Wednesday Open Thread

Let’s Stay Together

Little did we know the President could sing
Eloquent notes from the once gospel king
There is much we let slip but should we be
So blind we close our eyes that we might not see

Since, since we been together
There were all kinds of bad weather
And in good or bad, happy or sad
You and I had a President, at 3 a.m glad

To answer the testing questions to take threats out
Oceanic pirates, obstructiv­e filibuster­s and hush Osama’s clout
Got in President Obama a man who cares
Education, Health, Jobs, Energy all improved over his years
Today his sings, “I, I’m so in love with you”
He works for this country as if this were true
Elected when things were at their worst, a dead economy
Recession threatened but was averted; open your eyes, GOP


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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63 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. POTUS Approval: Politico: 50%, PEW: 50%, Reuters: 50%, NBC: 50%, CNN: 50%, DemC:50% ,AP: 49%, Bloomberg: 48%, Fox: 48%, Gallup: 48% #polls

  2. How Palin Destroyed US Politics

    (Newser) – HBO’s Game Change is aptly titled: Sarah Palin did indeed change American politics, and not for the better, writes Richard Cohen in the Washington Post. Palin aides have confirmed the accuracy of the film’s portrayal of an “ignoramus” who was “determinately incurious”; this year’s “deluge of dysfunctional presidential candidates” shows that the trend has continued. “With her selection as John McCain’s running mate, American politics lost its way—and maybe its mind as well,” he notes.

    Herman Cain had “zero knowledge of foreign affairs”; Michele Bachmann and Rick Perry were confused about a range of issues; Rick Santorum called President Obama a “snob” for promoting college. In short, “ignorance has become more than bliss. It’s now an attribute, an entire platform: Vote for me, I know nothing and hate the same things you do.” And while the affliction remains GOP-exclusive, surely there are Democrats who will follow Palin’s lead.


  3. Texas Courthouse Shooting: One Dead, Four Injured

    A shooting at the Jefferson County Courthouse in Beaumont, Texas, has left one person dead and four injured, according to the Beaumont Police Department.

    Five people were shot, including the gunman. The gunman has been taken into custody, but police have not yet disclosed his identity.

    Rod Carroll, a Jefferson County Sheriffs Department deputy, told ABC News the shooting was part of a hostage situation at the courthouse.

    A county employee told ABC News’ Beaumont affiliate KMBT that the victims were visitors, not courthouse employees.

    Beaumont Police Officer Doug Kibodeaux declined to identify the suspect, but told ABC News’ Houston affiliate KTRK that the gunman was going to court with his family this morning when he opened fire and shot several rounds. Kibodeaux could not say whether any of the victims were related to the suspect.

    The shooting reportedly occurred outside the courthouse, near the entrance.

    This is the second courthouse shooting to happen in the past week. On March 7, a shooting outside the Tulsa County Courthouse in Oklahoma left one deputy and three others injured. A barefoot man went to the courthouse plaza and began shooting randomly.

    Deputies inside the courthouse who heard the gunfire rushed outside and fired at the suspect. The suspect was hit at least once and a deputy was also shot.

    [wpvideo BFzLYy1P]

  4. rikyrah says:

    Pew Shows An Obama Blow-Out
    If these trends persist, we could be in for a landslide:

    Among all voters, Obama leads Romney by 12 points (54% to 42%) and Santorum by 18 points (57% to 39%). Obama’s advantage among women voters, while largely unchanged from a month ago, remains substantial – 20 points over Romney and 26 points over Santorum.

    Obama also holds an enthusiasm advantage over both of his main GOP rivals. In a matchup with Romney, 41% say they support Obama strongly, compared with only 28% who strongly support the former Massachusetts governor. Obama holds a commanding 45% to 28% lead over Santorum in strong support.

    A gender gap of more than 20 points is pretty devastating. Congrats to the Catholic hierarchy and their talk radio fans. But the poll of polls shows a much tighter race:

    But enthusiasm matters. My fear is that Romney’s inability to generate enthusiasm and willingness to go negative will mean one of the ugliest, nastiest campaigns in memory.

  5. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Losing on Birth Control as 77% in Poll Spurn Debate
    By Julie Hirschfeld Davis – Mar 14, 2012 3:30 AM CT

    Americans overwhelmingly regard the debate over President Barack Obama’s policy on employer-provided contraceptive coverage as a matter of women’s health, not religious freedom, rejecting Republicans’ rationale for opposing the rule. More than three-quarters say the topic shouldn’t even be a part of the U.S. political debate.

    More than six in 10 respondents to a Bloomberg National Poll — including almost 70 percent of women — say the issue involves health care and access to birth control, according to the survey taken March 8-11.

    That conflicts with Republican presidential candidates Rick Santorum and Mitt Romney, who say Obama is violating religious freedom by requiring employers — including those with religious objections to birth control — to provide a way for women to obtain contraceptive coverage as part of their insurance plans.

    The results suggest the Republican candidates’ focus on contraception is out of sync with the U.S. public. Seventy-seven percent of poll respondents say birth control shouldn’t be a topic of the political debate, while 20 percent say it should.

    “These candidates are talking to a relatively small subset even among Republicans,” said J. Ann Selzer, of Des Moines, Iowa-based Selzer & Co., who conducted the telephone poll of 1,002 respondents. “They may have the feeling, and their polls may be showing them, that this is a way in and this is a wedge issue within the party, but this does not dovetail with the views of the majority in the U.S.”

    Fire Rush Limbaugh
    More than half of those interviewed also say radio host Rush Limbaugh, who called a female law student testifying publicly in favor of birth-control coverage a “slut” and “prostitute,” should be fired based solely on those comments.

    Republicans are more likely than respondents generally to see the controversy over contraception as an issue of religious liberty, with 54 percent viewing it that way, compared with 42 percent who say it was a matter of health-care access.

    While Democrats have charged that the Republican position amounts to a “war on women,” the poll indicates that they aren’t benefiting from it in respondents’ perceptions of the two parties. The survey also suggests that the advantage Democrats have historically enjoyed among women may have narrowed.

    Forty-nine percent of women say they would choose Obama over Romney, the front-runner in delegates in the Republican primary, compared with 45 percent who say they’d pick the former Massachusetts governor. In 2008, Obama won 56 percent of the women’s vote to 43 percent for the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, according to national exit polls.

    • Ametia says:

      In 2008, Obama won 56 percent of the women’s vote to 43 percent for the Republican nominee, Senator John McCain of Arizona, according to national exit polls.

      HERE’S WHY:

  6. Ametia says:

    Panetta Is Safe After Breach Near His Plane at Afghan Base
    Published: March 14, 2012

    KABUL, Afghanistan — A tense visit to Afghanistan by Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta got off to an unscripted start when a stolen truck sped onto a runway ramp at the British military airfield as his plane was landing. Mr. Panetta was unhurt, but Pentagon officials said the Afghan driver emerged from the vehicle in flames.

  7. Pew: Obama Up Twelve On Romney Nationally | TPM Livewire

  8. BREAKING NEWS: Virginia Tech found negligent in 2007 massacre at school.

  9. Sarah Palin and the Queen of England

    I don’t get HBO and didn’t see Game Change this weekend, so I missed the fact that the film unearthed yet another howler to add to the Sarah Palin hall of fame. Apparently she believed that the Queen of England was in charge of the armed forces:

    Her confusion emerged during a coaching session with Steve Schmidt, a top McCain adviser, who asked Mrs Palin what she would do if Britain began to waver in its commitment to the Iraq war.

    In one of the many rambling responses that steadily eroded her credibility during the campaign, Mrs Palin reportedly replied that she would “continue to have an open dialogue” with the Queen.

    A horrified Mr Schmidt informed her that that the prime minister, then Gordon Brown, would be responsible for the decision.

    If the economy had stayed strong just a year longer, Palin might well be a heartbeat away from the presidency as we speak, my friends. A heartbeat away.

    • Ametia says:

      I’ve seen Game Change twice. We knew what kind of person she was before the movie, lying, vindictive, shit-stirring, fear mongering, race-baiting GRIFTER. In the movie, Steve Schmit and Nicole Wallace expose just how ignorant, selfish, dumb, and roguishly dangerous someone like her would be in any position of leadership. God saved AMERICA from this NIGHTMARE!

      • John McCain should publicly apologize to the country for putting us at risk with this ignoramus, incompetent, racist, emptyheaded, nothing in the skull but empty fluid being a heartbeat away from the Presidency.

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:35 PM ET, 03/14/2012 TheWashingtonPost That big Obama poll drop? It never happened.
    By Jonathan Bernstein
    Remember that big drop in approval numbers Barack Obama suffered over the weekend? You’re remembering a phantom.

