another reminder of the many reasons why some African American women do not identify themselves as feminists. The link between the term “feminist” and white women’s activism on behalf of other white women is such that some African American women shun the label, though they may be deeply committed to women’s equality.

    Arquette has talked previously about income and gender. In an interview with the Guardian, she spoke out about the wage differential for women in Hollywood and elsewhere. In another interview, she stated that she paid her babysitter and dog walker more than she made in “Boyhood.”

    Equal rights and wage equality. Sounds great!

    But, things took a turn backstage at the Academy Awards press room. After a question about her acceptance speech, Arquette continued:

    “So the truth is, even though we sort of feel like we have equal rights in America, right under the surface there are huge issues that are at play that really do affect women. And it’s time for all the women in America, and all the men that love women and all the gay people and all the people of color that we’ve all fought for to fight for us now!”

    Again, her remarks were met with applause.

    On Monday, Arquette seemed to defend her remarks in a series of tweets that emphasized the importance of wage equality for women of all races.

    Nevertheless, Arquette’s comments are problematic. Arquette mentions four groups: “women,” “all the men that love women,” “gay people,” and “people of color.” It’s clear that Arquette’s notion of “women” refers to straight white women. By segmenting the last two groups in these comments, Arquette excludes queer white women, women of color, and queer women of color. Furthermore, Arquette claims “we” [white women] have fought for these people, and she insists that now these people must fight for “us” [white women].

    Despite Arquette’s claims, historically, white women’s efforts to support greater women’s equality have been directed toward greater equality for white women. For example, Elizabeth Cady Stanton and some other white suffragists supported the right to vote for white women and refused to back the 15th Amendment, which allowed U.S. citizens to vote regardless of “race, color, or previous condition of servitude.” At the Woman Suffrage Parade of 1913, African American women were told to march separately—at the end of the parade.*

    In our contemporary era, Eve Ensler claimed that she understood the struggle of the slain Trayvon Martin due to her experiences as a woman and used his death to publicize her One Billion Rising campaign to end violence against women. The lack of significant response from white feminists after the events of Ferguson, Mo., has been noted by activists. Headlines question if Beyoncé is “really” a feminist.

  4. rikyrah says:

    I can’t wait to see it!

    Holder’s official portrait to be unveiled while he’s still there — it’s been ready for years

    Don’t be surprised if outgoing Attorney General Eric H, Holder Jr. looks a bit youthful in his official portrait to be unveiled late Friday afternoon.

    That’s because Holder, who apparently adheres to the Boy Scout motto “be prepared,” actually began planning for the portrait back in April, 2009, three months after taking over the job. And the portrait — these things run around $40,000 or so — was completed about a year later. (Unclear where it’s been waiting, hopefully not gathering dust, these last few years.)

    This seems a bit unusual, but not unprecedented. At the State Department, for example, portrait unveilings in recent years — for former secretaries Colin Powell, Condoleezza Rice and Madeleine Albright — have occurred between six and eight years after the secretaries have gone. Hillary Clinton hasn’t had her’s hung yet.

    At Justice, however, the time between departure and unveiling is shorter. For example, Holder did the honors for immediate predecessor Michael Mukasey only about nine months after Mukasey left office, and former attorney general Alberto Gonzales unveiled predecessor John Ashcroft’s painting just shy of two years after he left.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives Don’t Have an Obamacare Replacement Because They’re Too Busy Complaining About Obamacare
    A dispatch from CPAC
    By Danny Vinik @dannyvinik

    With the Supreme Court scheduled to hear the Obamacare challenge King vs. Burwell next week, Democrats and Republicans are both trying to influence the Court’s decision. For the left, that means focusing on the millions of people who could lose health insurance if the Court rules that the Affordable Care Act doesn’t provide subsidies in the 36 states on the federal exchange, Just this week, Department of Health and Human Services Director Sylvia Matthews Burwell informed Congress that there was no administrative fix if the plaintiffs succeed. Liberal groups are equally reticent to discuss their strategy.

    Conservatives, on the other hand, are determined to show that a ruling for King wouldn’t throw the U.S. health care system into disarray. Above all, that means proving that Republicans can finally agree on a replacement plan. Not coincidentally, the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in National Harbor, Maryland, included a panel Thursday titled, “The Conservative Replacement to Obamacare.” If anything, though, the panel showed that Republicans have made no progress on coalescing around an Obamacare replacement.

    Moderated by Amy Frederick of the 60 Plus Association, a seniors advocacy organization, the event featured Senator John Barrasso, Representative Marsha Blackburn, and Jim Capretta, a health policy writer from the Ethics and Public Policy Institute. “We continue to hear another lie, that conservatives have no solution to Obamacare,” Frederick said in her opening. “We’re going to put the lies to bed for good.”

