Tuesday Open Thread

Eric Patrick Clapton, CBE (born 30 March 1945) is an English guitarist, vocalist, and songwriter. Clapton is the only three-time inductee to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame: once as a solo artist, and separately as a member of The Yardbirds and Cream. Clapton has been referred to as one of the most important and influential guitarists of all time.[2] Clapton ranked fourth in Rolling Stone magazine’s list of the “100 Greatest Guitarists of All Time”[3] and fourth in Gibson’s Top 50 Guitarists of All Time.[

About SouthernGirl2

A Native Texan who adores baby kittens, loves horses, rodeos, pomegranates, & collect Eagles. Enjoys politics, games shows, & dancing to all types of music. Loves discussing and learning about different cultures. A Phi Theta Kappa lifetime member with a passion for Social & Civil Justice.
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70 Responses to Tuesday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Idaho’s only black lawmaker gets KKK membership invite
    By David Edwards
    Tuesday, April 10, 2012 15:11 EDT

    Idaho’s only African-American lawmaker, who had a cross burned on her lawn at the age of seven, is speaking out after she said she received a hand-written invitation to join the the Knights of the Ku Klux Klan.

    On Saturday, Democratic state Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb used her Facebook page to share photos of the KKK “application,” which asked for $35 and a proclamation that she was “a White Christian man or woman.”

    “Check out communiqué from the KKK received this week in the mail,” she wrote. “Newsletter, Application…Really?”

    “(It) was addressed by hand,” the lawmaker noted. “Something a little unsettling.”

    This week, Buckner-Webb revealed that the mailing had reminded her that age the age of seven, “[s]omeone burned a cross on our lawn,” according to the Idaho Statesman.

    “Initially, I wondered what was someone’s thought process in sending that to me. My first inclination was someone wants me to know the Klan is still around,” she explained.

    “I am really concerned about the climate of intolerance in a lot of different areas. I see a lot of intolerance toward gays, toward women,” the Boise Democrat said, recalling recent legislative battles over LGBT rights, abortion and contraception.

    “I would be a fool not to take note and govern myself accordingly,” she added. “It was a sign for me to remain vigilant, to remain careful and to remain thoughtful.”


  2. rikyrah says:

    I Have Solved the Curious Case of Mark Judge’s Missing Bike
    By ABL 2.0 April 10th, 2012

    Yesterday, I wrote about Daily Caller contributor Mark Judge and the beloved L.L. Bean bike which was so cruelly wrenched from his idyllic life by Some Black Dude. Horrified that one of my people would mercilessly steal a white dude’s bike, I decided to make some inquiries, and it is my great pleasure to announce that I have solved the case.

    I can say with absolute certainty that a black dude did not steal Mark Judge’s bike. Why? Because there has been a boycott of L.L. Bean by black folks for eighty years, and us black folks always stick together. (Just ask Breitbrat Leftenant Dan Riehl):

    I grew up near Chestnut Hill, Pennsylvania. I went to junior high school smack dab in the middle of Chestnut Hill. Chestnut Hill, I’ll have you know, is listed in The Preppy Handbook as one of the preppiest places in America. (I own a copy of The Preppy Handbook, so I know this for a fact.) I spent a lot of time in Chestnut Hill, eating cheese fries at Fiesta Pizza and shopping at The Gap with my white friends, all of whom owned L.L. Bean clothing and regularly perused the L.L. Bean catalog. Never during my time on the mean cobbled streets of Chestnut Hill did I buy a single item from an L.L. Bean catalog. Why? Because of the damn boycott!!

    So there you have it. My evidence that a black dude did not steal Mark Judge’s bike is as substantial—if not more so—than Mark’s evidence that a black dude did. He didn’t see a black dude steal his L.L. bike. I’ve never seen a black dude show any interest in anything L.L. Bean.

    I win.

    Ok, so maybe I didn’t actually solve the case, per se, but I did exculpate All Black Dudes from the crime, and really, that’s what I care about. I don’t give a sh– about Mark’s L.L. Bean bike.


  3. rikyrah says:

    GOP report makes bogus ‘Obamacare’ claims
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 10, 2012 4:07 PM EDT.

    One of the more enduring falsehoods surrounding the Affordable Care Act has to do with its price tag and its effect on the nation’s financing. To be sure, “Obamacare” is a sweeping reform measure, but when its detractors say it’s “too expensive” or “America can’t afford this,” it’s an inherently dubious claim: the law lowers the debt and saves the nation hundreds of billions of dollars.

    For the right, this poses an important problem. If Republicans can argue Obamacare makes the country’s finances worse, they’ll have a stronger case to undo the recent progress (unless the Supreme Court beats them to it). If this talking point falls apart, GOP officials have to explain why they want to make the debt smaller by making the debt bigger.

    To that end, the Washington Post reports today, “Health-care law will add $340 billion to deficit, new study finds.” The article cites the research of conservative policy analyst Charles Blahous, a former Bush administration official, who, despite all available evidence, insists that the health care will add roughly a third of a trillion dollars to the debt over the next decade.

    The problem, which the Post article didn’t mention, is that Blahous’ research falls apart under scrutiny. The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities’ Paul N. Van de Water easily dismissed the Republican’s report.

    Blahous claims the Congressional Budget Office’s cost estimate for the health reform law “double-counts” a considerable portion of the law’s Medicare savings. By subtracting these savings, Blahous asserts that — contrary to CBO — health reform increases the deficit.

    But there’s no double-counting involved in recognizing that Medicare savings improve the status of both the federal budget and the Medicare trust funds. The outlooks for the budget and for the Medicare trust funds are two different things; some changes in law may affect one and not the other, but other changes affect both.

    CBO estimates that health reform will modestly reduce the federal budget deficit. The Medicare actuary says that health reform will extend the solvency of the Hospital Insurance trust fund by eight years.

    I can appreciate the fact that these budget figures can seem complex, but certainly a guy who worked on entitlement policy for Bush/Cheney should understand the basics here, and the basics tell us that Obama’s health care law helps lower the national debt. Whether the right finds this inconvenient or not is irrelevant.


    Jon Chait published a brutal takedown of Blahous’ research today.

    You may wonder what methods Blahous used to obtain a more accurate measure of the bill’s cost. The answer is that he relies on a simple conceptual trick. Medicare Part A has a trust fund. By law, the trust fund can’t spend more than it takes in. So Blahous assumes that, when the trust fund reaches its expiration, it would automatically cut benefits.

    The assumption is important because it forms the baseline against which he measures Obama’s health-care law. He’s assuming that Medicare’s deficits will automatically go away. Therefore, the roughly $500 billion in Medicare savings that Obama used to help cover the uninsured is money that Blahous assumes the government wouldn’t have spent anyway. Without the health-care law, in other words, we would have had Medicare cuts but no new spending on the uninsured. Now we have the Medicare cuts and new spending on the uninsured. Therefore, the new spending in the law counts toward increasing the deficit, but the spending cuts don’t count toward reducing it.

    That is a completely bizarre assumption. It’s not an assumption that any scoring agency ever applies in other situations…. Assume the Medicare savings don’t count because Medicare would have reduced its payments anyway, and boom — Obamacare now increases the deficit.

    Paul Krugman added that Blahous’ conclusions are “crazy,” and “basically a sick joke that doesn’t pass the laugh test.”

    The reality of the situation is stubborn: independent analyses from nonpartisan officials have concluded that Obamacare makes a significant dent in the long-term debt forecast. For conservatives who claim to care about fiscal responsibility, and are eager to repeal the law, the question seems quite simple: tell American taxpayers how you intend to pay for Obamacare’s demise.


