Happy Monday, Everyone. 3 Chics featured artist this week is the incomparable Anita Baker
Wiki: Anita Baker (born January 26, 1958 in Toledo, Ohio and raised in Detroit, Michigan) is an American R&B/soul jazz singer-songwriter. To date, Baker has won eight Grammy Awards, and has four platinum albums and two gold albums to her credit.
She released her second album, Rapture, in 1986. Produced by her friend Michael J. Powell (from the Detroit soul band Chapter 8), Baker wrote several tracks for the album herself including “Been So Long” and “Watch Your Step”, and co-wrote the single “Sweet Love” which became her first mainstream hit; it peaked at number eight on the U.S. Billboard Hot 100, number two on the U.S. Hot R&B/Hip-Hop Songs, also making the Top 20 in the United Kingdom. “Caught Up in the Rapture”, “No One in the World”, and “Same Ole Love” also became major R&B and adult contemporary chart hits during 1986 and 1987. Rapture remains Baker’s biggest-selling album and went on to sell nearly eight million copies worldwide. It also earned Baker two Grammy Awards in 1987: Best R&B Vocal Performance, Female for the album and Best Rhythm & Blues Song for “Sweet Love”. A show from Baker’s world tour, entitled A Night of Rapture, was filmed and released on home video (and DVD in 2007).
In 1987, Baker collaborated with The Winans on the single “Ain’t No Need to Worry”, which earned Baker her third Grammy Award the following year, in the Best Soul Gospel Performance by a Duo or Group, Choir or Chorus category.
YOU BRING ME JOY
Tyler Perry calls for racial profiling to be prosecuted as hate crime
by Marc Snetiker
In a lengthy essay posted yesterday on his official Facebook fan page, filmmaker Tyler Perry recounted a recent confrontation with law enforcement officers after he was allegedly pulled over and interrogated by police in Atlanta.
According to the post, Perry was leaving his studio when he made an illegal turn in order to ensure that he was not being followed. Two police officers pulled Perry over and purportedly pressed him about his actions, calling attention to his tinted windows and expressing their suspicion at why Perry believed he was being followed. A third officer arrived and seemingly explained who Perry was, and the officers apologized.
“As I stepped out of the car another officer pulled up in front of my car. This officer was a black guy. He took one look at me and had that “Oh No” look on his face. He immediately took both officers to the back of my car and spoke to them in a hushed tone. After that, one of the officers stayed near his car while one came back, very apologetic.
I said all of that to say this: do you see how quickly this could have turned for the worse?
Now I know that there are many great officers, patrolmen and security guys out there. I am aware of that. But although we have made significant strides with racial profiling in this country, the world needs to know that we are still being racially profiled, and until this situation has improved greatly, I’m not sure how a murder in Florida can be protected by a ‘stand your ground law.’”
Perry ended the story by citing two cases of alleged racial profiling — the first being Travyon Martin, and the second being an eight-year-old case of two missing youths from Florida — and adding a message: “RACIAL PROFILING SHOULD BE A HATE CRIME INVESTIGATED BY THE FBI!!! That way local government can’t make the decision on whether or not these people get punished.”
As of the time of this post, Perry’s Facebook essay had over 106,000 Likes, 18,000 comments and more than 10,000 shares across the social network, and it continues to spread across Twitter. Perry is certainly not the first to address the Trayvon Martin case, but his candid retelling of the alleged details of his run-in with the Atlanta Police Department could inspire more celebs to address the issue of racial profiling by law enforcement officials.
Tyler Perry’s essay on facebook:
Useful Idiots and Simple Justice
Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 07:39:54 PM EST
You can tell someone is being a useful idiot if they’re asking you why you’re talking about this and not talking about that, even when what they really mean is “will you please shut up now?”
And that’s what this crap is. Every time someone comes on your teevee and tells you that people ought to talk more about black-on-black crime, what they’re really saying is “Shut the Fuck up about Trayvon.”
I got the hint the first time, I just chose to ignore it because it comes from a dishonest and dishonorable place. Black folks rally about gun violence in their neighborhoods on a regular basis. I’d say that the media just don’t cover it, but they actually do cover it a lot of the time. I can remember many, many times that I have seen Channel 6 Action News here in Philadelphia do stories on rallies against gun violence. And that’s only the tip of the iceberg of what goes on. There’s anti-gang activity. There work being done to improve neighborhood safety. There’s pressure to increase after-school activities and improve education generally. There’s work being done to attract businesses and jobs. A tiny bit of research will yield a ton of information about what black folks are organizing to do in an effort to improve the lives of their children, keep them safe, and give them more opportunities. I’m a little out of the loop after living in the suburbs for several years, but I used to have first-hand knowledge of what was going on when I was working for ACORN in North Philly.
It’s really stupid to suggest that black parents aren’t talking about black-on-black violence. If kids were getting gunned down in your neighborhood on a regular basis, would you mention it to your spouse or neighbors or coworkers or fellow parishioners?
It’s not an easy problem to fix. Try passing a gun control law in Pennsylvania. And even if you succeeded, the guns would just come in by car from Virginia or some other place. Try fixing broken neighborhoods with no resources. Try educating your kids with no resources. Try keeping your kids on the straight and narrow when there are no jobs. But it’s easy to judge. I can see that.
You know what would be easy? Arresting George Zimmerman and giving him a fair trial. I think people are going to continue to talk about that until it happens. Telling us to shut up isn’t going to work.
they don’t give a shyt about Black-ON-Black crime unless it can be used to disparage the Black community.
I’m complicated enough as a Black person that I can
1. protest Black on Black crime in the morning
2. Don my Hoodie for Trayvon in the afternoon .
it’s not an EITHER/OR proposition.
what I will not stand for is mofos, who have never given a rat’s ass about the complexities of Black-ON-Black crime trying to use it as some deflector shield against talking about an unarmed teenaged boy being hunted and murdered for the crime of WALKING WHILE BLACK in 2012 America.
they can kiss my entire Black Ass.
CO-SIGN! And every inch of my 37 inch BLACK derierre as well!
That’s what happens
By DougJ, Head of Infidelity April 2nd, 2012
This is near Indianapolis—I’ll bet you the numbers will be even worse near more liberal cities
INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) – Registration for the Susan G Komen Race for the Cure is down by almost a third.
The Central Indiana chapter is urging you to leave politics behind and sign up.
Organizers at the local level say it all started when the national organization pulled its funding for Planned Parenthood. Now donations are down almost 30 percent along with registration for the race.
I hope that the Susan G. Komen foundation is weakened to the point where it ceases to exist. Yes, I know it helped people, but it’s a pretty small fish, and what good it did doesn’t amount to much in the grand scheme of things. There’s plenty of other charities people can run races for.
The right is very good at collecting scalps and scaring people. The left needs scalps too.
Romney’s Top Five Assaults To Women’s Health
By Annie-Rose Strasser on Apr 2, 2012 at 11:18 am
Mitt Romney is not doing well with women voters. A new USA TODAY/Gallup poll shows that President Obama is faring much better than Mitt Romney in the swing states that will likely decide the next President of the United States – and women are part of the reason why. Of women under 50 years old, only 30 percent support Romney, while over 60 percent back the President.
The lack of support is mutual. Romney’s record on women’s health is hardly strong, and women voters, especially the young voters who tend to be pro-choice and pro-contraception, are likely responding to Romney’s affront on these issues. But it hasn’t always been this way. Over the course of his 2008 and 2012 campaigns for the presidency, Romney has moved significantly to the right on almost all women’s health issues. He calls it “evolving,” but, to many women, the “etch a sketch” candidate is just leaving them behind.
Need proof? Here are Mitt Romney’s top five attacks on women’s health:
1. He’s going to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood. In his most blatant attack on basic women’s services, Romney made this claim: “Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” Of course, as a Presidential candidate Romney surely knows that Planned Parenthood provides essential medical services, primarily to low-income women, including mammograms and pap smears, as well as important family planning services. Romney has pledged to defund Title X, a program that provides family planning services.
2. Romney supports the Blunt Ammendment which would allow employers to deny health insurance coverage on the basis of moral objections — a rule aimed at allowing employers to opt out of providing benefits that undermined their consciences, including contraceptive coverage. But as governor of Massachusetts, Romney required all health care providers– including Catholic hospitals — to offer emergency contraception to rape victims.
