Wednesday Open Thread

Hugh Ramopolo Masekela (born April 4, 1939) is a South African trumpeter, flugelhornist, cornetist, composer, and singer. He is the father of American television host Sal Masekela.

Masekela was born in Kwa-Guqa Township, Witbank, South Africa. He began singing and playing piano as a child. At age 14, after seeing the film Young Man With a Horn (in which Kirk Douglas plays a character modeled after American jazz trumpeter Bix Beiderbecke), he took up playing the trumpet. His first trumpet was given to him by Archbishop Trevor Huddleston, the anti-apartheid chaplain at St. Peter’s Secondary School.[1]

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 Wednesday Open Thread

  1. Marine One with US President Barack Obama aboard and a support helicopter fly over the Pacific Ocean off the coast of Los Angeles, California, February 15, 2012. Obama is traveling to attend a series of Democratic campaign fundraisers in Beverly Hills, California.

  2. U.S. President Barack Obama arrives at Los Angeles International Airport, February 15, 2012.

  3. Mitt Romney to auto industry…

    Smiley Run Over By Train


    NEW YORK — Fans worldwide who want to bid Whitney Houston farewell will be able to watch her private funeral on the Internet.

    Her publicist, Kristen Foster, announced that The Associated Press will be allowed a camera at the Saturday ceremony in Newark, N.J. The AP will stream the service on . The event also will be available to broadcasters via satellite.

    Houston was born in Newark. She died in Beverly Hills, Calif., on Saturday at the age of 48. Her body was flown back to her native New Jersey on Monday.

    The service will be at New Hope Baptist Church, where she sang as a child. She will be buried in Fair View Cemetery in Westfield, where her father, John Russell Houston Jr., was buried in 2003.

  5. Dannie Owens @DAOWENS44

    Westboro Baptist Church to picket Whitney Houston’s funeral | The Raw Story

  6. HuffPost Politics @HuffPostPol

    Joe Kennedy III set to announce run for Barney Frank’s House seat

  7. Obama for America FL @OFA_FL

    Tomorrow: First Lady Michelle Obama is holding a conference call with organizers and volunteers in #Florida. http://OFA.BO/viNDgd

  8. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan forgets the recent past
    By Steve Benen – Wed Feb 15, 2012 3:36 PM EST.

    The bipartisan agreement on the payroll tax break is not yet final, though officials in both parties on Capitol Hill are optimistic about the deal coming together. Some high-profile opponents, however, remain unconvinced.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Wednesday that he has “a problem” with the tentative agreement to extend the payroll tax cut without paying for it.

    Ryan warned that the move could erode the Social Security Trust Fund, which is funded by the payroll tax.

    “Members on our side of the aisle are divided on this question. I personally have a problem with what happens with the Social Security trust fund….”

    There are main problems with this. The first is that Paul Ryan took the opposite position when the economy faced a mild downturn in 2001. The congressman has not yet explained the contradiction.

    The second and more serious problem is the notion that Ryan is somehow concerned about the integrity of Social Security. Remember Ryan “Roadmap” budget plan? It had quite a few interesting ideas related to Social Security.

    The Ryan plan proposes large cuts in Social Security benefits — roughly 16 percent for the average new retiree in 2050 and 28 percent in 2080 from price indexing alone — and initially diverts most of these savings to help fund private accounts rather than to restore Social Security solvency.

    What’s more, as recently as September, Ryan also endorsed the idea that the Social Security system is a “Ponzi scheme.”

    It gets back to a topic we discussed yesterday: those who oppose Social Security shouldn’t pretend to be its champions. If Paul Ryan opposes the middle-class tax cut, he should say so, and not behind a transparent fig leaf.

  9. GOP demands apology for Obama campaign manager’s ‘chimichanga’ tweet

    Republicans are demanding an apology Wednesday from President Obama’s campaign manager after a tweet that they argue was insulting toward Latino Americans.

    Jim Messina, who is helming the president’s reelection effort, tweeted a line from a column written by The Washington Post’s Dana Milbank, in which he argues that Republicans will struggle to attract the Latino vote after coming out against the DREAM immigration reform act.

    “Line of the day from WAPO’s Dana Milbank: ‘The chimichanga? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer Latinos,’ ” Messina tweeted.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 09:24 AM PST.

    Senate will vote on repeal of administration’s birth control mandate
    by Joan McCarter

    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid announced Tuesday that the Senate will vote on the amendment by Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO) to repeal the administration’s birth control mandate. Of course, Blunt’s amendment would go much further than just allowing employers and insurers to refuse to provide coverage for birth control. It would allow any employer to reject coverage for any health service, if they find it “morally” objectionable.

    Reid blocked the amendment when Republicans tried to push it last week, before President Obama announced his accommodation for religiously affiliated non-profits covered by the new rule. That accommodation gives Democrats more leverage in using this as a wedge issue to demonstrate just how extreme and out of touch with mainstream opinion the Republicans are, which public opinion polling continues to demonstrate.

    Sen. Barbara Boxer (D-CA), who has strongly condemned the Blunt amendment, welcomes this vote for that reason.

    “Let them bring it to the floor,” the California Democrat told MSNBC’s Al Sharpton Tuesday night. “We are ready to vote. This is so extreme.”
    Boxer argued that the language of the amendment is so broad that it would enable employers to exploit the use of moral objection to deny their employees insurance.

    “Let’s use an example. Let’s say somebody believes that medicine doesn’t cure anybody of a disease but prayer does,” she said. “And then they decide no medicine. No medicine. And under the Blunt amendment, they could do just that.”


  11. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012 12:10 PM

    Two-Front War for Santorum?
    By Ed Kilgore

    This is certainly a fine day for thinly-sourced reports of developments that could roil the GOP nomination contest. Hot on the heels of the BuzzFeed report that Team Romney is ready to pummel Rick Santorum comes a Wall Street Journal scoop suggesting that poor Rick could be about to get it in the neck from Newt Gingrich’s Super PAC thanks to another big check—perhaps as much as $10 million—from Sheldon Adelson. According to the Journal’s Alicia Mundy and Alexandra Berzon, Adelson doesn’t like Santorum’s hard-core anti-choice positions (not that they are terribly different from those of Sheldon’s boy Newt), and may actually be trying to indirectly help Mitt Romney, who has been courting Adelson rather overtly for weeks.