    While the participants were supposed to talk about a replacement conservative health plan—at least based on the panel’s title—they spent the majority of the 36-minute event attacking Obamacare. For instance, after Barrasso, Blackburn, and Capretta each gave their opening statements, Frederick began the question round by saying, “Let’s start with a political question for the panel.”

    Wait, wasn’t this supposed to be a policy panel?

    Of the five questions Frederick asked, only one was about policy solutions. The rest were about politics.

    The lone wonk of the group, Capretta handled that lone policy question, noting that conservative health reform legislation has been introduced in both the House and Senate. Regardless of the merits of those bills, though, the challenge for Republicans isn’t simply introducing legislation. It’s actually passing it. The House can take up an Obamacare replacement plan at any time. In fact, former House Majority Leader Eric Cantor promised to do just that in 2014. “This year, we will rally around an alternative to Obamacare and pass it on the floor of the House,” Cantor said 13 months ago.

  6. rikyrah says:

    AIPAC Mobilizing Members To Pressure Democrats To Attend Netanyahu Speech

    WASHINGTON — The American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) is asking its members to urge members of Congress to attend Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu’s controversial speech in Washington next week.

    A message from board member Jeffrey Snyder was sent to AIPAC activists Thursday morning in an email obtained by BuzzFeed News. It calls on them to contact the offices of two Democratic members — Reps. Chris Van Hollen and Gerry Connolly — who have not publicly said whether they will attend Netanyahu’s speech. More than two dozen Democratic members of Congress have said that they will not attend Netanyahu’s planned speech about the Iranian nuclear program to a joint session of Congress next week, an event which has led to a severe upset in relations between the Israeli government and the Obama administration.

    The email, which appears to have been sent to activists in the DC metro area from AIPAC activist Harvey Hanerfeld, says, in all caps: “IT IS IMPERATIVE THAT THE PRO-ISRAEL COMMUNITY COMMUNICATE TO THESE MEMBERS HOW IMPORTANT IT IS FOR THEM TO ATTEND TUESDAY’S SPEECH BY THE PRIME MINISTER.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    Black and brown people are carrying the left on our backs. But *we’re* gonna be sorry? I don’t think so. Get out.
    7:35 PM – 25 Feb 2015

    Imani ABL @AngryBlackLady
    Telling black and brown women we will be sorry when we are the reason we are not ass-deep in a Romney presidency. Get on out of here.
    7:33 PM – 25 Feb 2015

  8. rikyrah says:

    In the 20 years since he founded Entertainment Studios, Allen has become remarkably successful at meeting that demand for content by eschewing the sumptuous production values of shows such as Game of Thrones or Mad Men. Instead, he simplifies scripts, eliminates time-consuming costume and set changes, uses actors who need little rehearsal, and hires cheap, temporary, nonunion crew members. “Give people a month, and they’ll take a month,” Allen says. “Give them a day, and they’ll take a day.” Quality is not lost, he says, but the bar isn’t necessarily high. “We’re not saving lives here. We’re filling time. We’re just looking to make people laugh.”

    Despite his success, Allen has come under fire from former crew members for low wages and the International Cinematographers Guild and the Writers Guild of America, who have filed complaints against Entertainment Studios for unfair business practices. In addition, the businessman has also raised the ire of comedians who have filed two class action lawsuits for various alleged offenses that include the failure to pay residuals, which are payments given to actors for reruns.

    Although he didn’t comment on the cases, Allen makes no apologies.

    “We have a factory mentality. We focus on cost, cost, cost, and driving it down, because we know the more we spend, the higher the rating has to be,” he explained. “I think of us as the Walmart of television.”

  9. rikyrah says:

    Conservatives Try And Fail To Offer New Alternative To Obamacare

    by Kira Lerner Posted on February 26, 2015 at 12:42 pm
    Updated: February 26, 2015 at 2:13 pm

    Days before the Supreme Court will weigh whether to gut the Affordable Care Act, conservatives gathered on Thursday, the first day of the Conservative Political Action Conference, to pitch their ideas for how to replace the law Republicans have unsuccessfully voted to repeal more than 50 times.

    Unfortunately, the lawmakers and policy expert on a panel called “The Conservative Replacement to Obamacare” could offer no new ideas for alternative legislation.

    Sen. John Barrasso (R-WY) and Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) agreed that the president’s healthcare law should be struck down — either by the Supreme Court in King v. Burwell, the suit that claims the federal subsidies in the law are unconstitutional, or by winning the White House in 2016.

    “More and more people are going to be subsidized in a way we think is illegal,” Barrasso said about the lawsuit during the panel. “We want to use this as an opportunity to get the power out of Washington and back to people at the state level.”

    When asked by moderator Amy Frederick, the head of anti-Medicare group 60 Plus Association, for specifics on the “many good ideas out there” to replace the law, the panel didn’t have any new policy ideas to offer. Jim Capretta, a senior fellow with the Ethics and Public Policy Center, pointed to “a couple of very good bills that have been introduced” which he said would provide tax treatment changes, flexibility in the marketplace and movement toward cost reductions.

