Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Minnie Riperton Week!

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70 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Thursday Open Thread | Minnie Riperton Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    MD Gov. Martin O’Malley coming up on Maddow’s show.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Christie Lacked Power to Abolish Housing Agency, Court Rules

    New Jersey Governor Chris Christie didn’t have the right to abolish a housing agency created by the state’s legislature, an appeals court ruled.

    The Appellate Division of the New Jersey Superior Court said today that Christie exceeded his authority under an executive reorganization plan by eliminating the Council on Affordable Housing and transferring its duties to the Commissioner of the Department of Community Affairs.

    The framers of the state constitution “acknowledged the principle that the power to create and abolish such agencies and to alter such functions resided within the legislative process,” Presiding Judge Philip Carchman said in the opinion.

    Christie argued that the Reorganization Act gave him the power to get rid of an independent agency created by the legislature as long as it was “in but not of” a department of the state’s executive branch, according to court papers.

    “We are obviously disappointed with the court decision, which only perpetuates the nightmare New Jersey has endured for decades with the COAH bureaucracy,” Michael Drewniak, a spokesman for Christie, said in an e-mailed statement. “The administration will appeal the decision.”

    Christie created a task force in January 2010 to review the housing agency. In June 2011, he issued the reorganization plan, which called for the abolition of the group. The state said that the transfer of the council’s duties would cut costs and “reduce the unnecessary complexity of affordable housing administration in New Jersey,” according to court papers.
    ‘Extraordinary Steps’

    The council was created under the state 1985 Fair Housing Act, which required municipalities to provide for the development of affordable housing. The state legislature set the council, which helped develop and implement affordable housing policies, at 12 members and said no more than six could be of the same political party.

    “The legislature took extraordinary steps to insulate COAH from the control of a single political party,” Carchman stated in the opinion.

    The court challenge was brought by the Cherry Hill, New Jersey-based Fair Share Housing Center, founded to protect housing rights of the state’s poor. An appeal of a governor’s order in New Jersey is made directly to the appellate court.

    “The governor’s role under the constitution is to enforce the laws, not make them,” Kevin Walsh, the associate director of Fair Share Housing Center, said in a statement. “Governor Christie simply does not have the power to unilaterally abolish independent agencies he doesn’t like.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    Thu Mar 08, 2012 at 03:30 PM PST
    Mitt Romney campaign launches effort to make press like them+*

    by Hunter


    [A]s Romney seeks to nail down the GOP nomination and cement the narrative that the delegate math makes it nearly impossible for his remaining rivals to surpass him, his campaign has launched what passes for a media charm offensive. […]

    This week featured a happy hour with the traveling press at a downtown Boston pub and Romney himself broke with campaign precedent by visiting the back of the campaign’s charter airplane for a rare chat with reporters Tuesday before a flight from Ohio to Massachusetts.

    “Hello human reporters! I see one of you is enjoying an iced cream. I also enjoy foods that deviate from standard room temperature! My, that briefcase seems to be the right height. All these briefcases seem to be the right height! I own 27 automobiles; they are all the right height too. Please convince your human inferiors to vote for me now.”

    Well, maybe some of that. But it turns out that “what passes for” a media charm offensive isn’t really going to include more access to Romney himself (his campaign handlers are well aware of the issues that arise when Mitt, um, talks) but instead his top staff has agreed to perhaps not be so actively hostile to reporters:

    Romney senior strategist Russ Schriefer and senior aide Eric Fehrnstrom were dispatched on troubleshooting missions last weekend. Schriefer dined with print reporters Thursday night in Bellevue, Wash., and Fehrnstrom hosted a dinner for the television embeds Monday in Columbus, Ohio.

    Both senior staffers sat into the wee hours with more than a dozen members of the traveling press in the bar of the Cleveland airport Sheraton Friday night.

    This is a Republican campaign we’re talking about, so I guess they figure if they give dinner and drinks to the press, the press is obligated to put out. The Romney campaign also agreed to perhaps return reporter phone calls and/or have conference calls with reporters during times when the flock of reporters following him around could actually be on those calls.

    I’m not quite sure why it took until now for it to dawn on the Romney campaign that treating the press like crap might not be such a good idea when actively trying to get them to write nice things about you, but you still have to acknowledge that they’re worlds ahead of the Gingrich and Santorum campaigns. At least they remember to get their candidate on the actual ballots.

  4. Ametia says:

    Georgia Senate OKs drug tests for welfare applicants

    Source: Chicago Tribune / Reuters

    ATLANTA (Reuters) – Adults applying for welfare in Georgia would have to pass a drug test before receiving benefits under a bill approved by the state Senate late on Wednesday.

    The legislation, called the Social Responsibility and Accountability Act, is designed to ensure that welfare payments, called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families, are “not diverted to illicit drug use.”

    The legislation, which now goes to the Georgia House, would not affect welfare payments to children. Under the bill, if a parent failed a drug test, children could still receive payments through another person designated by the state.

    Two states, Michigan and Florida, have adopted similar legislation, according to the National Conference of State Legislatures. The Michigan Court of Appeals in 2003 ruled that state’s law unconstitutional. Florida’s law has been temporarily blocked by a federal lawsuit.

    Read more:,0,6769728.story

  5. Maine Is Obama Country, Poll Shows

    President Obama enjoys massive leads in Maine, according to a new survey from Public Policy Polling (D).

    The numbers come as both political parties eyed the newly opened US Senate seat following Sen. Olympia Snowe (R-ME) announced retirement, and reaffirms a strong principle in Maine and other New England states — ticket splitting is no problem for many voters in the region.

    Obama leads both former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum by the same margin in the Pine Tree State, 58 – 35. Maine has voted for a Democrat for president in the last five elections, but that doesn’t mean Dems dominate the state — Republicans currently hold the governorship, both houses of the state legislature and the two US Senate seats (Snowe and Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME)).

  6. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:58 PM ET, 03/08/2012
    Dems twist knife in birth control fight
    By Greg Sargent

    Senate Democrats believe they have Republicans boxed in. They think the push for the Blunt amendment and Rush Limbaugh’s attacks on Sandra Fluke are damaging Republicans among key swing constituencies — women and independents — and that Republicans would like this whole battle to go away.

    But Republicans can’t put this behind them, Dems believe, because the conservative base is still itching for this fight to continue.

    Today, in an effort to exacerbate this dynamic, all dozen female Democratic Senators will call on House Republicans to drop this battle once and for all.

    In a letter to Speaker John Boehner — which was sent my way by a source — the 12 female Senate Dems, led by Patty Murray, are demanding that he drop his promise to hold a vote on the House version of the Blunt amendment, which has over 200 Republicans co-sponsors.

    The letter from the female Senators — which is timed to International Women’s Day — asks Boehner to pledge not to move any more birth-control-related legislation in the House.

    “We are asking that you abandon the promise you have made to bring legislation to the House floor similar to the Blunt amendment, which was defeated in the Senate last week, and which would turn the clock back on women’s access to health care,” the letter says. “We ask that you listen to the overwhelming outcry from American women who support access to contraception and drop all politically-charged efforts to deny them coverage.”

    The letter represents an effort to force Boehner’s hand by getting him to declare clearly whether the House will vote on its Blunt amendment, or whether he intends to let the controversy fade way quietly. Now that the Senate has voted Blunt down, even some Senate Republicans are conceding that they want this issue put behind them. The question remains whether conservatives will allow this, and whether the House will hold its own vote.

    New polling sponsored by EMILY’s List and Planned Parenthood Action Fund finds that in key Senate battlegrounds, GOP support for Blunt boosts Dem candidates who support access to birth control.

    Dems believe that swing voters have accepted their framing of this fight, and don’t see it as a battle over religious liberty, but as one over access to contraception, women’s health, and the GOP’s hidebound ideas about women’s rights. “For most American women, the battle over contraception was settled a half century ago,” the letter says. “Women have had enough.”

    • Ametia says:

      LOVE THIS: Today, in an effort to exacerbate this dynamic, all dozen female Democratic Senators will call on House Republicans to drop this battle once and for all.”

  7. Ametia says:


    The Senate narrowly rejected a GOP-sponsored measure that would have bypassed the Obama administration’s objections to the Keystone XL pipeline and allowed construction on the controversial project to begin.