    In a bit of political chess, Mr. Adelson is ready to not only directly support the former House speaker in the Republican primary, but to use his cash to push Rick Santorum from his position atop the latest national polls, according to people who have discussed the matter with Mr. Adelson.
    If Mr. Gingrich could afford to continue campaigning, one of those people said, he might be able to draw off conservative and evangelical voters from Mr. Santorum, improving the chances of Mitt Romney, who Mr. Adelson believes has a better chance to win November’s general election.
    “Sheldon says we all have to keep our eyes on the goal here—beating Obama,” said a person who talked with Mr. Adelson.

    Assuming Adelson really is playing a double game, it will be interesting to see where Winning Our Future spends his money. If the main idea is to stop the Santorum Surge, it might be a good idea to help Mitt take Rick down in the 2/28 primary states of Michigan and Arizona. If the Prime Objective is to prop up Newt, then it might be more prudent to target the southern states voting on Super Tuesday (OK, TN, and Gingrich’s home state of GA, where Santorum seems to be making a real move).

    Unless all these reports are bogus, the one thing that does seem clear is Rick Santorum’s days of floating along with a high favorable-unfavorable ratio while Romney and Gingrich roll around in the mud are about to come to an abrupt end. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Wed Feb 15, 2012 at 08:00 AM PST.

    Republican fundraiser on Mitt Romney’s problem: ‘You run out of people you can hit up for $2,500’
    by Jed Lewison

    BuzzFeed’s Zeke Miller takes a look at a provocative question: is Mitt Romney’s campaign on the verge of facing a cash crunch? Romney’s campaign says everything is fine, pointing to recent fundraisers and a $1.3 million ad buy in Michigan, but Miller talks with several anonymous Republican fundraisers in New York who say Romney has a problem.
    At the core of it? Romney’s fundraising is extremely top heavy, relying overwhelmingly on big dollar contributors. Unlike President Obama, just 9% of Mitt Romney’s financial support comes from small donors. A campaign can always resolicit small donors, but big donors are limited to $2,500—and as one Republican fundraiser told Miller: “You run out of people you can hit up for $2,500.”

    According to Miller, another GOP fundraiser said Romney is “tapping out” the donor network in big cities, where donors feel it is “embarrassing” to ask for money to help Romney beat Santorum given that (in their view) Santorum should be so easy to beat. Ultimately, the problem may come down to the simple fact that Mitt Romney is running a lackluster campaign. As another Republican fundraiser told Miller, Romney is “a Republican John Kerry running Hillary Clinton’s campaign.”

    But don’t feel too sorry for Mitt Romney. If money does dry up, there’s always his Super PAC … and short of that, I hear he’s got a nice pile of cash tucked away in the Caymans. A rainy day fund, if you will

  13. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012 2:14 PM

    A Controversy From Hell for Mitt Romney
    By Ed Kilgore

    If, God forbid, I were part of Mitt Romney’s press operation, this headline from HuffPost popping up in my inbox would make me strongly consider calling it a day and reporting myself sick:

    Elie Wiesel: Mitt Romney Should Tell Mormon Church To Stop Performing Posthumous Proxy Baptisms On Jews

    Yes, spurring a sudden burst of high-profile attention for a long-simmering controversy, the Nobel Peace Prize Winner and Holocaust survivor has called out America’s most famous Mormon not named Osmond to try to change an exotic (and to outsiders, a tad bizarre) LDS practice that has drifted into the toxic territory of Christian insensitivity to Jews. Here’s the brief summary from Andrea Stone:

    The Nobel Peace Prize winner spoke to The Huffington Post Tuesday soon after HuffPost reported that according to a formerly-Mormon researcher, Helen Radkey, some members of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints had submitted Wiesel’s name to a restricted genealogy website as “ready” for posthumous proxy baptism….

    The incident follows years of controversy and efforts by Jewish leaders, including Wiesel, to get the Mormon Church to stop the practice of posthumous proxy baptism that many find objectionable.

    “I think it’s scandalous. Not only objectionable, it’s scandalous,” Wiesel said of the baptisms.
    Negotiations between Mormon and Jewish leaders led to an agreement in 1995 for the church to stop the posthumous baptism of all Jews, except in the case of direct ancestors of Mormons, but Radkey says she found that some Mormons had failed to adhere to the agreement. Wiesel was among a group of Jewish leaders who campaigned against the practice and prompted a 2010 pact by which the Mormon Church promised to at least prevent proxy baptism requests for Holocaust victims. Wiesel said that proxy baptisms have been performed on behalf of 650,000 Holocaust dead.

    Wiesel’s complaint comes on the very heels of an apology from LDS officials for an unauthorized posthumous baptism of famed Nazi-hunter Simon Wiesenthal.

    Totally aside from issues involving Jews generally and Holocaust victims specifically, the controversy is likely to draw unwelcome and potentially hostile attention to the whole LDS practice of posthumous proxy baptisms (baptism of the dead, particularly ancestors of LDS members) an important Mormon rite that is closely connected to the better-known Mormon interest in genealogy.

    Presumably Mitt Romney will try very hard to ignore the whole controversy, and/or defer to LDS officials. But if it blows up into a major public discussion, it will obviously be difficult for him to avoid or to address without wading into the weeds of strange-sounding (to “Gentiles,” as Mormons call non-believers) practices or looking disloyal to his Church. I’m sure his campaign would love to see a very active news day to bury—no pun intended—the story.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:36 PM ET, 02/15/2012
    Mitt Romney’s one percent problem isn’t going away
    By Greg Sargent

    One last batch of numbers from the New York Times/CBS poll:

    In general, do you think the policies proposed by Mitt Romney favor the rich, favor the middle class, favor the poor, or do they treat all groups equally?
    Favor the rich: 53
    Favor the middle class: 11
    Favor the poor: 1
    Treat all equally: 22
    Fifty three percent of independents say Romney’s policies favor the rich; only 10 percent of them say they favor the middle class. Also:

    Do you think Mitt Romney does or does not understand the needs and problems of peoplelike yourself?
    Yes: 31
    No: 58
    Sixty one percent of independents say Romney does not understand their needs and problems; only 27 percent of them say he does. On this question, Rick Santorum does better, with an even split among overall respondents of 37-37.

    Obama is faring better than Romney on these questions, too. Only 25 percent overall say Obama’s policies favor the rich, while 19 percent say they favor the middle class, 20 percent say they favor the poor, and 26 percent say they treat everyone equally. Fifty four percent say Obama understands the needs of people like themselves; independents say the same, 49-45.

