Tuesday Open Thread

The Undisputed Truth was a 1970s Motown recording act, assembled by record producer Norman Whitfield as a means for being able to experiment with his psychedelic soul production techniques. Joe Harris served as main lead singer, with Billie Rae Calvin and Brenda Joyce Evans, formerly of The Delicates, on additional leads and background vocals.

The group’s music and unusual costuming (large Afros and white makeup) typified the then-popular trend of “psychedelic soul” which producer Norman Whitfield had inaugurated. A number of their singles became minor hits, and many of them were also songs for Whitfield’s main act, The Temptations, among them “You Make Your Own Heaven and Hell Right Here on Earth” and “Papa Was A Rollin’ Stone.” Their single Top 40 hit in the United States was the ominous “Smiling Faces Sometimes,” originally recorded by The Temptations, which hit #3 on the US pop charts in 1971.

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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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78 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Dawn Nicole Martin @dawnnicmar

    Listening to Eugene Robinson say “vaginal probe” is kinda icky… I immediately crossed my legs

  2. rikyrah says:

    Alabama’s Immigration Law Could Cost Billions Annually
    Since a harsh immigration law took effect in September, thousands of immigrants have fled, triggering a potential economic decline that could erase at least 70,000 jobs

    By Elizabeth Dwoskin

    Alabama’s harsh immigration law has stirred controversy since it went into effect in September. The statute, which among other things requires police to question people they suspect of being in the U.S. illegally, has prompted thousands of immigrants to flee the state. The law’s backers believed out-of-work Alabamians would snap up the jobs those immigrants once held.

    It hasn’t turned out that way. A new study details the economic impact of harsh immigration laws such as those passed by Alabama and five other states. Published by the Center for Business & Economic Research at the University of Alabama, it’s the first economic cost-benefit analysis (PDF) of the state’s immigration statute. Dr. Samuel Addy, an economist and director of the Center, found that the law, known as HB 56, will annually shrink Alabama’s economy by at least $2.3 billion and will cost the state not less than 70,000 jobs .

    Most of the damage will come from reduced demand for goods and services provided by Alabama businesses patronized by immigrants. Addy projects that 40,000 to 80,000 immigrants will vacate their jobs. (It’s not possible to know exactly how many will leave; his calculation is derived, he says, from a combination of state labor-force data and data from the Pew Center on the States.) Those positions support other jobs, leading to a net employment loss of 70,000 to 140,000. As a result, Addy estimates, the state’s gross domestic product will decline by $2.3 billion to $10.8 billion for every year the law is in effect and will cost $56.7 million to $264.5 million in tax revenue.

    “The economy can still grow, but it will be on a lower growth path than would have been the case without the law,” Addy concludes.

    Many Alabamans have rejected hard, dirty, low-paying jobs that immigrants once performed: picking tomatoes, working in chicken plants, and gutting catfish. Now employers struggle to fill those positions. Despite the state’s 8.1 percent jobless rate, the four job categories that once hired most of the state’s immigrants—agriculture, construction, food service, and hospitality—employ fewer people than they did before the law went into effect.

    http://www.businessweek.com/top-news/alabamas-immigration-law-could-cost-billions-annually-02142012.html

  3. rikyrah says:

    february 14, 2012 4:43 PM
    Liberal Rick

    By Ed Kilgore

    So the emerging political story-line we’ve been following closely the last few days is this:

    * Mitt Romney’s losing ground rapidly to Rick Santorum, who is consolidating support from “very conservative” voters, many of them previous supporters of Newt Gingrich, who has been in no small part demolished by negative ads from the Romney campaign and his Super-PAC.

    * Conservatives palpably don’t want Romney to train his guns on Santorum, particularly in any way that can reinforce Democratic talking points against Rick. Romney’s forces also fear blowback from voters tired of intra-Republican nastiness.

    * Maybe Romney can eventually bury Santorum with sheer money and the unspoken GOP elite conviction that Santorum’s a bad candidate with crazy extremist views on social issues. But time’s beginning to run short as big primaries approach.

    It’s a conundrum for Romney, all right, but there are some signs today that his camp will begin to carefully go negative on Santorum for—wait for it!—being too liberal.

    Here’s a report from The Hill’s Justin Sink:


    Mitt Romney’s campaign turned up the heat on Rick Santorum, accusing the former senator as being part of “the liberal wing” of the Republican Party on fiscal issues and saying “he’s wrong now to cast himself as the broad comprehensive conservative” as polls show the former Massachusetts governor losing ground in the race for the presidential nomination.

    Romney surrogates attempted to highlight Santorum’s voting record on earmarks and increasing the debt ceiling as polls show strong conservatives increasingly coalescing around the former senator’s campaign.

    “Mitt Romney has a much more comprehensively conservative record that Rick does,” said Sen. Jim Talent (R-MO), who argued that Santorum’s voting record on fiscal policies “shows he’s been in the liberal wing [of the party].”

    Talent argued votes for the No Child Left Behind education reform package and against “right-to-work” legislation that would constrain unions underscored his liberal tendencies.

    Here’s my favorite part:

    Campaign surrogates repeatedly pointed to Santorum’s 18-percentage point loss in his 2006 Senate re-election campaign, arguing that voters had punished Santorum for abandoning conservative ideology.

    “The reason he got beat, I think, was that he moved so far way from his fiscal conservative principles,” Rep. Billy Long (R-MO) argued on the call.

    Yeah, that’s what happened in 2006, for sure.

    We’ll see if this line of attack gets backed up in ads, and we’ll see if it works. But the cynical audacity of it is pretty impressive.

    http://www.washingtonmonthly.com/political-animal-a/2012_02/liberal_rick035410.php

  4. rikyrah says:

    February 13, 2012 07:00 PM
    Mitt Romney Tells CPAC He’ll Cut Social Security Benefits, Begin Privatizing Medicare
    By Kenneth Quinnell

    Echoing what he told a Koch Brothers audience in November, Republican presidential front-runner Mitt Romney told the audience at the Conservative Political Action Conference that he would cut Social Security benefits and that he would make changes to Medicare that would effectively begin the privatization of the program. While Romney was a little more vague about privatizing Medicare, he made no mistake about his proposal to cut Social Security:


    “We’re going to have to recognize that Social Security and Medicare are unsustainable, not for the current group of retirees, but for coming generations,” Romney told the 2012 Conservative Political Action Conference. “And we can’t afford to avoid these entitlement challenges any longer.”

    Romney said: “We are going to slowly and gradually raise the retirement age for Social Security” from the current 66 for full benefits. “And we’ll slow the growth rate in benefits for higher-income retirees.”

    As for Medicare, “tomorrow’s seniors should have the freedom to choose between Medicare and a range of private plans,” Romney said to applause. “And if these future seniors want a more expensive plan, then they will have to pay the additional cost.”

    Romney’s proposed “solutions” are, of course, designed to solve a problem that doesn’t exist. Both programs are sustainable for generations to come and the proposals that Romney and other Republicans are making for the programs would be more likely to create the problem they say they are trying to save.

    http://crooksandliars.com/kenneth-quinnell/mitt-romney-tells-cpac-hell-cut-s

  5. rikyrah says:

    Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 12:59 PM PST
    Mitt Romney adviser: Once Rick Santorum is gone, we’ll stop talking about birth control and abortion+*
    by Jed Lewison

    Introducing the pre-flip-flop:

    Another Romney adviser said the governor would spend just enough time on social issues to dispatch Santorum and then move on.

    “He’s going to pivot back,” the adviser said. “He’s not going to go far from the core set of Romney issues, which is economic turnaround, recovery, jobs.”

    Abortion, the adviser said, “has a special resonance within the Republican primary. We need to run the nominating contest with an eye toward the general election. We’re going to win or lose the general election on the economic subset of issues.”

    So, this guy is basically telling general election voters to ignore every crazy thing Mitt Romney is saying now—he’s just trying to woo Santorum supporters. He doesn’t really believe it. Meanwhile, different Romney advisers tell social conservatives not to believe what he said when he was on the trail in Massachusetts—that he was just lying to win there.

    I’m pretty sure this is the first time I’ve ever seen a campaign use “he’s lying” as an argument in their candidate’s favor. They must think it’s brilliant, and perhaps used in a targeted fashion, it would be. The problem is, when you tell both sides that you’re a liar, pretty soon the one thing people believe about what you say is that they can’t believe anything that you say.

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/14/1064798/-Mitt-Romney-adviser-Once-Rick-Santorum-is-gone-we-ll-stop-talking-about-birth-control-and-abortion?via=blog_1

    • Ametia says:

      Chris Matthews and E J. Dionne just agreed with each other that PBO has been “LUCKY” since the very beginning of his Presidency.

      TRANSLATION: That negro ain’t smart enough to be makin all these calculated poliical moves. LOATHE THESE MOFOS.

      PBO is smarter than the entire circus act and clowns posing as journalist and reporters, on EVERY major CABLE & TV network. It is folks like Matthews and Dionne who are LUCKY to have a President like PBO in the White House, so they can stay employed.

  6. OMG! I’m crying..

    There was a knock at the door and when I opened it, there stands a guy from the florist holding a beautiful bouquet of Flowers, Balloons & a box of candy & stated he was looking for SouthernGirl. I said for me? He said yes…I’m looking for SouthernGirl. Are you SouthernGirl? I said yes.. and he was smiling so big and said “Happy Valentine’s Day, SouthernGirl! I couldn’t stop my tears. My oldest son sent his mother flowers and candy for Valentine’s Day! So sweet! I love him!

    And then my daughter comes out with beautiful red/pink/white/ tulips! I love my children so much! *Tears*

  7. GOP Snubs Bill To Protect Women Against Violence. http://tiny.cc/101tz

    Women of America… Send the GOP a big Fuck You and vote them out! We can do this!

  8. rikyrah says:

    An argument divided against itself cannot stand
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 14, 2012 3:37 PM EST.

    It’s not surprising that Mitt Romney’s campaign was unimpressed with the new White House budget plan. What was surprising was how the campaign chose to express that dissatisfaction.

