Tuesday Open Thread

TLC is an iconic, four time grammy award winning American girl group whose repertoire spanned R&B, Rock, Hip-Hop, Pop, Soul, Funk, and New Jack Swing.

Originally consisting of band front woman, Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, rapper Lisa “Left Eye” Lopes, and singer Rozonda “Chilli” Thomas, they found unprecedented success in the 90′s not only as a musical supergroup but also for an extensive series of high profiled spats with the law, each other, and with their record label—all of which, helped to solidify them as one of the definitive recording acts to emerge during the afromentioned time span. Initally, the group achieved commercial success following the release of their debut album Ooooooohhh… On the TLC Tip, but it was the release of their second studio album, CrazySexyCool that elevated them to superstar status. They released four studio albums before going on hiatus due to the death of Left Eye in Honduras in 2002.

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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52 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 09:51 AM PST
    GOP critics blame drawn-out primary calendar they re-engineered for the problems they now face+*

    by Meteor Blades

    The Republican plan, writes Benjy Sarlin, was to emulate the Clinton/Obama contest of 2008 by rearranging the primaries to draw them out, which they thought would encourage more donations, build enthusiasm among voters and keep attention focused on the GOP message.

    It might have worked, too. If only they had had a couple of solid candidates of the caliber of Barack Obama and Hillary Clinton instead of a clown car brimful of clueless, gaffe-prone, dog-whistling, foghorn-blowing, take-us-back-to-the-14th Century ideological hard-heads with an even bigger than usual bucket of It’s-OK-If-You-Are-Republican attitudes and a never-ending forgetfulness of the power of YouTube to spread what they’d previously said on camera a few years or a few days ago that was opposite to what they were saying now.

    But they didn’t.

    (Continue reading under the fold)

    So, as an interminable series of debates unfolded, one candidate after another gained front-runner status, collected more media attention and had his or her past and ideas exposed, the voters said ugh! and quickly shifted to the next candidate du jour. The plummet for each was steeper than the rise. Rinse and repeat. Week after week. One would expect at the very least the drawn-out calendar would bring large numbers of voters to the polls. In fact, turnout has been lower than 2008 in most states.

    “You’re running against an incumbent president who will not have a primary, so your idea is make ours longer so we can beat each other up longer?” New Jersey governor Chris Christie (R) complained to FOX News last week, calling the new rules “the dumbest idea anyone ever had.”

    The key problem, according to some GOP critics, including Republican National Committeeman John Ryder, is the primary schedule itself. Penalties put into place to keep states from moving their primaries or caucuses to earlier dates didn’t work. That might not have mattered if there had been a big contest in which one candidate or another could have ended things with a decisive victory. Or if Super Tuesday could have accomplished the same thing by being held in early February as it was in 2008.

    “Generals always fight the last war,” University of Virginia political science professor Larry Sabato told TPM, faulting Republicans for failing to recognize that running against a powerful incumbent president is very different than 2008’s open primaries. “If ever there was a case when the out-of-power party would have been helped by a quick, painless nomination of a strong challenger, it’s 2012. No such luck for the GOP. The long hard-edged campaign will leave Republicans divided, unhappy, and missing many millions they otherwise would have had at their disposal for the fall.”


  2. rikyrah says:

    Tue Feb 28, 2012 at 02:16 PM PST
    ME-Sen: Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe to retire+*

    by David Nir

    Red alert! Longtime Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe—in a huge, huge shocker—says she’s retiring! All we have is a tweet so far:

    “After an extraordinary amount of reflection and consideration, I am announcing today that I will not be a candidate.”

    While I can imagine many reasons why Snowe, age 65 and a member of Congress since 1979, would want to depart, I most certainly cannot say I (or anyone else) saw this coming. Nevertheless, though Snowe was set to cruise to re-election, it would have meant another six years serving as part of an increasingly ultra-hard-right, Tea Party-hijacked caucus—something the faux-moderate Snowe might just have gotten sick-and-tired of doing.

    Whatever the cause, Snowe’s departure creates an enormous pickup opportunity for Democrats in this decidedly blue state. While several lesser-known candidates had been running against her (including former SoS Matt Dunlap, state Rep. Jon Hinck and state Sen. Cynthia Dill), expect a lot more interest now from bigger names, such as Reps. Chellie Pingree and Mike Michaud. This is going to be a huge contest and it automatically makes Republican hopes of re-taking the Senate that much more distant. We’ll bring you more news as it develops.


  3. rikyrah says:

    Mon Feb 27, 2012 at 03:14 PM PST
    Mitt Romney campaign tells donors that primary will extend into mid-May+*

    by Jed Lewison

    New York Times:

    Mr. Romney’s campaign has warned donors and supporters that even with his victories in the coming contests, the Republican competition may very well last until at least the middle of May. They said the situation did not indicate diminishing prospects for Mr. Romney but rather was the result of the party’s delegate-allocation rules and the additional time those require for any candidate to accumulate the 1,144 delegates necessary to secure the nomination.

    The acknowledgment that the intraparty competition will most likely continue into the spring would seem to sweep aside the Romney campaign’s hope that it could string together a series of early victories sufficient to claim the nominee’s mantle — symbolically, at least — and begin focusing exclusively on Mr. Obama.

    That the Republican contest isn’t going to end in the immediate future is not exactly a shock, but it’s still interesting that the Romney campaign is going public about it. I suspect their motives don’t have much to do with setting expectations with the electorate and political journalists, but are instead aimed at bolstering their fundraising pitch. Inevitability might be a good thing, but if the people who write the checks think you have everything so locked down that you don’t need any more money, you’re going to run out of cash. And money is becoming a real problem for Mitt Romney, so he doesn’t want to let that happen.

    But in making their pitch, I wonder if the Romney campaign isn’t accidentally conceding a very damaging point. Implicit in the idea that the primary will extend into mid-May is their belief that either Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich (or perhaps both) will continue to fight for the nomination. Also implicit is the idea that Romney does not believe he will emerge as the prohibitive favorite among Republican voters anytime soon, if ever.

    It’s fair to say that if Romney were to start racking up victory after victory with double-digit margins, any doubts about whether he is likely to be the GOP nominee would vanish. But Romney’s campaign doesn’t think that’s likely to happen, otherwise they wouldn’t be talking about mid-May, by which point 80 percent of delegates will have been selected. There’s a catch, though: as Nate Silver points out, the GOP’s delegate procedures are very murky, and roughly one-quarter of all delegates aren’t actually bound to a candidate. That means that as of mid-May, perhaps forty percent of all delegates won’t actually be firmly committed. It’s impossible to imagine a scenario where Romney had locked up the nomination on the basis of delegates alone by that point in time.

    To be clear, I’m not saying that the race won’t be over by mid-May. What I am saying, however, is that there’s nothing special about mid-May that would suggest it’s the point at which Mitt Romney could begin declaring victory. If he begins blowing out his opponents in contest after contest, the primary campaign could be over long before May; but if in mid-May he’s still in a dogfight and one or more of his opponents is still capable of winning contests, the nomination won’t be anywhere near over.


  4. rikyrah says:

    Fountain of Youth
    Younger, wealthier students pick community college, bringing expectations

    Community colleges are hot these days, and not just with photo-op seeking politicians. They’re an increasingly popular choice for 18-22 year-olds from the upper middle class, thanks to cheap tuition, a career focus, smoother transfer options and growing public respect for the sector’s academic chops.

    Nationwide, 22 percent of college students with annual family incomes over $100,000 attended community colleges last year, up from 16 percent four years ago, according to a study by Sallie Mae.

    “Community college gradually is gaining wider acceptance as the default option out of high school,” said Stephen G. Katsinas, director of the University of Alabama’s Education Policy Center.

    Relatively affluent young students are typically better-prepared academically and have a good chance of earning a degree. They are also more likely to attend full-time, require less remediation than their peers and can be cheaper for community colleges to educate.

    But this group is also demanding, as traditional-age students want a full campus experience with amenities like fitness centers and extracurricular activities, which can mean new buildings and strained student service budgets. They are also more likely to seek out counselors, experts said.