    Fifty-six senators voted in favor of the amendment — four short of the 60 required for approval.

    The proposed 1,700-mile long pipeline expansion, intended to carry crude oil from Canada’s oil sands to the U.S. Gulf Coast, has become a political lightning rod. Supporters, including the oil industry, say it’s a vital job creator that will lessen the country’s dependence on oil imported from volatile regions.

    Opponents say the pipeline may leak, and that it will lock the United States into a particularly dirty form of crude that might ultimately end up being exported anyway.

    President Barack Obama rejected a bid in January to expedite the pipeline, arguing that a decision deadline imposed by Congress did not le ave sufficient time to conduct necessary reviews. Administration officials have said the president may still eventually give the project a green light, though critics accuse him of trying to delay a final decision until after the November election.

    Obama personally lobbied wavering Democrats to block passage of the amendment.

  8. rikyrah says:

    Obama standing much improved in Maine

    Maine pretty well represents the significant upgrade Barack Obama’s seen in his reelection prospects over the last four months. When PPP polled there in late October he led Mitt Romney by only 11 points, 49-38. That represented a 6 point tightening from Obama’s margin of victory over John McCain there in 2008. Since then Obama’s Maine lead has more than doubled to 23 points at 58-35 against Romney, representing a 6 point improvement on his 2008 numbers.

    It’s not hard to explain Obama’s improved numbers: he’s getting more popular, and Romney’s getting less popular. In October Obama was slightly under water in the state at 47/48. Now he’s quite popular with 55% of voters approving of him to 41% who disapprove.

    There are two big reasons for his improvement, and these are things we’re seeing most places right now:

    -The Democratic base is unifying around him. In October he was at 75/17 with his party’s voters, now it’s 86/10. The more Democratic voters see the Republican candidate field, the more they forgive Obama for not being completely perfect and get behind him.

    -Obama’s flipped independents from giving him negative reviews (46/49) to positive ones (54/38).

    Meanwhile Romney’s headed in the opposite direction. His numbers were already poor in October at a 38/49 favorability spread. But they’re much worse now with only 30% of voters seeing him favorably to 63% with a negative opinion.

    His numbers are pretty steady with Republicans, but with Democrats he’s gone from 25/61 to 14/81. We’ve seen a similar trend in Arizona, another state where he’d had an unusual amount of crossover popularity. The protracted primary is hurting his potential to win Democratic voters in the general. Romney’s also cratered with independents, going from 37/46 to 29/61.
    The strongest of the GOP candidates in Maine is actually Ron Paul, who trails by only 16 points at 54-38. Rick Santorum trails by the same 23 point margin as Romney, 58-35, and Newt Gingrich does the worst with a 28 point deficit at 60-32.

  9. Ametia says:

    Scott Brown’s Mitt Romney problem
    By Rosalind S. Helderman, Updated: Thursday, March 8, 7:28 AM

    When Republican Scott Brown stunned the political world in 2010 by winning the U.S. Senate seat held for 46 years by Edward M. Kennedy, it was former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney who introduced Brown at the joyous victory party in Boston.

    A few weeks later, still basking in the rock-star glow of that unexpected win, Brown returned the favor. He introduced Romney at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference as “one of the Republican Party’s bright lights” and “my very, very dear friend.”

    But now, as the two men anticipate tough general-election battles in the fall, their paths are beginning to diverge. Brown, who will face a difficult reelection fight, probably against Harvard professor and former Obama administration official Elizabeth Warren, is working hard to define himself as a “Massachusetts moderate,” hoping to build some support among Democrats in the deeply blue state.

    Romney, meanwhile, has been working equally hard to escape that label, which his rivals for the GOP presidential nomination have used as a slur against him during the primary campaign.

  10. rikyrah says:

    So much for ‘repeal and replace’
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 8, 2012 10:45 AM EST.

    Two years later, this has been neither repealed nor replaced.

    Shortly after the Affordable Care Act became law two years ago, congressional Republicans adopted a simple, three-word, poll-tested phrase: “repeal and replace.” The GOP would repeal the moderate reform law, which is based on a model Republicans used to support, and replace it with something new.

    Whatever happened to that? It’s a funny story, actually.

    The “replace” part of the slogan is clearly in trouble. Fourteen months after Republicans took over the House, GOP legislation to reform the nation’s health care system is nowhere to be found. There have been no plans circulated, no hearings scheduled, nothing. It’s almost as if Republicans weren’t sincere about following through on their promises to reform the old, dysfunctional health care system.

    What about the “repeal” part of the phrase? That’s not going well, either. Just last week, Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told his caucus “that he does not want to vote again on repealing President Obama’s healthcare reform law until after the November elections.”

    This apparently isn’t going over well with some on the right.

    Senate Republicans are clashing with conservative groups over whether to hold votes this year to repeal all of President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

    One group, the Restore America’s Voice Foundation, plans to spend $50,000 to $100,000 per week on television ads pressing Senate Republicans to force a vote on repeal… Last week, [Restore America’s Voice chairman Ken Hoagland] said McConnell should resign as leader if he did not pledge to force a vote on a full repeal of the healthcare law.

    An official at the Club for Growth said, “We should have a vote on repealing ObamaCare every week.” Someone at the Heritage Foundation went a step further, pushing “votes every day on repealing ObamaCare.”

    These folks are likely to remain frustrated. For one thing, repeal can’t pass. For another, a vote for repeal is a vote for higher taxes on small businesses, higher prescription drug prices for seniors, fewer protections for consumers, a larger deficit, and taking health care coverage away from millions of Americans. It’s not exactly a smart election-year move.

    While we’re at it, Joan McCarter reminds us that the latest polling shows most Americans opposed to total repeal anyway.

    What’s more, even having a debate over this brings up an inconvenient issue for the Republican Party: its likely presidential nominee created a reform law in his state that’s practically identical to Obama’s plan and was crafted by the same policy experts. The more GOP lawmakers push a repeal fight that can’t pass anyway, the more Democrats get to remind everyone about Romney’s record.

    The right doesn’t have to like it, but “repeal and replace” appears to have been rebuffed and rejected.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Willard flip-flopping?

    Come on, now you’re gonna tell me that water is wet.


    Romney changes course on minimum wage
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 8, 2012 11:26 AM EST.

    When it comes to the Republican presidential race, one of the more notable surprises of the last few months came shortly before the New Hampshire primary. Mitt Romney was asked a simple question about raising the minimum wage.

    The response sounded more like a previous version of Romney than the current iteration: “My view has been to allow the minimum wage to rise with the [Consumer Price Index] or with another index so that it adjusts automatically over time. I already indicated that when I was governor of Massachusetts, and that’s my view.”

    Well, it was his view. The National Employment Law Project put together a video noting that Romney, two months after the surprising declaration, has backed off the progressive position that drew the ire of the right.

    The Huffington Post reported that the shift occurred when Romney was pressed by CNBC’s Larry Kudlow this week.

    On Monday the business show host pressed Romney on the minimum wage issue, saying that “a lot of conservatives, led by the Wall Street Journal editorial page, were horrified when you said you want to index the minimum wage for inflation … Why do you want to raise the minimum wage?”

    First Romney responded by saying that he had vetoed a proposed boost to the minimum wage while governor of Massachusetts. Explaining his comments about pegging the minimum wage to inflation, Romney said, “The level of inflation is something you should look at, and you should identify what’s the right way to keep America competitive.”

    “So that would tell you that right now there’s probably not a need to raise the minimum wage,” he added.

    As is generally the case when Romney abandons previous positions, this shift on the minimum wage isn’t impressing anyone. Those who were impressed by the position he took in January are dejected by the candidate’s apparent flip-flop. Those who were appalled by Romney’s original position aren’t sure if he’s fully abandoned that approach, or simply prefers to delay automatic minimum wage increases.

    Conservative economist Michael Saltsman, an aggressive critic of the minimum wage, told HuffPost, “Either adjusting the minimum wage for inflation is a good thing or it isn’t, and conservatives are right to try and nail the governor down on an answer.”

    Given the frequency with which Romney tries to dodge issues, it’s amazing just how common this sentiment really is.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Today in hyperbole: If it’s Sandra Fluke and liberals, Sharia law must be at hand
    By Kent Jones – Thu Mar 8, 2012 12:49 PM EST.

