Saturday Open Thread

Hi Everyone!!

I’ll be doing the weekend threads. I’ve had musicals on my mind today. Showtunes have been coming in and out, so, I’m gonna give you some of my favorite musical of all time – Phantom of the Opera. I love this musical. I have worn out the CD TWICE of the original recording.
I’ve seen the show in New York, Chicago, Washington, D.C., Toronto and Los Angeles. There is no other Phantom for me than Michael Crawford – the rest are just pretenders…LOL

From Wikipedia:

The Phantom of the Opera (1986 musical)
The Phantom of the Opera is a musical by Andrew Lloyd Webber, based on the French novel Le Fantôme de l’Opéra by Gaston Leroux.[1]

The music was composed by Lloyd Webber, and most lyrics were written by Charles Hart, with additional lyrics by Richard Stilgoe. Alan Jay Lerner was an early collaborator, but withdrew due to illness after some initial work on a single song, “Masquerade”.[2][3] The central plot revolves around a beautiful soprano, Christine Daaé, who becomes the obsession of a mysterious, disfigured musical genius.

The Phantom of the Opera opened in the West End in 1986, and on Broadway in 1988. It won the 1986 Olivier Award and the 1988 Tony Award for Best Musical, and Michael Crawford (in the title role) won the 1986 Olivier and 1988 Tony for Best Performance by an Actor in a Musical.[4] It is the longest-running Broadway show by a wide margin (celebrating its 10,000th performance on Broadway on February 11. 2012), the second longest-running West End musical, and the third longest-running West End show overall.[5][6][7]

With total worldwide box office receipts of over $5.1 billion (£3.5 billion),[8] including a record-setting Broadway gross of US $845 million,[9] Phantom is the highest-grossing entertainment event of all time and the most financially successful theatrical show in history.[10][11] It had been seen by over 130 million people in 145 cities in 27 countries by 2011, the most successful entertainment project in history.[10]


West End

Phantom began previews at Her Majesty’s Theatre in London’s West End on September 27, 1986 under the direction of Hal Prince, then opened on October 9. It was choreographed by Gillian Lynne and the sets were designed by Maria Björnson, with lighting by Andrew Bridge.[19] Michael Crawford starred in the title role with Sarah Brightman as Christine and Steve Barton as Raoul. The production, still playing at Her Majesty’s, celebrated its 10,000th performance on 23 October 2010, with Lloyd Webber and the original Phantom, Michael Crawford, in attendance. It is the second longest-running musical in West End (and world) history behind Les Miserables, and third overall behind The Mousetrap and Les Miz.[20][21]

Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman, stars of Harold Prince’s production, The Phantom of the Opera, London, 1986.

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44 Responses to Saturday Open Thread

  1. Ametia says:

    Wolf Blitzer is a a stone cold idiot pushing the Hillary Clinton VP meme. GTFOH

  2. Ametia says:

    Army Cancels Ted Nugent Show

    Citing inflammatory language while expressing his displeasure with President Barack Obama, the military has uninvited rock star and conservative political activist Ted Nugent from performing at Fort Knox in Kentucky, according to the U.S. Army post’s Facebook page.

    “After learning of opening act Ted Nugent’s recent public comments about the president of the United States, Fort Knox leadership decided to cancel his performance on the installation,” it’s Facebook posting says.

    So far, the June 23 concert remains on the Fort Knox schedule, with REO Speedwagon and Styx listed as “co-headliners,” but army personnel said they will grant requests for refunds in light of their decision to nix the opening act.

  3. Ametia says:

    Kelly: A sellout crowd awaits first lady in Omaha
    By Michael Kelly

    First lady Michelle Obama’s appearance next Tuesday at the Girls Inc. luncheon in Omaha is officially a sellout: 2,507 people.

    Tickets were $100 for the event at the CenturyLink Center. Vic Gutman, a spokesman for Girls Inc., said the crowd could have been larger.

    “The White House advance team rearranged our site plan, which cut 20 tables,” Gutman said. “We’ve had to turn people away. And we have more media than ever.”

    Of the big-name speakers for Girls Inc. luncheons, the only larger crowd, about 2,800, was for former President Bill Clinton. But that was on a Saturday, Gutman said, and the room was configured differently.

    The luncheon has featured then-Sen. Barack Obama, Hillary Rodham Clinton, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Madeleine Albright and Warren Buffett.

    The first lady is national honorary chairwoman of Girls Inc. Gutman said her high “likability rating” and the fact that it’s a presidential election year no doubt contributed to the large turnout

  4. rikyrah says:

    By Kay April 21st, 2012

    Republican strategists have grown weary of attacking sluts while defending mandated vaginal probes:

    Fiscal issues and union rights were front and center in many Republican-controlled legislatures last year. But this year, with the nation heading into the heart of a presidential race and voters consumed by the country’s economic woes, much of the debate in statehouses has centered on social issues. The recent flurry of socially conservative legislation, on issues ranging from expanding gun rights to placing new restrictions on abortion, comes as Republicans at the national level are eager to refocus attention on economic issues. Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states.

    Pivoting back to economic issues when campaigning in individual states, where Mitt Romney will be expected to answer specific questions (unlike at the national level, where he answers no questions) may not be the winner Mitt Romney thinks it is. Republicans at the state level are batshit crazy on economic issues, too. Mitt Romney has shown absolutely no interest in distinguishing himself on state-specific or regional economic issues. He can’t. He keeps running from Grover Norquist’s lash. I’ve written about this before, but we’ll revisit, because it gets more and more bizarre with each passing week.

    The issue:

    If you’ve been following politics in Michigan, you probably know that one of the governor’s top priorities is a new bridge over the Detroit River, the New International Trade Crossing. Nearly the entire corporate and business community want this bridge. But the governor hasn’t even been able to get a vote on it in the legislature, where many of the members have taken campaign donations from Matty Moroun, owner of the rival Ambassador Bridge. Moroun doesn’t want any competition, and so far, has managed to frustrate the governor and get his way.

    This is not purely a local issue; this is America’s most economically important border crossing. Billions in heavy freight cross the Ambassador Bridge every month. Getting a new bridge is a top economic priority for Canada, our nation’s biggest trading partner. So, how does Mitt Romney stand on the question of whether we should build a new international bridge? The answer seems to be that he doesn’t. He is apparently refusing to take a position on it.

    I left messages with a number of aides for both Governor Snyder and the Romney campaign. They didn’t return my calls. Yesterday, Tom Troy, the politics writer for The Blade, asked Romney about the bridge during a photo opportunity. “He wouldn’t answer,“ the reporter said. “He just kept posing and smiling.” Clearly, he knew the issue was controversial. That could mean more than two billion dollars in road money for our state. Mitt Romney wants a job which is all about making bold and controversial decisions. Playing “Detroit River duck” isn’t the way to show that he is up to the job.