    But the replacement legislation that has been proposed by Republican lawmakers include the same proposals which have been proven to fail. Any credible alternatives would end up having to embrace parts of Obamacare, including allowing children to stay on their parents’ health care plans and mandating insurers to renew policies.

  10. In Loving Memory

    • eliihass says:

      Isn’t that the truth! But so many think that if change doesn’t happen all at once, and they don’t get everything they want right this moment, then they throw a fit and stay home.. But then the bad guys vote, win, takeover and make all the terrible policy decisions that set us even further backwards..

    • eliihass says:

      Sorry for the dup.. thought the first comment disappeared into the ether and retyped — please delete either one..

  11. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: A Court decision gutting ACA could be a lot worse than you think
    By Greg Sargent February 26 at 9:16 AM
    The potential impact of a Supreme Court decision gutting Obamacare subsidies in three dozen states is often discussed in terms of the millions who could lose health coverage, potentially destabilizing insurance markets across the country. But it turns out that the impact could be considerably more dramatic than that, radiating out to produce untold economic damage, too.

    That’s the conclusion of a must-read from Joshua Green of Bloomberg Businessweek. Green talks to health care policy and industry experts and concludes a ruling against the law could “hurl the political system, and no small part of the economy, into chaos.” Of particular interest is the view offered by Stuart Butler, a longtime fixture in conservative health care wonk circles:

    The result would not just leave millions uncovered but also risk destroying the individual health-care markets in states that don’t act….On the business front, the effects would be no less significant.

    “If the U.S. health-care system were its own economy,” says Butler, “it would be the sixth-largest in the world — larger than Britain’s.” Entire segments of the health system redesigned their business models to take advantage of the ACA’s incentives. Hospitals, for instance, were given a trade-off: They stopped receiving government payments to offset the cost of treating the uninsured, cuts that amount to $269 billion over a decade. In return, they were promised millions of new patients insured through federal subsidies.

    “All the major hospital systems and big insurers like Kaiser and Geisinger spent a ton of money adapting to the ACA,” says Butler. If subsidies vanish, “suddenly the market is misaligned. If you’ve hired all these new doctors and health-care workers to cover all these new people walking in the door, and they don’t come, what do you do? You lay them off.

  12. rikyrah says:

    A dangerous revolt: People are refusing to pay back student loans

    Student debt can be brutally unforgiving for those who don’t pay back the money. Students who default can lose their paychecks, tax refunds, or even a portion of their Social Security. Not paying back debt can also ruin someone’s credit, making it difficult to buy a house, car or get a job.

    This is what makes a “debt strike” announced this week so startling. Fifteen former students of the failing for-profit giant Corinthian Colleges are refusing to repay their federal student loans in a protest designed to pressure the government into forgiving their debt.

    Corinthian, which runs Everest Institute, Wyotech and Heald College, has become the poster child for the worst practices in the for-profit education sector, including high loan defaults and dubious programs. Clouded by allegations of deceptive marketing and lying to the government about its graduation rates, Corinthian lost its access to federal funds last year, forcing the company to sell or close its schools.

    Since then, current and former students of the for-profit schools have called on the Department of Education to wipe away debt they say Corinthian pressured them into taking. Sen. Elizabeth Warren (D-Mass) and other Senate Democrats wrote Education Secretary Arne Duncan in December, urging him to at least discharge some of the loans on the grounds that Corinthian broke the law and “failed to hold up their end of the bargain”–the same argument the protesters are making.

    “Corinthian took advantage of our dreams and targeted us to make a profit,” the so-called Corinthian 15 wrote in a letter to the Education Department. “You let it happen, and now you cash in. We paid dearly for degrees that have led to unemployment or to jobs that don’t pay a living wage. We can’t and won’t pay any longer.”

    Refusing to make student loan payments could come at a huge cost. But it’s a gamble Mallory Heiney, 21, is willing to make.

    “The repercussions are intimidating, but without dissonance there will be no change,” said Heiney, one of the 15 protesters. “People have stood up against things that are so much more terrifying than someone coming in and garnishing my wages or damaging my credit.”

  13. rikyrah says:

    The FCC rules against state limits on city-run Internet
    By Brian Fung February 26 at 11:24 AM

    For years, cities around the country have been trying to build their own, local competitors to Verizon, Charter and other major Internet providers. Such government-run Internet service would be faster and cheaper than private alternatives, they argued. But in roughly 20 states, those efforts have been stymied by state laws.

    Now, the nation’s top telecom regulators want to change that. On Thursday, the Federal Communications Commissions voted 3-2 to override laws preventing Chattanooga, Tenn., and Wilson, N.C. from expanding the high-speed Internet service the cities already offer to some residents.