    The poll that got all the chatter going about Obama’s alleged drop was published on Monday by the New York Times. It found Obama’s approval rating at 41 percent, in polling taken from March 7-11.

    But we now have two new polls, one from Pew and the other from Reuters, that have Obama at 50 percent. So what’s going on?

    Here, via Pollster, is the wrap up of all the polling taken roughly during the same time period as the Times poll:

    CBS/NYT — March 7-11 — 41%

    Bloomberg — March 8-11 — 48%

    Ipsos/Reuters — March 8-11 — 50%

    ABC/WaPo — March 7-10 — 46%

    Pew — March 7-11 — 50%

    Gallup — March 10-12 — 47%

    Rasmussen — March 11-13 — 47%

    The Times poll is an outlier. The overall Pollster trend is now at around 47 percent — put all the polling together and the trend is either slightly up or slightly down over the last month, depending on how one reads the data. (The key variable is whether you want your trend line to overreact or underreact to each poll — whether you place more or less emphasis on the most recent polls — something you can change by adjusting Pollster’s “smoothing” function.)

    Either way, there’s no getting around the fact that the big Obama polling drop last week never happened. Never happened.

    One of the marvels of mathematics is that you really can use a startlingly small sample size and learn what the whole nation would say if asked the same question. That’s only true within limits. And one of those limits is that polls have a margin of error. Another limit is that one out of twenty polls will land outside of that margin of error. Which means you’re inevitably going to get some duds.

    Let me demonstrate it another way. Gallup has been doing a daily tracking poll for Obama’s approval ratings ever since he took office. I count 10 times that the Gallup track has bounced either up or down by at least 5 points and then returned back to where it was within no more than 10 days. These very likely are random fluctuations.

    So be careful about putting very much trust in any single poll, no matter how methodologically sound it might be. My advice is to use Pollster or another poll-of-polls average. Be skeptical, too, of stories about “rising” or “falling” poll numbers. News organizations tend to compare their own polls to each other, rather than comparing each poll to an average of all recent polls, which would give us a clearer picture of whether there have been any meaningful changes.

    We shouldn’t automatically dismiss the evidence found in a survey that seems very different from what we expect. But a little patience and a little prudence go a long way in understanding what the polls are really telling us.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Reid’s hardball pays off on judicial nominees
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 2:36 PM EDT.

    This week, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) decided to put judicial nominations on the front-burner, much to the chagrin of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), who has made obstructionism one of his top priorities. Reid played some procedural hardball, and as of this afternoon, it’s paid off.

    To briefly recap, Reid wanted to move 17 stalled, non-controversial judicial nominees — and said everything else, including action on the poorly-named “JOBS Act” — would have to wait. If the Senate operated the way it used to, the confirmation votes on the nominees could be dealt with in an afternoon, and the chamber could move on. If Republicans wanted to obstruct, the chamber would get bogged down for several weeks.

    The decision, Reid said, would be up to the GOP.

    Today, the two Senate leaders struck a deal.

    Democratic aides said senators would vote to confirm 12 federal district court nominees and two circuit court picks by May and move next to a vote on a bipartisan jobs bill that passed overwhelmingly last week by the House with White House support.

    Both sides had plausible claims to victory. Dems are getting 14 confirmation votes, and are allowing progressive on a small-businesses bill that they generally like anyway. Republicans lowered the number of judges from 17 to 14, and moved the legislation ahead of the judicial nominees on the calendar.

    The larger point, though, is that Reid was able to generate some progress by picking a fight. Had the Majority Leader not forced the issue on Monday, these 14 judges probably wouldn’t be on track for confirmation anytime soon

  12. rikyrah says:

    SENATE judiciary committee endorses controversial contraceptive bill
    By Thania A. Betancourt March 12, 2012 at 10:54 pm Print This Post

    The Senate Judiciary Committee voted 6-2 Monday to endorse a controversial bill that would allow Arizona employers the right to deny health insurance coverage for contraceptives based on religious objections.

    Arizona House Bill 2625, authored by Majority Whip Debbie Lesko, R-Glendale, would permit employers to ask their employees for proof of medical prescription if they seek contraceptives for non-reproductive purposes, such as hormone control or acne treatment.

    “I believe we live in America. We don’t live in the Soviet Union,” Lesko said. “So, government should not be telling the organizations or mom and pop employers to do something against their moral beliefs.”

    Lesko said this bill responds to a contraceptive mandate in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act signed into law March 2010.

    “My whole legislation is about our First Amendment rights and freedom of religion,” Lesko said. “All my bill does is that an employer can opt out of the mandate if they have any religious objections.”

    Glendale resident Liza Love said the bill would impose on women’s rights to keep their medical records private.

    Love spoke to the committee about her struggle with polycystic ovary syndrome and endometriosis, conditions requiring her to use birth control.

    “I wouldn’t mind showing my employer my medical records,” Love said. “But there are 10 women behind me that would be ashamed to do so.”

    Planned Parenthood Arizona President Bryan Howard said he opposes HB 2625 and any bill against the accessibility of women’s health care in Arizona.

    “The bill is part of the assault on women’s health care across the country,” Howard said.

    Howard said there haven’t been any complaints from insurance companies since 2002, when Arizona passed the Contraceptive Equity Law , a measure prohibiting religious employers from denying its employees contraceptives for non-contraceptive purposes.

    “This is an attack on women’s health care and their ability to make health care decisions for themselves and their families according to their faith,” Howard said.

    Father John Muir, a priest at the All Saints Catholic Newman Center on the Tempe campus, said the controversial issue is not about birth control, but religious freedom and the First Amendment.

    “It’s not about birth control,” Muir said. “It’s about the right to live out your beliefs and principles without inference by the state.”

    Political science sophomore Megan Riley said she supports making contraceptives accessible under all health care plans.

    Riley said the employer doesn’t have the right to impose their religious beliefs on their employees.

    “Taking away birth control is not a religious freedom,” Riley said. “It’s oppression.”

    Ryan McCarthy, a third-year law student and ASU chapter president of the St. Thomas More Society, a Catholic law student organization, said he is against the federal health care law.

    “Law shouldn’t require intruding on individuals’ rights and moral beliefs,” McCarthy said

  13. rikyrah says:

    The Two-Candidate Race Has Finally Arrived
    Ed Kilgore

    The conventional wisdom as polls opened in Alabama and Mississippi was that Santorum would likely be the big loser by failing to beat Romney or snuff Gingrich. That scenario made sense: Santorum was not only flagging in the polls, but had a decided financial disadvantage in these two states. (His super PAC trailed Team Romney in media buys by a seven-to-one ratio in Alabama and a five-to-one margin in Mississippi; it also had fewer ads than Gingrich ‘s super PAC). But now Gingrich is toast, whether he immediately accepts it or not, and Romney has failed to seal the deal. It seems the long-awaited two-candidate race has finally arrived.

    To be sure, Romney has probably won a majority of the night’s delegates (thanks to proportional systems in Alabama and Mississippi, and likely victories in the late-night caucuses in Hawaii and American Samoa). But as on Super Tuesday, Mitt’s big problem was his failure to meet rising expectations. He managed to finish third in both Mississippi and Alabama, despite his advantages in money and endorsements—and his apparent momentum (leading several late polls in both states, and appearing to win Mississippi even tonight in early exit polls).

    Romney’s night isn’t quite so discouraging if you look at demographics. Romney did relatively well among evangelical voters (who made up 80 percent of Mississippi voters and 74 percent of Alabama’s), and very well in terms of voters’ estimates of his superior electability (50 percent in Alabama and 49 percent in Mississippi said he was most likely to beat Obama). As in virtually every state so far, Mitt won in urban-suburban strongholds, carrying Jackson, Gulfport, and Biloxi in Mississippi and Birmingham, Montgomery, and Mobile in Alabama.

    But Santorum outpaced both his rivals in rural parts of these states, carrying the pineywoods regions of North Alabama and Mississippi, while Gingrich did relatively well, as expected, in rural black belt counties—just not well enough. And Santorum very narrowly led Newt among “very conservative” and evangelical voters in both states, which helped put him over the top. In a distant fourth place, Ron Paul performed in the single digits in both states.

    All in all, the results were within a few percentage points of virtually every projection. But the variations—giving Santorum two wins where he wasn’t supposed to excel, Gingrich two losses in his “base,” and Romney a pair of third-place finishes—provided a big feast for spinmeisters, particularly those hungering and thirsting for an extended contest.