    When the dancing Austrian warmblood touches down in Detroit or Toledo again he’s likely to be confronted with yet another “tough question” on this bridge, because the issue isn’t going away:

    The owners of the Ambassador Bridge say they are backing a statewide ballot proposal that would prohibit Michigan from developing a new U.S.-to-Canada bridge or tunnel unless voters approve. The Detroit International Bridge Co. said Friday it is undertaking a drive for a statewide referendum in November that would require Michigan voters to approve any new bridge or tunnel to Canada.

    500 million in trade is being held up by three rich people, one unelected libertarian lobbyist, and a completely corrupt and captured state legislature. Mitt Romney’s position on an international border crossing that Canada supports, the US supports, and the Governor of Michigan supports is “PANIC! Actual leadership-type question! Substantive answer required!”. Maybe it’s a blessing the social conservative lunatics are providing cover for the fiscal conservative lunatics.

  5. rikyrah says:

    found this comment over at Balloon Juice:

    Kane Says:


    I have noticed the media running a lot of “Obama has this problem or that problem” stories…

    The Problem with Obama

    Obama is too black
    Obama is too white
    Obama is not black enough
    Obama’s lack of Washington experience problem
    Obama’s Hispanic problem
    Obama’s Asian problem
    Obama’s Jewish problem
    Obama’s Catholic problem
    Obama’s Black voter problem
    Obama’s White voter problem
    Obama’s elderly problem
    Obama’s women problem
    Obama’s white elderly women voter problem
    Obama’s reliance on young people problem
    Obama’s white collar voter problem
    Obama’s blue collar voter problem
    Obama’s Reverend Wright problem
    Obama’s problem with not being vetted
    Obama’s Muslim perception problem
    Obama’s elitist perception problem
    Obama’s aloofness problem
    Obama’s big state problem
    Obama’s small state problem
    Obama’s problem with the Right
    Obama’s problem with the Left
    Obama’s Hillary Clinton problem
    Obama’s Bill Clinton problem
    Obama’s Ronald Reagan problem
    Obama’s Jesse Jackson problem
    Obama’s Michelle Obama problem
    Obama’s bowling problem
    Obama’s lapel pin problem
    Obama’s problem with Hillary voters
    Obama’s Pledge of Allegiance problem
    Obama’s Populist message problem
    Obama’s problem with speaking against Iraq invasion
    Obama’s 50 State problem
    Obama’s gun problem
    Obama’s abortion problem
    Obama’s Foreign policy problem
    Obama’s Domestic policy problem
    Obama’s surrogate problem
    Obama’s Appalachian problem
    Obama’s Israel problem
    Obama’s Pakistan problem
    Obama’s Iran problem
    Obama’s Cuba problem
    Obama’s Florida problem
    Obama’s popularity problem
    Obama’s problem with living abroad
    Obama’s problem with not traveling abroad
    Obama’s problem with traveling abroad
    Obama’s patriotism problem
    Obama’s endorsement problem
    Obama’s Union problem
    Obama’s Business problem
    Obama’s working class problem
    Obama’s Internet whisper problem
    Obama’s small donor problem
    Obama’s big donor problem
    Obama’s Liberal voting record problem
    Obama’s stadium convention problem
    Obama’s problem with leading McCain in the polls
    Obama’s Bubba Gap problem
    Obama’s arugula problem
    Obama’s orange juice problem
    Obama’s fundraising problem
    Obama’s media attention problem
    Obama’s problem with problems

    Just a short list of the “problems” the media said that Barack Obama had during the 2008 campaign. Never in all my years did I see a candidate saddled with so many so called problems. So now that the 2012 general election is officially underway, it’s a bit of a deja vu moment to read that President Obama now has a fighting back problem.

  6. rikyrah says:

    Do We Dare Fight Back?
    By mistermix April 21st, 2012

    Noam Scheiber at TNR (of course) files a pearl-clutcher about the Obama campaign:

    Some of the anxiety centers around Cutter, who oversees the daily combat operation in Chicago and is legendary in Democratic circles for her Dresden-esque tactics. Whereas the communications apparatus for the Romney campaign, like Obama’s in 2008, must simultaneously sell policies, craft speeches, and win each news cycle, Cutter has the advantage of commanding a deep bench of operatives whose only focus is the latter. “The point is, that’s all they’re doing,” says the strategist close to the White House, noting that the West Wing shoulders the rest of the workload. This creates a major resource asymmetry, which Cutter has exploited with brutal efficiency. Chicago’s preferred formulations—on everything from the “Ryan-Romney budget” to Romney’s penchant for “hiding” the truth—reliably find their way into leading news outlets.*

    While such tactics can be highly effective in any given moment, the risk is that they ultimately taint the Obama brand. (In 2008, the campaign considered it undignified to spar with the RNC, as it did during the great caterpillar controversy.) Still, a spokesman says the Obama organization is very pleased with Cutter’s work. […]

    I can’t understand the mentality of people who worry about the “taint” that comes from standing up for yourself, all while the Obama brand is being subject to a daily river of shit being forced into the media by the Republicans and the Romney campaign.

    Also, too: my inbox is full of mail from an Obama operative assigned specifically to pick and package items for bloggers, and she’s very good. While the Republicans have been tearing themselves apart, Obama’s been building a top-notch, professional campaign.

  7. rikyrah says:

    Saturday, April 21, 2012
    George Zimmerman’s Non-Apology to Trayvon Martin’s Family: I am Sorry For Your Loss and That Your Son Ran Into a Bullet Which I Fired


    Zimmerman’s statement of “apology” to Trayvon Martin’s family is one of the most honest and pronounced distillations of the White Gaze and its debased view of black humanity which we as a country have witnessed in many years. If one ever wondered about the existential dilemma faced by black masculinity in American society, or was searching for an object lesson in how black folks are “niggerized,” look no farther than George Zimmerman’s “apology” for committing murder.

    Zimmerman can assault police, batter his wife, ignore police directives, stalk innocent people, carry a weapon in violation of his vaunted “black watch” rules, and shoot unarmed people without doubt or worry. Moreover, it takes a national uproar to even have him properly investigated and eventually arrested on suspicion of committing murder. Let a black man do the same and see what happens. It does not take a leap of faith, or radical act of imagination, to understand how divergent the outcome would be.

  8. Ametia says:

    rikyrah, where are you?

    White Gloves Not Needed


    If Mr. Bernard’s (and the Obamas’) large-scale state dinners are not to everyone’s taste, they do hew roughly along modern partisan lines: Democrats, who promote themselves as the inclusive party of the “big tent,” have state dinners so large they require a literal one (Obama and Clinton especially); Republicans, who don’t see the point in inviting people to the White House if they’re going to be fed on the lawn, hold them to 120 guests to fit in the neoclassical confines of the State Dining Room (Reagan and Bush I and II).