3. Romney is fighting a covert battle against contraception, even if he is doing his best not to call it that. While Romney used to be firmly pro-choice and pro-contraceptives, he has positioned himself in the campaign to be a fighter of morality, saying that the Affordable Care Act (ACA) imposes a “secular vision on America” by requiring employers to provide contraceptives in their insurance coverage. He is also misleading the public on what the ACA will do for women.
4. Romney failed to condemn Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut.” Romney said “it’s not the language I would have used,” but refused to go any further in condemning Limbaugh’s attacks on the Georgetown Law student who testified in support of the ACA’s contraceptive rule. In not standing up for basic women’s rights, Romney’s complacency is as good as consent.
5. Romney supports restricting access to abortions. He has called Roe v. Wade “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history.” He’s even said that he’d support state constitutional amendments to define life at conception, which would effectively outlaw abortions under any circumstance.
April 02, 2012 04:00 PM
Howard Kurtz and Miami Herald Reporter Give Cover For Racism of Right
By Nicole Belle
For someone allegedly charged with analyzing the way the media does their job, Howard Kurtz fails to grasp the point with an alarming constancy. Belying his conservative sympathies, Kurtz gave cover once again to conservatives feeling icky about their inherent racism. Kurtz interviewed Frances Robles of the Miami Herald, who got the “scoop” that Trayvon had been suspended for having an empty bag with marijuana residue in it, ‘suspicious’ jewelry (which was never reported stolen or missing, yet somehow still relevant to report) and suspicion of tagging school property with graffiti.
Now a real journalist interested in media analysis would ask about where Robles got this information (rumored to have been leaked by the Sanford Police), or why this information is at all probative to the case.
But no, Kurtz and Robles turn navel-gazing into an art and discuss instead how mean readers are to poor misunderstood Robles when they point out how completely irrelevant Martin’s teenage shenanigans are to the facts in the case. ‘Cause it’s all about the reporters presenting “both sides,” doncha know?
KURTZ: Now, you broke the story on Monday that Trayvon Martin had been suspended from school three times. Once for possession of marijuana, and there was another incident involving women’s jewelry. Explain.
ROBLES: We’ve learned that he got caught marking up a wall with graffiti and that when the school resource officer went the next day to investigate, they went through his book bag to find the marker for the graffiti, and instead they found a little bit more jewelry than a high school junior should have in his bag — wedding bands and things of that nature.
But because there was never a victim and there was no one ever saying, hey, that’s my jewelry and it was stolen, there was no charges. He was never arrested. And, in fact, he was suspended for the graffiti. He was not suspended for burglary.
KURTZ: Talk a little bit about the reaction to that story. There were 5,000 comments posted online, and many of them were removed by the “Miami Herald”. What happened?
ROBLES: I think that same day, you started to see a tide change, and not just because of that story. There were a few different things that happened the same time. People started discovering Trayvon’s Facebook or his Twitter, his digital fingerprint that showed that some of the photos that the family had shown of him were kind of outdated.
And so, then all of a sudden, the emails that we were getting and the comments that we were getting that were overwhelmingly in support of Trayvon, they started to shift, and people started saying really negative and vile things and, frankly, most of — I didn’t see most of the comments because, as you said, they were taken down.
KURTZ: Right. Right.
But now, in fairness, in that same story, you quoted the attorney for the Martin family, Benjamin Crump, as saying that the whole business about the suspension was completely irrelevant. We think everybody is trying to demonize him.
So, that brings me to the sort of central question: why was it newsworthy that he had been suspended given what happened on that tragic day?
ROBLES: I think it’s just as newsworthy as all the things that we’ve printed about Zimmerman. I mean, no one has had an issue of digging up his domestic violence complaints of the past, with an arrest that he had, that also was dismissed. And a case that’s this big, the interest is so monumental, frankly, you really want to give a full biographical portrait of who are the players that are involved here.
This is what happens when you dumb down the media to a simple binary thought process: Higher cognitive reasoning is replaced by the notion of “balance.” Unfortunately, in their minds, balance is nothing more than “he said/she said” with no analysis or context. So journalists reduce each issue to the most simplistic of terms: left vs. right, Republican vs. Democrat, Zimmerman vs. Martin. So if Zimmerman’s past record of violent outbursts is relevant, then of course, Martin’s truancy is too.
It’s absurd on the face of it and Robles deserves the scorn she’s getting (although, in fairness, those who threaten her or hurl epithets are out of line) for this poor line of logic. The implication of mentioning Trayvon’s problems at school is that this is a person somehow worthy of being suspected of wrong-doing, as if all his bad acts (and please, point to me a teenager without bad acts) were worn like a scarlet A on his hoodie, informing and justifying George Zimmerman’s gun-toting paranoia over a teenager walking home.
Except that it doesn’t.
Robles should have the intellectual honesty to know that. Whatever teenage bravado words show up on Facebook walls, or when wildly unsubstantiated rumors of stolen property get leaked, all that does is allay the queasiness in the minds of those suffering from racism that they would have also shot and killed Trayvon Martin. Because a kid who misses school, who maybe smokes pot, who tags public property (guess the percentage of teenagers I just described) is asking to be shot, right? Of course they aren’t. And nothing—not even standing his ground against the stalking George Zimmerman, if the reports are to be believed—changes that. He was unarmed, walking home with a bag of candy. There is nothing in Neighborhood Watch handbooks or in the screwed up concealed carry/Stand Your Ground laws in Florida that make him eligible for losing his life, no matter what he did last week or two years ago. And that is the point of the outrage.
why is this clip 2 minutes and 45 seconds long. it’s a simple answer, Willard.
all you had to say is NO
Lawrence O is spilling the book of Mormon tonight, and they certainly do not believe in interacial mingling…… as a matter of fact it would be the death of them if they did.
April 02, 2012 12:58 PM
Rasmussen Agrees: Walker Really In Trouble
By Ed Kilgore
Nobody is much surprised when Scott Rasmussen and his outfit release a poll or publish a polling analysis that seems to place a pretty large right thumb on the scales as compared to other public opinion researchers. Indeed, I’m probably typical that when I run across Ras’ numbers, I just mentally five or six points in the Democratic direction, and figure that’s without shouting distance of reality.
So it’s significant that Rasmussen has just published a poll of Wisconsin voters showing a 52-47 majority support recalling Gov. Scott Walker in the election just scheduled for June 5. That’s probably why the conservative Washington Examiner refers to it as a “shock poll.” It sure shocked me: but in a good way.
over 900,000 signatures to recall Scotty boy; I’d say he’s in a shitload-o-trouble.
PRESIDENT Obama says he remains confident health care law will be upheld by high court
By Associated Press, Monday, April 2, 1:51 PM
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama offered a firm defense of his health care law, saying Monday he remains confident that the law will be upheld by the U.S. Supreme Court and warning that “unelected” justices should not overturn the will of Congress.
“We are confident that this will be upheld because it should be upheld,” Obama said during a joint news conference with the leaders of Canada and Mexico. Obama said bluntly: “It’s constitutional.”
April 02, 2012 9:30 AM
By Ed Kilgore
For a good part of the last month, conservatives deeply invested in culture-war issues, or in the career of Rush Limbaugh, or in the idea that American women secretly want to go back to the good old days before feminism ruined everything—yeah, those kind of conservatives—have been periodically cheering any bit of public opinion evidence indicating anything less than an impending disaster for Republicans among women.
Hope they enjoyed it before they read this:
President Obama has opened the first significant lead of the 2012 campaign in the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, boosted by a huge shift of women to his side.
In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.
The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.
How are you going to explain that one, feminist-haters? Are the little ladies just too mathematically challenged to notice rising gas prices, the overwhelming, dominant issue of 2012?
At The Hill, Republican blogger Christian Heinze does offer a counter-argument against the poll’s bottom line, suggesting that the inclusion of WI, NM and MI as “swing states” skews it because Obama is almost certain to easily carry all three. I’m certainly interested to learn a Republican is willing to concede WI so early. But in any event, Heinze’s objection doesn’t explain the vast and increasing gender gap, or the likelihood the GOP has now dangerously raised expectations for a major cultural counter-revolution among its Christian Right-Tea Party base, while alarming a lot of women that they may well mean it.
April 2, 2012
Coping With A Loved One’s ‘Justifiable Killing’
Writer Donna Britt’s 26-year-old brother was killed by Indiana police officers decades ago. Amidst the news of Trayvon Martin’s death, she is reminded of the unanswerable questions surrounding her brother’s death. She talks about the challenges of coming to terms the violent death of a loved one.