    The path ahead includes caucuses in Missouri next Saturday, where Santorum built high expectations with his virtually unopposed win in a non-binding “beauty contest” primary on Feb. 7, and in Puerto Rico on Sunday, where Romney should clean up. But the big high-publicity contest will be next Tuesday in the Illinois primary, where the argument that Romney is weak in Midwestern “Rust Belt” states will be put to one more test. If he survives until then, Louisiana on March 24 could provide Santorum with another belt of Southern comfort.

    But the parallel battle, which has been raging since Romney’s victories in Florida and Nevada back in January (if not earlier), will be among Republican elites. By this point, GOP opinion leaders are either frantic to bring the contest to a close to let the “inevitable” and “electable” Romney marshal resources for November—or want to give Santorum one last chance to prove that the palpable anti-Romney sentiment of conservative activists can lift him to an unlikely nomination or convention bid.

    Romney has now lost four opportunities (after wins in New Hampshire, Florida/Nevada, Michigan, and Ohio) to nail down the nomination, a record that should at some point begin to make his elite backers really take stock of his attractiveness as a candidate. And, having won the long-standing contest to become the “conservative alternative to Romney,” Santorum has his own decision to make: whether to double down on his culture-war-heavy, ideological true-believer message or begin trying to convince elites he can actually beat Obama.

  14. rikyrah says:

    March 14, 2012 10:55 AM

    Do Rick’s Wins Matter?
    By Ed Kilgore

    So late last night my friend Jonathan Bernstein and I were having one of those twitter arguments about the greater meaning, if any, of last night’s victories by Rick Santorum. Jonathan, as some of you may know, basically thinks Romney wrapped up the 2012 nomination shortly after his graduation from Harvard Business School. Just kidding! Seriously, though, Jonathan is a big believer in the power of elites to determine presidential nominations, and thinks a lot of the media hooplah surrounding this or that twist or turn in the contest is just a diversion from the underlying reality that Romney is the nominee barring something really unprecedented happening.

    So when I expressed my wonderment that Mitt had now blown his fourth chance to nail down the nomination, Jonathan quite naturally asked: Does it really matter?

    And that’s the question of the day. No, I do not think Rick Santorum is going to be raising his arms in triumph as the GOP presidential nominee in Tampa this August. Romney’s nomination remains a virtual certainty, and it’s just a matter of time before it’s obvious to everybody (that could happen as early as next Tuesday, if Mitt wins in Illinois).

    But Romney’s continued stumbling matters, I think, for three reasons. The first is that it will cost his friends, and maybe his family, a whole lot of money. The Romney campaign and his Super-PAC have already committed over three million dollars for ads in Illinois. The costs will keep rising, particularly given the big conservative fundraising confab that happened over the weekend in Texas to begin making Santorum competitive financially, even before his Tuesday wins. And speaking of Texas, if Romney hasn’t nailed this sucker down by May 29, when that state holds its primary, the costs will become astronomical.

    Aside from money, every moment Romney spends battling Santorum is another moment lost for his general election campaign. And he’s not just losing time, but the opportunity to position himself where he wants. He’s long since passed the fork in the road that leads to a general election message, and has now wandered miles down a twisting path to the right in his ever-futile effort to deny his opponents oxygen by placating conservative activists. That path, and the path back to sanity, just got a lot longer. For a candidate who has already hurt himself by earning a reputation as a flip-flopper, every step could be treacherous.

    And finally, Mitt’s one big mistake away from blowing the whole race and giving the nomination either to Santorum or to whoever party poohbahs can scare up to “save” the GOP. I’ve heard some Romney apologists try to compare his 2012 campaign to Obama’s in 2008. After all, it took BHO a long time to win, and in the end it may have even helped him, right?

    C’mon, give me a break. Obama was running a history-making campaign against Hillary Clinton. Romney may be a historic figure to LDS members, but for everybody else he’s just another white guy in a suit, and he’s struggling to beat Rick Santorum, Newt Gingrich and Ron Paul, every one of them a stone loser from the get-go. As Politico’s Jonathan Martin put it today:

    [T]he establishment favorite needs to explain why, two-and-a-half months into the primary season, he can’t seem to put away underfunded rivals who are viewed by many in the party as general election disasters.

    At some point the questions about Romney’s quality as a candidate could simply become unanswerable, and if that happens he is doomed.

    Sure, AL and MS were in some respects death-traps for Mitt, and he didn’t do all that badly given the demographics of these places. But he had all the money and the endorsements in the world, and still couldn’t croak Rick Santorum, a man so unformidable that virtually no one outside of Iowa even knew he was running as recently as Christmas. That matters when almost no one other than your co-religionists is supporting you for any reason other than your alleged “electability.” And it matters more every time you lose.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Deep South Reax
    Highlights from Santorum’s speech last night:

    John Cassidy sets his sights on Illinois:

    A Santorum victory in Illinois would upend all the reassuring calculations about Romney eventually accumulating the one thousand one hundred and forty-four delegates he needs for the nomination, and all manner of crazy scenarios would merit consideration. (Jeb Bush or Chris Christie as a White Knight? A Santorum/Gingrich conservative dream ticket? Some sort deal between Romney and Ron Paul?)

    Silver is more cautious:

    Mr. Romney will have a significant lead in delegates even if he loses Illinois. But a loss there would be more characteristic of those scenarios where he falls short of a delegate majority and needs help from super delegates and other unpledged delegates to win the nomination. The bar for Mr. Santorum to actually overtake Mr. Romney in delegates is much higher.

    Michael Walsh worries about the evangelical vote:

    [O]ne possible explanation is that Romney’s Mormonism is playing poorly in the Deep South. And while the Constitution is explicit that there can be no religious test for public office, what goes on in voters’ hearts is another thing entirely. Should Romney be the nominee and evangelicals remain resistant, the result will be disastrous for the GOP.

    Massie makes related points:

    Romney’s problem is not Mississippi or Alabama. Nicolas Sarkozy is as likely to win in the Deep South as Barack Obama. Mitt Romney’s problem is whether cultural conservatives in other states – Virginia, North Carolina and Ohio most especialy – will rally to him in November. Nevertheless: would you measure a candidate’s appeal to Middle America by his performance in Alabama and Mississippi? I doubt it.

    Frum asks Santorum voters to consider the consequences of their actions:

    The Santorum candidacy pushes Republicans toward an election in which the issues are religious, cultural, and sexual, not economic. It’s a candidacy that pushes the party away from metropolitan areas, away from areas of growing population, and rebases the party everywhere that is not dynamic, not growing. … [A] Santorum candidacy offers an airing of resentments and grievances. Is that really where party conservatives want to go?

  16. rikyrah says:

    The GOP’s Super PAC Conundrum
    Despite Super PAC excess, the primary season is on track to be the cheapest in years. Pema Levy lays out the Republican predicament:

    The Post attributes the dampened fundraising to a lack of enthusiasm over a weak candidate field. If anything, it seems super PACs’ largely negative ads would help suppress overall enthusiasm for the race. The slower fundraising by the campaigns has, in turn, increased super PACs’ influence. As David Donnelly, executive director of the Public Campaign Action Fund, told the Post, if super PACs were around in 2008, when campaign spending was high, they would have had less of an impact. In February 2008, the Obama campaign raised five times what Mitt Romney raised in February 2012, $57 million to $11.5 million. If the 2012 campaigns were raising at that clip, super PACs might not feel as compelled to spend as heavily.

    Meanwhile, according to the ABC News/Washington Post poll (pdf), seven in 10 Americans want to see an end to the Super PAC experiment.

  17. rikyrah says:

    Romney tries his hand at energy policy
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 11:02 AM EDT.
    Associated Press

    Romney fibs about gas prices at a stop in Missouri.

    Republicans haven’t had much luck lately trying to talk about energy policy, but that didn’t stop Mitt Romney from weighing in on the subject yesterday. His comments, delivered at a playground in Missouri, were so wildly off-base, it’s probably best if I just annotate them.

    Yesterday, he said the reason we have high gasoline prices is, and then he was seeking — What could it be? What could it be? — I have some suggestions for him,” Romney said. “Maybe it’s related to the fact that you stopped drilling in the, in the Gulf [1]. Maybe it’s related to the fact, Mr. President, that you are not drilling in. Maybe it’s related to the fact that you said we couldn’t get a pipeline in from Canada known as Keystone [2]. Those things affect gasoline prices, long term.”

    He continued: “But instead he came up with this: He said it’s because Republican presidential candidates are talking in a very muscular way about Iran and their nuclear program. [3]”

    This is clearly an issue important to voters, so it’s worth taking a moment to consider whether Romney’s claims are true.

    [1] Oil production has gone up under Obama, and is higher now than at any point in Bush’s second term. It hasn’t affected prices at the pump.