    There are, of course, many exceptions.

    “My own personal viewpoint is that those dinners for 500 people in a tent are for the birds,” Mrs. Baldrige told Vanity Fair for an article about Ms. Rogers and White House state dinners in 2010.

    Nonetheless, Mrs. Baldrige proclaimed herself pleased with her successor, and still pleased Mr. Bernard paid a call.

    “I was so eager to help him, and he was so eager to receive my help,” she said. Then she added quickly: “Although, of course, he didn’t need it.”

  9. Ametia says:


    April 21, 2012 11:03 AM PrintText
    Sen. Grassley inquires if White House staff involved in prostitution scandal

    Updated 11:15 a.m. ET

    (CBS News) Senator Charles Grassley, the top Republican on the Senate Judiciary Committee, sent a letter to the head of the Secret Service Friday evening asking if White House staff are also subjects of the investigation into the Colombian prostitution scandal.

    Grassley is questioning the “possible involvement of staff from the White House Communications Agency and the White House Office of Advance,” spokesperson Beth Levine wrote in a statement.

    The consequences of the scandal expanded Friday as three more Secret Service personnel stepped down, bringing the number to six who have left or are in the process of leaving the agency. The number of Secret Service agents and uniformed personnel being investigated now totals 12, while 11 members of the Department of Defense are also being investigated.

    Grassley, whose committee has oversight of the Secret Service, sent the letter to Director Mark Sullivan and Department of Homeland Security Inspector General Charles Edwards on Friday evening after his staff received the latest briefing on the incident.

    In his letter, Grassley asked for questions to be answered, including whether the Secret Service reserved or shared rooms at Hotel Caribe (the hotel in Cartagena, Colombia where Secret Service personnel were staying) for staff members of the White House Communications Agency or the White House Office of Advance. If so, Grassley asked if the log of visiting guests was obtained and examined – and if not, why not?

    “It is my understanding that ordinarily the Secret Service advance team works closely with the White House Communications Agency,” Grassley wrote.
    White House spokesperson Jay Carney told reporters Friday that he’s not aware of any White House staff involved in the investigation.

  10. Ametia says:

    The Obama admin’s timeline of progress for LGBT.

    View it HERE:

  11. Ametia says:

    I Peeled the Obama Bumper Sticker Off My Car Today

    That’s right. I’ve driven around with an Obama 2008 bumper sticker on the back of my vehicle for the better part of four years. After all that time, weathering four Alaska winters, it was starting to crack and peel. You could see the Kerry 2004 sticker in a few spots, a different shade of blue was barely noticeable underneath. Both of them are gone now, carefully scraped away with a razor blade.

    I got a “Vote Obama/Biden 2008” sticker from back then, too. It was oval-shaped, and had been on the front bumper for years. Buh-bye.

    The Obama 2008 bumper sticker was right next to another sticker that read “Somewhere in Texas a Village is Missing its Idiot.” That one had been there for about eight years, too. Bush may be long gone, but the disastrous results of his two stolen terms in office will remain with us for decades. And now that bumper sticker is gone, too. It was time to accept the fact that the 2008 election is history, and it was time to get rid of those reminders.

    Because it was time to put on my Obama 2012 sticker, instead. And there’s an Obama-Alaska one on the front bumper, too. Whether I’m coming or going, my fellow Alaskans will know that the driver of this vehicle supports the current President of the United States. Our former Governor and current grifter extrordinaire can go jump in a lake. Few Alaskans give a rat’s ass what she thinks, anyway. It’s terrifying to even consider what our country would be like if McCain had won the last election, so let’s not.

  12. Ametia says:


  13. Ametia says:

    Catholic nuns group ‘stunned’ by Vatican slap
    By Andrew Stern, Published: April 20

    CHICAGO — A prominent U.S. Catholic nuns group said Thursday that it was “stunned” that the Vatican reprimanded it for spending too much time on poverty and social-justice concerns and not enough on condemning abortion and gay marriage.

    In a stinging report on Wednesday, the Vatican said the Leadership Conference of Women Religious had been “silent on the right to life” and had failed to make the “Biblical view of family life and human sexuality” a central plank in its agenda.


    It also reprimanded American nuns for expressing positions on political issues that differed, at times, from views held by U.S. bishops. Public disagreement with the bishops — “who are the church’s authentic teachers of faith and morals” — is unacceptable, the report said.

    The Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith issued a “doctrinal assessment” saying the Holy See was compelled to intervene with the leadership conference to correct “serious doctrinal problems.”

    • aquagranny911 says:

      I don’t think this will go over too well with the Nuns I know. One said:

      “I don’t have time for this. If the bishops need something useful to do, let them come here and serve food or pass out groceries. Better yet let them give us some more money for our work.”

      (I think that was Nun speak for “FU bishops!)

      This good lady spent ten years working in Central America & she don’t take caca from nobody!

  14. rikyrah says:

    Priorities USA: Romney has something to hide on taxes

    4/21/12 8:48 AM EDT

    The fact that Mitt Romney has declined to release more than one year of tax returns amounts to proof that he’s hiding something politically damaging, the pro-Obama super PAC Priorities USA Action argues in a memo set for release this weekend.

    Authored by former White House spokesman and Priorities USA strategist Bill Burton, the document aims to keep the pressure on Romney over his decision to make public only his 2010 and as-yet-uncompleted 2011 returns to the public.

    Burton outlines why the tax issue is a lose-lose for Romney, arguing that the Republican “could decide to face months of bipartisan criticism for a failure to release his tax returns or he could confirm damaging information including further tax avoidance, new offshore accounts, and an even lower tax rate in previous years.”

    “If there were nothing damaging in his tax returns, Romney would have already released them,” Burton writes in the memo shared with POLITICO. “Instead, Romney appears to have decided that the information in his returns is so problematic that he will endure criticism from the right and left for his refusal to follow a well-established standard of transparency for Presidential candidates.”

    Because Romney hasn’t released his returns, it’s an exercise in speculation to hint at what might be in his private financial records. But Burton’s memo signals that Democrats are prepared to go in that direction: pointing out to the voters a range of things that Romney might not be letting them see.

    Among the possibilities, according to Priorities USA:

  15. rikyrah says:

    Things in Politico That Make Me Want to Guzzle Antifreeze. A Two-Fer!
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 5:05PM

    I value the craft of journalism, and I respect enormously those people who do it well. Unfortunately for all of us, sometimes I feel that much of our elite political press corps could not be trusted to cover a one-car fatal on Rte. 128 in the middle of the night.