    “You have more students coming to our campuses who see themselves transferring,” said James Jacobs, president of Macomb Community College in Michigan, and who sometimes view community college as a “stepping stone.”

    Raritan Valley Community College, which is located in a suburban swath of northern New Jersey, has welcomed a surge of young students. Many of those students would have attended a nearby four-year college in the past, administrators said, such as Rutgers University or Fairleigh Dickinson University.

    Over the five years before 2011, Raritan Valley’s total enrollment went up by 32 percent. But the number of students under 21 years old increased by 49 percent, from 2,472 to 3,675, while older students accounted for a much smaller portion of the growth. (See table here.) Full-time students are also gaining ground in the mix.

    Casey Crabill, the college’s president, said the college hasn’t studied which four-year institutions students are passing up to come to Raritan Valley. They know, however, that more students are arriving from two wealthy counties.

    Inside Higher Ed

  5. rikyrah says:

    Why the GOP wants IPAB to be DOA
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 28, 2012 3:15 PM EST.

    Ask congressional Republicans what they want to see happen to Medicare, and they’ll probably talk about reducing costs and restraining spending. It’s why the GOP’s attacks on the Independent Payment Advisory Board are so misguided — IPAB gives what Republicans what they say they want.

    I can understand why the underlying idea is contentious, but the facts are pretty straightforward. As Paul Krugman explained a while back, “Arguably the most important thing we can do to limit the growth in health care costs is learning to say no; we cannot afford a system in which Medicare in particular will pay for anything, especially when that’s combined with an industry structure that gives providers a strong financial incentive to engage in excessive care.”

    To address this, the Obama administration wants IPAB, as part of the Affordable Care Act, to make the difficult decisions, free of the political process on Capitol Hill, precisely because Congress has failed so spectacularly in its ability to make these choices on its own. The board, made up of experts who would require Senate confirmation, would get to work in 2014.

    As Sahil Kapur reports, House Republicans want to make sure IPAB never gets the chance to lower costs, and will push a measure this week to eliminate the cost-cutting board altogether

    The question now is: Why is the party that’s hell-bent on reining in Medicare pushing to repeal this powerful tool for doing just that? Part of it is to score political points by slicing off a key piece of the Affordable Care Act. But more importantly, Republicans don’t want to keep Medicare in its current form. Many of them don’t think that’s feasible. They want to transition it to a privatized model a la the Paul Ryan plan, where seniors get a fixed subsidy — or “premium support” — to buy their own insurance on a private exchange.

    With Medicare costs exploding and the trust fund set to be depleted by 2024, the two parties increasingly agree that the program’s per-beneficiary spending ought to be held down to roughly per-capita GDP plus 1 percent, a significant cut from projections. The disagreement is on how to get there. Republicans want to achieve that by reducing benefits and reshaping Medicare itself; Democrats believe that money can be saved by cutting improper or unnecessary payments to providers.

    As a result, even though IPAB seems to give Republicans what they want, that’s only true if we accept GOP claims at face value (in other words, if we believe the party really only wants to cut costs and restrain spending). What the crusade against IPAB helps demonstrate, though, is that Republicans place for more value in scrapping the Medicare system as it currently exists — and since IPAB would strengthen the current program, it’s standing in the way of the Republicans’ ideological goal.

    The House bill is expected to pass this week, which will make the House majority feel better in the short term, but which is expected to die either in the Senate or after a presidential veto.


  6. rikyrah says:

    Alum Tells Smith College to Quit Admitting Poors

    In recent years, Smith College has been making efforts to improve its diversity. But one alum isn’t happy about this. She would like less diversity, please — and she’s written a letter warning Smith about the dire consequences of admitting fewer rich white ladies.

    Anne Spurzem, class of ’84, wrote to the Smith College Sophian on Wednesday. Let’s just read the whole letter, shall we?

    To the Editor,

    I am the president of the Smith Club of Westchester County. I enjoy reading the Sophian online because it helps me stay abreast of developments at the school.

    I read your article about [President] Carol [Christ]’s resignation and it had some interesting statistics. It mentioned the percentage increase in the population of women of color and foreign students. The gist of the article was that one of Carol’s objectives coming into the position was to increase diversity and the article gave statistics that showed that she did.

    As someone who has followed admissions for many years, I can tell you how the school is viewed by students in Westchester and Fairfield Counties. First, these counties are some of the wealthiest in the country. The children have parents who are highly educated and accomplished and have high household incomes. The children are programmed from day one to get into Ivy League schools.

    To this demographic, Smith is a safety school. Also, very few of these students want to go to a single sex school. With the exception of Wellesley, it is not hard to get into the Seven Sisters any more. The reason why Wellesley is more selective is because it is smaller than Smith and in a better geographic location – Boston beats Northampton.

    The people who are attending Smith these days are A) lesbians or B) international students who get financial aid or C) low-income women of color who are the first generation in their family to go to college and will go to any school that gives them enough money. Carol emphasizes that this is one of her goals, and so that’s why the school needs more money for scholarships or D) white heterosexual girls who can’t get into Ivy League schools.

    Smith no longer looks at SATs because if it did, it would have to report them to U.S. News & World Report. Low-income black and Hispanic students generally have lower SATs than whites or Asians of any income bracket. This is an acknowledged fact because they don’t have access to expensive prep classes or private tutors.

    To accomplish [President Christ’s] mission of diversity, the school is underweighting SAT scores. This phenomenon has been widely discussed in the New York Times Education section. If you reduce your standards for grades and scores, you drop in the rankings, although you have accomplished a noble social objective. Smith has one of the highest diversity rates in the country.

    I can tell you that the days of white, wealthy, upper-class students from prep schools in cashmere coats and pearls who marry Amherst men are over. This is unfortunate because it is this demographic that puts their name on buildings, donates great art and subsidizes scholarships.

    -Anne Spurzem ’84

    This is one of those cases where the letter-writer might not actually be aware she’s being awful. I can’t even completely tell what her point is — asides like “you have accomplished a noble social objective” make me think she sort of gets that maybe admitting people who are not white could be a good idea. But then she closes things out with comment about “great art” that implies Smith is consigning itself to a cultural wasteland by letting in Poors. Also, her breakdown of Smith undergrads these days is frankly insulting: many low-income students would probably be surprised to learn that they don’t give a shit where they go to school.


  7. rikyrah says:

    Is Natural Hair Formal? According to Wendy Williams, No, It’s Not
    February 27th, 2012 – By MN Editor

    That’s probably why I was so sad, but not surprised to hear that Wendy Williams wasn’t so much of a fan of Davis’ look. While conversing about the fashion’s from last night’s Oscar’s on her show today with a fashion critic, Wendy turned to her audience and tried to let her natural viewers know she meant no harm, but that in the end, she doesn’t want to see a “Room 222″ look on the red carpet.


    There isn’t any video from the exchange yet, but there’s already a big response to it. From YouTube videos about Wendy’s comments, to emails sent to us by our readers who were appalled by it. After doing some research on the show, Room 222 was a show from the late ’60s and early ’70s about a history class taught by a black man. Still lost? Yeah, I was too. Coincidentally, the teacher, Pete Dixon, had a short afro, and the only other black female character I saw had a small curly style that later became a larger curly ‘fro style. I’m hoping Williams wasn’t saying Davis resembled the male teacher with her natural hair, or maybe she was saying the natural look was out of touch as a ’70s thing, but either way, the reference to the show was random and pretty unnecessary. No matter what she was trying to say, she gave off the impression that natural isn’t acceptable around the grown and classy on the red carpet.

    I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again. As someone with her own television show and the power to do good things with her influence, it always boggles me how Wendy spends a lot of the time being negative. Her opinion isn’t one that had to be muted by any means, but she could have easily said, “I wasn’t really feeling the look, but I’m happy Viola is comfortable in her skin. I just couldn’t have done it.” But no, she chose to take a dig at her look and give the impression that yes, being natural and yourself in all facets isn’t welcomed on Hollywood’s biggest night. I guess if you left it up to Wendy, we would all be rocking heavy wigs and struggling to keep our heads up on the red carpet.


