Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

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91 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Norman Brown Week!

  1. Keeping His Word: Lowering the Cost of Medicare Prescriptions

  2. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 06:00 PM ET, 03/18/2012
    Under ‘suspicion’: The killing of Trayvon Martin
    By Jonathan Capehart

    One of the burdens of being a black male is carrying the heavy weight of other people’s suspicions. One minute you’re going about your life, the next you could be pleading for it, if you’re lucky. And far too many aren’t. That’s why the Feb. 27 26 killing of Trayvon Martin has black parents around the country clutching their sons a little closer.

    By all accounts, Trayvon was a good kid. He helped his father coach Little League. He had dreams of becoming a pilot. He was good at math.
    (AP) The Orlando Sentinel said that Trayvon’s English teacher described him “as an A and B student who majored in cheerfulness.” And now he’s gone because, as Charles Blow wrote on Saturday, “a man with a gun and an itchy finger” found Trayvon “suspicious.”

    What we know is that the 17-year-old, visiting relatives in a gated community in Sanford, Fla., was on his way back to their house from 7-Eleven with an iced tea and a bag of Skittles. That’s when he caught the eye of George Zimmerman, a crime watch volunteer who called 911. Listening to that call made my blood run cold.

    “Hey, we’ve had some break-ins in my neighborhood and there’s a real suspicious guy,” Zimmerman tells police before giving the address of where he is. “This guy looks like he’s up to no good or he’s on drugs or something.”

    “These [expletive], they always get away,” Zimmerman says before getting out of his car to pursue Trayvon.

    “Are you following him?” the police ask.

    “Yes,” Zimmerman says. The officer on the phone tells him, “We don’t need you to do that.” But he did. In another 911 call, you can hear screaming for help and the fatal gunshot. Zimmerman brought a 9 mm handgun to the altercation. A scuffle ensued. Trayvon was fatally shot in the chest. His mother told the Associated Press yesterday, “(Zimmerman) was chasing him, he was following him, and my son was afraid. He didn’t know who this stranger was.”

    You’ve heard me talk about the conversation my mom had with me before my first day at a predominantly white school. Reading about Trayvon reminded me of the list of the “don’ts” I received after my sheltered existence in Hazlet, N.J., was replaced with the reality of Newark when my mother remarried in the 1980s.

    “Don’t run in public.” Lest someone think you’re suspicious.

    “Don’t run while carrying anything in your hands.” Lest someone think you stole something.

    “Don’t talk back to the police.” Lest you give them a reason to take you to jail or worse

    There was also being mindful that you are being watched in stores. Watched turned to followed as I got older. To this day, if a sales person is overly attentive to what I might be looking for I leave the store. Never to return. And then there was keeping a distance of deniability from white women when walking on the street. Lest you be accused of any number of offenses, from trying to snatch her purse to sexual assault.

    In the early 1990s, I saw a T-shirt for sale on Canal Street in New York that neatly and bluntly summed up my frustration with this situation: “No white lady I don’t want your purse.”

  3. rikyrah says:

    This is a very powerful piece from Black Snob:

    No Apologizes: On The Killing of Trayvon Martin And Being “Good”

  4. Ametia says:

    Mitt Romney will win the Illinois Republican primary, CNN projects.

    The former Massachusetts governor is vying for the bulk of the 54 delegates at stake, which are awarded proportionally. Romney holds a wide delegate lead over the other major GOP presidential candidates, earning more delegates than the other candidates combined, according to CNN estimates.

    A total of 1,144 delegates are needed to secure the Republican nomination ahead of the party’s convention in Tampa, Florida, at the end of August.

    Watch CNN’s coverage live tonight and follow real-time results of this contest on, on CNN’s apps and on CNN’s mobile website. Follow CNN Politics on Facebook and on Twitter at #CNNElections.

  5. Ametia says:

    Romney econ adviser posts deport-seniors joke on blog

    3/20/12 7:17 PM EDT

    Greg Mankiw, the Harvard professor who serves as one of Mitt Romney’s top economic advisers, has managed to take a shot at two key constituencies – Hispanics and seniors – in a single linked post on his popular economics blog.

    Under the header “A Fiscal Solution,” Mankiw, who served as Chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers under George W. Bush, posted an uploaded photo of an unidentified newspaper clip, a joke, that read:

    “Budget Cuts: The Immigration Department will start deporting seniors (instead of illegals) in order to lower Social Security and Medicare costs. Older people are easier to catch and less likely to remember how to get home.”

    Damn, tis is just SHAMFUL! Romney thinks he’s got lock on the Hispanic voters?

    It’s unclear what the source of the original clip was – but it doesn’t appear to be The Onion. Mankiw offered no comment other than “Thanks to the reader who sent this along” – but he clearly thought it was funny.

    If Mankiw was just a Harvard professor, the joke wouldn’t likely resonate. But he posted it on Tuesday – the day when Paul Ryan released a budget Democrats instantly decried as a Medicare killer and two days after Romney scored a big win in Puerto Rico’s primary – which counter the flurry of criticism he’s drawn from Hispanic groups for his embrace of the controversial “self-deportation” immigration strategy.

    A Romney spokesperson referred calls to Mankiw.

    A message left with Mankiw’s assistant, and an email sent to his Harvard account weren’t immediately returned.

  6. Gingrich demands Obama apologize for De Niro joke

    SHREVEPORT, La. — Newt Gingrich slammed Robert De Niro’s comments last night at a fundraiser for President Obama, demanding that the president apologize for the actor’s joke that America isn’t yet again ready for a white first lady.

    “I do want to say one thing on behalf of both my wife, and on behalf of Karen Santorum and on behalf of Ann Romney, and that is I think Robert De Niro is wrong,” Gingrich said as he began his speech at Strawn’s Eat Shop Too. “I think the country is ready for a new first lady, and he doesn’t have to describe it in racial terms.”

    • Newt Gingrich slammed Robert De Niro’s comments last night at a fundraiser for President Obama, demanding that the president apologize for the actor’s joke that America isn’t yet again ready for a white first lady.

      Newt wants the President to apologize for what someone says? Has something gone wrong in Newt’s fat head? The fk stupid burns with these ignoramus clowns!

  7. Ametia says:

    Live rally for Trayvon watch it here:

  8. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s Budget Is a Cowardly Political Joke
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 1:58PM

    The only reason that the zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan gets to present his own federal budget, as though he were the shadow president and not a guy elected by roughly 180,000 people in and around Janesville, Wisconsin, is that he managed early on to convince people that he was not your run-of-the-mill zombie-eyed, granny-starving, trickle-down Randian snake-oil salesman of the kind that have been running Republican economic policy since half-past Ronald Reagan’s lucidity. No, indeed. Ryan was a Serious Man Of Public Policy, interested only in disinterested pursuit of answers to the country’s pressing economic needs. You might disagree with him, we were told, but you can’t dispute the fact that the man knows his stuff. Even liberal wonks found themselves charmed by Ryan’s charts and graphs, all of which, remarkably, came to the same conclusions that a generation of conservative fiscal cranks had been proposing for 30 years. Shift the country’s wealth upward and soak the poor and the middle class. Create a functional oligarchy in the national economy and lay in sufficient budgetary traps and snares that the oligarchy you have created is unassailable in the future.

    Nonetheless, the ways of the Village are what they are, so Paul Ryan got to bring forth his own budget on Tuesday, and its fiscal bullying is matched only by its towering political cowardice. Ryan is forever meeping about making the “tough choices” necessary to get our economic house back in order, but faced with actual tough political choices, he and his pet budget duck every single one of them. He’s still a zombie-eyed granny-starver, but he pushes all the actual zombie-eyed granny-starving down the road a decade, so as not to anger the various grannies in the First Congressional District of Wisconsin. (Ezra Klein seems to find this alarming, although I don’t know why, since at least there will be less granny-starving in the short term.) And Ryan and the other Republicans are breaking all kinds of rock trying to defang the automatic defense cuts in the Budget Conrol Act of last summer. Republicans rushing to protect the defense budget — there’s change we can believe in.

    The fact that this budget is shot through with political chickenshit is relevant because this is primarily a political document, a campaign blueprint for the Republicans this fall. (It’s also an attempt to establish bargaining position in the upcoming budgetary brawl with the White House. Whether that succeeds, of course, is completely dependent on whether the White House takes any part of this bag of horrors seriously enough as an actual budget to negotiate on it.) As a plan for governing, it’s yet another blueprint for economic dystopia from a man who either doesn’t know, or doesn’t care, what life is actually like for the people who don’t buy him $4000 bottles of wine in restaurants far from the Time Out Pub in Janesville. It’s a supply-sider’s wet dream, in technicolor, with Jenna Jameson serving you popcorn at intermission. Food stamps and Medicaid — which loses $770 billion anyway, according to Ryan’s plan — get handed back to the states in the form of block grants which, if our experience with stimulus money and the tobacco settlement are any indication, the states will then use to fund those things that get their governors re-elected, and you may have noticed that healthy poor people are rarely one of those things. There’s what amounts to be a flat-tax: two basic income-tax rates, the top being 25 percent. Also the corporate tax rate gets cut to 20 percent. Because he has to pretend that he’s visiting this radical restructuring of the American economy on us because of his great concern over The Deficit — and we’ll get to that particular canard in a moment — Ryan proposes to close “loopholes”, which means that the upper one percent loses some boutoniere money while you lose your mortgage interest deduction, but you and Steve Forbes will be paying the same flat rate, so it’s all good!