    Here is what has happened over the past couple of weeks. Some GSA employees got caught having happy time in Vegas. Some Secret Service guys got caught trying to pull the ol’ screw-and-screw on their sexytime in Colombia. Leon Panetta took a helicopter ride. Some soldiers took some inhuman liberties with the body parts of dead Afghans. In other words, four things happened in two weeks involving people with some connection to the Executive Branch. Each of them is sort of interesting. But the fact that four things happened in two weeks is not in and of itself newsworthy.

    Except of course… narrative! Herewith:

    Democrats doubt the scandals will have a lasting impact on their 2012 chances, but presidential campaigns are all about atmospherics and these are lousy. Just as Obama’s operatives seize on anything that makes Romney look like a hopelessly out-of-touch rich guy, Republicans hope that the shadow of scandal obscures Obama’s larger message, as it did in Colombia. That would be a particular problem for a president whose chief selling point is no-drama competence and ethical purity.

    If there were any more fudge in that paragraph, you’d have to brush after reading it. You’ve got the consultant-speak about “atmospherics” and the false equivalence drawn between Willard Romney’s Thurston Howell problem and stuff that happened in and around the Executive Branch of government, none of which has anything to do with Barack Obama, who nonetheless could have a “particular problem” with his “chief selling point.” And there’s more!

    “Being an incumbent president running for re-election means you get surprises on your watch almost every day. I remember when Abu Ghraib broke. I thought we were finished,” said Mark McKinnon, one of George W. Bush’s top advisers in 2004. “But voters understand that a president can’t control everything and expect that all administrations are going to have their share of bad news. The key is to manage the crises well and insure that the problems aren’t systemic or repeated.”

    Gee, Mark McKinnon, continuing to try to ooze under respectability’s door after having helped inflict C-Plus Augustus on the Republic, tells us that the abuse of prisoners in Iraq that was a direct result of the policies implemented by the president is pretty much the same electorally as some Secret Service agents running out on their hooker bills. More:

    But privately, administration officials have been in damage control mode, working reporters and editors who want to bundle disparate events into a single unflattering Obama scandal narrative.

    The rest of the piece is a nightmare that treats what the demonstrably truthless Romney campaign “wants to do” as though it had anything to do with the facts of anything. It quotes Lanny Davis, which is a real giveaway, and Paul Begala, who really should have known better. But, speaking only as somebody who does makes his living at this craft, any reporter or editor who bundles these “disparate events into a single unflattering Obama scandal narrative” is committing an act of fabulism no less destructive to actual journalism than anything done by Stephen Glass or Jayson Blair.

    Read more:

  16. rikyrah says:

    Paul Ryan, Republican Sadist of the Future
    By Charles P. Pierce
    at 8:50AM

    They don’t see him much these days in Janesville or Kenosha, and Rob Zerban’s still hoping to get him onstage for at least one debate, but, as we see from a serious bit of beat-sweetening in Politico this morning, zombie-eyed granny-starver Paul Ryan has all the wherewithal he needs to build his national brand into something quite formidable, not bad for a guy who’s spent his whole career either in government, or in the cosseted universe of wingnut welfare, and whose budget “expertise” flows from his B.A. in Economics from Miami (Ohio), and from the mysterious fascination that Beltway media types have with bringing suffering to people earning less money than they do.

    (It is nice to know that Ryan has amassed $5 million for a re-election bid in a single district in Wisconsin, and one that doesn’t contain a single major media market. I’m sure there’s no quid pending for any of that quo.)


    The upside: Ryan is universally liked and respected within his party, is a stalwart conservative, can raise serious money and is considered a policy visionary among GOP opinion makers. (Translation: He wears shoes and says “deficit” a lot.) Inside the House Republican Conference, Ryan has something of a cult following. (Is there anyone in the House Republican Caucus who doesn’t follow one cult or another? Ryan himself makes his aides read Ayn Rand.) A senior Republican aide said “everybody wants Paul Ryan on stage with them” at fundraising events in their districts. (Why? That Allen West guy is a lot more fun.)

    The talk then turns to the vice-presidency, which Ryan would be something of an idiot to accept. Right now, he’s as important a figure as there is in Republican politics. He’s driving almost their entire economic agenda and, as the piece points out, he’s in line to bring zombie-eyed granny-starving to a whole new level if he winds up as chairman of Ways and Means. (Surely, it also means something that he apparently didn’t even sniff at the open Senate seat in Wisconsin this year. Being the junior senator from Wisconsin isn’t quite as powerless a job as is the vice-presidency, but it’s close.) He’s already in the mix for 2016 no matter what he does this year. Of course, Scott Walker thinks he’d be great for the job, zombie-eyed granny-starving being fundamentally simpatico with goggle-eyed homunculating. More:

    “If you want to make the Ryan budget the absolute centerpiece of the election, he’s obviously the guy because nobody else will argue it better,” said Rep. Tom Cole (R-Okla.), who said he’s a big fan of Ryan. “Second, he’s from a swing state of Wisconsin, but I think people would look and see what happened [in Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker’s recall election]. There’s a generational match that’s right. And there’s no question that the conservative movement, intelligentsia to tea party, all really admire and idealize this guy.” Walker, who knows Ryan well, took to The Weekly Standard on Thursday to suggest that Romney select the seven-term congressman.

    Yes, and given the Standard’s track record on recommending vice-presidents — Bill (Wrong) Kristol began crushing on Governor Palin in those very pages long before Rich Lowry began to sparkle in the National Review — why wouldn’t we take their word on things like this? The fact is that, given the fact that, god knoweth how, Ryan is considered the leader of the conservative economic intelligentsia even by some people who ought to know better, why would the party want to stick him in a ceremonial position behind Willard Romney, even if Ryan’s budget notions were popular generally in the country, which they’re not?

    Right now, there’s nobody more comfortable in the catbird seat than Paul Ryan. He’s beloved on the right, not ridiculed half as much as he deserves to be on the left, and he’s got a PAC that can raise three million bucks in a single month, more than enough wherewithal to hide behind as he continues to decline bravely to specify exactly how he’s going to go about making the lives of the moochers miserable. He’s a powerful little sadist just as he stands today. He’s the face of casual cruelty, and that’s exactly the place for a Republican with plans for the future.

    Read more:

  17. rikyrah says:

    Cronyism in Scottwalkerstan
    Posted on 04/20/2012 at 6:45 pm by JM Ashby

    According to a new report from The Associated Press, a bonus program resurrected by Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has doled out three quarters of a million dollars in bonuses to select state employees.

    An analysis of data The Associated Press obtained through an open records request showed Wisconsin agencies have handed out more than $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises this year to nearly 220 employees.

    The money was awarded under a program former Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle suspended but Walker reinstated last year. The money is meant to reward stellar performance, but it comes as the state faces a $143 million shortfall and after thousands of state workers took pay cuts through provisions in the collective bargaining law requiring them to contribute more to their pensions and health care. […]

    According to the AP analysis, 218 employees across nine agencies received raises or bonuses adding up to $765,195 between Jan. 1 and Tuesday.