    Here’s a statement Team Romney sent to reporters yesterday morning:

    “This week, President Obama will release a budget that won’t take any meaningful steps toward solving our entitlement crisis. The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors.”

    Notice, there are no ellipses between the sentences. As Paul Krugman noted, “Yep, Obama has failed to resolve the problem of excessive entitlement spending; furthermore, he’s cutting entitlement spending!”

    And while the contradiction made the campaign’s statement amusing, there are a couple of other angles to keep in mind.

    First, when Romney claims Obama “cut Medicare benefits,” he’s not telling the truth. As has been explained many times before, the Medicare savings in the Affordable Care Act come from slowing projecting growth in the future. The money comes from health-care providers, not Medicare beneficiaries, and no one’s benefits have been cut at all.

    Either Romney doesn’t understand these details, or he understands them perfectly and he’s trying to mislead.

    Second, it’s ironic for Romney to bring up entitlements anyway. He has, after all, endorsed privatization plans for Social Security, while also offering his enthusiastic endorsement of Paul Ryan’s budget plan, which ends Medicare altogether and replaces it with a voucher scheme.

    Taken together, over the course of just two sentences, Romney contradicted his own talking points, lied about the Affordable Care Act, and engaged in some remarkable hypocrisy, accusing Obama of doing what Romney himself intends to do.

    That’s pretty impressive for one paragraph.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10408283-an-argument-divided-against-itself-cannot-stand.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Think there was a contraceptives compromise? Think again.
    Posted by Sarah Kliff at 03:09 PM ET, 02/14/2012

    When the White House offered up accommodations on the health reform law’s mandated coverage of birth control Friday, it felt like a momentary detente. The new provision — which would have insurance companies pay for an employee’s birth control rather than a religious employer who objected — came with a wave of endorsements. It won over many liberal Catholics who had initially opposed the requirement, such as the Catholic Health Association’s Carole Keehan.

    It did not, however, win over Senate Republicans. In interviews this afternoon, they appeared committed to pursuing legislation that would widen exemptions from these provisions — and prolong an already contentious fight over the place of contraceptives and religious liberty under the health reform law.

    “I’d like to get it on a must-sign vehicle that this president must sign,” says Sen. Roy Blunt (R-Mo.), of a bill he’s introduced on the issue. “If that doesn’t happen, I hope to get the next president to sign it. It’s an important issue, and I’m going to continue to pursue it.”

    Blunt’s bill is among four legislative proposals floating around on the Hill that would widen the exemption from the health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. It would go beyond the contraceptives piece of the law to allow employees an exemption from covering other services they oppose based on “religious beliefs or moral convictions.”

    “The Respect the Rights of Conscience Act doesn’t mention any medical procedure. It doesn’t mention anything specifically. It treats Christian Scientists like Catholics, and Muslims just like Methodists,” Blunt says. “The principle is you cannot tell people they have to do things that violate their faith beliefs. It’s as simple as that.”

    Blunt’s provision could come up as early as this afternoon, as Democratic Senators expect it to be attached to the larger transportation bill that Congress is now debating. Democratic Senators don’t seem to be shying from the issue: Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) says he “has agreed to a vote on contraception” should an amendment be offered. And Democrats expect it will be.

    “We were told for sure that that’s what [Republicans] want to go with,” says Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-Calif.), a co-sponsor of the transportation bill. “They could have changed their mind today, but that’s what we were told.”

    Blunt, meanwhile, says he’s still “finalizing” his strategy. “I’d be pleased to have the debate, I’d be pleased to have a vote and I hope we can,” he says.

    This afternoon, I also caught up with Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.). He has proposed a separate, narrower law that would just repeal the health reform law’s mandated coverage of contraceptives. He was happy to see the President offer some accommodations on the issue, he told me, but thinks they did not go far enough.

    “It’s good that he’s admitted you can’t force religiously-based institutions to violate their conscience, but the way it was crafted could still lead to some results that are less than positive,” he told me. “So we’re still going to examine that. As I’ve always said repeatedly, the hope and the ideal scenario here would be that the president would come up with something on their own, without having to force legislative action.”

    If the president doesn’t, Rubio says, “This will continue.”

    The exact path forward isn’t clear. Blunt’s amendment is pretty much dead-on-arrival in the Democratic-controlled Senate. But it does have some leadership support: Minority Leader Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has signed on as a co-sponsor. Over the past day, Blunt says, he’s gathered about 29 other co-sponsors of his provision. Across the Capitol, in the Republican-controlled House, Rep. Jeff Fortenberry (R-Neb.) is working on companion legislation. The United States Conference of Catholic Bishops has also opposed the Obama provisions.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/ezra-klein/post/think-there-was-a-contraceptives-compromise-think-again/2012/02/14/gIQANfpxDR_blog.html

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:45 PM ET, 02/14/2012
    Americans love the safety net
    By Greg Sargent

    The other day, Mitt Romney claimed that he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” a clumsy way of arguing that the middle class, not the least fortunate, are the ones who have suffered most from the recession and would be the primary focus of his presidency.

    The truth is that if this argument is intended as a class-based dog-whistle appeal, it could hold a lot of attraction to Americans.

    A new National Journal poll finds that a 51 percent majority agrees that the middle class is “suffering the most” from the slowdown, versus 45 percent who say the poor have been hurt most. And speaking of the dog-whistle aspect of this, the poll also finds that 53 percent say they are most concerned that “the government taxes workers too much to fund programs for people who could get by without help.”

    But look what happens when Americans are asked whether specific programs should be cut:

    Larger version here. Huge majorities say Social Security, Medicare, and Medicaid should not be cut at all to help reduce the deficit. A majority, 51 percent, even wants food stamps and housing vouchers to be spared any cutting.

    Also critical: The public isn’t buying the argument that entitlements are the problem. Just 3 percent say the biggest reason we’re facing large deficits is spending on the elderly, while a 46 percent plurality blames this on the fact that “wealthy Americans don’t pay enough in taxes.”

    Which may explain this finding: “Asked whose federal budget plan they expected to more closely reflect their priorities, 47 percent of adults said Obama while just 37 percent picked congressional Republicans. ”

    Scrambling the politics of this is the fact that the safety net is increasingly taking on a role not just in protecting the poor, but also in maintaining the middle class. In a Sunday piece, the Times reported that “the poorest households no longer receive a majority of government benefits.” This creates a very interesting context for the battle that’s about to unfold.

    As Jonathan Cohn noted today, the looming budget battle will frame the coming campaign as a battle over priorities. While it’s true that by flirting with the idea of deep Medicare cuts has perhaps compromised the Democratic Party’s reputation as the number one defender of the safety net, the fact is that Mitt Romney has embraced Paul Ryan’s plan to end Medicare as we know it, which will again be debated in Congress this year. Meanwhile, Obama’s budget — and campaign message — are all about deferring deficit reduction in order to preserve the promises at the core of the existing safety net.

    And when the American people are focused on the specifics, the latter priorities are the ones they seem to favor. Let’s hope Congressional Democrats don’t forget this when the Sirens of Austerity start singing to them again.

    http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/plum-line/post/americans-love-the-safety-net/2012/02/14/gIQA1wHfDR_blog.html

  11. rikyrah says:

    .Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:14 AM PST.

    Private corrections firm proposes new rip-off: Buy prisons in 48 states, keep them full for 20 years
    by Meteor Blades

    Nashville-based Corrections Corporation of America has a plan to expand its growing empire of private prisons it owns or manages. It wants buy existing prisons. The pitch is that this will help states with their revenue problems by providing a one-time lump-sum payment in exchange for a 20-year management contract and assurance that the prison will stay at 90 percent capacity during that time. A sweetheart deal.
    The new approach of this so-called “corrections investment initiative” proposal is outlined in a letter to officials in 48 states from CCA’s Executive Vice President General Counsel Harley G. Lappin. The letter was obtained by reporter Chris Kirkham.

    CCA would only make deals in cases where there is a minimum rated occupancy of 1,000 beds, the facility is no more than 25 years old and ready for immediate occupation or already occupied by inmates and there is assurance that the inmate population “maintain a minimum 90 percent occupancy rate over the term of the contract.”

    At a time when states are still suffering from the impact of the Great Recession, that may sound like a good deal. It certainly sounds like a good deal Republican governors who already are on the privatize everything kick that the American Legislative Exchange Council has promoted. In fact, CCA is closely tied to ALEC. An ALEC-originated “truth in sentencing” bill that makes it tougher for prisoners to gain parole, was drafted by a committee that included members from CCA. By the end of the 1990s, such sentencing measures had passed in 40 states. When your bottom line comes from keeping people in the slam, you’ll do what you can to keep people in the slam.

    According to Gaming the System: How the Political Strategies of Private Prison Companies Promote Ineffective Incarceration Policies, private prisons have already done a good job of increasing their “market share” of the overall prison population. While the number of inmates over the past decade has risen 16 percent, the number in private federal facilities has risen 120 percent and the number in state facilities has risen 33 percent. Meanwhile, the two largest private prison operators, CCA and GEO Group (formerly Wackenhut), took in a combined $2.9 billion in revenue in 2010.

    Besides supposedly taking this messy business of the hands of states that incarcerate far too many offenders—many of whom should be redirected toward alternatives other than slam time in those cases when they should be punished at all—the prison industry, with CCA the biggest dog on the block, promotes the idea that it is more efficient. Being private and all, y’know.

    But the key claim that private is cheaper is bogus. Studies by the Government Accountability Office, the National Institute of Justice and the University of Utah have found no cost savings. Often, this is because the private companies fail to mention hidden costs of their operations and low-ball estimates of expected overhead when bidding on a new prison. The one place they regularly beat the public sector is the speed with which they typically build a prison. And, in the case of buying them, that obviously is not part of the equation.

