July 5, 2013 at 8:58 am #92195
Fourth of July at the White House.
President Obama speaks to military families celebrating Independence Day on the South Lawn of the White House. July 4, 2013.
President Obama commemorates our nation’s Independence Day, and recognizes the generations of Americans— from farmers to teachers to entrepreneurs—who worked together to make the United States what it is today.
TGIF and Good Morning.
As you go through your day, don’t forget JJP at TWIB.
Drop those links. Engage in debate. Give us trivia and gossip too.
And always, have a peaceful day.July 5, 2013 at 9:01 am #92196
Good Morning, EveryoneJuly 5, 2013 at 9:02 am #92197
BREAKING: June nonfarm payrolls up 195,000. Unemployment rate remains at 7.6%. #jobsJuly 5, 2013 at 9:04 am #92198
The right’s desperate search for more white voters
By Steve Benen
Wed Jul 3, 2013 3:04 PM EDT
Fox News’ Brit Hume has heard all the arguments about the Republican Party needing a more diverse voting base, but he’s not buying it. This on-air commentary aired the other day:
Rejecting the argument that the Hispanic vote is necessary to the party’s electoral fortunes, Hume called it “baloney,” adding, “If you look at the statistics, you find there was one significant bloc of voters who turned out in smaller numbers this time in a major way — way below expectations, below even their ’08 turnout — and that was white voters.” He added that the Hispanic vote “is not nearly as important, still, as the white vote.”
And why is that it interesting? In part because Hume said the exact opposite soon after the 2012 elections. As MSNBC’s Benjy Sarlin explained this week, on election night, Hume called the “demographic” threat posed by Latino voters “absolutely real” and suggested Mitt Romney’s “hardline position on immigration” may be to blame for election losses.
Hume apparently now thinks Hume’s argument is “baloney.”
But the larger point is that the Fox News anchor isn’t the only one making this shift. Shortly after the election, Fox’s Sean Hannity was on board with reform to improve the GOP’s fortunes, and he’s since moved to the right. More to the point, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said in January he wants a “comprehensive” immigration bill and then said last month, “There’s this narrative being written in the press and by Democrats and, quite frankly by some Republicans, that I am pushing a comprehensive immigration bill, and that’s just not true.”
And what’s driving these moves is the growing sentiment in conservative circles that if the Republican Party can only improve its performance among white people — getting 70% of the vote instead of 60% — then its demographic death spiral isn’t too big a deal after all. It’s a thesis Real Clear Politics’ Sean Trende has touted for months, which has grown considerably in recent months as Republican opposition to immigration reform has grown.
Now, Byron York, Rush Limbaugh, Michele Bachmann, and Phyllis Schlafly are all making roughly the same argument: Latinos have become part of the Democratic coalition, so the smart move for the GOP is to stop going after them and start boosting white support (beyond where it already is).
“Their idea seems to be gaining currency,” Frank Sharry, executive director of immigration advocacy group America’s Voice, told MSNBC. “Right after the election most of the conservative commentariat said they had to do something to get right with Latino voters. Now there seems to be this bizarre conversation that could only happen in the conservative bubble about how Romney didn’t win because he didn’t mobilize enough white voters.”
Sarlin and Mark Murray have pieces that dig deep into the data, and they’re well worth your time, but I’d just add one related thought: it’s not at all clear how Republicans can boost their performance among white voters so significantly without creating a significant and polarizing backlash that puts them in an even worse electoral position than they’re in now.
That said, the argument Hume presented appears to be gaining traction. As Paul Waldman noted, the GOP “might just stick with this ‘party of white people’ thing” and see what happens.July 5, 2013 at 9:15 am #92199
Liveblogging of the George Zimmerman trial here:July 5, 2013 at 9:57 am #92200
Trayvon Martin’s mother, Sybrina Fulton, takes the stand Friday July 5th 2013July 5, 2013 at 10:02 am #92201
Dealing With Guilt: Iyanla Vanzant On Coping With The Difficult Emotion (VIDEO)
By OWN Posted: 07/01/2013 11:46 am EDT | Updated: 07/03/2013 10:12 am EDT
Accomplished author and inspirational speaker Iyanla Vanzant has counseled many people over the years — from gospel singers struggling with their weight to couples in dysfunctional marriages — and has become well-versed in the subject of guilt. It’s a tricky and powerful emotion, but Iyanla says that we’re not powerless against it.
In an episode of “Oprah’s Lifeclass,” Iyanla dismisses guilt as something totally useless. “Guilt is a wasted emotion,” she says bluntly.
“That’s what I say!” Oprah agrees.