    The other day, Dem pollster Peter Hart articulated a theory of the GOP nomination process to me: He suggested that as independents got to know Romney better, they were concluding on some fundamental level that he just isn’t their guy, that he isn’t the person who will fight their fight, that he’s from “a different world.” These new numbers only reinforce this view.

    There will still be time for Romney to reintroduce himself to these voters on better terms if he becomes the nominee. But these findings again suggest the possibility that the drawn out nomination process is revealing general election weaknesses that had been papered over by his rivals’ far worse flaws. More and more observers are beginning to question the assumption that Romney is the most electable GOPer, and as Nate Silver notes today, Santorum may have some advantages that Romney lacks. Today’s numbers won’t hurt this case.

  15. PETER MAER @petermaercbs

    President Obama to speak at groundbreaking for Smithsonian National Museum of African American History and Culture. Feb 22 in DC.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:09 AM ET, 02/15/2012
    Why birth control is a good wedge issue against the GOP
    By Greg Sargent

    Some time around the end of February, the Senate will vote on the Blunt-Rubio amendment, which would allow insurers and employers to deny coverage for birth control or any other medical services simply on the grounds that they find them morally objectionable.

    The vote was originally set for this week, but a Senate Dem leadership aide confirms to me that it will actually take place after next week’s recess, for various procedural reasons. The aide insists this will gives Dems more time to attack Republicans over the issue. “It gives us more time to build up the vote and draw more attention to the cliff Republicans are going out of their way to jump off of,” the aide says.

    I’ve been speculating here that this could actually prove a good wedge issue against the GOP, in spite of the fact that much of the commentary has focued on how bad this could be for Democrats, because it could hurt them among Catholic swing voters.

    Some new numbers sent my way suggest that it really could be problematic for Republicans.

    Today’s New York Times/CBS poll asks: “Do you support or oppose a recent federal requirement that private health insurance plans cover the full cost of birth control for their female patients?”

    This is Obama’s new accommodation policy, which the Blunt amendment would roll back completely and go considerably further in the process. Sixty six percent support this federal requirement; only 26 percent oppose it.

    CBS’s polling team sends over a partisan breakdown of the answers, and it’s even more striking:

    * Even Republicans support this policy, 50-44.

    * Independents support it by 64-26.

    * Moderates support it by 68-22.

    * Women support it by 72-20.

    * Catholics support it by 67-25.

    * And even Catholics who attend church every week or almost every week support it by 48-43.

    So you can see why the Dem aide quoted above is hopeful that GOP support for the Blunt-Rubio amendment is akin to jumping off a cliff.

    Is it okay to call this a wedge issue yet

  17. Erica Sackin

    HHS Study: 86 Million Americans Helped by Health Care Reform

    In case you missed it – 54 million Americans now have at least one preventive care service covered with no copay, thanks to the Affordable Care Act. Add in the 32.5 million from Medicare, and that makes a total of 86 million Americans who have been helped by health care reform so far. See the press release on two studies out today from HHS for more information:
    Erica Sackin
    Digital Outreach Lead
    Obama For America

  18. rikyrah says:

    Earlier I posted a column from Balloon Juice comparing Willard to his father. The post was quite good in bringing forth something Willard’s Daddy had written about the right-wing of the GOP. It was scathing and on point.

    Here’s the key takeaway from the post about Willard , compared to his father:

    The problem for Mitt Romney is that he has become the exact type of politician his father fought against, condemned and—i think it’s fair to say—despised. Trying to pretend otherwise is why Mitt seems so fake all the time. He had a choice between the integrity of his father or the cowardliness of Goldwater and the modern conservative movement.
    George Romney deserved a better son.


    THIS comment was posted, and I had missed it, but damn, I thought it was brilliant.

    Martin – February 15, 2012 | 1:47 am • Link
    @ItAintEazy: You know, if I were Obama and Romney were the nominee, the entire first debate I would do nothing but praise George Romney and quote him extensively in my contrast to Mitt’s positions. Every point, I’d go back to George. I’d memorize every notable thing he said and rattle if off like a Republican quitting Reagan. I’d jump so far inside Mitt’s head, he’d never shake me out.

    I would SO love it if POTUS did this to Willard. We thought County Last made an ass of himself during the 2008 debates – I think that would be child’s play compared to Willard.


    Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) hasn’t been a candidate in Florida’s 18th Congressional District for long, but already there are a number of people prepared to complicate his road to reelection.

    On Tuesday, Martin County Sheriff Robert Crowder, a Republican, announced that he decided to challenge West following the congressman’s decision to switch to the more GOP-friendly district from the 22nd, which he currently represents.

    West’s move had a lot to do with Crowder’s decision to jump into the race.

    According to the Palm Beach Post, Crowder explained that he’s running “to provide some local representation for a new district — rather than having someone who’s not really familiar with the district coming in and purporting to represent the people here. I just think the people need to have that option. If they choose to elect an outsider, that’s their choice.”

    Crowder isn’t the only challenge from the right that West might have to contend with.

    The Palm Beach Post reports on Wednesday that South Florida Tea Party Chairman Everett Wilkinson is considering a third-party challenge to West, also over his belief that the 18th Congressional District needs a non-transplant option this fall.

    “Congressman West doesn’t live in this district. I’ve lived in this district four years,” said Wilkinson, according to the Post. “There’s local people in politics that may have considered running in that district who live there. Why shouldn’t they?”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Winning The Wedge Issue III

    Here’s what I wrote in my conclusion to my Newsweek cover story:

    Obama’s greatest skill is in getting his opponents to overreach and self-destruct. And this issue could not be more tailor-made to benefit the candidate with real potential pull with far-right-wing Catholics and evangelicals: Santorum. If the GOP really makes this issue central in the next month or so, Santorum (whose campaign claims to have raised $2.2 million in the two days following his victories last week) is by far the likeliest candidate to benefit. It could finally unite the Christian fundamentalist right behind him—especially since Romneycare contained exactly the same provisions on contraception that Obamacare did before last week’s compromise was announced. That’s right: Romneycare can now accurately be portrayed as falling to the left of Obamacare on the contraception issue. This could very well be the issue that finally galvanizes the religious right, especially in the South. Imagine how Santorum could use that on Super Tuesday. In fact, it could be the issue that wins him the nomination. And do you really think that would hurt Obama in the fall?

    Here’s the critical passage from Santorum:

    One of the things I will talk about that no President has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. Many in the Christian faith have said, “Well, that’s okay. Contraception’s okay.”