    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Idris Elba has been confirmed to play Nelson Mandela in the long-awaited biopic, ‘The Long Walk To Freedom.’

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:39 PM ET, 03/20/2012 TheWashingtonPost Tax expert: Paul Ryan’s ‘smoke and mirrors’ budget would increase deficit
    By Greg Sargent

    I just got off the phone with Robert McIntyre, the director of Citizens for Tax Justice. His criticism of Paul Ryan’s new budget was unsparing: He ripped it as “smoke and mirrors,” and claimed it would increase the deficit.

    “He’s a phony,” McIntyre said of Rep. Ryan. “But he’s always been a phony.”

    Here’s how McIntyre reached his conclusion. He compared the amounts the Ryan budget predicts in revenues and expenditures for fiscal years 2013-2022, with the same numbers the Congressional Budget Office projects under current law.

    (The Ryan numbers are on page 87 of his budget; the CBO numbers are on page 20 of its recent fiscal outlook.)

    Bottom line: By McIntyre’s calculations, the Ryan budget cuts taxes by $4.3 trillion over 10 years; and it cuts spending by $4.2 trillion over the same period. Since the former is larger than the latter, the deficit would marginally go up.

    And it’s much, much worse than this, McIntyre says, because he doesn’t believe that the Ryan budget would only cut taxes by $4.3 trillion. His budget doesn’t specify any of the deductions and loopholes he’d close to offset the huge cost of the tax cuts for corporations and the wealthy, McIntyre points out — meaning the overall tax cut would likely be far larger than he says, and that the deficit would likely soar.

    “He thinks he can get the corporate and personal rate down to 25 percent and not lose money,” says McIntyre, whose group is liberal leaning but nonpartisan and doesn’t hesitate to criticize Democrats. “He waves his hands, and says, `There must be something to cover it.’”

    McIntyre says the plan would proably result in a “huge” deficit increase, even though there isn’t enough information in the proposal to calculate it.

    “This is all smoke mirrors and no deficit reduction,” McIntyre concludes. “Have you seen the cover? It’s beautiful. That’s the best part. But he is proposing to increase the budget deficit over the long term.”

    McIntyre’s conclusion: “He should have titled it `Blueprint for Financial Disaster.’”

  11. rikyrah says:

    Who Are You Calling A Lightweight, Mitt Romney?
    March 20,2012

    By Bob Cesca: Mitt Romney has recently added a new digital audio file to his positronic neural net: President Obama is an “economic lightweight.” Naturally, it comes from the same genius who thought the “Is corn an amber wave of grain?” joke made some kind of sense and was hilarious enough to repeat over and over and over.

    The Romney campaign rolled out this line over the weekend — just after the CBO released its latest deficit projections based on the president’s proposed budget. The CBO not only proved that the deficit has gone down during his first term, but it will continue to disintegrate almost to zero by 2017 provided there aren’t any significant new drains on the economy. Meanwhile, and despite false reporting by the right-wing media, the CBO affirmed that the healthcare reform law, the Affordable Care Act, will reduce the deficit over its first ten years.

    But the president is somehow an economic lightweight.

    Pure fiction, and not surprising given the Republican penchant for conjuring hastily-constructed invisible enemies to support their purely nonsensical ideas — absolutely fictitious caricatures in place of the president in order to justify what can only be described as lies.

    During this relatively short Obama presidency, the economy has gone from hemorrhaging 800,000 jobs per month to adding 200,000 jobs per month — a one-million-jobs-per-month change in direction. Gross domestic product has simultaneously gone from -8 percent to +2 percent. Fact, fact, fact.

    On Thursday of last week, and for the first time in history, the Dow closed above 13,000, the S&P closed above 1,400 and the NASDAQ closed above 3,000. Just before the president’s stimulus passed, the Dow was 6,600, the S&P was 683, the NASDAQ was 1,293. Each index has nearly doubled since the president’s economic policies were implemented. More facts.

    And while unemployment remains high, it’s forecasted to drop well below eight percent before the end of the year. Fact.

    Say what you will about the policies themselves and whether they went too far or not far enough, but the proof is in the math, and numbers don’t lie.

    So in spite of all of the math and facts to the contrary, Mitt Romney’s plan is to ignore those numbers and just lie about the president’s “lightweight” record. Romney claims (today — who knows what he’ll say tomorrow) that his goal is to repeal and reverse everything the president has accomplished. This is evidently the “economic heavyweight” position: to roll back everything that’s helped the economy improve from the catastrophe of 2008 to the growth economy of 2012. This, Romney says, must be undone.

    Why? Not because the policies clearly worked, but obviously because they were implemented by a black liberal Democrat. That’s precisely why.

  12. rikyrah says:

    An Open Letter To Trayvon Martin
    By J. Tinsley on March 20, 2012 at 5:00 pm

    Dear Trayvon,

    With so much coverage surrounding your death since late February, deciding how to approach this has taken weeks of soul searching. Addressing the subject was critical, yet not rehashing the same information was even moreso. That’s why I figured a letter sent directly to you was the only applicable strategy. Lord knows I could stand to go to church more, but maybe through the power of faith, you and your family will come across this letter.

    In the age we live in, Tray, nothing’s a secret anymore. We knew about you, your life and the final moments of it mere minutes after it happened. Since then, George Zimmerman’s become Public Enemy #1 and still has yet to be arrested, Toure posted one of the most idiotic tweets a person could muster in a predicament such as yours and the world’s pretty much labeled you as this generation’s Emmitt Till.

    As one bullet taught you, we’re never going to live in a society that greets “equality” with open arms. It’s not your fault either; it’s just how the world has operated since people began recording history. Whatever you were doing that warranted cutting your life short, I’ll probably never know and part of me wants to never uncover the true chain of events. The only reason why I do is so your family can have some sense of closure. Your presence in a neighborhood brought forth the worst insecurities in a man who believed stereotypes were mandated by hereditary. Again, it’s not fair lil’ man, but to say this is the first time it ever happened, I’d be lying to you.

    Anyone can testify, young black men and women being gunned down has been a epidemic – no, better yet, genocide – that has been plaguing this country for years. Believe it or not, there have been millions of Trayvon Martins over the decades whose deaths have fallen by the wayside for various reasons. Seriously, chop it up with Oscar Grant, Sean Bell and Latasha Harlins. Oscar was laying on his stomach when cops shot him. Sean was only hours away from walking down the aisle with the love of his life. And Latasha – who was immortalized by the late Tupac Shakur – was murdered by Soon Ja Du who believed Tasha was planning to steal a drink out of her store.

    Looking at how your life ended, I’ve been lucky to escape some situations unscathed. Maybe God has something bigger planned for my life in the same vein your death was meant to provide a focal point for revolution. What’s numbing, however, is knowing Trayvon Martin will never have the opportunity to experience anything from high school graduation, his first college party getting drunk or even allowing your mother to become a grandmother. These thoughts sort of helps line everything into perspective. You were cheated out of some of the reasons life is even worth living.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan wants to repeal rules meant to stop Too Big to Fail
    Posted by Suzy Khimm at 11:42 AM ET, 03/20/2012

    On financial regulation, Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget basically cuts-and-pastes its recommendations from last year: it wants to repeal parts of Dodd-Frank that give new power to federal regulators to break up big banks, arguing that the regulations actually make bailouts more likely, not less so. Ryan isn’t proposing an alternative, however, so his plan to repeal the government’s new “resolution authority” would bring us back to the pre-Dodd Frank era — which was also, of course, the era in which bank bailouts proved necessary.

    Under Wall Street reform, financial institutions that are deemed “systemically significant” are subject to a host of new regulations, including a new rule that requires them to submit “living wills” that explain what would happen if the firm went belly up. They’re required to submit such plans to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation, which has new authority to help liquidate troubled firms so as to avoid systemic catastrophe and prompt taxpayer bailouts.

    The Ryan budget, however, would actually repeal the FDIC’s new resolution authority, arguing that it would have the opposite effect of what’s intended by allowing bank regulators “to access taxpayer dollars in order to bail out the creditors of large, ‘systemically significant’ financial institutions.” By doing so, Ryan says he would “end the regime now enshrined into law that paves the way for future bailouts.”

    His blueprint doesn’t go into much further detail to explain why this is the case. But other critics of Dodd-Frank have argued that it could enable the FDIC to take control of failing firms and rely on taxpayer funds to keep the systemically important parts running through a government-run “bridge” financial company. That’s likely why Ryan believes the cost of the new resolution authority could far exceed the Congressional Budget Office’s $26 billion estimate.

    While outside analysts across the political spectrum have shared Ryan’s concerns that Dodd-Frank doesn’t do enough to stop Too Big to Fail, their specific worry is often quite different than Ryan’s: they’re worried that bank regulators have too little authority, not too much, to quickly take down failing firms. It’s unclear, for example, how swiftly and forcefully the FDIC would use the new rules to liquidate a highly troubled, systemically important firm.

    Repealing that authority as Ryan proposes eliminates a new government channel for intervention, but it wouldn’t explicitly prohibit future bailouts, which could become more likely if systemically risky banks aren’t wound down in an orderly fashion.