  4. Ametia says:


    Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    Statement from Jim Messina on Today’s Developments in the Campaign

    CHICAGO, IL – “It’s no surprise that Mitt Romney finally was able to grind down his opponents under an avalanche of negative ads. But neither he nor his special interest allies will be able to buy the presidency with their negative attacks. The more the American people see of Mitt Romney, the less they like him and the less they trust him. While calling himself the ‘ideal candidate’ for the Tea Party, he has promised to return to the same policies that created the economic crisis and has alienated women, middle class families, and Hispanic Americans. Americans value a President who will fight every day to rebuild an economy in which hard work will pay, responsibility is rewarded and everyone plays by the same rules. And that President is Barack Obama.” – Jim Messina, Obama for America Campaign Manager

  5. Ametia says:

    As Governor, Romney Balanced Budget By Hiking Fees
    by Chris Arnold
    December 14, 2011


  6. Ametia says:

    Playing the Friendship Card: White Lies, White Denial and the Reality of Racism
    April 10, 2012

    I swear, if I hear one more transparently racist person insist they aren’t racist because they have black friends, I am going to shoot them. But not because I’m violent. I’m not violent. And this I know because I have friends who are pacifists.

    Yes, this is a joke, but seriously, it’s getting just about that stupid, and not simply because George Zimmerman’s “black friend” swears he’s not racist (and that that whole “coon” thing he said about Trayvon Martin before he shot him was really “goon,” and that it was meant as a term of endearment, natch). Much more, it seems that everyone who ever says or does something blatantly racist to a black person is quick to wrap themselves in the cloak of their multicolored affinity networks, as if this provided the perfect inoculation against the charge that they were anything less than purely enlightened.

    I’d like to think it’s because we’ve made progress — that this feigned ecumenism was the result of a real and abiding shame at the recognition of one’s biases, and the concomitant desire to front so as to maintain one’s own sense of decency. But sadly, I think it has nothing to do with any such societal evolution. Rather, it’s just a bunch of phony twaddle spread by those who are too stupid to know what racism is, or, alternately, so cunning as to hope that the rest of us are.

    I mean really now, when even Daryl Dedmon (who ran over James Anderson in Mississippi a few months ago, after saying he wanted to “fuck with some niggers”), has friends who insist with straight faces that he’s not racist, and point to a couple of black associates as proof, you know that the black buddy defense is about as solid as goose shit and smells nearly as bad.


  7. Ametia says:


    Anoka County gets national recognition for food stamp outreach
    by Julie Siple, Minnesota Public Radio
    April 10, 2012

    ST. PAUL, Minn. — Anoka County will receive an award from the federal government later today for its help enrolling more Minnesotans in food stamps.

    The award from the United States Department of Agriculture recognizes the county for a program that seeks out Minnesotans who are eligible for food assistance.

    The county works with two nonprofits to send teams to food shelves and subsidized senior housing, where they identify people who are eligible and help them fill out the eight-page application.


  8. rikyrah says:

    April 10, 2012 9:58 AM
    Will Mitt Help Make the General Election Godless?
    By Ed Kilgore

    I’d say it’s a pretty solid—and by that I mean not only widely shared, but logical—part of the political CW that once Mitt Romney’s gets out of the primary season, he’ll want to leave any discussion of the intersection of politics and religion far, far behind. After all, that seems to be his basic inclination, as reflected in his I’ll-address-this-once-and-for-all speech on the subject in 2007. He’s had to tightrope his way through a religion-laden primary season in which Christian Right poohbahs conspired against him endlessly (but could never really got behind one rival until it was too late). He knows conservative evangelicals—and not only conservative evangelicals—are less than happy about his own LDS faith, and he certainly doesn’t want to go down the rabbit hole of a public discussion of Mormon doctrine or history. So he’ll encourage a relatively Godless general election, right?

    Maybe, but maybe not at all. It didn’t get a great deal of distinct attention outside conservative circles, but when other Republicans linked arms with the Catholic bishops back in February to accuse the Obama administration of waging a “war on religion” via its contraception coverage mandate, Romney was bellowing with the best of them, authoring an op-ed in the Washington Examiner that made this inflammatory charge:

    Liberals and conservatives have made common cause to defend the rights of religious minorities in the past. But somehow, today, when it comes to the agenda of the left-wing of the Democratic Party—those who brought us abortion on demand and who fight against the teaching of abstinence education in our children’s schools—their devotion to religious freedom goes out the window. They would force Catholics and others who have beliefs rooted in their faith to sacrifice the teachings of their faith to the mandate of federal bureaucrats.

    Romney’s line on the subject goes well beyond selective pandering to conservative Catholics and other culture-warriors, and goes right to the heart of the Christian Nationalist belief that separating church and state actually means a First-Amendment-violating Religious Establishment of “secularism,” as he made plain in a recent speech in Wisconsin:

    At an event in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, a supporter asked the candidate what the Obama administration’s motive was for mandating that the health insurance provided by all religious institutions cover contraceptives for women.

    “I think there is in this country a war on religion,” Romney replied. “I think there is a desire to establish a religion in America known as secularism.”

    “They gave it a lot of thought and they decided to say that in this country that a church — in this case, the Catholic Church — would be required to violate its principles and its conscience and be required to provide contraceptives, sterilization and morning after pills to the employees of the church. … We are now all Catholics. Those of us who are people of faith recognize this is — an attack on one religion is an attack on all religion.”

    It’s reasonably clear from this pattern of rhetoric that Romney’s way of dealing with conservative evangelical mistrust of his LDS faith is to talk more, not less, about religion and cultural issues, which is exactly what Christian Right leaders expect and demand of him. It’s significant that the best-known and most aggressive evangelical critic of Romney’s religious outlook, Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association, has repeatedly followed the line that Mitt is “not Mormon enough” in his commitment to the culture wars, and can only bury concerns about LDS doctrine by doubling-down on political points of agreement with the Christian Right.

    Contrary to the CW, the very people most likely to have questions about Romney’s religion will keep pressure on him to talk the godly talk in the general election—or at least support others who do.

    As the intrepid Christian-Right-watcher Sarah Posner suggested just yesterday at Religion Dispatches: “[I]t looks like Romney will try to bury questions his own base has about his religion by questioning and letting his surrogates attack Obama’s.”

    But there’s another reason Romney may surprise those who expect him to conspire with Obama to keep the general election relatively godless: his apparent affection for the classic Rovian tactic of going on the offensive to hit opponents at his own weakest points. We saw this just last week in his speech to the association of newspaper editors, when this serial prevaricator criticized journalists for insufficient “sourcing” and “quality control,” and this champion flip-flopper attacked Obama for flip-flopping and hiding his future policy plans. Even more recently, Romney, who holds two degrees from Harvard and famously struggles with perceptions that he’s a deeply out-of-touch rich guy, went after Obama for “spending too much time at Harvard” and not understanding the real world.

    So it would be perfectly in character for Mitt to practice this same sort of Rovian jiu jitsu on issues relating to faith and politics. Those expecting a general election free of religio-cultural venom had better get ready for some supernatural fireworks.


    • Ametia says:

      Now that sicko santorum’s out of the running for POTUS, What’s Mitt gonna do with all that religion? Why he’s already painting PBO as some Atheist. Check your Mormonism, Mittens!

  9. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 10, 2012 12:44 PM
    Gerson’s Nostalgia Trip
    By Ed Kilgore

    Mike Gerson’s latest WaPo column will get some attention because he is one of the few conservatives anywhere to acknowledge that Mitt Romney and the GOP do indeed have a problem with women, and not one that can just be blamed on Obama or the liberal media.

    Not that anyone familiar with Gerson would have imagined for a moment that he’d suggest a recalibration of the GOP message on reproductive rights issues, but he does dismiss that avenue in the third graph. Instead, he attributes his party’s weakness among women to general meanness:

    Women and independent voters have seen a party enthusiastically confirming its most damaging stereotypes. The composite Republican candidate — reflecting the party’s ideological mean — has been harsh on immigration, confrontational on social issues, simplistic in condemning government and silent on the struggles of the poor. How many women would find this profile appealing on eHarmony?