    So, just to recap, Georgetown law school student Sandra Fluke testified before Congress on behalf of a gay friend who required prescription birth control to halt the growth of ovarian cysts. As a result, radio host Rush Limbaugh branded Fluke a slut and a prostitute on national radio and said she should be required to make sex tapes so that he could watch.

    Surely this is as bad as it gets, yes? Oh no.

    Today, we get an editorial from the American Thinker, written, shockingly, by a man. Compared to this, Alice in Wonderland was a gritty, POV documentary. To wit (with annotation):

    “Sadly, Rush’s calling Ms. Fluke a couple of names (like Sweetie? or Cupcake?) — names far less offensive (!!!) than used by liberals to describe Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann, Michelle Malkin, or Ann Coulter — has diverted the conversation from Ms. Fluke’s true evil. (Quick, let’s see her birth certificate!!)

    “Ms. Fluke believes that it is a good thing to use the full power of government, judicial and political, to force people to go against their moral principles. (Unlike, say, a forced vaginal ultrasound? Or open-ended, undeclared wars in the Middle East?)

    “Like a Roman emperor of old, (from Georgetown law student to Roman emperor, wow, nice!) Ms. Fluke believes that if one will not burn incense before the idols of modern liberalism, that person should be crushed by the state. (incense and idols? trippy…)

    “What can be more monstrous than coercing people into doing what they believe is evil? (RELEASE THE KRAKEN!!!!) What greater crime can one commit against a person than using the force of government to coerce him to become an apostate to the faith he believes in? (Apparently there’s a faith that says it’s OK to call a law-abiding citizen exercising her First Amendment rights a slut.)

  13. rikyrah says:

    Republicans for signing ceremonies
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 8, 2012 1:35 PM EST.

    More good bills would mean more signing ceremonies.

    President Obama’s first two years in office were marked not only be a series of high-profile legislative successes, but also the custom that comes with them: signing ceremonies. The White House was only too pleased to invite the media and large crowds to see the president sign all kinds of bills into law: health care reform, Wall Street reform, DADT repeal, the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, etc.

    Since the start of the 112th Congress, these signing ceremonies have dwindled dramatically. Roll Call reported this week that Republicans apparently aren’t happy about it.

    Senate Republicans are bristling that the president has cut down on one of his ceremonial duties: signing bills in public.

    Most Republicans suspect the dearth of signing ceremonies is an election-year strategy in the mold of President Harry Truman’s method of running against a “do-nothing” Congress. To trumpet legislative successes would run counter to the narrative of a hamstrung president, Senate Republicans say.

    Of all the things for Republicans to complain about, this has to be one of the more peculiar.

    This is, after all, an election year, and I suspect the president would enjoy the good press that comes with getting something done.

    But therein lies the point: the prerequisite to formal ceremonies that celebrate a meaningful legislative accomplishment is … a meaningful legislative accomplishment. If Republicans want more events in which lawmakers stand by Obama’s side as he puts his signature on an important bill, perhaps they should complain less, compromise more, and start sending some worthwhile bills to the White House.

    It’s not as if Obama is quietly signing major legislation into law in secret.

    If GOP leaders want some signing ceremonies that could prove Congress is doing something, they can help pass provisions of the American Jobs Act, the DREAM Act, comprehensive immigration reform, and some meaningful energy policies. If they do, I can practically guarantee the president holds some signing ceremonies, with plenty of pens for everyone.

    I can appreciate why some lawmakers are sensitive to this being labeled a “do-nothing Congress,” even if it’s true. But the remedy isn’t to blame the scarcity of White House ceremonies; the solution is constructive policymaking.

  14. rikyrah says:

    I don’t know how many way this can be said…

    Orange Julius SUCKS at his job.


    Yet another setback for Speaker Boehner
    By Steve Benen – Thu Mar 8, 2012 2:10 PM EST.

    Following up on a report from last month, the House Republicans’ transportation bill, generally considered one of Speaker John Boehner’s (R-Ohio) top priorities, has turned into something of a fiasco.

    Secretary of Transportation Ray LaHood, a former Republican congressman, called it “the worst transportation bill I’ve ever seen during 35 years of public service.” A New York Times editorial called the bill “uniquely terrible.” The legislation was reviled by nearly everyone, including House Republicans themselves, though various contingents hated it for different reasons.

    Today, Boehner’s bill died an unceremonious death.

    Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) said Thursday the House plans to take up the Senate’s highway bill once it clears the upper chamber, conceding that his own last-ditch effort to save a House GOP measure had not succeeded.

    “As I told the members yesterday, the current plan is to see what the Senate can produce and to bring their bill up,” Boehner told reporters at his weekly news conference Thursday.

    By “current plan,” the Speaker means “the plan that was thrown together when I realized no one would vote for my bill.”

    The larger issue, though, is that the House Republican leader doesn’t seem to be leading much anymore. Boehner’s caucus is splintering badly over the budget; the GOP leadership doesn’t want to bring up a House version of the Blunt Amendment though rank-and-file members don’t care; and now the Speaker’s transportation bill has been scrapped.

    And this doesn’t even include the behind-the-scenes, intra-party feuds.

    Jake Sherman reported that Boehner and his team are “scratching their heads about what went wrong,” leading Ezra Klein to add, “They must be doing that a lot lately.”

    For those of us inclined to believe the Speaker just isn’t good at his job, there’s no shortage of evidence to bolster the thesis.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The Bucket List: Why Older Whites Are Dominating the GOP Primaries
    By Ronald Brownstein
    March 7, 2012 | 11:37 AM

    White and gray.

    That’s the clear pattern for turnout in the Republican presidential race over its first two months.

    After Super Tuesday, exit polls have now been conducted in 14 states from all regions of the country. In all 14 of those states, white voters, and voters over 50, both comprised a significantly larger share of the electorate in this year’s GOP primary than they did in the 2008 general election. In many cases, the gap on each front has been enormous.

    These patterns underscore the extent to which the modern GOP coalition revolves around white voters-and increasingly, as the graying baby boom moves right, older white voters.

    That coalition powered the Republican Party’s historic gains in 2010. That was an election in which seniors comprised an unusually large share of the overall electorate; the minority share of the vote declined more than usual between a presidential race and the succeeding midterm; and the GOP won the highest share of white voters it has ever captured in a Congressional election, according to polling dating back to 1948. In 2010, Republicans ran especially well with older whites, capturing fully 63 percent of them, exit polls found.

    This November, though, the electorate almost certainly will be considerably younger and more tilted toward minorities than it was in 2010. Against that backdrop, the dominance of the GOP primary race by older whites could signal challenges for the party in reaching that broader universe of voters. It also increases the likelihood that the 2012 election will generate a titanic collision between a Democratic coalition that revolves around minorities, younger voters and college-educated whites generally more comfortable with the demographic changes diversifying America; and an older, preponderantly white and heavily working-class Republican coalition heavily reliant on the voters most uneasy with those changes.

    So far, according to exit polls posted on, whites have cast at least 90 percent of the votes in every Republican primary except Florida (83 percent) and Arizona (89 percent). In every other state except Michigan (92 percent) and Nevada (90 percent) whites have comprised at least 94 percent of the GOP vote this year. That includes Georgia (94), Virginia (94), Ohio (96), Oklahoma (96), Tennessee (97), South Carolina (98), Massachusetts (98), Iowa (99), New Hampshire (99), and Vermont (99).

    By comparison in the 2008 general election, whites cast only 74 percent of the total vote. As the minority share of the population continues to grow, President Obama’s reelection campaign projects that whites will cast about 72 percent of the votes in the 2012 general election.

    Minorities were only a trace presence in GOP primaries this year even in states with substantial levels of overall diversity. In Virginia, whites cast only 70 percent of the ballots in the 2008 general election; 24 percentage points less than their share in this week’s GOP primary. In Ohio, whites were 83 percent of the 2008 general election vote, compared to their 96 percent in Tuesday’s Republican vote. In South Carolina, whites cast 71 percent of the votes in November 2008, compared to their 98 percent in January’s GOP primary. In Nevada, the state’s burgeoning Hispanic population made almost no impression on the GOP race: minorities were 31 percent of the state’s total vote in the 2008 presidential election, but only 10 percent in February’s caucus.

