Wednesday 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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61 Responses to Wednesday Open Thread

  1. rikyrah says:

    ‘Doubling down’ on caterpillars
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 3:24 PM EDT.

    Last week, Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus got himself in a little bit of trouble when the GOP’s “war on women” came up. The party chair told Bloomberg Television that the entire concern isn’t to be taken seriously because “it’s a fiction.”

    Priebus added, “If the Democrats said we had a war on caterpillars and every mainstream media outlet talked about the fact that Republicans have a war on caterpillars, then we’d have problems with caterpillars.”

    This morning, the Republican party chief appeared on MSNBC and was offered a chance to walk it back. He didn’t.

    “I’m not going to walk back; I’m going to double down on it,” Priebus said. “This war on women is a fiction the Democrats have created.” He went on to call it a “fiction” several more times.

    The RNC went on to say “there is no war on women,” adding that there is a “real war on women” being waged, inexplicably, by President Obama.

    For the record, Republicans at the state, federal, and presidential-campaign level have pushed in recent months for restricting contraception; cutting off Planned Parenthood; state-mandated, medically-unnecessary transvaginal ultrasounds; forcing physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; abortion taxes; abortion waiting periods; forcing women to tell their employers why they want birth control, and going after prenatal care.

    There’s nothing fictional about it, and the fact that the Republican National Committee chairman looks back at his “war on caterpillars” comments as worth “doubling down” on is absurd.

  2. rikyrah says:

    Romney Camp Can’t Explain How Obama’s ‘War On Women’ Works

    Mitt Romney has tried to turn Democrats’ claim of a “war on women” by the GOP against them this week, accusing President Obama of waging his own “war on women.” Slower job growth for female workers, Romney insists, is evidence of Obama’s war.

    “His polices have been really a war on women,” Romney told FOX News Wednesday. “Over 92 percent of the jobs lost under this president were lost by women,” a statistic his campaign has cited frequently this week.

    But no one from his campaign, including economic and policy advisers, could offer a clear explanation of this disparity Romney has trumpeted on a press call Wednesday.

    Economists overwhelmingly attribute the statistic to the nature of the recession Obama inherited. And, regardless of its cause, Romney’s advisers wouldn’t say whether Romney would do anything to address it.

    The campaign also did not have an immediate answer to whether Romney supported the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, the first piece of legislation signed by President Obama, which makes it easier for women to file pay-discrimination lawsuits. After the Obama campaign put out a statement from Ledbetter herself saying she was “shocked and disappointed” by the ambiguity, a spokeswoman told TPM in an e-mail that Romney “supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”

    The campaign faced a number of questions in its press call as to just how Obama’s supposed “War on Women” worked, none of which produced a direct answer. Asked by TPM on the call to explain how another president taking office in January 2009 might have affected the gender gap in job growth, Romney adviser Lanhee Chen only said that the pattern was unusual compared with other recessions and that he believed a president like Romney would have gotten different results.

    “Obviously we’re of the mind that the difference in policy would produce a different set of outcomes,” he said.

    Chen was pressed again by another reporter to explain why women were disproportionately affected and what “difference in policy” would have changed the equation.

    “The president’s policies in general, whether it’s Obamacare or Dodd-Frank or any of the policies they have pursued have really hurt both men and women,” he said. “This president has demonstrated that he’s doing everything in his power to scare away job creators and that’s had a disproportionate impact on women. That’s just a statistical fact.”

    Asked a third time to explain the origins of this gender divide and how Romney would tackle the ratio of job losses specifically, Chen again said “it is a fact” that women have suffered disproportionately but offered no specific answer.

    “[Romney] would undo the damage that President Obama has done,” he said. “He would take the economy in a very different direction and, as a result of that, produce very substantial job gains and growth for men and women.”

    The “92 percent” line is difficult to explain and defend for a reason. Independent fact-checkers have dubbed it misleading this week in that it treats the initial recession Obama inherited as the result of his policies, and ignores that there are good reasons for the disparity: Men lost the vast majority of the initial jobs wiped out by the housing collapse and financial crisis, many of which were in areas like construction. As a result, they’ve been gaining those jobs back disproportionately as the economy has recovered while women, who have a significantly lower unemployment rate, have added jobs at a slower rate.

    The result: A statistic that makes a great sound bite but crumbles immediately when put under the microscope.

  3. rikyrah says:

    Amazon Ready To Lower E-Book Prices In Wake of Publisher Settlement

    Amazon on Wednesday said it was ready to lower e-book prices, following a settlement between the Justice Department and three e-book publishing companies named in an antitrust lawsuit alongside Apple.

    “This is a big win for Kindle owners, and we look forward to being allowed to lower prices on more Kindle books,” an Amazon spokesperson, referring to a settlement the Justice Department reached with Hachette, HarperCollins and Simon & Schuster.

    The Justice Department said it was still pursuing its lawsuit against Apple, and two of its e-book publishing partners, Macmillan and Penguin, over alleged price-fixing of e-books. Apple and its five publisher partners agreed to sell e-books under an “agency model,” or set minimum price of $12.99 for popular new releases, while Amazon previously pursued a “wholesale model,” in which it bought books at different prices from publishers then discounted them to consumers at $9.99-or-less.

    Eventually, though, according to the lawsuit, Amazon was forced into adopting the higher prices in order to keep books of the five publishers available in its Kindle e-bookstore.

  4. rikyrah says:

    What’s Next For Romney?
    by Maisie Allison

    Byron York outlines the challenges facing the presumptive nominee:

    At the same time he has to inspire the conservative base that has always viewed him with skepticism, he also has to win the support of moderate and independent women all across the country who view conservative Republicans with skepticism. A recent Gallup poll of a dozen swing states found Romney actually leading President Obama by one point among men but trailing the president by an astonishing 18 points among women. How does Romney do it?

    Alec MacGillis homes in on class, rather than ideology:

    [P]retty much across the board, [Romney] did poorly among, well, poorer and more rural voters. It’s been said before but can’t be overstated: Romney’s chances this fall will hinge largely on whether he can win big among the working-class whites that have become the Republican base. John McCain held an 18-point edge among these voters, but as big a margin as that was, it was smaller than George W. Bush’s 23-point margin in 2004. A recent poll had Romney’s lead with these voters at 17 points—sizable, yes, but he will need to surpass McCain in this category, a category whose share is shrinking with every passing election.

  5. rikyrah says:

    April 11, 2012 12:58 PM

    Time, Once Again, To Explode Myth of Jewish Trend to GOP

    By Ed Kilgore

    At about this time in nearly every presidential cycle, you start hearing that Jews are going to leave the Democratic column in significant numbers either because a Democratic administration is insufficiently supportive of Israel or a Republican administration is all warm and cozy with Israeli leaders. Yes, there have been a couple of fairly recent presidential elections where the Jewish vote moved significantly: the 1980 cycle, when Jewish unhappiness (on both domestic and international issues) with Jimmy Carter held him to an extraordinarily low 45% of the Jewish vote (still more than Ronald Reagan, but with major defections to third-party candidate John Anderson), and the 1992 cycle, when Jewish unhappiness (on both domestic and internation issues) with George H.W. Bush held the incumbent to a mere 11% of that vote. By and large, though, the Jewish vote has been reasonably stable, with Democrats typically winning two-thirds to three-fourths of it.