    This is the hidden curse of the Republican congressional triumph of 2010. Republican activists came to believe that purity is all that is necessary for victory. But a presidential candidate, it turns out, requires a broader ideological attraction than your average tea party House freshman.

    For Gerson, the answer, unsurprisingly, is to go back to his own archetypal moment, George W. Bush’s 2000 campaign and its proclamation of a new, warm-and-fuzzy “compassionate conservatism”:

    In 2000, George W. Bush campaigned — in both the primaries and the general election — on increasing the quality of education for poor children, on humane immigration reform and on expanding care by faith-based organizations for the addicted and homeless. These issues were personally important to Bush. They also signaled to independents and women that he could think beyond normal ideological boundaries.

    Well, Bush also campaigned on a big fat tax cut for the wealthy, and outlawing abortion, and a lot of other things that did not strike many voters as “compassionate.” Moreover, in office, his “compassionate conservative” agenda, beyond the big vote-buying commitments to Medicare Rx Drugs and immigration reform, didn’t amount to much more than subsidies for conservative ministers. But never mind: the bigger problem, as Gerson acknowledges, is that Bush’s “compassionate conservative” rhetoric and the policies that were supposed to redeem it are now “broadly reviled among conservatives.” That’s putting it mildly.

    Somehow or other, perhaps because he believes all that stuff about Romney being an unprincipled flip-flopper, Gerson seems to think Mitt will figure this out and defy the overwhelming, litmus-test-enforced disgust towards “compassionate conservatism” exhibited by today’s Republicans. Truth is, Romney is probably the least capable of any available GOP presidential nominee to do that. When Bush first launched “compassionate conservatism,” he was the hand-picked and universal favorite of the entire conservative movement; he had plenty of credibility to burn on the Right. Romney? Not so much. His poor favorability ratings among self-identified conservatives may not matter in November thanks to the party’s unifying Obama-hatred, but the one thing that could lead to a genuine revolt would be for Romney to defy the psychologically critical belief on the Right that Bush’s heresies against ideological orthodoxy are the only reason the GOP lost power in 2006 and 2008.

    So Gerson’s anachronistic plea that Romney “show some humanity” is very likely to fall on deaf ears. And I suspect this column is mainly intended to enable its author to say after Election Day, “I told you so.”


  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:20 PM ET, 04/10/2012

    Karl Rove and company are losing the argument over inequality
    By Greg Sargent

    In that big Times story yesterday, Steven Law, the leader of the Rove-founded Crossroads groups, conceded that Obama is winning the argument over tax fairness and inequality. With the President now pitching the Buffett Rule, Law admitted the tax debate is playing Obama’s way, because it feeds the idea that Mitt Romney favors an “economic plutocracy” in which the deck is stacked against the middle class.

    So get ready for Crossroads’ response. Mike Allen reports that Crossroads is launching targeted ads and a petition — wait for it — to pressure Obama and Warren Buffett to pay up more in taxes themselves if they really think the rich should be paying more.

    Seriously. Via Noam Scheiber, here’s the new Facebook petition from Crossroads:

    President Obama and Warren Buffett are deeply troubled by how low their taxes are. Nothing is stopping them from paying more in taxes voluntarily. Sign the petition to encourage Obama and Buffett to put their money where their mouths are when it comes to the “Buffett Rule.”
    This might not be worth bothering with, if it weren’t for the possibility that some form of this message may find its way into Crossroads’ massive impending ad blitz, too.

    Really, it continues to amaze that people in positions of real influence could venture something this idiotic with no evident sense of embarrassment. The problem Obama and Buffett are trying to address isn’t that each of them personally can’t pay more in taxes if he so chooses. The problem they are trying to address won’t be fixed if Obama, Buffett, and another dozen wealthy Americans write more checks to the federal government. Rather, they are trying to solve a society wide problem that threatens the future of a country of over 300 million people — one that, in their telling, requires a bit more sacrifice from high earners as a whole class if we are to have any hope of solving it.

    This latest move is about nothing more than muddying the waters, pure and simple. The silly implication that there’s something hypocritical about calling for higher taxes on the wealthy when you are wealthy yourself and could just write a check if you really wanted to is about nothing more than sowing confusion about who is really looking out for whose interests.

    This isn’t the first time we’ve seen this type of muddying effort on the topic of inequality. Crossroads recently ran an ad attacking Elizabeth Warren as too cozy with Occupy Wall Street before abruptly shifting gears and running another spot attacking Warren as … too cozy with the big banks because of her role overseeing TARP funds — even though she’s been one of TARP’s biggest critics.

    Ultimately, this is one of the things that’s so pernicious about these outside groups. They can devote serious resources to spreading messages that are designed to do nothing more than blur lines, muddy waters, and sow confusion — even as the chief beneficiaries of their activities avoid any accountability for them.

    This is what it looks like when you don’t have any real arguments


  11. rikyrah says:

    A Triumphant Paul Ryan Is a Tragedy for the Rest of Us
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 11:17AM

    Paul Ryan, the zombie-eyed granny-starver from Wisconsin, dropped by 30 Rock today to do a guest gig with the MSNBC Morning Zoo crew.

    (And, not for nothing, but do we have to entertain these layabouts at Fenway on Opening Day this Friday? Don’t the Sox have enough trouble right now without The Return Of Mike Barnicle, or “Willie” Geist getting cute all over the place? I have spared you the baseball chatter at the beginning of the clip above.)

    It is, of course, gospel among the chattering classes that the zombie-eyed granny-starver is a smart, likable fellow who can sell his zombie-eyed granny-starving to the country because he is so smart and likable, and not at all a Gingrichian bomb-thrower, and so the country will come around to his zombie-eyed granny-starving because he can package it like the zombie-eyed granny-starver next door. Of course, what usually goes unmentioned is that the zombie-eyed granny-starver is a thin-skinned political charlatan without the courage to say flatly what he intends to do with the country’s wealth, which is to shove even more of it upwards, thereby sending The Deficit — his only reason for living, if you listen to him — zooming up to somewhere deep in the heart of the Klingon Empire. And so Paul Ryan is very sad that the president has made all this something of a political issue:

    “We proposed to increase annual federal spending from $3.6 trillion a year to $4.9 trillion over a 10-year period instead of the president’s $5.5 trillion. Apparently the difference with this makes us social Darwinists,” Ryan said. The Budget Committee chairman went on to describe the president’s criticism as a “verbal tantrum” and say he believed Obama was employing “a rhetorical broadside to distract from the fact the president isn’t proposing solutions.”

    No, you condescending zombie-eyed granny-starver, what makes you a “social Darwinist” is your utter disregard for what your budget will do to people who are not the hedge-fund cowboys who foot your bar bill. What makes you a political coward is that you won’t honestly spell that out to the rest of the country….

    But when Ryan was pressed on how he would specifically reform the tax code and set new cutoffs for entitlement programs, he remained elusive. “I don’t even want to get into this cutoff… I’m not going to give you what I think is a rich person and what’s not a rich person, because these are job creators,” Ryan said.

    Has it escaped your notice, granny-starver, that the last sentence there doesn’t make a lick of sense? Ryan won’t say who’s rich and who’s poor because these are job creators? And what? If Paul Ryan says that someone as wealthy, say, Willard Romney is actually what he would call “rich,” the job creators will get all upset and stop creating jobs? No, he won’t say it because he knows that if he tells the truth on what he believes about income inequality, the country would fit him for a rubber nose and floppy shoes. A long time ago, David Stockman gave an interview to William Greider of The Atlantic in which Stockman gave away the game on the Reagan Administration’s economic plan, which Stockman called “a Trojan Horse to bring down the top rate.” That’s all Ryan’s alleged expertise on budgetary matters is, too. If he has ever proposed a concrete plan which would not as one of its primary purposes move the country’s wealth upwards, I’ve never read it.