  8. rikyrah says:

    Jimmy Fallon is CRAZY!!


    09:03 AM EST
    Jimmy Fallon And Brian Williams ‘Slow Jam’ Super PACs
    Super PACs are one the biggest stories of the 2012 cycle so far, and on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, Fallon and NBC Nightly News anchor Brian Williams reprised ‘Slow Jam the News’, this time with a soulful telling of President Obama’s recent conversion on the big unlimited donation game.



  9. rikyrah says:

    found this over at POU, courtesy of Sepia


    Well, looks like Phylicia Rashad served Soledad O’Brien a hot cup “Girl, bye!” this morning:

    LiberalPhenom ‏ @LiberalPhenom
    Go Phylicia Rashad. Put Soledad in her place 4 asking if Cosby Show paved way for Obama presidency. Said she was marginalizing PBO’s intel.

    ETA: I found a transcript!

    O’BRIEN: Phylicia Rashad became famous around the world playing TV mom, Claire Huxtable, on “The Cosby Show,” which ran from 1984 to 1992. Of course, she’s a star of the stage as well. In 2004, she was the first African-American actress to win a best actress Tony award for her performance in “A Raisin in the Sun.” Now she’s in Tyler Perry’s film called “Good Deeds.” This Wednesday and Thursday, on New York Public Radio, she’s going to play in a radio adaptation of “Their Eyes Were Watching God.” One of my very favorites. It’s the 75th anniversary of that publication.

    It’s nice to have you come in to talk to us.


    O’BRIEN: It’s such an interesting idea, a radio adaptation of that. It’s a book that was written in the mid to latish ’30s. Do you think it’s still relevant today?

    RASHAD: It’s good literature. Good literature is always relevant, isn’t it?

    O’BRIEN: Yes. I know the right answer is yes.


    Yes, it is.


    I was an English Lit major. I should be able to answer that.

    What do you love about that? It’s such a great, great story.

    RASHAD: Isn’t it?

    O’BRIEN: Yes.

    RASHAD: And when you read it, did you feel that thaw could see everything that you were reading?

    O’BRIEN: Yes, she was a beautiful writer. Really, until alike Walker brought her back, you never thought about that book much at all.

    RASHAD: She was a — she was very descriptive. Very good at that.

    O’BRIEN: Do you — when you are in Tyler Perry’s new movie, “Good Deeds,” it really is, I think it’s kind of about race and class to some degree. Is that something that’s interesting to you sort of outside the realm of art and literature? Are you thinking about it today? and it’s politics basically today?

    RASHAD: Race and class, race and class. Race to class.


    O’BRIEN: It’s a little bit —

    RASHAD: I tell you, it’s race and class and changing from race and class to race to class so that you will learn something.

    O’BRIEN: Sadly, that’s not what I —



    O’BRIEN: Good point though.

    RASHAD: No, no, no. This is a — this is a spiral that just keeps going on. So that lets me know there’s no end game out of that one so I’m not going to go in there.

    O’BRIEN: All right.


    I like someone who is going to dodge my question, but tell me —


    O’BRIEN: — respectfully, I’m dodging your question.

    RASHAD: No, I’m not dodging your question. I’m really answering your question. You asked me was it of interest to me.

    O’BRIEN: Yes, you’re not. It’s not —


    RASHAD: No, no, no.


    What’s interesting to me is how humanity creates this maze for itself, is how we continue to create this foggy thought in which we see ourselves separate from each other. This is amazing to me. After how many millions of years in existence on the planet, after how many great civilizations have come and gone, how many inventions, how many discoveries, and yet we continue to do the same thing.

    O’BRIEN: I feel like I’m being chided.


    And you asked that question.


    RASHAD: What question did you ask me?

    O’BRIEN: Let me ask you a question. Let me ask you this question. When you see — SNL did a send-up, which was — I don’t know if you had a chance. Did you see this?

    CAIN: I saw that.

    O’BRIEN: Oh, my god, it was so cute. Let’s play a little bit of it first.





    O’BRIEN: That’s Maya Rudolph playing you.

    RASHAD: Oh, my God.

    O’BRIEN: There are people who said — I think it was Karl Rove, who said this, this is what paved the way for the Obama presidency.

    RASHAD: Did he say that?

    O’BRIEN: I believe so.

    RASHAD: He said so many things.


    I’d rather not listen to it.

    I think that “Saturday Night Live” did what it does. It made good sport of everything. And, whereas, people will get a chuckle and a laugh out of it. Having spent years with Mr. Cosby, my mind goes another way. I think, you’re marginalizing too many things. You’re marginalizing the president’s level of intelligence and preparation and his ability to hold office and to govern.


    O’BRIEN: So “The Cosby Show” was not directly responsible for the president taking office?

    RASHAD: Why would you give American people the credit that he deserves, that we are intelligent people and can cast a good vote? Why not call it like it really is?

    O’BRIEN: I like it.


    This is a feisty interview early this morning.

    It’s so nice to have you.

    As you know, over the years, we’ve done a lot of interviews. I’m a huge, huge fan. I’m going to go see “Good Deeds.”

    RASHAD: Oh, good.

    O’BRIEN: Thank you for coming in to talk to us. We appreciate it.

    Although, I think she slapped me on my hand.


    RASHAD: No. No.


    O’BRIEN: Totally. Yes, I did.

    • Ametia says:

      I soo love Ms. Rashad.

      THIS: Why would you give American people the credit that he deserves, that we are intelligent people and can cast a good vote? Why not call it like it really is?

  10. rikyrah says:

    I’ve said it for months:

    Don’t nobody care about Willard unless his CHECKS CLEAR. If they bounced, nobody would know his name.


    February 28, 2012 10:11 AM
    Consultants Feast on Mitt
    By Ed Kilgore

    As Walter Shapiro explained in the last issue of the Washington Monthly, one of the sources of the corrupting power of money in politics is from within the campaigns themselves, as consultants rip off candidates and then force them to hire other consultants to raise the money to pay them. Some campaigns are more vulnerable to this kind of vampire effect than others. But all the signs are that Mitt Romney’s campaign is a veritable blood bank.

    Here’s a report today from WaPo’s Dan Eggan:

    Although many candidates hire firms created by former staff members, the extent of the Romney campaign’s reliance on such companies is unusual for a major presidential bid, experts say. Many of the firms Romney uses are run by former aides from his 2008 campaign.
    The arrangement not only benefits several of those close to the former Massachusetts governor but also makes it harder to determine how he is spending his donors’ money, because salaries and other details about outside operations are kept under wraps.

    A big chunk of Romney’s outside operation is housed 20 miles north of Boston in an office building in Beverly, Mass., which is listed as the address for four firms doing work for the Romney campaign, disclosure records show.

    The largest is American Rambler — named for the automobile that Romney’s father helped develop — which several former aides created in early 2011 to handle advertising and other media work. Staff members include senior adviser Eric Fehrnstrom and several others who worked on Romney’s 2008 presidential campaign, according to records and news reports.
    American Rambler has taken in $15.4 million from Romney for media buys, polling and other costs through Jan. 31, including about $11 million for broadcast ads and $1.5 million for “strategic consulting,” according to disclosure documents filed with the Federal Election Commission. As with all such vendors, no information is revealed about salaries or other internal costs.


  11. rikyrah says:

    Poll Shows Scott Walker In Trouble Against Dems In Recall
    Eric Kleefeld- February 28, 2012, 12:50 PM

    Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) could be in a serious fight in the upcoming recall election, according to the new survey from Public Policy Polling (D), with Walker in some tight races against his potential Democratic opponents.

    Walker starts out in trouble on a key number: His approval rating is 47%, to disapproval of 52%.

    Recalls in Wisconsin do not feature any direct up-or-down vote on the incumbent, but instead effectively take the form of a special election with the incumbent and a challenger fighting it out to serve the rest of the term.