    Prison privatization risks higher costs for Ohio, a December report from Policy Matters Ohio, takes issue with the claim that privatization would give a break to state’s bottom line:

    State officials have argued that selling and outsourcing the prison will generate $3 million in cost savings each year. But a report from Policy Matters Ohio calculated that selling the Lake Erie prison would actually cost more in the long term than if the state continued to own the property and pay off the construction bonds. That’s because the state has to pay Corrections Corporation of America a $3.8 million annual ownership fee for housing state prisoners, in addition to the prisoner per-diem costs laid out in the contract.
    According to the report, the prison sale would cost taxpayers $11 million more over the next 20 years than if the state had continued to own the prison.
    For the private prison industry, it’s all about increasing “market share” and increasing the size of the market, that is, the inmate population. They obtain secure government contracts, like the ones discussed in the letter, they push public policy changes that put more people into prison, and they contribute campaign money, lobby aggressively and build “connections” among politicians and political appointees who can aid their cause.

    According to the Justice Institute report, CCA had 41 lobbyists in just three states—Tennessee, Nevada and Florida—from 2003 to 2010. The institute found it impossible to track all the money spent on lobbying at the state level by these companies as a consequence of widely differing disclosure laws.

    The “revolving door” also benefits the private prison industry, with many former government officials joining prison companies the same way ex-colonels and ex-generals join the weapons industry upon retirement, and for the same reason: influence among their former colleagues.

    It’s a story we’re all too familiar with. At a time when we ought to be figuring out ways to get hundreds of thousands of non-violent offenders out of prisons and reforming the way we handle those who need to be locked up, this privatization scam is what’s on the table. If the past is any guide, we can count on many states eagerly going along with it.

    .

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/14/1064704/-Private-corrections-firm-proposes-new-rip-off-Buy-prisons-in-48-states-keep-them-full-for-20-years?via=siderec

  12. “Somebody who wouldn’t be good enough, who wouldn’t be certified to pick tomatoes or clean bathrooms is sitting in the White House,” Taitz told Gingrich

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/14/newt-gingrich-orly-taitz-birther-question_n_1276444.html#comments

  13. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Romney campaign did not comment’
    By DYLAN BYERS | 2/13/12 2:55 PM EST The Wall Street Journal, Feb. 13, 2012:

    Asked about Mr. Romney’s handling of the contraception requirement as governor, his campaign said he proposed “eliminating all of these coverage requirements so that insurance companies could tailor their products to specific consumers. … ‘ The campaign didn’t respond to a question about whether he raised the issue of religious liberty at the time.

    The Associated Press, Feb. 13, 2012:

    A Romney campaign spokeswoman would not respond to questions about how many earmarks the Romney administration asked for, the amount of money involved and the particular projects.

    The Washington Post, February 12, 2012:

    Romney, whose campaign did not respond to multiple interview requests, has said repeatedly that political considerations did not figure into his decision to take on the job. With his high-level executive skills, with a connection to the community but not touched by the scandal, he was so much the obvious first choice that all he had to do was say yes.

    The New York Times, Feb. 12, 2012:

    A spokeswoman for Mr. Romney did not respond to requests for comment. In an era when K Street firms serve as holding pens for political operatives and landing pads for retired lawmakers of both parties, the profusion of lobbyists around Mr. Romney’s campaign in part reflects the growing embrace of his candidacy by the Republican establishment, including most of the party’s elite donors and dozens of members of Congress.

    The New York Times, February 11, 2012:

    Mr. Romney declined a request to be interviewed for this article. But in a speech on Friday at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington, he made his current stance plain.

    The New York Times, February 7, 2012:

    Romney campaign officials did not return requests for comment. “I pay all the taxes that are legally required and not a dollar more,” Mr. Romney said during a debate shortly after releasing his tax returns. “I don’t think you want someone as the candidate for president who pays more taxes than he owes.”

    The Boston Globe, Feb. 5, 2012:

    The Romney campaign declined to comment. But the involvement of lobbyists in his operation illustrates how corporate and Washington interests are rallying around the former Massachusetts governor, betting that he may be president next year.

    In response to a request for comment, Romney press secretary Andrea Saul wrote, “On some articles, we offer comment. On others, we don’t.”

    UPDATE: Saul forwards the following two instances in the aforementioned articles in which the Romney campaign did comment…

    The Wall Street Journal, February 13, 2012:

    Asked about Mr. Romney’s handling of the contraception requirement as governor, his campaign said he proposed “eliminating all of these coverage requirements so that insurance companies could tailor their products to specific consumers. …”

    The Associated Press, February 13, 2012:

    “Every state budget in the country is dependent on federal funding, and every governor in the country makes requests for funding, but governors do not get to decide how Congress appropriates money,” said Andrea Saul, a Romney spokeswoman. “Gov. Romney supports a permanent ban on earmarks, which are symbols of what’s wrong with Washington.”

    …and also points out that it provided Cindy Gillespie, an Olympics lobbyist, to comment for The Washington Post’s piece on Feb. 12:

    The Washington Post, Feb. 12, 2012:

    (Note: we provide Cindy Gillespie to speak with them)

    Cindy Gillespie, the lead lobbyist for the 2002 Games and the 1996 Summer Games in Atlanta, said Romney publicized the financial struggles to “level with people” and establish trust.

    In regard to The New York Times’s request for an interview, Saul wrote, “Gov. Romney gets hundreds of interview requests, there’s only so much time in a day.” Saul also told me she disagreed with any suggestion that the Romney campaign was less accessible than other campaigns.

    UPDATE 2: In an email accidentally sent to a reporter at the Huffington Post, spokeswoman Gail Gitcho advises the campaign to ignore the reporter’s request.

    http://www.politico.com/blogs/media/2012/02/the-romney-campaign-declined-to-comment-114338.html

  14. What 40 Dollars Means To You

  15. rikyrah says:

    .Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 10:08 AM PST.

    In birth control fight, Catholic bishops take hard stance on Viagra
    by Kaili Joy Gray

    Obviously, the man in this Viagra commercial is all about making babies.
    According to the Catholic Church, birth control is “intrinsically evil” and requiring insurance companies to cover it is a “grave moral concern.” But a man’s right to take magical hard-on pills, like Viagra, and to have them covered by his insurance? Why, that’s sacred:


    The answer on Viagra coverage is usually yes, Catholic leaders say. And they argue that’s neither hypocritical nor sexist.

    Procreation is something the Catholic church encourages. And Viagra and other erectile dysfunction drugs can be of help.

    Ohhhhhhh. So when Bob Dole started shilling for Viagra at the age of 75, obviously, it was because he was concerned about men not being able to impregnate their wives, right? That’s why all the ads you see for erectile dysfunction medication feature sad young childless couples who just want to be able to procreate, as the Catholic Church dictates. Right? It has nothing to do with old men who can’t get it up and apparently can’t figure out how to please their partners in a non-insert-penis-somewhere way. Or they just don’t care.
    But don’t worry. The Catholic Church is on to those few men out there who are considering taking the pill for non-procreative purposes:

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/14/1064701/-In-birth-control-fight-Catholic-bishops-take-hard-stance-on-Viagra?via=blog_1

  16. rikyrah says:

    there’s an actual group called DOGS AGAINST ROMNEY?

    BWA HA HA HA HA HA HA AH HA

    there’s a cute picture at the Maddow blog of a rally for the group today.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10407942-talk-to-the-pug

  17. rikyrah says:

    Tue Feb 14, 2012 at 07:19 AM PST.

    Santorum: “Barack Obama has sided with the 99 versus 1.”

    Leave it to Rick to accidentally tell it like it is while trying to woo the radical right wingers that now control the GOP. While the Occupy Wall Street people were protesting his campaign appearance, Rick couldn’t help but mock the OWS movement, the 99% they represent and the President that supports them.

    “… That’s not what a leader of this country should do but Barack Obama has sided with the 99 versus one.”
    “He supported this movement, this movement that is intolerant and disrespectful. He supported them and embraced them,” Santorum said to loud cheers from his supporters. “Why? Because it’s consistent with exactly what Barack Obama’s trying to do with this country.”

    http://www.dailykos.com/story/2012/02/14/1064661/-Santorum-Barack-Obama-has-sided-with-the-99-versus-1-?via=siderec

    .

  18. Obama Getting More Small Donors Then Ever

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/barack-obama-reelection-campaign_n_1274112.html#comments

    WASHINGTON — The 2012 election is shaping up as the election of big money power.

    Super PACs, accepting unlimited contributions from billionaires, millionaires, and corporations, have become a serious topic of debate during the Republican primary season where billionaires have provided crucial support for Mitt Romney, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.”

    But with the new system of unlimited money debuting this year, another fundraising development has been be overlooked: President Barack Obama’s campaign is raising a higher percentage of its contributions from small donors than during the much-heralded small donor boom in the 2008 election.

    According to an analysis by The Huffington Post, the Obama reelection campaign committee, Obama for America, pulled in at least 45 percent of its contributions from donors giving less than $200 during each of the fundraising quarters it was active in 2011.

    In 2007-2008, there was only one quarter, from April through June 2008, during which the campaign pulled in more than 40 percent from these small donors. It never had a quarter or month where it raised 45 percent or more from small donors.

    The Huffington Post’s analysis examined contributions made directly to Obama for America and those transferred from the Obama Victory Fund, a fundraising vehicle that allows donors to give to both the presidential campaign committee and the Democratic National Committee’s (DNC) campaign committee. The analysis did not cover the first quarter of 2011 or the years of 2009 or 2010 because the Obama reelection campaign launched in April 2011 and did little fundraising before then.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The liberty we don’t hear much about
    by Kay

    I’m really grateful that the bishops decided to make a stand on their right to religious liberty because until they did that I did not know there was controversy and discussion going on all over the country on the rights of patients and the mergers of Catholic hospitals with other hospital and health care businesses:

    In Arizona:


    What began in Sierra Vista, a town about 80 miles southeast of Tucson, as a quiet merger between the Sierra Vista Regional Health Center and the Catholic Carondelet Health Network has turned into a religious and ethical standoff over patients’ rights.

    SEVERSON: What the merger means is that Sierra Vista, a rural, secular hospital, must now abide by the Catholic ethical and religious directives which prohibit certain procedures. So physicians can no longer do abortions, even when the mother’s life is in danger, and they can no longer perform sterilizations or provide contraception.

    DR. ROBERT HOLDER (Sierra Vista Regional Health Center): I would say that the majority of the medical staff is not really happy with the fact that this is occurring and the way it came about. It was hard for us, thinking long term, how this was going to work out practically.