    It becomes important because there is something of a boomlet now regarding the possibility that Romney will select the zombie-eyed granny-starver to be his vice-president. Now, I am of the opinion that, leaving aside 2008 as The Obvious Exception, vice-presidential nominees don’t really move the needle much one way or the other. And I have to wonder if the zombie-eyed granny-starver himself wouldn’t rather continue to be the Budget Wizard in the House — and, perhaps, preen himself for 2016 — rather than be the guy President Romney sends to funerals overseas. But chatterers need to chatter, and he’s the flavor of the month. The problem is that, by attaching itself too closely to the zombie-eyed granny-starving in question, the Republican party may well be positioning itself fatally behind the curve.

    It’s becoming quite clear that, by adopting a more populist theme since the president’s speech in Kansas last December, the president’s campaign has managed to shift the economic discussion in the country away from Wall Street and in the general direction of Zuccotti Park. (Shame those folks didn’t have a “coherent agenda” with which to move the dialogue.) That has resulted in a decidedly upward trend in the president’s polling numbers on economic issues, particularly those involving the continued economic survival of the middle class. He’s even leading Romney on “handling taxes,” an issue on which the president may be in the process of changing the argument from “lazy poor people are stealing your money” to “greedy rich people are stealing the country.”

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/paul-ryan-morning-joe-7986907#ixzz1rfEGgZOV

  12. rikyrah says:

    In Which Subtlety Dies a Lingering Death
    By Charles P. Pierce at 11:26AM

    Tucker Carlson’s publication has finally and definitively Gone There.

    Okay, so now we can finally admit to ourselves that, between the Fear Of A Black President, and the emotions bubbling up around the shooting of Trayvon Martin, the dogwhistles are now air-raid sirens. First, the Derb lets a huge cat out of a very small bag, and now this guy gets to take his unreconstructed Id out for a walk, probably because it can’t ride any more. Now, the general autopsy is ongoing all over the Intertoobz — Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has wielded the sharpest scalpel, at least on the parts of this mess that seem to be fabulously fabulist — but I think my favorite part is how the author sells out Mom and Dad. I mean, seriously, the Khmer Rouge couldn’t have done a better job of deprogramming this guy:

    I had been carefully educated by liberal parents that we are all, black and white, the same. My favorite movie growing up was “In the Heat of the Night.” Yet that often meant not treating everyone the same. It meant treating blacks with a mixture of patronizing condescension and obsequious genuflecting to their Absolute Moral Authority gained from centuries of suffering. It meant not treating everyone the same.

    Och, takes a rare kind o’lad to use his parents as ideological straw men to justify the racism you’ve decided will make you famous. Seriously, well done. Also, Sidney Poitier would kick your ass.

    Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/daily-caller-white-guilt-7986911#ixzz1rfDohQfH

  13. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 09:03 AM ET, 04/10/2012
    The Morning Plum: Obama is winning tax debate. Will that matter?
    By Greg Sargent

    Today, President Obama will travel to Florida to give a speech pushing for Senate passage of the Buffett Rule, which will require millionaires who are paying low tax rates to pay an overall rate of 30 percent. The measure is key to Obama’s push to make tax fairness — and the broader ideological clash between him and Romney over government’s role in shoring up the middle class — central to Campaign 2012.

    Polls show public support for Obama’s push for higher taxes on the rich. But that doesn’t mean tax fairness will drive swing voters, particularly if the recovery sputters. So how will the tax debate play within the context of the presidential race? How much will it matter?

    Yesterday’s big Times piece on the Rove-founded group Crossroads GPS’s coming anti-Obama ad blitz contained a telling clue. In it, Crossroads founder Steven Law acknowledges that Obama is winning the tax debate, because it feeds the idea that Romney favors an “economic plutocracy” in which the deck is stacked against the middle class. But he also characterized Obama’s case as follows: “His argument is: ‘The reason you feel bad is not because I’ve been an inadequate president but because the rules of the game are stacked against you.’ ”

    Keep an eye on this. The GOP strategy will be to characterize Obama’s push for tax fairness as an effort to distract from his own failures on the economy and divert public anger over the economy away from the president. The GOP hopes to neutralize the tax fairness issue by separating it from the economy’s performance. But Obama’s case is that there is no separating the fairness issue from the economy’s performance or from people’s economic suffering. He is selling an overall vision that includes pushing for more revenues from the wealthy to facilitate government investment in the economy and in shoring up the middle class, and combatting inequality not just out of basic fairness, but also to facilitate economic growth.


  14. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:01 PM ET, 04/09/2012
    Be wary of ‘swing independents’ bearing deficit reduction
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Ed Kilgore has been doing some great blogging today (here and here) about a new Third Way poll of supposedly “swing independent” voters.

    I have two things to add. One is methodological. Third Way defines their “swing” independents as those without strong views of either Barack Obama or Mitt Romney. Given that Romney’s approval ratings are in the dumps these days pending an almost certain post-primary rally among strong conservatives, it seems to me that their group is likely to contain quite a few Republican voters who haven’t yet admitted, even to themselves, that they’ll wind up strongly supporting Romney in the fall. I couldn’t tell from the release, but it looks to me, in other words, that their polling suffers from the problem that Jonathan Chait identified last week: If the universe of committed voters supports one candidate, then that candidate doesn’t have to break even, much less win, among undecideds.

    The second point is actually a big one about polling in general. What the math of survey research tells us is that we can confidently say, if the mechanics are done correctly, that a very large group of people would respond similarly to the questions asked of a very small group of people. That can be useful! But it says nothing at all about what the response actually means. If it’s fairly simple — say, the day before the election, asking people who they plan to vote for — you can get pretty useful responses. However, the more abstract the questions are, the less they are easily interpreted. So, for example, Third Way’s conclusion that “Swing Independents think we should fix the deficit over reducing income inequality” promises a lot more than it can deliver. After all, most people have no idea what “fix the deficit” really means, other than it’s generally thought to be a Good Thing. Which is, in fact, all that the survey is telling us. Whether any actual votes would switch if Barack Obama talked more about the deficit, let alone actually proposed something that would slash the deficit (which, of course, requires either raising taxes or cutting popular spending programs or both), is another story altogether


  15. rikyrah says:

    Who Herman Cain means by ‘other people’
    Tue Apr 10, 2012 2:00 PM EDT.

    When it comes to the “war on women,” Republicans really need to find other public figures to address the issue.

    The RNC chairman isn’t good at it. The RNC’s spokesperson isn’t good at it. The Republicans’ Senate leader is awful at it.

    And Herman Cain, addressing gender issues on Fox News this morning, appears to be the worst of them all.


    Cain was addressing the gender gap in the latest national polling, with a narrow majority of men supporting Mitt Romney and a strong majority of women backing President Obama.

    Reflecting on this, the failed presidential candidate said, “I think many men are much more familiar with the failed policies than a lot of other people, as well as the general public.”

    Hmm. First, the argument here is that women would agree with men, if only women weren’t, in Cain’s mind, ignorant. I’ll go out on a limb here and say that’s probably not helpful.

    Second, Cain is also willing to dismiss women voters in general as “other people,” as if men are the voters who really count.

    It almost makes the caterpillar talk appear insightful and respectful by comparison.


  16. Ametia says:

    Rick Santorum to drop out of the presidential race

    Rick Santorum will announce Tuesday that he is suspending his presidential campaign, all but bringing to a close the 2012 GOP presidential contest and formally handing the nomination to Mitt Romney, according to an official close to the campaign.

    Santorum is set to announce his withdrawal at a campaign event happening shortly in Gettysburg, Pa. — the site of the historic and pivotal Civil War battle. (Video of the event is here.)

    The former Pennsylvania senator had been Romney’s top opponent, but he suffered a trio of defeats last week in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia, and over the weekend his daughter, Bella, was hospitalized for the second time this campaign due to complications from a rare genetic disorder.