I believe that in Life and Love we will all witness and experience such great pain. What we should hold tight to is the fact that there is always a blessing associated with our pain & suffering..Let’s not allow our losses to dictate our futures but rather use the pain of our loss to create something better for our world…/
JET BLUE PILOT MELTDOWN
IT’S OFFICIAL SCOTUS RULES THE PO PO CAN ASK YOU TO DROP TROU
Justices Approve Strip-Searches for Any Offense
By ADAM LIPTAK
WASHINGTON — The Supreme Court on Monday ruled by a 5-to-4 vote that officials may strip-search people arrested for any offense, however minor, before admitting them to jails even if the officials have no reason to suspect the presence of contraband.
Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, joined by the court’s conservative wing, wrote that courts are in no position to second-guess the judgments of correctional officials who must consider not only the possibility of smuggled weapons and drugs but also public health and information about gang affiliations.
About 13 million people are admitted each year to the nation’s jails, Justice Kennedy wrote.
Under Monday’s ruling, he wrote, “every detainee who will be admitted to the general population may be required to undergo a close visual inspection while undressed.”
Justice Stephen G. Breyer, writing for the four dissenters, said strip-searches were “a serious affront to human dignity and to individual privacy” and should be used only when there was good reason to do so.
Umm; I’d love to see Kerry Washington in that role of the evil queen. Kristen Stewart is a hottie. He played Thor.
TPM Livewire @TPMLiveWire:
Obama To Give Speech On Ryan Budget Tuesday http://livewire.talkingpointsmemo.com/entries/obama-to-give-speech-on-ryan-budget-tuesday via @Sahil_Kapur
LOL Will Lil Eddie Munster sit on the front row again?
Posted at 02:29 PM ET, 04/02/2012
Romney’s big pivot: Yes, the economy is improving, but…
By Greg Sargent
Over the weekend, Mitt Romney attacked President Obama’s stewardship of the economy with a handful of claims I hadn’t heard before:
“We know that under Barack Obama, 800,000 jobs have been lost,” said Romney, a candidate in the Wisconsin presidential primary on Tuesday. “We know that under Barack Obama, 2.3 million homes have been foreclosed upon. We know that under this president, chronic unemployment is the worst it’s been in American history.”
Chronic unemployment is the worst it’s been in American history? Worse than during the Great Depression?
I asked Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul for substantiation. She pointed to a recent Congressional Budget Office report that said this:
Compounding the problem of high unemployment, the share of unemployed people looking for work for more than six months — referred to as the long-term unemployed — topped 40 percent in December 2009 for the first time since 1948, when such data began to be collected; it has remained above that level ever since.”
Of course, it doesn’t greatly help Obama’s case that you have to reach all the way back to the Depression for chronic unemployment numbers that are worse than the ones we’ve seen on Obama’s watch. And no doubt the Romney campaign doesn’t mind getting into an argument over whether chronic unemployment during Obama’s term is the worst in American history or merely the worst since the Depression. But that doesn’t change the fact that this claim is unsubstantiated at best and false at worst. And all this becomes less meaningful when you recall that Obama inherited the worst crisis since the 1930s, which Romney wants you to forget.
Along these lines, the claim that 800,000 jobs have been lost on Obama’s watch is yet another use of that “net” jobs loss statistic: It factors in the hundreds and hundreds of thousands of jobs lost while the economy was in free fall during his first months in office, before his policies kicked in, in order to pass judgment on those policies. But if the monthly jobs numbers keep registering good news, even this number — which is largely meaningless to begin with — could conceivably edge into positive territory before the election.
Romney has gone from claiming Obama made the economy worse, to claiming that if the economy is improving, it’s despite Obama’s policies, to (most recently) claiming that Obama “failed to lead the recovery,” which means that the recovery is underway. All of which is to say that it’s not easy to pivot from making the case that an incumbent made the economy worse to acknowledging that, yes, things are improving, but things would be better still if someone else had been in charge.
‘Ownership Society’ becomes ‘Opportunity Society’
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 12:47 PM EDT.
When George W. Bush and his team were gearing up for the 2004 election, they came up with a theme to help summarize the administration’s governing philosophy. It was called the “Ownership Society.”
The message never really resonated with the public, but the Republican team was pretty invested in it, at least for a while. In one 2004 ad, Bush argued, “I understand if you own something, you have a vital stake in the future of America.”
This was intended to create a foundation for a privatization agenda: instead of relying on Social Security and public schools, for example, you’d get a private account and vouchers in an “Ownership Society.” Bush could, the argument went, shrink the government by having Americans take “ownership” of public services.
At least, that was the idea. In 2005, Americans got a good look at what the “Ownership Society” would mean for Social Security, were repulsed, and the theme/message quietly faded away.
Romney presented his new stump speech in Wisconsin.
It was interesting, then, to hear Mitt Romney roll out yet another new stump speech in Wisconsin, where he picked up where Bush circa 2005 left off.
“[President Obama] has spent the last four years laying the foundation for a new Government-Centered Society. I will spend the next four years rebuilding the foundation of our Opportunity Society, led by free people and free enterprises.”
As this relates to Obama, the charge is pretty silly. A “Government-Centered Society”? Seriously? It’s hard to imagine even Romney believes this.
But this talk of an “Opportunity Society” is well worth paying attention to.
What’s the difference between Bush’s “Ownership Society” and Romney’s “Opportunity Society”? Apparently, about nine letters.
The funny thing about the Romney speech is that he went on and on in his condemnation of the “Government-Centered Society” — which appears to exist only in the fevered imaginations of the former governor’s speechwriters — but didn’t offer much in the way of details when it came to what Americans can expect from an “Opportunity Society.” (Romney has already admitted he can’t give out details of his agenda before the election, because if voters heard about his plans, they might not vote for him.)
The gist of the “Opportunity Society,” if the candidate’s vague remarks are any indication, is that Americans will, under a Romney administration, simply rely on an unregulated free market to solve our problems. We would have the “opportunity” to go without basic medical care, clean and air water, college aid, worker protections, safeguards against Wall Street excesses, and an adequate safety net. This will, in turn, create what Romney described as “an Opportunity Nation.”
Romney isn’t exactly a sequel to the Bush era, so much as he’s the Bush era rebranded. The difference is changing the word “ownership” to “opportunity,” and dropping any hint of “compassionate” as a precursor for “conservatism.”
West Midwest South East Cafe/Lounge (52 new)
Will Romney Appear Shirtless Now?
by Steve M.
Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 11:33:44 AM EST
You may have seen that Barack Obama has opened up a big lead in swing states, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll, primarily because more than 60% of women under 50 now support Obama in those states. Among all women in those states, Obama is leading by 18 points.
BuzzFeed is pointing out that, according to exit polls, Romney lost his 1994 Senate race to Ted Kennedy because he lost women’s votes. Watch the news clip:
You can draw different conclusions from this. The easy conclusion is that Romney regularly has problems attracting female voters.
Another possible conclusion, though, is that his image among women gets hurt by boorish high-profile members of his own party. That year, the boor was Newt Gingrich. (Republicans did extremely well in elections in 1994, but as the clip also notes, Bill Clinton was more popular in Massachusetts at that moment than in any other state.) This year, it’s … well, pretty much everyone in the GOP. I’m not sure Romney has a strong enough personality to be judged on his own merits; he’s judged, instead, as a reflection of others in his GOP cohort, because he seems like such an empty suit.
What happened in 2002, the only year when Romney actually won an election? Well, in late September he trailed his opponent, a woman named Shannon O’Brien, by 15 points among female voters. That was the moment when he decided to release a campaign ad in which he appeared shirless and in a bathing suit.
That doesn’t appear to have worked — O’Brien led Romney in the polls with a week to go. What seems to have turned things around was a late debate performance by O’Brien that was widely panned — and it turned on an issue of reproductive choice:
During a pivotal debate with Romney, O’Brien said she supported lowering the age of consent [for abortion] to 16. When moderator Tim Russert pointed out that the same girl would not be able to get a tattoo without parental consent, O’Brien quipped, “Would you like to see my tattoo?” Neither the quip nor her abortion position helped on election day.
Being pro-choice was a vote-getter in Massachusetts (Romney said he was pro-choice then, too), but clearly there were limits.
I suppose Romney’s going to try to get Barack Obama to go over a line like that. I think Obama knows where the lines are, however, much more than Shannon O’Brien did.
Meanwhile, Romney is going to take on the coloration of his party, as he did in 1994 (and possibly in 2002 — remember, that was when a lot of non-conservatives decided they felt secure with George W. Bush). This year, I don’t think that’s going to help him.