    [2] Keystone wouldn’t lower gas prices.

    [3] Obama didn’t blame Republicans for gas prices. The president said one of the drivers of fluctuating costs is “speculation about possible war in the Middle East,” and those comments are accurate.

    In other words, Romney made three specific claims about gas prices and energy policy, and all three were wrong.

    This is a complicated issue that voters obviously care about, and it’s easy for the public to get confused. Dishonesty from politicians trying to exploit anxiety doesn’t exactly help the discourse

  18. Hey 3Chics! I’m going to give you a little peek. This is so good. Gallery coming up..
    Michelle is GORGEOUS!

  19. rikyrah says:

    Allen West has it all figured out
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 10:23 AM EDT.

    As the domestic economy has improved in recent months, so too have the major Wall Street indexes. The Dow Jones industrial average soared yesterday, closing at its highest level since before the start of the Great Recession. The Nasdaq composite index, meanwhile, closed yesterday at its highest level in more than 11 years.

    Rep. Allen West (R-Fla.) offered a unique take on these developments yesterday, telling Fox News’ Neil Cavuto the recent upswing may be tied to the 2012 presidential election.

    WEST: Well, I would think maybe the markets are maybe looking five to six months down the road, when we have a change in leadership in this country –

    CAVUTO: Wait a minute, you think that this is built on a Republican either capturing the White House or Republicans capturing the Senate? … You think that the markets are getting bubbly in anticipation of a Republican taking the White House?

    WEST: Oh, absolutely.

    Let me get this straight. In the Republican congressman’s mind, investors are overlooking improved job numbers, improved consumer spending, and improved economic confidence, and are instead investing based on expectations that a new, unnamed president might take office 10 months from now?

    Is this really going to be the Republican line on an improved environment for investors?

    For what it’s worth, much to Republicans’ chagrin, Bloomberg News recently reported recently that the stock market invariably performs better under Democratic administrations.

    In 2004, a Bush cabinet official said job creation and GDP numbers don’t really matter because “the stock market is … the final arbiter” of economic success.

    If that’s still true, Republicans appear to have some explaining to do.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Romney vows to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 9:30 AM EDT.

    It didn’t generate much attention at the time, but Mitt Romney had an op-ed in USA Today five months ago, talking about the spending cuts he’d make while slashing taxes on the wealthy. Among the cuts: “Eliminate Title X family planning programs benefiting abortion groups like Planned Parenthood.”

    As the former governor sees it, the way to improve the deficit is to cut taxes, increase military spending, and block access to contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases.

    Yesterday, in an interview with the NBC affiliate in St. Louis, Romney was even more explicit, saying, “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that,” while talking about cuts he’d make to federal funding. Overnight, the DNC put together this video, going on the offensive over the issue.

    There are several key angles to keep in mind in a story like this, including the ways in which this plays into the “Republican war on women” theme (Romney also enthusiastically backed the Blunt Amendment two weeks ago).

    It’s also worth noting that Republican support for Planned Parenthood was the norm for nearly a half-century. Barry Goldwater and George H.W. Bush championed the health organization; Reagan never balked at PP funding in the budget; and none of this was considered controversial in the slightest. There’s no clearer example of the GOP’s shift to the extreme than its new-found disgust for Planned Parenthood.

    But the point I keep coming back to is Romney himself having supported the health organization, including having attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser.

    Our pal James Carter recently passed along a copy of a piece Romney wrote for Personal Excellence magazine in 2005 on the issue of “integrity.” As the then-governor said at the time, “You have integrity when your actions mirror your values. You live in alignment with your principles and values. Your word is your bond… More lasting than a president’s politics and policies is the legacy of his integrity…. Trust me, if you live in conflict with your core values, you will be unhappy, unhealthy, and less successful.”

    Given Romney’s campaign, and his attacks on Planned Parenthood in particular, this almost reads like satire seven years later.

  21. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:02 AM ET, 03/14/2012
    The Morning Plum: Romney continues hugging extremism
    By Greg Sargent

    Pop quiz: What do the following two events that took place yesterday have in common?

    1) Rick Santorum wins the Alabama and Mississippi primaries, with Mitt Romney coming in third in both.

    2) Romney tells a local TV station in Missouri that he would “get rid” of Planned Parenthood.

    Answer: Both suggest Romney may remain trapped for months in a political dynamic that could damage him among key swing constituencies in advance of the general eleciton.

    Romney won the delegate count last night, and by all accounts he moved closer to the nomination. But Santorum’s wins all but ensure that this contest will drag on into June, forcing Romney to continue embracing positions that appeal to the GOP voting blocs he’s been struggling to connect with but could also alienate independents and women. The pressure on Romney to do this could intensify if Santorum is able to unite conservatives behind his candidacy.

    In an example of just such a position, Romney said this in an interview with Missouri’s KSDK-TV in Missouri: “Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.”

    This is exactly the sort of comment Dems are hoping Romney will be forced to keep making as the GOP nomination battle drags on. The DNC rushed out a video on Romney’s comments, highlighting the cancer screenings and birth control services that Romney would eliminate. The Obama campaign put out a statement arguing that Romney would eliminate “a vital health care provider for millions of American women.”

    This comes as a new Bloomberg poll finds that an overwhelming majority, 77 percent, believe birth control should not even be “part of the national political debate.” It also finds that 62 percent think the contraception battle is “a matter of women’s health and access to birth control,” the Dem framing of the issue, while only 33 percent believe it’s about “religious liberty.” Fifty-three percent think Rush Limbaugh should be fired for his “slut” comments.

    Romney will have a chance to reintroduce himself to swing voters once he’s the nominee, and he’ll look far stronger at that point than he does now. The polling evidence as to whether this has damaged Romney among women and independents is mixed — the Bloomberg poll still shows women closely divided between Obama and Romney — and it remains to be seen how important this stuff will prove in a general election focused on the economy. But if quotes like this continue to pile up, it won’t hurt the case Dems will make to the independent, unmarried, and suburban women who could be pivotal this fall.

  22. rikyrah says:

    And Now, the National Abortion Consent Drive Begins
    By Charles P. Pierce at 12:29PM

    There is among us, alas, a class of people who firmly believe that we can all find a certain “common ground” on the issue of a woman’s right to control her reproductive life. Many of these stoog… er… well-meaning people are nominally liberal. Some of them on the other side believe that the issue is best left to the states. When asked how a patchwork of individual state regulations will not result in those laws’ being made ridiculous through the simple expedient of driving from a state where abortion is illegal to a state where it is not, these folks generally shrug and depend on the good faith of the other side not to make too much of the issue. How, in short, do we keep state laws from being made a mockery without the federal equivalent of a Fugitive Slave Law? And we all know how well that worked out the last time.

    Well, it turns out that the House of Representatives has come to our rescue. This law pertains to minors, but you have to be completely naive to believe that, if the Supreme Court turns the issue back to the states, there won’t be an identical one slouching out of the House within a month. Down the line, some woman, seeking to exercise what once was a constitutional right to choose, is going to end up as the new Dred Scott, and we all know how well that worked out the last time, too.

    Read more:

    • Ametia says:

      Make NO mistake about THIS: Anytime you HEAR the CURRENT GOP utter the words STATE’S RIGHTS, it is CODE for: WE WANT TO GO BACK TO PRE-CIVIL RIGHTS ACTS WAY OF LIFE. GOT.IT? GOOD!

  23. rikyrah says:

    Weighing Gingrich’s future
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:48 AM EDT.

    Before the full results from Alabama and Mississippi were available last night, Rachel asked Republican strategist Steve Schmidt if Newt Gingrich can remain a viable candidate if he failed to win either primary.

    “No,” Schmidt said. “The race will be in the final stages for him, and he’ll have some tough decision to make in the days ahead. He’s talked about putting together a ‘Southern strategy’ to remain viable. That means he has to win these states, not come in second, not come in third.”

    The “Southern strategy” was not, on its face, ridiculous. Gingrich — formerly of Georgia, now a resident of Virginia — could plausibly argue up until recently that he was the strongest Republican presidential candidate in the GOP’s strongest region. This, in turn, created an incentive for the former Speaker to stick around, taking advantage of this geographic edge.

    That argument is now discredited. He’s won two primaries in the South, including his former home state, but Gingrich has also lost Southern contests in Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Virginia, Alabama, and Mississippi. Gingrich’s own campaign characterized yesterday’s primaries as “must win,” precisely because of their role in the campaign’s regional plan.

    And what happens when a candidate loses must-win contests? As a rule, they go home.