  14. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan’s budget: Should the poor pay for deficit reduction?
    Posted by Ezra Klein at 11:23 AM ET, 03/20/2012

    Here’s the basic outline of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget in one sentence: Ryan’s budget funds trillions of dollars in tax cuts, defense spending and deficit reduction by cutting deeply into health-care programs and income supports for the poor.

    At the end of his initial release, Ryan posts a table comparing his budget to the president’s budget. The single largest difference is in the tax section: Ryan raises $2 trillion less in revenue than the White House does. In the president’s budget, those revenues come mostly from increasing taxes on the wealthy. So that’s the first big gap between the two proposals: Under Ryan’s budget, revenue would be lower, and the distribution of taxes more regressive, than under Obama’s budget.

    On the spending side, Ryan’s biggest cuts come from health-care programs. He eliminates the $1.5 trillion that the Affordable Care Act uses to purchase health insurance for 30 million Americans. Then he cuts Medicaid and related health programs by $770 billion — which is to say, by about a third. Medicare takes $200 billion in cuts on top of that. This graph from the Congressional Budget Office’s analysis of Ryan’s budget tells the story:

    It would be very interesting to see an estimate of the uninsured population under Ryan’s budget.

    Ryan’s next significant source of cuts is so-called “other mandatory.” Compared to the president’s budget, Ryan cuts $1.8 trillion from this category. Some of that might simply be an accounting difference: The president’s budget proposes to move infrastructure spending from the “discretionary” side of the budget to the “mandatory” side. Ryan might be moving that back, which isn’t, in and of itself, a spending cut. But beyond that, the main programs in “other mandatory” are low-income supports like refundable tax credits for the poor and food stamps. Ryan is cutting these quite substantially.

    On a first pass, then, it appears that Ryan is offering a large tax cut, leaving seniors mostly alone for the next 10 years, increasing defense spending and cutting spending on programs for the poor.

    Ryan prides himself on making tough choices. But where such choices need to be made for politically powerful constituencies — say, the tax breaks offered to the wealthy and the middle class, or the benefits offered to current seniors — Ryan punts. Changes for seniors don’t begin for a decade, the tax breaks Ryan will close to pay for his tax cuts go unnamed, and, of course, there are no tax increases at all. When such choices need to be made for programs that the poor depend on, however, Ryan is considerably more specific, and considerably more willing to inflict real budgetary pain on current beneficiaries.

    Ryan’s budget includes substantially more deficit reduction than Obama’s budget. The Congressional Budget Office predicts that, in 10 years, public debt will be about 76 percent of GDP under Obama’s budget, and 61 percent of GDP under Ryan’s budget. But almost all of Ryan’s savings come from the same source: programs for the poor.

    So Ryan’s budget ultimately poses two questions: First, whether this amount of deficit reduction is actually necessary. It’s more substantial, I believe, than what’s called for in Simpson-Bowles. And second, if you do consider this amount of deficit reduction necessary, whether the right way to achieve it is almost solely by cutting programs for the poor.

  15. rikyrah says:

  16. rikyrah says:

    CBS’s Mark Knoller Falsely Claims Debt Has Increased More Under Obama Than Bush
    By Blue Texan

    Mark Knoller is the White House correspondant for CBS Radio, and a first-class right-wing tool. Monday night, he posted an article titled, “National debt has increased more under Obama than under Bush,” which sent wingnuts scurrying to their Twitter accounts. The problem is, the piece is BS. Here’s Knoller’s key graf:

    The Debt rose $4.899 trillion during the two terms of the Bush presidency. It has now gone up $4.939 trillion since President Obama took office.

    Don’t you just love the way he capitalizes “debt”?

    What Knoller doesn’t specify, naturally, is what the debt was when Bush began his presidency. And that’s a glaring omission, because unless you don’t know that, you can’t accurately compare the records. So here it is.

    In 2001, the national debt Bush inherited was around $5.7T, give or take. Some of that debt in 2001 has to be attributed to Clinton, just as some of the debt in 2009 when Obama took office has to be attributed to Bush. When W. left office in 2009, the debt was nearly $11T. That’s an increase of 89%.

    Under Obama, the debt has increased from about $11T to about $15T, about 40%.

    And what’s behind that increase? Historically low taxes and historically low revenues — and the worst financial crash since the 1930s. There’s been no “binge” in spending, as Knoller wants you to believe.

    And PS, this isn’t the first “look how Obama’s bankrupting the country” hit job this guy has written.

    This clown should leave CBS and go to Fox News. He’d fit right in.

  17. MSNBC:The constant negative perception of young black men leads to fear that could end very badly. It did 4 Trayvon. Stop the madness!

  18. rikyrah says:

    Give ‘em enough rope
    by DougJ, Head of Infidelity

    Even the not-so-liberal Politico describes VoucherCare 2.0, as “Christmas for Democrats.” I wonder why such serious plan might be unpopular:

    Paul Ryan wants to cut taxes for the rich, jack up defense spending so we can fight more unnecessary wars, and then throw the poor, the elderly, and those in need of healthcare out into the street. It’s just that simple- no matter what he says, those are his clear priorities. It’s right there in his plan. He’s a sociopath, and what’s worse, he won’t be standing over the corpse of Medicare crying as he finishes strangling it. He’s giddy to throw everyone overboard.

    I’m sure that’s all music to Sullivan’s, Jacob Weisberg’s, and PolitiFact’s ears, but while you can fool all the pundits (and “fact-checkers”) all the time you can’t fool all the people quite so often. So thank you, serious people, for giving Paul Ryan enough rope to hang the entire Republican party.

  19. Why does MSNBC not show something positive about young black men?The constant negative perception leads to fear & suspicion of young black men like Trayvon Martin and it cost him his life.

    • Ametia says:


  20. Mitt Romney to Women: You’re On Your Own

  21. rikyrah says:

    .Tue Mar 20, 2012 at 12:38 PM PDT.

    Mitt Romney outspending Rick Santorum by nearly $100 million
    by Jed Lewison

    Now that Rick Santorum has announced his cash on hand as well as fundraising totals for February, we know that his campaign and Super PAC has spent at least $19.6 million thus far. That figure doesn’t include spending by his campaign itself during March, but it does include his Super PAC spending, which accounted for $6.5 million of his total spending.
    Mitt Romney, meanwhile, has spent at least $103.4 million on his campaign, $36.5 million of which came from his Super PAC. As with Santorum, that number does not reflect spending during March by his campaign.

    If you assume both Romney and Santorum have maintained their February spending paces during March, then Romney’s current spending total is roughly $111 million and Santorum’s is $25 million. That gives Romney an estimated $86 million spending advantage over Santorum, leading his rival by a 4.5-to-1 ratio since the start of the campaign.

    As Markos wrote yesterday, Romney’s campaign is relying on big donors to fill its coffers. It’s the same story with his Super PAC: One donor alone contributed $3 million, half of Romney’s Super PAC fundraising for the entire month of February.


  22. Santorum: Obama daughter’s Mexico trip ‘sets a very bad precedent’

    The children of politicians are normally off limits during campaigns but Rick Santorum is lashing out at President Barack Obama for allowing his daughter to go to Mexico, claiming it could endanger Americans.

    Speaking to GBTV’s Glenn Beck on Tuesday, the Republican presidential candidate reacted to the news that the president’s daughter, Malia, had asked permission to spend her spring break in Mexico, even though the State Department had issued warnings for other areas of the country.

    “What I would say is that the president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying,” Santorum declared. “If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that’s what presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

    “I think you have a higher duty when you’re president to set that example,” he added. “You’re not above the law. You’re not someone who’s, who can say one thing to one group and then do something else. It sets a very bad precedent.”

    Early Tuesday morning, Politico reported that several publications like The Huffington Post and AFP had removed their reports about the first daughter’s vacation plans over privacy concerns.

    • The President & First Lady are awesome role models as parents. Lil Ricky can’t hold a candle to them. So he needs to STFU about Malia. The President didn’t attack him for taking his dead baby home so his kids could hold & play with it. Lay off Malia, mofo!

  23. rikyrah says:

    um, you gotta tell the Government HOW you got pregnant?



    In vitro babies denied U.S. citizenship

    Chicago native Ellie Lavi could not have been happier when she gave birth to beautiful twin girls overseas.

    She found that the U.S. State Department did not share in her joy when she went to the U.S. Embassy in Tel Aviv to apply for citizenship for her children.

    An embassy staffer wanted to know whether Lavi got pregnant at a fertility clinic. She said yes and was told that her children were not eligible for citizenship unless she could prove that the egg or sperm used to create the embryo was from an American citizen.

    “I was humiliated and horrified,” Lavi said. “We’re talking about the children I gave birth to. Of course they’re my children.”

    The incident points out what critics say is a glaring inequity in U.S. citizenship regulations. A child adopted overseas by a U.S. citizen is eligible to become an American, and a baby born in the USA is American even if the parents are not.

    But a child born to a U.S. citizen overseas through the increasingly common practice of in vitro fertilization with embryos from donor eggs and sperm is not American, unless an American is one of the donors. And that can be hard to prove since clinics may not reveal such things about their donors due to confidentiality agreements, immigration law experts say.