    The state Department of Justice, which couldn’t find enough money to fully fund services for sexual assault victims last year, was the biggest spender, giving out nearly $300,000 to 94 workers.

    Assistant Attorney General Maria Lazar, who defended Walker’s collective bargaining law in an open meetings challenge and has handled the state’s defense of Republican redistricting legislation, got a $1,000 bonus and a $1.50-an-hour raise in March, bumping her salary by more than $3,000 to $104,730.

    Deputy Attorney General Kevin St. John, who defended the collective bargaining law in front of the state Supreme Court, got a $2.51-an-hour raise in March that adds up to more than $5,000 per year and brings his pay to $134,307.

    The wages of the average state worker have either been cut or stagnated, while those at the top of the system have seen raises and bonuses. Sound familiar?

    It sounds like the state is being run “like a business.”

    To be fair, these’s aren’t mindblowing raises, however the circumstances leading up to them makes them look awfully unsavory.

    This comes after Scott Walker and his loyal henchmen cut over $800 million from the state’s education budget, amounting to $615 per student, forcing layoffs and early retirement for thousands of teachers while also increasing maximum class size to 60 students.

    It also follows over $500 million in cuts to the state Medicaid program, which resulted in the loss of another $500 million in federal matching funds.

    Meanwhile, the state Department of Justice, which tried to charge sexual assault victims for rape-kits last year, handed out the biggest bonuses.

    Despite the implementation of Scott Walker’s austerity agenda, the state is still projecting a budget shortfall of $143 million, mainly due to the new corporate tax cuts signed into law last year.

  18. rikyrah says:

    GOP Set to Double Student Loan Interest Rates
    During last week’s debate on the Buffett Rule, the GOP complained again and again that the rule was a political ploy because it would only raise a few billion dollars every year. Also it would hurt the economy and possibly turn Grover Norquist into Grover Norquist HULK who bashes Republican brains with primary challengers made of pure Rubio.

    This week the GOP is set let Stafford student loans interest rates double to 6.4% on July 1.


    Rep. John Kline, R-Minn., and chairman of the House Committee on Education and the Workforce said:

    “We must now choose between allowing interest rates to rise or piling billions of dollars on the backs of taxpayers.”

    The logic is simple. We can pile billions on the backs of taxpayers to help millionaires pay tax rates lower than firefighters and nurses but college graduates need to pay more now.

    We are now in the midst of a highly symbolic battle. Who will we ask to sacrifice first? Those who can afford to do so, or the 99% of us who can’t afford lobbyists to negotiate our special tax breaks. And whom do we trust to make these decisions? Mitt Romney, who merely had to sell stock to pay for college. Or Barack Obama who just in the last decade finished paying his student loans.

    (I don’t think hardship is a qualification, BTW. Yet empathy is. And shared experiences are the most expedient path to empathy.)

    This is a truly brave political statement for the GOP. They’re saying, “We stand on the side of the millionaires versus the millions who have student loans.”

    This indicates that they either think Americans buy into the supply side economics that created zero net jobs in the first decade of the 21st century. Or they assume we’re just not paying attention.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Obama Launches Latinos for Obama, Romney Releases Obama is Bad for Latino$ Infographic

    On Wednesday the Obama campaign announced the launch of Latinos for Obama along with increased outreach to Latino voters, including phone-banking and knocking on doors. But on Friday, GOP rival Mitt Romney released an infographic illustrating how the Obama administration has allegedly “brought hard times to Hispanics in America”

    “It’s no secret that Latinos will be a deciding factor in this election,” Obama campaign manager Jim Messina said in a statement, and the outcome will affect Latinos “for years to come.”

    Romney made similar comments earlier this week.

    A poll released by the Pew Research Center on Tuesday shows Obama beating former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney 67% to 27% among Latino voters. In 2008, Obama defeated Sen. John McCain 67% to 31% among Latinos.

    “We have to get Hispanic voters to vote for our party,” warning that recent polling showing Hispanics breaking in huge percentages for President Obama “spells doom for us,” Romney said at a campaign stop in Florida earlier this week.

    On Friday, the Romney campaign released an infographic that he hopes will get him more Latinos.

    “Under President Obama, more Hispanics have struggled to find work than at any other time on record,” Team Romney posted on the campaign site. “Hispanics account for nearly 30 percent of Americans living in poverty, an increase under Obama of 2.256 million.”

  20. rikyrah says:

    Political Animal
    April 21, 2012 8:27 AM
    Culture Wars and the Presidential Election

    By Adele Stan

    Ever since the election of Barack Obama to the presidency, the Republican Party — now a very right-wing enterprise, indeed — has enjoyed remarkably good fortune consolidating its power in legislatures and governor’s mansions across the country. But as the presidential election approaches, writes Michael Cooper in the New York Times, G.O.P. strategists have begun to fret over chickens coming home to roost on the White House lawn.

    In 21 states, Cooper reports, Republicans control both the legislative and executive branches, and that has led to an avalanche of controversies over issues ranging from evolution to the definition of rape to mandatory invasive ultrasounds for women seeking abortions — not to mention union rights for public employees. While these issues may galvanize the G.O.P.’s right-wing base, they’re likely to alienate the swing voters Mitt Romney will need in order to win the presidency. As described in the Times:

    Tennessee enacted a law this month intended to protect teachers who question the theory of evolution. Arizona moved to ban nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, and Mississippi imposed regulations that could close the state’s only abortion clinic. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a law allowing the state’s public schools to teach about abstinence instead of contraception.


    John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., said that the attention Republicans were paying to social issues at the state level could cost the party support from several important blocs of voters, including independents, women and young people voting for the first or second time.

    “I think it’s problematic,” he said, “not just for this national election we’re facing, but for the long-term health of the party.”

    But right wing leaders don’t seem particularly invested in winning the presidency — at least not in 2012. Mitt Romney is not their candidate, and Barack Obama is the perfect fundraising and umbrage-inducing foil for right-wing fundraising and base-building for a wide-open contest in 2016. Incumbents, even wounded ones, are notoriously difficult to defeat. Why waste the effort on a guy you don’t really want, when the real work of moving the entire party your way takes place at the state level?

    The Times piece notes Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels’ call for “a truce” on so-called social issues, and his advice for Republicans to focus solely on fiscal issues. But right-wing strategist Phyllis Schlafly, at a lecture she delivered this week in Washington, scoffed at Daniels’ suggestion:

  21. rikyrah says:

    Friday, April 20, 2012
    “He’s a nice guy, but…”

    We’ve already established that President Obama has an advantage over Mitt Romney when it comes to personal characteristics such as being likable, trustworthy, and in touch with middle class issues. We’ve also seen how Karl Rove, who tends to go after his opponents strong points, will try to paint Obama as partisan, petty, and untrustworthy.