Ryan didn’t ‘misspeak’
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 9:32 AM EDT.
Everyone misspeaks from time to time, especially in public affairs. Someone might accidentally say Iraq, when they meant Iran. Someone meant to say 47, but they said 57. They’re just verbal slipups, and they’re hardly worth getting excited about.
But in politics, it’s worth appreciating the difference between actually misspeaking and getting caught saying something controversial.
On Thursday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.), chairman of the House Budget Committee, insisted that he, not America’s military leadership, should be trusted when it comes to Pentagon spending levels. Ryan went on to say that he believes Pentagon leaders may be deliberately misleading Congress about spending cuts that they’ve requested, but which Ryan does not want to make. A day later, Gen. Martin Dempsey, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, was not at all pleased with the congressman’s public comments.
On ABC yesterday, Ryan seemed eager to walk his comments back, telling George Stephanopoulos, “I totally misspoke.”
“My issue is, I think that the president’s budget on the Pentagon is a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget. He announced the number of the cuts he wanted for the Pentagon, and then he began the strategy review to conform to that number…. We think there are savings to be gotten [in the Pentagon budget], but I think the president’s hollowing it out.”
I don’t mean to sound picky, but this isn’t an example of Ryan having “misspoke” when he rejected the Defense Department’s budget request; this is more an example of Ryan repeating the exact same criticism using slightly different language.
Our pal James Carter posted the original comments Ryan made on Thursday at a National Journal forum.
Notice anything? What Ryan said on Thursday is practically identical to what he said on Sunday, even though he’s now arguing he “totally misspoke.”
On Thursday, Ryan said the Pentagon’s budget, endorsed by the Secretary of Defense and all of ht service chiefs, was dishonest and dangerous. Reminded of the military leaders who’ve already endorsed the budget request, and that it came from the Pentagon and not the White House, the right-wing Republican again said the budget “does hollow out defense.”
At the same event on Thursday, Ryan added that he perceives the Pentagon’s budget as “a budget-driven strategy, not a strategy-driven budget.”
Yesterday, Ryan used the identical language. How can someone claim he “totally misspoke” and then say the same thing again?
Ryan still thinks military leaders lied to Congress; he still thinks he knows better than the Pentagon what spending levels are necessary to keep America safe; and he still thinks Congress should give the Defense Department money the Pentagon doesn’t want.
The only difference between Thursday and Sunday is that Ryan has stopped attacking U.S. military leaders and started attacking the president. But since it’s the same attack, and this is a distinction without a difference, it’s laughable for Ryan to say he “misspoke.”
Little Paul “Eddie Munster” Ryan knows exactly what he’s saying. Can’t wait for PBO to cold-cock that rehashed budget of his tomorrow.
The Women Of March
Gallup’s latest shows Obama way up in the most important states:
One gender is fueling the rebound:
The biggest change came among women under 50. In mid-February, just under half of those voters supported Obama. Now more than six in 10 do while Romney’s support among them has dropped by 14 points, to 30%. The president leads him 2-1 in this group.
That’s a huge margin, making Ann Romney that much more important a figure, as Lois Romano notes. James Joyner is shocked:
Weeks of bizarre talk about contraception and vaginal ultrasounds has surprisingly alienated women from the Republican Party.
Jamelle Bouie bets that social issues will dog Romney:
Indeed, for as much as Romney wants to focus on the economy and leave social issues by the wayside, it’s not clear whether that’s possible for his campaign. Conservative voters distrust the former Massachusetts governor just enough so that he might have to show his loyalty with declarations on abortion, contraception, and other areas of women’s health. Already, he has pledged to take federal funding away from Planned Parenthood, and I expect him to repeat the promise during the general election.
Ed Kilgore defends the poll against critics:
Republican blogger Christian Heinze does offer a counter-argument against the poll’s bottom line, suggesting that the inclusion of WI, NM and MI as “swing states” skews it because Obama is almost certain to easily carry all three. I’m certainly interested to learn a Republican is willing to concede WI so early. But in any event, Heinze’s objection doesn’t explain the vast and increasing gender gap, or the likelihood the GOP has now dangerously raised expectations for a major cultural counter-revolution among its Christian Right-Tea Party base, while alarming a lot of women that they may well mean it.
Douglass Academy walkout earns suspensions for about 50 high schoolers
About 50 high school students at Frederick Douglass Academy in Detroit were suspended Thursday after walking out of classes to protest a host of issues at the all-boys school.
The concerns included a lack of consistent teachers and the removal of the principal.
The boys, dressed in school blazers, neckties and hoodies, chanted, “We want education!” as they marched outside the school.
Parents organized the walkout because they fear for the school’s future. As recently as last month, students spent weeks passing time in the gym, library or cafeteria due to a lack of teachers, parents said.
Worries escalated after district offices moved into part of the building in January, and the school was not listed as an application school for next year. Current students had to apply to attend Douglass.
In addition, the school’s founding principal, Sean Vann, was reassigned when he returned Wednesday after a three-month sick leave.
“They’re failing these young black men,” said Sharise Smith, who has two sons at Douglass.
Smith said her son received an A in geometry during the first semester without taking a final exam.
“It was by default, just for showing up. It wasn’t because he earned an A,” Smith said.
Thursday’s demonstration was the second one this month at a Detroit Public Schools high school.
Hundreds of students staged a protest earlier this month about administrative changes at Denby High. None was suspended.
Smith called the suspensions of Douglass Academy students unfair.
Steve Wasko, spokesman for DPS, declined to comment about the teacher and principal assignment complaints, but said, “Teachers who abuse sick time will be reprimanded.”
Wasko said the district is committed to the keeping the school open and it added new courses — debate and an engineering program.
Douglass Academy enrolls about 200 boys in sixth through 12th grade and is the only all-boys public school in the state.
High school students say they are months behind the syllabus for classes, especially math. Several math teachers have come and gone.
“We’ve been wronged and disrespected and lied to and cheated,” said senior Tevin Hill, who made the announcement to start the walkout. “They didn’t listen to us when we complained to the administration. They didn’t listen to the parents when they complained to the administration, so I guess this is the only way to get things solved.”
Hill said he was accepted to Bowling Green State University but left the college’s math placement exam recently.
“I’m generally good in math, but I was embarrassed. I didn’t know any of it.”
Douglass is among the few high schools in the Detroit district that typically meet federal adequate yearly progress academic standards. However, the school did not meet standards in 2011 in English Language Arts, according to Michigan Department of Education data.
School board members LaMar Lemmons III and Reverend David Murray, along with activist Helen Moore, marched with the boys Thursday.
“They’re not involved in academic learning — just taking a seat, occupying a space — and some of these children are near graduation,” Murray said.
she is just beautiful.
Black and Beautiful.
Thank you, Rikyrah. Haley loves taking pictures.
Haley is Stunningly Beautiful, just precious!
Found this comments over at Coates:
Between Two Worlds 4 hours ago
You know how you say we shouldn’t post just because the button allows us?
This isn’t that kind of post.
It’s just my feelings and observations.
Black Americans are invisible to most white Americans. Invisible as people, invisible as free moral agents, invisible as participants in the economy, invisible as worth paying attention to, as if their objections to being slighted and sidelined for being black are trifles.
I saw this not as a sociologist or anthropologist. I’ll admit my data source is just me and what I’ve seen and experienced and done. So color me biased, perhaps.
Here’s what I can say:
Over the course of the last month, not one of my white friends who is close to me has expressed anything about Travyon and this situation, about any of what Ta-Nehisi speaks of here, about the degradation of black Americans in general.
A few of my extremely leftist white friends/acquaintances on FB have posted something, but there hasn’t been any “me toos” by anyone else.
This has not come up in church, school, work, bus, evening’s entertainment, coffee, what-have-you, with my white friends.
It’s ignored, except now the first assertions are being made in fighting back – posts about Z, about Spike Lee, about Sharpton. Nothing from my white friends – some with teens of their own – on the awful horror of seeing your son dead from a gun, and society and law enforcement doing nothing to protect you or hear you.
My (few) friends of color? This. It took a while to dance past the surface of everyday observations, but this is something my friends talk about. A lot.
Not just about the horror of seeing a son dead and undefended by the overseers of safety. The feeling of being invisible, of having “black concerns,” that this is a “black issue.”
It is not. It is an issue where a young man was shot dead by a grown man, and no one who should have spoke up for the dead man. Martin was invisible before because he was just living his life; but then he was killed, and he stayed invisible because he was denied justice and the equal protection of the law.