    “The problem is that the law hasn’t kept up with the advances in reproductive technology,” said Melissa Brisman, a lawyer in New Jersey who specializes in fertility issues.

    The U.S. State Department says a child born outside the USA to an American cannot receive citizenship until a biological link with at least one parent is established. That link does not exist if an infertile woman uses donor eggs at a clinic to conceive.

    No such biological link exists for parents who adopt children overseas either, but U.S. law exempts adopted children from the regulation.

    “Although the regulations are designed to prevent the abuse of American citizenship laws” through fraudulent claims of parentage, Brisman said, “they’re also hurting infertile Americans who simply want to pass on their citizenship to their kids.”

    • Ametia says:

      It’s called “smaller” GOVERNMENT, rikyrah. This is who the GOP is, while railing against that Black socialist, Mooslim President Obama about BIG GOVERNMENT, CONSITUTION, FOUNDING FATHERS, BULLSHIT. They’re trying to control a women’s right to decide how she’s gonna role with her BODY and it’s FUNCTIONS.

      Can’t get anymore fucked up then this, folks!

  24. rikyrah says:

    Mon Mar 19, 2012 at 02:35 PM PDT.

    Mitt Romney’s education priority: Break teachers unions
    by Laura Clawson

    Ask Mitt Romney a question about education, and it’s predictable that he’ll come back with two answers: bashing teachers unions and calling for more testing. That’s exactly what happened this week when Fox News Sunday’s Brett Baier asked Romney if he thinks the federal Department of Education should be abolished. Explaining what role he thinks the federal government should continue to take even if his alleged belief that “education has to be managed at the state level, not at the federal level” was implemented, Romney predictably attacked teachers unions:

    But the role I see that ought to remain in the president’s agenda with regards to education is to push back against the federal teachers unions. Those federal teachers unions have too much power, in some cases, they overwhelm the states, they overwhelm the local school districts. We have got to put the kids first and put these teachers unions behind.

    That’s right. Mitt Romney wants you to believe that teachers unions are so powerful that it takes the federal government to counter them—state and local governments are powerless against them. That is, of course, one of those statements that would be totally hilarious if it wasn’t a claim that Republican presidential candidates and governors were making, en masse, as the reason to crush teachers unions, and if their reasons for wanting to crush teachers unions didn’t have quite so much to do with the desire to make it easier to fire experienced teachers and replace them with cheaper, inexperienced teachers. It might be funny if it wasn’t such a terrible insult to people who pour their lives into their classrooms and their students, working long hours for not enormously much pay. In fact, as Romney was saying this, the leaders of the Milwaukee teachers union were “campaigning for members to sacrifice a week’s worth of their pay to help reduce class sizes next year in Milwaukee Public Schools. The MPS Children’s Week Campaign is asking educators to give up 2.6% of their salary next year to allow for class-size relief.”

    Romney thinks if he always makes sure to include the word “unions,” we won’t notice that what he’s saying is that he wants to put teachers down, to eliminate their ability to bargain over class sizes and how much test results will be used to measure educational quality and to treat teachers as the enemies of their students, rather than as educators and advocates. This is nothing new from Mitt Romney. But it’s an insult every time he says it.

  25. Ametia says:

    I guess it would be way TOO TAXING for H&R BLOCK to cease advertising on Rush Limbaugh’s show.

  26. rikyrah says:

    March 20, 2012 11:21 AM
    Trayvon Martin Case: Roost, Meet Chicken
    By Ed Kilgore

    I hadn’t paid much attention to the Trayvon Martin case until yesterday, but I can now understand why it is generating so much outrage. For all that it resembles a hundred old-school “police brutality” cases where a young black male met a bad end in a murky encounters with white men in authority, it’s actually something different: a lesson in what might happen when a society decides to deliberately supplement its police forces by heavily arming citizens and hoping they act responsibly.

    Sometimes they don’t, and sometimes, moreover, if you pass laws designed to give people the benefit of doubt when they are defending themselves you can give vigilantes a license to hunt and kill. The more we learn about the Martin case, the more it looks like that is exactly what happened, with the injustice compounded by the tendency of the actual authorities in Florida to take the side of a gun-toting neighorhood ethnic cleanser with an attitude and an arrest record against un unarmed black teenager brandishing a bag of Skittles and just trying to get out of harm’s way.

    It says a lot about the resonance of this case that a relatively conservative African-American writer like John McWhorter would say the following about the refusal (so far) of the authorities to do anything about the shooter, George Zimmerman:

    Unless the public has been grievously misled about what happened to Trayvon Martin, it would be nothing less than sinful for Zimmerman to go unpunished. So much so that for the first time in my life, a part of me would almost understand those who might be moved to wreak civil unrest in response.

    The subtext of McWhorter’s unease is that it’s hard enough for African-Americans to constantly monitor their every move in the presence of police officers who may or may not regard them as automatic suspects; it’s another thing altogether when anyone you encounter might be an armed vigilante who enjoys the presumption of innocence in lethal “misunderstandings.”

    Federal and state authorities are now investigating the case and its handling by local police in Sanford, Florida. Ta-Nahisi Coates, who did a lot to draw attention to the case, is optimistic about the outcome now that it’s not all being swept into the files:

    What now have is, hopefully, an end to Keystone justice and, at the very least, a statement that the authorities will regard the killing of a child with something more than the lax scrutiny generally reserved for a broken tail-light.

    Even if justice is served in this particular case, however, it’s still time to examine the laws and the attitudes that made this tragedy much more likely: the national crusade to shift the responsibility of protecting Americans aginst violent from the police to citizens themselves via concealed-carry and right-of-self-defense laws that also happen to arm and protect people like Trayvon Martin’s killer.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: “Unless the public has been grievously misled about what happened to Trayvon Martin, it would be nothing less than sinful for Zimmerman to go unpunished. So much so that for the first time in my life, a part of me would almost understand those who might be moved to wreak civil unrest in response.’ EVERY FUCKIN BIT OF THIS

  27. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:13 PM ET, 03/20/2012 TheWashingtonPost Top Romney adviser admits economy will likely continue improving
    By Greg Sargent

    The Los Angeles Times has a terrific piece today documenting Mitt Romney’s increasingly tortured stance on the economy and the rhetorical shifts he’s undertaken in the face of good news about the recovery.

    But what really jumped out at me was this nugget at the end, in which top Romney strategist Stuart Stevens acknowledges that the economy is likely to keep improving, but predicts that voters will hold Obama accountable for economic suffering, anyway:

    Strategists for Romney aren’t rooting for things to sour between now and November, even if that would boost his election prospects. “The economy, I assume, will get better,” Stevens said. “Hope it gets better.”

    But even if the recovery stays on track, Stevens is convinced that voters won’t soon forget the experience of the last four years, or forgive Obama. A few months of recovery is a short time to change perceptions.
    “You can’t undo the trauma,” Stevens said.

    I don’t know if the economy will continue improving or not. But this opens an important window into the Romney campaign’s strategic preparations for the eventuality that it just might. The Romney camp is betting that the American people will remain so traumatized by the aftermath of the crisis that they’ll hold Obama accountable for their suffering, even if the economy is steadily improving.

    This yet another sign that the Romney campaign is betting heavily on the possibility that the American people won’t remember or factor in just how awful a crisis Obama inherited upon taking office. Additionally, it sets the stage for a really interesting general election argument. The Romney campaign, and the outside groups backing him, will run hundreds of millions of dollars in ads painting an extremely vivid picture of the American people’s economic suffering, in hopes of getting them to blame Obama for it and to conclude that he failed them. That’s to be expected, of course. The question is: How they will balance this message with an acknowledgment — as Stevens tries to do above — that things are getting better?

    Meanwhile, the Obama campaign and its allies are laying the groundwork to spend just as much painting an extremely vivid picture of their own: A potrayal of just how awful a disaster Obama inherited upon taking office, and of the horrific nightmare that would result from a return to GOP policies. The election will turn heavily on how long a view the American public takes, amid a time of intense public anger, anxiety, and mistrust of our institutions. This will not be an election for the faint of heart.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Why the House GOP may not love its own budget plan
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 1:50 PM EDT.

    The Tweet of the Day comes by way of Molly Ball, a politics writer at The Atlantic, who posted this gem this morning.

    This may seem surprising at a certain level. After all, House Republicans are necessarily going to love the House Republican budget plan, aren’t they? They all worship Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and are eager to follow his lead, right?

    Well, the answer falls somewhere between “sort of” and “not entirely.”

    A year ago, GOP leaders recognized the anxiety felt by some of its caucus members, but told Republicans to hold hands and jump off the cliff together. They did, and when the final vote came on the party’s right-wing, Medicare-killing plan, 235 House Republicans — 98% of the caucus — voted for it.

    Democrats were probably even happier than Republicans with the vote — the attack ads wrote themselves — and vulnerable GOP members started feeling pretty intense pressure almost immediately. It was as clear an example of political overreach as anything we’ve seen in recent memory, and Congress’ approval rating began to tank.

    Now, the leadership is asking these same members to take another plunge, only this time, it’s an election year.


    A lot will be said in the coming weeks — by me, among others — about the far-right nature of the new House Republican budget plan, and the extent to which it reneges on the bipartisan agreement the GOP already accepted. But there’s another angle to keep in mind: what Republicans intend to do is unpopular.