    Complicating matters, John Harwood noted last night that a source close to Sheldon Adelson, the billionaire casino magnate keeping Gingrich’s campaign afloat, has “written his last check.” Without Adelson’s case, the former Speaker simply will not have the resources to stick around.

    Last night, Gingrich suggested he just doesn’t care, and will keep competing anyway. The decision, however, may not entirely be his to make — as Jonathan Bernstein explained, conservative leaders may demand his exit, and Gingrich “may not mind getting defeated, but he surely would mind if they threatened his speaking spots on Fox News, conservative conferences, and other entryways to money and status.”

    There’s also the very real possibility that Gingrich sticks around, but the political world simply ceases to care. He might remain a candidate on paper, in case the other candidates implode, but without support or resourced, he would fade into the background.

    Either way, at this point, Gingrich is a lot like Bruce Willis in “The Sixth Sense” — he’s gone, but he just doesn’t seem to know it yet.

  24. rikyrah says:

    this is why I get so pissed at our Black elected officials.

    they’re gonna go to jail and betray the public trust for PENNIES ON THE DOLLAR.

    if it’s happened once…it’s happened a thousand times.


    Feds: State Rep. Derrick Smith took $7,000 bribe
    Staff Reporters March 13, 2012 1:24PM

    Just one week before Election Day, State Rep. Derrick Smith was arrested by federal agents Tuesday and charged with bribery for allegedly accepting $7,000 in cash for supporting a $50,000 state grant he believed a day care center was seeking.

    Smith, who was appointed to his seat last year, did not realize he was dealing with an under-cover informant when he had conversations about arranging the grant and the bribe, according to the criminal complaint.

    Smith, a Democrat who represents the 10th District on the West and Northwest sides, was charged with one count of accepting a bribe. The 48-year-old appeared in court this afternoon and was scheduled to be released on a $4,500 personal bond.

    Smith is a protege and former precinct captain of Secretary of State Jesse White and childhood friend of Ald. Walter Burnett. The 27th Ward alderman once described Smith as “like a brother to me.”

    Smith was appointed to the House seat last year after Annazette Collins was appointed to the state Senate. He is now locked in a primary battle with Tom Swiss, a former director of the Cook County Republican Party who is running as a Democrat in the overwhelmingly Democratic and majority African American district.

    Swiss has attracted attention for billboards that feature a black construction worker instead of Swiss, who is white.

    “It’s a sad day in Illinois,” Swiss said. “I would call for Derrick Smith to both resign and not continue the race any further. This demonstrates a significant character flaw. I would call on [Speaker of the House] Mike Madigan to withdraw any support of him. He has weighed in with $50,000 or $60,000; staff members and mailings.”

    State GOP Chair Patrick Brady echoed the call: “Let’s not lose sight of the fact that Smith has taken nine times as much money from Speaker Madigan as he is alleged to have received in bribes. I urge Speaker Madigan to immediately end any and all financial contributions to Mr. Smith, and also to join me in asking for his resignation as State Representative and remove his name from the ballot.”

    Madigan spokesman Steve Brown said, “I haven’t heard anything about it. I wouldn’t be able to say anything.”

    White’s camp, which would not say whether the secretary of state believes Smith should step down, issued only a brief statement on White’s behalf.

    “I am very disappointed with the conduct alleged in the charges,” White said in the prepared statement. “I am confident this case will be handled fairly and justly by the judicial system.”

    A voicemail left at Smith’s residence was not immediately returned Tuesday.

  25. rikyrah says:

    March 13, 2012
    Tonight’s primaries: The left’s CW may be wrong

    The polls have now closed in Mississippi and Alabama and I’m watching MSNBC’s coverage, which means once again I’m listening to Chris Matthews join the MSNBC chorus of “Newt Should Quit,” so that we can all enjoy a real stemwinder of a two-man race.

    I have some sympathy for this view, however what it ignores is that a two-man race could quite quickly reduce to a one-man blowout. This could be accomplished by either Romney or Santorum; either candidate could acquire the Big Mo in reasonably short order, since the GOP base is by now finding this elimination process a rather tedious one.

    With Newt hanging in there, though, the base retains a third way — and for the rest of us that happily translates, perhaps, into the needlessly, insensibly prolonged way. And that is the principal goal for anyone interested in seeing these Republican primaries become their own doom, just as Mitt Romney correctly fears.

  26. rikyrah says:

    March 14, 2012
    Another morning after

    On mornings after, amid the murky-colored memories of the previous evenings’ squalor, it has become my customary penitence is to scour Jennifer Rubin’s latest stenographic puff for Mitt Romney. Jennifer is ferociously toadish in her conservatively commentating independence, hence by reading her we weekly embark anew on this — our awesome, wondrous journey with Mitt.

    OK, so who won last night? In checking with Jen, that’s not entirely clear, which is why I love her stuff. She writes that “Santorum … fail[ed] to gain significant ground in the delegate race,” thereby suggesting his double victories were little more than practical defeats; but she really earns her Mitt money by slamming Santorum for delivering a “speech [that] lacked a clear message, as he rambled on about his travels in Mississippi, the Constitution, gas prices,” and so on.

    Jennifer then implicitly endorses Mitt’s characteristic stiffness, unoriginality, and robotic mind: “In [Santorum’s speech], too, was a line about free markets and the ‘centrality of faith in our lives.’ He apparently feels compelled to wing these things and thereby fails to maximize his moments.”

    But we haven’t yet arrived at Ms. Rubin’s apocalyptic warning of woe to all ye who would enter Rick’s wicked web of temptation: “He declared that he ‘will win the nomination before the convention.’ In light of [the] delegate gap, that strained credulity, and moreover, cast him in the role of the party-wrecker and chaos-maker.”

    Yes, you can take it from Jen: With Santorum in the race, GOP chaos looms as a possibility.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Sarah Palin: Obama Twisted My Words In New Ad (VIDEO)
    Evan McMorris-Santoro March 13, 2012, 9:49 AM 39481640Sarah Palin has reacted to an Obama campaign ad in which she is featured in exactly the way you would expect.

    On Facebook Monday night, Palin slammed Obama for, she claimed, twisting her words in a hard-hitting new campaign ad that seeks to raise money off the new conservative obsession with Harvard Law professor Derrick Bell.

    Here’s the ad:


    Palin has been beating the drum about Obama’s supposed radicalism for years. She’s going down that road again with the Bell video, which other conservatives agree makes the case Palin and others have been arguing for years — that Obama is actually biased against whites.

    • Ametia says:

      Woman, please, go somewhere and have a seat. You and your ilk are biased against the BLACK POTUS, cause you aren’t LARGE & IN CHARGE, like your white privileged ass thinks you should be.
      Yes, I’m sure PBO came out of his white mama’s womb kicking and screaming, “Get me out of this white women’s body!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  28. Ametia says:

    LOL Newty Newt is hilarious. Chuck Todd’s saying he’s going through the 4 stages of GRIEF.

  29. rikyrah says:

    March 13, 2012 3:12 PM
    Those Canadians Are Scary, Eh?
    By Ed Kilgore

    Like the late-night comedian Craig Ferguson, who said he was shy in an encounter with Dick Cheney because “I never know how to behave around evil people,” I never know how to write about the former vice president. He is sort of a parody of the self-satisfied but vengeful old white male conservative to begin with, who has succeeded in becoming a self-parody—perhaps even a cartoon character—over time.

    So I reacted with predictable hilarity upon learning that Cheney had canceled an appearance in Toronto because Canada is just too dangerous a place.

    Most Americans who have traveled to Canada probably share my impression that Canadians are among the nicest people on earth. Hell, if it weren’t for that fiendishly socialist health care system they have in Canada, I wouldn’t mind braving the weather and spending some serious time there.

    Turns out Cheney did have a very unpleasant experience in Vancouver last fall at the expense of protesters unhappy with his record as the world’s preeminent defender of torture as an interrogation method.

    But that’s kind of the point, isn’t it? In matters unrelated to hockey, exactly how bad must you be to incite Canadians to violence, eh? I suppose, of course, his standard of safety might be to avoid 1% risk of danger.

    Cheney should just stay home, or if he must wander, find appropriately authoritarian countries to visit, where he’ll fit right in.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Rep. Peter King ‘Manhunters’ Video Sparks U.S. Marshals Probe

    A video posted to the YouTube account of Rep. Peter King (R-NY) has sparked an investigation by the U.S. Marshals Service into why a videographer accompanying the New York Republican was allowed to film inside private residences against a federal policy.

    Shortly after noon on Tuesday, a tweet from King’s account linked to an eight minute video of a ride-along with a “fugitive task force” including U.S. marshals on Monday. It showed King, the chairman of the Homeland Security Committee, joining police as they broke down doors and arrested a suspected fugitive. The video carried the logo of the “Manhunters” reality TV show and featured one of its stars, marshals commander Lenny DePaul.