    Santorum is currently second in the delegate race, but he would have to win upwards of three-fourths of the remaining delegates in order to secure the nomination.





  17. President Barack Obama is greeted by Rep. Frederica Wilson, D-Fla. , center, Rep. Ted Deutch, D-Fla. , and West Palm Beach, Fla. Mayor Jeri Muoio upon his arrival at Palm Beach International Airport in West Palm Beach, Fla. , Tuesday, April 10, 2012.

  18. Breaking News:

    ThinkProgress ‏ @thinkprogress:

    ABC News confirms Rick Santorum suspending his campaign at PA news conference today.

  19. rikyrah says:

    The Mainstream Media’s Desperate Hunger for a Centrist Mitt Romney
    by Steve M.
    Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 11:52:13 AM EST

    When a Mitt Romney adviser said that the campaign’s shift to the general election would be like shaking an Etch A Sketch, I predicted that it wouldn’t be a big deal for Romney, mostly because coating his campaign in a veneer of centrism is what the mainstream press desperately wants Romney to do. If Romney succeeds at that, journalists will feel they’re not being irresponsible by continuing to treat the Republican Party as a sane and dependable part of our national governing coalition, rather than as the sociopathic organization it’s become.

    Well, the Etch A Sketch remark did get Romney in trouble, but the mainstream press still craves a centrist Mitt, and journalists will grasp at any straw as they endeavor to reassure themselves of his reasonableness. So we get Thomas Edsall, at the Campaign Stops blog of The New York Times, writing “Romney the Centrist Peeks Out”:

    It was just one line slipped into the middle of a paragraph of Mitt Romney’s speech on April 3 celebrating his primary victories in Wisconsin, Maryland and the District of Columbia: “And the most vulnerable have been hurt the most — over 30 percent of single moms are struggling in poverty.”
    Seemingly unremarkable, these 19 words represent one of the many steps Romney will be taking as he treks back to the center in the aftermath of a primary campaign dominated by the hard right. It was only two months ago, after all, that Romney told CNN: “I’m not concerned about the very poor. We have a safety net there.”

    Without drawing attention to his rhetorical shift, Romney, in a speech on March 30 at Lawrence University in Appleton, Wisc., abandoned his attack on President Obama’s “entitlement society,” faulting Obama’s “government-centered society” instead….

    Wait — “government-centered society” is less rhetorically right-wing than “entitlement society”? Can someone please explain to me how that works? Do you know what other GOP presidential candidate used that expression in this campaign? This guy:

    Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain on Wednesday said his rival Mitt Romney would have to “deal with” the health care law he passed in Massachusetts, which Cain grouped with ObamaCare as “government-centered” health care.

    Herman Cain is now a centrist?

    Not long ago, we were mocking Rick Santorum — correctly, I might add — for saying, “Public schools? That’s a nice way of putting it. These are government-run schools.” So “Government-run” is far-right rhetoric, but “government-centered” is centrist?

    And, yes, it’s swell that Romney mentioned the fact that “over 30 percent of single moms are struggling in poverty.” But this isn’t the first time he’s said anything like this. In a December speech, he said, “More Americans have lost their homes and more Americans have slipped from the middle class into a world of poverty they never imagined.” In a speech last June, he said,

    Unemployment is not just a statistic. Unemployment means kids can’t go to college; that marriages break up under the financial strain; that young people can’t find work and start their lives; and men and women in their 50s, in the prime of their lives, fear they will never find a job again. President Obama has failed these good and decent Americans.

    Sixteen million Americans are out of work or have stopped looking for work. Make no mistake. This is a moral tragedy — a moral tragedy of epic proportion.

    And guess what? Since those two speeches, he’s said all the cold, unfeeling things we’ve mocked him for. He’s consistently given us both kinds of talk. Was the June speech a sign of a new, compassionate Romney? Was the December speech? The primary campaign answers that question.

    Sorry — you media pros really, really want Romney to be a changed man. He’s not a changed man.


  20. Ametia says:

    What Does Romney Have To HIDE?
    Patrick Caldwell
    April 9, 2012

    Senator Dick Durbin goes after the potential presidential candidate’s Swiss bank account while Obama campaign manager demands further tax return disclosures.

    The Democrats are putting all their emphasis on touting the Buffett Rule ahead of a Senate vote for next week to coincide with Tax Day. The push is ostensibly an effort to twist the arm of a few of the more moderate Republicans—say the two Maine Senators or running for reelection in Democratic territory Scott Brown—under the hope that they’ll fear public backlash if they vote down the measure, a policy favored by over half of the country. However even if they peel off a few Republicans there is little hope that the bill would make any progress in the GOP-controlled House. Instead, as a conference call hosted by the Obama campaign Monday afternoon made clear, the push is an effort to focus attention on Mitt Romney’s wealth as a viability as the Republican nomination contest begins to come to a conclusion.

    Senate Majority Whip Dick Durbin and Wisconsin Representative Tammy Baldwin joined Obama campaign manager Jim Messina on the call. Messina used most of his time talking with the reporters to attack Romney’s refusal to release his tax returns beyond the past two years. “Why is it ok to give John McCain 23 years and the American public only two? It doesn’t make sense, he can’t justify it, and he should release it,” Messina said, referring to the records Romney provided to McCain in 2008 while he was being vetted as a possible VP candidate.

    “Romney is the beneficiary of a broken tax system and he wants to keep it that way,” Messina said, hinting at Romney’s 13.9 percent rate for his 2010 taxes. “He wants a system in which firefighters, cops, teachers and middle class Americans all pay a higher tax rate than he does. We think that’s wrong.”

  21. Ametia says:

    .Official Sources Agree: The Affordable Care Act Reduces the Deficit

    Today, we are reading about another brand of “new math” in describing how the Affordable Care Act will affect our nation’s Federal budget deficit. In another attempt to refight the battles of the past, one former Bush Administration official is wrongly claiming that some of the savings in the Affordable Care Act are “double-counted” and that the law actually increases the deficit. This claim is false.

    According to the official Administration and Congressional scorekeepers, the Affordable Care Act will reduce the deficit: its costs are more than fully paid for. The Office of Management and Budget and Congressional Budget Office project lower Federal budget deficits as a result of the law. The Congressional Budget Office is charged with assessing how legislation would affect the deficit. When the health care bill was passed by Congress, CBO wrote:

    “CBO and JCT estimate that enacting both pieces of legislation—H.R. 3590 and the reconciliation proposal—would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues.”

    When Congressional Republicans sought to repeal the law, CBO found that eliminating the law would increase the deficit. CBO wrote:

    “[T]he effect of H.R. 2 on federal deficits as a result of changes in direct spending and revenues is likely to be an increase in the vicinity of $230 billion, plus or minus the effects of technical and economic changes to CBO’s and JCT’s projections for that period.”


  22. rikyrah says:

    Faking It, To Make It
    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 12:05:30 PM EST

    Former Bush speechwriter Michael Gerson has some advice for Mitt Romney. If you want to improve your standing with women (or Latinos or blacks) pretend to give a damn about them. Find some issue, like failing schools or black unemployment and start talking passionately about it. Show some humanity. Bring back some compassionate conservatism. Don’t act like a Tea Bagger.

    This is not hopeless. A number of eventual presidents, including Ronald Reagan and Bill Clinton, emerged weakened from their nomination battles. And Romney is not a radical figure. During the heat of the primaries, he was accused of being a closet pragmatist. Now he can finally come out.

    Once again with the Etch A Sketch.

    The problem is that Romney has already amply demonstrated that he doesn’t give a damn about women or blacks or Latinos (unless he’s getting bad press for employing them to mow his lawn, for Pete’s sake). This is the Digital Age, and you don’t get any mulligans.