    Igor Volsky and Travis Waldron flagged some of the more offensive elements of the plan — forcing seniors to pay more for health care; cutting coverage for the elderly and disabled; eliminating coverage for 30 million Americans; giving a big tax cut to the wealthy; cutting the safety net while increasing Pentagon spending — and it’s worth appreciating the fact that the American mainstream doesn’t support any of this.

    Republicans can read polls as well as anyone else, and the most vulnerable among them may balk at sticking their necks out twice on a budget plan that can’t pass the Senate anyway.

    Last April, just four House Republicans voted against the Ryan plan. This year, I suspect that number will go up, not down.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Warren Leads Brown By 5 Points

    Eric Kleefeld- March 20, 2012, 11:52 AM

    Get ready for a long roller-coaster ride in the Massachusetts Senate — with the first poll in just over a month now showing Elizabeth Warren leading in the race.

    The new numbers from Public Policy Polling (D): Warren 46%, Brown 41%. The survey of registered voters was conducted from March 16-18, and has a ±3.2% margin of error.

    “Scott Brown’s still strong with independents, but not nearly as strong as he was in 2010,” writes PPP president Dean Debnam. “Elizabeth Warren’s doing 20 points better with those voters than Martha Coakley did, and that’s why she has a small early lead in this race.”

    The TPM Poll Average currently shows Brown still ahead, based on earlier polling from February that had him in the lead:

  30. rikyrah says:

    02:00 PM EST
    Messina: Obama Could Compete In Arizona, Georgia In 2012

    Obama campaign manager Jim Messina told John Harwood that Arizona and even Georgia could be swing states in 2012.

    Q: Are we looking at the same dozen swing states that we’ve been talking about for several cycles now?

    A: I’m sure we’re not. Four years ago, you all thought that Plouffe and I were crazy when we said we can win North Carolina. And now we so much believe we can win it that we’ve put the Democratic National Convention there. Virginia is now one of the bellwethers of this country. States are changing because of demographics. Arizona is going to be one of the toss-up states. We’re looking at Georgia. One question about Georgia is, it’s just an expensive media market. But we’re looking at both those places.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Rick Santorum: President Obama Shouldn’t Let Daughter Go To Mexico (VIDEO)
    Benjy Sarlin- March 20, 2012, 1:54 PM

    Rick Santorum said President Obama set a bad example and potentially endangered American tourists by letting his daughter Malia go to Mexico on a spring break vacation.

    Santorum told Glenn Beck that an American president should not send his own family into the area given State Department travel warnings for Mexico.

    “What I would say is that the president’s actions should reflect what his administration is saying,” Santorum said in a phone interview with Beck. “If the administration is saying that it’s not safe to have people down there, then just because you can send 25 Secret Service agents doesn’t mean you should do it. You should set an example. I think that’s what presidents do. They set an example. And when the government is saying this is not safe, then you don’t set the example by sending your kids down there.”

    Earlier today, Politico reported that several news outlets had removed reports on Malia’s vacation at the request of the White House, which has long asked the press to refrain covering the president’s children when not accompanied by their parents.

    As Beck’s website, The Blaze, notes, there is no State Department travel warning in effect for Oaxaca, the popular tourist destination where the first daughter is reportedly vacationing.

  32. rikyrah says:

    01:16 PM EST
    Poll: Americans Think Obama’s Treatment Of Dogs Much Better Than Romney’s

    A new poll shows that Americans aren’t particularly fond of the way that former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney treats his dog, at least in the way that Romney once described. Public Policy Polling (D) asked the following question of Americans nationally: “Mitt Romney once strapped his dog’s kennel to the roof of his car for a long car trip. Does this make you more or less likely to vote for him, or does it not make a difference?” Romney had shared the anecdote in a 2007 Boston Globe profile of the former governor, which has since come up in this 2012 presidential campaign.

    The results were not good for Romney — 35 percent of Americans said they were less likely to vote for Romney based on the story, while seven percent said it made them more likely to vote Romney, and a majority of 55 percent said it didn’t matter. From PPP:

    There is growing talk about Mitt Romney’s “dog problem.” Before the issue was specified in the poll, only 20% of voters said they had a favorable opinion of Romney’s treatment of dogs; 29% said unfavorable. That compares to the president’s 44-14 spread on the issue. Even Republicans only think their nomination frontrunner is kind to man’s best friend by a 26-14 margin, while Democrats give the president’s puppy friendliness a 66-7 nod. 37% say Obama would be a better president for dogs, while 21% choose Romney. 16% of Republicans cross over for Obama on this issue, versus only 11% of Democrats for Romney. Independents go 38-14 for the president.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Newt Demands Presidential Apology For DeNiro’s ‘Inexcusable’ First Ladies Joke

    It’s hard out there for a white first lady.

    Newt Gingrich is incensed about a joke by actor Robert DeNiro at a fundraiser attended by Michelle Obama for the president’s re-election, in which the Academy Award-winning star used the word “white” to describe the Republican field’s spouses.

    “Callista Gingrich. Karen Santorum. Ann Romney. Now do you really think our country is ready for a white first lady?” DeNiro said. “Too soon, right?”

    The idea, of course, is that it’s absurd to question whether America is prepared for a white first lady, given that every single married president in history before Obama has been married to one. But Gingrich, speaking at a campaign event in Shreveport, La., saw something much more sinister in DeNiro’s joke: a blatant attempt to sow racial division. He even demanded President Obama personally apologize for DeNiro’s comments.

  34. rikyrah says:

    The wrong champion for the safety net
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 11:30 AM EDT.

    In October, the Republican National Committee sent out a strange fundraising letter, ostensibly written by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), complaining, “The safety net for the poor is coming apart at the seams and no one in Washington seems to care.”

    To be sure, fundraising letters tend to throw caution to the wind when it comes to accuracy and honesty, but this was just bizarre — the guy swinging the machete at the safety net shouldn’t the same guy complaining about the safety net “coming apart at the seams.”

    Five months later, though, the far-right Ayn Rand acolyte is still at it, arguing in the Wall Street Journal this morning that his right-wing budget plan “strengthens the safety net.”

    Matt Yglesias isn’t buying it.

    What Ryan is talking about here is Medicaid which offers health care coverage to the poor, to the disabled, and to an important class of elderly people. Currently the money for Medicaid comes from both the states and the federal government. States have to meet a lot of minimum coverage standards and get federal financial assistance for doing so, and in addition states have the option of securing additional federal monies for additional coverage if they’re willing to kick in extra money of their own. Because health care is projected to grow more expensive over the next fifty years, the cost of this program is projected to go up substantially. One way of preventing that from happening is to just refuse to pony up the money, and make Medicaid beneficiaries get by with less health care. And that’s what Ryan’s plan does. On the one hand, it excuses states from their minimum coverage responsibilities. On the other hand, it reduces the amount of money that’s available to give people coverage. Which is all about what you’d expect from a tax cutting Ayn Rand fan. Keep the money in the hands of the job creators who earned it rather than handing it out to the moochers and looters looking for a little free medicine.

    But please God almighty can we avoid referring to this as a measure that “strengthens the safety net” by empowering states to “tailor assistance to their specific populations”?

    That need not be a rhetorical question.

    Ryan intends to slash funding for food stamps, health care, education, and aid to the poor and disabled, while giving massive tax breaks to the wealthy. The least could do while pushing such a callous agenda is stop talking about how much he cares about the safety net.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Jonathan Chait’s attempt to villainize Obama runs afoul of reality
    Tuesday, March 20, 2012 |
    Posted by Deaniac83 at 7:00 AM

    Now that President Obama’s economic policies are bearing fruit, Republicans are in disarray, latching onto everything that moves, it seems, to try to claw the president’s ratings down. But Republicans aren’t the only ones. Barely a weekend had gone by after my warning to the Left on account of the demise of the Tea Party when Jonathan Chait of New York Magazine – I guess his new employer’s colors are all over him now – dug up a new reason to beat up on President Obama from a nearly-year-old fight over the debt ceiling. Chait follows – actually, he mutilates, mangles and lies about – a Washington Post narrative on the behind-the-scenes of the debt ceiling negotiations between the President and Speaker Boehner to affirm the dumbest theory in history: that President Obama tried to sell out liberalism.

    Chait’s theory, and his… well, anal-ysis revolves around a few central, mind-numbingly he-thinks-his-readers-are-dumber-than-Sarah-Palin tenets: taking GOP account of the debt limit fight as unassailable, cherrypicking “facts” he likes from the Washington Post account, even when the account itself disputes it, and the logical fallacy of assuming A to prove A. Or in Chait’s case, to prove the thesis that Obama is a sell-out, you begin with the assumption that Obama is a sellout.

    Here’s what Chait is having a couple of blood veins in his head popped by: that according to the Washington Post account, President Obama was working with Boehner on a deal that would have $800 billion in revenue increases through tax reform – eliminating loopholes while reducing the overall rates. Boehner and his aides wanted to count funny money, though. They simply wanted to count additional revenue from economic growth they claim would be generated by tax cuts on the wealthy. Although the Post account is abundantly clear that Obama and his aides at best laughed at that idea, Chait jumps at this as Obama’s sell-out. Quoting the post report about the GOP’s funny money demands, Chait writes,

    Okay, so the Republicans were demanding big tax cuts for the rich — lower income tax rates, and keeping in place the tax breaks that most benefit the rich, thereby insuring that the burden of any higher revenue would fall on the non-rich. Obama, incredibly, agreed to that — he agreed to a debt reduction plan that would exempt the wealthy from any sacrifice, and indeed protect them from the possibility that their tax rates would rise when the Bush tax cuts expire.