    But for the most part in this poll, the Dem candidates themselves perform almost identically — as in, Walker himself is the issue for now, with his support in each match-up hovering around the same 47% approval figure

    These are the most encouraging numbers we’ve found for Democrats in Wisconsin related to the Walker recall since last August,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “Walker’s numbers had been seeing some recovery, but now it appears they’ve turned back in the wrong direction. The big question now is whether Democrats can find a candidate to take advantage of Walker’s vulnerability.”

    Against the two declared Democratic candidates, former Dane County Executive Kathleen Falk edges Walker by 48%-47%, while the lesser-known state Sen. Kathleen Vinehout trails Walker by 46%-44%.

    Among Dems who are very actively considering the race is Milwaukee Mayor Tom Barrett, who was the Democratic nominee in 2010 and lost to Walker by a five-point margin in the Republican wave year. He leads Walker in this poll by 49%-46%. Secretary of State Doug La Follette, who recently began exploring the race, trails Walker 46%-45%.


  12. rikyrah says:

    ‘Herding working-class voters back toward the president’

    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 28, 2012 2:00 PM EST.

    At Mitt Romney’s press conference this morning, before taking a shot at his own party’s base, the Republican candidate was asked whether his recent rhetoric regarding his wealth had taken a toll on his campaign.

    “Yes,” Romney said. “Next question.”

    The former governor’s reluctance to expound on the subject is understandable; he’s made some inexplicable gaffes recently. But the “next question” is the extent to which Republicans are starting to genuinely worry about Romney’s troubles in this area.

    Romney at a NASCAR event, doing his best imitation of a normal person.
    It was, after all, Romney’s perceived electability that made him the GOP frontrunner in the first place. Michael Gerson argues today that the candidate’s missteps “confirm a damaging stereotype” and may be “potentially fatal.”

    These blunders not only reinforce a traditional Republican weakness, they threaten to diminish a large Republican advantage — Barack Obama’s dramatic disconnect with blue-collar whites. The candidate who talked of small-town Americans as clinging “to guns or religion” lost white working-class voters by 18 points in 2008. In 2010, congressional Democrats lost the same group by 30 points. A similarly dismal performance by Obama in 2012 would open vast blue portions of the electoral map to Republican raids.

    Romney may be the only candidate capable of herding working-class voters back toward the president.

    It’s worth emphasizing that Gerson believes this is not an unsolvable problem. “Patronizing empathy” — such as Romney claiming to be “unemployed” — won’t help, but directing “some of his economic attention to the specific needs of struggling Americans” might. Indeed, Gerson points to Bobby Kennedy’s tour of Appalachia as an example of a politician of means “at least witnessing the struggles he has not shared.”

    That’s not a bad idea, at least in theory. The problem then becomes Romney’s policy platform.


    Specifically, RFK didn’t make budget proposals like these.

    Money comes into the federal government through taxes and bonds. The vast majority of it is then spent on old-people programs, poor-people programs, and defense.

    Mitt Romney is promising that taxes will go down, defense spending will go up, and old-people programs won’t change for this generation of retirees. So three of his four options for deficit reduction — taxes, old-people programs, and defense — are now either contributing to the deficit or are off-limits for the next decade.

    Romney is also promising that he will pay for his tax cuts, pay for his defense spending, and reduce total federal spending by more than $6 trillion over the next 10 years. But the only big pot of money left to him is poor-people programs. So, by simple process of elimination, poor-people programs will have to be cut dramatically. There’s no other way to make those numbers work.

    Right. The surface-level trouble facing Romney is that he comes across as an out-of-touch, plutocratic elitist. The just-below-the-surface trouble is that Romney, if elected, intends to help other out-of-touch, plutocratic elitist, while making life significantly tougher on those working families who are already suffering.

    When Romney said he’s “not concerned about the very poor,” he wasn’t kidding. Gerson sees the former governor pulling a page from Bobby Kennedy’s 1968 playbook, but Kennedy was deeply concerned about the very poor, in ways that Romney can’t even begin to fake.


  13. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    February 28, 2012 12:20 PM
    Pollack on Santorum and the Disabled
    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the nastiest of Rick Santorum’s recent attacks on his fellow-citizens who do not share his particular religio-cultural affinities is his claim that liberals support prenatal testing in order to make it easier to dispose of people with disabilities. My friend Harold Pollack, a professor of social service administration at the University of Chicago who is extraordinarily knowlegeable about the practical implications of health care policies, responded with a sort of quiet heat in a New York Times op-ed:

    “One of the things that you don’t know about ObamaCare,” Mr. Santorum said, is that it requires “free prenatal testing … Why? Because free prenatal testing ends up in more abortions and, therefore, less care that has to be done, because we cull the ranks of the disabled in our society.” Mr. Santorum’s comment echoed Sarah Palin’s famous charge during the health care reform debate: “My parents or my baby with Down Syndrome will have to stand in front of Obama’s ‘death panel’ so his bureaucrats can decide, based on a subjective judgment of their ‘level of productivity in society,’ whether they are worthy of health care.”

    There is no basis whatsoever for Mr. Santorum or Ms. Palin’s comments. Disability advocates across the political spectrum strongly supported the 2010 health care reform. They had obvious reasons to do so. The new law provides protections for people with preexisting conditions, regulations to make sure insurers properly cover care for chronic illnesses and expanded coverage for young adults and low-income families.

    But more is at stake here than factual inaccuracies. Mr. Santorum and Ms. Palin are spreading a poisonous meme: that liberals disdain the disabled and look down upon parents who raise children with physical or intellectual limitations. They seek to insert the hateful rhetoric of the culture war into one of the few areas of American life that had remained relatively free of such rancor.

    You should read the entire column. Pollack notes the critical importance of federal social safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid and Supplemental Security Income (SSI) for providing treatment and support for people with disabilities. But more importantly, he stresses that this is one social services subject where people from both parties and all parts of the political spectrum have usually cooperated. Santorum is just walking the trail already blazed by Palin and others in politicizing this subject, but it’s still unfortunate. We should not, however, be surprised; anyone who tends to think of his ideological opponents as part of Satan’s hosts in a spiritual war for control of the country will naturally have few compunctions about attributing evil motives on this and every other topic. So long as this wrathful man is running for president, we should get used to it.


  14. rikyrah says:

    President Obama Delivers Barnburner To UAW, Dings Romney And Santorum
    Benjy Sarlin- February 28, 2012, 12:39 PM

    Mitt Romney won’t “light his hair on fire” just to excite the conservative base, he admitted to an audience Tuesday. President Obama offered him a helpful political clinic the same day, rousing a crowd of auto workers with a fiery speech in which he took direct aim at Romney’s opposition to bailing out Detroit.

    “I’ve got to admit, it’s been funny to watch some of these politicians completely rewrite history now that you’re back on your feet,” Obama told a UAW convention in Washington. “These are the folks who said if we went forward with our plan to rescue Detroit, ‘you can kiss the American automotive industry goodbye.’ Now they’re saying they were right all along!”

    The alternative to federal help, Obama said, “was to do nothing, and allow these companies to fail. In fact, some politicians said we should. Some even said we should ‘let Detroit go bankrupt.’”

    The line was a clear reference to Romney’s 2008 New York Times op-ed “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” in which he suggested the companies go through a managed bankruptcy process.

    “You remember that,” Obama added. “You know.”

    While Romney and Santorum are at each other’s throats in Michigan, Obama took advantage of being unopposed — transforming into the old, electrifying candidate that Democrats remember and that the GOP has been aching to replicate.

    Obama’s allusions to Romney came just as the former Massachusetts governor faces criticism from other Democrats, the local press and even some Republican supporters in Michigan for his confusing bailout position. Romney claims he would have saved the auto industry as president, but has not specified exactly how much government help — if any — would have been needed to do so.

    Recalling Romney’s suggestions that auto companies could have gotten funding elsewhere, Obama reminded the audience that there were no private-sector loans available at the time and without his help “all of you — the men and women who built these companies with your own hands — would’ve been hung out to dry.”