    And that’s how it looks in 2012, notes the distinguished Israeli journalist Gershom Gorenberg at TAP, drawing from a new survey by the nonpartisan Public Religion Research Institute. PRRI shows 62% of Jewish voters expressing support for President Obama’s re-election as opposed to 30% preferring a “generic” Republican. Generic GOPers have typically done better than actual candidates in polls this cycle, of course, and in addition, PRRI notes this split in sentiment is very similar to what it found at this point in the last cycle, where Obama ultimately won 78% of the Jewish vote.

    Aside from the questionable nature of the quadrennial predictions of major Jewish defections to the GOP, related mythmaking involves the belief that American Jews are closely attuned to Israeli attitudes towards U.S. politics, or for that matter, vote primarily on Middle Eastern issues. That’s far from the truth, notes Gorenberg:

  6. rikyrah says:

    I don’t know one Black person who actually thinks STAND YOUR GROUND applies to them.

    we’ve been saying this for forever and a day.

    wouldn’t have mattered if Trayvon was White, and a newly minted member of a violent, White Supremacist group..

    if Zimmerman were BLACK – stand your ground wouldn’t have EVER been brought up.


    When “stand your ground” fails

    John McNeil killed a white man who assaulted him in his home. But, unlike George Zimmerman, he’s serving life

    As the shooting death of Trayvon Martin and the failure of authorities to arrest his killer, George Zimmerman, continues to grab headlines, many conservatives and gun rights advocates insist that race has nothing to do with it. Some have also rallied to the defense of Florida’s “stand your ground” law, the self-defense legislation under which Zimmerman was able to avoid arrest. Yet not all stand your ground claims are so successful. Not too far from Sanford, Fla., a black man named John McNeil is serving a life sentence for shooting Brian Epp, a white man who trespassed and attacked him at his home in Georgia, another stand your ground state.
    It all began in early 2005, when McNeil and his wife, Anita, hired Brian Epp’s construction company to build a new house in Cobb County, Ga. The McNeils testified that Epp was difficult to work with, which led to heated confrontations. They eventually decided to close on the house early to rid their lives of Epp, whom they found increasingly threatening. At the closing, both parties agreed that Epp would have 10 days to complete the work, after which he would stay away from the property, but he failed to keep up his end of the bargain.

    On Dec. 6, 2005, John McNeil’s 19-year-old son, La’Ron, notified his dad over the phone that a man he didn’t recognize was lurking in the backyard. When La’Ron told the man to leave, an argument broke out. McNeil was still on the phone and immediately recognized Epp’s voice. According to La’Ron’s testimony, Epp pointed a folding utility knife at La’Ron’s face and said, “[w]hy don’t you make me leave?” at which point McNeil told his son to go inside and wait while he called 911 and headed home.

    According to McNeil’s testimony, when he pulled up to his house, Epp was next door grabbing something from his truck and stuffing it in his pocket. McNeil quickly grabbed his gun from the glove compartment in plain view of Epp who was coming at him “fast.” McNeil jumped out of the car and fired a warning shot at the ground insisting that Epp back off. Instead of retreating, Epp charged at McNeil while reaching for his pocket, so McNeil fired again, this time fatally striking Epp in the head. (Epp was found to have a folding knife in his pocket, although it was shut.)

    The McNeils weren’t the only ones who felt threatened by Epp. David Samson and Libby Jones, a white couple who hired Epp to build their home in 2004, testified that they carried a gun as a “precaution” around Epp because of his threatening behavior. According to Jones, Epp nearly hit her when she expressed dissatisfaction with his work at a weekly meeting. The couple even had a lawyer write a letter warning Epp to stay away from their property. Samson testified that after they fired him, Epp would park his car across the street and watch their house, saying “it got to the point where my wife and I were in total fear of this man.”

    After a neighbor across the street who witnessed the encounter corroborated McNeil’s account, police determined that it was a case of self-defense and did not charge him in the death. Nevertheless, almost a year later Cobb County District Attorney Patrick Head decided to prosecute McNeil for murder. In 2006, he was convicted and sentenced to life in prison.

  7. rikyrah says:

    h/t Joy Reid:

    Attorney Crump re Trayvon’s parents: “no one can be hurting more than them, and if they can carry themselves in a dignified manner we all can.”


  8. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan on the ‘suffering’ of the poor
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 2:00 PM EDT.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) appeared on NBC’s “Today” show yesterday, and co-host Ann Curry asked a reasonable question about his budget plan: “Do you acknowledge poor people will suffer under this budget?”

    Ryan dismissed the idea out of hand.

    The answer is important, in part for what he said, and in part for what he didn’t say.

    On the former, Ryan argued that high poverty rates are the results of “the president’s policies.” That’s ridiculous — poverty rates are high because a recession started in 2007, and it was followed by a global financial crisis in 2008.

    He added, in apparent reference to welfare reform, “What we want to do is replicate those successful strategies that worked in the late ’90’s.” But that’s absurd, too, because as Ed Kilgore explained yesterday, Clinton-era welfare reform and Ryan’s vision have nothing in common.

    Finally, Ryan argued, “We just don’t agree that throwing more money at failed programs works.” The problem, of course, is that they’re not failed programs — as we were reminded this week, the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), better known as food stamps, has been an extraordinary success. Ryan doesn’t want to eliminate “failed” programs; he wants to slash funding for effective ones.

    And then there’s what Ryan didn’t say — that poor people really will suffer under the Ryan plan.


    Look, this really isn’t complicated. Paul Ryan’s budget plan is simply brutal towards the poor and working families.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s budget plan would get at least 62 percent of its $5.3 trillion in nondefense budget cuts over ten years (relative to a continuation of current policies) from programs that serve people of limited means. This stands a core principle of President Obama’s fiscal commission on its head and violates basic principles of fairness.

    While giving a massive tax break to the wealthy, the Ryan budget plan slashes funding for Medicaid, food stamps, and other for low-income programs, nearly all of which Ryan’s plan would eliminate over the next couple of decades.

    As the CBPP’s Robert Greenstein put it, “[T]he Ryan budget would impose extraordinary cuts in programs that serve as a lifeline for our nation’s poorest and most vulnerable citizens, and over time would cause tens of millions of Americans to lose their health insurance or become underinsured.” He added that Ryan’s plan “would cast tens of millions of less fortunate Americans into the ranks of the uninsured, take food from poor children, make it harder for low-income students to get a college degree, and squeeze funding for research, education, and infrastructure.”

    “Do you acknowledge poor people will suffer under this budget?” The fact that Ryan would acknowledge no such thing suggests he doesn’t know what “suffer” means, or he’s not as familiar with the consequences of his plan as he should be.

  9. rikyrah says:

    Mitt Romney can’t leave women voters to his wife

    By Ruth Marcus,
    Published: April 10
    The Washington Post

    Outsourcing the job to his wife isn’t going to solve Mitt Romney’s problem with women voters.

    That, though, does seem to be the candidate’s first instinct. Romney, when asked last week about the gender gap, twice said he wished his wife could take the question.

    “My wife has the occasion, as you know, to campaign on her own and also with me,” Romney told newspaper editors, “and she reports to me regularly that the issue women care about most is the economy.”

    Note to candidate: Women aren’t a foreign country. You don’t need an interpreter to talk to them. Even if you’re not fluent in their language, they might appreciate if you gave it a try.