    Well, let’s go on to the Post report now, and see just what it says about whether or not the President “agreed to that.” You see, John Boehner’s chief of staff said that Sec. Geithner accepted the funny money premise. The president’s aides, however, had this to say.

    Geithner and other administration officials say it never happened. They strenuously deny agreeing to count revenue from economic growth, a process known as “dynamic scoring.”

    Treasury spokeswoman Jenni LeCompte said the Republicans “were kidding themselves” if they thought the White House would concede that point. “That’s always been a total non-starter for Secretary Geithner and this administration and always will be,” she said.

    But hey, why bother with the facts when you have a perfectly good-selling narrative? In fairness, Chait does in passing acknowledge the existence of this dispute, but he does not lend any credence to it. Why not? Because in this instance, the story from Boehner’s aide fits Chait’s narrative better than the president’s version of what happened. What’s interesting is that a self-proclaimed defender of liberalism such as Jon Chait would choose to assign greater credibility to John Boehner than to the Obama administration. Because there is no brighter sign of the True Left (TM) than their unquestioning trust in the honesty of Republicans.

    About half of Chait’s drivel against President Obama in this piece centers around this hypothesis that the president and his team, desperate to make a deal, was willing to accept funny money. The other half of his insanity revolves around one additional myth: that an original behind-the-scenes agreement, on Sunday, July 17, when both sides thought they were close to an agreement and were upbeat, included cuts to Social Security, Medicaid and Medicare while protecting and expanding tax breaks for the rich. These two halves completed the Professional Left wet fantasy: Obama’s willingness to screw with the social safety net, while the funny money would just be for show. It completes the Obama-is-evil circle by offering ironclad proof that Obama was always out to get the social safety nets.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Where Romney Underperforms
    His favorability is underwater:

    To win in November, Romney will have to make history. Not by being one of the wealthiest men elected president, or even the first Mormon, but by changing more minds that are more deeply set against him than any other nominee in recent memory. If he can’t convince the unprecedented number of voters who have already decided they don’t like him that, actually, they do, he will be heading back to Massachusetts—or New Hampshire, or California, or Utah—come November 6.

    And his share of the primary vote is below historical precedents:

    One of Mitt Romney’s basic arguments these days is that he is well ahead of his Republican presidential rivals in both the number of delegates and popular votes won. That is true. But if he goes on to win his party’s nomination, it is likely to be with the lowest share of the nationwide GOP primary vote since the era of the primary-dominated nominating process began in the 1970s.

  37. rikyrah says:

    The Sham Investigation Into Trayvon Martin’s Killing
    By Ta-Nehisi Coates
    Mar 20 2012, 8:15 AM ET 50

    As it happens, Trayvon Martin was on the phone when George Zimmerman was following him. The young lady with whom he was speaking, through her lawyer, talked to ABC News:

    “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”

    Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin. “Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”

    The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.

    ABC News verified that Martin did talk to the young lady by looking at his phone records. I don’t know that they can corroborate the exact contents of the conversation.

    Nevertheless, when you read this, it’s worth remembering the tale Zimmerman told the cops:

    Zimmerman said he had stepped out of his truck to check the name of the street he was on when Trayvon attacked him from behind as he walked back to his truck, police said. He said he feared for his life and fired the semiautomatic handgun he was licensed to carry because he feared for his life.

    This tale was broadly repeated by Zimmerman’s father who claimed that his son had neither pursued nor confronted Martin.

    We know that this is almost certainly fiction. We have Zimmerman’s on the 911 call explicitly stating that he was pursuing Martin because, “These assholes. They always get away.”And we now have someone on the phone claiming a “strange man” was following Martin.

    Again, I don’t know that Zimmerman will ever do a lick of jail time, or even see a court room. But what angers people is not simply that Zimmerman might get off, but that the Sanford police would conduct a shoddy investigation, claim it was thorough, and then claim that all who objected were compromised by prejudice:

    Our investigation is color blind and based on the facts and circumstances, not color. I know I can say that until I am blue in the face, but, as a white man in a uniform, I know it doesn’t mean anything to anybody.

    This investigation wasn’t one. It was a sham, an homage to the bad old days of Southern justice. Lee should resign.

    Emily Bazelon has more on the actual laws in Florida, though the more I see of this, the less I think “Stand Your Ground” will save Zimmerman.

  38. rikyrah says:

    What Kind of Party Is This?
    by BooMan
    Tue Mar 20th, 2012 at 11:08:43 AM EST

    There is so much to complain about in Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget plan that I hardly know where to begin, but I am going to start with the fact that we have a Democratic president. What makes Paul Ryan think that he can get a Democrat to destroy Medicare and Medicaid, eliminate all taxes on foreign profits, lower the top marginal income tax rate to 25%, eliminate the Alternative Minimum Tax, raise defense spending, decimate spending on research and development, and social spending, and add hundreds of billions to the deficit? And he wants to do it by reneging on the deal the Republicans made with the administration during the debt ceiling fiasco, while ignoring the sequestration that resulted from the failure of the Supercommittee to strike a deal.
    This isn’t a budget for a divided government. It’s an ideological budget that bears no relationship to reality. The media should respond with indignation and derision. It’s bad enough that the numbers don’t add up. Even if the Bush tax cuts are allowed to expire and there is no new Medicare doctor reimbursement fix, the CBO estimates that Ryan’s budget will add $240 billion to the debt over the next decade. Meanwhile, it will provide a tax cut of at least $150,000 per year to our wealthiest families. That’s over a million dollar giveaway over the next decade, and then you can start compounding the interest.

    It’s bad enough that this budget would be a disaster for the vast majority of Americans. But it bothers me more that the Republicans continue to act like they have some mandate to force their ideology on a Democratic Senate and administration. They control the House. That’s it. They have a responsibility to help the president govern. And all they do is lie and obstruct and give us ridiculous plans that no Democrat could ever support.

    We need a national conversation on what should be expected from a minority party in a divided government, because what we’re getting from the GOP is just obnoxious gridlock and a bad credit rating. And can they ever keep their word? What kind of party makes a deal and then reneges on the deal at the first opportunity?

  39. rikyrah says:

    Don’t call Ryan-Wyden a ‘compromise’
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:55 AM EDT.

    Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.) left; House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) right
    The list of problems with Paul Ryan’s House Republican budget plan last year was lengthy, but one glaring concern tended to dominate the political conversation. Under the GOP proposal, the existing Medicare program would be scrapped altogether, replaced with a voucher plan, with underfunded vouchers that would leave seniors with less care
    The plan became a political fiasco for Republicans, while giving Democrats new hope about taking back Congress. GOP officials eventually gave up on the proposal, and knew the fight this year would have to be different.

    This leads us to the Ryan-Wyden plan for Medicare, originally unveiled in mid-December, but now part of the House Republican budget plan released this morning. It’s ostensibly a bipartisan “compromise” — Ryan seems to have moved away from last year’s right-wing proposal, and reached an agreement with Sen. Ron Wyden, an Oregon Democrat, on an alternative approach.

    So, good news? A bipartisan deal on a major issue? Not really.

    The Ryan-Wyden plan isn’t identical to last year’s proposal, but it’s awfully similar in all the ways that count. The point is still to end Medicare’s guaranteed benefits, and instead implement a voucher plan. As Medicare expert Paul Van de Water at the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities explained yesterday, “Although billed as a kinder, gentler form of premium support, the Ryan-Wyden plan has the same basic features as earlier proposals.”

    As Van de Water noted, the Ryan-Wyden proposal would:

    * Shift substantial costs to Medicare beneficiaries rather than protect them from cost increases — in part because the value of the voucher would likely fail to keep pace with health care costs.

    * Likely lead to the gradual demise of traditional Medicare by making the pool of Medicare beneficiaries smaller, older, and sicker — and increasingly costly to cover.

    * Produce few budgetary savings beyond those that the health reform law already calls for, since both plans have the same target growth rate for Medicare costs.

    There will be plenty more on this as the new House GOP budget plan comes under closer scrutiny, but let’s make sure the debate gets off on an accurate foot: Ryan-Wyden is not a Medicare “compromise,” and the vast majority of Democrats, including the Obama White House, will never support it.

    For more background on this, I’d recommend the overview Ezra published three months ago.

    • Ametia says:

      Like I said, same shit, different day. Ryan’s plan will NOT benefit anyone other than him and his ILK. they want to continue raiding medicare coffers to fund WAR.

  40. rikyrah says:

    How not to compete for the youth vote
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 10:07 AM EDT.

    A couple of weeks ago, Mitt Romney said something unexpected about American higher education: families worried about affording college tuition should expect no help from a Romney administration. Indeed, the former governor said students should shop around for colleges with the best rates, because Americans will be on their own.