    The vote could embolden other cities that feel they have been underserved by traditional Internet providers, potentially undermining years of lobbying by the telecommunications industry.

    “It’s good to see the FCC standing up to phone and cable company efforts to legislate away competition and choice,” Free Press, a consumer advocacy group. “By targeting these protectionist state laws, the FCC is siding with dozens of communities seeking to provide essential broadband services where people have few to no other options.

    Last year, Chattanooga and Wilson asked the FCC to intervene on their behalf, citing numerous state restrictions on the expansion of broadband service.

  14. TyrenM says:

    Good Morning 3Chics,
    I’m getting excited. Today our affinity group along with the firms Diversity Committee are having Nekia Levy-Pounds in to discuss AA’s in the criminal justice system, and how corporate attorneys can be part of the solution. Ms Levy-Pounds is the business. Last year she gave a symposium on “The New Jim Crow.” Shut it down. She was arrested for the pre-Christmas protest at the Mall of America.
    I’m greeting her in my “I Can’t Breathe” t-shirt. I’ve received a few silly comments from my colleagues but if the Managing Partner is on board, I’ll deal with the rest. Have a good day all.

    PS. Ametia. Have you met her? I know all 10 of you attorneys here know each other lbvs.

  15. rikyrah says:

    meta @metaquest
    Senate Judiciary Committee votes YES to forward nomination of #LorettaLynch to the full Senate. Now up to McConnell to bring a vote.
    10:44 AM – 26 Feb 2015

  16. rikyrah says:

    Marcia L. Fudge ✔ @RepMarciaFudge
    110 Days: Loretta Lynch has waited longer for a confirmation vote than any AG in modern history. Time to #ConfirmLynch
    8:35 AM – 26 Feb 2015

  17. rikyrah says:

    States are less reliant on federal dollars, but red states still top the list

    By Niraj Chokshi February 25 at 1:45 PM 

    States are becoming a little less reliant on the federal government.

    Federal dollars accounted for 30 percent of state revenues in the 2013 fiscal year, according to a Pew Charitable Trusts analysis released Wednesday. While that level is higher than the average 28.5 percent over the decade leading up to the recession, it’s a decline from a recent peak of 35.5 percent in the 2010 fiscal year. Federal dollars accounted for just over $500 billion of the $1.7 trillion collected by state governments in 2013.

    “The federal share fell for the third straight year in fiscal 2013,” according to Pew. “The decline reflected both the final phaseout of temporary economic stimulus funds from the federal government and the continuing recovery of states’ tax collections, their leading revenue generator.”

  18. rikyrah says:

    Why Walker Is Surging and Bush Is Struggling in Iowa, in One Chart
    By Paul Waldman | Posted February 25, 2015

    A new poll of Iowa Republicans from Quinnipiac has some terrifically good news for flavor-of-the-month Scott Walker, and though I know you’re saying, “Who cares about a poll for an election that’s 11 months away?” this is a good opportunity to remind ourselves of just how unusual Iowa Republicans are. They have a terrible record of picking not just presidential winners but GOP nominees, and when you look at their demographics, you can see why.

    We’ll get to that—and a chart!—in a moment, but first, this poll’s results. Walker has jumped in front of the field with 25 percent, well ahead of Rand Paul at 13 percent, Mike Huckabee and Ben Carson both at 11 percent, and Jeb Bush at a mere 10 percent. Perhaps more notable are the favorability ratings. Walker stands at 57 percent favorable and only 7 percent unfavorable, with 3 percent saying they definitely wouldn’t vote for him. But Bush’s ratings are 41-40 favorable/unfavorable, with 26 percent saying they definitely wouldn’t pick him. Chris Christie fares even worse; his ratings are unfavorable by 30-54, with 26 percent saying they wouldn’t vote for him.

    All of that could change, of course, and probably will in one way or another. Voters don’t yet know very much about Walker. But Iowa is an unusual place. Yesterday, Alec MacGillis made an important point about Walker’s Wisconsin: “Wisconsin is not politically purple because it is full of voters who straddle party lines and swing back and forth from election to election. It is purple because it is divided into two strikingly cohesive and fiercely energized camps.” Something similar is true of Iowa, another “swing” state. Iowa Democrats are extremely liberal; it was a hotbed of opposition to the Iraq War, and they sent Tom Harkin to Washington for 40 years.

    Iowa’s Republicans, on the other hand, are extremely conservative and religious, which is why the caucuses are so friendly to candidates who appeal to that portion of the Republican electorate. Since 1980, there have been six contested GOP caucuses in Iowa; the eventual nominee won only twice, in 1996 and 2000. Candidates who focused on the evangelical vote have always found friendly territory there, either winning outright like Rick Santorum in 2012 and Mike Huckabee in 2008, or doing surprisingly well, like Pat Buchanan in 1996 and Pat Robertson in 1988.