The first part in the key to overcoming guilty feelings is to understand its root causes — what really triggers guilt? At the root of these guilty feelings, Iyanla explains, are actually three universal triggers. The first reason reason people feel guilty: You knew better, but you did something anyway. “That will then eat [you] up,” Iyanla says.
The second reason: You caused hurt, harm or injury to someone else.
“Shouldn’t you feel guilty about that?” Oprah asks.
No, says Iyanla. You may instinctively feel guilty for causing pain, but this doesn’t help the person you’ve wronged. “What does guilt serve?” she asks. “It doesn’t serve anything other than the ego.”
Armed with the knowledge of what triggers guilt, you can then overcome it by doing one conscious thing — substitute it with something active that can help you move on.
Iyanla explains, “It could be self-forgiveness, it could be asking for forgiveness [of someone else], it could be making amends and it could just be slapping yourself upside the head because you’ve just been wasting time and energy!”July 5, 2013 at 10:04 am #92202
Chris Christie Threatened To Drop ‘F-Bomb’ During 2012 GOP Convention Speech
by Andrew Kirell | 1:00 pm, July 3rd, 2013
…W]hen organizers told Christie that they were scrapping a
three-minute introduction video before his speech due to time
constraints, the governor insisted they reconsider. When they pushed
back, according to Balz, Christie told a member of the production team
“to ask the director if he had ever heard anyone say ‘f***’ on live
television, because that’s what he was about to do if the video didn’t
After another sharp exchange, Christie said he wouldn’t deliver the
speech if the video didn’t run. Romney’s convention team leader, Russ
Schriefer, intervened, instructing the director to play the video.July 5, 2013 at 10:14 am #92204
Diagnosis: Insufficient Outrage
By H. GILBERT WELCH
Published: July 4, 2013
HANOVER, N.H. — RECENT revelations should lead those of us involved in America’s health care system to ask a hard question about our business: At what point does it become a crime?
I’m not talking about a violation of federal or state statutes, like Medicare or Medicaid fraud, although crime in that sense definitely exists. I’m talking instead about the violation of an ethical standard, of the very “calling” of medicine.
Medical care is intended to help people, not enrich providers. But the way prices are rising, it’s beginning to look less like help than like highway robbery. And the providers — hospitals, doctors, universities, pharmaceutical companies and device manufactures — are the ones benefiting.
A number of publications — including this one — have recently published big reports on the exorbitant cost of American health care. In March, Time magazine ran acover story exposing outrageous hospital prices, from $108 for a tube of bacitracin — the ointment my mother put on the scrapes I got as a kid and that costs $5 at CVS — to $21,000 for a three-hour emergency room evaluation for chest pain caused by indigestion.
Of course, Medicare will have none of this — it sets its own prices. And private insurers negotiate discounts. So no one is actually charged these amounts.
Check that. The uninsured are. They are largely young and employed (albeit poorly) and have little education. So the biggest medical bills go to those least able to pay.
At what point does it become a crime?July 5, 2013 at 10:49 am #92207
A Tale of Two Best Friends
Aura Bogado on July 3, 2013 – 11:45 AM ET
The media berated Rachel Jeantel last week throughout her testimony during George Zimmerman’s trial for the murder of 17-year-old Trayvon Martin. So much so that other media took to defending Jeantel—who spent much of her day on the phone with Martin, whom she had first met in second grade, the day he was killed. That kind vitriol and subsequent support were absent, however, during yesterday’s testimony, when Zimmerman’s best friend, Mark Osterman, took the stand. That distinction speaks to the way that race remains a central theme in this murder
No one denies that Jeantel does, in fact, have a drawl—one that could easily be confused with Paula Deen’s or even Mississippi Governor Haley Barbour’s drawls, which never drew public condemnation. In fact, in the mouths of white people, those southern accents are charming, and can even help fuel careers. Zimmerman defense attorney Don West (whose daughter, let’s not forget, posted a despicable photo on Instagram) repeatedly questioned Jeantel’s literacy on the stand. Despite the fact that Jeantel is trilingual, the court and the public—which is largely, and sadly, monolingual—displayed an obsession with determining the degree to which Jeantel can read cursive. Jeantel is indeed literate—but the question has nothing to do with her credibility as a witness in the first place. The attacks against Jeantel reflect an almost subconscious appetite for black destruction.