    After TPM made inquiries about the video with King’s office, it was marked “private” and no longer available to the public on YouTube. Later, the video was removed from YouTube entirely.

    A shorter version, with almost a minute of footage cut out, was posted later in the day, and tweeted from King’s account. Clips of an officer kicking in a door, a joke about how King “got” a suspect and an officer describing to King how he kicked someone, perhaps the suspect, off a ladder were cut out.

    But even the new video features shots that appear to have been filmed within the confines of a private residence in violation of federal policy.

    “The policy restrictions which prohibit individuals who are not U.S. Marshals employees or Task Force Officers from filming inside a private residence are intended to be in place during all ride-alongs,” U.S. Marshals spokesman Jeff Carter told TPM in a statement. “We are currently investigating this matter to determine exactly what happened in this instance.”

    King’s office did not respond to TPM’s request for comment.

    Criminal defense attorney Bruce Barket, from King’s home area of Long Island, N.Y., watched the unedited video, which TPM obtained from King’s YouTube page before it was removed, and said it could be a problem for law enforcement, particularly since it was edited.

    “It turns out maybe more often than not that the camera is not the policeman’s friend, so I find it curious that agents would say, come along, witness congressman, and bring your video crew so you can observe us engaging in whatever conduct we’re engaging in,” Barket said. “The fact that they’ve edited some raises some questions about what they were doing.”

    He also said it’s almost unheard of to have somebody of the congressman’s profile tagging along with a fugitive task force.

    “Somebody accompanying them is rare,” Barket said. “Somebody accompanying them with a video camera is very rare.”

  31. rikyrah says:

    March 13, 2012 5:57 PM

    The Weak Case for Ignoring Big Lies

    By Ed Kilgore

    The Atlantic’s David Graham is unhappy with me. No, not me by name, but me as one of the “liberals” who have “gleefully” publicized the results of another poll showing an awful lot of Republican voters saying they don’t believe the president is a Christian. And Graham is really unhappy with Public Policy Polling for asking Republicans in Mississippi and Alabama about it in the first place.

    It is Graham’s very strong conviction that repeating big lies like Obama’s alleged subscription to Islam is the reason they maintain currency. After all, Brendan Nyhan says that’s the case. So when conservatives in this country seem to say and think crazy things, liberals should keep their mouths shut about it, because in the end, according to Graham, the only thing that really matters is how people vote, not the reasons they cite.

    There’s only one pretty large problem with this high-minded theory: even if liberals stop noticing that many conservatives say or think crazy things, conservatives themselves keep saying and thinking them, without our help. A very good example is the “death panels” smear about health care reform, a very big lie that, best as I can tell, originated with famed agitprop artist Elizabeth McCaughey, then was picked up in a floor speech by Rep. Michele Bachmann, then went viral from Sarah Palin’s Facebook page.

    Liberals did little or nothing to spread this lie. Indeed, it was such a big, obvious lie that most of us ignored it until it became obvious it was being believed by a very large share of the population.

    And this was hardly a unique phenomenon.

    David Graham must be one of the few people in America who have not at some point been on the receiving end of one of the ubiquitous right-wing big lies (you know, Obama is about to outlaw religious radio and TV broadcasts, ObamaCare has a gigantic Medicare premium increase for seniors embedded in it, Obama is preparing concentration camps for conservative opinion-leaders, etc.) that are constantly being circulated via email and social media outlet. By and large, people who do not live in the fever swamps ignore these things. They do not stop being circulated, however, nor do they stop being believed by the people circulating them.

    For sheer volume in big lying, there is no one quite like the 2008 vice presidential nominee of the Republican Party. Her latest big Facebook post is an endless litany of lies, half-lies, innuendoes, slurs and smears aimed at the president, all apparently motivated by a brief Obama campaign internet ad that mocked her incoherent tirade over the weekend saying Obama wanted to return to pre-Civil War racial divisions, which in turn was part of the Breitbart enterprise’s bizarre barrage of slurs based on 1991 video of the then-law-student Obama introducing Derrick Bell at Harvard.

    Now you can, and many have tried to, make the case that liberals should just ignore Palin, and deny her the oxygen of celebrity, and particularly deny her opportunities to play the martyr. But it is difficult to ignore someone to whom other conservatives so regularly pay obeisance, and impossible to deny her “oxygen,” since the very existence of her opponents is a sufficient reason for her to regularly explode onto TV screens and assume the podium in a hundred forums. And ignore her as you might, her poison keeps spilling into the political bloodstream.

    So at some point, you simply have to start challenging the lies, and trying to establish some common basis of facts on which liberals and conservatives can compete with their different opinions of what to do about those facts. If you don’t, then the lies become “opinions” and the lie-based “opinions” become facts (e.g., the non-existence of climate change) for vast numbers of people, and before you know it, you are having to argue with people over things like the religion of the president of the United States or his place of birth—even as David Graham chastises you for feeding the lies by mentioning them.

    It’s enough to make you want to lie down.

  32. Ametia says:

    Watch the arrival of PM Cameron to the WH live here at 9am EDT

  33. rikyrah says:

    Worst Persons in the World
    Posted on 03/13/2012 at 5:15 pm by JM Ashby

    Every single adult involved in this should be utterly ashamed of themselves, and if I were a parent I would be seriously considering filing a suit.

    Emphasis mine.

    The Christian rap metal band from Minnesota had some shocking words last week for a Dunkerton, Iowa, high school audience. School administrators told local media that the group was supposed to talk about “bullying and making good choices.”

    Instead, parents said, the band told girls in the audience that “they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins.” In a break-out session for girls, the band told them to save themselves for their husbands and assume a submissive role in marriage. Then the girls were forced to chant a mantra about virginity. […]

    Now enter a little-known band from Minnesota to preach to teenagers at Dunkerton High School, where the band also targeted the GLBT community, showing pictures of Elton John and assailing his sexuality.

    They said that the average age of a gay man at death was 42 because his actions “literally kill him.”

    And to round out the picture, the students saw photos of fetuses during the assembly’s portion on abortion.

    I struggle to find an explanation for why anyone, for any reason, would think it’s acceptable to display this kind of content to other people’s children.

    The school’s administrators should be embarrassed and maybe even lose their jobs for this

  34. rikyrah says:

    Romney Loses, But Not Really
    by BooMan
    Wed Mar 14th, 2012 at 01:25:48 AM EST

    With Rick Santorum besting him in Alabama and Mississippi tonight, Newt Gingrich lost even a regional claim for strength in the nominating process. You might have expected him to bow out. But he remains defiant.

    “When the primaries are over, and it’s clear no one person has won,” Gingrich said, convention delegates would ask themselves, “who would do the best job?”

    Gingrich added a swipe at Romney, who was left in third place in both states. “If you’re the front-runner, and you keep coming in third,” Gingrich said, “you’re not much of a front-runner.”

    It’s true. Mitt Romney came in third tonight in the two big contests. With wins in Hawai’i and American Samoa later tonight, he may wind up with the most delegates, but he still showed that the southern base of the Republican Party has little use for him. He’s still the frontrunner but, as Gingrich says, he’s not much of a frontrunner. That being said, Romney is going to have enough delegates to win the nomination outright unless either Santorum or Gingrich start beating him by wide margins in the near future.

    I think it is getting to the point that it may be too late for Gingrich to help Santorum by dropping out. Can Santorun win a one-on-one race against Romney in Illinois and Wisconsin? I think that might be possible. But can he win in the winner-take-all states of California, New Jersey, and Utah?

    If Santorum can’t win in New Jersey or California, he’ll need to amass a significant delegate lead before those elections or Romney will win the nomination on the first ballot. And I don’t think Santorum can pull that off.

    I think the nomination is close to decided, but Santorum can prevent Romney from winning it if he wins the majority of the upcoming contests (especially in Illinois and Texas) and wins California’s winner-take-all contest in June.

    That’s a pretty tall order.

  35. rikyrah says:

    The Next Dick Cheney
    Posted on 03/14/2012 at 8:27 am by Bob Cesca

    Gingrich might end up being Santorum’s Cheney. And that’s effing scary.

    A senior adviser to Newt Gingrich told The Huffington Post Tuesday night the campaign likes the idea of Rick Santorum and Gingrich running on the same ticket for the presidency and vice presidency.

    “Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum would make a powerful team against Barack Obama,” the adviser said on the condition that his name not be used. “They have the capability to deny Gov. Romney the nomination.”