    In the states with exit polls that can be compared to the 2008 GOP primaries, the minority share of the vote has increased noticeably only in Michigan-and that modestly from four percent last time to eight percent this year. In every other state that can be compared, the white share of the vote is either essentially identical to 2008, or even higher.

    The skew toward older voters has been at least as pronounced. Voters aged 50 or older have comprised a majority of the voters in every Republican contest for which exit polls have been conducted. By contrast, in the 2008 general election those older voters represented at least half of all voters only in one of those 14 states, Virginia. Overall, voters older than 50 cast 43 percent of the 2008 ballots, according to the national exit poll

    • I’m so missing something here….
      I’m old, slightly brown and more than grey…but my “bucket list” only contains men I would cheat on my husband with before I die. And only if I didn’t still adore my Hubby & he wouldn’t call them out for a beat down or something.

      I can’t put PBO on my “bucket list” because I am terrified of Michelle so the best I can do is vote for him and Dems!

    • Ametia says:

      The reason why the GOP is TRYING TO SUPPRESS THE VOTES of BLACKS & other POC VOTERS

  16. rikyrah says:

    An Unholy Mess
    by BooMan
    Thu Mar 8th, 2012 at 08:56:15 AM EST

    Let’s start the day off with this:

    Romney has won 56% of the delegates awarded so far, and needs to garner 47% of the remaining delegates to reach the magic number, according to a USA TODAY analysis of delegate counts provided by the Associated Press.

    His challengers have a higher bar: Rick Santorum would need 63% of the remaining delegates. Newt Gingrich needs 67%. And Ron Paul needs 71%.

    What does that tell you? It should tell you that Mitt Romney is the only candidate with a realistic chance of winning the majority of the delegates. It should also tell you that he is far from assured of being able to do so. The other candidates know these two facts. They know that they are no longer fighting to win the majority of the delegates but, rather, to create a brokered convention in Tampa.

    It’s too early to tell if they will succeed, but I want to remind you that I was one of the first people (3/14/11) to point out that a brokered convention was a strong possibility and to tell you exactly how it might come about.

    …I could foresee the possibility of a brokered GOP convention where the delegates would have to bicker among themselves to come up with presidential and vice-presidential candidates. I said that it was quite likely that the Republican primary voters would settle on someone in Iowa only to reject them in New Hampshire. And then both of those candidates would be rejected in South Carolina. And the pattern would keep repeating itself…
    This is why I can still see a brokered convention. As soon as one candidate gets the upper hand, everyone has to actually picture that candidate as president. And it gives them the heebie-jeebies, so they reject that candidate in favor of someone else. If this cycle repeats itself long enough, no one will emerge with the majority of the delegates. It’s like a M.C. Escher drawing of infinite relativity. They will never arrive at a nominee.

    If I am right, Romney will make many runs on locking down the nomination, but every time he has a chance he will be rebuffed in favor of a new flavor of the month. He’ll almost certainly accrue the most delegates, but will he ever accrue more than half of them? – (9/24/11)

    Also, see Don’t Count Out a Brokered Convention from 12/9/11. So, if it happens, you can all pat me on the back for being the smartest bastard on the internets, okay?

    Even Sarah Palin is talking up a brokered convention, and she won’t rule out accepting the nomination on a second, third, or fiftieth ballot.

    GOP presidential hopeful Mitt Romney can’t seem to dodge the gun-toting Alaskan Gov. Sarah Palin, who blasted holes through the Bay State governor’s carefully constructed shield of invincibility last night when she raised the possibility of a brokered convention.

    “She always rains on his parade,” said Chip Felkel, a Republican strategist from South Carolina. He added that when it comes to Republican voters, “She’s like the bad girlfriend who doesn’t want to date you anymore, but doesn’t want you dating anyone else either.”

    Spokesmen for Santorum and Gingrich himself have indicated that the strategy is for a floor-fight in Tampa.

    What does this mean? It means that there won’t be any rallying around the nominee. It means that Romney will be savaged for the next couple of months and perhaps for the whole spring and summer. It means that Romney will have to win a majority of delegates the hard way, by fighting in every state.

    I think we’re about to take another ride on the merry-go-round. Gingrich, left for dead after Super Tuesday, will win in Alabama and Mississippi (and, perhaps, Louisiana). And then he will subside for two months as Santorum and Romney duke it out, only to reemerge in May to fight for delegates in Arkansas and Texas.

    Most Establishment types think that it’s disloyal to try to force a brokered convention. Expect them to become increasingly shrill.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Change Takes Time, or Why I Don’t Read Bob Somerby Anymore
    by Steve M.
    Thu Mar 8th, 2012 at 10:54:26 AM EST

    Kevin Drum quotes Bob Somerby at the Daily Howler:

    Bob Somerby points out today that Rush Limbaugh has been spewing bile for years. And yet, he says, “We liberals have been too lazy, too feckless, too ditto-headed to insist that big news orgs challenge Limbaugh.” So Limbaugh has mostly gotten away with it.

    Well, this is why I stopped reading Somerby, even though I’m still in awe of what he did in his early years, and even though I believe most of us online lefties wouldn’t be doing what we’re doing without his example.

    From the very beginning, Somerby understood that the so-called liberal media cooperates with the right by selling “lite” (and often not-so-lite) versions of right-wing talking points. The right has always known how to craft these talking points in a way that will get them effectively retransmitted by centrist and seemingly liberal mainstream journalists. And if that doesn’t happen naturally, browbeating invariably works. That’s a process I think most of us just didn’t see until it was pointed out to us by Somerby, or by people who were inspired by Somerby.

    He fought this when no one else would. But now he’s turned into a crank, grumbling about people who are fighting the same fight not exactly in a way of which he approves — why does he despise Rachel Maddow? — and accusing lefties of being “lazy” and “feckless.”

    You know what? We’re not lazy or feckless. We’ve been doing the work. It just takes a long time to turn a freaking battleship.

    This reminds me of the argument made in recent years about the value of traditional protest: Well, we tried that with Iraq, and it didn’t do any good. Sorry, but it did do good. It didn’t do enough good, and it didn’t do it fast enough, but the result was better than the alternative. We didn’t prevent the war, and lives and money were squandered on a horrifying scale, but by 2004 being disillusioned with the war was a mainstream idea. By 2006 anti-war sentiment changed the composition of Congress, and in 2008 it elected a president. And, no, I’m not going to reject that partial victory because of Democratic haplessness, or because of drone attacks and ongoing war — the alternative, under President McCain after eight years of an un-“thumped” President Bush, or possibly even under a still-hawkish President Hillary Clinton, was that we’d still have 100,000 troops in Iraq and we might have already bombed Iran and … well, I’m sorry, but what we have now is less appalling.

    And yes, it’s taking even longer to undermine the right-wing noise machine, but that’s not the result of liberal “fecklessness,” it’s because it’s a massive, staggeringly well-funded machine. Media Matters and Think Progress and, yes, Rachel Maddow and the rest of MSNBC and ten thousand blogs and a few newspaper columnists who get it are making some progress. Limbaugh is on the defensive. Team Breitbart is humiliated. Fox News has overreached by undermining the GOP’s one electable presidential candidate and promoting one lunatic we can easily mock after another, and now that electable guy feels compelled to talk like the lunatics and we can mock him for that, too. We may — may — be at a watershed moment.

    We haven’t won a lot, but we’re getting somewhere. It’s just taking a while, and we may not get much more than a stalemate. But that’s a hell of a lot better than we’d have gotten if we’d really been as passive as Somerby thinks we’ve been.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Interlude: A little Wikipedia tomfoolery [Updated]

    Betty’s been covering the BIG Breitbart left-behinders’ desperate and hilarious attempts to recover from being scooped by BuzzFeed with the BIG revelation that President Obama spoke at a demonstration to introduce Professor Derrick Bell back in 1990.