    Walker could win over these voters—he’s an evangelical himself, and the son of a Baptist minister—or Huckabee could hold the voters he won eight years ago. Right now we have no way to know. But understanding the Iowa caucus requires an acknowledgment of how different the Republican caucus-goers are. Which brings us to the chart, which I’ve made using entrance poll data from the 2012 caucuses and exit poll data from the 2012 general election:

  19. rikyrah says:

    Morning Plum: Poor John Boehner is helpless in face of conservative rage
    By Greg Sargent February 25 at 9:22 AM 

    Later this morning, House Republicans will meet behind closed doors to decide whether to continue hurtling towards a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security. They will discuss Mitch McConnell’s plan to hold two votes — one on funding DHS cleanly, and the other on rolling back President Obama’s executive deportation relief — and House conservatives will insist that GOP leaders must not decouple the two, because that would surrender DHS funding leverage as a tool to block Obama’s lawlessness.

    We will then be told that John Boehner just can’t get clean DHS funding through the House. He just can’t do it! It would get conservatives very, very angry! Boehner doesn’t dare pass clean funding with the help of a lot of Democrats, because it would put his Speakership at risk! He can’t do anything. He’s helpless!

    But we’ve seen this particular thriller a number of times already. Here’s how it always goes: We are told there’s no way Boehner would ever dare move must-pass legislation with a lot of Democrats. He’s stuck! Then pressure builds and builds, and Boehner does end up passing something with a lot of Democrats. Last I checked, he’s still Speaker.

    • Ametia says:

      It’s against the law to discriminate against wearing a hijab here in MN.

      It’s called FREEDOM of RELGION

      Walmart hires Muslims here and they wear them! THE END!

  20. rikyrah says:

    Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery
    Heartbroken by the news of Dori Maynard’s death. A fierce, unrepentant advocate for media diversity. An amazing woman
    7:32 AM – 25 Feb 2015

    • rikyrah says:

      Wesley Lowery ✔@WesleyLowery

      Dori’s genius was she understood that actions have consequences. Years of inaccurate & biased media coverage of minorities has consequences

      Wesley Lowery ✔ @WesleyLowery
      Media diversity isn’t some progressive ideal, feel good idea. It’s journalistic imperative for anyone who takes fairness/accuracy seriously
      7:48 AM – 25 Feb 2015

  21. rikyrah says:

    High times in the nation’s capital
    02/26/15 08:00 AM—UPDATED 02/26/15 09:01 AM
    By Steve Benen

    When voters in Alaska, Colorado, and the state of Washington voted to legalize marijuana, state laws honored the will of the public. When voters in our nation’s capital did the same thing, the Republican-led Congress intervened, things got a little complicated.

    Technically, as of early this morning that marijuana possession became legal in Washington, D.C. But GOP lawmakers, specifically in the U.S. House, have not-so-subtly urged local officials not to proceed with the city’s plans.
    “I think the attorney general should prosecute people in the District who participate in this under the Anti-Deficiency Act,” said Rep. Andy Harris (R-Md.), who introduced the appropriations amendment intended to block the city from moving forward with the marijuana legalization measure passed by voters in November.

    The federal Anti-Deficiency Act imposes criminal penalties on government employees who knowingly spend public funds in excess of their appropriated budgets.
    The Washington Post report added that House Oversight Committee Chairman Jason Chaffetz (R-Utah) sent D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser (D) a rather aggressive letter this week, warning of legal repercussions.

  22. rikyrah says:

    The ‘trust and confidence of our friends’
    02/25/15 05:10 PM—UPDATED 02/25/15 05:11 PM
    By Steve Benen

    Former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush’s (R) big foreign policy speech didn’t go quite as well as he’d hoped last week, but his campaign team has nevertheless packaged excerpts from the event into a new 30-second ad. There’s nothing especially remarkable about the commercial, though it included a claim that stood out for me.
    “Everywhere you look, you see the world slipping out of control,” Bush begins. “We have lost the trust and confidence of our friends. We definitely know no longer inspire fear in our enemies.”
    This comes on the heels of Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker (R) having a chat last week with Donald Trump about and “how poorly” the United States is “perceived throughout the world.”

    And just last year, it was Mitt Romney who argued, “It is hard to name even a single country that has more respect and admiration for America today than when President Obama took office.”

    It seems to be one of those myths that’s simply accepted as fact: the United States enjoyed global respect and admiration, right up until that rascally Obama took office and ruined everything. Now, as Jeb Bush put it, we’ve “lost the trust and confidence of our friends.”

    If this were in any way true, the president’s critics might have a point, but the evidence points in the exact opposite direction.

    As long time readers may recall, Harry Enten took a closer look at the data a while back and found the entire argument doesn’t stand up well to scrutiny.