    But some folks are noticing what Mitt Romney is doing with this challenge. Conservative WSJ columnist James Taranto suggests he’s embraced a “he’s a nice guy, but…” strategy.

    Monday night Romney was crisscrossing Ohio, when he spoke about the President and opened up a can of . . . friendliness: “This is a failed presidency,” Romney was quoted as saying. “He’s a nice guy, but he’s in over his head.” Though we’ll never know if Romney actually believes any part of that unsult, we do know that “Nice guy” has become the candidate’s favorite setup when taking a dig at his rivals.

    To flesh this out, here are a few examples from Jed Lewison:

    In January

    We’re now on track to retire a guy who’s a nice guy but is in over his head.

    In March

    He’s a nice guy, but he’s in over his head.

    And in a slightly different formulation yesterday

    Even if you like Barack Obama, we can’t afford Barack Obama

    The trend is clearly obvious. But I see several problems with this strategy:

    It makes it difficult for Romney to tap into the right wing’s Obama Derangement Syndrome in casting the President as a dangerous threat (ie, Kenyan socialist). I’d suggest that heightens his problem with the “enthusiasm gap.”

    It centers the conversation on President Obama rather than working to build up his own personal attributes. People don’t really like Romney right now and this strategy does little to nothing to address that.

    Related to the above, as long as Romney continues his gaffes – like the latest CookieGate episode – he’s given away the likability arena to President Obama and reinforced that he’s mean and insensitive himself.

    Posted by Smartypants at 9:26 AM

  22. rikyrah says:

    Friday, April 20, 2012
    The most telling poll question of all

    This week’s CNN poll contained the most telling information about this presidential election that I’ve seen.

    They asked Obama supporters whether their vote was more FOR Obama or AGAINST Romney:

    For Obama 76%
    Against Romney 23%

    Then they asked Romney supporters whether their vote was more FOR Romney or AGAINST Obama.

    For Romney 35%
    Against Obama 63%

    There’s an awful lot you can do with those results. For one thing, it could explain the problem Republicans are having with an enthusiasm gap. For another, it tells us why the Romney campaign will be more focused on making this a referendum against Obama rather than presenting a competing vision for the country.

    But the most interesting thing I see in those poll results is a pretty clear definition of the size of each party’s extremist wing. In other words, the 23% who will be voting against Romney are likely those who have spent the last 3+ years complaining about President Obama but are at least aware that he’s better than Romney (the poutragers in other words). That’s a pretty small group compared to the 63% of the right wing faction who are propelled by their Obama Derangement Syndrome – even if it means voting for Romney.

    I’m proud to be part of that 76% majority who are voting FOR Obama. That’s because I’m proud of the job he’s done…best President of my lifetime, no doubt about it. I can’t wait to see what he’ll do with 4 more years!

    Posted by Smartypants at 12:29 PM

  23. rikyrah says:

    Romney/Rubio? Not exactly a DREAM ticket

    With polls and anecdotal evidence suggesting Mitt Romney has all but won the Republican nomination for president, but not the hearts and minds of the party faithful, the GOP is casting about for a savior.

    And with the gender gap growing, African Americans well out of reach and young voters a distant dream, Republicans are focused on fixing what could be their most vexing long-term problem: the growth of America’s Hispanic population, and that population’s strong preference for Democrats.

    Enter Marco Rubio, the junior senator from Florida, who Republican strategists and media pundits alike dream can be the GOP’s one-stop shopping trip to acceptance from Latino voters.

    Magical Marco can fix the party’s DREAM Act problem! Republicans recoiled at the idea of immigration reform, even if it meant legalizing people who came to the country as children, and who are either in college or serving in the military. Romney declared, in his neverending quest to ingratiate himself with tea party types, that as president he would veto the DREAM. So naturally, Rubio (did I mention he’s Hispanic?) is cooking up a Republican version. Of course, in that version, the little dears can stay, but not be legalized. Because at the end of the day, Rubio is a tea party guy, too, and is also on record as opposing the DREAM Act and other versions of immigration reform.

    Despite that ideological hiccup, the notion that Rubio is “one of them, who agrees with us” is so appealing to Republicans, floating his name as a potential VP has become almost as good as his taking it. Republicans badly want the cover that Rubio’s Hispanic heritage provides for Romney, who runs with Pete Wilson, the former California governor who signed the infamous Proposition 187, which in 1994 barred undocumented immigrants from public education and healthcare, and Kansas Secretary of State Chris Kobach, the godfather of Arizona’s infamous anti-immigrant law, SB 1070, which set that state on a collision course with the federal government.

    Romney called the law — which Rubio briefly opposed, before the tea party made him walk the plank — a “model for the nation.” And he has received the endorsement of its co-author, former state Sen. Russell Pearce (since recalled by the voters).

    So naturally, the way to inoculate Romney from the opprobrium of Hispanic voters, who at this stage favor President Obama by a mile, would be to put Sen. Rubio on the ticket.

    Rubio won his Senate seat with 55 percent of the Hispanic vote in Florida, notably, losing the share of that vote located in Central Florida, where more Hispanics are of Puerto Rican descent. He’s young and telegenic, and by the way, would bolster the self-belief of white conservatives that they, too, belong to a diverse party.

    But the media fixation with Rubio, and the GOP’s attempts to drape him over their shoulders, speaks to a fundamental flaw in the Magical Minority theory.

    For one thing, Rubio is Cuban American and, as such, he represents around 5 percent of America’s Latino population, fully two thirds of which is Mexican American. The experiences of those two communities could not be more different. Republicans (and the media) may not see the geographic, ethnic and cultural distinctions, but Latinos do. And in the case of illegal immigration, there is no “wet foot, dry foot” policy for Mexican, Honduran or other economic migrants, leading to a sense among many, fair or not, that Cuban Americans are afforded an unfair advantage.

    Likewise, Cuban Americans are a predominantly conservative constituency, while the majority of Hispanics tend to be more liberal. They favor social programs, public education and healthcare reform, by wide margins.

    More fundamentally, the notion that simply dangling a person with an Hispanic surname will negate the feeling among many Hispanics, based on the coarseness of the illegal-immigration debate, that one political party doesn’t much like them, is simplistic at best, insulting at worst. It would be like saying that adding Rep. Allen West to Romney’s ticket would win over African Americans. That theory was tested in 2010, when adding Jennifer Carroll, who is black, to Rick Scott’s ticket yielded the governor exactly 3 percent of the African-American vote — the same percentage of black Floridians who were already members of the GOP.

  24. rikyrah says:

    David Brooks Understands Fuck-All About Colleges:

    The Rude Pundit doesn’t spend a lot of time writing about his profession because, frankly, he just doesn’t think a lot of what we do is very interesting to most everyone everywhere. But New York Times writer David Brooks decided to shit where the Rude Pundit sleeps, and, between that and an enraging sliming in the Washington Post a couple of weeks ago, a response is more than justified.