    It’s not okay because it’s a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be.

    They’re supposed to be within marriage, they are supposed to be for purposes that are, yes, conjugal, but also [inaudible], but also procreative. That’s the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that’s not for purposes of procreation, that’s not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can’t you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it’s simply pleasure. And that’s certainly a part of it—and it’s an important part of it, don’t get me wrong—but there’s a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.

    What’s fascinating to me about this is that this issue is catching on among evangelicals, long after most Catholics have moved on. So my bet is that Santorum will gain many evangelical votes on this issue, giving him new momentum in the primary race, especially against the Mormon whose Obamneycare was more liberal on contraception than Obama’s compromise!

    So Santorum could win the primary on an issue that guarantees him a landslide loss in the fall. The Christianists and theocons have over-reached – and the far right in the Congress is playing along too, further entrenching the view that the GOP is anti-contraception. Obama meanwhile seems like the sane compromiser who cares about women voters.

    Meep motherfucking meep.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Was Romney’s Detroit Policy A Lemon?
    Romney is still railing against the auto bailouts, long after his famous “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed. The Economist pushes back:

    Free-marketeers that we are, The Economist agreed with Mr Romney at the time. But we later apologised for that position. “Had the government not stepped in, GM might have restructured under normal bankruptcy procedures, without putting public money at risk”, we said. But “given the panic that gripped private purse-strings…it is more likely that GM would have been liquidated, sending a cascade of destruction through the supply chain on which its rivals, too, depended.” Even Ford, which avoided bankruptcy, feared the industry would collapse if GM went down. At the time that seemed like a real possibility. The credit markets were bone-dry, making the privately financed bankruptcy that Mr Romney favoured improbable. He conveniently ignores this bit of history in claiming to have been right all along.

    Because he’ll say anything. He’s beginning to make Bill Clinton look like a pillar of honesty and candor. I too opposed the bailouts for the same reason as The Economist. And like its editors, I walked back my position after the amazing results came in.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Winning The Wedge Issue II

    Gallup finds the president’s standing among Catholics basically unchanged since the furor engineered by Benedict’s hand-picked reactionary bishops over contraception and the religious freedom of the hierarchy. It doesn’t surprise me. If the Bishops had picked abortion as their planned attack on the president, and he had somehow (inconceivably) fought back, this would be very very different. But the hierarchy picked the one issue – contraception – almost none of their flock agrees with them on. And notice how there seems little difference between the more devout Catholics and the less dedicated to attending Mass.

    I think the revised compromise will help him even more – and the Bishops’ refusal to accept it will hurt them even more. And I think this will be particularly true among Catholics who, like me, regard abortion as far more morally troubling than contraception. Because many of us support contraception not just because we don’t think non-procreative sex is a sin, but because, for fertile heterosexuals, we think it lowers the rate and risk of abortion.

    If you really oppose abortion, you should back contraception, especially for those women least likely to afford it outside health insurance plans. But the new rigid fundamentalism of the John Paul II and Benedict XVI hierarchy cannot allow such moral trade-offs. But trading off the rape of children for the reputation of the church? Suddenly they get pragmatic.

    I’m sorry but I find the protectors of child rapists preaching to women about contraception to be a moral obscenity. When all the implicated bishops and the Pope resign, ther replacements will have standing to preach.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Mapping the Effects of the ACA’s Health Insurance Coverage Expansions

    go to the link and put in your zipcode, and it’ll tell you the % of people that will be helped by ACA

  24. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012 10:20 AM

    2008 Obama Coalition Returning
    By Ed Kilgore

    Putting all political science aside, I’d say the reason a lot of progressives have been pessimistic about Obama’s reelection prospects in the fairly recent past has been pretty simple: how could he possibly reassemble his 2008 electoral coalition? I mean, given conditions in the country, how many disillusioned young people, disappointed liberals, beaten-down minorities, and unhappy independents could he lose without slipping below a majority of the vote, right?

    But as Ron Brownstein (who has been focused all along on tracking the direction of that 2008 Obama coalition) demonstrated in an important article yesterday for The Atlantic, the latest general election (he especially utilizes Pew’s) polls show Obama hitting his marks among element after element of his 2008 coalition to a degree that is truly remarkable, at least in a trial heat against Mitt Romney.

    Whether the electorate is viewed by race, gender, partisanship or ideology (or combinations of the above), Obama’s numbers against Romney now closely align with his support against McCain, according to the 2008 exit polls. Overall, the Pew survey put Obama ahead of Romney by 52 percent to 44 percent, close to his actual 53 percent to 46 percent victory over McCain.

    On the broadest measure, Pew found Obama attracting 44 percent of whites (compared to 43 percent in 2008) and 79 percent of non-whites (compared to 80 percent in 2008). In the Pew survey, Obama attracted 49 percent of whites with at least a four year college degree (compared to 47 percent against McCain) and 41 percent of whites without one (compared to 40 percent in 2008).

    Looking at ideology, the reversion to 2008 is almost exact. Against Romney, Pew finds Obama attracting 89 percent of liberals, 20 percent of conservatives (each exactly his share against McCain), and 61 percent of moderates (compared to 60 percent in 2008.) On partisanship, the story is similar: against Romney, Pew finds Obama attracting 9 percent of Republicans (exactly his 2008 share), 51 percent of independents (compared to 52 percent last time) and 94 percent of Democrats (up from 89 percent in 2008). In the Pew survey, Obama wins 46 percent of white independents (compared to the 47 percent he drew against McCain).

    This is obviously just a snapshot of public opinion more than eight months from Election Day, before we know how the economic numbers stack up, what the general election campaign is like, or even whose name is on the ballot under the sign of the elephant. It also doesn’t factor in turnout patterns, or to put it another way, what segment of the electorate all those categories Ron discusses actually represent, as compared to 2008 (though it’s worth incessantly reminding ourselves that the variations between 2008 and 2010 turnout patterns had much less to do with the relative “enthusiasm” of either party than with the eternal differences in the composition of presidential and midterm electorates).

    But it’s getting easier to imagine an Obama victory, not just as a general, abstract possibility, but in terms of the flesh and bone of an actual majority coalition of voters.

  25. rikyrah says:

    A ‘uniquely terrible’ transportation bill
    By Steve Benen – Wed Feb 15, 2012 11:30 AM EST.