    In another dig at a rival, Obama went off his prepared remarks to say that he wanted to save middle-class jobs in Detroit in part so workers’ kids could “yes, go to college.” Rick Santorum said earlier this week that Obama was a “snob” for suggesting all Americans should have the opportunity for higher education.

    Speaking with the preacher’s cadence that was his trademark on the 2008 campaign trail, Obama said workers’ concessions on wages and benefits to make the bailout were a shining example of America’s sense of community.

    “You want to talk about values?” he asked. “Hard work — that’s a value. Looking out for one another — that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together — that I am my brother’s keeper, I am my sister’s keeper — that is a value.”


  15. rikyrah says:

    Tonight Doesn’t Really Matter
    by BooMan
    Tue Feb 28th, 2012 at 01:05:45 PM EST

    It seems like everyone is trying to create drama. Here’s Matt Dowd, responding to a query from George Stephanopoulos: “What happens if Rick Santorum wins Michigan tonight?”

    “If Rick Santorum wins tonight it’s the equivalent of a 9.0 on a Richter scale. I mean it is going to shake Washington, it’s going to shake Republican establishment it’s just going to shake things to their very core,” Dowd told me. “And I think what you’re going to see are the conversations that have been going on behind quiet doors saying we need another candidate in this race.”

    I think this is a bit of hyperbole. At the same time, I don’t think it’s wrong exactly. Let me explain. As things look right now, Romney is going to win in Arizona tonight, probably quite comfortably. And he’s either going to win narrowly or lose narrowly in Michigan, which will mean very little either way in terms of delegates awarded. Whether Romney nets a dozen delegates or loses a dozen, it can’t possibly matter much in determining the outcome of the overall race. Except, perhaps, if the outcome of tonight’s elections significantly changes people’s perceptions. But, is that likely to happen?

    Let’s say that Romney wins in Michigan by a narrow margin. Will that change his position in the polls in Super Tuesday states? After all, Romney is polling in second place in Ohio, Tennessee, and Oklahoma, and in third place in Georgia. Does anyone seriously think that narrowly winning in Michigan will erase those deficits? And, consider that Romney will win on Super Tuesday in Virginia (where he only faces Ron Paul on the ballot), his home state of Massachusetts, and Vermont. There will also be a handful of delegates parceled out that day in Alaska, Idaho, Wyoming, and North Dakota. Will how those races turn out hinge on tonight’s results? And will those results really mean anything compared to the big prizes like Ohio and Georgia, Virginia and Massachusetts?

    I think the truth is that regardless of what happens tonight, Romney is going to win a lot and lose a lot on Super Tuesday. And that means that he will have proven that the can’t close the deal. He’ll have to deal with upcoming primaries and caucuses in Alabama, Mississippi, Kansas, and Missouri, which are all inhospitable states for Romney.

    What does all this mean? It means that tonight’s results don’t matter. If Romney wins both contests, he’ll be able to breath a little easier for a week. And then he’ll be in the same place that Matt Dowd said he’d be after Super Tuesday, with conversations going on behind closed doors about how to find another candidate.

    For Romney to escape this plotting, he’ll have to win big enough in Michigan to somehow change people’s minds about him in Ohio and Georgia and Tennessee and Oklahoma. Because, unless he can win in the South, he isn’t going to knock his opponents out of the race or get a big enough delegate lead to wrap up the nomination.


  16. rikyrah says:

    If everyone goes to college, where will we get serfs?
    Tuesday, February 28, 2012 | Posted by Liberal Librarian at 9:03 AM

    You don’t have to go to college to be a success … We need the people who run the offices, the people who do the hard physical work of our society.

    —George H.W. Bush, Statement to the students of East Los Angeles’ Garfield High School (5 May 1988)

    “Not all folks are gifted the same way. Some people have incredible gifts with their hands,” Santorum began. “Some people have incredible gifts and want to work out there making things.”

    Then he went after the president’s call for making college easier for Americans to attend.

    “President Obama wants everybody in America to go to college. What a snob,” Santorum said as the crowd howled with laughter and applause. “There are good, decent men and women who work hard every day and put their skills to the test that aren’t taught by some liberal college professor.”

    —Rick Santorum

    My mother was a seamstress. At 80, she still works, Tuesday through Saturday, 6 hours a day, making alterations at a dry cleaner in a Los Angeles suburb owned by a good friend. She doesn’t work because she has to, but because she loves the companionship and the doing of things. The things she can do with needle and thread and cloth amaze me.

    She left school after ninth grade. She didn’t leave school out of economic need; both sides of my family were very middle class. But children in Cuba in her day had compulsory education only through ninth grade, and school bored her, and she had that talent with her hands. She left school and has never stopped working since, delighting in something she knows she can do as well as anybody, and sometimes better.

    Her skill, learned at my grandmother’s feet, got her a good union job in the New York garment industry. Between her job and my father’s barber shop, they were able to send myself and my two brothers to parochial school for elementary and high school, to college—which we self-funded through grants and minimal loans—and me on to get my master’s degree in library science.

    My mother loves working with her hands. But, both she and my father were determined that their sons wouldn’t; that we would go to university, that we would work with our minds, have lives easier than they had, have lives which improved on theirs. No, they didn’t perform back-breaking labor; but it was physical enough that they knew they wanted something better for their children. No sacrifice was too great to ensure that we would have opportunities they hadn’t, that we could take advantage of everything this country offered.

    No, you don’t have to go to college to be a success. My parents are proof of that: they raised a family that’s gone on to achieve parts of the American Dream.

    But Mr. Santorum’s statement—like Mr. Bush’s in 1988—point not only to an anti-intellectual strain among conservatives, but also to an ideology that in part is against economic fairness. Study after study shows that those with college degrees have a better shot at a middle class life than those without. That point isn’t up for debate.

    But among the right wing there’s always a fear that too much education is dangerous; students get worrisome ideas, they start to question the world around them, they start to go against lawful authority—and remember that all authority ultimately derives from God in their world view. There’s always the fear that if they send their sons and daughters to a liberal arts university that they’ll jettison all the beliefs they’ve tried to inculcate in them. The fact that it isn’t borne out by empirical evidence—in fact, that the opposite is true, that those who don’t go to university experience steeper declines in religiosity than those who do—doesn’t stop the idea from propagating and taking root. It dovetails nicely with the anti-intellectualism currently rife in the GOP and the Right—egged on, it should be said, by leaders with advanced degrees themselves, but without the requisite wisdom that possession of such degrees would indicate.


  17. rikyrah says:

    looked at the pics of POTUS at the UAW convention. THOSE are some working-class folks who know which way is up.

    no wishy-washy from them.

    no ‘luxury of delusion’ that I’ve read in stories with other White working-class folks.

  18. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012
    Attorney General Holder Names Tony West Third In Command At DOJ

    Tony West, who has led the Justice Department’s Civil Division since April 2009, was named today acting associate attorney general.

    West, as the third in command at Justice, will replace Thomas Perrelli, Attorney General Eric Holder Jr. announced. Perrelli, who managed the Washington office of Jenner & Block, recently announced his plans to leave DOJ.

    Holder today also named Stuart Delery the acting assistant attorney general for the Civil Division. West and Delery were not immediately reached for comment this afternoon.

    “Tony and Stuart have served the department with professionalism, integrity and dedication, and both bring a wealth of experience to their new positions,” Holder said in a prepared statement. “I’m confident they will provide invaluable leadership and will play a critical role in furthering the department’s key priorities and fulfilling its traditional missions.”

    West was a Morrison & Foerster partner when he took over the leadership of the Civil Division, the largest litigation division at Main Justice. Civil Division lawyers have defended the constitutionality of the health care laws and are involved in legal issues stemming from the Deepwater Horizon oil spill.

    West serves as a co-leader on several DOJ-sponsored financial fraud enforcement initiatives, including the recently announced residential mortgage-backed securities working group.