    SEVERSON: Dr. Bruce Silva, another ob-gyn at Sierra Vista, says Catholic directives often go against health care decisions he and his patient think are best.

    DR. BRUCE SILVA (Sierra Vista Regional Health Center): The person who makes that decision is not me and the woman. We can make that decision, but then it has to be okay’d by someone else who puts their belief systems and their ethics on me and on my patients, which I just don’t think is right.

    SEVERSON: Right or wrong, the Catholic Church takes its directives very seriously. Last year, Bishop Thomas Olmsted of the Catholic Diocese of Phoenix cracked down on this hospital, St. Joseph’s, after a doctor terminated the pregnancy of a mother who had developed pulmonary hypertension, which has a high mortality rate among pregnant women.

    DR. HOLDER: It was not an either-or case. That baby was not going to survive because the mother was not going to survive, so the decision is that you let both die or you terminate the pregnancy so the mother can live, and to me that’s a no-brainer.

    BISHOP THOMAS OLMSTED (speaking at Catholic Diocese of Phoenix December 21, 2010 Press Conference): In this case, the baby was healthy and there were no problems with the pregnancy. Rather, the mother had a disease that needed to be treated. But instead of treating the disease, St. Joseph’s medical staff and ethics committee decided that the healthy eleven-week-old baby should be directly killed.

    REVEREND THOMAS WEINANDY (US Conference of Catholic Bishops): If you directly said the mother could not live unless we aborted the child then that would be contrary to Gospel values and the teaching of the church.

    DR. HOLDER: We were advised to send that person 80 miles away to another hospital because there was a heartbeat, and that was a very difficult situation for me to manage.

    DR. SILVA: Some people will define abortion if a baby has a heart rate, and you terminate that pregnancy—it’s an abortion. But there are times, for instance, with a pregnancy in the fallopian tube, where babies will have heart rates but that baby can’t survive there. It’s impossible. So there are some places where they do not allow you to terminate that baby. This is the real problem is that it’s defined differently by different bishops, who are the ones that decide how your hospital is going to run.

    Sierra Vista Regional Health Center declined to be interviewed, but the circumstances here are not unique. Catholic hospitals have become the largest nonprofit health care provider in the US, with over 600 hospitals. This year, one in six patients will be cared for in a Catholic hospital.

    SEVERSON: Sierra Vista’s new directives posed a very real problem for Jessica Graham, who was going to have her second baby by c-section at Sierra Vista and then get a tubal ligation, or have her tubes tied. She and her husband didn’t want any more children.

    GRAHAM: So I said, can you tie my tubes while I’m in surgery for a c-section? And when I got pregnant that was the option and that was the plan. Then it changed during my pregnancy when they did the merger here.

    SEVERSON: So Jessica was forced to have a second surgery in another city, which could have created problems.People get infected, people can get bowel injuries. You can have a reaction to the anesthetic that can kill people. People die from tubal ligations every year—now very, very, very rarely, but why undergo that risk?

    REV. WEINANDY: The fact that they can’t get, receive sterilization or abortions at a Catholic health care facility is not a form of suffering at all. It’s a matter of fact that we are protecting them from evil things that could happen to them.

    SEVERSON: Doctor Silva says his Sierra Vista patients can’t get the standard of care they deserve and that some simply can’t afford a second operation at another hospital. He says when he worked at a Catholic Hospital 20 years ago, tubal ligations were permitted.

    SEVERSON: Another concern for the protesters outside Sierra Vista is what happens with their end-of-life wishes if the Catholic Church doesn’t agree with them.

    DR. SILVA: They talk about the fact that all of your end-of-life wishes will be observed unless they go against Catholic teaching. The problem is what does that last line mean?

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/02/14/the-liberty-we-dont-hear-much-about/

  20. rikyrah says:

    ‘Struggling’ Sean Duffy Now Advocating Congressional Pay Freeze

    David Taintor February 1, 2012, 2:26 PM 429738Rep. Sean Duffy (R-WI) has come a long way since a town hall meeting last year where he said he was “struggling” to get by on his $174,000 congressional salary.

    In fact, Duffy is doing so well that he introduced a bill last week to extend a current pay freeze for federal employees — and freeze salaries for members of Congress. The military is not included in the pay freeze.

    “At a time when the American taxpayer isn’t getting a pay increase, it doesn’t make sense for them to pay for a pay increase for federal workers,” Duffy told MSNBC’s Andrea Mitchell on Wednesday. But wait a minute, Mitchell said, what about that town hall?

    Duffy insisted his worry over making ends meet was in reference to the time after he resigned as Ashland County District Attorney and before he got on the congressional payroll. “I went seven months without a paycheck,” he said. “I have six kids and a wife. That time was difficult.”

    But the video of Duffy went viral, and whether or not he was referring to a seven-month stint without a paycheck, the line that sticks is that $174,000 wasn’t enough for a tea party Republican to get by on. Duffy blamed “partisan politics” for the kerfuffle.”By no means do I struggle on $174,000 a year,” he said. “This was just a political move to make it sound like I was talking about my congressional salary, when really I was talking about a really difficult time of not having money coming in.”

    The House is expected to consider Duffy’s bill Wednesday evening. Duffy defends the legislation with figures from the Congressional Budget Office that show federal workers, when benefits are included, make 16 percent more than their counterparts in the private sector. The White House and federal labor unions oppose the measure, the Washington Post reports. The White House is seeking a 0.5 percent pay increase for federal workers as part of its 2013 budget proposal. Duffy’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

    http://tpmdc.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/gop-rep-who-struggled-on-174k-salary-proposes-congressional-pay-freeze.php?ref=skyboxes

  21. rikyrah says:

    14 Feb 2012 11:18 AM
    Why Howie’s Wrong

    My colleague, Howie Kurtz, explains here why he disagrees, very collegially, with my cover-story:

    But Howie’s talking about the deft compromise under enormous right-wing pressure last week. I agree that the administration got tactically outmaneuvered temporarily by the Catholic hierarchy who’d been planning such a showdown for months. But my point was not about winning the “news cycle” of last week, which many have already forgotten. It was about winning the election. From my essay:


    [T]he conflict-driven headlines and predictions of disaster for Obama are, in my view, deeply misleading. Right now, they are driven both by cable news’s love of a good fight and high ratings and by the Republican primary campaign, in which the candidates, especially Newt Gingrich and Santorum, are desperately battling to unify the evangelical base, which is convinced its faith is somehow under attack. In the longer run, however, I suspect this sudden confluence of kerfuffles will be seen as one of the last gasps of the culture war, not its reignition. That’s especially possible since Obama’s swift walk-back last Friday.

    My italics. So I agree with Howie that it wasn’t the best tactical week for the White House, but I believe even more strongly it was a great, if improvised, strategic week, looking forward. Liberal Catholics on contraception – roughly 98 percent of us – are fine with the compromise. The Vatican and Bishops and their theocon friends on the far Catholic right remain opposed, isolating themselves badly. Yes, they’ll shore up the Christianist base – but they weren’t going to vote for Obama anyway. The result is that the Obama administration will be seen defending the rights of Catholic women against the unpopular hierarchy, indirectly empowering the candidacy of Rick Santorum, the least electable of the Republicans, and more firmly identifying the religious right with their weakest issue, contraception.

    Meep, meep. Sometimes it’s worth thinking through more than one week’s news cycle. Because the president does. Which is how he won in the first place – to much of establishment Washington’s shock and surprise.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/why-howies-wrong.html

  22. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, February 11, 2012
    Me, APD, and ‘Babysitting While White,’ Part Deux

    A few years back Grits posed the question, “Is babysitting while white reasonable suspicion for police questioning?” after my granddaughter and I were detained and questioned at length in my neighborhood on suspicion of some nefarious deed (it was never quite clear what). In that incident, the police were pretty clear I was stopped solely because Ty, like her mother (who came to live with my wife and me when she was a child) is black, while I’m an almost stereotypical looking white Texas redneck. At the time, Grits was amazed that three squad cars were dispatched to question me for walking down the street with a child of a different race, detaining me for no good reason and scaring the bejeezus out of then-two-year old Ty.

    Last night, though, Ty and I got the full jump-out-boys treatment, making our earlier interaction with Austin PD seem downright quaint. It could only have been more ridiculous if they’d actually arrested me, which for a while there didn’t seem out of the question. (This is a personal tale much more than a policy analysis, so if you’re only interested in the latter, don’t bother to read further.)

    Our story began at the Millennium Youth Center in central east Austin, which is a city-owned rec center just a few blocks from my home of 22 years. Ty, age 5, often spends the night with us on Fridays to give Mom and Dad a night off, and we’d taken her there to go roller skating after dinner out as a reward for a week’s worth of excellent behavior scores in kindergarten.

    Perhaps at 7:40 p.m. or so, after she’d had her fill of skating (if the event were put to music, the appropriate theme song would have been “Slip Slidin’ Away”), I asked Ty if she’d like to walk home and let Grandma take the car. It was cool but pleasant out, and we were just a short distance from the house, with a city-bike path where we often walk dogs together taking us most of the way there. She was elated: This sounded like a big adventure, and within moments she was bouncing off the walls with excitement, making me think a walk home was just the thing to burn off some energy before bed time.

    This was a terrible mistake on Grandpa’s part. Not because we live in a relatively rough neighborhood. I know many of my neighbors, saints and scoundrels alike, and I did not and do not fear becoming a crime victim walking that route, even with a five year old in tow. No, apparently the only folks Ty and I had to fear were in uniform.

    http://gritsforbreakfast.blogspot.com/2012/02/me-apd-and-babysitting-while-white-part.html

  23. rikyrah says:

    Rick Santorum’s Trouble With Women
    Evan McMorris-Santoro February 14, 2012, 5:27 AM

    Rick Santorum’s recent surge has Team Romney on the lookout for attacks to use against him. So far the fusillades they’ve launched against the former Pennsylvania Senator have mostly focused on his well-documented fondness for earmarks while he served in Washington. However, the last few days have exposed another potentially more damaging weakness: Santorum has a history of saying anti-feminist things that go beyond the mainstream. What’s more, he appears to realize this and to be backpedaling as best he’s able.