  23. rikyrah says:

    A battle to watch: Which 2016 GOP candidate is most gung-ho for war?

    By Paul Waldman February 25 at 12:49 PM 

    Republican voters are hearing the war drums, and are beginning to nod their heads in time to the rhythm. That’s the conclusion one can come to reading this new poll from the Pew Research Center, which notes, among other things, an increasing eagerness among Republican voters to use ground troops in Iraq and Syria.

    We are now likely to enter a cycle in which more hawkish voters lead the GOP candidates to become more hawkish in order to appeal to them, which will in turn encourage the voters to become even more hawkish because they’ll be taking their cues from the things they hear from their party leaders, and around the cycle will go.

    Four months ago, 57 percent of Republicans thought we should use ground troops to fight ISIS in Iraq and Syria; that number has now gone up to 67 percent. Among the conservative Republicans who will dominate the primary contests, it’s even higher, at 71 percent. When Pew asked respondents to choose between “using overwhelming military force is the best way to defeat terrorism around the world” and “relying too much on military force to defeat terrorism creates hatred that leads to more terrorism,” last October 57 percent of Republicans chose the overwhelming military force option; that number is now 74 percent.

  24. rikyrah says:

    Chicago Progressives to Rahm: Get Lost
    Mayor Rahm Emanuel felt the wrath of the liberal base on Tuesday—and progressives warn it’s only the beginning.
    A newly confident progressive movement delivered a body blow to Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel on Tuesday night—and is now gearing up for another knockout punch to what it derisively calls the Corporate Wing of the Democratic Party.

    This defeat was one for the record books.

    Emanuel became the first incumbent mayor on Tuesday to fail to get 50 percent of the primary vote since Chicago adopted nonpartisan elections in 1983.

    The hard-charging former congressman and chief of staff in the Obama White House angered many liberal Chicagoans, especially minorities and members of labor unions, by embarking on an aggressive education reform agenda that included the closing of 50 schools. Emanuel, who cruised to victory in 2011 by 30 percentage points, has also been knocked for implementing red light cameras, which some Chicagoans say disproportionately target minorities, and for focusing on bringing business downtown at the expense of neighborhoods.

    Chicago teachers union head Karen Lewis described the move as favoring his “hedge fund homies” over the rest of the city.

    Rahm Emanuel is in a runoff,” said Delmarie Cobb, a longtime Chicago progressive political consultant.Rahm defeated Jesus “Chuy” Garcia, a Cook County Commissioner 45-34—that’s five points short of what the polls showed he had just a few days ago.

    “This is the happiest day of my life—Rahm Emanuel is in a runoff,” said Delmarie Cobb, a longtime Chicago progressive political consultant. “He is everything the city cannot continue to have in terms of its survival. The African American is holding on by a thread from decades of benign neglect. It didn’t start with him. But he exacerbated it.”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Watch Wisconsin GOP lawmakers walk out to escape public outcry against ‘right-to-work’ bill
    Arturo Garcia
    25 Feb 2015 at 23:05 ET

    Critics are accusing Wisconsin Republican lawmakers of trumping up an excuse to cut short public comments opposing a “right to work” bill supported by Gov. Scott Walker (R), WBAY-TV reported.

    GOP members of the state Senate Labor Committee cut short a hearing on the measure, Senate Bill 44, while approving it in a 3-1 vote. The bill subsequently passed in the Senate on Wednesday and is expected to be passed in the Republican-dominated state Assembly next week. Walker, a prospective Republican presidential candidate, has said that he will sign it into law.

    Footage posted online shows the legislators leaving their chamber under police escort 40 minutes early while protesters chanted, “Let us speak,” booed them and called them cowards. Committee members cited a “credible threat” to their safety as the reason for ending the meeting early.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    A Question Of Faith

    Posted by Zandar

    When Byron York of the DC Examiner asks why Americans seems to be so confused and mentions the fact that less than half of Americans believe President Obama is a Christian, you’d better start looking for the catch. (Hint: it’s at the end.)

    In the more than four years since that column was published, it’s likely at least some confusion about Obama’s religion has persisted. For one thing, few people see Obama openly practicing any religious faith. After the president did not attend church on Christmas 2013, the New York Times, citing unofficial White House historian Mark Knoller, noted that Obama had attended church 18 times in nearly five years in the White House, while George W. Bush attended 120 times in eight years. Yes, there are a variety of reasons some presidents don’t go to church very often, but in Obama’s case, absence does nothing to change existing public perceptions of him.

    And there are other factors. For example, it would not be a stretch to guess that those Americans who told Gallup and Pew that they did not know the president’s faith would remain unsure after hearing reports that at the recent National Prayer Breakfast, Obama explained Islamic State violence by urging listeners to “remember that during the Crusades and the Inquisition, people committed terrible deeds in the name of Christ.” Again, many people don’t pay close attention to the news, and snippets of reports on Obama’s faith, like his remarks at the Prayer Breakfast, could yield a confused picture.