    As a rule, the details of massive transportation bills in Congress are dull enough to make reasonable folks’ eyes glaze over. But the one pending on Capitol Hill right now is not just another transportation bill.

    Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHoog, a former Republican congressman, recently explained, “It hollows out our No. 1 priority, which is safety, and frankly, it hollows out the guts of the transportation efforts that we’ve been about for the last three years. It’s the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.”

    A New York Times editorial called the legislation “uniquely terrible.”

    * It would make financing for mass transit much less certain, and more vulnerable, by ending a 30-year agreement that guaranteed mass transit a one-fifth share of the fuel taxes and other user fees in the highway trust fund. Instead it would compete annually with other programs.

    * It would open nearly all of America’s coastal waters to oil and gas drilling, including environmentally fragile areas that have long been off limits. The ostensible purpose is to raise revenue to help make up what has become an annual shortfall for transportation financing. But it is really just one more attempt to promote the Republicans’ drill-now-drill-everywhere agenda and the interests of their industry patrons.

    * It would demolish significant environmental protections by imposing arbitrary deadlines on legally mandated environmental reviews of proposed road and highway projects, and by ceding to state highway agencies the authority to decide whether such reviews should occur.

    That’s a good summary, but it actually gets worse. The transportation bill also undermines mass transit, guts programs intended to improve biking and walking safety, opens Alaska’s Arctic National Wildlife Refuge to drilling, and appears to have been written in part by oil-industry lobbyists.

    The editorial board members of the Los Angeles Times said they thought their “capacity to be surprised by [Congress’] irresponsible gamesmanship” had been diminished, “and yet, we still can’t help but be awe-struck by the mess the House of Representatives is preparing to make of the federal transportation bill.”

    Yesterday, the White House said in the unlikely event the bill passes both chambers, President Obama would veto it.

  26. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012 10:49 AM

    Team Romney Getting Ready To Nuke Santorum?
    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s just one unsigned and thinly sourced report from BuzzFeed, but we do have the first indication that Mitt Romney’s campaign has decided to bite the bullet and go after Rick Santorum with negative ads, brushing aside the warnings of conservative opinion-leaders and the risk of blowback:

    Mitt Romney’s campaign — and its slashing Super PAC — are locking their sights on Rick Santorum for a campaign that may make previous attacks on Rick Perry and Newt Gingrich look like mere love taps.
    In an interview with BuzzFeed, a Romney advisor offered details of the campaign’s coming two-front attack, which the campaign expects will be echoed by the Super PAC, which cannot legally coordinate its message, but which has already bought hundreds of thousands of dollars of airtime in key states.
    “Santorum’s a blank slate, so everyone’s projecting on to him what they want because he’s the last anti-Romney,” said the advisor. “Santorum is going to get introduced to people that don’t know him.”
    The Pennsylvania Republican will “be defined by two things,” the advisor said.
    The first is a comparison to Barack Obama: “He’s never run anything,” said the advisor. The Pennyslvanian’s experience is limited to roles as a legislator and legislative staffer. “The biggest thing he ever ran is his Senate office,” he said.
    The second is a challenge to Santorum’s Washington experience.
    “They’re going to hit him very hard on earmarks, lobbying, voting to raise the federal debt limit five times,” said the advisor. “The story of Santorum is going to be told over the next few weeks in a big way.”

    That’s certainly consistent with the message Romney surrogates were sending out in media calls yesterday: attacking Santorum from the right to undermine his conservative support while avoiding claims they were reinforcing potential Democratic attack lines.

    As for blowback, the report concludes, Team Romney’s beyond worrying about that:

    Romney, who allowed Restore our Future to do his negative work in Iowa, has long since given up any apparent worry that voters will react badly to negativity, and complains of unfair attacks don’t seem likely to deter him here.
    “The expectation is that Santorum, just given his personality, is going to whine like crazy about this,” the advisor laughed.

    I’m not sure how convincing this scenario is. The report talks of “hundreds of thousands of dollars of airtime in key states.” To get the job done, given the size and scope of the primaries just ahead, Romney’s forces need to be thinking more in terms of a greatly expanded version of the $15 million they spent in Florida alone to make sure every voter heard ten times about Newt Gingrich stuffing his craw with Freddie Mac money while Floridians watched their mortgages sink beneath the waves. But it sure looks like Mitt’s minions are at least asking themselves the right questions.

  27. rikyrah says:

    February 14, 2012
    Romney’s “base” problem
    Peter Beinart ponders Mitt Romney’s “base” problem:

    [W]hile reviving the economy may be the issue that Americans care about most, it’s not the one that the Republican base cares about most. For conservative activists, the 2012 election isn’t fundamentally about jobs [Romney’s presumed speciality], it’s about freedom. The essential question is not how best to use government to restore economic growth. It is how best to keep government from destroying liberty.

    Beinart wisely abstains from any precise, definitional battle over “freedom”; his point, rather, and rather simply, is that Romney’s calling card of “pragmatic businessman” has failed to catch fire with the already feiry base, yet that card is about all that Romney has to offer. Beinart’s argument is by itself inarguable, I think. Still, I also think Romney’s problem goes deeper (or perhaps I should say more shallow) than that.

    Which is to say, by contrast. Beinart notes Romney’s competitors who, by turn and interchangeably, have caught fire with the base — “From Michele Bachmann to Ron Paul to Newt Gingrich to Rick Santorum” — and Beinart leaves it to the last of these to summarize their “passion.” Here’s Santorum, from last week:

    [W]e have a president of the United States … who’s someone who believes he knows better, that we need to accumulate more power in Washington, D.C., for the elite in our country to be able to govern you, because you are incapable of liberty, that you are incapable of freedom.

    Elite” and “knows better” = anti-intellectualism. And that, I think, is what festers at the base of the base’s reptilian brain: the right’s immutable yearning for extreme simplicity, for simplistic intelligibility, for comprehensible simplification of every resistant complexity. President Obama — that food stamp president; now there’s an easily digestible nugget — is of course the antithesis of this (oh, and did I mention that he’s black?), while Mitt Romney just hasn’t the demagogic knack of an anti-intellectual Newt Gingrich or an anti-intellectual Rick Santorum.

    But he does have the money to crush all comers. And for now, that’s all that really counts.

  28. rikyrah says:

    February 15, 2012
    The no-longer sanitized Santorum; and Gingrich’s opening?

    The Santorum campaign’s new 30-second assault, which commences in Michigan today, finishes with an interpretable admonition: “[I]n the end, Mitt Romney’s ugly attacks are going to backfire.”