    It set up a striking contrast. On the one hand, there’s President Obama, who considers his student-loan reforms to be among his key domestic achievements, including doubling the investment in Pell Grants, and creating the “American Opportunity Tax Credit” that gave 9.4 million families a break on tuition rates. On the other, there’s his likely Republican opponent, telling students and their families, “Good luck figuring something out.”

    My first reaction to this was, “Romney just lost the youth vote.” Apparently, Romney doesn’t see it that way.

    For those who can’t watch clips on line, Romney said in Chicago yesterday, “I don’t see how a young American can vote for, well, can vote for a Democrat.” He added that his party is “consumed with the idea” with debt reduction, which will help alleviate burdens on young people.

    Even for Romney, this is deeply strange.

    For one thing, Romney wants to eliminate the entirety of the Affordable Care Act, which will immediately take health care coverage away from millions of young people aged 18 to 25, who can remain on their family plans thanks to the reform law. It’s quite a message Romney is pitching to these young folks: Vote for me and I promise to take away your health insurance.

    For another, Romney also wants to scrap college aid for millions of younger Americans. For this constituency, it’s one of the single biggest issues on the policy landscape, and the former governor’s message to them is, “Tough luck.”

    And finally, even if we buy the notion that debt reduction is worthwhile and that young people are concerned about it, Romney’s economic plan features massive tax breaks the country can’t afford, which will in turn make the debt significantly worse.

    The Republican frontrunner simply can’t fathom why younger voters would back Democrats? Maybe he just needs to think about it a little more.

  41. rikyrah says:

    Family Tree’s Startling Roots
    Published: March 19, 2012

    Thirty-nine lashes “well laid” on her bare back and an extension of her indentured servitude was Elizabeth Banks’s punishment for “fornication & Bastardy with a negroe slave,” according to a stark June 20, 1683, court document from York County, Va. Through the alchemy of celebrity and genealogy, that record and others led to the recent discovery that Banks, a free white woman despite her servitude, was the paternal ninth great-grandmother of Wanda Sykes, the ribald comedian and actress.

    More than an intriguing boldface-name connection, it is a rare find even in a genealogy-crazed era in which Internet sites like, with more than 14 million users, and the popular NBC program “Who Do You Think You Are?” play on that fascination. Because slavery meant that their black ancestors were considered property and not people, most African-Americans are able to trace their roots in this country only back to the first quarter of the 19th century.

    “This is an extraordinary case and the only such case that I know of in which it is possible to trace a black family rooted in freedom from the late 17th century to the present,” said the historian Ira Berlin, a professor at the University of Maryland known for his work on slavery and African-American history.

    Mary Banks, the biracial child born to Elizabeth Banks around 1683, inherited her mother’s free status, although she too was indentured. Mary appeared to have four children. There are many other unanswered questions, but the family grew, often as free people of color married or paired off with other free people of color.

    Ms. Sykes’s family history was professionally researched for a segment of “Finding Your Roots With Henry Louis Gates Jr.,” a new series that has its debut Sunday on PBS.

    “The bottom line is that Wanda Sykes has the longest continuously documented family tree of any African-American we have ever researched, ” said Mr. Gates, the director of the W. E. B. Du Bois Institute for African and African American Research at Harvard. He was referring to the dozens of genealogies his researchers have unearthed for his television roots franchise, which began in 2006 with the PBS series “African-American Lives” and includes three other genealogy-inspired shows. Mr. Gates said he also checked Ms. Sykes’s family tree with historians, including Mr. Berlin.

  42. BREAKING: U.S. #DOJ announces independent investigation into shooting death of #TrayvonMartin.

  43. BREAKING: Flordia State Attorney sends Trayvon Martin case to grand jury #justicefortrayvon

  44. rikyrah says:

    What to expect when you’re expecting Paul Ryan’s plan
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 9:32 AM EDT.

    House Republicans won’t formally unveil their budget plan for another hour or so, but we have a fairly strong sense of what the proposal is going to look like. Here’s a hint of what’s to come: if you’re very wealthy and believe struggling families have it too easy, you’re going to love what the House GOP has put together.

    House Republicans on Tuesday will propose a dramatic reshuffling of the tax code, suggesting collapsing individual tax brackets into two brackets with lower tax rates and slashing the top corporate tax rate.

    The plan also would slash trillions of dollars in federal spending, a move likely to appease conservative, tea-party-backed GOP lawmakers but infuriate the White House, congressional Democrats and some Republicans concerned that spending disagreements could spark threats of a government shutdown just weeks before the November elections.

    Under the plan crafted by House Republican Budget Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), the six tax brackets would be collapsed into two: a 25% bracket for top earners, and a 10% bracket for everyone else.

    Why would far-right policymakers pretend to care deeply about a looming debt crisis, then slash tax rates for the rich from 35% to 25%, while eliminating the Alternative Minimum Tax altogether? They wouldn’t, unless concerns about the debt were a ridiculous and insincere ruse. I’ve seen some headline refer to this budget proposal as the Republicans’ “debt package,” so let’s be clear about this: the document we’ll see this morning has nothing to do with bringing the budget closer to balance.

    The Ryan plan will apparently seek to balance these massive and expensive tax breaks with sweeping cuts to food stamps, farm subsidies, federal workers, and health care programs, including an end to Medicare’s guaranteed benefit.

    We can scrutinize the plan in more detail once it’s unveiled in earnest, but by all appearances, the Paul Ryan budget will largely mirror last year’s proposal — instead of focusing on economic growth or debt reduction, House Republicans simply intend to redistribute wealth and shrink government.

    Also note, reports make clear the GOP plan will renege on the bipartisan budget agreement reached last summer, demanding cuts beyond what Republicans already accepted, which in turn will threaten a government shutdown.

    House Republican Budget Day sure is fun, isn’t it?

  45. Yes We Can Can

    OBAMA/BIDEN 2012

  46. Mitt Romney Vows to Get Rid of Planned Parenthood

  47. Ametia says:

    GOP budget plan cuts deeply into domestic programs, reshapes Medicare, Medicaid
    By Rosalind S. Helderman, Tuesday, March 20, 9:24 AM

    House Republicans laid down a bold but risky election year marker Tuesday, unveiling a budget proposal that will reduce the debt by reshaping Medicare and Medicaid and cut deeply into other domestic programs, while reshuffling the tax code to lower tax rates.

    Congressional Republicans will use the document to show they are willing to tackle the nation’s difficult fiscal problems head on. They argue that debt reduction is a moral imperative and entitlement programs must be redrawn to reduce red ink and continue to offer seniors federal benefits.

    But the document—with its deep spending cuts paired with tax cuts—will provide new fodder for Democrats who will paint Republicans as willing to undermine retiree health programs, but unwilling to ask wealthy taxpayers to contribute more.

    The proposal, authored by Budget Chairman Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), calls for spending cuts and tax changes that would put the nation on a course to eliminate deficits by 2040.

  48. Ametia says:

    SSDD=Same shit, Different day!

    Paul Ryan’s budget is bad politics. Just ask Republicans
    Posted by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blakeat 06:30 AM ET, 03/20/2012

    The debut of the House Budget Committee chairman’s vision for what conservative governance could and should look like might win him kudos from the conservative policy class, but it elicits only groans from GOP political professionals.

    “As a campaign issue, the budget is a significant challenge for GOP candidates,” said Bob Honold, a GOP strategist and partner at Revolution Agency. “As a campaign strategy, it is so much more difficult for Republicans to communicate their responsible solutions than it is for Democrats to spook seniors with rhetoric.”

    Another senior GOP strategist was far more blunt. “Didn’t they learn their lesson?” the source asked. “House Republicans are still under the mistaken impression they have to lead. It’s a presidential election year; they’re along for the ride.”

    National Republican Congressional Committee Chairman Pete Sessions (Texas) sought to paint the Ryan budget in the best possible political light during a briefing with reporters on Monday.

  49. Ametia says:


    March 19, 2012 5:53 PM
    Lawyer: Bales wasn’t drunk and can’t remember
    ByPeter Van Sant .Play CBS News Video

    (CBS News) LEAVENWORTH, Kansas — The defense of accused murderer Sgt. Robert Bales began Monday when he spent more than seven hours with three of his lawyers, including defense attorney John Henry Browne.

    At their meeting, Bales did not confess to the crime.

    “He has no memory of … he has an early memory of that evening and he has a later memory of that, but he doesn’t have memory of the evening in between.,” Browne said.

    Witnesses describe Bales as going deliberately from room to room in several houses while killing people, not in some kind of berserk attack. Browne said that despite the descriptions of his apparently deliberate actions, Bales remembers none of what happened.

    Sgt. Bales’ wife: Shooting is “out of character”
    Sgt. Robert Bales’ had many money woes
    Charges expected this week in Afghan killings

    Browne also said reports of his being drunk that night were not really true.

    “He said he had a couple sips of something but he didn’t have a full drink,” and therefore he wasn’t drunk, Browne said.

    Bales told Browne he was in shock.

    “He’s fixated on the troops left on the ground and what they’re accusing him of and how that might have negative ramifications on his friends and compatriots. And he’s concerned that there would be retaliation that would be caused by what people think he’s done,” Browne said.