    Some would argue that, while yes, many in the public don’t know the president’s religion, certainly Scott Walker, the governor of a state, should know. But Walker’s answer to the reporters’ question just reflects a broader public puzzlement over Barack Obama’s faith — a phenomenon that he helped perpetuate and, at this late date in his presidency, seems unlikely to go away.

    “Gosh, of course less than half of America thinks Obama is Christian. He’s terrible at it.” And so the racist, bigoted assholes like York keep concern trolling the President that he’s not Christian enough, and absolve the “He’s a seekrit Mooslem” nonsense all in the same breath.

    And of course, York’s bigotry is all Obama’s fault. It always is.

  27. rikyrah says:

    This is why there is no cure for cancer. Too much money in it


    Cancer Drug Once Bought for $7 Million May Now Fetch $18 Billion

    Bloomberg) — An overlooked drug bought by a biotech company for a mere $6.6 million a decade ago could become one of the biggest selling cancer treatments ever.

    Those high expectations have its maker, Pharmacyclics Inc., considering selling itself in a deal that could be worth as much as $18 billion.

    The Sunnyvale, California-based company has attracted interest from companies including Johnson & Johnson and Novartis AG, Bloomberg reported Wednesday. Cancer is one of the most lucrative areas of drug development, and Imbruvica is an easy-to-use pill that costs around $100,000 a year, avoids certain serious side effects of chemotherapy, and patients can stay on it for long periods of time.

    The drug has also made a billionaire of Chief Executive Officer Robert W. Duggan. Duggan owns 13.5 million shares, or 18 percent, of Pharmacyclics. The stock constitutes the bulk of his $3.2 billion net worth, according to the Bloomberg Billionaires Index. He amassed most of the shares at a cost of $42 million between 2004 and 2011, when he used his holdings to take a board seat and eventually control of the company.

    • eliihass says:

      That’s right…Greed stems all progress because once a known cure is made public and available, the big bucks stop flooding in. No more endowments or people bequeathing huge sums in death..

  28. rikyrah says:

    Pope Frankie strikes again:

    The Pope’s Vatican Cleanup Is Sending the Clergy to Management School

    Bloomberg) — Father Massimo Cavallo jumped at the chance to go back to school after struggling with maintenance work, suppliers and taxes as the manager of a Catholic students’dormitory in Rome.

    The 34-year-old is one of 26 attendees of a pastoral management course inaugurated on Feb. 16 at the Pontifical Lateran University for those who manage financial and human resources in parishes, dioceses and other organizations affiliated with the Catholic Church. The 15-month course covers topics such as strategic communication, business ethics and creative problem-solving.

    The effort is in line with the Holy See’s attempt to close a budget shortfall and comes as Italy strives to emerge from the longest recession since World War II. Pope Francis is also trying to boost efficiency and clean up finances after scandals involving the Vatican Bank and the Holy See’s administrative body APSA, which manages real estate and financial holdings of the world’s smallest state.

    “Making ends meet is not easy,” Cavallo said in an interview outside his office filled with stacks of theology books, pictures of him shaking hands with Pope Francis and his two predecessors, a desktop PC and a calculator.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, February 24, 2015

    Shutdown Countdown: DHS Edition

    Posted by Zandar

    With days left before 85% of Department of Homeland Security employees will have to start reporting to work without pay (because that will make them really want to protect America) Republicans finally have a plan for moving forward by caving on immigration, but a GOP partial shutdown is looking all but assured as there’s no way the House will play ball.

    Congress approved a full year’s funding for the rest of the federal government in December, but Republicans held back funding for DHS in reaction to Obama’s immigration actions, giving the agency budget authority only through midnight Feb. 27.

    Now, with four days before the security agency’s budget lapses, senior Republicans are pushing for a new strategy that does not directly link Obama’s actions on immigration to funding for DHS. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who had previously acknowledged that the chamber was in stalemate over the issue, set up votes later this week on separate legislation that would repeal one of Obama’s immigration actions.

    Those actions, announced in December, would grant temporary relief from deportation to more than 4 million illegal immigrants. McConnell’s hope is that moving the immigration issue onto a separate bill may create a path for the DHS funding bill to go through.

    “It’s another way to get the Senate unstuck,” McConnell said.

    But getting a clean bill past the House once again comes down to Boehner selling it to a base that wants to obliterate Democrats from the country.

    Outside conservative groups, including Heritage Action, have been pushing Republicans not to not approve a “clean” funding plan, demanding that any DHS budget include the immigration provisions that would reverse Obama’s actions.

    House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has sided with Heritage Action and other conservatives, even after the judge’s ruling last week that could tie up the issue for many months in the courts.