    As some commenters both here and on Balloon Juice have noted, since similar footage has appeared in documentaries in recent times, the only “scoop” is the spectacularly blatantly race-baiting spin Joel B. Pollak (“THE VETTING: OBAMA EMBRACES RACIALIST HARVARD PROF”) and Dana Loesch (“Andrea Mitchell Runs Defense for Obama, Derrick Bell”) are trying to feed their readers before Pollak’s appearance on the Hannity show this evening. The righty blogs are in medium cry about it right now (though I detect a hint of “OK, we’re on board. BOMBSHELL!!! Er, but is that all you’ve got?”, reading between the lines).

    The whole thing’s as half-assed as you’d expect from this bunch of puffed-up amateur demagogues. BuzzFeed’s Ben Smith’s Twitter feed tells some of the story about the day’s developments if you’re interested. He deeply resented the BIG allegation that the video had been “selectively edited,” and since then, as Rumproaster Nellcote let us know on Betty’s last thread, PBS’s Frontline has issued the full video to prove there was no such editing:


    As WaPo’s Erik Wemple observes: hates getting scooped.

    Meanwhile, geek that I am, I’ve been checking out the Wikipedia article for Derrick Bell. We’ve caught conservatives desperately and clumsily trying to edit Wikipedia and even Conservapedia to suit their own purposes in the past. I don’t think this episode is quite as comical, but I’ll catalogue it after the fold just to add to the day’s daftness.

    On March 7, Wikipedia user Mjbnomad added this passage to Derrick Bell’s Wikipedia entry:

    Professor Derrick Bell personally knew Barack Obama while the future president was studying at Harvard. Mr. Obama personally spoke out in defense of Bell during a strike at Harvard in 1991. A speech of Obama defending professor Bell was released on March 7 2012. The speech was uncovered by researchers working with the late [[Andrew Breitbart]], a conservative activist.

    [ Buzzfeed’s selectively edited Obama race video]

    When a Wikipedia editor removed it, he tried again (insertion in bold):

    Students held vigils and protests in solidarity with Bell with the support of some faculty. One of these students was U.S. president Barack Obama, who led a protest at Harvard Law School on behalf of Bell.

  19. Georgia women senators walk out, protesting ‘war on women’

    ATLANTA — Women members of the Georgia Senate staged a brief demonstration against the Republican and male majority in the Senate, complaining that the GOP is waging a war — against women and their access to abortion and contraceptives.

    Eight of the nine women senators — the eight women Democrats — walked out of the Senate chamber in protest as the Republican majority passed two bills they oppose.

  20. rikyrah says:

    March 08, 2012 11:21 AM
    Beyond Mitt’s Small Donor Problem
    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s pretty well known that the virtually certain 2012 presidential nominee of the Republican Party, Mitt Romney, has financed his campaign so far with an exceptionally successful corporate fundraising effort and has built the largest, best-financed, and above all most abrasively negative Super-PAC operation ever known. But Mitt’s failure to attract small-dollar donors is less well-known, and as Paul Waldman notes at the American Prospect today, the gap between Romney and the other candidates on this score are pretty shocking. The percentage of total money raised from contributions under $200 are as follows: Rick Santorum 49%; Newt Gingrich 48%; Ron Paul 46%; Barack Obama 42%—and Mitt Romney 10%. Even in absolute dollar terms, Romney’s small-donor haul is unimpressive: $6.4 million, compared with $8.8 million for Gingrich, $14.4 million for Paul—and $63.7 million for Obama. Yes, Mitt’s small donor contributions are nearly double Santorum’s $3.3 million, but he’s outraising Rick overall by a 10-1 margin.

    There are some immediate problems associated with depending so heavily on big donors, notes Waldman:

    It may be harder to find a hundred people who’ll give $25 than that one donor who’ll give the legal maximum of $2,500, but they give you something the fat cat doesn’t: you can come back to them again and again and ask for more money, something the Obama campaign did very well in 2008. Once the fat cat maxes out to the campaign, he’s done, and the only other way he can help is through super PACs.

    And Romney’s donors are “maxing out” at unusually high rates, as the New York Times’ Nick Confessore and Ashley Parker noted yesterday:

    About 40 percent of Mr. Romney’s itemized individual contributors through January gave the maximum $2,500 allowable for the nominating fight, according to a study from the Campaign Finance Institute, the highest proportion of any candidate since 2000. That means they cannot give him any more money to use in the nominating battle.

    Just 8 percent of Mr. Gingrich’s itemized donors and 9 percent of Mr. Santorum’s have “maxed out” contributions to their campaigns for the primaries, meaning the rest of the two candidates’ supporters can give more cash if the nominating contest drags on.

    This is why a lot of observers think Mitt Romney is going to have to reach into his own (admittedly deep) pockets just to get through the primary season.

    And important as Super-PACs have been in the primaries, they almost certainly won’t be in the general election. For one thing, Romney will not have the sort of overall financial advantage over Obama that will enable his Super-PAC to achieve the sort of negative-ad air supremacy that helped him win in Florida, Michigan and Ohio. For another, it’s universally understood that paid television ads simply aren’t that big a factor in general presidential elections (earned media, and for that matter, voter mobilization, are significantly more important). Yet Super-PACs aren’t good for much else; as Waldman says, “no one is volunteering for a Super-PAC.”

    The bigger problem for Mitt is that it may be difficult to get that many people to voluteer for him, either. Yes, conservatives will turn out and vote for him, whether or not they ever grow to like or trust him. Yes, he will have the robust support of right-wing media, probably more than John McCain (who had similar “base” problems) did in 2008. But ideology aside, as Waldman argues, everything about Mitt Romney’s candidacy tells voters he’s a commodity they are being asked to buy, not the inspiring leader of any sort of cause:

    Mitt Romney is just never going to make his supporters feel that he and they are engaged together in a common enterprise, and the outcome of the campaign depends as much on them as it does on him. They’ll vote for him, and some true believers will volunteer and do what they can. But the Romney campaign, in the end, will look, feel, and be a top-down effort, like something designed and imposed by a management consultant of the kind the candidate himself used to be.

    In turn, that may lead Romney during the general election to run an even nastier campaign than he’s run in the primaries, to motivate followers by fear and malice rather than hope or affection. But he’s probably never going to shake the perception that he’s not the sort of guy to whom you’d give your last dollar, or your heart.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:48 PM ET, 03/07/2012
    For now, Obama’s approval charts a middle course
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Ezra Klein had a great post this morning about the upcoming contest between Barack Obama and Mitt Romney, but I have to nitpick just a bit. Klein writes that “Obama has the worst poll numbers of any incumbent president running for reelection in recent history.” That was true briefly earlier this winter, but it’s no longer the case.

    Here’s the story. I’ll use Gallup’s Presidential Approval page, because that allows for cross-time comparisons; Obama is today at 44% approval on Gallup’s daily tracking poll, which is a bit lower than he’s been most of the last few weeks and in other polls, but I’ll use it. Obama’s all-time low so far was 38%, but he’s been in the mid-40s since the beginning of the year.

    George H.W. Bush’s approval path was pretty simple: he was highly popular, especially after the Gulf War, and then his numbers slowly eroded. He dipped below Obama in early February, 1992. His most recent Gallup poll (back in those pre-daily days) was February 28-March 1 and gave him a poor 41% rating. He would not go north of 42% until a post-defeat bounce in November.

    Jimmy Carter’s story was more complicated. He was highly unpopular in most of 1979, and was sitting at 32% in early November. That’s when hostages were taken in Iran, and Carter received a major, long-lasting rally effect, peaking at 58% in late January. And then…the bubble popped. We’re right now at the point where Carter dipped back below Obama: a March 7-10 sounding had Carter at 43%. He would never top that number, and he was below 40% the next time Gallup checked in late March.

    Just to round things up…Gerald Ford was at 50% in his most recent poll prior to March 7. Bill Clinton (53%), Ronald Reagan (55%), and Richard Nixon (56%), all of whom had troubles earlier in their first terms, were all well into their election-year surges that would yield three easy re-elections. And George W. Bush had fallen to 49%, which is basically where he stayed the rest of the year on his way to a relatively narrow win.