    As if to emphasize their candidate’s unfamiliarity with the territory of gender, the Romney campaign then released a fuzzy-wuzzy video, titled “Family” and starring, of course, Ann Romney, reminiscing over grainy film and vintage snapshots.


    Romney’s biggest problem with women voters is among those with college educations and among those under 45. A new Washington Post/ABC News poll, for example, showed President Obama leading Romney by 57 percent to 38 percent among registered women voters, while Obama lagged with men, 44 percent to Romney’s 52 percent.

    However, the gender gap was markedly bigger among college-educated women, 65 percent of whom supported Obama, compared to 52 percent of those without a college education. Same with age, with 63 percent of female voters 18 to 44 backing Obama, compared to 54 percent of those 45 and older.

    How many of these younger and/or better-educated women are going to identify with Ann Romney’s father-knows-best description of life in chez Romney? I understand that the candidate badly needs humanizing but, especially for general-election purposes, it would be more powerful to combine the family story with examples, assuming they exist, about Workplace Mitt promoting women or adopting family-friendly policies.

    Even as Mitt was playing a bit role in his wife’s video, Obama was hosting a “White House Forum on Women and the Economy.” In an unstated yet unavoidable contrast with stay-at-home mother Ann Romney, Obama described his wife as “the woman who once advised me at the law firm in Chicago where we met” and related how Michelle Obama, after their daughters were born, “gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career.”

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 04/11/2012
    The war over the `war on women’
    By Greg Sargent

    With Romney’s campaign now arguing that Dems are the ones who are hurting women, thanks to Obama’s bad economic policies, Democrats pounced today on the news that Romney advisers were unable to say on a conference call with reporters whether he supports the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act.

    According to audio of the call circluated by Dems, a Romney adviser, after being questioned about the law, said: “We’ll get back to you on that.”

    Subsequently, Romney spokesperson Andrea Saul clarified: “He supports pay equity and is not looking to change current law.”

    The question now is whether a President Romney would veto or refuse to sign any effort by a GOP-controlled Congress to repeal the Lily Ledbetter Act. I’ve asked for further clarification and will update if I hear back.

    A few points on this. First, this isn’t the first time the broader issue has come up. As you’ll recall, neither CBS News nor the Hill were able to get the Romney campaign to say whether he supports Scott Walker’s repeal of Wisconsin’s equal pay law. And as Sam Stein notes today, if the Romney campaign is going to attack Obama for failing women economically, it should have had a ready answer at hand about Lily Ledbetter, given that this is one of Obama’s oft-trumpted achievements.

    Second, this dust-up offers a signal that conservatives suspicious of Romney will be policing his pivot to general election mode very closely. After the news broke that Romney isn’t looking to change the law, right-leaning writer Philip Klein immediately tweeted: “Wow, Romney spox says he won’t get rid of Lilly Ledbetter act. Terrible legislation.” Expect more of this.

    Third, the larger context is key. The Romney campaign has rolled out Ann Romney to argue in multiple forums that the battle over contraception and cultural issues won’t hurt Mitt, because women mostly care about jobs and kitchen table concerns. But this gender issue is an economic issue, too.

    Romney’s seeming support of the law notwithstanding, Dems will work hard to remind voters that every Republican Senator aside from the Maine twins voted against Lily Ledbetter. Romney seems to recognize that this is an area where he absolutely must achieve separation from the Congressional GOP, even if it risks angering conservatives. But this dust-up shows that where warranted, Dems will continue using the GOP’s overall damaged brand among women to complicate Romney’s effort to reintroduce himself to this key swing constituency.

  11. Ametia says:

    George Zimmerman to be charged in Trayvon Martin shooting, official says
    By Sari Horwitz, Wednesday, April 11, 12:56 PM

    Florida special prosecutor Angela Corey plans to announce as early as Wednesday afternoon that she is charging neighborhood watch volunteer George Zimmerman in the shooting of Trayvon Martin, according to a law enforcement official close to the investigation.

    It was not immediately clear what charge Zimmerman will face.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Romney campaign stumbles on equal pay
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 12:30 PM EDT.

    Following up on an earlier item, Mitt Romney and his campaign are so excited about accusing President Obama of waging a “war on women” that Team Romney organized a conference call this morning to push the message. Romney aides probably should have thought this through first.

    “His polices have been really a war on women,” Romney told FOX News Wednesday. “Over 92 percent of the jobs lost under this president were lost by women,” a statistic his campaign has cited frequently this week.

    But no one from his campaign, including economic and policy advisers, could offer a clear explanation of this disparity Romney has trumpeted on a press call Wednesday…. Nor could Romney’s advisers say whether Romney would do anything to address it.

    Making matters worse, the Huffington Post’s Sam Stein asked whether Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, and the campaign aides, after a painfully long delay, had no idea

    These weren’t trick questions. This was, after all, a call about women’s issues. It was organized by the Romney campaign, so it’s not as if these staffers could say they were caught off guard by extraneous and unrelated issues. Presumably, these folks prepared for their own telephone press conference.

    Romney has cited a misleading statistic, and his aides couldn’t defend it. Romney has said current policies are keeping women from getting more jobs, and given three separate chances to say something coherent, his aides couldn’t explain what would change if the former governor is elected president. Were they not expecting these kinds of question?

    To borrow a Casey Stengel line, can’t anybody here play this game?


    As for the Fair Pay law, Lilly Ledbetter released a statement shortly after the Romney campaign wouldn’t state the former governor’s position on this.

    “I was shocked and disappointed to hear that Mitt Romney is not willing to stand up for women and their families. If he is truly concerned about women in this economy, he wouldn’t have to take time to ‘think’ about whether he supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. This Act not only ensures women have the tools to get equal pay for equal work, but it means their families will be better served also. Women earn just 77 cents to every dollar that men earn for the same job, which is why President Obama took decisive action and made this the first bill that he signed when he took office. Women should have the ability to take their bosses to court to get the same pay as their male coworkers.

    “Anyone who wants to be President of the United States shouldn’t have to think about whether they support pursuing every possible avenue to ensuring women get the same pay for the same work as men. Our economic security depends on it.”

    Eventually, after Ledbetter’s statement was released to the media, the Republican campaign said a Romney administration wouldn’t try to repeal the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act, but wouldn’t say whether Romney supported the law itself. (Remember, the vast majority of congressional Republicans opposed the law when it passed in 2009.)

    As a result of all of this dissembling, the larger story this morning is that the Romney campaign stumbled on its own initiative, allowing Obama’s team to go on the offensive when Romney expected to put them on the defensive.

    Welcome to the general election, Mitt. I think you’ll find it’s a little more difficult than going up against Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum.

  13. Ametia says:

    Allen West is now OFFICIALLY on the 3 Chics “Coonin’ Wall of Shame.”

  14. Ametia says:

    A federal judge ordered Wells Fargo to pay $3.1 million in punitive damages over its mishandling of a homeowner’s loan, according to a report in the Huffington Post.

    The opinion was issued by Elizabeth Magner, a federal bankruptcy judge in the Eastern District of Louisiana. Manger described Wells Fargo’s behavior as “highly reprehensible” in its five-year fight with the homeowner.