  19. rikyrah says:

    28 Feb 2012 11:26 AM
    Real Class Warfare
    This is what it actually looks like:


    Notice that this is not an argument about the president’s policies (which are actually all about vocational training and apprenticeships). It is an argument about the character of the president, and he is defined as contemptuous of the working class. Santorum calls Obama what no Republican has yet called Romney: a “snob”.

    Not an argument. Not a policy difference. Pure class hatred – personalized. And driving the base of the GOP


  20. Karen Hunter ‏ @karenhunter:

    POTUS is so gangsta. He’s in MI the day of an open GOP primary delivering a bangin’ speech on America’s comeback

  21. Riykrah & Ametia

    You’ve got mail.

  22. rikyrah says:

    What a difference a decade makes on income inequality
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 28, 2012 10:05 AM EST.

    For much of the Obama era, issues such as income inequality have been deemed largely off limits by the right. The problem, according to many conservatives, isn’t the growing gap between rich and poor, or the emergence of a new Gilded Age, but rather, talking about these issues in public. Maybe, the argument goes, if we ignore the societal dilemma, it’ll just go away.

    But it wasn’t too terribly long ago that Republicans felt this was at least a problem worth considering. Our pal James Carter flagged a fascinating item from 2002, written by one of the Republican presidential candidates for an academic journal.

    [T]oday, growing disparity between the rich and poor is one of the critical social dilemmas we face in the 21st century. I believe that the growing wealth gap is one of the key reasons for this increasing disparity.

    Despite a strong economy through the 1990s, the gap between the rich and the poor expanded. Among Americans who reach age seventy, the top ten percent own more wealth than the bottom ninety percent. How do we address this inequity? […]

    Initiatives that encourage individual wealth creation are imperative to closing the gap between the rich and the poor. I believe the government can play a role in helping many Americans who struggle to enter the economic mainstream.

    The same article went on to note that while “the net worth of the typical family has risen substantially in recent years, it has actually dropped substantially for low-income families…. Until recently, the booming American economy had delivered significant income gains to the nation’s upper-income earners, leaving lower-income workers on the sidelines.”

    The author was then-Sen. Rick Santorum, in a piece for the Notre Dame Journal of Law, Ethics, & Public Policy.

    It’s only fair to note that Santorum’s preferred prescription was not at all progressive. The Republican’s focus was on addressing inequality by expanding “wealth creation” — we would see more income mobility, for example, if working families had their own retirement investment accounts, replacing Social Security.

    But what’s striking about the Santorum piece is the way in which it helps document the rhetorical transition.


    In 2012, the Republican line is that discussions about economic fairness, if they’re to exist at all, should be forced into “quiet rooms,” where questions can be whispered. In 2002, leading Republicans — Santorum was the third highest-ranking GOP senator at the time — were entirely comfortable noting the “growing disparity between the rich and poor,” exploring solutions to close the gap, and even envisioning a role for government action.

    Santorum’s piece 10 years ago wasn’t seen as scandalous; it was seen as routine. It’s only now that the Republican mainstream sees the need to narrow the public conversation, declaring some topics verboten. Indeed, if President Obama were to declare today that the “growing disparity between the rich and poor is one of the critical social dilemmas we face in the 21st century,” nearly all of the leading GOP voices would be quick to condemn such talk as inherently “divisive,” promoting “envy,” and fomenting class conflict.

    What a difference a decade makes.


  23. rikyrah says:

    What’s More Interesting than Republican Primaries? Organizing!
    Posted by Al Giordano – February 27, 2012 at 9:45 pm
    By Al Giordano

    There comes a moment in a political forecaster’s journey when the thing he’s good at analyzing just ceases to hold enough interest for him to go through the motions. Such it is, at least for today, on the eve of the Republican primaries in Arizona (Mitt Romney will win as he did in Nevada; the demographics are even older and more religiously oriented toward him) and Michigan (four polls taken on Sunday have the contest between Romney and Rick Santorum with neither candidate showing momentum nor a lead outside the margin of error). They’re both awful candidates and worse human beings in their own special ways. It’s impossible to care about either of them.

    If I have to swing for the fences and pick one I’d say that Democrats and Independents who want to prolong the GOP primaries longer to further weaken the eventual nominee, if they’re smart, will head to the polls tomorrow, hold their noses, and cast a vote for Santorum if only to keep the this train wreck of a contest flipping down the rails into the next set of primaries and caucuses. Every time there’s a candidates’ debate the general election public ends up with a lower opinion of all of them. The motto for Spring 2012 ought to be: Keep dopes alive!

    And here’s a memo to the Supreme Court, who thought its decisions paving the way for mega-millionaire SuperPacs would help the rich consolidate political power: Can you guys say “unintended consequences?” What has precisely kept the richest candidate in the race from closing the deal on his nomination is that other rich guys are allowed to play like never before to keep their pet candidates, Santorum and Newt Gingrich, alive and in the hunt long after when, in previous years, they’d likely already be out of it or about to be. Negative ads on each of them are dominating the airwaves in every primary and caucus state, and this is great news for those who favor President Obama’s reelection: A circular fratricide among the elites. What’s not to love about that? Or about the fact that Romney has to defend, with his millions, his home state, where unlike the Creedence Clearwater Revival song, he really was “a governor’s son.”

    Since I believe in the basic intelligence of human nature, I’ll pick Rick in a photo finish, thanks to savvy crossover voters who want to keep seeing ’em collide. Perhaps a Field Hand or two will want to get out there and make me right.

    But even if Santorum implodes from his recent missteps (a lackluster debate last week and the vetting of his previous attacks on rock and roll, the supposed vehicle by which Satan, according to him, is wrecking America), we still have Newt (lots more fun than Rick), and his big-money backers to pick up where Santorum leaves off, who can pop back up skewer Romney for a few more rounds.

    The happiest person with this entire scenario has to be Michele Obama, because nothing in the Republican contest is making her husband nervous enough to crave a cigarette. And this is the proof of how much the opposing party hates Barack Obama: They’re denying him even a reasonable explanation for coming home from the Oval Office emanating the sweet scent of tobacco. “Sorry, Honey, it’s just that I’m so nervous about this campaign,” just isn’t going to fly – not yet, at least – in the Obama household. C’mon guys! Give the guy a contest at least so he can enjoy a frickin’ cigarette.

    So, while we’re waiting for the walking dead to become interesting, let me talk with you about what really does excite me: Community Organizing. We saw a lot of that in the 2008 primaries but this year’s won’t uncloak (although it’s happening intensely in preparation) until the general election campaign starts for real.


  24. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012
    Gingrich will again be the story

    I take E.J. Dionne’s predominant point about electoral prudence — in fact we have all taken it, since Thomas Dewey — but on this one minor-est of premises within a minor premise (which I have duly italicized) I dissent:

    Democrats have an interest in the Republican contest going on indefinitely. Romney victories in Tuesday’s Michigan and Arizona primaries would likely shorten the process, and ending the nomination battle quickly is the precondition for a Republican counteroffensive.

    What evidence exists that Romney victories tomorrow would in any way shorten the GOP’s primary process? I don’t see it.

    Doubtless, two more Romney wins would contribute immensely to Romney’s inevitability, but such inevitability has so far failed to impress or persuade a very substantial portion of a quite disgruntled GOP base. Yes, he da man; but they don’t have to be happy about it, and of that, they’ve made no secret. And just because Romney may walk off with Michigan and Arizona tomorrow, as he’s already done with New Hampshire and Nevada and Florida, there’s little reason to think the base will suddenly be wild about Willard.

    Both Gingrich and Santorum can live off the land (and a couple of billionaires) till June; which is to say, for us they can make life a delightful hell for Mitt Romney. In time, the base may have to swallow the former governor, but till then, they don’t have to savor him. Thus enter the would-be spoilers, whose permanent doom Romney must continue to heavily invest in — because one never knows.