That’s something any human, anyone in America who thinks we are a society of laws with a guarantee of life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness should be speaking up about.
A man like Martin should be safe to live his life unmolested and unassailed. He shouldn’t just get shot with no outcry.
This is so raw and real and TRUTH. Some White folks don’t want to deal with Trayvon Martin’s senseless murder of hate.
It would upset the STATUS QUO for them. It would mean they’d have to do some soul-searching. they want to go on believing that since PBO got electedm, weez all post-racial now!
I just love Anita Baker! I’m loving the music.
Thank you, SG2. Anita will be giving us the best that’s she got; this week!
Planned Parenthood In Wisconsin Bombed | Police are investigating after a homemade explosive device started a small fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic in Grand
Chute, Wisconsin. A small device placed on a windowsill went off around 7:30 last night and started a fire. Firefighters responded, but the fire had burnt itself out when they arrived. The clinic was empty and no one was hurt. The state has been debating a number of bills that critics say amount to a “war against women,” including one limiting abortion coverage in private medical plans and another basically equating single motherhood with child abuse.
Sheer TERRORISM! GOP’S WAR ON WOMEN
‘Sparkle’ Trailer: Whitney Houston’s Final Film Premieres Trailer On ‘Today’ Show (VIDEO)
Thanks for this. I think Sparkle will be a grand hit. Who doesn’t want to see Whitney Houston starring in her last film in 16 years. I miss her, and can’t believe she’s really gone. *sigh*
The Power Of None/Other
President Obama could lose both the Catholic and Protestant vote to the Republican nominee and still win re-election, thanks to the “None/Other vote.” A definition:
“Nones” are people without a religious affiliation (this does not mean they are an atheist or agnostic… they may even consider themselves to be religious or spiritual—just not connected to any religious group). “Others” are a survey research catch-all category of people who have non-Christian religious affiliations.
Their voting power:
Twenty years ago the combined None/Other vote amounted to less than 10 percent of the population and the voting electorate. Today, the None/Other population percentage has risen to 22 percent (… and is expected to continue to grow in the future).
Posted at 11:12 AM ET, 04/02/2012
The GOP’s `repeal and replace’ fraud
By Jonathan Bernstein
Almost fifteen months ago, the new Republican majority in the House passed a go-nowhere repeal of the health law and promised to begin work on a replacement, which would entail holding “hearings in Washington and around the country” to draft a Republican version of health care reform. This hasn’t happened.
Several months ago, a key GOP subcommittee chair pledged that Republicans would be rolling out their replacement ideas over the next few months in preparation for the introduction of a bill later this spring. This hasn’t happened, either.
Which raises a question: Will Republicans really have the chutzpah to run on “repeal and replace” for a second consecutive Congressional election cycle after doing absolutely nothing about the “replace” part for two years?
The most recent promise of a “replace” plan was made back in January by Rep. Joe Pitts, chair of the Health Subcommittee of the Energy and Commerce Committee, back in January. Since then? His subcommittee has held a hearing on generic drugs, one on traumatic brain injury, and even one on the “Current State of Cosmetics.” I’m sure those were all important. But replacing the health law? No, somehow that seems to have slipped off the agenda again.
The truth is that “replace” has always been a fraud, cooked up presumably because a flat-out repeal of health care reform polls much worse than replacing it with some unspecified legislation which would presumably contain all of the popular items in the health lawwithout any of the costs. Since such a bill is impossible, however, the timeline for when the bill will be developed keeps slipping into the unspecified future.
Sometimes Republicans admit that they really have no intention of passing a serious bill to replace the health law if they get the votes need to repeal it or if the Supreme Court tosses it out, as Mitch McConnell did last week. But for the most part, “replace” is still their official policy.
As Greg has been noting, if the Supreme Court really does toss out health care reform in June, this is no longer going to be just a symbolic question; Republicans would get their way on the repeal of Obama’s signature domestic reform. If that happens, maybe everybody will then realize that the vow to “replace” health reform has always been a fraud.
Team Romney pushes its luck with hot-mic story
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 11:00 AM EDT
.Mitt Romney and his campaign team seemed to be having such a good time with President Obama’s hot-mic comments to Russian President Dmitri Medvedev. It apparently didn’t occur to them that they could take this a little too far.
Late Friday, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul, responding to calls for the former governor’s still-hidden tax returns, pushed her luck in a written statement:
“Obama should release the notes and transcripts of all his meetings with world leaders so the American people can be satisfied that he’s not promising to sell out the country’s interests after the election is over.”
This really wasn’t a smart thing to say.
Almost immediately after the Romney campaign’s press statement, the DNC distributed a statement from Dr. Colin H. Kahl, former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for the Middle East, who explained that he’s been involved in many sensitive meetings with our allies around the world, and was in a position to say that the Romney campaign’s comment “shows a remarkable naivete about foreign policy.”
“For example, does Governor Romney think we should release all the notes and transcripts of the President’s conversations with our allies, such as the Israelis and Europeans, tipping our hand to Tehran about every last element of our strategy to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon?
“Our friends around the world need to trust that they can speak with the President of the United States in confidence, and that these conversations will not be politicized during an election. Such a dramatic and unprecedented step would undermine the ability of the United States to successfully conduct foreign policy at a time when our nation faces numerous challenges abroad, and suggesting it is just a reckless attempt to score cheap political points. It is yet another indication that Mitt Romney is not ready to be Commander-in-Chief.”
If the Democrats’ goal is to make Romney look like an unprepared rookie, not ready for the big kids’ table when it comes to foreign policy, the Romney campaign calling for the release of private transcripts makes the Dems’ job easier. There are plenty of reasons to question Romney on international affairs — he seems painfully out of his depth on the subject — and self-inflicted wounds won’t help.
NO! Not as long as I’m President Tee hee hee
Biden: ‘This is not your father’s Republican Party’
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 11:31 AM EDT
.For much of the American mainstream, there’s a general understanding of the two major political parties: voters choose between a center-right Republican Party and a center-left Democratic Party. This dynamic has been pretty consistent for many decades, and voters broadly know what to expect from both sides.
One of the broader goals for Democrats is to persuade the mainstream that, in 2012, the dynamic has changed. There’s a Republican Party on the ballot, but it’s not the same Republican Party that Americans have come to know and understand.
President Obama recently told supporters, “In 2008, I was running against a general election candidate who believed in banning torture, believed in doing something about climate change…. Somebody, who, frankly, could never get a nomination in the Republican Party this time out.”
Vice President Biden sounded a similar note yesterday: “This is not your father’s Republican Party. This is a different party than I’m used to…. It really is different.”
With this in mind, E.J. Dionne Jr. argued persuasively today, “A brief look at history suggests how far to the right both the Republican Party and contemporary conservatism have moved.”
Okay, Now You’re Just Making This Up, Politico
By Zandar April 2nd, 2012
Yeah, I call shenanigans on this Politico article this morning:
Ann Romney is the Romney Democrats fear most
No, seriously. When the hell did Ann Romney even become a factor in this race, let alone become a source of “fear” for the Obama campaign and Democrats in general?
Ann Romney’s unexpected rock star status has the political arena buzzing about how her husband’s campaign will leverage her popularity in an election in which Michelle Obama — one of the most admired first ladies in history — will have an outsized and substantive portfolio.
Indeed, this 62-year-old grandmother’s contribution to Mitt Romney’s campaign could amount to the most relevant role a wife has ever played in a presidential effort — softening the edges of a flawed and awkward candidate who struggles to connect with voters.
Alright, look. Ann Romney would burst into flames like an exposed block of lithium in a bathtub of water if she ever made physical contact with any human being who made less than six figures last year. She has been completely irrelevant in this campaign, period…other than maybe the fact she has multiple Cadillacs and that she doesn’t consider herself wealthy. I mean it’s not like the bar of “more likeable than Mitt Romney” is some Everest-class feat of unfathomable difficulty. It means you can keep yourself from saying obnoxious things about how rich you are less than 50% of the time you open your damn mouth. This does not make you a “rock star”, it makes you roughly 99 out of 100 Americans. The only reason she’s the Romney with all the charisma is that she’s kept her mouth shut so far, so she’s at roughly zero instead of Mitt’s negative billion.
And now she’s a “rock star” who is even more important and more “relevant” to the Romney campaign than Hillary was to candidate Bill or Michelle was to candidate Barack Obama? Man, you guys are just absolutely pulling things out of your ass now over there. And no, the date on the article is April 2, not April 1, which is what I originally thought when I read this.