  15. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    April 11, 2012 11:45 AM

    Pinning Mitt to the Right-Wing Mat

    By Ed Kilgore

    One of the key strategic decisions facing the Obama campaign now that Mitt Romney has completely nailed down the GOP nomination is whether to go after him as too conservative for the country, or as a slippery flip-flopper who might do anything. The former is a tried-and-true tactic that exploits the unusual ideological militancy afflicting the GOP this year and takes advantage of Romney’s many efforts to placate “true conservatives.” The latter approach has the advantage of reinforcing conservative doubts about Romney—which are still fresh in everyone’s memory, of course—and also casting doubt on Mitt’s character, like the GOP’s “flip-flop” campaign against John Kerry in 2004.

    The first sign from Team Obama squarely takes the “he’s too conservative” tack:

    From the Obama campaign, CNN reports:

    “Expect us to keep holding Romney accountable for the positions he committed to during the primary. There will be no Etch A Sketch opportunities this year,” Obama campaign press secretary Ben LaBolt said.

    This is, of course, just a web video, and distribution of it can be targeted to people most likely to be offended by Romney’s pander-fest to the Right (including potential Obama-Biden donors). It by no means precludes different attack lines later, including the flip-flop charge. But it’s an interesting sign of the Obama campaign’s current thinking.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Chris Christie sees Americans as lazy couch potatoes
    By Steve Benen –
    Wed Apr 11, 2012 11:31 AM EDT.

    In November, Republicans were apoplectic when they thought President Obama called Americans “a little bit lazy.” In reality, the smear was absurd — Obama had said U.S. policymakers have been “a little bit lazy” when it comes to attracting businesses to American soil, but for many on the right, who consider context irrelevant, the president was attacking the populace.

    Looking back, it was an ironic attack — generally, it’s Republicans who argue that Americans are lazy. Mitt Romney, for example, has complained that Americans “have tended to avoid the hard work that overcoming challenges requires.” House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) said Americans have a “culture of people just having no work ethic.”

    And now New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) is warning against a nation filled with “a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check.”

    “I’ve never seen a less optimistic time in my lifetime in this country and people wonder why,” Christie said at the Bush Institute Conference on Taxes and Economic Growth, adding, “I think it’s really simple: it’s because government’s now telling them ‘stop dreaming, stop striving, we’ll take care of you.’ We’re turning into a paternalistic entitlement society.”

    So, in Christie’s mind, we’re all lazy, but it’s government’s fault for making us this way.

    I’m curious, does anyone have idea what in the world the governor is talking about?


    Who are these government officials telling Americans to stop dreaming and stop striving? Where is this alleged agenda in which the government sends free money to lazy people? Who, exactly, is Christie complaining about?

    It certainly isn’t Democrats. I caught President Obama’s speech in Florida yesterday, and he wasn’t just presenting an optimistic vision, he was challenging Americans and their elected officials to aim high and do more.

    This need not be a rhetorical question. Can Chris Christie name anyone, anywhere who wants to reward those “people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check”?

    And can all of those Republicans who were outraged by the notion of Americans being lazy let us know if they found the governor’s comments offensive?

    • Ametia says:

      ““a bunch of people sittin’ on a couch waiting for their next government check.”b>


  17. rikyrah says:

    April 11, 2012 8:45 AM

    Snapshot of Romney’s Problem

    By Ed Kilgore

    Team Romney is walking tall today’s after Rick Santorum’s withdrawal from the presidenetial race. But a new Public Policy Polling survey of Colorado, high on everyone’s “battleground state” list, shows the problem Romney faces going forward in dealing with intraparty and general election challenges.

    Colorado was one of several swing and even traditionally red states that President Obama flipped in 2008—and if his re-election bid were decided today, there would be no looking back. He would actually defeat likely Republican nominee Mitt Romney by an even larger margin than he did John McCain four years ago. McCain lost by nine points in the Centennial State, and Romney trails by 13 in PPP’s latest poll.

    Obama’s 53-40 lead over Romney here is up 11 points from only a two-point edge when PPP last polled the state only four months ago.

    The story in Colorado is the same as everywhere: the president has seen his popularity rise in the last few months, while the dragging GOP primary contest has sunk their candidates’ personal numbers. Romney’s favorability rating is still the best of the Republicans’ except Paul’s, but he sits at 31% favorable and 60% unfavorable, down from 35-53 in the previous poll. Meanwhile, 50% approve and 47% disapprove of Obama’s job performance, up eight points on the margin from early December (45-50).

    Looking at the crosstabs makes it clear Romney can’t just spend the next few months tending to the tender feelings of party conservatives who supported one of his rivals (Rick Santorum beat him in the CO caucuses in February). Romney’s approval/disapproval ratio among self-identified “very conservative” voters is 45/35, which shows significant room for likely improvement as the general election gets nearer. But his 31/61 ratio among self-identified moderates is a bigger problem that won’t just solve itself. Meanwhile, any efforts to deal with the former group of voters could make it harder to appeal to the other.

    Similarly, PPP shows Romney with a mediocre 56/36 favorable/unfavorable ratio among Republicans. That will improve. But he’s at 25/65 among independents, which is, in a word, disastrous.

    Mitt’s got his work cut out for him. And he’s not the sort of guy who’s going to make up ground on the sheer force of his personality.

  18. rikyrah says:

    Romney Camp Refuses To Say Whether He Supports Gender Equality Law |

    Asked today on a conference call if Mitt Romney supports the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act — a landmark law passed in 2009 that empowers women to seek restitution for pay discrimination — the presumed GOP nominee’s campaign officials told reporters, “We’ll get back to you on that.” The law, the first signed by President Obama after he took office, was killed by Republicans in 2008 and is named after a woman who discovered she was being paid less than her male counterparts for doing the exact same work.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Elderly Woman Admonishes Rep. Steve King For Planned Parenthood Attacks: ‘I Find It Very Offensive’
    By Scott Keyes on Apr 6, 2012 at 1:45 pm

    – The right-wing social conservative group The FAMiLY Leader is pushing Iowa Republicans to restrict any state tax dollars from going to Planned Parenthood. While Planned Parenthood does not get state money for abortions, “it does get at least $6 million in state tax dollars as reimbursement for providing birth control and reproductive health exams to poor women.” And now, because the Iowa Republicans are plotting to take that away, women are making their voices heard.

    An elderly woman from central Iowa had harsh words for Rep. Steve King (R-IA) at a town hall meeting Tuesday, reprimanding the congressman for his attacks on the women’s health provider Planned Parenthood. During his time in Congress, King has been one of the most outspoken critics of Planned Parenthood for providing abortion services. The vast majority of Planned Parenthood’s services — 97 percent — don’t involve abortion, but other women’s health needs like mammograms, cervical cancer screenings, and STI tests.

    The constituent, Shirley Grant, assailed King for wanting to defund Planned Parenthood and make it harder for women to get health care and “take charge of their destiny.” Said Grant, “I find it very offensive that men think they can tell women what to do with their own life.”

    GRANT: When women want pro-choice and want to take charge of their destiny, you and your cohorts want to take funding away from Planned Parenthood. My daughter says, “throw out the word ‘birth control,’ Mom. Planned Parenthood isn’t that.” She says it’s for hormone replacement and that means you use those pills for many, many, many different areas of women’s lives. I find it very offensive that men think they can tell women what to do with their own life.

    Watch the exchange, as well as Grant’s reaction afterward

    ThinkProgress spoke with King on Monday about whether right-wing rhetoric may have played any part in motivating the bombing this week of a Planned Parenthood clinic in Wisconsin. Though King wasn’t familiar with the incident, he shrugged off the idea that Republican attacks bore any responsibility, saying his main concern was for the “unborn babies. That’s where our focus needs to be.”