    First, Santorum went on the defensive after he told CNN that women shouldn’t serve in combat roles because “I think that could be a very compromising situation, where people naturally may do things that may not be in the interest of the mission, because of other types of emotions that are involved.”

    Then, this weekend, he had to explain away a section from his 2005 book It Takes A Family that accuses “radical feminists” of tearing women from away from the home. Here’s the passage, as cited in the New York Times:

    “The radical feminists succeeded in undermining the traditional family and convincing women that professional accomplishments are the key to happiness.”The line has dogged Santorum before. He was asked about it in the national press when the book was published and Democrats used it against him in the 2006 Senate race he lost to Sen. Bob Casey (D). The explanation he’s using this time is that he didn’t write the passage; his wife did. As the Times reported, “only his name is on the cover and he does not list her, in his acknowledgements, among those ‘who assisted me in the writing of this book.’”

    Then on Meet The Press Sunday, Santorum was put in the less than enviable position of having to swear he doesn’t actually object to women being in the workplace:

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/rick-santorums-trouble-with-women.php

  24. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Unimpressive Ground Game
    Nate Silver sizes it up:

    [Romney] is by far the best-funded candidate, and should have the wherewithal to build the best turnout operation. It is not clear, however, how much emphasis Mr. Romney has placed on this part of his campaign. When I visited the various campaign headquarters in New Hampshire, Mr. Romney’s office was the busiest and the best run (although Ron Paul’s was reasonably close). Still, Mr. Romney’s office in Manchester was the only one he had in the state. In contrast, Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton and John Edwards each had 16 field offices in New Hampshire in advance of the 2008 primaries there.

    And if one field office can keep you covered in a state like New Hampshire, where pretty much everything is within a 90-minute drive of Manchester, the same does not hold true in a larger state like Michigan (Mr. Romney’s Web site lists only one campaign office in the state).

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/romneys-unimpressive-ground-game.html

  25. rikyrah says:

    It’s Not Just National, Obama Improving In Swing States Too

    President Obama’s improving national approval numbers are certainly helpful to his re-election efforts — they drive a positive narrative after years of disappointing news on the economy.

    But while nationwide numbers provide a snapshot of the country’s mood, the battle for the presidency will be fought state by state. So are Obama’s numbers also looking up in the all important swing states? It sure looks that way.

    Here is our TPM Poll Average of national approval numbers for President Obama, which now show the President back in positive territory.

    In the historically important swing state of Ohio, Obama’s numbers plummeted during the poisonous debt ceiling fight last summer, as independent voters soured. But the statewide referendum on SB 5, the anti-union measure pushed by state Republicans in the name of curtailing state and local budgets, went down hard and strongly affected the poll numbers on the ground. Obama rebounded, and is nearing positive territory in our TPM Poll Average.

    In the newly christened swing state of North Carolina, which President Obama barely won in 2008, a similar uptick has occurred. In-state pollster Public Policy Polling (D) has tracked Obama’s NC approval closely, and they pointed to his latest numbers (from early February) as significant. “Barack Obama’s approval numbers in North Carolina are the best they’ve been in months and that reflects what we’re seeing across the entire country,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling said in a release at the time. “This will never be an easy state for Democrats at the Presidential level but he has a very good chance of repeating his surprise 2008 victory here.”

    http://2012.talkingpointsmemo.com/2012/02/obama-improving-in-swing-states-too.php?ref=fpnewsfeed

  26. rikyrah says:

    Can Romney Destroy Santorum? Ctd
    Pro-Romney Super PAC Restore Our Future is about to make it rain in eight states. Jonathan Tobin is leery:

    [T]he assumption that a Romney “carpet bombing” of Santorum would achieve the same result as the attacks on Gingrich that have helped derail the former speaker’s presidential hopes is mistaken. Going negative on Gingrich merely reinforced the public’s doubts of the speaker’s character and record. … An assault on Santorum may actually play into his hands, because it will make Romney appear like a bully trying to pick on the one candidate who has tried to run a clean campaign. Moreover, for all of Santorum’s vulnerability on financial issues, the longer the race has gone, the more likeable the Pennsylvanian has seemed. That’s the opposite of what has happened to Gingrich.

    Daniel Larison believes that Romney could successfully attack Santorum from the right. Byron York was privy to a private meeting of conservative “activists and opinion leaders” with Mitt at CPAC:


    In general, a number of participants don’t want to see a repeat of the Romney-Gingrich attacks because a) they feel Santorum doesn’t deserve it, and b) they believe the negativity has been bad for Republicans overall. … “He does recognize the need to hone the message,” says another participant. “That’s why he had the meeting.” Their advice was for him to add more substance and specificity to his speeches. All the exchanges were entirely cordial and non-confrontational — “Nobody criticized him; nobody said please stop reciting ‘America the Beautiful,’” says the participant — but there is no doubt the activists wanted to hear Romney discuss in more detail what he would do if he wins the presidency.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/can-romney-destroy-santorum-ctd.html

  27. rikyrah says:

    Romney condemns auto-industry rescue
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 14, 2012 10:49 AM EST.

    Looking back over the last three years, there’s arguably no better example of a policy Republicans got wrong than the rescue of the American auto industry.

    When President Obama launched his ambitious policy in 2009, he was taking a major gamble — not only with the backbone of American manufacturing, but with his presidency and its ability to use the power of government to repair a private industry facing collapse. As First Read noted at the time, “As the GM bailout goes, so goes the Obama presidency.”

    We now know the gamble paid off. Chrysler has posted its first profit in 15 years; GM is building new American facilities; and plants are operating at a capacity unseen in a long while. General Motors went from the brink of total failure to reclaiming its spot as the world’s top automaker, and as the Wall Street Journal reported earlier this month, “The auto industry hasn’t just turned the corner. It’s starting to accelerate.”

    Had it not been for the Obama administration’s policy, these heartening headlines would have been impossible. And yet, Mitt Romney still isn’t happy.

    In a new Detroit News op-ed, the former Massachusetts governor says he’s glad the industry still exists, but proceeds to complain anyway about the way in which Obama rescued GM and Chrysler from an imminent collapse.


    Three years ago, in the midst of an economic crisis, a newly elected President Barack Obama stepped in with a bailout for the auto industry. The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business. The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama’s management of the American economy are evident in what he did.

    Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them…. By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.

    It takes a fair amount of chutzpah to face a crisis, get it wrong, then whine about the way in which the other guy got it right.

    ——————————————————————————–

    This is a subject Romney would be better off ignoring. After all, in 2009, he famously urged policymakers to “let Detroit go bankrupt.” Romney was so certain Obama’s policy would fail, he said Americans could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if Obama’s policy moved forward in 2009. Indeed, at the time, Romney called the administration’s plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.” He wrote an April 2009 piece in which he said Obama’s plan “would make GM the living dead.”

    With the benefit of hindsight, we now know all of Romney’s warnings were wrong. For him to double down today on the virtues of letting Detroit go bankrupt is just bizarre.

    I’m reminded of this clip, which Democrats gleefully put together last summer.

    Of particular interest is the last quote in the clip, in which a Chrysler executive responded to a Romney quote by saying, “Whoever told you that is smoking illegal material. That market had become absolutely dysfunctional in 2008 and 2009. There were attempts made by a variety of people to find strategic alliances with other car makers on a global scale and the government stepped in, as the actor of last resort. It had to do it because the consequences would have been just too large to deal with.”

    In other words, Romney wasn’t just wrong; he was drug-addled wrong.

    To be sure, the former governor wasn’t the only Obama critic whose predictions now look foolish, but Romney is the one who still likes to pretend he was right.

    Even the complaints themselves are strange. As Marcy Wheeler explained, Romney’s “basically complaining that the bailout preserved the healthcare a bunch of 55+ year old blue collar workers were promised. He’s pissed they got to keep their healthcare. He’s also complaining that banks took a haircut.”

    I haven’t talked to the White House about this, but I suspect if 2012 comes down to a debate over who was right about the auto-industry rescue, Obama likes his chances.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10406236-romney-condemns-auto-industry-rescue

  28. rikyrah says:

    Hatch’s not-so-factual statement
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 14, 2012 1:10 PM EST.

    Last year, Senate Minority Whip Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) got into a little trouble with a false claim about Planned Parenthood. Speaking from the Senate floor, during a GOP push to defund the health organization, Kyl said “over 90 percent of what Planned Parenthood does” is perform abortions.

    When reminded that the actual number is 3 percent, Kyl’s office said his claim was “not intended to be a factual statement.”

    Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) must have missed this story. In a chat with the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Hatch said taxpayers are financing abortions, adding that while Planned Parenthood officials claim public funds aren’t used to terminate unwanted pregnancies, “about 95 percent of all they do, from what I understand, is abortions.”

    Again, the actual number isn’t 90 percent or 95 percent, it’s 3 percent. These guys aren’t even close. As Ezra Klein reminded us a couple of weeks ago, “[T]hough the fight over Planned Parenthood might be about abortion, Planned Parenthood itself isn’t about abortion. It’s primarily about contraception and reproductive health. And if Planned Parenthood loses funding, what will mainly happen is that cancer screenings and contraception and STD testing will become less available to poorer people.”

    What’s more, GOP claims notwithstanding, there’s no evidence whatsoever to suggest Planned Parenthood is ignoring the law and using public funds for abortions.

    Maybe Hatch also didn’t intend this to be a factual statement?
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10407234-hatchs-not-so-factual-statement

  29. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown’s contraception confusion
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 14, 2012 12:41 PM EST.

    We learned last week that six Republican senators and 15 House Republicans co-sponsored an interesting bill in 2001. Though it seems hard to believe now, these 21 GOP lawmakers backed a measure to require insurance plans to cover contraceptive prescriptions.

    As it turns out, they weren’t the only ones. Igor Volsky takes a closer look at Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) background on this issue.

    Massachusetts already requires insurers to carry contraceptive coverage for women and Brown voted for the provision as a member of the Massachusetts Assembly on Jan. 30, 2002, ThinkProgress has learned. At the time, the Catholic Conference of Massachusetts, lobbied against the measure and urged lawmakers to adopt an amendment exempting organizations that are affiliated with the Catholic church or have a moral objection to contraception. Brown supported that provision, but once it failed in a vote of 106 to 49, he voted ‘YES’ on the underlying bill, which only exempted “an employer that is a church or qualified church-controlled organization” from offering birth control. [...]