Naah, this is just egregious ass-kissing on the part of Roger Simon’s folks. This is wholesale fan fiction to try to cover up the fact that Romney is augering into the ground like Don Draper’s liver. Ann Romney certainly hasn’t been an asset the other times Mitt has run for President, now has she?
Jesus, Politico, at least pretend like you guys aren’t trying to create a horse-race out of bullshit.
LOL yeah we scurred of Ann alright, because Ann wishes she could “STRANGLE” the media.
Roger Simon & nem need more sleep or something. Please!
Did Rick Santorum Almost Call Pres. Obama the N-word? (Watch/Listen)
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Apr 1 2012, 10:48 PM ET 123
The Times reconstructs the events that led up to Trayvon Martin. In the course of doing so it interviews Frank Taaffe, who’s defended George Zimmerman actions in the past:
Adding to the uncertainty and flux was the sense among some residents that this secured community was no longer so secure. There had been burglaries; at least seven in 2011, according to police reports. Strangers had started showing up, said Frank Taaffe, 55, a marketing specialist, originally from the Bronx, who works out of his home in the Retreat. He made it clear that he was not talking about just any strangers.
“There were Trayvon-like dudes with their pants down,” Mr. Taaffe said.
As the father of a black boy, this is chilling. Frank Taaffe has no real way of knowing how Trayvon Martin wore his pants. I doubt that he much cares.
What amazes is the casualness of the racism, a casualness which does not see black boys as boys at all–but an indistinguishable super-predators in waiting. “Trayvon-like dudes.”
This is my last post on this subject, until I hear something definitive. Watching people drag somebody’s dead child through the mud is too much for me.
I’m right there with you Coates. I LOATHE these spineless, hateful excuses for human beings.
Just look at the sickness here. This bastard has an idea in his head about black youth and the truth be damned. He doesn’t know anything about Trayvon. Just an idea he has formed in his empty fking head.
This is filth being passed off as journalism This is what America calls journalism; it continues to push and help reinforce these ugly, racist sterotypes of black boys as thugs and criminals to be feared. Just despicable!
Why Don’t Black People Protest ‘Black On Black Violence’?
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
Apr 2 2012, 8:50 AM ET 26
Juan Williams offers a meme that we are seeing repeated in response to the widespread protests around Trayvon Martin:
But what about all the other young black murder victims? Nationally, nearly half of all murder victims are black. And the overwhelming majority of those black people are killed by other black people. Where is the march for them?
This is an interesting question. It’s also one that Juan Williams, who’s been writing about race for almost three decades, should be able to answer. Moreover, Williams is an award-winning journalist. Should he not know the answer, it would suit him to do his job and find out.
This is Chicago in 2010:
This is New York last September:
HARLEM — New York public leaders, community organizations and residents gathered Sunday to celebrate the 42nd annual African American Day Parade in Harlem. One focal point of the march was to attenuate the looming violence in neighboring and citywide communities.
The march took place on Adam Clayton Powell Blvd., extending from 111th St. to 135th St., summoning New York dignitaries such as Rev. Al Sharpton, U.S. Congressman Charles Rangel, New York Police Department Commissioner Kelly Raymond, city council members Robert Jackson, Inez Dickens, and assemblyman Keith Wright. The NAACP, the National Action Network, and other organizations joined leaders in celebrating the achievements of the African American community, and reflect on its culture in the 21st century America…
The stream of consciousness regarding violence in the community permeated the street. A banner from State Senator Bill Perkins read, “Drop The Guns! Stop The Violence”–which evoked passionate responses from onlookers.
This is Newark in 2009:
This is Pittsburgh last September:
[The] Stop the Violence rally was a peaceful, entertaining and uplifting event that felt like a family reunion. The message of stopping the violence was loud and clear throughout the whole day and the Thomas family wants everyone to take that message home every day, not just for one day out of the year.
This was the 10th annual rally Loaf and Cynthia Thomas have sponsored and hosted every September 11 in response to the attack on America and the senseless acts of violence that occur in the Hill District and other “hoods” in the city of Pittsburgh and throughout the country.
This is Saginaw, Michigan in 2010:
A year after his death, the memory of 9-year-old Devin Elliott and other victims of violence in Saginaw continues to motivate residents to take back their streets, the Rev. Larry D. Camel says.
“We’re not going to tolerate kids getting killed in our streets any longer,” said Camel, co-founder of faith-based anti-violence community organization Parishioners on Patrol. Camel said he hopes at least 500 people participate in a second Stop the Violence March at 10 a.m. Saturday in Saginaw.
Last fall, Parishioners on Patrol organized a Stop the Violence rally and march that attracted 150 people, a response to 22 shootings in Saginaw resulting in three deaths.
This is Brooklyn, yesterday:
Hundreds of protestors marched through Fort Greene on Palm Sunday to protest three shootings in the Ingersoll and Whitman Houses that resulted in two deaths last month. “It needs to stop,” said Linda Simpson, resident of the nearby Farragut Houses, and one of the marchers.
Residents of the housing developments blame drugs and disconnected youth for a body count in the 88th Precinct that’s already equal to the number of murders reported in all of 2011. “It’s black-on-black crime,” said Monique Richardson, who grew up in the Farragut Houses. “It’s been a downfall for the past 15 years. Now, you have to be in doors by 5 p.m. [to be safe].”
That’s just a sample.
I came up in the era of Self-Destruction. I wrote a book largely about violence in black communities. The majority of my public experiences today are about addressing violence in black communities. I can not tell you how scared black parents are for their kids, and whatever modest success of my book experienced, most of it hinged on the great worry that black mothers feel for their sons.
There is a kind of sincere black person who really would like to see even more outrage about violence in black communities. I don’t think outrage will do it at this point, but I respect the sincere feeling.
And then there are pundits who write more than they read, and talk more than they listen, and prefer an easy creationism to a google search.
Mitt Romney’s women problem
Posted by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake
at 06:30 AM ET, 04/02/2012
The protracted GOP presidential primary process has badly damaged former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney as he begins to turn his attention to the fall general election fight against President Obama, according to a new poll conducted in 12 swing states by Gallup and USA Today .
In the 12 states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia and Wisconsin — included in the Gallup/USA Today survey, Obama leads Romney 51 percent to 42 percent.
While that lead is eye-opening in its own right — most people believe that the race between Obama and Romney will be very close — it’s all the more remarkable given that, just a month ago, Romney held a two-point edge in these same 12 states.
And even a cursory look inside the numbers explains why Obama has reclaimed the lead; it’s women. In mid-February, Obama took less than half of the vote from women under 50 years old. Now he wins more than 60 percent of them. (Obama is ahead of Romney among all women by 18 points.)
“Romney certainly didn’t create the gender gap, but the heir apparent will inherit what is no doubt a challenge,” acknowledged Tracey Schmitt, a former spokeswoman at the Republican National Committee. “The general election will provide the campaign an opportunity to address the divide.”
That rapid consolidation of women behind Obama seems directly attributable to the focus in the Republican presidential primary on contraception and other reproductive rights issues during the past six weeks or so.
The candidates’ emphasis on social issues has led many within the party’s strategist class to throw up their hands in frustration — insisting that the candidates should be spending all of their time talking about the economy.
Pray tell, why would any sane woman vote for Romney when he flat out says he’d get rid of Planned Parenthood, a source of health services that benefits some of women’s most critical health needs?
Posted at 09:01 AM ET, 04/02/2012
The Morning Plum: Will female voters reelect Obama?
By Greg Sargent
The political scientists tell us to ignore head-to-head polling at this stage, because it’s far too early for it to have any predictive meaning. That said, a new USA Today/Gallup poll finding that Obama has opened up a huge lead over Mitt Romney among women is noteworthy, because it foreshadows what will be a major subplot in Campaign 2012.
The poll finds that Obama has opened up a significant lead over Romney, 51-42, among registered voters in a dozen swing states — a lead that’s fueled by female voters. Obama leads among women by 18 points — more than offsetting Romney’s small edge among men. The biggest shift has come among women under 50: Obama now leads Romney among them by two to one.
Is the GOP’s sharp right turn back on to culture war turf the explanation? In recent months, we’ve seen battles over the Blunt amendment; over Planned Parenthood; and over Rush Limbaugh’s “slut” comments. And we’ve also seen a GOP primary that has forced the expected GOP nominee to embrace cultural positions that could alienate women and other swing constituencies.