    Republican women like Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison (R-TX) are stepping in to defend the vital services provided by Planned Parenthood. “The preventive health care [that] they’re doing, we need to provide those services, absolutely,” she told MSNBC last month.

    • Ametia says:

      Sam Stein ‏@samsteinhp Romney campaign declines to answer my question about whether the governor supports the lilly ledbetter act, says they’ll get back to me.

  20. rikyrah says:

    Rubber, glue, and the ‘war on women’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 10:13 AM EDT.

    A few weeks ago, just as the Republicans’ “war on women” was capturing national attention, the Republican National Committee decided to argue President Obama was the one who was actually waging a “war on women.” It was silly; it was impossible to take seriously; and the RNC dropped the line pretty quickly.

    That is, until yesterday, when Mitt Romney and his campaign team picked this up and ran with it — or at least tried to.

    Mitt Romney, who was all-but-crowned the Republican Party’s nominee on Tuesday after Rick Santorum suspended his campaign, sought to reframe the battle for female voters by accusing the Obama administration of waging “the real war on women” through its failure to jump-start the economy.

    “During the Obama years, women have suffered,” Romney told a crowd in this town just outside Philadelphia. “This president did not cause the recession; he just made it worse and made it longer. And it’s been harder for the recovery to occur. And, as a result, women have suffered.” […]

    Romney said that 92.3 percent of the jobs lost during Obama’s years as president were women’s jobs

    It wasn’t just the candidate — Romney surrogates also began pushing this line yesterday, suggesting this is a coordinated offensive.

    There are a few interesting angles to this new tack. The first is that Romney and his team are using wildly misleading figures. Romney obviously isn’t running a truth-oriented campaign, but for those who take details seriously, it’s worth noting that the data the presumptive Republican nominee is using isn’t accurate.

    The second has to do with causality and intentions.


    Is Romney saying the Obama administration is trying to force American women into unemployment on purpose? Because that would be a “war on women.” In contrast, the Republican Party agenda recently has been deliberate, featuring efforts to cut off Planned Parenthood; impose state-mandated, medically-unnecessary ultrasounds; force physicians to lie to patients about abortion and breast cancer; etc.

    Blaming job losses on Obama is tough, but no one can seriously argue the president tried to make unemployment worse. In contrast, the GOP agenda to attack women’s health is not an accident.

    And finally, the campaign’s strategy is familiar, but misguided. In recent weeks, Romney has gone to almost comical lengths to identify his faults and project them onto President Obama. Romney wants to end Medicare, so accused Obama of wanting to end Medicare. Romney is trying to keep his proposals secret until after the election, so accused Obama of wanting to keep his proposals secret until after the election. Romney has two post-grad degrees from Harvard, so he accused Obama of spending too much time at Harvard. Romney is an out-of-touch elitist, so he accused Obama of being an out-of-touch elitist.

    Rachel calls this Romney’s “I’m rubber, you’re glue” tactic.

    But this new tack is especially odd since it moves the argument to Democratic turf. Dems are eager to talk about the “war on women,” and Romney is inadvertently making their job easier, in part by endorsing a far-right agenda, and in part by validating the underlying rhetorical frame.

    Should the 2012 race come down to which candidate is more committed to protecting women’s interests? Is that really what Romney wants?

  21. Ametia says:

    PBO speaking live now on the BUFFETT RULE

  22. rikyrah says:

    ‘Bipartisan consensus’ doesn’t mean what Ryan thinks it means
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 9:19 AM EDT.

    House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) seems quite fond of the phrase “bipartisan consensus.” It’s ironic, under the circumstances, but even putting that aside, to paraphrase Inigo Montoya, Ryan keeps using those words, but I do not think they mean what he thinks they mean.

    Here’s Ryan yesterday talking about his plan to end Medicare’s guaranteed benefit: “I believe there is a bipartisan consensus emerging on going this direction.”

    Last week, he told the New York Times there’s “a bipartisan consensus on most elements of what needs to be done” on the debt. A few days prior, Ryan told Fox News, “There’s a bipartisan consensus on tax reform.” A few days before that, Ryan told ABC “there is an emerging Democrat-Republican bipartisan consensus” on closing tax loopholes. A day before that, he told CNN his Medicare reforms “reflect the emerging bipartisan consensus.”

    In March, Ryan told CBS there’s “a bipartisan consensus” to get rid of tax shelters. In February, he said on NBC’s “Meet the Press” that “a bipartisan consensus” exists on tax policy.

    You get the idea.

    I’m sure it’s the kind of language that makes unwitting media figures swoon — “Paul Ryan can’t be a radical; he keeps talking about his love for bipartisan consensus!” — but let’s unwrap this a bit, because I think it’s important to understand how wrong the Ayn Rand acolyte really is.


    First, when Ryan’s far-right budget plan reached the House floor, it garnered exactly zero Democratic votes, and generated opposition from 10 House Republicans. This isn’t an agenda that enjoys “bipartisan consensus”; it’s the exact opposite.

    Second, there’s ample polling data to suggest there is a “bipartisan consensus” among Americans on all kinds of compelling ideas: tax fairness for the wealthy, increased investments in domestic infrastructure, health care reforms that protect those with pre-existing conditions, keeping Medicare and Social Security intact, etc. Paul Ryan opposes all of these measures, regardless of their overwhelming support from the electorate.

    Third, there’s arguably a legitimate “bipartisan consensus” on some of these issues in a broad sense — both sides agree that Medicare faces serious fiscal challenges and tax reform is doable with the elimination of various loopholes and tax expenditures — but Ryan’s hard-line privatization agenda enjoys almost no Democratic support, and tax reform is impossible so long as Ryan touts closing loopholes without actually going to the trouble of saying which ones he’d scrap.

    And finally, “bipartisan consensus” just isn’t what it used to be. It wasn’t too long ago that Democrats and Republicans agreed on a health care mandate, the basic structure of an immigration reform package, a cap-and-trade plan, contraception access, Planned Parenthood funding, routine increases to the debt ceiling, reducing nuclear stockpiles, and reducing the deficit through a combination of spending cuts and modest tax increases. That consensus disappeared with the radicalization of the Republican Party.

    I’m delighted Paul Ryan seems interested in ideas with bipartisan support. I’d be even happier if he meant it.

  23. Ametia says:


  24. rikyrah says:

    Allen West: I’ve ‘Heard’ That 80 House Democrats Are Communist Party Members |

    Flamboyant Tea Party Rep. Allen West (R-FL) said at town hall meeting last night that “he’s heard” of up to 80 Democratic congressmen who are members of the Communist Party. The entire House Democratic Caucus is 190 members, so West is claiming that almost half are card-carrying Communists. Not surprisingly, he would not name names. (HT: Jenn Bendery)

    • Ametia says:


      SG2, 3Chics needs that shufflin graphic on the sidebar. It’s going to be a COONIN’ SHUCKIN’ & BUCKIN 2012 election cycle.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Idaho’s only African-American legislator receives letter from KKK .

    by Kim Fields
    Posted on April 10, 2012 at 4:55 PM

    Updated yesterday at 5:15 PM

    BOISE — Idaho’s only African-American legislator is drawing national attention for something she received in the mail. Boise Rep. Cherie Buckner-Webb says she received a letter last week from the KKK.