Meanwhile Mark Osterman, who described George Zimmerman as “the best friend [he] ever had,” was never questioned about his literacy. Perhaps that’s because he penned a book with his wife, titled Defending our Friend; the Most Hated Man in America. Yet the court and the public didn’t question the fact that Osterman essentially published and marketed a book based on the killing of a child. Osterman, too, had an attitude—he entered the courtroom with a snarky smirk, and possibly flirted with the all-woman jury by claiming that he doesn’t “like to curse in front of ladies.” Osterman’s sworn statements were at times bizarre—testifying, for example, that “anybody who is a non-convicted felon should carry a firearm,” and adding that “the police aren’t always there.”
Because the court—and the public—is not preoccupied with dissecting Osterman’s statements the way they were with tearing apart Jeantel’s, they took his testimony to mean that anyone who is not a convicted felon should carry a firearm. But, in fact, Osterman actually said that any felon should carry a gun, if they have not been convicted. Osterman, a white man who apparently profited from the killing of a child through his book, was granted understanding and latitude that Jeantel, a black woman, was not.
[....] One courtroom and one public have treated Martin and Zimmerman’s friends quite differently. And while the trial is clearly about the killing of Trayvon Martin, it is also profoundly about race, and about the way the public affords some privileges to some people, at the cost of detriment to others.July 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm #92208
Obama hits the links with old friends
President Obama is celebrating the July 4th holiday with a round of golf.
The president was seen in a white polo shirt, shoes and sandals early Friday morning at Joint Base Andrews, where he was hitting the links with old friends Marty Nesbitt and Eric Whitaker, according to a pool report.
Later Friday, the president is scheduled to fly to Camp David for the weekend.
On Thursday, the president and first lady Michelle Obama celebrated Independence Day with a barbecue at the White House where the guests included military personnel and their families.July 5, 2013 at 12:11 pm #92209
As they were reviewing them, Mark O’Mara was laughing at something he was reading and Dr. Bao says “Is there something funny there?” #TenseJuly 5, 2013 at 12:13 pm #92210
How the Koch brothers screwed over the climate even more than you know
[....] In its multi-part report, “The Koch Club,” written by Lewis, Eric Holmberg, Alexia Campbell, and Lydia Beyoud, the Workshop found that between 2007 and 2011 the Kochs donated $41.2 million to ninety tax-exempt organizations promoting the ultra-libertarian policies that the brothers favor—policies that are often highly advantageous to their corporate interests. In addition, during this same period they gave $30.5 million to two hundred and twenty-one colleges and universities, often to fund academic programs
advocating their worldview. Among the positions embraced by the Kochs are fewer government regulations on business, lower taxes, and skepticism about the causes and impact of climate change.
The study recounts that the Kochs have influenced the congressional climate-change debate in other ways, too, which include funding an array of nonprofit groups whose experts have testified in Congress questioning the cause, the severity, and the necessity of, acting on climate change.[....]July 5, 2013 at 12:45 pm #92212July 5, 2013 at 12:47 pm #92213
The IRS ‘scandal’ evaporates into nothing
By Steve Benen
Fri Jul 5, 2013 11:00 AM EDT
I’m afraid I have some good news and some bad news for conservatives who’ve been so heavily invested in the IRS “scandal.” The good news is, there are some important new revelations about how the tax agency responded to groups seeking tax-exempt status. The bad news, the details reinforce the fact that literally all of the right’s allegations have been discredited.
The controversy that erupted in May has focused on an ideological question: Were conservative groups singled out for special treatment based on their politics, or did the I.R.S. equally target liberal groups? But a closer look at the I.R.S. operation suggests that the problem was less about ideology and more about how a process instructing reviewers to “be on the lookout” for selected terms was applied to any group that mentioned certain words in its application.
Organizations approached by The New York Times based on specific “lookout list” warnings, like advocates for people in “occupied territories” and “open source software developers,” told similar stories of long waits, intrusive inquiries and bureaucratic hassles that pointed to no particular bias but rather to a process that became too rigid and too broad. The lists often did point to legitimate issues: partisan political campaign organizations seeking tax-exempt status, or commercial businesses hoping to cloak themselves as nonprofit groups.
But the political controversy that was already deteriorating quickly is now over. Every single political player — congressional Republicans, pundits, activists, et al — who said conservatives were targeted for partisan/ideological mistreatment was wrong. That’s simply not what happened.
GOP officials and commentators said conservative groups seeking tax-exempt status were singled out for excessive IRS scrutiny. That’s wrong. Republicans said conservative groups faced delays that liberal groups didn’t have to endure. That’s wrong. Republicans said President Obama’s critics were unfairly targeted. As the NYT reports today, that’s wrong, too.
So where are the political world’s apologies for having spent six weeks manufacturing a scandal for the public based on nothing?
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