    Romney has campaigned on destroying the health care coverage of millions of people by repealing the Affordable Care Act and replacing it with nothing. He’s supported the Ryan budget plan that would end Medicare as we know it and throw millions off Medicaid. He’s supported the Blunt Amendment that would prevent women from having contraceptive coverage. He supported an Ohio law that would have destroyed public sector unions. He took the toughest stand of any candidate against Latino immigration, going so far as to support the ridiculous unconstitutional Arizona Latino harassment law. He hasn’t said one thing that could be construed as caring about anything in the black community.

    And nothing about his life up to now suggests that he cares about anyone but himself and people in his tax bracket. He made his fortune destroying ordinary folks’ lives. And he’s running for the opportunity to do that on a global scale. He can try to fake some compassion, but it’s too late for it to work.


  23. Ametia says:

    WaPo covered this nonsense

    Koch-Funded GOP Economist Uses New Math To Find That Health Reform Increases The Deficit
    By Igor Volsky on Apr 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

    George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization guru Charles Blahous — who now works for the Koch-funded Mercatus Center — is out with a new report alleging that the Affordable Care Act adds $340 billion to the deficit. The new math relies on the old “double counting” meme — an argument advanced by Republicans in Congress in the final days of the health care reform debate alleging that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) appropriated the same revenue for extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund as it did for paying out benefits. The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery explains:


    • Ametia says:

      Not only are these claims completely false, but they’re being made by athink tank that is very closely connected to the Koch Brothers.Charles Koch launched the Mercatus Center, and still sits on their board of directors: http://bit.ly/HuuBdJ


  24. rikyrah says:

    Obama gets a boost from women, bests Romney on favorability
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 10, 2012 9:30 AM EDT.

    The top-line results in the new Washington Post/ABC News poll suggest the conventional wisdom is largely correct: President Obama leads Mitt Romney by seven points, 51% to 44%, and Americans are feeling slightly better about Obama, the economy, and the nation’s direction.

    But there are some other tidbits that jump out if one digs through the numbers a bit more. For example, it’s clear that the Republican “war on women” is having a major impact on 2012 attitudes — as women sour on the GOP, Obama now leads Romney by a whopping 19 points among female voters.

    Just as interesting were the results on the candidates’ personal qualities.

    Obama has double-digit leads over the likely Republican presidential nominee on who would do a better job of protecting the middle class, addressing women’s issues, handling international affairs and dealing with health care.

    On personal traits, the president’s edge is even bigger: He has a better than 2-to-1 advantage as the more friendly and likable of the two, and nearly that margin as “more inspiring.”

    As I’m inclined to do, I put together a chart on this, using the Post/ABC data.

    Note that Obama leads Romney in every category, but leads by nearly 40 points when respondents were asked which of the candidates “seems like the more friendly and likable person.”

    At a certain level, this may seem irrelevant — presidential races aren’t personality contests. Except, a lot of the time, like it or not, they are personality contests.


    Think about how many times you’ve heard about which candidate voters would prefer “to have a beer with.”

    Especially in the television era, the candidate who’s better liked is generally better positioned to win, and at least at this point, voters’ perceptions of Romney just aren’t favorable at all. After nearly six years on the national campaign trail, Americans don’t seem to like the guy.

    Making matters worse, this isn’t an easy problem to fix.

    Also of interest, respondents were asked, “What do you think is the bigger problem in this country: unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity? A 52% majority pointed to unfairness in the system, suggesting American Crossroads’ focus groups, which we talked about yesterday, are right — Obama’s larger economic message is resonating.


  25. rikyrah says:

    Koch-Funded GOP Economist Uses New Math To Find That Health Reform Increases The Deficit
    By Igor Volsky on Apr 10, 2012 at 8:30 am

    George W. Bush’s Social Security privatization guru Charles Blahous — who now works for the Koch-funded Mercatus Center — is out with a new report alleging that the Affordable Care Act adds $340 billion to the deficit. The new math relies on the old “double counting” meme — an argument advanced by Republicans in Congress in the final days of the health care reform debate alleging that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) appropriated the same revenue for extending the solvency of the Medicare trust fund as it did for paying out benefits. The Washington Post’s Lori Montgomery explains:

    “Does the health-care act worsen the deficit? The answer, I think, is clearly that it does,” Blahous, a senior research fellow at George Mason University’s Mercatus Center, said in an interview. “If one asserts that this law extends the solvency of Medicare, then one is affirming that this law adds to the deficit. Because the expansion of the Medicare trust fund and the creation of the new subsidies together create more spending than existed under prior law.” […]

    Medicare is financed in part through a trust fund that receives revenue from payroll taxes. Before Obama’s health-care act passed, the trust fund was projected to be drained by 2017 (later updated to 2016). Absent the health-care law, Blahous writes, Medicare would have been forced to enact a sharp reduction in benefit payments in the middle of this decade, or “other Medicare savings would have had to be found.”

    Enter the health-care law, which provides about $575 billion in Medicare savings — enough to automatically extend the life of the trust fund through 2029, according to estimates at the time, and avoid a sharp cut in benefits. But in cost estimates by the nonpartisan CBO, those savings also offset a dramatic expansion of Medicaid under the law, as well as new subsidies for uninsured people to purchase coverage.

    What Blahous calls “double counting” is actually the “unified budget process,” an accounting method that considers the spending and revenues of the entire federal budget over a 10 year period and the way Congress keeps track of its dollars. It’s the same math that the Congressional Budget Office (CBO) relied on to conclude in 2010 that the law “would produce a net reduction in federal deficits of $143 billion over the 2010–2019 period as result of changes in direct spending and revenues.” Earlier this week, the CBO updated its estimate, reporting that the Affordable Care Act is expected to cost $50 billion less than they anticipated and Medicare actuaries reported that as a result of the savings in the law, the life of Medicare’s Hospital Insurance (HI) Fund is extended to 2024, instead of in 2016.


  26. rikyrah says:

    Christie’s problems worsen in New Jersey
    By Steve Benen – Tue Apr 10, 2012 8:43 AM EDT.

    April is proving to be an unusually unkind month for New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R).

    First, Newark’s Star-Ledger ran a lengthy, detailed report documenting the extent to which the governor’s legislative proposals, executive orders, and agency rules were written, at times word for word, by the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), a shadowy far-right group that seeks to impose a conservative agenda in state legislatures.

    Then, the New York Times helped shine a light on Christie’s corporate welfare practices, in which the governor is handing out lucrative tax credits to preferred in-state corporations.

    Today’s revelations, meanwhile, may be the most controversial to date.

    Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey exaggerated when he declared that unforeseen costs to the state were forcing him to cancel the new train tunnel planned to relieve congested routes across the Hudson River, according to a long-awaited report by independent Congressional investigators.

    The report by the Government Accountability Office, to be released this week, found that while Mr. Christie said that state transportation officials had revised cost estimates for the tunnel to at least $11 billion and potentially more than $14 billion, the range of estimates had in fact remained unchanged in the two years before he announced in 2010 that he was shutting down the project. And state transportation officials, the report says, had said the cost would be no more than $10 billion.

    Mr. Christie also misstated New Jersey’s share of the costs: he said the state would pay 70 percent of the project; the report found that New Jersey was paying 14.4 percent. And while the governor said that an agreement with the federal government would require the state to pay all cost overruns, the report found that there was no final agreement, and that the federal government had made several offers to share those costs.

    Even at the time, Christie’s decision on this project in 2010 was hard to understand. Conservatives, who’ve become increasingly hostile towards American infrastructure improvements, cheered the move, but from a substantive perspective, the governor’s decision was fairly characterized as “destructive and incredibly foolish.”

    But this new report casts that decision in an even more damaging light. The Government Accountability Office is a non-partisan research/audit arm of Congress, and it’s reporting this week that Christie’s rationale for his strange decision wasn’t even true. It was a mistake to scrap a major public works project during a weak economy; it was a bigger mistake to explain the move with dishonest claims.

    Also note, this didn’t just hurt New Jersey — the project was intended to alleviate congestion between Boston and Washington, D.C.