    Buckner-Webb posted the letter on her Facebook page. She says it was hand-addressed to her home in Boise. The letter asks her to join the KKK and to declare that she is white and not of racially mixed descent. It also asks her to declare that she does not date non-whites or have non-white dependents.

    Buckner-Webb responded on her Facebook page saying, “something a little unsettling.”

    The Knights Party website says the organization is based in Harrison, Arkansas. It says America’s White Future Begins Here. The organization says their number one goal is to stop white genocide. Their application says the organization is legal and law-abiding and that members would never be asked to commit and unlawful act.

    However, Buckner-Webb remains on guard, posting on her Facebook page, “just reminds me to be vigilant…. a little disconcerting. Think someone is putting me on notice, huh?”

  26. rikyrah says:

    Kentucky Dem Broadsides Mitch McConnell For ‘Dishonesty’ On Obamacare

    share close StumbleUpon Instapaper Reddit digg Brian Beutler- April 11, 2012, 6:04 AM 640828An outspoken Kentucky Democrat is directing an unusually pointed attack at a member of his own delegation. And not just any member — the single biggest target.

    Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) laid in to Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell in a letter delivered last week for misleading their mutual constituents about the facts and benefits of President Obama’s health care law.

    And in a follow-up interview, Yarmuth again attacked McConnell, his former ally, for putting partisan politics before representing the people of his state.

    “I’ve known Mitch for 40 years,” said Yarmuth. “We were political allies at one point. I was a Republican ‘til 1985. In recent years, as I’ve said publicly before, he has a considerable knack for being scrupulously accurate and rarely honest.”

    In this instance Yarmuth is referring to an op-ed McConnell wrote in the Louisville Courier-Journal. In his letter, Yarmuth calls into question five claims McConnell made in the op-ed. And he wants McConnell to address his concerns.

    McConnell’s spokesman declined to comment.

    “His constituents are my constituents. It irks me when he’s misleading them,” Yarmuth said. “There are about 15,000 small businesses that could be eligible for a tax credit in my district. Only 530 or so have taken advantage of it. And I know that’ s because they’re convinced it’s terrible for small businesses. And that’s not accurate.”

    Yarmuth has never taken such a public tack against McConnell. But unlike Yarmuth, McConnell’s not up for reelection this year, and this is a blunter-than-usual way of pressuring him not to be so partisan.

    “He’s just become such a total reflexive partisan politician, he’s playing a different role, and it’s not necessarily being a senator from Kentucky,” Yarmuth said. “He’s become totally detached from any obligation to be remotely fair and honest.”

  27. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 04:39 PM ET, 04/10/2012
    Repeal or no repeal, health care still plays well for Obama
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Here’s another finding from today’s Washington Post/ABC poll that might surprise people. On health care, people pick Barack Obama over Mitt Romney “to do a better job” on health care by a ten point spread. Yup, health care. That’s more than Obama’s seven-point edge in the horse race question, and makes health care the third-best issue for the president out of ten areas tested, behind only foreign affairs and women’s issues.

    How can that be, if Obama’s health care reform law is so unpopular?

    One thing this result suggests (and as always, I wouldn’t lean too hard on one result in one poll) is that perhaps the polling that shows the various individual provisions of the Affordable Care Act are popular might be more significant than the polling that shows the law as a whole is unpopular. That is, voters might support a candidate who tries to eliminate lifetime caps and denying coverage for preexisting conditions, along with closing the donut hole for Medicare and allowing young adults to stay on their parents’ insurance, even if they don’t like “Obamacare.”

    On the other hand, some context is in order here. During the 2008 campaign, Obama typically held a 20 to 30 point lead over John McCain on health care — for example, a Post/ABC poll in October 2008 gave Obama a 59 to 30 lead. That was probably due in part to Obama’s overall strong lead at the time, but it’s possible to interpret a 10 point lead as a narrowing of the gap.

    Still, even if Dems are winning on health care by fewer points than usual, that doesn’t exactly make it a strong Republican issue. Especially since Romney and Congressional Republicans still have nothing positive to say on health care, and given that there’s still no “replace” to go with their “repeal” pledge. It’s a good reminder that whatever the Supreme Court does in June, health care overall is a traditionally good Democratic issue that figures to play well for Barack Obama, and poorly for Mitt Romney, this November.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 08:50 AM ET, 04/11/2012 TheWashingtonPost The Morning Plum: Romney wants to pivot. Will anyone let him?
    By Greg Sargent
    Now that Mitt Romney is the unofficial GOP nominee, his campaign is busily preparing to reintroduce him to the swing constituencies he alienated during the GOP nomination process. The question is this: Will anyone let him make this pivot?

    In an interesting twist, conservative Republicans and Democrats alike share an interest in holding Romney to the positions he took during the primary. Both sides agree on one point: They want Campaign 2012 to shape up as a grand ideological struggle between two starkly different visions for the nation’s future. Conservatives don’t want to merely deny Obama a second term by any means necessary, and particularly not with any calculated, craven move to the “center.” They want to see Obama decisively dispatched in an ideological death match that reaffirms the superiority and dominance of their worldview.

    Democrats, meanwhile, also want the contest to be framed along similarly grandiose ideological lines. They believe swing voters ultimately will choose Obama’s values, priorities and vision if Romney can be kept in the ideological prison he built during the primary.

    Romney’s team is already signaling the pivot. An anonymous Romney adviser makes it plain in an interview with Dan Balz:

    “Voters will now look at Mitt differently and through a different prism. We can use this new beginning as an opportunity to reintroduce the campaign and the candidate.”

    Sure, Romney will have a chance to reintroduce himself to swing consistuencies on more favorable terms as the nominee. But the anger on the right over the Etch-A-Sketch moment confirmed that conservatives fully expect Romney to try to ditch the positions he had to take in the primary. Whether it’s on immigration, abortion and women’s health, or the Paul Ryan budget and its vision of the role of government and the proper distribution of wealth and the tax burden, conservatives will be watching closely for any deviations from previously proclaimed positions and principles. And so will Dems.

    One outstanding question: Whether reporters and commentators will hold Romney accountable for those positions, or whether they will merely be written off as stuff Romney just had to say to get through the primary but didn’t really mean — you know, as just part of the game.

  29. rikyrah says:

    GOP struggles with ‘Buffett Rule’
    By Steve Benen – Wed Apr 11, 2012 8:31 AM EDT.
    White House photo

    Warren Buffett and President Obama in the Oval Office.
    President Obama spoke in Florida yesterday, helping make the case for the “Buffett Rule,” which is set for a Senate vote next week. As Obama put it, for those “bringing in a million bucks or more a year … you should pay the same percentage of your income in taxes as middle-class families do. You shouldn’t get special tax breaks. You shouldn’t be able to get special loopholes.”

    Republicans, not surprisingly, disagree, but they’re having trouble coming up with a coherent explanation as to why they disagree. It’s a simple question — why should some millionaires pay a lower tax rate than the middle class — that the right can’t find a simple answer for.

    Some Republicans have said, for example, that the Buffett Rule would bring in “only” about $47 billion, which isn’t that much given the size of the budget. There’s some truth to that, but given the GOP crusade against Planned Parenthood and NPR funding — in the name of “fiscal responsibility” — it’s hardly persuasive.

    This week, as Noam Scheiber noted, Karl Rove’s attack operation, American Crossroads, have rolled out a separate argument.