    They’d have the north and the south covered, plus Gingrich would be perceived as the “political heft” on the ticket. And, ah hell, it would be nightmarish if they went all the way

  36. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, March 13, 2012
    A Bunch Of Dip Sticks
    Posted by Zandar

    There’s a lot of hue and cry going up about the latest ABC/Washington Post poll that proclaims that gas prices are now the only thing that matters to voters and that Obama is once again doomed. Deaniac83 over at The People’s View easily points out why “voters have turned on the President” over economic news: they stacked their polls with Republicans.

    From the last poll to this one, there is a net 7 point gain for GOP identified voters as opposed to Democratic ones, and there is a net 8 point loss in the President’s approval rating. Hmm, looks like an awfully close correlation to me. If we assume that independents lean roughly the same way as the party ID numbers (really, very few voters are truly independent), GOP and GOP lean voters get a representation bump another 3 percentage points net, moving the GOP party ID vs. Democrats to a net +10 points as compared to the last poll. Given that about 80% of GOP and GOP-leaning voters oppose President Obama, the entire 8 point swing in the poll can be accounted for by the additional representation of Republican and Republican leaning voters.

    But what are the real numbers on voter registration in this country? From the most current data from states that allow registration by party, Democrats outnumber Republicans by a 12 point margin, 43% to 31%, with independents coming in at 24%. Granted, only 29 states and DC allow registration by party, so take that data with that caveat, but I will note that the February poll had a much closer party ID difference (D +11) to the known actual national data (D +12). In this poll, that has dwindled down to a D +4, which is obviously a significant over-representation Republican and GOP-leaning voters, and an equally significant under-representation of Democratic voter registration advantage.

    It is important to note here that the analysis above is not meant to show that ABC News and Washington Post pollsters somehow “cooked” the numbers. These variations – 3 points here and 4 points there, especially given the poll’s margin of error of +/- 4 percentage points – are normal statistical anomalies. But it is intellectually dishonest to point to this poll and find a gas price related “dip” for the president’s approval without looking at the very obvious factor of over-representation of GOP voters in the poll.

    So yes, the poll oversampled Republicans. Surprise! Republicans hate the President. So yes, we get a record 50% of Americans strongly disapprove of the President on the economy right now…when the economy has been improving significantly.

    Either that, or the FOX news lies that the Department of Labor is lying to 310 million Americans and the world is so effective, there’s really nothing the President can do. I rather believe the former explanation.

  37. rikyrah says:

    ‘Inevitability’ gets deep fried in Alabama, Mississippi
    By Steve Benen – Wed Mar 14, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney had vowed to win Alabama, expected to put up a strong showing in Mississippi, and invested heavily to excel in yesterday’s Deep South primaries. In effect, the former governor placed an expensive bet, assuming that victories here would end the nominating race altogether.

    As the dust settled, it became clear that Romney lost that bet.

    The night belonged to Rick Santorum, who eked out narrow wins in both Alabama and Mississippi, despite being outspent, and despite lacking meaningful campaign organizations. Looking ahead, the former senator can now plausibly make the case that the race for the Republican nomination is a two-person contest — and given the GOP base’s discomfort with and distrust of Romney, that’s not a bad position to be in.

    Newt Gingrich, meanwhile, staked his entire campaign on succeeding as a “son of the South” yesterday, and just last week, his spokesperson conceded these primaries were “must-win” contests. The former Speaker kept it close, but obviously came up short, effectively ending his campaign. Whether Gingrich formally drops out quickly remains to be seen, but as a practical matter, his ability to present himself as a credible contender disappeared last night.

    And then there’s Romney, the ostensible frontrunner. The night wasn’t a total loss for the former governor — he won Hawaii and the American Samoa caucuses, and picked up a fair number of delegates — but after an aggressive effort in Alabama and Mississippi, he came in third in both.

    When Gingrich said last night, “If you’re the frontrunner and you keep coming in third, you’re not much of a front-runner,” the point was not without merit.


    Romney is still the likely nominee, but when prominent voices in his party ask why he simply lacks the strength to overcome his weak challengers, his focus on delegates isn’t much of an answer. As John Dickerson put it, Romney “is approaching the qualities of some cursed mythological figure who gets stronger on the outside while his insides decay: With each contest, Romney gains delegates but appears to get weaker.”

    What’s more, the road ahead isn’t exactly friendly. The Missouri caucuses are this Saturday, and Romney isn’t expected to do well, and the Louisiana primary a week later should also be a tough haul. The Illinois primary on Tuesday will apparently become a major contest, but with Gingrich flailing, the former governor can no longer count on the anti-Romney vote being split.

    Romney was confident the GOP race would, for all intents and purposes, be over as of this morning. It’s not. It’s an increasingly muddled picture, with no end in sight.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Wednesday, March 14, 2012
    The Big GOP Primary Thread: Southbound And Down
    Posted by Zandar

    The South is covered in a thin, nauseating layer of Santorum this morning as Slick Rick took Alabama by 6 points, 35% to 29% for both Gingrich and Romney, and Mississippi by 2 points, 33% to Newt’s 31% and Mitt’s 30%.

    And yes, this means Romney came in third in both contests. He did make up some ground by winning Hawaii with 45% of the vote to Santorum’s 25%. But the fact is, Romney can’t close the deal with the most strident members of the base and he now has a serious problem on his hands.

    That means, of course, that the GOP has a major problem on its hands. Yes, when Romney is finally nominated, Republicans will get behind him…but not all of them. He got 30% or less in Alabama and Mississippi, and you can’t tell me that there won’t be Republican voters there will stay home and do nothing rather than vote for Romney.

    The battle now moves on to open primaries in Puerto Rico this weekend and Illinois on Tuesday, Puerto Rico’s contest is winner-take-all and Illinois’s 69 delegates are a bigger haul than even Ohio, and a week from Saturday is Louisiana’s contest and Missouri’s convention caucus. After that, we head into April, including New York and Pennsylvania on April 24.

    It’s looking more and more like Romney may not be able to wrap up the 1,144 delegates he’ll need by the convention. If that starts becoming clear, expect the pressure on Gingrich to really heat up.

  39. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:55 PM ET, 03/13/2012
    After Alabama, Mississippi primaries, GOP holding pattern continues
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    I wish I could give you some excitement, but, alas, I have to give the truth. The Republican race remained Tuesday night where it’s been for a while now: Mitt Romney has locked up the nomination pending some unexpected jolt, but he can’t quite generate enough momentum to knock out Rick Santorum and therefore move on to the general election campaign.

    First, the headline. Santorum wins both Alabama and Mississippi, with Romney apparently finishing third, albeit a close third, in each (with just enough votes to count that he still has an outside shot at second). Then, the full news: Based on the rough estimates by various delegate counters, it appears that by the end of the night — after Hawaii and, of all things, American Samoa — that the delegates will be roughly split, with Santorum and Romney about even and Newt Gingrich finishing a bit behind them.

    Gingrich’s election-night speech was all about going on to the convention. But the truth is that Tuesday night was really his last shot at having any reason to remain in the race beyond vanity or, perhaps, a business plan. His “Southern strategy” is a joke after losses in Florida, Tennessee, Oklahoma, Alabama and Mississippi; he’s won just two states, and he hasn’t even managed a strong second in very many others. Will he stay in anyway? Well, that’s up to him; we can understand the incentives and his situation, but not how he reacts to all of that.

    He would presumably get out rapidly if most conservative leaders demanded it. (Newt may not mind getting defeated, but he surely would mind if they threatened his speaking spots on Fox News, conservative conferences, and other entryways to money and status.) And yet that would most likely only happen as part of a strategy to rally around Santorum, and we’ve already seen that there’s very little interest among conservative leaders to do so. I certainly saw nothing tonight to indicate that will change anytime soon.

    So, I hate to say the same thing I said last week and every other week going back to New Hampshire, but the truth is that when the night is over and all the delegates are allocated…yes, once again, Romney did what he had to do to move another step closer to the nomination. True, there’s nothing here to trigger a stampede for him, but there’s nothing here to change the basic dynamic of the race. If you believe — which I mostly don’t — that it’s a disadvantage for the out-party to settle on their nominee relatively late in the cycle, then this was surely bad news for the Republicans, since it’s now likely that the contested phase of the nomination battle will go on at least until early April. And perhaps Santorum can force Romney to adopt even more policy positions that will indeed hurt him in November. Other than that, however, the race remains where it was, which should keep Romney reasonably happy

  40. rikyrah says:

    Some of His Friends Own Pacific Islands
    by mistermix

    Romney won Hawaii and American Samoa last night, while coming in third behind Santorum and Gingrich in Mississippi and Alabama. The Guardian has the guts to use the M-word:

    Exit polls in Alabama and Misssippi showed evangelical Christians, who tend not to vote for Romney, a Mormon, made up about eight out of ten of the voters. Four out of ten voters in both states said it mattered to them that a candidate shared their religious beliefs.