    “The House has passed a bill to fund the Homeland Security Department, but Senate Democrats are blocking debate on it — and, with just days left before the deadline, President Obama is doing nothing to help,” Michael Steel, Boehner’s spokesman, said Monday in a statement.

    So even if a clean bill passes the Senate, it’s not passing the House. And time is running out.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Black Actors Are in Demand: Aunjanue Ellis Books Female Lead Role in ABC’s FBI Drama-Thriller ‘Quantico’

    By Tambay A. Obenson | Shadow and Act
    February 25, 2015 at 10:23AM

    It’s not something I typically say, but, duuuuuude… it’s a gold rush! A black gold rush, specifically, as TV networks continue to mine the fertile land where black actors have been seemingly buried for years, with one casting announcement after another of black actors in lead roles, during this pilot season. Of course each of these pilots has yet to be ordered to series, so, when the fall TV season begins, many of them likely won’t be in any TV network’s lineup, especially since, on average, going back to the 2009 season, about 100 pilots are produced each year, with roughly 35% of them actually getting picked up.

    But, thus far, there are far more pilot castings of black actors in lead roles this year, than there were at the time last year (hard data coming soon).

    Here’s the latest… fresh off a critically-acclaimed starring performance in BET’s “The Book of Negroes” miniseries, Aunjanue Ellis has been cast as the female lead in ABC’s drama-thriller “Quantico,” which hails from Josh Safran, The Hollywood Reporter says.

    “Quantico” centers on a group of young FBI recruits, who battle their way through training at the Quantico base in Virginia. As the show intercuts between their hidden pasts and their present training, it also flashes forward to the near future, where one of the recruits will turn out to be a sleeper terrorist responsible for the most devastating terrorist attack on U.S. soil since 9/11.

    Ellis will star in the series, playing a character named Miranda, who is described as “an extremely professional and tough woman who is the director of Quantico and oversees the training of a 
new group of recruits. Honest to the point of being harsh at 
times, Miranda never allows her emotions to cloud her judgment, and is able to make difficult decisions — despite dealing with pressures at home. The character has fought hard to become the highest-ranking woman in the FBI, but there’s only so far she’s been able to go and that fuels her to push even further.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    GOP lost as Homeland Security deadline looms
    02/25/15 12:58 PM
    By Steve Benen

    It’s tempting to think that Republican lawmakers, eager to avoid a Homeland Security shutdown later this week, are quietly scrambling behind the scenes. Sure, it looks like they’re doing no work whatsoever – they even took last week off – but perhaps that’s just the public view. Out of sight, GOP leaders may be working towards a resolution before the deadline.

    Or maybe not.
    Speaker John Boehner told a closed meeting of House Republicans Wednesday morning he has not spoken to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) in two weeks, and added that it’s up to the upper chamber to figure out how to avoid a shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security.

    His comments came in a Wednesday morning meeting of House Republicans, just three days before DHS is slated to run out of money.
    A veteran Republican senator told Politico yesterday, “It seems like McConnell and Boehner aren’t even talking to each other. It is mind-boggling.”

    As it turns out, it doesn’t just “seem” that way; it is that way..

    It’s quite an operation the Republican majority is running, isn’t it? McConnell and Boehner are careening towards an easily avoided ditch, but they’re not even speaking to each other about their direction.

  32. Ametia says:

    uh uh uh. I wonder what became of the dance who pulled that cape.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, February 25, 2015
    Last Call For The Religion Test

    Posted by Zandar

    Here’s what Americans think about President Obama’s religion, “deep down”:

    Only 9% of Republicans believe Obama is a Christian, in their heart of hearts. The vast majority think he’s Muslim.

    Independent voters mostly have no clue and don’t know (47%), abut again only 16% believe it when the President says he’s a Christian, a quarter think he’s Muslim.

    Hell, even 10% of Dems believe Obama is a Muslim. But 45% believe he is a Christian.

    Now given what most Republican believe about Muslims: that they are the Enemy and want to kill them, what does that tell you about Republicans and President Obama?

  34. rikyrah says:

    Bobbi Kristina Brown Suffers ‘Violent Seizures’ After Being Taken Out of Coma

    By Steve Helling and Melody Chiu

    updated02/26/2015 AT 08:35 AM EST

    Bobbi Kristina Brown was taken out of a medically induced coma, but she did not have the response her family had been praying for.

    “She was taken off the drugs, but she began having violent seizures,” a family source says. “She is being put back into a coma.”

    The daughter of Bobby Brown and Whitney Houston has been kept in a medically induced coma since Jan. 31 after being found unresponsive in her bathtub.

    “Bobby is beside himself,” adds the source of this latest development.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

  36. Ametia says:

    Good Morning, Everyone. :-)

    Wow, PBO practically had to play “School House Rock” for José Díaz-Balart.

    American High School Civics classes have made like Casper, and disappeared.

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