    A data point in support of the misdirection hypothesis: Rove et al have launched a Facebook petition in response to Obama’s latest Buffett-Rule push, calling on Obama and Warren Buffett to “put their money where their mouths are” and pay more in taxes voluntarily. According to Mike Allen, Crossroads is launching an ad campaign to amplify that message. Suffice it to say, these do not strike me as people overly concerned by Obama’s populist rhetoric, or worried about a campaign that would be fought along those lines.

    Greg Sargent’s reaction was the right one: “Really, it continues to amaze that people in positions of real influence could venture something this idiotic with no evident sense of embarrassment.”

    Well said. The Crossroads pitch is a familiar one, but its ubiquity doesn’t improve its inanity.

    This isn’t complicated. We’re a massive, modern nation with a vast economy, a large debt, and by modern standards, low taxes. We face real challenges, but they’re not the kind of challenges individuals can hope to resolve on their own, piecemeal, simply by having some wealthy individuals write a check. Whether Republicans choose to understand this or not, we need cooperative solutions built around shared action.

    Making additional tax contributions voluntarily — in other words, asking for a little more only from those willing to pay a little more — is ridiculous.


    The wealthy can afford modest tax increases, which in turn can help pay down the debt Republicans pretend to care about, while shielding many of those who can least afford to take another hit.

    The scope of our societal challenges is simply too great to expect a handful of individuals to make voluntary contributions to the Treasury. Instead, we need the nation’s wealthy — the whole class of them, not just a willing few — who’ve benefited greatly in recent years from a system tilted in their favor, to pay a little more and accept some degree of fairness in our tax policy.

    Which brings us back to the original point: the Senate vote on the Buffett Rule is next week, and Republicans still need an argument to explain why people like Mitt Romney should pay a special, lower tax rate than the middle class.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Tuesday, April 10, 2012
    Go Big Red (And Screw You Blue)
    Posted by Zandar

    Oh, Nebraska, the state of my birth. How far will the GOP go in Huskers territory to prevent President Obama from splitting one of five electoral votes off like he did in 2008? Changing the rules back to winner-take-all failed. Changing Voter ID laws failed.

    So, we’re down to plan C. Why do you have to go there?

    But it is recent changes implemented by Douglas County Election Commissioner Dave Phipps, an appointee of Republican Gov. Dave Heineman, that are really raising eyebrows.

    Last month, Phipps’ plans to close 150 polling places_ more than half of the previous 357 _ in and around Omaha surfaced. That led to complaints that the state’s poorest voters with limited access to transportation would be, at best, discouraged from voting and, at worst, unable to get to a polling place.

    Within days, Phipps confirmed that his office had knowingly sent out polling place cards to nearly 2,000 north Omaha voters _ a precinct of mostly low-income Democratic voters _ with the wrong polling place information on them.

    Phipps defended his actions, saying that the county’s voter information cards were already being printed when he honored a request from the area’s Democratic representatives to reopen a closed polling place.

    “Trying to find 1,745 cards out of 315,000 cards, when they’re not printed precinct by precinct, was almost certain to fail,” Phipps said. “It’s like finding a needle in a haystack.”

    “We knew we could send out a correction,” he said. “We send these types of corrections all the time, and we’ve never had calls about being confused.”

    He said he closed polling places because of the combination of redistricting, a state law passed last year that requires larger precincts and his desire to save money.

    And why shut down nearly half the precincts in and around Omaha, Nebraska’s largest city?

    “They’re attempting to suppress north Omaha voting,” said state Democratic Party Chairman Vic Covalt, who has called for Phipps to be removed from office. “I think it’s most material that the precinct that was confused was 82 percent Democrat and a minority population location.”

    Poor urban minorities don’t need “convenient polling places” or anything for something that only really might matter one day out of every four years. Time to put em in their place.

    Way to go, Big Red.

  31. rikyrah says:

    Chart of the Day
    Posted on 04/10/2012 at 6:40 pm by JM Ashby

    Karl Rove’s Crossroads GPS PAC launched a massive ad buy today that claims former President George Bush, not President Obama, deserves credit for the current state of domestic energy production.

    I have serious doubts that dredging up Bush is a good idea, even if your motive is to smear the president, but the larger problem with this accusation is that it simply isn’t true.

    There are a number of ways you could criticize the president over the current domestic energy boom, all of which will almost assuredly come from voices on the Left, but attributing the current success of the market to the policies of George Bush is nonsensical. And I’m not convinced doing so won’t harm the GOP.

    The 30 percent of the population who still believe Bush was a great president isn’t going to vote for President Obama anyway, and using Bush as an avenue of attack may just turn off a few undecideds.

  32. Ametia says:


  33. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    April 10, 2012 4:12 PM
    Ryan Budget Is Not the New “Welfare Reform”

    By Ed Kilgore

    It is entirely unsurprising that Paul Ryan and his many supporters have been advertising the massive safety net cuts and wholesale abandonments of the poor that make the bulk of the spending “savings” in his budget proposal as the greatest thing since the Clinton-era welfare reform legislation. What is surprising is that some progressives seem to be going along with the characterization in order to grind some old axes about the 1996 act.

    There was a big Sunday New York Times piece by Jason DeParle conflating the plight of “the poor” with those of the single unwed mothers affected by state-level reductions in cash assistance under the TANF program (the post-1996 name for the old Aid to Families With Dependent Children program, a.k.a. “welfare”). DeParle does indeed document some dreadful state practices (notably in Arizona), even as he acknowledges that despite the recession more single unwed mothers are able to work than before 1996, and have lower poverty rates. But by overstating the importance of TANF in the post-reform safety net scheme, and giving critics of the original law a new soapbox for claiming vindication, DeParle’s piece is not only misleading, but understates the potential damage Ryan’s proposal could inflict.

    Indeed, the biggest problem with the “welfare reform has failed” narrative, and with treating the Ryan budget as a logical extension of welfare reform, is that it ignores one of the main purposes of the 1996 act was to make other elements of the safety net, some work-conditional and others simply much better targeted, more central, even as they were significantly strengthened. As Elaine Kamarck explained at Ten Miles Square back in September of 2011:

    [T]he intent of welfare reform was to move as many Americans as possible off the welfare rolls, which, by supporting mothers only if they weren’t working and weren’t married, created lamentable behavioral incentives. The goal was to see them then move into either the work world or the arms of other government programs that offer more targeted forms of assistance. In both respects, the law has been a success. No doubt the safety net needs shoring up. But even in these tough economic times, it is providing much more of a cushion for the kinds of families that once relied on welfare than its critics seem to realize.

    In today’s WaPo, Ezra Klein takes a different tack in suggesting that welfare reform’s record is an accurate yardstick for how the Ryan budget might work out: since Ryan (and for that matter, in his own proposal, Mitt Romney) wants to turn Medicaid, food stamps and other safety-net programs into state-run block grants, it’s important to look at how states have cut TANF to see how they might handle these other programs.

    Ezra’s right about that, but like Paul Ryan, he’s mixing apples and oranges: TANF costs and caseloads were intended to go down in no small part because the other safety net programs, along with the extremely important earned income tax credit (EITC) were intended to pick up the slack. And that’s why the GOP proposals are so devastating: they knock the very props from beneath the effort to “make work pay” that was more important than state generosity in TANF rules or funding in making welfare reform work as well as it has. Beyond anything to do with welfare, of course, Medicaid is an extremely important source of health care coverage not only for the unemployed and the working poor, but for low-income elderly as well. Dumping this responsibility on the states is a very bad idea. Doing so with radically reduced federal funding is worse.