    Obama optimists will believe that he’s on the Clinton path, only not quite as solidly, and therefore on his way to a solid re-election. Of course there’s no way of knowing; for all we know Obama may fail to hold his recent gains, and wind up down with Carter and George H.W. Bush. So far, however, he’s doing a little better than either of them, and for whatever it’s worth he’s been trending either flat or up a bit, not falling, over the last several months. If that continues, then as Klein says we’re probably looking at a close, competitive, election. But we certainly have a long way to go.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:55 AM ET, 03/08/2012
    The Morning Plum: The question that will define Campaign 2012
    By Greg Sargent

    If there’s one political challenge upon which Obama’s reelection chances rest, it’s this: He must convincingly remind Americans of the depth and severity of the economic armageddon he inherited upon taking office.

    Likely nominee Mitt Romney will base his case for denying Obama a second term on the chronically high unemployment rate and the net number of jobs lost on Obama’s watch, which he will point to as proof that the President’s policies have hindered the recovery, rather than enabled it. Continued economic suffering may render swing voters receptive to this case.

    Obama’s chances of persuading voters that his policies have mostly succeeded in putting the economy on track to recovery will rest heavily on whether he succeeds in reminding them of just how awful things were before those policies went into effect.

    That’s why the new 17-minute campaign video that the Obama team is set to release will paint an extremely vivid picture of the crisis atmosphere that reigned in early 2009. The Obama campaign has just put out the trailer:

  23. Go, NewCenturyWoman!

    SWAGGERIFIC: The Videos of Barack Obama That Really Matter!

  24. First Lady Michelle Obama and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton Speaks at the International Woman of Courage Awards
    March 08, 2012 11:00 AM EST

    Now Streaming…

  25. rikyrah says:

    Harvard video used to attack Obama provides no racial ‘smoking gun’
    By Joy-Ann Reid

    8:37 AM on 03/08/2012

    Wait…that was it? The shocking videotape unearthed by the late, right-wing gadfly Andrew Breitbart, the one that was supposed to finally prove that Barack Obama is indeed the crazed race warrior that the right has tried to portray him to be since 2007, has turned out to be neither new, nor newsworthy.

    Breitbart was supposedly working on a major exposé on the tape, which shows Obama during his days at Harvard Law School in the early 90s. It leaked early — a suspicious cabal of liberal media elites at Buzzfeed having scooped Fox News’ Sean Hannity by using the clandestine tactics that the Left calls “licensing the video from Boston’s PBS TV station.”

    What they found will shock and horrify you — if you are shocked and horrified by pithy compliments delivered before a mixed race crowd at the frightening Saul Alinsky radical training ground of Cambridge, Massachusetts.

    In the video, Obama is speaking at a campus rally in support of Professor Derrick Bell, the first tenured black professor at Harvard Law School and one of just a handful of minorities — and women — with such posts in the early 90s. At the time, a student group called the Coalition for Civil Rights, which was comprised of black, Hispanic, women and gay student organizations, demanded that Harvard diversify its faculty. (Similar protests, sit ins and demands were taking place at the undergraduate college, where the head of the African-American studies department was a white woman. Those protests ultimately led to the hiring of Henry Louis Gates to lead the Afro-American Studies department and for a time brought Professor Cornel West to Harvard, where he battled with then Harvard University president and future adviser to President Barack Obama, Lawrence Summers.)

    Bell took a leave of absence and refused to return until the law school tenured a black woman. The protests in the “smoking gun” video, which the Right is certain will take the president down, were in support of Bell’s actions. In the tape, Obama tells a story about Bell addressing first year law students, saying that Bell didn’t accomplish all that he did “because of his good looks and easy charm, though he has both in amble measure.” The mostly white audience laughs. Scandal!

    Hannity, in his Wednesday Fox show, ominously informed his audience that “in the next frame, Obama embraces the ‘controversial’ professor, but that part of the tape was ‘covered up’ by Obama’s friend and Bell’s fellow Harvard Law professor, Charles Ogletree, ahead of the 2008 election.”

    Hannity claimed that the video was selectively edited and was hidden by the media in order to protect Obama from the kind of scrutiny that conservatives are forced to endure. In fact, PBS’ Frontline aired the video in its entirety, in 2008, as part of a documentary on Obama’s time at Harvard that has been available on YouTube for four years…

    Hannity did his best to hype the video, which shows Obama looking and sounding almost exactly the way he does today, though with longer hair — wait, Afros are a sign of being radical, right? — and with his hands stuck in his pockets. He tells the crowd, “open your hearts and your minds to Derrick Bell.” And it is on that phrase, and Bell’s connection to an area of scholarship called “critical race theory,” that the anti-Obama right plans to base its attacks.

    Hannity and his guests, two editors from Breitbart’s, — who for some reason kept giggling — spent much of the segment smearing Derrick Bell, who died last year and cannot defend himself. They called Bell a “radical,” and the “Jeremiah Wright of academia.” They claimed that there was a “media cover up” of this shocking videotape, which has a sinister demonstration of Obamaian mildness.

    In the next segment, Fox commentator Juan Williams disappointed those in the studio by declaring that the tape was nothing new. “I expected more than that,” he said. That might be the understatement of the year.

  26. Joe the Plumber blows a gasket on CNN

    Samuel Wurzelbacher, who on Thursday morning accused CNN of being like TMZ and trying to trap him with “gotcha questions,” explained to POLITICO immediately following the tense interview that he is “sick of the gossip and drama.”

    Reached on his cellphone after his early morning TV hit, Wurzelbacher, better known to many Americans as “Joe the Plumber,” explained why he had gotten flustered.

    “Because I’m just — I’m sick of the gossip and drama. There’s real issues to work on. They want to take anything they disagree with me on to use it to twist it and use it to their gain and paint me in a in a light they want to paint me in,” he said. “Let’s … stop with the seventh grade shenanigans.”

  27. President Obama Releases Housing Plan To Help Military Veterans Who Were Victims Of Illegal Foreclosures | ThinkProgress

  28. Romney: “I Find It Hard to Disagree with Rush Limbaugh”

  29. Ametia says:


  30. National Journal ‏ @nationaljournal:

    GOP primary turnout is down from where it was in 2008 and 2000, according to a new study:

    • Ametia says:

      Could be it be that WAR the GOP has WAGED on BLACKS, HISPANICS, WOMEN, GAYS, the POOR…. you know anyone who isn’t white, male, rich, or CLAIMS to be HETEROSEXUAL?

  31. Ametia says:


  32. Ametia says:

    Why Aren’t Birthers Embarrassed Into Silence?
    By: Tonyaa Weathersbee | Posted: March 7, 2012

    In a blog entry at BlackAmericaWeb, Tonyaa Weathersbee explains why racism may be the main reason Birthers are still questioning President Barack Obama’s citizenship long after he released his long-form birth certificate.

    … The latest person to capitalize on this nonsense is [Joe] Arpaio.

    Arguably the nastiest lawman since Bull Connor — he’s being investigated by the Justice Department for racially profiling Latinos and punishing Latino inmates for speaking Spanish — he recently announced that he and his team of “volunteer” investigators have determined that Obama’s birth certificate is a forgery made up by computers.

    Yeah, right.

    … Then there’s [Gordon] Epperly, who, last month, filed a complaint with the Alaska Division of Elections saying that Obama isn’t a “natural born citizen” because he is of the “mulatto race,” and that the 14th amendment didn’t give blacks political rights, only civil rights.

    That’s nothing but neo-Confederate nonsense.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Texas’ contested voter ID law could shave voter rolls
    Records show millions may be rejected at polls if the legislation is approved
    By Lise Olsen
    Updated 11:42 p.m., Wednesday, March 7, 2012

    The state’s contested voter ID law could provoke widespread complications in the upcoming presidential elections, with as many as 18 percent of all registered voters across Texas apparently lacking state government-issued photo IDs to match their voter registration cards, according to records obtained by the Houston Chronicle.

    Texas secretary of state officials did not find matching 2012 driver’s licenses or state-issued photo IDs for 2.4 million of the state’s 12.8 million registered voters, though all but about 800,000 of those voters supplied a valid identification number when they first registered to vote. The findings come from documents submitted by the state to the U.S. Department of Justice as part of an ongoing review of the new voter ID law.

    The “matching” exercises conducted by the state showed up to 22 percent of Bexar County voters apparently lacked the IDs, as well as 20 percent in Dallas County and 19 percent in Harris County, based on the Chronicle’s review of the state data.

    If approved, the new law would require voters to present official Department of Public Safety IDs that basically mirror their registration cards. An unknown number of voters hold passports, concealed handgun licenses or military IDs that also would be accepted.