    Interestingly, Brown also voted for a 2005 bill mandating hospitals to offer emergency contraception to rape victims, even after lawmakers defeated his amendment to allow religious hospitals to opt out of the requirement. Brown split with then-Gov. Mitt Romney on the matter and joined the legislature in overriding his veto.

    In the case of the GOP senators who took a progressive approach to this issue 11 years ago, there’s been no flip-flopping. Only two of those six are still in the chamber, but both have taken a fairly sensible line on the issue.

    But Brown is a very different story. The Massachusetts Republican not only disagrees with his moderate GOP colleagues, he’s also endorsed a far-right proposal to allow all private-sector employers to deny any health services that businesses might find morally objectionable, including access to contraception.

    Common sense suggests Brown has this backwards. In an election year, he’s running in a traditionally Democratic state against a very credible Democratic opponent, but Brown is (a) abandoning the line he embraced when serving in Boston; (b) siding with the most conservative wing of his party against contraception access; and (c) moving to the right, despite polls suggesting strong mainstream support for the president’s policy.

    The senator has not yet explained why he was for contraception access before he was against it, but I’ll look forward to his rationalization on the switch.
    .

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10407100-scott-browns-contraception-confusion

  30. Ametia says:

    Justice Breyer robbed at machete-point during Caribbean vacationBy Bill Mears, CNN Supreme Court Producer
    February 14, 2012 — Updated 1643 GMT (0043 HKT)

    Washington (CNN) — Supreme Court Justice Stephen Breyer was robbed last week by an intruder armed with a machete while Breyer was vacationing on the Caribbean island of Nevis, court officials said Monday.

    Breyer, his wife and two other guests were in the justice’s vacation home at the time, but officials said no one was hurt in the incident.

    The male assailant took $1,000 in cash and fled the scene, according to court spokeswoman Kathy Arberg. The robbery was reported to local authorities shortly after it happened last Thursday night, and local media said no arrests had been made as of Monday.

    A law enforcement official said the evidence so far indicates the incident was “a crime of opportunity,” and that police have seen nothing so far to indicate Breyer was targeted for robbery.

    The U.S. Marshals Service provides protection for members of the high court when they are traveling, and agency spokesman Jeff Carter said Monday that the marshals service “is aware of the incident involving Justice Breyer on the Caribbean island of Nevis and is assisting the Supreme Court Police and local law enforcement authorities with the investigation as needed.” He did not elaborate.

    Video: http://edition.cnn.com/2012/02/13/us/justice-breyer-robbed/index.html

  31. rikyrah says:

    Romney on the precipice
    Santorum is surging toward an improbable win in Michigan — a victory that might just push the juggernaut Romney campaign right off a cliff
    posted on February 13, 2012, at 1:54 PM

    Mitt Romney now has some breathing space vouchsafed by the right-wingers who reluctantly picked him in the Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll, not to mention the Republicans who bothered to show up at the semi-real polling places of the sparsely attended and barely contested Maine caucuses. That breathing space stretches to primaries in Arizona and Michigan on February 28. Lord knows what will come out of Romney’s mouth between now and then.

    At CPAC, Mitt eked out a narrow margin over Rick Santorum after the Romney campaign bought registrations to pad his total and the organization changed the voting rules in a way that benefited the establishment choice. The change was aimed at stopping Ron Paul, who’d won CPAC before, but didn’t attend this year. It’s part of a pattern in this year’s GOP contest — from a “mistake” in Iowa that stole Santorum’s victory on election night to the sudden rediscovery of previously unenforced rules in Virginia that are keeping Santorum and Newt Gingrich off the state’s primary ballot.

    In Maine, where Paul was Mitt’s only active opponent, Romney’s 3 percent victory margin let him escape a disaster that would have compounded his trifecta of defeats in Missouri, Minnesota, and Colorado on February 7; this was supposed to be Mitt’s month, with Newt the beleaguered alternative, but Santorum swept all three contests.

    On the rebound, Romney showed up at CPAC and offered the kind of trademark gaffe that in his campaign is prologue as well as past. He disobeyed his handlers again and spoke off script and off prompter. He’s repeatedly derided President Obama for using a teleprompter, so Romney’s reliance on it is just another flip-flop. Regardless, he ought to stick to the words on the screen. He was supposed to say that he was the “conservative” governor of Massachusetts; instead he extemporaneously proclaimed that he was “severely conservative.”

    http://theweek.com/article/index/224359/romney-on-the-precipice

  32. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 13, 2012THE SMART MOVE IS TO VOTE AS IF NORQUIST IS RIGHT AND SOROS IS WRONG

    In an interview with Fareed Zakaria that aired over the weekend, George Soros predicted that if Mitt Romney becomes president, he’ll pursue an economic stimulus plan:

    George Soros: … the Republicans don’t want to face elections where Obama can claim to have sort of seen the economy recover. So they will continue to push for austerity, no new taxes, and therefore cutting of services, which will depress economic activity and employment.

    After the elections, if the Republicans win, actually they’ll undergo a miraculous transformation where they discover that actually it wouldn’t be so bad if maybe we can afford to have some stimulus.

    Fareed Zakaria: So you think Mitt Romney, if elected would pursue a stimulus bill?

    George Soros: I’m pretty sure that would happen….

    I really, really don’t think so. My gut tells me that Soros is wrong and David Frum’s gloss on the speech Grover Norquist gave at CPAC last week is correct:

    Norquist: Romney Will Do As Told

    … In his charmingly blunt way, Norquist articulated out loud a case for Mitt Romney that you hear only whispered by other major conservative leaders.

    They have reconciled themselves to a Romney candidacy because they see Romney as essentially a weak and passive president who will concede leadership to congressional conservatives….

    The requirement for president?

    Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.

    The principal piece of “legislation that has already been prepared,” and that Romney would rubber-stamp, is, according to Norquist, the Paul Ryan budget.

    I find that entirely plausible. It exactly matches the M.O. of all the GOP governors who got elected in 2010: Get in and start enacting the agenda before the voters know what hit them. (And, yes, I know that doing this got most of the Teabag Year Zero governors into trouble with the voters, but I’m not sure their demise is guaranteed, and I’m not sure they care in any case. I’m sure the Kochs and their allies will take care of all of them if they get big chunks of the wingnut agenda enacted and then lose office via electoral defeat or recall.)

    Many of us assume, like Soros, that the Republicans know they’re destroying the economy through legislative intransigence. I’m not so sure. I think a lot of them by now have actually drunk the Rand/Laffer Kool-Aid and think tax cuts will unleash economic nirvana. I think some sincerely believe that if budget cuts hurt ordinary people, screw ‘em — they should sink or swim in a Randian world. And then there’s Romney, who is just, well, pliable.

    If he’s the nominee, I worry that voters in the middle (and, for that matter, some on the left) will come to the same general conclusion as Soros. But we can’t run that risk. Just to be on the safe side, we have to assume that Norquist is right.

    http://nomoremister.blogspot.com/2012/02/smart-move-is-to-vote-as-if-norquist-is.html

  33. rikyrah says:

    found this in the comments at Balloon Juice about Willard’s new OP-ED about the auto industry:

    82.patrick II – February 14, 2012 | 11:30 am · Link

    The core of Romney’s bankruptcy argument is that pension funds should be used to pay creditors. Romney complains in his op-ed that secured creditors were not paid first with money that had been obligated to workers’ pensions. It is a consistent position for a person who made much of his money by borrowing against a companies assets, including worker’s pensions, forcing the company into bankruptcy and leaving the workers’ pension fund to pay creditors and left it empty while he walked away with millions.

    That is bad enough. But those were the rules of the game at the time, so it was legal if morally reprehensible business plan.

    The problem is, as Mitt tells us in his op-ed, Mitt sees nothing wrong with that. He doesn’t think that law should be changed. Mitt thinks that people who are paid a salary earned through their labor, but have it deferred to retirement by placing it in a retirement fund, should have the money in that account stolen from them by the first vulture capitalist who can leverage a loan against it.

    Mitt thinks that stealing money earned by years of labor and impoverishing thousands of workers is a good thing. He calls it capitalism’s creative destruction. And while there is a place for creative destruction—the reorganization and re-use of capital now tied up in unprofitable enterprise, stealing earned money from employees is not creative, it is destructive. Destructive of the lives of people who labored years for that money. Destructive of lives, and destructive of the social bonds which are supposed to hold us together.

    Mitt is an asshole not just because he has himself practiced vulture capitalism, but because he thinks he is right to do so and prefers to have a government and laws under which that practice is continued. He lacks the imagination and empathy to think otherwise.

    The banality of evil, like the crazification factor is a theme that reappears often in BJ discussions. With Mitt and Santorum as their final two candidates the republican party has reached the apogee of both.

  34. Ametia says:

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012
    White Tea Party U.S.A.: We Want to Suckle at the Government Tit, But There is No Space for People Like You

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012
    White Tea Party U.S.A.: We Want to Suckle at the Government Tit, But There is No Space for People Like You

    Politics is complicated. Human beings like scripts, phrases, mnemonics, shorthand, and catchy phrases with which to make sense of the world. In American politics, there are a litany of such devices that work as heuristics, decision rules, and guides for voting and making sense of one’s political decision-making.

    For example, “what have you done for me lately?” Or, “the personal is political.” “Not in my backyard,” is another good one. I have also been partial to the classic “it’s not what you say in politics, it’s how you say it.”

    Read the rest of it here:

    http://wearerespectablenegroes.blogspot.com/2012/02/we-want-to-suckle-at-government-tit-but.html

  35. rikyrah says:

    The payroll cut’s clouded future
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 14, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    It certainly looked like a breakthrough. Mid-day yesterday, House Republican leaders, who’d insisted for months that the payroll tax break be fully paid for, made an unexpected reversal, abandoning their central demand.

    So, is it a done deal? Time to move on to the next fight? Not just yet.