    On the one hand, no future tense is required. A wide assortment of polling data not only suggests, but positively bellows that Romney’s favorables among independents are precipitously down and his negatives are uniformly up. No pounding has softened Mitt Romney for Santorum’s offensive like Mitt Romney’s. In less than two months he’s become the dark and reigning prince of tactical assassinations; he is splattered grotesquely with his victims’ blood.

    On the other hand — and one can hear the self-satisfied throat-clearing in the Romney camp — assassinations do kill. In politics, a year translates into the unthinkable, one month into an eternity, a week into the barely conceivable, and this very day into essential survival. High negatives? Pshaw. We’ll fix that tomorrow. Today it’s carnage and chaos and slaughter and mayhem. (Cue Mitt’s ‘America the Beautiful.’)

    And that of course is precisely what Rick Santorum is also now casting across Michigan’s landscape. (One huge caveat, however: “A Santorum aide wouldn’t give the size of the buy” — an unmistakable sign of weakness — while Politico reports that his campaign has reserved “just $42,000 in Fox News ad time,” versus Romney’s super PAC-buy of “nearly $600,000 in ad time on Michigan television over the next week, as well as $99,000 in radio ads there.”) “Ugly attacks” indeed engender their own splendid karma, Rick, and there’s no reason to think your “Machine-Gun Mitt” ad, assuming you can kick its airtime up close to Romney’s pollution levels, will prove an exception.

    All of which leads to this potential — i.e., the point of this post. In 2004, Howard Dean was leading in Iowa, whereupon he and Dick Gephardt got into a bloody brawl. Voters, or in that instance caucus-goers, condemned both political houses out of pointed disgust with the twofold squalor, which thereupon permitted John Kerry to slip through to a clean victory. And this, I’m sure, is an object lesson well studied by Newt Gingrich.

  29. Walker cancels date with Obama due to stomach flu:

  30. Hat tip: Rippa

    Aretha Franklin Pay Tribute To Whitney Houston In The Black Church Style!

  31. rikyrah says:

    Mitt or get off the pot
    by DougJarvus Green-Ellis

    I don’t care what the PPP polls show, a candidate who doesn’t think women should work won’t win a general election, no matter how principled, Burkean, populist a case he makes for an all-male workforce.

    IMHO, Santorums’ female trouble may be so bad that it hurts him not just in the general but maybe even in the primary. Nevertheless, he’s probably right that the GOP is running out of fools, that’s it’s quarter-to-three, there’s no one in the place except Rick and Romney, that it’s time for some hot man-on-man action:

    “We think this is a two-person race right now,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday, “and we’re just focused on — on making sure that folks know we’re the best alternative to Barack Obama and we have the best chance of beating him.”

    I’ve always said that in this primary, Republican voters love the bad boys. Now it’s come down to a guy who wears sweater vests versus a guy who wears magic underwear. Who’s bad?

  32. Obama Administration’s Unprecedented Fraud Fighting Pays Off

    More than most seniors, Jacqueline Jefferson of Philadelphia, PA, knows that bad actors looking to defraud Medicare have lots of tricks up their sleeves – and persistence.

    Seven years ago, Jacqueline was reviewing her Medicare medical statement and noticed a number of false charges. She did the right thing and alerted Medicare. She also realized that many of her fellow Medicare patients may not know they are at risk for fraud – or may be afraid to step forward. The experience inspired her to join the Senior Medicare Patrol (SMP) – a group of senior citizen volunteers who educate and empower their peers to identify, prevent and report health care fraud.

    Thanks to the Obama Administration, funding for the SMP has increased by 75 percent from FY 2008 to FY 2011. In 2010, nearly 5,000 volunteers helped educate about 300,000 Medicare patients at 8,300 community anti-fraud events. And those volunteers held more than 70,000 one-on-one counseling sessions on potential Medicare fraud, waste or abuse cases – more than double the number in 2009.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Virginia’s Voter ID Bill A Solution In Search Of A Problem
    Ryan J. Reilly February 15, 2012, 6:09 AM

    There are no reports of anyone ever signing an affidavit claiming they were another person in order to vote in Virginia. But that isn’t stopping Republican Virginia Del. Mark Cole from pushing legislation that would prevent such a scheme from taking place.

    His bill — which would make voters who lack an accepted form of identification cast provisional ballots — has passed the House. It’s raised the ire of Virginia Democrats who say it’s just one in a line of legislative measures proposed by Republicans in states across the country who are trying to suppress Democratic turnout.

    But Cole told TPM this week that his legislation isn’t part of some grand conspiracy by, say, the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). He said it’s a solution to a potential problem brought to his attention by members of a county election board.

    Members of the Stafford County Election Board, located in one of America’s richest counties, brought to Cole’s attention what he considered to be a loophole — that any number of voters could show up to the polls, sign an affidavit attesting to their identify and cast a ballot.

    “If 15 people come up and all of them sign affidavits and all of them vote, no way to retrieve the fraudulent votes,” Cole said.

    Cole acknowledged that he’d never heard of anything such scheme taking place in Virginia, but said it was a situation that poll workers wouldn’t know how to handle.

    “I think when you find a loophole, you’ve got to close it, you don’t wait until you’ve got all the animals out of the barn,” Cole told TPM.

    Notably, Cole’s legislation is actually a lot broader than other state laws — amongst the forms of ID accepted are voter registration cards, social security cards and even employee photo identification cards in addition to government-issued photo ID.

    “We wanted to make it as easy as possible because there might be cases where senior citizens and such might not have IDs,” Cole said. “Once you start mandating you’ve got to have an ID or you can’t vote, you get into charges that this is a poll tax.”

  34. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Winning The Wedge Issue I

    So much for Howie Kurtz’s sense that Obama had screwed up badly on the decision to include contraception in health insurance plans for women employed by Catholic-run institutions open to the general public. The latest NYT poll shows a big majority for the Obama original decision, which has now been adjusted further to keep the Bishops’ hands clean of any direct involvement. Here are the numbers:

    61 percent of Americans support federally-mandated contraception coverage for religiously-affiliated employers; 31 percent oppose such coverage. The number is similar among self-professed Catholics surveyed: 61 percent said they support the Obama administration’s rule, while 32 percent oppose it.

    Majorities of both men and women said they are in favor of the rule, though support among women is especially pronounced, with 66 percent supporting and 26 percent opposing it. Among men, 55 percent of men are in favor; 38 percent object.