    Hispanic counties

    The law appears to most heavily impact voters in 20 of Texas’ majority Hispanic counties. In nine of those counties, 40 percent or more of registered voters did not perfectly match 2012 DPS data – such as Hidalgo County, home to 170,000 voters, including many Mexican-Americans and retirees who spill into South Texas’ Mission and McAllen every winter.

    The secretary of state conducted the comparisons at the Justice Department’s request. Because of historic discrimination, Texas and other Southern states face special scrutiny under the Voting Rights Act, which requires those states to win approval from the Justice Department or a Washington, D.C.-based federal court before making election changes. A DOJ decision is expected Monday.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Idiot Republicans v A smart President


    Take away women’s access to contraceptives
    The President

    Insure all women have access to health care

    Empower the Roman Catholic bishops’ “right” to deny women contraceptives
    The President

    Empower the auto industry to recover and become Number One worldwide

    Force women to have invasive vaginal probing to bully them into not having abortions
    The President

    Reform public education so each child has greater opportunity given to them

    JFK makes them “throw up” because he would NOT impose his religion through government power
    The President

    Keep church and state separate

    Label women on contraceptives as “sluts” and “whores”
    The President

    Hunt down and kill Bin Laden

    A few billionaires fund campaigns
    The President

    Hundreds of thousands of small donors contribute

  35. rikyrah says:

    The war on contraception is not hyperbole, because there has been a dramatic shift on contraception in the GOP
    by Kay

    Hooray! The New York Times finally goes to the real issue:

    Leticia Parra, a mother of five scraping by on income from her husband’s sporadic construction jobs, relied on the Planned Parenthood clinic in San Carlos, an impoverished town in South Texas, for breast cancer screenings, free birth control pills and pap smears for cervical cancer.
    But the clinic closed in October, along with more than a dozen others in the state, after financing for women’s health was slashed by two-thirds by the Republican-controlled Legislature.

    The cuts, which left many low-income women with inconvenient or costly options, grew out of the effort to eliminate state support for Planned Parenthood. Although the cuts also forced clinics that were not affiliated with the agency to close — and none of them, even the ones run by Planned Parenthood, performed abortions — supporters of the cutbacks said they were motivated by the fight againstabortion.

    As the case in Texas illustrates, such battles are affecting broader women’s health services. Some women have lost the only nearby clinic providing routine care.

    Nationally, the newest target is Title X, the main federal family planning program. All four Republican presidential candidates support eliminating Title X, which was created in 1970 with Republican support from President Nixon and the elder George Bush, then a congressman.
    Like other federal financing, Title X does not pay for abortions. Only some of it covers birth control. Title X also provides money for cervical and breast cancer screening, testing for H.I.V. and other sexually transmitted diseases, adolescent abstinence counseling, infertility counseling and other services.

    Mitt Romney’s fiscal plan proposes eliminating Title X because it “subsidizes family planning programs that benefit abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.”

    Rick Santorum, in a recent debate, acknowledged, to boos, that in Congress he voted for appropriations bills that included Title X money. He pledged to rectify that if elected, saying, “I’ve always opposed Title X funding.”
    President Obama supports Title X, which serves five million low-income people.


    Second, President Obama more than “supports” Title X. President Obama stood in the way when the Tea Party House ordered Boehner to gut Title X.

    But when Boehner later asked for the elimination of funds for Title X—spending for women’s health and family planning organizations that also provide abortion services, the aide said the president flatly refused.

    The president replied, “Nope. Zero.”

    Boehner continued to push to discuss the funds, the aide recalled.

    The President repeated: “Nope. Zero.”

    “’John, this is it,’” the aide described the president as saying. “’This is it, John.”

    This is Title X:

    The Title X Family Planning program [“Population Research and Voluntary Family Planning Programs” (Public Law 91-572)], was enacted in 1970 as Title X of the Public Health Service Act. Title X is the only Federal grant program dedicated solely to providing individuals with comprehensive family planning and related preventive health services. The Title X program is designed to provide access to contraceptive services, supplies and information to all who want and need them. By law, priority is given to persons from low-income families.


    Republicans are not being straight with women on this. If they are attempting to defund Title X (and they are) and closing the clinics where certain women can access contraception (and they are) that is an attack on contraception. They can call it whatever they want, but the practical effect is loss of access to contraception. Mitt Romney, the “moderate”, opposes Title X funding. That’s how far Right they’ve gone on contraception.

    “I will have to go without,” Ms. Parra said as she left an English class at a community center and was walking to pick up her two youngest children from a Head Start program. “If I get pregnant again, God forbid.”

  36. rikyrah says:

    Never Do Anything
    by mistermix

    Taking a break from the pressing issue of contraception, the House looks at a highway bill and can’t do shit:

    In navigating the measure, however, the Speaker has confronted a familiar dilemma. Faced with conservative concerns over the price tag, he has been forced to choose whether to double down and win over the right, or to make changes that could gain Democratic support. In this case, Boehner has lost not only Democrats but a sizable chunk of more centrist Republicans from urban and suburban districts.

    The reason he lost the urban/suburban Republicans is because Teabaggers stripped out mass transit funding, since Madison, Hamilton and Washington didn’t ride light rail. Boehner knows he’s in trouble:

    “The American people entrusted us with the majority in the House. What we do with it us up to us,” he said. “We can use it to take steps together, one at a time, toward the vision we share. Or we can do nothing. We can squander the time we’ve been given … allowing our internal disagreements to paralyze us.”

    Only the soft bigotry of low expectations would let someone think that passing a highway bill, the most bog standard piece of everyday legislation, is an indicator that the House isn’t paralyzed. Boehner knows he’s doomed to repeat 1948 and his suicide caucus won’t let him do anything about it.

  37. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    March 07, 2012 5:59 PM
    You Shall Not Tempt the Lord Your God!
    By Ed Kilgore

    I missed this item earlier today, but it’s a pretty good one, from NBC’s First Read:

    Mitt Romney’s campaign gathered the national press corps in their campaign war room this morning to deliver a simple message: It would take an “act of God” for any candidate not named Mitt Romney to win the Republican nomination.

    Now as I made clear in my first post today, I sympathize with Team Mitt’s frustration at the coverage they got for their Super Tuesday win, which sorta made it sound like they had snatched defeat from the jaws of victory. I can understand why they wanted to walk reporters through the delegate math and show how improbable any outcome other than Romney’s eventual nomination truly was.

    But Lord a-mighty, watch your language! Aside from the general inadvisability of tempting God to toss a thunderbolt your way, you would not want to encourage any Prayer Warriors out there associated with Rick Santorum or Newt Gingrich to take this on as a personal challenge. Just keep bludgeoning your opponents with negative ads, and try to keep your candidate from talking too much about his wealth, and let the delegate math take care of itself without bragging about it.

  38. rikyrah says:

    The Popular Vote
    Lizza keeps an eye on it:

    [Nelson Polsby, author of “Consequences of Party Reform”] pointed out that when voters can only choose one person in a multi-candidate field, it becomes difficult to divine what the electorate is really saying. “Once the number of alternatives available to an electorate rises above two, and so long as only first choices of voters are counted, there is a nontrivial likelihood that the plurality winner of such an election will turn out to be unwanted by a majority.” Mitt Romney continues to be the kind of plurality winner Polsby warned party leaders about. After twenty-three contests, Romney has secured 3,219,648 votes out of 8,094,438 cast. His share of the total vote is 39.8 per cent.

  39. Ametia says:


    Ugly Online Attacks on Barnard Women Ahead of Obama Commencement Speech
    Mar 7, 2012 11:07 PM EST

    On Saturday morning, after getting the news that President Obama would be giving the commencement address at Barnard College this May, graduating senior Marly Faherty did what her generation does: she went online, to a Columbia University blog called Bwog. But as she watched the comments pouring in, her excitement turned to shock, and then despair. “It was the first time I’d seen something get that nasty that quickly,” she told The Daily Beast. “It was like watching a train wreck. I couldn’t take my eyes off it.”