    GOP leaders surrendered yesterday — and incidentally, stepped all over their own Budget Day message about the deficit — but they have not yet won over their own members. Indeed, the party leadership apparently didn’t even communicate the plan to their own caucuses.


    The announcement shocked rank-and-file members, who were back in their House districts. Senate Republicans were likewise caught off guard — even one GOP leader who was trying to negotiate a compromise had no idea it was coming.

    And conservative ire rose throughout the day, threatening to derail Speaker John Boehner’s plan to take the thorny issue off the table. [...]

    More than a half-dozen House Republicans, reached directly by POLITICO, declined to comment on the record about the decision, saying they wanted to hear the case from their leadership when they return Tuesday…. But speaking without attribution, the lawmakers were far less cautious and expressed extreme discomfort with the reversal.

    House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and his leadership team believe their rank-and-file members will come around eventually. We are, after all, talking about a middle-class tax cut during an election year. But over the last year, there have been plenty of instances in which the House GOP leaders have done the following, and the followers have done the leading.

    Boehner simply isn’t a strong enough Speaker to set the agenda and tell his caucus to get in line behind him. He may have endorsed yesterday’s capitulation, but whether Boehner has the votes to pass it is far less clear.

    Also note, the relationship between rank-and-file House Republicans and the GOP leadership has been deeply strained following a lengthy series of disputes. Yesterday’s surrender on a policy most House GOP members don’t even like will not help repair the fissure.

    But let’s say for the sake of discussion that Boehner & Co. get this done and drag the bill across the finish line. Will it be smooth sailing in the Senate? Of course not.

    ——————————————————————————–

    Senate Republicans, like their House counterparts, generally don’t want to extend the middle-class tax cut in the first place, and they’re especially unhappy about doing so through deficit financing (the GOP only approves of passing tax breaks without paying for them when there’s a Republican president). But the folks to keep an eye on in this process are Senate Democrats.

    Initially, Senate Dems couldn’t believe their good fortune when House GOP leaders caved yesterday. Upon further reflection, though, Democratic leaders in the upper chamber remembered they’re holding the stronger hand in this fight and thought of a way to exploit that leverage.

    Brian Beutler discussed this on last night’s show and ran this report at TPM.


    “We might amend it [the unpaid-for payroll tax cut] with UI and doc fix over here and … the amends would be hard for Republicans to vote against, because we have worked with Republicans to find pay-fors for those pieces that are attractive to them.”

    The doc fix and UI extensions cost together about $60 billion — Dems think they can cover that cost over 10 years in ways that Republicans will have to accept. If that’s correct, the whole saga could end with a quick ping pong game between the House and the Senate.

    This may sound complicated, but it’s actually a pretty clever strategy. The House may pass the payroll break, without trying to pay for it. If that happens, Senate Democrats want to put back the parts Republicans took out — extended unemployment benefits and the Medicare “doc fix” — while making sure those provisions are paid for.

    The thinking is, this would give everyone what they want: Dems and the GOP would agree on the payroll tax cut, and on the other measures, Dems would approve the policies without deficit financing.

    What’s more, Democrats believe the House would have little choice but to pass this amended bill, since they will have addressed all of the Republican concerns.

    Congress will, however, have to hurry — the payroll break expires two weeks from tomorrow.

    http://maddowblog.msnbc.msn.com/_news/2012/02/14/10404955-the-payroll-cuts-clouded-future.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Monday, February 13, 2012
    Happy Birthday To Blume!
    Posted by Bon The Geek

    I guess you can read if you want, but most male readers will want to skip this one. Sorry, fellas.

    Yesterday, Judy Blume turned 74. I believe every girl in my age range read at least one of her books, but I hadn’t thought about Tiger Eyes for at least two decades. It made me read a little about who she was and how she managed to reach a nearly universal appeal with girls twelve through fifteen. Then I remembered how funny and realistic the characters were. Parents said stupid things sometimes, and the kids were just as mean and unfiltered as they are in real life. At a time when most fiction was shallow and safe (Sweet Valley High, anyone?), Blume challenged the market by giving us a story that had warts and tears and those argh moments only a teenage girl can know. She was unflinching when it came to the difficult parts of life, and that gritty sort of storytelling was magical in its liberation. We could be cranky, we could make mistakes, we would survive no matter what life hurled at us. We were introduced to compassion and morals at the time we were forming ideas about the world.

    I do vaguely remember some discussions about whether Blume crossed the lines of being appropriate. My general memories say that parents were offended by the material, but couldn’t quote an example or specific reason. My parents let me read anything I wanted and always had, so I watched the debate from the outside. Blubber was just what I needed to read at that age in life, however. I really did feel for both Jill and Linda in different parts of the story, and going to small school full of cliques had left me feeling unsure of school friendships. This totally accurate portrayal of how fast popularity can turn in on itself was as much of a warning as the realization that the teasing eventually moves on is a balm for the victims. It also touched on racism, and was an introduction on why it was wrong and how to react when confronted with racism. Her books really did prepare me for some of life’s ugliness and gave us a chance to work out those ideas in our head before life blindsided us with the scariest beast in the world: the sixteen-year-old she-bitch.

    Tiger Eyes is going to be released as a movie soon, with Blume’s son directing. A story that teaches kids about grief and loss, it will likely be updated but contain the same message that it’s okay to be sad and life goes on (as it should). For kids who have lost a loved one or have just felt a strong fear of death, Tiger Eyes is the perfect introduction to the grief process as well as starting a discussion with kids just now realizing that parents are human and therefore can die.

    Happy birthday, madam. I think I’ll head to Amazon now and order a copy of Are You There, God? It’s Me, Margaret for my youngest niece. I still have my copy, but there is something special about having your own.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2012/02/happy-birthday-to-blume.html

  37. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012
    The GOP Gets That Poll-Asked Look, Yet Again
    Posted by Zandar

    Both the latest Public Policy Polling and Pew Research polls contain some very interesting data to pore over. First, both polls show Santorum now ahead of Romney. PPP has him up BIG in Michigan’s primary at the end of the month, 39-24%, while Pew has a much narrower 30-28% lead for Frothmaster General nationally. Either one is very, very bad news for Mittens.

    PPP’s poll concentrates on the upcoming Michigan primary, which is open. Among Democrats and Independents polled, Santorum is doing very well (which makes me think more than a few Michigan Dems want to stick it to Mitt “Let Detroit Die” Romney and prolong the pain, if you’re a Michigan Dem, make sure you ruin Mittens’ day, will you?)

    Nationally, Santorum’s lead in the polls is majorly helped by Christian evangelicals and Tea Party voters, both of whom are for Santorum nationally at 40%+ and rising. The conservatives are beginning to lock on to Ricky here, and that can’t be good for Mitt at all.

    If Mitt can’t close the gap in Michigan especially, where his own father was governor, then Super Tuesday may just be the event that breaks this open into a brokered convention.

    And I can’t wait. Chaos reigns supreme.

    http://zandarvts.blogspot.com/2012/02/gop-gets-that-poll-asked-look-yet-again.html

  38. rikyrah says:

    Mormon Baptism Of Wiesenthal Kin Sparks Jewish Outrage
    by Howard Berkes

    Two decades of anger, apologies and agreements have failed to keep the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints from ending posthumous Mormon baptisms of prominent Jews and holocaust victims.

    In the latest incident, the parents of the late Simon Wiesenthal, a survivor of a Nazi death camp and an advocate for holocaust victims, were baptized in a Mormon ceremony.

    “We are outraged that such insensitive actions continue in the Mormon Temples,” said Rabbi Abraham Cooper, associate director of the Simon Wiesenthal Center in Los Angeles. “Further meetings with Church leaders on this matter are useless.”

    The Wiesenthal baptism was first reported by the Salt Lake Tribune. The Wiesenthal Center has posted an image of the Wiesenthal baptism record on its website.

    The Mormon Church responded with an apology and an unprecedented public rebuke of the responsible Church member.

    “These submissions were clearly against the policy of the Church,” says spokesman Michael Purdy. “We consider this a serious breach of our protocol and we have suspended indefinitely this person’s ability to access our genealogy records.”

    http://www.npr.org/blogs/thetwo-way/2012/02/14/146854645/mormon-baptism-of-wiesenthal-kin-sparks-jewish-outrage

  39. rikyrah says:

    Voter Rolls Are Rife With Inaccuracies, Report FindsBy ADAM LIPTAK
    Published: February 14, 2012

    The nation’s voter registration rolls are in disarray, according to a report released Tuesday by the Pew Center on the States. The problems have the potential to affect the outcomes of local, state and federal elections.

    One in eight active registrations is invalid or inaccurate. At the same time, one in four people who are eligible to vote — at least 51 million potential voters — are not registered.

    The report found that there are about 1.8 million dead people listed as active voters. Some 2.8 million people have active registrations in more than one state. And 12 million registrations have errors serious enough to make it unlikely that mailings based on them will reach voters.

    “These problems waste taxpayer dollars, undermine voter confidence and fuel partisan disputes over the integrity of our elections,” said David Becker, director of election initiatives at the center.

    Mr. Becker warned that poor record keeping at the registration stage is not evidence of fraud at polling places. “These bad records are not leading to fraud but could lead to the perception of fraud,” he said.

    What seems clear is that many people who are eligible to vote and want to do so fail because of flaws in the registration rolls. In 2008, roughly “2.2 million votes were lost because of registration problems,” according to a report from the Voting Technology Project of the California Institute of Technology and the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

    Heather Gerken, a law professor at Yale, said the new report from Pew quantified and illuminated just how poorly the election system manages its most fundamental task.

    “Until Bush v. Gore, election administration was the dirty little secret of elections,” she said, referring to the Supreme Court decision that delivered the 2000 election to George W. Bush after poorly run elections in Florida. “And registration has always been the dirty little secret of election administration.”

    The flaws in the voter registration rolls have a disproportionately negative impact on mobile populations, including students and other young people, the poor and members of the military, the Pew report found.