    Sen. Frank Lautenberg (D-N.J.), who requested the GAO investigation, said in a statement this morning, “This was the most important transportation project of our time. [The ARC Tunnel project] was critical to the future of New Jersey’s economy and it took years to plan, but Gov. Christie wiped it out with a campaign of public deception.”


  27. Ametia says:

    President Barack Obama and Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff meet in the Oval Office at the White House April 9, 2012 in Washington, DC. The two discussed a broad range of topics with the intention of strengthening ties between the two countries. (April 8, 2012 – Photo by Chip Somodevilla/Getty Images North America)

  28. Ametia says:

    April 10, 2012 8:59 AM
    Martin’s mother expresses confidence in prosecutor

  29. Ametia says:


  30. Ametia says:

    What Does Tebow Think About The Treyvon Martin Execution . . .?

    Let’s ask Peyton Manning and Tom Brady how they too feel about America’s most talked-about, most combustible cocktail conversation in America today.


    If you want to “impact” the sales of Tebow caps, jerseys and draws . . . let him offer his thoughts on the martin case – in full. Allow him to elaborate on how he, a child-of-God sees such matters. His answer will either eternally endear him to Rednecks from Alaska to Nebraska, or, brand him a Nigger Lover in 21 states.

    And if we’re talking about letting role-model set examples . . . let’s ask Peyton Manning and Tom Brady how they too feel about America’s most talked-about, most combustible cocktail conversation in America today. Their answers would help millions of parents decide if they’re actually “role models you want your son to grow up to be like, your little girl to marry.”


  31. Dannie Owens ‏ @DAOWENS44:


  32. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney is the Most Cynical Republican Candidate Ever

    By Bob Cesca: Everyone thinks most politicians are absolutely full of shit.

    Too many Americans shrug off the political process under the assumption that politicians are liars and scam artists with little regard for their personal struggles and pet issues. So that’s what voters expect when election days grow larger in the window. Consequently, they either ignore the process or make thoughtless, dart-board choices based on an insufferable “lesser of two evils” brand of pessimism.

    But it takes a particularly cynical politician to literally build a campaign around this negative expectation.

    Mitt Romney is doing exactly that.

    He’s not stupid. He’s not a stumbling, gaffe-prone doof. He’s a soulless, cynical robot who has no problem with saying exactly what he thinks voters want to hear, and he doesn’t care if the subsequent contradictions, flip-flops and nonsense are utterly obvious and transparent. Voters expect politicians to be two-faced and inconsistent, so why not say whatever it takes to make it through the week and over the next hurdle?

    The now-infamous line from Romney staffer Eric Fehrnstrom about the campaign resetting its language when the general election begins — like an Etch-A-Sketch — was one of the most glaring examples of meta-cynicism in the history of modern presidential politics. Not only was Fehrnstrom describing the cynical strategy in detail in front of a national audience, but he was cynical enough to believe that voters wouldn’t care — they expect candidates to be shifty, so why the hell not?

    Romney is easily the most jaded, cynical presidential politician since Richard Nixon. He operates with the hubristic attitude that voters expect him to be shifty, and therefore he’s allowed to be shifty. The expectation gives him permission to be that caricature.

    And so, for example, he accused President Obama of being an elitist because he attended Harvard even though anyone with a cursory knowledge of Romney’s history knows he also attended Harvard. But none of that matters. He’s smart and calculating enough to know for certain that a chunk of Republican voters will accept the claim at face value and not investigate the contradictions and hypocrisy, and the rest of the Republican voters expect him to say whatever it takes to win, so who cares if it’s bullshit?

    The list of flagrantly obvious lies are longer than the list of workers that were fired in hostile Bain Capital takeovers. Romney isn’t “severely conservative.” Romney knows the economy isn’t “worse” than before President Obama was inaugurated. Romney knows the president doesn’t want to “end Medicare as we know it” — that’s Paul Ryan’s job. Romney is pretending to be a conservative and so he’s saying whatever conservatives need to hear in order to support him, and then, when he’s the nominee, he’ll soften his language and pretend his primary-era remarks never happened. And Romney’s possible vice presidential nominee, Rick Santorum, will pretend like he never criticized Romney or, quite possibly, he’ll just admit that it was merely the product of a primary contest and wasn’t really true.

    George W. Bush ran his campaigns and his administration on a foundation of deception, but he was never this brazen about it. His public statements were mostly consistent and reflected a man who, despite his lengthy roster of faults and incompetencies, had a set of core values guiding his agenda.

    Romney has entirely broken down any facade of having a core set of, well, anything. He doesn’t need core values. Core values are an abandoned genetic trait — a worthless vestigial organ — lost in the, ahem, evolution of the party. Mitt Romney is The Modern Republican. He’s an empty suit who has streamlined Republican campaigning down to an even thinner and more corrosive process than Lee Atwater, Karl Rove or Ed Rollins could have ever envisioned.

    And it’s helping an already thin, sketchy, marginalized Republican Party become even more anemic, and anyone can see where the trend line is heading. The Republicans, even though they had few accomplishments to ballyhoo after the Bush years, at least claimed some sort of core beliefs. Romney is making that unnecessary. And who cares? People expect politicians to be rudderless automatons. So why struggle against that? This is the height of political cynicism and it’s the centerpiece of the Romney campaign strategy.


  33. rikyrah says:

    Congressional Birthers just can’t help themselves
    By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 9, 2012 4:33 PM EDT.

    It’s been nearly a full year since the White House, hoping to end the borderline-racist garbage once and for all, released President Obama’s “long form” birth certificate. And yet, Republican members of Congress can’t quite let go of this strain of madness.

    Last month it was Rep. Cliff Stearns (R) of Florida. This month it’s Rep. Vicky Hartzler (R) of Missouri.

    Show Me Progress recorded the congresswoman’s town-hall meeting in her home district last week, and posted this clip:


    For those who can’t watch clips online, Hartzler, responding to a constituent’s question about the president’s birth certificate, says, “You know, I have a lot of doubts about all that. But I don’t know, I haven’t seen it. I’m just at the same place you are on that. You read this, you read that. But I don’t understand why he didn’t show that right away. I mean, if someone asked for my birth certificate, I’d get my baby book and hand it out and say, ‘Here it is,’ so I don’t know.”

    For the record, Obama released his birth certificate “right away” in 2008, just as soon as some of the more hysterical voices on the right began questioning his citizenship.

    Making matters slightly worse, Hartzler told reporters after the event, “I have doubts that it is really his real birth certificate, and I think a lot of Americans do.”

    In other words, there may be a conspiracy involving fraudulent documents. Where’s the proof of this? It exists only in the overactive imaginations of unhinged activists.

    Even for House Republicans, this is pretty nutty.


    To be sure, I don’t expect much from Hartzler. She did, after all, give a speech last year equating same-sex marriage to incest and letting three-year-old children drive cars.

    But one wonders how much more it’ll take for this disgrace to end. Remember, this isn’t just some random media personality or right-wing blogger, saying foolish things in public for attention. Vicky Hartzler is a member of Congress, tasked with helping shape federal law.

    Why are there so many polls showing so much confusion about basic tenets of reality? In part because we have public officials like Hartzler spewing nonsense.


  34. Pres. Obama’s Approvals:

    CNN 51%
    ABC/Wash Po 50%
    Suffolk 52%
    NBC/WSJ 50%
    Reuters 50%
    Pew 50%
    Politico 53%.

  35. rikyrah says:

    Found this in the comments at The Obama Diary:

    Bobfr (aka Our4thEstate)
    April 9, 2012 at 6:49 pm
    Not only does Mitt make no effort to hide his cynicism, any notion of post-racial or acceptance of equal status for women in America are now exposed to be far, far from reality.