    Two-thirds of women back Obama over the hierarchy. 61 percent of Catholics back the president over the Pope. But a Pew survey shows a different result, with a narrow majority favoring exemptions for religiously-affiliated institutions, perhaps because it reflects far greater awareness among seniors of the issue, and because evangelicals have rallied to the call for religious freedom. Yes, on this issue, evangelicals are more opposed to the Obama rule than Catholics – even though evangelicals have no theological objection to the pill:

    Awareness of the controversy is also far higher among older adults than among the young. Six-in-ten (60%) adults ages 18-29 have heard nothing about the issue, compared with just 24% among those 50 and older. Among people ages 30-49, 43% have not heard about it.

    The Pew poll shows classic polarization with Independents split right down the middle: 48 – 46, within the margin of error. The NYT poll is one day more up to date.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, February 14, 2012
    Use Only As Directed
    Posted by Zandar
    Steve M. has a very valid point here that for the GOP fat cats pulling the levers of power in the party, what they want most out of a nominee for President is a compliant, spineless idiot who can make the sale. Eight years of George W. Bush was pure bliss for them. Now they want Mitt Romney to finish the deal. Anyone who expects a Romney administration to pivot to the center is in for a shock. Grover Norquist and his tax cuts uber alles goons are already bragging about pulling his strings.

    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.)

    Let’s recall under Bush, we took a surplus and spent it into complete oblivion through tax cuts and war spending, a deadly combination that completely broke our economy in roughly six years. Now they want to double down on those same policies and finish the job with their plan to starve out the federal government.

    But notice that when it comes right down to it, Norquist may not have the kind of control over the GOP he thinks he does. Orange Julius completely bailed yesterday on offsetting the payroll tax cut with spending cuts, and now Old-Age Mutant Nimrod Turtle Mitch McConnell is saying hes not happy with the idea at all. Norquist wants to see both types of cuts, not one or the other.

    But I certainly wouldn’t expect Mitt Romney to stand up to Norquist. Not after this. Neither should any voters expect that either.

    Also, I’m soooooo keeping “Old-Age Mutant Nimrod Turtle” as Mitch McConnell’s tag now.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, February 15, 2012
    Emergency Inflatable Scandal, Coming Right Up!
    Posted by Zandar
    Republicans are getting their asses kicked this week and they know it. They’re losing on birth control, the economy, the payroll tax cut, and their “frontrunner” is now a reactionary meathead destined to Goldwater the party into oblivion.

    Time to change the subject, fast…

    House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa signaled Tuesday that his committee will “move forward with the contempt process against Attorney General Eric Holder unless the Justice Department commits to “providing, at a minimum, a detailed description of documents it is withholding” from his committee in the course of their investigation into ATF’s Operation Fast and Furious.

    “The Justice Department’s request for additional time has, unfortunately, not been followed by efforts to bridge the significant differences between its legal obligation to Congress and the reality of its stonewalling,” Issa said in a statement. “The committee is determined to know what happened in Operation Fast and Furious and how the Justice Department responded when it was publicly confronted with evidence of reckless conduct after Agent Terry’s death.”

    Oh look at them. It’s precious that they are trying to make a Bush-era program into Eric Holder’s personal fault. They really are terrified at this point, so very desperate the get the news cycle off their losing. It’ll last right up until the Michigan primary, at best.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Dems for Contraception = Culture of Death?
    by Steven D
    Wed Feb 15th, 2012 at 08:13:12 AM EST

    “There is a culture of death associated with the Democrat party” because they support contraception. That’s what the “Republican Pope,” (well doesn’t every Republican end up kissing Rush’s ring at some point or other?) Rush Limbaugh, said yesterday on his radio program, February 14th, or as some of us know it, Valentines day. What a joke, eh? I mean the man is a master of irony:

    When I hear crap from Rush Limbaugh, that Democrats are associated with a “culture of death” because they support contraception, I have to ask myself, how many kids does Limbaugh have? We know he’s had four wives. Odd that none of them ever got pregnant, isn’t it, considering his “family values” and recent denunciation of contraception? We know he was caught by customs returning from a vacation in the Dominican Republic with an illegal prescription bottle of Viagra in his possession, so he clearly doesn’t avoid the opportunity to engage in reproductive conduct.

    We also know he supports the death penalty. We know he supported the illegal Iraq war (where hundreds of thousands, perhaps over a million people died) and that he supports more wars, such as one against Iran. We know that he blamed the victims of hurricane Katrina for what happened to them, rather than the fact that they were poor, had no help evacuating the city, lived in areas that were most likely to be flooded near the levees that broke, etc.

    We know he called for the elimination of health care for children under the SCHIP program. We know he told hungry kids they should go “dumpster diving” if they want to eat, and has called for the elimination of the school lunch program that provides meals to poor kids, perhaps the only decent meal they receive all day, while demeaning them by saying they are “wanton little serfs.”

    He’s also opposed to Medicaid, unemployment insurance and social security claiming that people on them are “lazy sloths.” He’s not fond of food stamps either. Oh and he said “compassion” is the most disastrous word in our society.

    Yet Democrats support a culture of death. Yeah, tell me another joke, fat man.

    Ps. He also called women “dumb asses” before “correcting himself and calling them “dumb masses” instead. Gosh, what a funny, funny man (and by that I do not me humorous).

  38. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s hard-to-fix ‘unfavorable’ problem
    By Steve Benen – Wed Feb 15, 2012 8:51 AM EST.T

    he latest New York Times/CBS News poll, released last night, doesn’t offer much in the way of good news for Republicans. But for Mitt Romney, the results are especially discouraging.

    Across the board, American attitudes are shifting in directions the GOP won’t like: President Obama’s approval rating is up; he leads all of his Republican rivals in hypothetical matchups; Americans are increasingly optimistic about the economy; and the GOP “enthusiasm” advantage has disappeared entirely. There are still plenty of potential pitfalls — Europe, Iran, gas prices — but the NYT/CBS results are no doubt welcome news at the White House.

    And there’s the former Massachusetts governor. He’s lost his lead among Republicans to Rick Santorum, and more than 6 in 10 GOP voters wish there was someone else to support for the party’s presidential nomination.

    But following up on the “Chart Imitates Life” segment from last night’s show, this was the question in the poll that stood out for me: “Is your opinion of Mitt Romney favorable, not favorable, undecided, or haven’t you heard enough about Mitt Romney yet to have an opinion?”