    “It’s not clear that it has a uniform partisan effect,” Nathaniel Persily, a law professor and political scientist at Columbia, said of those findings. But he added that “it is now pretty clear that Democrats want to enact measures that make voter registration easier, and Republicans fear that would be an invitation to fraud.”

    http://www.nytimes.com/2012/02/14/us/politics/us-voter-registration-rolls-are-in-disarray-pew-report-finds.html?_r=2

  40. rikyrah says:

    Goldwatering All Over Himself
    by mistermix

    Mitt Romney’s new anti-Detroit-bailout Op Ed in the Detroit News includes bonus union bashing to prove the severity of his conservatism. Since 62% of Republicans in Michigan oppose the bailout, versus 36% of the overall population, Romney has to double down on bailout bashing in a desperate effort to erase Santorum’s 15 point lead in that state.

    We all know that Santorum is toxic as a national candidate, but the problem for Romney is the only way to beat Santorum is to adopt the same anti-gay, anti-woman and anti-progress positions in the primaries and bet that he can somehow reverse course this Fall. The longer the contest draws out, the more Romney has to pander, and the more he turns himself into the Goldwater-like candidate that the Republican establishment is desperate to avoid. There are two more debates before Super Tuesday and Mitt’s going to have to be pretty fucking severe if he hopes to keep up with the new front-runner.

    Speaking of self-administered Goldwater, does Chris Christie really think that vetoing gay marriage is going to look smart in 2016? My guess is that he’ll look like a reactionary pandering to an ever-shrinking minority—in other words, just like Barry G.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/02/14/goldwatering-all-over-himself/

  41. rikyrah says:

    This Santorum Thing is Getting Interesting
    Posted on 02/13/2012 at 3:18 pm by Bob Cesca
    The latest polling shows Santorum essentially tied with Romney nationwide. Why?

    Part of the reason for Santorum’s surge is his own high level of popularity. 64% of voters see him favorably to only 22% with a negative one. But the other, and maybe more important, reason is that Republicans are significantly souring on both Romney and Gingrich.

    This is hilarious. Every time I read about Republicans rallying around Santorum it makes me smile ear-to-ear because it would be like the Democrats nominating Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich — a fringe candidate who has no chance of winning and every chance of generating a massive landslide in favor of the other candidate. No one in the moderate swing states will pay attention to fringe candidates of either party. That’s why it’s suicide to nominate them. That’s why Kucinich on the left, Ron Paul on the right, etc, etc, will never be nominated by their party.

    And now it looks increasingly good for Santorum to actually squeak out an upset nomination here. Unbelievable, especially for a guy who was laughed out of Pennsylvania in 2006, and now he might actually win this thing.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/02/this-santorum-thing-is-getting-interesting.html

  42. rikyrah says:

    Where Are All These Free Emergency Rooms?
    Posted on 02/13/2012 at 11:50 am by Bob Cesca
    Ann Coulter on Fox Business:

    Since the healthcare reform debate, I’ve been hearing references to these free emergency rooms. Every time I’ve been to an ER, they charged the shit out of me. Can someone please explain where these ERs are located and how you manage to be treated without payment or collection agencies pestering around the clock?

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/02/where-are-all-these-free-emergency-rooms.html

  43. rikyrah says:

    Woops! That Wasn’t The Plan
    Posted on 02/13/2012 at 2:00 pm by JM Ashby
    Remember the racist commercial released by Pete Hoekstra of Michigan during the Superbowl?

    According to ABC News, that commercial didn’t exactly have the intended effect on the electorate Hoekstra was hoping for.

    The racially insensitive campaign ad that ignited an onslaught of criticism against Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra has inspired a flood of fundraising for his chief rival, incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich.

    Within hours after the Hoekstra ad aired during the Super Bowl Feb. 5, featuring an Asian girl commending “Debbie Spend-It-Now” in broken English for shipping U.S. jobs to China, Stabenow launched a money “bomb” in response to what she called the “shocking” and “nasty” ad.

    As of Friday, Stabenow’s money “bomb” had brought in $155,720, about $11,000 more than Hoekstra spent on the ad attacking her.

    Woops! It’s good to know that there are areas of the country where blatant racism doesn’t pay off.

    Hoekstra’s website associated with the commercial, which was arguably even more offensive than the commercial was, has been taken down.

    Also – both sides aren’t the same, contrary to what Chuck Todd would have you believe.

    http://bobcesca.com/blog-archives/2012/02/woops-that-wasnt-the-plan.html

  44. rikyrah says:

    Lawrence O’Donnell did very respectful segments dedicated to Whitney Houston last night. I really liked the one with Kelly Price, though the others were good too.

  45. rikyrah says:

    One Right To Rule Them All
    Alexander Keyssar fears voter suppression:

    The current wave of procedural restrictions on voting, including strict photo ID requirements, ought to be understood as the latest chapter in a not always uplifting story: Americans of both parties have sometimes rejected democratic values or preferred partisan advantage to fair democratic processes. Acknowledging the realities of our history should lead all of us to be profoundly skeptical of laws that burden, or impede, the exercise of what Lyndon B. Johnson called “the basic right, without which all others are meaningless.” More is at stake here than the outcome of the 2012 election. Even a cursory survey of world events over the last 20 — or 100 — years makes plain that democracies are fragile, that democratic institutions can be undermined from within. Ours are no exception.

    http://andrewsullivan.thedailybeast.com/2012/02/the-basic-right.html

  46. rikyrah says:

    Obama Budget Doubles Infrastructure Funds While Cutting Programs
    QBy Heidi Przybyla and Kathleen Hunter – Feb 13, 2012 12:16 PM CT

    President Barack Obama would almost double spending on the U.S. infrastructure over the next six years and would pour $350 billion into a jobs plan while reducing the budgets of most other domestic agencies.

    The blueprint for the fiscal 2013 budget released today would spend $476 billion through 2018 on highway, bridge and mass transit projects, funded in part by winding down the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. It would cut some energy programs, farm subsidies and federal workers’ retirement plans, while bulking up the Securities and Exchange Commission and creating a panel to investigate unfair foreign trade practices.

    Investing in the nation’s transportation grid is a fresh attempt to create jobs for a president facing re-election this year amid voter concern about the economy and unemployment at 8.3 percent in January. Republican congressional leaders rejected the proposal as a political program that wouldn’t do much to curb the deficit and has little chance of becoming law.

    Senate Republican Leader Mitch McConnell of Kentucky called the proposal a “campaign document” designed to win votes rather than help the economy. “The president is shirking his responsibility to lead and using this budget to divide,” McConnell said in a statement. “It will make the economy worse.”

    http://www.bloomberg.com/news/2012-02-13/infrastructure-funds-would-double-in-obama-s-plan-while-agency-budgets-cut.html

  47. rikyrah says:

    How Grover views a President Romney…
    by Dennis G.

    Some folks (here and here) are directing attention to a post by David Frum about the speech Grover Norquist gave to CPAC last weekend. In his annual address to the Mavens and acolytes of Wingnutopia, Norquist celebrated Mitt Romney’s emptiness and cravenness as virtues:


    “All we have to do is replace Obama. … We are not auditioning for fearless leader. We don’t need a president to tell us in what direction to go. We know what direction to go. We want the Ryan budget. … We just need a president to sign this stuff. We don’t need someone to think it up or design it. The leadership now for the modern conservative movement for the next 20 years will be coming out of the House and the Senate. [...]

    Pick a Republican with enough working digits to handle a pen to become president of the United States. This is a change for Republicans: the House and Senate doing the work with the president signing bills. His job is to be captain of the team, to sign the legislation that has already been prepared.”

    Grover has Mitt Romney’s number. Romney has proven during his five-year run for the White House that he will say and/or do anything to please the potentates, money-men, gasbags and self-appointed leaders of the modern CONservative movement. He has a complete inability to tell any of these weasels “NO” to any request. Romney is spineless, but for Grover that is a virtue. At CPAC Grover made the case that conservatives shouldn’t worry about voting for Mittens because he will do what he is told to do and will not make waves. According to Grover, Mitt and the other clown car race contestants are trained monkeys who will view signing their names—when order to do so—as their only duty of office. As I said, Grover has Mitt’s number and he made the strongest CONservative case yet to support the well oiled weather vane from Massachusetts.

    I’ve been reading a lot about George Romney, Mitt’s father. He was an impressive guy with core values, beliefs and principles that he had the courage to fight for throughout his life. George Romney fought his Party and his Church over Civil Rights and he was on the side of justice. As I learn more about George Romney, I wonder, “Why was such a good man cursed with a son like Mitt?”

    Where the father was strong, the son is weak. Where the father had beliefs, the son has none. Where the father focused on the needs of others, the son focused on his selfish wants. And when the crazies of his day said “Follow us and do what we say”, George Romney said “NO” and stood his ground. And when the crazies of today bark orders to Mitt, he just grovels, falls in line and says “tell me what to say and do”.

    George Romney deserved a better son.

    http://www.balloon-juice.com/2012/02/13/how-grover-views-a-president-romney/

  48. Fox News Pundit’s Disturbing Comments About Rape

    http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2012/02/13/fox-news-liz-trotta-rape_n_1274018.html#comments

    Fox News pundit Liz Trotta made a series of incendiary statements about rape in the military during a Sunday appearance on the network.

    Trotta was reacting to news that the military will allow women to work closer to the front lines. Speaking to Fox News host Eric Shawn, she alleged that feminists wanted “to be warriors and victims at the same time.”

    She cited a recent Pentagon report that sex crimes committed by army personnel have increased by 64% over the past six years. Then she made a startling statement:

    “I think they have actually discovered there is a difference between men and women. And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect? These people are in close contact, the whole airing of this issue has never been done by Congress, it’s strictly been a question of pressure from the feminists.”

    JavaScript required to play Liz Trotter.

    • And the sexual abuse report says that there has been, since 2006, a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults. Now, what did they expect?

      Trotta responded that the purpose of the military is “to defend and protect us, not the people who were fighting the war.”

      OMFG! Can someone tell me why this hateful heffa still has a job? Pray tell, what kind of woman would utter such vile ignoramus bs?

    • rikyrah says:

      I thought I’d come back when I had some words, but even after reading this 5 times, I have no words.

      they are ALL SOCIOPATHS ON FOX.

      the entire lot of them.

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