    At first, some of the sniping was understandable. Obama, a graduate of Columbia College, has repeatedly spurned efforts to get him to speak at graduation. But then commenters started attacking Barnard, Columbia’s all-women’s sister school across the street, and accusing its students of academic inferiority and much, much worse. Using terms like “feminazis” and calling Barnard “Barnyard,” commenters said the school was just a back door to Columbia, and its students deserved neither Obama as a speaker nor affiliation with the university as a whole.

    What was perhaps the most troubling to Faherty and others was that many of the nastiest comments came from women themselves. “Try using your Daddy’s hard-earned cash in a respectable way if you want to be an ACTUAL role model for Women,” wrote one female Columbia student. “Unlike Barnyard financial leeches, I have NO intention of pursuing a Mrs. Degree. I came here to make myself successful, not try to plead at the knees of a Columbia boy to marry her.”

  40. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Faux Policies
    Peter Suderman takes aim:

    Romney has taken to framing his campaign in part around the goals of “less debt” and “smaller government.” These are central themes to his candidacy, and yet Romney’s actual proposals remain mysterious at best, unworkable at worst. The former governor has not only refused to say how he would cut federal spending, he’s explicitly ruled out two of the biggest expenditure categories: defense spending and Medicare, where he’s declared that he’ll reverse cuts made by President Obama.

    We don’t know how Romney will cut spending. But we know how he won’t.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Obama on the CouchHow Barack Put Bibi In the Corner
    The President’s remarks reveal he’s reached new heights in psychological maturity

    Barack Obama’s
    masterful speech at the American Israel Public Affairs Committee (AIPAC) revealed more than his growing comfort with his own power and with the gravitas of leading the most powerful nation on earth. Moving him forcefully into the center stage of world diplomacy without relinquishing his familiar message of bipartisanship, responsibility, and a never-ending quest to improve the lot of nations, Obama’s speech was the latest in a series of behaviors that revealed a kind of psychological maturity not seen on a presidential level in recent memory.

    In an interview with Jeffrey Goldberg published in the Atlantic two days before the speech, Obama revealed an attitude that only someone feeling powerful and confident could hold, dismissing war as a distraction: “At a time when there is not a lot of sympathy for Iran and its only real ally [Syria] is on the ropes,” he said, “do we want a distraction in which suddenly Iran can portray itself as a victim?” Obama’s ability to put “war talk” in its place was not only a harbinger of his AIPAC speech but also showed his clear appreciation of the literal power of language. At AIPAC, he used words as genuine weapons to confront Israel (and some American Republicans) about the danger of loose talk – almost scolding them. He asserted Presidential power in new ways, not just by urging people to search for common ground, but by setting limits.

    At a New York fundraiser the night before the Atlantic interview was published, Obama dealt with a heckler with comparable confidence. To the woman who interrupted his comments on foreign policy to yell, “Use your leadership! No war in Iran!,” Obama calmly responded, “Nobody’s announced a war, young lady. You’re jumping the gun a little bit.” He then turned on his smile that was at once affectionate and slightly condescending. He not only understood her passion but was able metabolize her cry for calm leadership to quell her fears the way a parent does with the outburst of an impatient or frightened child.

    Maturity is revealed in one’s capacity to put things in perspective, to react to immediate stimuli while keeping the long view or bigger picture clearly in mind. In his speech before a potentially suspicious AIPAC, and with his dealing with Israeli Prime Minister Netanyahu, Obama linked his maturity to an explicit public strategy in a manner that illustrates how his personal growth is informing and expanding his presidential authority and effectiveness.

    Some of the notes Obama sounded were familiar: defending his record of support for Israel; asserting his opposition to nuclear weapons for Iran under any circumstances, far stronger than a policy of containment; and reminding his audience that American support for Israel is bipartisan – continuing his insistence on getting bipartisanship into virtually every speech he makes, driven by his need to push for disparate parts of his own internal world to find ways to connect and get along. But beyond the predictable elements of his speech, he did two other things psychologically astute and adept.

    Read more:

  42. Ametia says:

    Number of U.S. Hate Groups Is Rising, Report Says
    Published: March 7, 2012

    ATLANTA — Fed by antagonism toward President Obama, resentment toward changing racial demographics and the economic rift between rich and poor, the number of so-called hate groups and antigovernment organizations in the nation has continued to grow, according to a report released Wednesday by the Southern Poverty Law Center.

    The center, which has kept track of such groups for 30 years, recorded 1,018 hate groups operating last year.

    The number of groups whose ideology is organized against specific racial, religious, sexual or other characteristics has risen steadily since 2000, when 602 were identified, the center said. Antigay groups, for example, have risen to 27 from 17 in 2010.

    The report also described a “stunning” rise in the number of groups it identifies as part of the so-called patriot and militia movements, whose ideologies include deep distrust of the federal government.

    In 2011, the center tracked 1,274 of those groups, up from 824 the year before

  43. rikyrah says:

    It was a Super Tuesday for Democrats
    A battered Mitt Romney is still a near lock for the GOP nomination — and that’s good news for Dems not just in 2012, but 2016 too
    posted on March 7, 2012, at 6:35 PM

    The Republican non-romance with Mitt Romney reminds me of Henry VIII’s uncharacteristically reluctant marriage to Anne of Cleves — the king’s fourth wife. She was a minor German princess who, to the king’s advisers, looked like the ideal political match. A dubious Henry resisted — and insisted that the great portrait artist Hans Holbein be sent to paint her picture. The work flattered Anne by framing (and overwhelming) her with a bejeweled gold headdress and gown.

    Henry acceded to the marriage, but snuck down to Rochester to check out Anne on her progress toward London. He was not pleased with what he saw. For diplomatic reasons, he had to go through with the marriage, but never consummated it. Within six months, he divorced Anne and had his Chancellor Thomas Cromwell beheaded. He then married again — and again.

    We live in a more benign time — and in any event, the GOP can’t seem to divorce Romney. Unlike Henry VIII, the party has no other viable choice on offer. On paper, at least to the Republican establishment, Romney may be the right choice. And in reality, he’s now the only choice — both because delegate rules and his resources, even if they are suddenly strained, work in his favor, and because no one else in the field is a thinkable nominee.

    But unrequited love has transformed Romney’s progress toward the Tampa convention into a rough and rutted road, steadily weakening him for the contest with President Obama, and almost certainly strengthening Democratic chances not just in 2012, but in 2016.

    First, this year’s excruciating primary race for Romney: Witness the tableau at his Boston headquarters as Super Tuesday turned dark. A gathering that was supposed to declare victory became more and more unconvincing as the frontrunner’s campaign struggled to hold onto his Ohio safety net by a thread. Simultaneously, in Tennessee, the state Mitt saw as his main chance in the South, and where he advertised heavily, he fell decisively to Rick Santorum.

    The Ohio exit polls reaffirmed that Romney hasn’t reassured conservatives and evangelicals — or connected with blue-collar voters. On CNBC’s Sqawkbox Wednesday morning, Mitt proclaimed with a wan smile that he had carried states across America, “from Alaska to Vermont.” It was a sad moment in the history of spin. In the South, Romney took nothing except Virginia, where the fix was in because Santorum and Gingrich were off the ballot. In addition to Tennessee, he lost Georgia and Oklahoma — and in the Great Plains, finished third in North Dakota. He won handily in the Mormon-heavy caucuses in Idaho, barely squeaked by in Alaska, and swept New England states he will surely lose in the fall.

  44. Axelrod: If Romney Can’t Condemn Limbaugh, ‘How Can He Stand Up To Ahmadinejad?’

    Top Obama re-election adviser David Axelrod took a page from the neocon playbook on Wednesday, arguing that Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to call out Rush Limbaugh for making incendiary remarks raised questions about whether he would be able to face the world’s worst dictators if elected president.

    The president’s communications guru, along with campaign manager Jim Messina, held a conference call with reporters to spin the results from Super Tuesday. But at various points the talk turned to Limbaugh, whose comments about Georgetown Law School student Sandra Fluke — in which he called her a “slut” for wanting her birth control covered by insurers and demanded to see sex tapes in return — landed him in hot water among advertisers, syndicators, and lawmakers.

    • Mitt Romney is such a coward. If he can’t stand up for one woman being attacked by a vicious thug like Rush…he cannot be trusted to stand up for America. Mitt has no leadership, no conscience, no common decency.

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