Steve Kornacki notes an interesting parallel to Bill Clinton’s reelection, which also turned heavily on the female vote:
This may be a case of history repeating itself. The last Democratic president to stand for reelection, Bill Clinton in 1996, owed his reelection to a massive and decisive gender gap. His campaign against Bob Dole is generally remembered as a sleepy, suspense-less affair, one that Clinton led wire-to-wire and ended up winning by a healthy eight-point margin. And yet, among men, Clinton actually lost to Dole by a point, 44 to 43 percent. It was women, who sided with Clinton by 16 points, who accounted for his lopsided victory….
…as with Obama, his presidency provoked relentless, culturally-fueled conservative opposition that had particular resonance with white male voters, especially in the South and rural areas….
Meanwhile, though, Clinton increased his share of the women’s vote by ten points. There was no obviously gender- based issue like contraception to account for this, but it seemed that women reacted with particular hostility to the GOP Congress that was elected in ’94 and to the face of that
Clinton also drew a hard line against GOP efforts to cut Medicare, which is also a major issue this year, thanks to the Paul Ryan budget.
I continue to believe Romney will be granted the presumption of moderation once he becomes the nominee, partly because no one really believes he’s seriously committed to cultural issues, and partly because the “radical” or “extreme” label is ascribed to politicians based on cultural issues and tone, and not based on their economic worldview, one area where Romney does hold sincere and heartfelt views that are genuinely radical. And Romney will certainly have a chance to reintroduce himself to core swing constituencies — women included — once he’s the nominee.
But Dems will work hard to remind women of Romney’s positions during the primaries, and this will be a key battlefield, given the expected importance of independent and suburban women to the outcome.
Ryan and Romney: A Marriage of Our Insane Times
By Charles P. Pierce at 3:49PM
You have to give it to him: It’s been a good week for Congressman Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin. Now, if we were still sane in our politics, the zombie-eyed granny-starver would have been laughed out of his own party when his previous efforts at zombie-eyed granny-starving caused the entire nation to blanch as one, and cost the Republicans a congressional seat in upstate New York that they’d held approximately since DeWitt Clinton bought the farm. If we were still sane in our politics, sensible Republicans would have gone to Ryan at that point and told him, You know, dude, maybe for you not so much this budget stuff any more. If we want to hang an albatross around our necks, we’ll go out and shoot one ourselves. If we were still sane in our politics, the national media no longer would’ve gone to the zombie-eyed granny-starver as a wise man on our economic difficulties because, every time the man produces a budget, the Congressional Budget Office has to hand out Thorazine just so its analysts can get through the day.
Nevertheless, and god knoweth how, Ryan remains such a sufficient force in our politics that his endorsement of the Romneybot 2.0 on Friday is considered to be a big deal, even though — and, Lord knows, we realize we are repeating ourselves here — if the Romneybot had endorsed anything like zombie-eyed granny-starving early in his career, he wouldn’t have received 11 votes in Massachusetts and we might never have heard of him again….
“At the end of the day, whether a candidate has a gaffe on Tuesday or Thursday is not going to decide the campaign,” Mr. Ryan said. “Voters are looking for someone who will show them a contrasting vision to the one that Obama has given us.”
(This, of course, ignores the obvious truth that Romney has given us several contrasting visions to the ones Romney had previously given us.)
This, in fact, should be a gaffe in and of itself. In an election in which every pundit in the universe is going to tell him that he has to “tack to the center” to win in November, Romney once again demonstrates that he’s still headed off at 40 knots toward the misty isles of Wingnutesia. He’s married himself to the economic extremist’s economic extremist, a guy who is playing a pivotal role in the Great Republican Renege on last year’s budget deal, a guy whose “budget” the house passed this week, and who had the audacity just yesterday to unlimber the finely honed sense of military affairs that he developed in Janesville, Wisconsin and intimate that the generals are lying about their state of readiness. This, of course, as part of the overall effort by the Republicans to disarm the “trigger” that mandates cuts in defense spending, something that should have surprised precisely nobody. And, yes, everything they say about The Deficit — boogedy-boogedy! — is a lie, why do you ask? Paul Ryan is calling the generals liars and insisting that they take more money. Were we still sane in our politics, this would be seen as the arrantly nutty idea that it truly is.
(Here, by the way, is the zombie-eyed granny-starver’s flack, trying to shine up the flag pin on the zombie-eyed granny-starver’s lapel: Asked for clarification, Conor Sweeney, a spokesman for Ryan, said the congressman “believes the integrity of our generals and admirals is unimpeachable. They serve our country with distinction and unparalleled honor. Unfortunately, there is an inconsistency between the strategic goals and the budgetary targets that our generals and admirals have been given by the White House.” Translation: Suck-up, suck-up, bullshit, the president’s fault.)
There was a time in his life, and I’m old enough to remember it, when Willard Romney wouldn’t have given 15 minutes consideration to this kind of supply-side fever-dreaming. The “Ryan budget” shoves the country’s wealth upwards, decimates the social safety net, relies on a new form of mathematics that seems to have been developed by Bighorn sheep, and doesn’t do any more toward reducing the deficit than it does toward re-aligning the teams in the American Football Conference. The Romney who produced the Massachusetts health-care reform — Thanks, Mitt! — wouldn’t recognize the Romney that is such a fan these days of zombie-eyed granny-starving. Paul Ryan’s career as a “budget guru” is as much a miracle of media smoke-and-mirrors as was Newt Gingrich’s long career as a Man Of Ideas, both of them pure products of a culture of media timidity that is unable to confront the fact that one of our two major political parties has gone barking mad. That is the party that is about to nominate Willard Romney. A man is known by the company he keeps.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/paul-ryan-endorses-romney-7723446#ixzz1qtA9yXbo
Setting the stage for a ‘Buffett Rule’ showdown
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.Eight months ago, Warren Buffett, chairman and chief executive of Berkshire Hathaway, wrote an op-ed for the New York Times headlined, “Stop Coddling the Super-Rich,” a group that included, of course, the author of the piece. The column turned out to be one of the most important op-eds of the year — it gave rise to the proposed “Buffett Rule.”
The point is pretty straightforward, and at first blush, a simple matter of fairness: proponents of Buffett Rule want to correct a flaw in the existing tax system: thanks to various loopholes and giveaways, very wealthy Americans can end up paying a much lower tax rate than working families. It’s a problem President Reagan described as “crazy” during his second term.
A quarter-century later, Reagan’s party no longer agrees, and Republicans have opposed any and all efforts to correct the tax imbalance. Democrats, meanwhile, aren’t letting this go.
In his weekly address, delivered over the weekend, President Obama helped set the stage for the coming fight.
For those who can’t watch clips online, Obama explained that Buffett “is paying a lower rate than his secretary.”
When it comes to Congress approving the Buffett Rule, Democrats have low expectations. But given the electoral context, they’re nevertheless eager to get every member on record.
And that’s going to happen, at least in the Senate, fairly soon.
The Hill reported that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) has already begun the procedural steps to line up the vote in the chamber two weeks from today.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will file for cloture Thursday and set a vote on the so-called Buffett Rule, which would raise taxes on those making more than $1 million annually.
A Senate leadership aide told The Hill that Reid plans to vote on the rule on April 16.
In case this isn’t obvious, the fight has sweeping implications. For the Senate, Democrats are eager to put Republicans, especially vulnerable GOP incumbents like Scott Brown and Dean Heller, on the spot, testing their willingness to fight for tax loopholes that benefit millionaires and billionaires.
But there’s also the presidential race, in which the likely Republican nominee, Mitt Romney, is extremely wealthy thanks to a successful career as a vulture capitalist. Romney takes full advantage of the existing loopholes, allowing him to pay a 13.9% rate on the millions he receives every year from the firm at which he no longer works.
The question for congressional Republicans, then, is whether they support tax fairness or whether they want to keep allowing Mitt Romney to pay a much lower tax rate than America’s middle class.
Women boost Obama in swing states
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 2, 2012 8:35 AM EDT.
Campaigning in Wisconsin yesterday, Mitt Romney seemed well aware of the recent polling trend. “We have work to do,” the Republican said, “to make sure we take our message to the women of America.”
The available evidence, however, suggests American women have already heard that message, and they’re not especially impressed.