    And, if I may … I still believe Newt Gingrich is “the story,” more so than Rick Santorum. The latter was merely the last to be elevated to national notoriety, and like all the others — Bachmann, Cain, etc. — he’ll fade, assuming he doesn’t stupendously dynamite himself first. The base will remain in need of a Romney-alternative, though. So then comes a recycling process. And who’s first in line? Who, that is, will be left?

    Yep, Newt.


  25. President Obama Speaks at the United Auto Workers conference
    February 28, 2012 11:30 AM EST

    Now Streaming…


  26. Behind the Scenes: Red, White and Blues

  27. Report: Israel Won’t Warn U.S. Before Strike On Iran


    WASHINGTON — Israeli officials say they won’t warn the U.S. if they decide to launch a pre-emptive strike against Iranian nuclear facilities, according to one U.S. intelligence official familiar with the discussions. The pronouncement, delivered in a series of private, top-level conversations, sets a tense tone ahead of meetings in the coming days at the White House and Capitol Hill.

    Israeli officials said that if they eventually decide a strike is necessary, they would keep the Americans in the dark to decrease the likelihood that the U.S. would be held responsible for failing to stop Israel’s potential attack. The U.S. has been working with the Israelis for months to persuade them that an attack would be only a temporary setback to Iran’s nuclear program.

  28. Ametia says:

    Rikyrah, where are you? Check out this facinating and thorough series on the Buffalo Soldiers.

    “One A Day” Black History Month Series: The Buffalo Soldiers


  29. rikyrah says:

    who is lying to?

    he’d sell his Mama for a block of votes:

    • Ametia says:

      LOL Is it any wonder we don’t see this nitwit Romney running around screaming ‘MY PANTS ARE ON FIRE!!!! As much as he’s been LYING. Speaking about our president being dangerous. There’s nothing more dangerous than a LYING LIAR, Mittens, and that would be YOU!

  30. rikyrah says:

    09:38 AM EST
    Romney: ‘I’m Not Willing To Light My Hair On Fire To Try And Get Support’

    Speaking at his first press conference in almost three weeks in Michigan on Tusday, Mitt Romney elaborated on what he was willing to do to in order to garner votes in the primary, as opposed to the general election. He said he wasn’t “willing to light [his] hair on fire to try and get support,” implicitly taking a shot at some of his fellow rivals:

    In some cases our flaws over emphasized, but I do think in the general election all of what’s gone on during the primary becomes very much a thing of the past and we focus on what’s being said in the general.

    It’s very easy to excite the base with incendiary comments. We’ve seen throughout the campaign if you’re willing to say really outrageous things that are accusative, attacking of President Obama, that you’re going to jump up in the polls. I’m not willing to light my hair on fire to try and get support. I am who I am. I’m a person with extensive experience in the private sector, in the economy.


  31. rikyrah says:

    Exacerbating the gender gap
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 28, 2012 9:26 AM EST.

    In 2008, Barack Obama cruised to an easy win over John McCain thanks in large part to a large gender gap — the Democrat got the support of a narrow plurality of men, but defeated the Republican among women by 13 points.

    Four years later, the GOP agenda may very well make the gap even wider.

    [President Obama’s] standing with female voters is strengthening, polls show, as the economy improves and social issues, including birth control, become a bigger part of the nation’s political discourse. […]

    The recent furor over whether religious employers should be forced to pay for their workers’ contraception is certainly a factor but hardly the only reason for women warming up to Obama again after turning away from him late last year.

    An Associated Press-GfK poll suggests women also are giving the president more credit than men are for the country’s economic turnaround.

    The numbers are pretty striking, at least at this point in the process. Obama’s approval rating among women is up 10 points since December — a period that includes an improving economy and a renewed culture-war agenda from Republicans — and in hypothetical match-ups, while the president ties his GOP challengers among men, he leads Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum by 13 and 16 points, respectively.

    And while the economic future remains uncertain, Republican policymakers remain eager to pursue policies that push women away, including a vote this week on the odious anti-contraception Blunt Amendment on Capitol Hill, and a variety of offensive measures at the state level.

    Patricia Speyerer, an 87-year-old Republican-leaning voter in Mississippi, told the AP, “Republicans are making a big mistake with this contraception talk, and I’m pretty sure that they are giving (the election) to Obama. It’s a stupid thing.”


  32. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    February 27, 2012 5:10 PM
    A Cardinal Threat
    By Ed Kilgore

    Making the conservative rounds today is a column from Francis Cardinal George, the Catholic Archbishop of Chicago, that in the guise of a discussion of Lenten sacrifice, presents the now-familiar argument that the Obama administration is trying to destroy Church-affiliated institutions:

    This year, the Catholic Church in the United States is being told she must “give up” her health care institutions, her universities and many of her social service organizations. This is not a voluntary sacrifice. It is the consequence of the already much discussed Department of Health and Human Services regulations now filed and promulgated for implementation beginning Aug. 1 of this year….

    What will happen if the HHS regulations are not rescinded? A Catholic institution, so far as I can see right now, will have one of four choices: 1) secularize itself, breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop. This is a form of theft. It means the church will not be permitted to have an institutional voice in public life. 2) Pay exorbitant annual fines to avoid paying for insurance policies that cover abortifacient drugs, artificial contraception and sterilization. This is not economically sustainable. 3) Sell the institution to a non-Catholic group or to a local government. 4) Close down.

    This flat statement is rather odd insofar as several of the most important organizations representing Catholic hospitals, universities and social services agencies have gone out of their way to suggest they can live within the guidelines of the new regulations, particularly if something can be worked out to accomodate Catholic institutional employers that are self-insured (i.e., that are both employers and insurers). After reading Cardinal George’s ukase, I consulted the web page of the Catholic Health Association and saw no news of any impending closures of Catholic hospitals, though CHA does, naturally, suggest it needs to see what the administration is planning for self-insurers before making any final sign-off.

    Perhaps acceptance of the administration policy is the contingency Cardinal George is referring to in his Doomsday Option 1 above: “breaking its connection to the church, her moral and social teachings and the oversight of its ministry by the local bishop.” It would appear the real action there would be by the “local bishop,” who would refuse to continue to exercise overight with respect to any Catholic institution that did not join the hierachy’s culture-war against the administration and the provision of contraceptives to employees. In other words, bishops would order Catholic institutions fully willing to continue functioning under the regulations to shut down or treat themselves as “secularized.” It’s pretty clear who the aggressor would be in this sort of action.

    In weighing this threat and its gravity it is probably helpful to consider Cardinal George’s general views about the horror with which he considers any dimunition of episcopal power. In 2010, he prophesied:


  33. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s risible ‘recollections’
    By Steve Benen – Tue Feb 28, 2012 8:00 AM EST.

    Mitt Romney has spent the last couple of weeks desperately trying to prove to Michigan Republicans he has deep, meaningful roots to the state, as evidenced by his love of the state’s tree heights. These efforts, however, can occasionally go too far.

    Mitt Romney heard plenty of stories from his father.
    For example, the former Massachusetts governor shared a cherished childhood memory last week with a Michigan audience, which Mitch Potter noted, Romney did not witness in reality.

    Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

    “My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

    The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore. The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford.

    And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

    In fairness to Romney, this may not have been a deliberate effort to deceive the public. Children hear family stories and see photographs, and the occasional result is a false memory.

    The problem for the Republican presidential hopeful, though, is the larger pattern, which makes it more difficult to give Romney the benefit of the doubt.

    Indeed, there was a similar incident in his last presidential campaign, when Romney assured voters he remembers having seen his father march with Martin Luther King Jr., when in reality, that never happened.

    If Mitt Romney had earned a reputation as an honest, straight-talking candidate who could always be counted on to tell the truth, slip-ups like the bogus Golden Jubilee claim could be easily overlooked, even by critics. But therein lies the point: Romney has actually earned the opposite reputation — his deliberate falsehoods come so frequently that it’s a challenge just to keep up with them. As Paul Krugman put it a few days ago, Romney “is running a campaign of almost pathological dishonesty.”

    It’s against this backdrop that Romney wants voters to forgive inconsequential mistakes, such as his memories of an event that he did not witness. The more likely scenario is that the public is starting to realize this candidate is suffering from an acute allergy to the truth.