    Bales apparently is eager to get his wife and children on the phone.
    “He loves them dearly and he is very interested in talking to them,” Browne said.
    Browne said he will not seek an insanity defense, rather one of “diminished capacity,” like some sort of an emotional breakdown.
    Bales is expected to be charged with 16 counts of murder by the end of the week.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Monday Evening Open Thread: The Paulistas Are Revolting!
    by Anne Laurie

    Looks like the Ron Paul REVOLutionaries may have tipped their hand too early:

    The Missouri caucuses may have marked Ron Paul’s most successful day of the 2012 campaign, as anecdotes from across the state indicate a strong showing.

    To varying degrees, proceedings grew contentious between Paul supporters and local GOP officials. The gist of the disputes: GOP organizers said the Paul backers were boisterous and obstructive. Paul backers wanted to be heard.

    While speculation has been noted on a national level that Ron Paul and Mitt Romney are somehow colluding in the 2012 race, anecdotal evidence from Missouri suggests some cooperation: In counties where Paul supporters showed well, Romney supporters and Paul supporters appeared together on mixed delegate slates. Local GOP officials said they couldn’t say, one way or another, whether Paul and Romney backers seemed to be cooperating in any organized way at individual caucus sites…

    Cooperation does not seem to have been much in evidence, given that ABC reports arrests, dueling caucus chairs, the arrival of a police helicopter, and (worst of all) a charge that GOP officials “severely butchered Robert’s Rules of Order.”

    As Charles Pierce gleefully explains:

    You have to give the Republican party credit. Faced with a down economy and a vulnerable incumbent, the GOP has managed to put together not only an incredibly mediocre field of candidates, but also a nominating process that seems to have been designed by angry ferrets on crystal meth. It is an altogether remarkable parlay…

    Everyone who designed this fiasco now has to own it. The one thing about Ron Paul’s supporters is that they can fashion a legal and constitutional argument to fit almost every circumstance. They can come up with the 10th amendment argument for jelly doughnuts over chocolate frosted at every caucus site. They are bred for this kind of legalistic mischief and the Republicans have devised a process uniquely and hilariously open to it. Anybody who thinks this will stop at the local level, and that the Paul forces are not gearing themselves up for the biggest show of all in Tampa, is kidding themselves. You want a brokered convention? Look to Missouri. That’s what you had over the weekend.

    • Ametia says:

      THIS: You have to give the Republican party credit. Faced with a down economy and a vulnerable incumbent, the GOP has managed to put together not only an incredibly mediocre field of candidates, but also a nominating process that seems to have been designed by angry ferrets on crystal meth. It is an altogether remarkable parlay

  51. rikyrah says:

    I’ve been thinking about Trayvon, from his POV. He’s in a place, not his home. He sees this crazy ass White man, over 100 pounds bigger than him, at night, coming after him….why the fuck wouldn’t he be scared out of his mind…and this is even before he knew about the gun.

    WHAT, in the history of Black folk in THIS country, if his parents had taught him anything, would make any of our young people act differently?

  52. rikyrah says:

    Trayvon Martin Exclusive: Friend on Phone with Teen Before Death Recalls Final Moments

    In the final moments of his life, Trayvon Martin was being hounded by a strange man on a cellphone who ran after him, cornered him and confronted him, according to the teenage girl whose call logs show she was on the phone with the 17-year-old boy in the moments before neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman shot him dead.

    Martin’s death Feb. 26 has stirred national outrage and protests, partly prompting the U.S. Justice Department’s Civil Rights Division and the FBI to open an investigation into the case.

    ABC News was there exclusively as the 16-year-old girl told Martin family attorney Benjamin Crump about the last moments of the teenager’s life.

    “He said this man was watching him, so he put his hoodie on. He said he lost the man,” Martin’s friend said. “I asked Trayvon to run, and he said he was going to walk fast. I told him to run but he said he was not going to run.”

    Eventually he would run, said the girl, thinking that he’d managed to escape. But suddenly the strange man was back, cornering Martin.

    “Trayvon said, ‘What, are you following me for,’ and the man said, ‘What are you doing here.’ Next thing I hear is somebody pushing, and somebody pushed Trayvon because the head set just fell. I called him again and he didn’t answer the phone.”

    The line went dead. Besides screams heard on 911 calls that night as Martin and Zimmerman scuffled, those were the last words he said.

  53. rikyrah says:

    Why unemployment ‘doesn’t matter’ to Santorum
    By Steve Benen – Tue Mar 20, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.With high unemployment and jobs as voters’ top concern this election year, Rick Santorum said something to Republicans in Illinois yesterday that, when taken out of context, seemed unwise.

    “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. Doesn’t matter to me.” These five seconds, in isolation, made Mitt Romney’s campaign as gleeful as they’ve been in quite a while.

    And though I’m generally not in the habit of defending Rick Santorum, in this case, he’s getting a raw deal. Here’s the full context of the former senator’s comments:

    “We need a candidate who’s going to be a fighter for freedom. Who’s going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race. I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. Doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It’s something more foundational that’s going on.

    “We have one nominee who says he wants to run the economy. What kind of conservative says that the president runs the economy? What conservative says I’m the guy, because of my economic experience, that can create jobs? I don’t know. We conservatives generally think that government doesn’t create jobs. That what government does is create an atmosphere for jobs to be created in the private sector.”

    After Romney and his team launched an aggressive blitz on this, Santorum told reporters, “Of course I care about the unemployment rate. I want the unemployment rate to go down, but I’m saying my candidacy doesn’t hinge on whether the unemployment rate goes up and down, our candidacy’s about something that transcends that.”

    The context is obviously far more nuanced than what the Romney campaign wants the public to believe, but it’s worth emphasizing a relevant detail: Santorum’s right. Not only was he taken out of context, but his campaign doesn’t hinge on whether the unemployment rate goes up and down. Indeed, at a certain level, this relates specifically to Santorum’s largely-unstated electability argument: as the economy improves, the rationale for Romney’s candidacy falters, while Santorum’s rationale remains intact.


    Romney’s pitch is that he’s Mr. Fix It — a corporate turnaround artist with an MBA. Looking for a candidate who’ll get the economy moving and put people back to work? Just so long as you overlook his only leadership experience in government and all the mass layoffs he orchestrated at his vulture-capital firm, Romney’s your guy.

    What happens to that pitch if the economy improves, growth strengthens, and job creation picks up steam before the election? I don’t know. More importantly, I don’t think Romney knows, either.

    Santorum’s pitch is altogether different. Whether the unemployment rate is 8.3% or 3.8%, Santorum is offering a message about culture, values, and religion. He doesn’t like contraception; he wants to restrict access to pornography; and a spirited defense of the separation of church and state makes him, in Santorum’s words, want to “vomit.”

    As the former senator put it yesterday, “My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It’s something more foundational that’s going on.”

    Whether one finds Santorum’s agenda offensive or not, at least this is coherent and consistent. Unlike so many Republicans, he’s not rooting for bad economic news before the election, because the health of the economy is independent of his right-wing societal vision.

  54. rikyrah says:

    Feds open Trayvon Martin investigation
    FBI, Dept. of Justice looking into case
    Published On: Mar 19 2012 10:32:01 PM EDT Updated On: Mar 20 2012 06:24:27 AM EDT

    The U.S. Justice Department announced Monday night it has opened an investigation into the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

    In a statement, the DOJ said along with the U.S. Attorney’s Office for the Middle District of Florida and the FBI, they are looking into “the facts and circumstances of the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.”

    “The department will conduct a thorough and independent review of all of the evidence and take appropriate action at the conclusion of the investigation,” the statement continued. “The department also is providing assistance to and cooperating with the state officials in their investigation into the incident. With all federal civil rights crimes, the government must prove beyond a reasonable doubt that a person acted intentionally and with the specific intent to do something which the law forbids – the highest level of intent in criminal law. Negligence, recklessness, mistakes and accidents are not prosecutable under the federal criminal civil rights laws. The Community Relations Service will be in Sanford, Fla., this week to meet with civil rights leaders, community leaders, and local law enforcement to address tension in the community.”

  55. rikyrah says:

    Santorum says “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be”
    By Rebecca Kaplan Topics Campaign 2012 .

    Rick Santorum is coming under fire for saying that the unemployment rate and economic growth are secondary issues to that of freedom in his campaign, a statement that rival Mitt Romney’s campaign quickly seized on as being tone-deaf to the plight of out-of-work Americans.
    “We need a candidate who’s going to be a fighter for freedom. Who’s going to get up and make that the central theme in this race because it is the central theme in this race,” Santorum told a crowd of about 200 voters during a rally here on Monday. “I don’t care what the unemployment rate’s going to be. Doesn’t matter to me. My campaign doesn’t hinge on unemployment rates and growth rates. It’s something more foundational that’s going on.”

    The event had barely ended when Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul e-mailed reporters to offer up the statement as evidence of Santorum being an “economic lightweight,” a charge that Romney has been making in recent days. The former Massachusetts governor gave a speech in Chicago on Monday attacking President Obama’s stewardship of the economy.

    “Wow. Sen. Santorum may not care about the unemployment rate in this country or the nearly 24 million Americans struggling for work, but Mitt Romney does and is running to get people back to work,” Saul said. “If anyone needed evidence that Rick Santorum is an economic lightweight, they needn’t look any further than his various statements today. We’re not going to turn around this economy by replacing one former senator with zero job-creating experience with another senator with zero job-creating experience. He has proven it once again,” she wrote.

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