    In addition to dragging out the primary, Santorum’s surge has been pushing Romney farther to the right. Yesterday he told Fox that Santorum would be too liberal to be his running mate. He also told a Missouri media outlet that he wanted to “get rid” of Planned Parenthood. By the time this thing is over in June, Romney will have joined Opus Dei and taken communion.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Late Night Open Thread: Willard Has #RichPeopleProblems
    by Anne Laurie

    Rick Santorum makes him a patsy. Kathleen Parker, of all people, thinks he’s a poser (“Would Romney greet an audience at a Jewish Community Center with: “Oy vey, did I ever enjoy my loxies and bagels this morning!”? Or African Americans with: “Yo, dawg, wassup?” Actually, yes, he might…”). And the Thurston Howell moments just keep coming:

    Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney used a private, VIP Registry of Motor Vehicles office Wednesday to renew his Massachusetts driver’s license, avoiding the lines and the aggravation that have been synonymous with the agency.

    The office, located in the State Transportation Building, is just blocks from a standard Registry branch in Chinatown. But Romney instead went to the headquarters of the state’s Transportation Department, visiting a second-floor office belonging to the Registry’s enforcement division, his campaign confirmed Thursday.

    The space is often used by state troopers investigating accidents, though it has also become known as a place for celebrities, athletes, and other high-profile drivers to transact their business. The Registry officials said such drivers receive different treatment because their presence in a public Registry branch could cause a disruption.

    “Particularly because he has Secret Service protection, we thought it was a prudent request to let him do it in that fashion,’’ said Cyndi Roy, a Transportation Department spokeswoman…

    I’ve been to that Chinatown branch, and while nobody could accuse the staffers of wasting government dollars on amenities, it hardly seemed like a den of iniquity where resentful patrons were liable to engage the Secret Service in a gun battle over line-cutting.

    Also, in its best Media Village courtier mode, the Washington Post chose the Sunday before ‘Southern Supertuesday’ to remind everyone that Mrs.Thurston Howell has a very, very expensive hobby:

    Dressage demands agility and finesse — and money. Ann Romney’s involvement in the sport has allowed her access to the heady world of high-level competition, but it has also exposed her to horse dealing. Two years ago, it resulted in a lawsuit against her alleging fraud in the sale of one of her horses. And that lawsuit provided testimony in which she spoke in unusual detail about the benefits — and the costs — of riding…

    The Romneys, through a campaign aide, declined to tally how much they spend on dressage, saying, “We are not required to disclose this information.” But some of their animals cost more than $100,000, and the Romneys continue to sink tens of thousands of dollars into year-round training and feeding, plus veterinary bills…

    Of course, if I were Ann Romney, I would probably take up dressage, too, unless I could find a medically necessary excuse for using hundred-dollar bills as kindling in every one of my several homes’ many fireplaces. You’d think one of Willard’s campaign consultants would convince him that Jes Folks Like You! is never gonna fly as a marketing point for his misbegotten campaign to get beaten by President Obama even more respondingly than he was beaten by McCain…

  42. rikyrah says:

    McConnell: I’m Filibustering Seventeen Judges Because Reid Made Republicans ‘Look Bad’
    By Ian Millhiser on Mar 13, 2012 at 5:46 pm

    In an exchange that seems designed to prove why fewer Americans approve of Congress than approve of communism or the BP oil spill, Senate Leaders Harry Reid (D-NV) and Mitch McConnell (R-KY) engaged in a long debate this morning over why Reid is currently trying to break seventeen filibusters of President Obama’s judicial nominees. The exchange culminated with McConnell admitting that, even though all these judges will be confirmed eventually, he is blocking them now because he is upset that Reid’s making him look bad:

    REID: I’ve got a great idea. My friend the Republican Leader said these judges are all going to get approved anyway, so I’ve got an idea. Let’s go to this IPO bill immediately after finishing the highway bill, with the agreement that we’ll dispose of these judges immediately after that. . . .

    McCONNELL: It is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed. We’ve done a number of them this year. We’ve done seven this year. District judges are almost never defeated. This is just a very transparent attempt to try to slam dunk the minority and make them look like they are obstructing things they aren’t obstructing. We object to that. We don’t think that meets the standard of civility that should be expected in the Senate. And, so, any effort to make the minority look bad or attempt to slam dunk them that is sort of manufactured as this is is gonna, of course, be greeted with resistance.

    Let’s explain what’s going on here. Both Reid and McConnell agree that there is nothing objectionable about these judges — in McConnell’s words, “it is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed.” Additionally, both men agree that the Senate should vote on the “IPO bill” that Reid refers to, a bill dealing with investments in small businesses that recently passed the House. Initially, Reid wanted to vote on the seventeen judges awaiting confirmation before moving on to the IPO bill, but he even concedes this point — saying that he is willing to “go to this IPO bill” first as McConnell prefers.

    And then McConnell says this deal is unacceptable because Reid “ma[de] the minority look bad.”

    If this is truly McConnell’s reason for blocking these judges, then he just made an absolutely shocking admission. Thanks to excessive judicial vacancies, America’s courts are increasingly unable to function. In some courts, judges are so overburdened they have to rush major felony cases through as if they involved minor traffic violations. In one court, felony caseloads nearly doubled in just two years. Every court that is unable to handle its caseload means wrongly fired workers waiting months or years for justice and businesses that must delay making new hires until they are sure they won’t be hit with an unwarranted legal judgment. And yet McConnell says he is willing to punish all of these workers and businesses because he is upset that Reid has made him look bad. America can ill afford this kind of tantrum.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Black vote in GOP primaries so low it’s ‘not available’
    By theGrio

    2:04 PM on 03/13/2012

    A column from The Nation took a look into GOP primary exit polls and the absence of black voter participation. In Georgia, Michigan, Florida and South Carolina where black populations are higher than the national level, black voters are turning out for the GOP contests in numbers so low that pollsters can barely measure it.

    The [answer] to the question of why African-American turnout in GOP primaries has fallen to such low levels has at least something to do with a failure of will. For all the talk among GOP operatives and conservative pundits about how the party really is trying to reach out, there is simply no evidence from the primary voting that the efforts are paying off. Indeed, to suggest that the current crop of GOP candidates is seriously contending for the African-American vote is to deny the numbers. While all of the candidates have individual African-American supporters, none of them has made the sort of connection that Republicans once made.

    And at least one of the current contenders, Mitt Romney, knows this.

    He is, after all, the son of one of the most honorable Republicans of the era when the party really tried to secure a significant African-American vote–and sometimes succeeded.

    When Mitt Romney’s father sought reelection for governor of Michigan in 1966, he got 30 percent of the African-American vote. Two years later, when George Romney sought the Republican nomination for the presidency, the Reverend Martin Luther King Jr. reportedly praised the prospect.

    Why? It was not just a matter of words. It was a matter of deeds.

  44. rikyrah says:

    Joe Biden: Eric Cantor Told Me, ‘I’ll Lose My Position’ If I Cut A Debt Deal With You

    Vice President Joe Biden trashed congressional Republican leaders on Monday night for their failure to deliver on a debt deal last summer, saying that House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) even shook hands with him on an agreement only to later back off because he said he would lose his leadership position over it.

    Aides to GOP leaders are refuting Biden’s recollection of events, however.

    During a fundraiser in Washington, D.C., Biden recalled his negotiations with House and Senate Republican leaders last summer over raising the debt ceiling.

    “There’s nobody in charge,” Biden told attendees at the fundraiser, according to a White House pool report. He said he “made three deals” on a way to raise the debt ceiling — one with Cantor, one with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) and one with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) — but none came to fruition.

    The vice president said he first went to Cantor and the two shook hands on an agreement. But then, Cantor called him later and said, “I can’t do it. I’ll lose my position.”

    Biden went on to say he struck a similar deal with McConnell, but then he, too, backed out. Biden said he then made a deal with Boehner, but after six hours, Boehner called back to say, “I can’t do it,” according to the pool report.

    “I don’t criticize these guys because they meant what they said,” said the vice president. “But then they went and they couldn’t get it done.”

    Cantor spokeswoman Laena Fallon denied that the two ever shook hands on a deal and said Biden’s comments were simply untrue.

  45. rikyrah says:

    I don’t know how many ways it can be said:

    The evangelicals want NO PARTS of the Mormon.

  46. A Mitt Romney proposal for cutting the budget

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