  34. rikyrah says:

    February 27, 2012 5:43 PM

    Mitt Keeps Digging in Michigan
    By Ed Kilgore

    Mitt Romney better be happy the Michigan Republican presidential primary is tomorrow. If it was much later, his series of mistatements and gaffes and empty-stadium moments might eventually sink him.

    A few days ago Mitch Potter of the Toronto Star heard Romney deliver a stirring tribute to his memories of Detroit’s celebration of the 50th anniversary of the first automobile, and did a little research:

    When Mitt Romney regaled a Michigan audience this week with childhood memories of a landmark moment in Detroit history, it was a rare instance of emotional candour.
    And, perhaps, an even rarer example of time travel.

    Romney recalled he was “probably 4 or something like that” the day of the Golden Jubilee, when three-quarters of a million people gathered to celebrate the 50th anniversary of the American automobile.

    “My dad had a job being the grandmaster. They painted Woodward Ave. with gold paint,” Romney told a rapt Tea Party audience in the village of Milford Thursday night, reliving a moment of American industrial glory.

    The Golden Jubilee described so vividly by Romney was indeed an epic moment in automotive lore. The parade included one of the last public appearances by an elderly Henry Ford.
    And it took place June 1, 1946 — fully nine months before Romney was born.

    Yeah, primary day can’t arrive too fast.


  35. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:50 AM ET, 02/28/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney’s White Working Class Problem
    By Greg Sargent

    If Mitt Romney loses today in Michigan, it could throw the GOP primary into chaos and force a battle that extends well past Super Tuesday, March 6th. But most polls show that Romney will narrowly win in the state, where he has deep ties.

    However, even if Romney does win, strategists in both parties will be closely watching tonight’s results to see whether he continues to be dogged by a vulnerability that could have serious ramifications in the general election: His White Working Class Problem.

    New Post polling out this morning underscores the depths of his difficulties. It finds that Romney’s favorability rating nationally is at just 37 percent among conservative Republicans and independents with incomes of under $50,000, versus 40 percent of them who view him favorably. Rick Santorum performs better with this group, but since Romney is still the likely nominee, this isn’t really about Sanorum; it’s about Romney’s long term prospects.

    The Post polling team provides more numbers: Among non-college whites across the board, Romney’s favorability rating is also at 37 percent. (Obama’s favorability among these voters is the same; yet a competitive Republican is supposed to have a very significant advantage over a Democrat in presidential elections.) Even worse, Romney’s numbers among independents across the board are an abysmal 29-44, down from 37-40 earlier this month.

    And so strategists will be watching to see how Romney fares among these voters in today’s primary, which is an open one in which independents can participate. If he’s the nominee Romney will have another chance to introduce himself to these voters on more favorable terms. But these trends have to be alarming to GOP leaders.

    * Right-leaning writers worried about Romney: Indeed, don’t take my word for it. Michael Gerson gives voice to rising GOP worry about Romney’s propensity for saying things that alienate these voters:

    These blunders not only reinforce a traditional Republican weakness, they threaten to diminish a large Republican advantage — Barack Obama’s dramatic disconnect with blue-collar whites. The candidate who talked of small-town Americans as clinging “to guns or religion” lost white working-class voters by 18 points in 2008. In 2010, congressional Democrats lost the same group by 30 points. A similarly dismal performance by Obama in 2012 would open vast blue portions of the electoral map to Republican raids.
    Romney may be the only candidate capable of herding working-class voters back toward the president.

    And it’s true that the alienation of these voters from Obama remains a problem. But Romney may not be able to exploit it to the degree the GOP needs.


  36. rikyrah says:

    How The GOP Lost Michigan
    Tomasky believes that Republican opposition to the auto bailout will cost the party in November:

    If Romney wins tomorrow, he’ll stand up there all smiles and talk again about his great love for Michigan and its fine people and its perfect trees and its cavernous and empty football stadiums. Don’t be fooled. He lost Michigan this past week, and he richly deserved to. And he didn’t lose it because of some campaign-trail gaffe. He lost it on policy—his, and his party’s.


  37. rikyrah says:

    I’ve had my criticisms of Maddow on certain issues, but on the GOP War on Women, she’s been front and center. And, I agree with the poster, it’s because she’s been so brutal, frank and in your face, that the GOP had the light shined on their misogyny.


    Say It Over and Over Again
    by mistermix

    Some panty sniffer at the Daily Caller keeps count (via) of the number of times Rachel Maddow says “vagina” or “vaginal” on her show, and his report on the site is accompanied by a loop of Rachel saying those words. His critique? She uses that word in a similar way that Keith Olbermann uses “sir”. Devastating.

    The Daily Caller doing something lame is definitely in the dog bites man category, but this story is worth noting simply because the nothing they have in this case is especially vacuous. Maddow used some very effective rhetoric and imagery to emphasize how invasive and degrading the transvaginal ultrasound bill was, and the big talking right-to-lifers bravely ran away. The fight isn’t over but it’s pretty obvious that the Caller never expected the centerpiece of their anti-abortion agenda to get beaten so quickly and so decisively in Virginia, and to be irreversibly tainted when it gets discussed in other states, and Maddow is a big part of the reason that happened.


  38. rikyrah says:

    Posted on 02/27/2012 at 5:30 pm by JM Ashby

    During his address to the National Governor’s Association today, President Obama reiterated the need to provide an education to those who seek it because the health of the economy and America’s future depend on it.

    “No issue will have a bigger impact on the future performance of our economy than education,” the president said in remarks before the National Governors Association at the White House.

    The president insisted that higher education is the key to preparing Americans for the jobs of the 21st century. “We can’t allow higher education to be a luxury in this country. It’s an economic imperative that every family in America has to be able to afford,” he said.

    While Obama did not mention Santorum by name, he clarified his push for Americans to receive higher education. “I have to make a point here. When I speak about higher education, we’re not just talking about a four-year degree,” he said. “We’re talking about somebody going to a community college and getting trained for that manufacturing job.”

    “We all want Americans getting those jobs of the future, so we’re going to have to make sure that they’re getting the education that they need,” he said.

    At the same time, Obama argued that education should not be a partisan issue. “All of us should be about giving every American who wants a chance to succeed that chance,” he said.

    Concerned about the future performance of our economy. Ensuring that Americans have the education they need to get a job. Giving everyone a chance.

    What a snob!

    I’m expecting the GOP response will be that the president obviously doesn’t believe in American exceptionalism because he thinks Americans need to be educated to compete in the 21st century.


  39. rikyrah says:

    They Were the Ones Eating the Pie
    by BooMan
    Mon Feb 27th, 2012 at 08:16:39 PM EST

    Juan Williams tries to penetrate the impermeable membrane of stupid by explaining that the American Recovery Act actually worked. I guess he’s a glutton for right-wing abuse. He also should have pointed out that the Republicans are the ones with blueberry pie on their faces. They were the ones eating the pie.

    It is important to keep in mind the dire condition of the economy when the stimulus passed. It was hemorrhaging jobs at the rate of hundreds of thousands per month. During President Bush’s last full month in office, December 2008, the economy lost 779,000 jobs. More jobs were lost that month than in any other single month in the previous 60 years. The GDP, the measure of all economic activity in the country, dropped by an unprecedented 9 percent in the final quarter of 2008.

    The stock market took an enormous hit, along with the values of people’s homes and other financial assets.

    Still, Republicans lambasted the stimulus plan as socialism, a bailout and the government picking winners and losers.

    President Bush had pretty much destroyed this country before he lost 779,000 jobs during his last full month in office. And he couldn’t have done it without the lockstep support of Republicans, particularly in Congress. They screwed things up. And then they were virtually unanimous in opposing the new president’s effort the set things right. That we’ve come this far with no help from the people responsible for creating this mess is a minor miracle. I can imagine how good things would be if the Republicans had had an iota of contrition or any sense of responsibility for what they’d done.


  40. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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