    Today, in his “column” (if by “column,” you mean, “the pathetic pleadings of an elitist prig begging to demonstrate his regular dude street cred”), Brooks cites a few studies and books that say that students simply aren’t learning very much in their college experience in the last couple of decades. You can tell where he’s coming from by this line: “At some point, parents are going to decide that $160,000 is too high a price if all you get is an empty credential and a fancy car-window sticker.”

    Let’s unpack that for just a moment: he’s obviously talking about rich students at elite institutions, where “parents” can obviously afford $40,000 a year. Because that ain’t about kids who have to pile up student loans and get government assistance. And it ain’t about the vast majority of schools in the nation which cost far, far less. Oh, and one thing. Let’s not be naive. Of course, those parents are buying a fancy car-window sticker. And the schools know that. Grade inflation has been a far greater problem at Ivy League institutions than elsewhere. Why? Because Harvard and Columbia and Yale need to keep those cash teats good and ready for suckling.

    “One part of the solution is found in three little words,” Brooks says, and if you know anything about a conservative approach to education, you know what he’s gonna say. “Value-added assessments. Colleges have to test more to find out how they’re doing.” Yes, yes, yes, let’s test more because it’s done so very much to improve public schools in America.

    Let’s get this straight, David Brooks and every other stupid fuck on the right who wants to solve the “problem” of college education (or any education) in America, and this comes from someone who has been at this job for over twenty fucking years: You fucked it up. Back in the 1980s, you got shit-scared when multiculturalism and ethnic/gender/queer/whatever studies began to take hold in academia. You published idiot books that said that what educators wanted to do about education was wrong and that people outside of academia should actually be involved in setting standards. And then you went further. Colleges, you decided, needed to be run like businesses, blaming colleges for the ever-rising tuition rates when, in reality, the problem was worthless tax cuts, going back to Sainted Reagan, that did jackshit to help the economy but forced states to gut funding to universities, but, no, no, it really was that schools needed to be run efficiently, like businesses, and if a college is now a business, with the bottom line being the only line, and not a place where people get, you know, educated, then you have a fucking responsibility to your customers, in this case, the students, to make them happy with the business where they are spending their money. The Rude Pundit’s own institution is now in the midst of “streamlining” the general education requirements so that students can graduate more easily. It’s under the guise of “making transfer easier” or some such shit, but it’s really about getting the kids through to get more money. And let’s not even get into the evisceration of public education at the primary and secondary levels so that the students that are coming to college are starting at a point where freshman composition is now “How you write a sentence with proper grammar and punctuation because your high school teachers were forced to transform their classrooms into test prep labs so that the place where they work won’t be shut down.” And let’s not get into the over-reliance on criminally overworked and underpaid adjunct faculty to teach the vast majority of college classes, people who often work at several institutions in order to cobble together a liveable wage. And let’s not even get into an economy that has transformed technologically and socially without any concomitant investment in those things that might actually allow people to be ready for the jobs that are out there. And let’s not get into the devaluing of a broad, liberal arts education that creates thinkers and doesn’t just train people to work. Shit, what’s better to those in power? Good drones or questioning citizens?

    And you know who caused all these fucking problems? The bastards and bitches who went to the $160,000 schools who figured out a way to scam and scare everyone into “value-added assessments” as some kind of Holy Grail of education.

    Every couple of years, every department in the Rude Pundit’s college has to deal with some “assessment” organization coming in and forcing them to justify everything they do. One of the last groups made the departments create rubrics of goals and lists of assessment tools to reach those goals. It was pencil-pushing, ego-soothing nonsense. It was overlaying a factory model onto the role of colleges. But you can be sure as shit that someone made money on the whole nonsensical exercise in futility.

    But, no, really, David Brooks, by all means, let’s waste another shitload of everyone’s time and money on more worthless testing. It’s far better than just letting professors do their fucking jobs.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 03:21 PM ET, 04/20/2012
    Left gears up for fight over student loans
    By Greg Sargent

    By all means, let’s talk about how best to create opportunity.

    For some time now, groups on the left have been pushing Democrats and the White House to pick a big fight with Republicans over the fact that student loan interest rates are set to double when a federal law expires this summer. The White House is now set to join the battle:

    President Obama begins an all-out push on Friday to get Congress to extend the low interest rate on federal student loans, White House officials said, an effort that is likely to become a heated battle along party lines. If Congress fails to act, the interest rate on the loans, which are taken out by nearly eight million students each year, will double on July 1, to 6.8 percent.

    White House officials said the president was planning a sustained effort through the spring….on Saturday in his weekly address, the president will call on Congress to pass legislation preventing the rate hike.

    Next week, Mr. Obama will again hammer the issue — during visits on Tuesday to the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Colorado at Boulder, and on Wednesday at the University of Iowa.

    Republicans have argued that the extension heaps great costs on the backs of taxpayers. But a Dem points out that the cost of a one-year extension — $6 billion — is only marginally more than the annual amount that the Buffett Rule would have brought in, which Republicans argued was laughably trivial.

    There’s already an infrastructure on the left that’s primed for this fight. The group CREDO Action has been organizing on the issue and urging Dems to take it on; it has collected 230,000 signatures.

    But CREDO may not be satisfied if the Obama administration pushes for only a one-year extension. The group is set to go out with an email to supporters asking them to pressure Dems not to compromise on any one-year measure (presuming Republicans are even willing to do that).

    “If we build massive support, we can prevent an early compromise that would put off the doubling of the interest rates for only one year — a compromise that is both unnecessary and not nearly good enough,” the email says.

    That aside, the battle over student loans serves a good political purpose for Dems: It feeds into the argument between the parties over how best to create opportunity, a dispute that is central to the presidential race. Republicans and Mitt Romney argue that Obama’s call for action to combat inequality is class warfare and insist the best way to reduce it is to sweep away government, unshackle the private sector and allow it to create opportunity for everyone. Obama and Dems counter that Republicans don’t really favor any genuine effort to create opportunity and that government action is necessary to increase social mobility, and with it, shared prosperity— via funding education, for instance.

    The battle over extending student loans takes this argument out of the realm of the abstract, and places the debate over whether government should act to facilitate opportunity before the voters in concrete terms.

  26. rikyrah says:

    Concern in G.O.P. Over State Focus on Social Issues
    Published: April 20, 2012

    Fiscal issues and union rights were front and center in many Republican-controlled legislatures last year. But this year, with the nation heading into the heart of a presidential race and voters consumed by the country’s economic woes, much of the debate in statehouses has centered on social issues.