    In all, 40% of Americans have an unfavorable view of Romney — the worst he’s done in five years of polling — while 26% have a favorable view. (By comparison, Obama’s fav/unfav rating is 45/41.) A new CNN poll also shows Romney’s favorability numbers tumbling.

    TPM has this chart, which helps drive the point home. The red line in the image shows Romney’s unfavorable numbers.

  39. rikyrah says:

    The Mittens Has No Clothes
    by BooMan
    Tue Feb 14th, 2012 at 10:17:53 PM EST

    I’m from Pennsylvania. I know Rick Santorum’s weaknesses. I know he’s a terrible presidential candidate. But I simply no longer believe that he’s a worse presidential candidate than Mitt Romney. Compared to Romney, Santorum is more media-savvy, he gives better speeches, he’s a better debater, and he’s a better retail politician. Santorum can motivate the Republican base. He’s not connected to vulture capitalism. He didn’t tell Detroit to drop dead. His flip-flops are strictly minor league. He has higher favorability. His religion is an asset, not a liability. And he knows how to take a punch without getting decked. The big mistake everyone has been making (including me) is to think that Romney was more electable than Michele Bachmann. I don’t think he is. I think he’s exactly as electable as Michele Bachmann. What’s going on is that Republicans are realizing that Romney isn’t just a perfectly lubricated weather-vane. He’s a loser. He can’t beat Obama, so why not nominate Santorum instead?

    Yeah, R Money has the cash to make a general election run and Santorum doesn’t. But that distinction doesn’t matter once you come to the realization that Romney is unelectable.

  40. Gauvin @JeffersonObama

    Obama is back. New Pew poll Obama attracting 44% of whites (compared to 43% in 2008) and 79% of non-whites (compared to 80% in 2008).

  41. rikyrah says:

    Mitt’s choice: Goldwater or his Father…
    by Dennis G.

    Mitt Romney comes off as fake. He seems like a man running from himself. When he speaks, he speaks in word strings designed to sound like something, while meaning nothing. He is running for President (for Pete’s sake) and embracing whatever he thinks Republican primary voters want to hear at any given moment. It rings hollow and inauthentic.

    To win the Republican nomination a candidate must win the Republican base—and the base is batshit crazy. They embrace a world view that began to take over the Republican Party with the campaign of Barry Goldwater and his merging of the extreme paranoid right wing fringe of Conservative politics with the neo-Confederate racism of the Dixiecrats. This is the foundation of the modern Republican Party and the so-called conservative movement.

    Mitt Romney has been embracing this twisted political vision of America and that is why he seems fake, hollow and inauthentic. The modren Republican Party and conservative movement represent the kind of politics that Mitt’s father, George Romney, spent his life fighting. To embrace this modern Republican Party, Mitt Romney must distance himself from—and completely disrespect—his father. This must create a bit of moral difficulty—even for Mitt. Trying to avoid that difficulty strikes me as the root to his hollowness. And yet, he seems to be quite ready to repudiate everything his father ever stood for—if that is what it takes to be President.

    The editorial above is from The Day of Connecticut back in November of 1966. News had just broken about an exchange of letters between Barry Goldwater and George Romney in the weeks following the epic FAIL of the 1964 Goldwater campaign. In his 12 paged letter (which was published in the New York Times) George Romney took issue with the way Barry Goldwater ran his campaign, the platform he allowed others to create, the people Goldwater embraced and the tactics he used to embrace them. Chief among Romney’s critique was Goldwater’s opposition to Civil Rights, but he also took issue with the idea that the extreme polarization of America politics and parties was a good idea. George Romney’s 1964 critique of wingnutopia is as true today as it was almost 50 years ago.


    The problem for Mitt Romney is that he has become the exact type of politician his father fought against, condemned and—i think it’s fair to say—despised. Trying to pretend otherwise is why Mitt seems so fake all the time. He had a choice between the integrity of his father or the cowardliness of Goldwater and the modern conservative movement.

    George Romney deserved a better son.


  42. rikyrah says:

    Support Is Found for Birth Control Coverage and Gay UnionsBy MARJORIE CONNELLY

    Despite the deep divide between some religious leaders and government officials over contraceptives, the latest New York Times/CBS News poll found most voters support the new federal directive that health insurance plans provide coverage for birth control.

    In addition, most voters said they favored some type of legal recognition for same-sex couples, at a time when the New Jersey Legislature is set to vote on gay marriage and after a federal appellate court ruled that Proposition 8’s ban on same-sex marriage in California was unconstitutional.

    While same-sex marriage and coverage for contraceptives have generated significant debate this month, the poll suggests that voters do not place social issues high on their agenda. When asked to name one issue that presidential candidates should discuss, most voters, including Republicans who described themselves as primary voters, mentioned an economic problem, like unemployment or the budget deficit. Few said they wanted to hear the candidates talk about abortion or gay marriage, for example.

    On contraceptive coverage, 65 percent of voters in the poll said they supported the Obama administration’s requirement that health insurance plans cover the cost of birth control, and 59 percent, said the health insurance plans of religiously affiliated employers should cover the cost of birth control.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Fight against health care fraud recovers $4.1B

    Investigators recovered a record-breaking $4.1 billion in health care fraud money during 2011, a reflection of the Obama administration’s increased focus on fighting fraud, Justice Department officials announced Tuesday.

    Between 2009 and 2011, the federal government has collected $7.20 for every dollar spent on fighting fraud, according to the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) inspector general. That’s a jump from the $5.10 for every dollar spent between 1997 and 2008, records show.

    “It demonstrates that our collaborative efforts to prevent, identify and prosecute the most egregious instances of health care fraud have never been stronger,” Attorney General Eric Holder said. “Over the years, we’ve seen that as these crimes harm all of us — government agencies and programs, insurers and health care providers, and individual patients.”

  44. Politifact needs to leave the building. It’s over for them. They’re lying liars who can NEVER be trusted with the word “fact”.

    [wpvideo 3Z9TopSC]

  45. Hi Jueseppi!

    I love Hugh Masekela! Grazing In The Grass is a classic! Good music!

  46. President Barack Obama, center, arrives at Vermilion Restaurant in Alexandria, Va., for a Valentine’s Day dinner with first lady Michelle Obama, Tuesday, Feb., 14, 2012. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)

  47. Good Morning, 3Chics! I hope your Wednesday rock!

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