A new USA Today/Gallup poll shows President Obama leading Romney among registered voters, 49% to 45%, and while that margin is clearly narrow, it’s also the president’s largest lead in the 2012 race thus far. Arguably more interesting, however, is Obama’s edge in the nation’s 12 most competitive swing states, and the gender gap fueling the president’s advantage.
President Obama has opened the first significant lead of the 2012 campaign in the nation’s dozen top battleground states, a USA TODAY/Gallup Poll finds, boosted by a huge shift of women to his side.
In the fifth Swing States survey taken since last fall, Obama leads Republican front-runner Mitt Romney 51%-42% among registered voters just a month after the president had trailed him by two percentage points.
Here’s a chart I put together, showing the Obama-vs-Romney matchup in these swing states (Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Michigan, Nevada, New Hampshire, New Mexico, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginiam and Wisconsin), going back over the last several months.
Note, however, that the boost in the president’s standing isn’t just a natural evolution, caused by an improving economy. As USA Today’s article explained, “The biggest change came among women under 50.” Consider this stunning shift: since mid-February, Obama’s lead over Romney among women under the age of 50 has gone from 5 points to 30 points, which has helped turn the president’s modest deficit against Romney into a healthy lead.
Overall, Romney leads Obama among all men by one point, while Obama leads Romney among all women by 18 points. As a point of reference, in the 2008 election, Obama beat McCain among women by 12 points.
I won’t pretend to be a master political strategist, but I’ll go out on a limb here and argue that trying to restrict contraception access, mandating medically-unnecessary ultrasounds, vowing to get rid of Planned Parenthood, and enabling Rush Limbaugh may not have been the smartest election-year strategy for the GOP.
Monday Morning Open Thread: “Pink Slime Economics”
By Anne Laurie April 2nd, 2012
Professor Krugman reminds us not to get so distracted by the SCOTUS anti-ACA antics that we forget to keep a sharp eye on zombie-eyed granny-starver[*] Paul Ryan:
… The Ryan budget is a fraud; Mr. Ryan talks loudly about the evils of debt and deficits, but his plan would actually make the deficit bigger even as it inflicted huge pain in the name of deficit reduction. But is his budget really the most fraudulent in American history? Yes, it is.
To be sure, we’ve had irresponsible and/or deceptive budgets in the past. Ronald Reagan’s budgets relied on voodoo, on the claim that cutting taxes on the rich would somehow lead to an explosion of economic growth. George W. Bush’s budget officials liked to play bait and switch, low-balling the cost of tax cuts by pretending that they were only temporary, then demanding that they be made permanent. But has any major political figure ever premised his entire fiscal platform not just on totally implausible spending projections but on claims that he has a secret plan to raise trillions of dollars in revenue, a plan that he refuses to share with the public?
What’s going on here? The answer, presumably, is that this is what happens when extremists gain complete control of a party’s discourse: all the rules get thrown out the window. Indeed, the hard right’s grip on the G.O.P. is now so strong that the party is sticking with Mr. Ryan even though it’s paying a significant political price for his assault on Medicare.
Now, the House Republican budget isn’t about to become law as long as President Obama is sitting in the White House. But it has been endorsed by Mr. Romney. And even if Mr. Obama is reelected, the fraudulence of this budget has important implications for future political negotiations…
[W]hat we learn from the latest Republican budget is that the whole pursuit of a Grand Bargain was a waste of time and political capital. For a lasting budget deal can only work if both parties can be counted on to be both responsible and honest — and House Republicans have just demonstrated, as clearly as anyone could wish, that they are neither.
Mon Apr 2nd, 2012 at 08:53:34 AM EST
David Javerbaum’s Quantum Theory of Mitt Romney is eerily accurate. Normally these kinds of columns seem forced as the author feels compelled to slam everything into their model even though some parts fit much better than others. But, in this case, the model seems to work in a universal sense. Romney’s candidacy actually does defy classical politics and cannot be explained by Newtonian physics. It’s no coincidence that this is occurring in a party that has made its final break with science. And it’s no wonder that even the best political prognosticators, such as myself, have struggled to predict the outcome of this contest. Who could be certain, for example, that an anti-Romney particle would not be created that was capable of annihilating Romney? And how could anyone know what Romney would do when his behavior was always controlled by the one observing his behavior? His candidacy is absurd. Or, as Albert Camus put it:
“If I try to seize this self of which I feel sure, if I try to define and to summarize it, it is nothing but water slipping through my fingers. I can sketch one by one all the aspects it is able to assume, all those likewise that have been attributed to it, this upbringing, this origin, this ardor or these silences, this nobility or this vileness. But aspects cannot be added up.”
No, indeed not. And Romney’s father was insulted on last night’s airing of Mad Men. So there’s a culture war going on, too.
April 01, 2012
‘A pretence of equity’
There are now three ways to learn to distrust the law. Either haplessly involve yourself in some minor legal proceeding — as a forever sorry few of us have — which instantly reveals the law’s and its practicing lawyers’ abject disregard for justice sought, found, and executed; or read Charles Dickens — as many of us have — who recognized in the practice of law society’s greatest impediment to social honor, integrity, and progress; or track today’s U.S. Supreme Court — as most of us have — in its thoughtless actions.
It may be that the Post’s Steven Perlstein at some time engaged in Method A, though he doesn’t say; however this morning he does plunder the vast wisdom of Methods B and C:
If the law is an ass, as Mr. Bumble declares in “Oliver Twist,” then constitutional law must surely be the entire wagon train….
[The Obamacare case] was to be a “teaching moment” for the country, an opportunity to see the best and the brightest engage in a reasoned debate on the limits of federal power. Instead, what we got too often was political posturing, Jesuitical hair-splitting and absurd hypotheticals.
For an even more jaundiced view and thus deeper understanding of SCOTUS I would add, from Dickens’ Bleak House, his description of England’s High Court of Chancery as one that labored in “tripping one another up on slippery precedents, groping knee-deep in technicalities” and “making a pretence of equity with serious faces” — not so foreign or historical, no? I would add as well the final cynicism that there’s little to no reason to anticipate, as Perlstein does, that our High Court “is likely to articulate a modest new limit on Congress’s power to regulate interstate commerce that would allow health reform to proceed in some fashion” or “duck the commerce clause altogether and simply uphold the individual mandate as a legitimate exercise of Congress’s taxing power.”
Were it not for Bush v. Gore, there’d be virtually no reason to suspect an always political Supreme Court as, further, a Court ideologically corrupted beyond hope. But suffer we did the cutting indignity of that tragic decision, which only emboldened the Court to proceed from tragedy to farce, in Citizens United. Now it is axiomatic that past behavior is the best predictor of future performance, ergo, one’s best guess must be that in the pending case the Court will proceed from tragedy and farce to final insult.
How then will the nation proceed when its last institutional outpost of (once) presumed impartiality renders itself — again — but a brazenly open kangaroo Court of banana-republic decadence? I haven’t a clue. So for now I’ll seek refuge in what is likely Mr. Perlstein’s profoundly delusional world, which is able to house a Supreme Court of some dignity.
The Solyndra sideshow peters out
By David Roberts
No one is more invested in seeing the Solyndra investigation continue to produce “news” than Politico, so it’s significant that reporter (and Solyndra devotee) Darren Samuelsohn has basically called it. After over a year, Republicans have turned up nothing, as this sad excerpt makes clear:
Is there a criminal activity? Perhaps not,” Oversight and Government Reform Committee Chairman Darrell Issa told POLITICO after last Tuesday’s showdown with Energy Secretary Steven Chu. “Is there a political influence and connections? Perhaps not. Did they bend the rules for an agenda, an agenda not covered within the statute? Absolutely.
Anyway, this is as close to a declaration of surrender as Issa will ever issue. Meanwhile, it looks like the other House Solyndra ringmaster, Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-Fla.), is guilty of birtherism and possibly bribery. It’s a shambles.
The very next paragraph of Samuelsohn’s story, however, is even more sad:
In some respects, Republicans have accomplished their mission. Even if no one goes to jail, they’ve turned Solyndra into a four-letter word, vilified the Nobel laureate Chu and left a popular DOE program in shambles. They also make no bones about how they’ve turned Solyndra into a campaign issue.
There’s an element of surreality to this. The GOP could not have deployed Solyndra to such great political effect without the active complicity of the media, which chased every shiny bauble Stearns and Issa tossed past them, writing again and again as though there already was a scandal. But there wasn’t — there never was. It was always a policy difference being legislated through a witch hunt.
Trayvon Martin’s Brother speaks:
Happy MUN-dane, Everyone! :-)
Good Morning, Everyone :)