    In any event, whether you agree with Elaine Kamarck and other defenders of the 1996 law, or with its past and present critics, it’s important to keep in mind why Ryan and company are linking their proposals to welfare reform. As Ezra notes, one motive is to disguise what are basically just deep benefit cuts as “reforms.” (Beyond the devastating treatment of Medicaid, food stamps, and other items on the spending side of the ledger, I’d bet the farm if I had one that the EITC wll be slashed if and when Ryan gets around to identifying his “tax reform” proposals). But worse yet, they understand that welfare reform was and remains very popular—perhaps not with progressive wonks or activists, but with the general public. So marketing their safety net proposals as “welfare reform, part two” is highly deceptive but smart.

    Progressives would be well advised to put aside ex post facto wrangling over what happened in 1996 and make it abundantly clear that whether you think welfare reform was good, bad, or a mixed bag, what’s underway right now is very different and unambiguously a travesty.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Don’t Let the Door Hit You…Santorum

    by BooMan
    Tue Apr 10th, 2012 at 05:56:17 PM EST
    The sad thing about the news that Rick Santorum is ending his campaign is that there really isn’t anything to write about it. I mean, who cares? No one ever took him seriously. Even when he (kind of) won Iowa, no one gave a crap. About the only thrill Santorum gave us were a few brief moments when it looked like he might humiliate Romney in his birth state of Michigan. And that didn’t pan out. The thing about Santorum is that he isn’t funny. He’s not even unintentionally funny. I mean Herman Cain was funny. Newt Gingrich is a laugh-riot (student janitors and moon colonies, anyone?). Ron Paul can actually crack a few good jokes. Michele Bachmann is a joke. And what can we say about Rick Perry that isn’t funny?

    Santorum is just a grim tight-ass with a dark and delusional worldview. He doesn’t restrict himself to the usual Republican practice of punching down and sucking up (which, incidentally, is one definition of unfunny). Santorum punches in all directions, like a man beset by venomous gnats. He could be the least optimistic man America has produced. He’s like a hate-filled pustule that tries to pass itself off as concerned about the children.

    There aren’t enough negative words in the Oxford English Dictionary for me to properly describe my utter contempt for Rick Santorum and every thing he stands for, and pretends to stand for.

    I’m sorry to see him go, though, because he’s right about Romney. Romney really is a phony. He really is pulling the wool over conservatives’ eyes. He doesn’t stand for anything. And Santorum was pointing it out every day. The truest things Santorum said during the whole campaign were targeted at Mitt Romney. He was doing real damage to Mitt, and I was loving every moment of it.

    And, no, Santorum doesn’t have any future in the Republican Party. He didn’t earn anything during this campaign but the admiration of a bunch of end times home-schoolers. In 2016, we’ll see the GOP’s A-Team, and Santorum won’t be in the top echelon.

    If it wasn’t for the poor health of his suffering daughter, I would pile even more abuse on Santorum’s head as he walks out the door. My one final parting shot, and I think Fox News already knows this, is to point out that people can give Santorum a teevee show if they want, but no one will watch it.

  35. Ametia says:

    Boy’s stepfather held on $100K bond in show and tell case
    Daniel Tepfer
    Updated 10:25 p.m., Tuesday, April 10, 2012

    BRIDGEPORT — The stepfather of a 5-year-old boy who police say brought 50 packets of heroin to school for “show and tell” was arraigned Tuesday in state Superior Court.

    Santos Roman, 35, of Kossuth Street, is charged with risk of injury to a minor, possession of narcotics, sale of narcotics and possession of narcotics within 1,500 feet of a school.

    During the brief court appearance, Senior Assistant State’s Attorney Nicholas Bove urged Superior Court Judge Earl Richard to order Roman held on a high bond, pointing out that Santos has an extensive record of drug convictions.

    Read more:

  36. rikyrah says:

    chipping away
    By Freddie deBoer April 10th, 2012

    I think the terrible piece that Zandar and ABL discussed is a picture perfect example of what I’ve been talking about: a concerted effort to normalize racist sentiment. Specifically, by presenting that sentiment as a kind of “daring” in the way DougJ describes, racism as an act of intellectual courage or some such self-aggrandizing narrative. Meanwhile, those who engage in that sort of thing will be defended by the notion that criticism is a kind of leftist censoring. Take it away, Mark Steyn:

    The Left is pretty clear about its objectives on everything from climate change to immigration to gay marriage: Rather than win the debate, they’d just as soon shut it down. They’ve had great success in shrinking the bounds of public discourse, and rendering whole areas of public policy all but undiscussable. In such a climate, my default position is that I’d rather put up with whatever racist/sexist/homophobic/Islamophobic/whateverphobic excess everybody’s got the vapors about this week than accept ever tighter constraints on “acceptable” opinion.

    It writes itself, if you’re trying to erode our fragile consensus on the equal dignity of black people. (There’s all kinds of racism, but let’s be real: they’re talking about black people.) Note that the idea of scandal exhaustion helps here; it’s far less likely that Mark Judge will be fired than John Derbyshire, and were he to be, the next conservative who said racist shit would be in even better shape. Every instance of bad behavior that provokes a righteously critical reaction simply feeds into the conspiracy mongering and grievance that animates the conservative project.

    I fully expect that, in the near future—the next several years, and likely specifically as a reaction against another term for Obama, or a racialized controversy like the Trayvon Martin case—some fairly prominent conservative will write a post about “coming out of the race realist closet.” It will deny that any animosity is intended, again defining racism as a kind of lack of civility rather than as the belief in the inherent superiority and inferiority of different races. It will at once make broad claims about the lower intelligence and tendency to violence in black people, while expressing that position in an idiom designed to seem anodyne and academic. It will repeatedly assert that the writer is terribly hurt to have to make this argument, and insist that he (it will be a he) wishes it weren’t so, but as his job is to tell the whole truth, he will bear the pains and risk his career. Despite this meticulously curated “more in sorrow than in anger” pose, the piece will assert the fundamental dishonesty of those who disagree.

    Now, maybe this first post won’t change things itself. The person who writers it will take heat. But it will come in a more prominent publication than Taki, and whoever voices it will likely be able to keep a job in the conservative media. And objections will spawn accusations of liberal groupthink, and the center will be moved, and then you’ll have the cable news networks at least talking about the idea—because “it’s out there now”—and even if they hold their nose and create distance, the idea just gets more and more mainstream. Then more dominoes fall, until the idea that any suitably large group of black people is statistically certain to be majority stupid is the sort of opinion a US Congressman can hold.

    It isn’t gonna come from some bold break. It’ll come drip-drip-drip, first with your fringe figures like Derbyshire, than a little more mainstream, and a little more, and a little more, until….

  37. Ametia says:

    I want some of these…

    Posted at 06:00 AM ET, 04/11/2012
    Cherry blossom centennial stamp defies expectations
    By Timothy R. Smith

    The Postal Service has a money tree and it sprouts a cherry blossom.

    The agency’s commemorative cherry blossom series is selling nearly 1 million stamps a day, far above last year’s popular Pixar issue. It has been so popular that Post Offices frequently sell out. Some have to place emergency orders to get overnight delivery to restock.

  38. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

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