    Tennessee enacted a law this month intended to protect teachers who question the theory of evolution. Arizona moved to ban nearly all abortions after 20 weeks, and Mississippi imposed regulations that could close the state’s only abortion clinic. Gov. Scott Walker of Wisconsin signed a law allowing the state’s public schools to teach about abstinence instead of contraception.

    The recent flurry of socially conservative legislation, on issues ranging from expanding gun rights to placing new restrictions on abortion, comes as Republicans at the national level are eager to refocus attention on economic issues.

    Some Republican strategists and officials, reluctant to be identified because they do not want to publicly antagonize the party’s base, fear that the attention these divisive social issues are receiving at the state level could harm the party’s chances in November, when its hopes of winning back the White House will most likely rest with independent voters in a handful of swing states.

    One seasoned strategist called the problem potentially huge. But others said that actions taken by a handful of states would probably have little impact on the national campaign.

    Gov. Mitch Daniels of Indiana, a Republican who created a stir a couple of years ago with his suggestion for a “truce” on social issues, said in an interview that such issues are best handled at the state and local levels. They become more polarizing, he said, when people try to settle them nationally.

    “If we don’t address soon what I believe are the lethal threats of our debts, our unaffordable commitments, our slow-growth economy, and so forth, every other problem will seem small,” said Mr. Daniels, whose state did see union protests this year when it enacted a so-called right-to-work law. He noted that Mitt Romney’s campaign was already emphasizing the economy at every opportunity.

    “The genuine risk to our party comes if we allow it to appear that these are our first preoccupations,” he said.

    But John Weaver, a Republican strategist who worked on the presidential campaigns of Senator John McCain and Jon M. Huntsman Jr., said that the attention Republicans were paying to social issues at the state level could cost the party support from several important blocs of voters, including independents, women and young people voting for the first or second time.

  27. rikyrah says:

    He’s Just There to Sign the Bills

    by BooMan
    Fri Apr 20th, 2012 at 04:57:51 PM

    Members of the GOP are still feeling pretty gloomy and despondent about their nominee, but they’re talking a good game:

    Some Republicans are making the best of it by noting that the party’s conservative base will keep Romney’s feet to the fire and asserting that he’s largely a vessel.

    “This is not Taft-Eisenhower or Goldwater-Rockefeller,” said anti-tax leader Grover Norquist, who said he feels better now about winning than he did a month ago. “We’re not nominating a candidate to tell the party what direction to go. All of them ran as Reagan Republicans. We know what we’re doing and who we are — we just want a guy to sign the bills.”

    Put simply, “We’re electing a coach of a team that knows the plays,” Norquist said.

    Grover is saying that Romney is more like Taft and Goldwater than he is like Eisenhower and Nelson Rockefeller. He’s not talking about President Taft. He’s talking about Robert Taft, a mid-century senator from Ohio who got shafted at the 1952 Republican National Convention.

    The fight between Taft and Eisenhower for the GOP nomination was one of the closest and most bitter in American political history. When the Republican Convention opened in Chicago in July 1952, Taft and Eisenhower were neck-and-neck in delegate votes, and the nomination was still up for grabs as neither had a majority. On the convention’s first day, Eisenhower’s managers complained that Taft’s forces had unfairly denied Eisenhower supporters delegate slots in several Southern states, including Texas, where the state chairman, Orville Bullington, was committed to Taft, and also in Georgia. The Eisenhower partisans proposed to remove pro-Taft delegates in these states and replace them with pro-Eisenhower delegates; they called their proposal “Fair Play”. Although Taft angrily denied having stolen any delegate votes, the convention voted to support Fair Play 658 to 548, and the Texans voted 33-5 for Eisenhower as a result. In addition, several uncommitted state delegations, such as Michigan and Pennsylvania, agreed to support Eisenhower. There were rumors after the convention that the chairmen of these uncommitted states, such as Arthur Summerfield of Michigan, were secretly pressured by Dewey and the GOP’s Eastern Establishment to support Eisenhower; however, these rumors were never proved. (Summerfield did become Eisenhower’s Postmaster General.)

    Eisenhower ran against Taft because Taft had opposed intervention in World War Two, had opposed the Nuremberg Trials, opposed the establishment of NATO, and didn’t see Joseph Stalin as a threat. He wasn’t exactly a Karl Rove-Republican. He probably resembles Ron Paul more than Ronald Reagan or Rick Santorum or any major modern figure in the Republican Party.

    You probably know him indirectly through the Taft-Hartley Act which greatly reduced the power of labor unions.

    In any case, Mitt Romney doesn’t resemble Taft. Nor does he remind anyone of Eisenhower or Nelson Rockefeller. He comes closest to resembling Barry Goldwater, although even that is a bit of stretch.

    The main thing is that he’s seen as a vessel. He’s just there to sign the bills that the radical modern GOP puts on his desk. He’s a weak coach who lets the star players run the team. That’s how the Republicans are consoling themselves.

  28. rikyrah says:

    New state rule would limit cost-of-living increases for teachers

    Gov. Scott Walker used his broad new powers to reshape a rule to lower inflation-based raises that public unions can negotiate by 30% or more for teachers in public schools and technical colleges.

    The rule change would not use an individual’s actual salary as a “base salary” to calculate raises and would exclude factors such as a teacher’s higher degree.

    For instance, a teacher with a master’s degree might make $45,000 a year while a teacher in the same district with a bachelor’s degree might make $35,000. A 3.2% cost-of-living raise on $45,000 would be $1,440 – or more than $300 higher than the same raise on $35,000. Under the new rule, the teacher with the master’s degree would have his or her raise calculated off the $35,000 instead of his or her actual salary.

    A spokeswoman for the Walker administration said that the change was necessary to properly implement the labor legislation signed by the Republican governor last year.

    Under that law, unions’ bargaining is limited to cost-of-living adjustments, and Walker’s change would limit that bargaining more than the original rule proposed by his own appointees.

    Katy Lounsbury, a Madison labor attorney, said the rules effectively neuter teachers unions in their bargaining over salaries. She said the rules may result in legal action because she believes they violate people’s rights to associate.

    “It certainly seems worthy of a challenge,” she said. “It penalizes members of a union.”

    The rule took effect just a month after Walker put in place a program for merit increases, allowing nearly 220 state employees to receive an extra $765,000 in bonuses and merit raises.

    Early last year, Walker changed state law to give him more control over administrative rules. State agencies – including those not controlled by the governor – must get his approval before writing and implementing such rules, which have the force of state law.

    Democrats called that change a power grab.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Good Morning, Everyone :)

    • Ametia says:

      Good Morning, rikyrah & Everyone! :-)

      Ok it’s confession time. I LOVE PHANTOM of the Opera, and even named my first cat Phantom. I totally agree that Michael Crawford is the BOMBDIGGETY too. Thanks for bringing the musicals, rikyrah.

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