    Those of us who’ve been paying attention knew when Nixon emerged that a few very wealthy white folk were not about to allow their control over finance and governmnet to ever go further in the direction set in motion by FDR and significantly boosted by the Civil Rights and Voting Rights Acts. No matter how it might have appeared, since 1968 they have been on an inexorable path to ensure that a white plutocracy persisted.

    When Glass-Steagall could be repealed under a Democratic President you knew they were playing for keeps.

    They literally stole an Election, via their narrow control of SCOTUS, and ushered 8 years of absolutely unvarnished government of, by and for the wealthy few. They made sure their control of SCOTUS was solid and thought they had the perfect way to purchase elections by engineering Citizens Unitied.

    A big chunk of that transfer of wealth being enabled by their launching an illegal war and charging it to future generations of the majority of Americans to pay. The few not paying, of course, are the ones who now, because of avariciouos tax breaks and loop-holes, gained enormous wealth and had the ability to extract an oath that is a total violation of the Oath of Office of members of Congress and candidates for President.

    What they did not anticipate was Barack Obama and the social netowrking power that the Internet enabled.

    However, their cynicism being so totally infused with racism, they perceived in his Presidency an opportunity for rolling back America to pre-1932. What they thought would be their greatest opportunity ever to drive the final nails into the casket of the Promise of America is also what reveals their inbred, fatal flaws – racism & avarice.

    You see, they thought that they could actually effect so much damage to the American economy, with a ‘n….’ as President that they’d be able to destroy Medicare, Social Security, public education, voting rights and an equitable tax structure all in a period of four years by intentionally preventing the economy to recover and that the anger among the sizable number of racists and misogynists would be such that before folk realized what they’d actually done, their deeds would be irrevocable. The net result would be a minimum wage (at best) work force, a really abundant and cheap supply of military recruits, zero regulation of financial markets, subjugation of women, and unrestricted access to national lands and resources to be exploited with zero regulation of toxic and climatic hazards.

    What they didn’t anticipate was just how smart President Obama is and how increasingly aware the majority of Americans are to their scheme. The Kochs, ALEC, and their ilk certainly never anticipated the bright lights that are now being shined on them.

    In their cynicism, championed by hate-monger extraordinare Rush Limbaugh, they didn’t think women were paying attention to the massive efforts to enslave them. Their cynicisim is so unbounded that for the past 3+ years they are not even trying to hide it their war on women. The same applies to their exceptionally transparent and destructive policies and practices directed at Hispanics. And, of course they hate black people – always have and always will – and denying them the ability to vote, massive efforts to disrupt public education, accelerated foreclosure of homes all share the same core objective – ‘put blacks in their place.’

    Now they are beginning to get a hint that they’ve miscalculated and that more and more Americans actually like President Obama for the person he is. But, that other fatal flaw – avarice – has them thinking that others value money as much as they do and they’ll be able to buy the outcome. They think that with Citizens United all they need to do is pour a bunch of money into hateful advertising on their totally owned propaganda networks and disrupt voting rights and they will prevail. What they failed to realize is that Citizens United also enables Unions and rich folk whom don’t happen to be greedy bigots to participate, big time and in ways, for the Unions, that had been restricted.

    What they didn’t get is that WE would realize that that’s all they’ve got – money and a few broadcast channels of hate which we have the ability to completely circumvent. That’s how weak they actually are. They are no match for us if we all recognize, FOR REAL, that we are now the final line of defense between all that is good about each other and our America and these few, actually rather lame, plutocrats and the #NEWSTAINERS & #KOCHSTERS whom they own.

    On 6 Nov 2012, we are going to deliver them a message they should have gotten the last time they tried this stunt, in the 1920s, and this time we are not going to stop until they do not have the ability to destroy America and our planet.



  36. rikyrah says:

    Supreme Court Agrees to Reconsider Citizens United
    Ginsburg, Breyer think Montana ruling will be a chance to reverse decision

    The Supreme Court has agreed to take a case that justices Ruth Bader Ginsburg and Stephen Breyer say will give it a chance to rethink its infamous Citizens United v. FEC decision. The court is being asked to look into a Montana Supreme Court decision stating that its law restricting corporate election spending in state elections is fine, because it “arises from Montana history,” UPI reports. Essentially, Montana is arguing that Citizens United only applies to federal laws and elections, not state ones.

    Two Montana corporations are asking the court to make a summary judgment to the contrary; their lead counsel argues that otherwise, “free speech will be seriously harmed,” because states anywhere could “ban core political speech.” But Ginsburg and Breyer earlier wrote that the case “will give the Court an opportunity to consider whether, in light of the huge sums currently deployed to buy candidates’ allegiance, Citizens United should continue to hold sway.”


  37. rikyrah says:

    Elizabeth Warren outraises Scott Brown in recent fundraising
    Posted on Monday, April 9, 2012, 1:03 pm by GottaLaff

    This is fantastic news, but Elizabeth Warren is trailing Scott Brown in cash on hand, so please contribute to Elizabeth Warren’s campaign here. We need her:

    (CNN) – Democratic Massachusetts Senate candidate Elizabeth Warren raised $6.9 million in the first quarter of 2012, more than doubling incumbent Republican Sen. Scott Brown’s haul, according to her campaign.


  38. rikyrah says:

    Obama holds key leads on Romney, as economy malaise looms over reelection bid
    By Dan Balz and Jon Cohen,
    Published: April 9
    The Washington Post

    With the general-election campaign beginning to take shape, President Obama holds clear advantages over Mitt Romney on personal attributes and a number of key issues, but remains vulnerable to discontent with the pace of the economic recovery, according to a new Washington Post-ABC News poll.

    Obama has double-digit leads over the likely Republican presidential nominee on who would do a better job of protecting the middle class, addressing women’s issues, handling international affairs and dealing with health care.

    On personal traits, the president’s edge is even bigger: He has a better than 2-to-1 advantage as the more friendly and likable of the two, and nearly that margin as “more inspiring.”

    Romney faces a huge deficit among female voters, one that more than negates his advantage among men and represents one of the biggest challenges he and his advisers face as they turn toward the November election. Obama’s edge among women gives him a clear lead among all registered voters in a matchup with Romney.

    But on the two most pressing issues of the campaign — the economy and jobs — the contest is considerably more competitive, with about as many trusting Romney on the issues as Obama. Despite positive economic indicators, Americans remain deeply pessimistic about the overall direction of the country and largely consider the economy still mired in a recession. The Romney campaign is hoping to take advantage by making the contest about Obama’s performance on these key concerns.


  39. rikyrah says:

    Barack Obama’s empathy edge
    Posted by Chris Cillizza and Aaron Blake at 07:23 AM ET, 04/10/2012

    Presidential elections are rarely won and lost on policy. Voters instead tend to choose the person they most want to be president based on who they like. And that feeling is heavily influenced by which of the candidates they believe best understands their hopes and dreams.

    Call it the empathy factor. And it matters. A lot.

    New national polling done by the Washington Post and ABC News shows that President Obama has a significant edge over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on the empathy question — although the gap between the two men has narrowed slightly since February.

    Asked which man “better understands the economic problems people in this country are having”, 49 percent of people said Obama while 37 percent named Romney. Nine percent said neither man understood the economic problems of regular people while two percent said both men did.

    A look inside the numbers tells a similar story. Among electorally critical independents, Obama enjoys a 47 percent to 35 percent edge over Romney. Women favor Obama over Romney by 20 points on the empathy question.

    Republicans in search of a silver lining in the numbers will note that as recently as an early February Post-ABC survey, Obama held a 17-point edge on the empathy question.

    In our mind, tracking how the two candidates perform on this question between now and November is the single best measure (or at least one of them) of how the race will turn out.

    In times of economic uncertainty — and this very clearly is one (three-quarters of people think the economy is still in recession in the Post-ABC poll) — feeling like you have a president who “gets” you is hugely critical.


  40. Today is National Hoodie Day

    Wear your hoodie in support of Trayvon Martin!

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