Shania Twain, OC ( /ʃəˌnaɪ.ə ˈtweɪn/; born Eilleen Regina Edwards; August 28, 1965) is a Canadian country pop singer-songwriter. Her album The Woman in Me (1995), brought her fame and her 1997 album Come On Over, became the best-selling album of all time by a female musician in any genre, and the best-selling country album of all time. It has sold more than 40 million copies worldwide and is the ninth best-selling album in the U.S. Her fourth album, Up!, was released in November 2002. To date it has sold 20 million copies worldwide.
Twain has won five Grammy Awards and 27 BMI Songwriter awards. She has had three albums certified Diamond by the Recording Industry Association of America and is the second best-selling artist in Canada, behind Céline Dion, with three of her studio albums certified double diamond by the Canadian Recording Industry Association.
Fire reported at Tyler Perry Studios
Atlanta firefighters were on the scene of a blaze Tuesday night at Tyler Perry Studios in southwest Atlanta.
Capt. Jolyon Bundridge with the Atlanta Fire Rescue told the AJC shortly after 9 p.m. that one building had partially collapsed.
By 10 p.m., the flames were extinguished, but firefighters continued to battle hot spots, and at least a dozen fire trucks lined Continental Colony Parkway, Channel 2 Action News reported.
There was no immediate word on the cause of the fire. No injuries were reported.
The 200,000-square foot studio, which opened in 2008, is home to sets, sound stages and a 400-seat theater. In March, Atlanta filmmaker Perry hosted a fundraiser for President Barack Obama at the studio.
BREAKING NEWS: Tyler Perry Studios on fire.
from the likes of Halperin:
(DiCK) Halperin’s Take
There are are lot of substantive questions begged by the President’s speech and the agreement, especially the extent to which Karzai will be a reliable partner. But the politics of what was announced is wicked smart, and almost certainly gets Obama through November without Afghanistan being a political liability for him. The Left gets to believe that the President is committed to ending the war (Look! He went half way around the world to say it.). And critics from the Right, like John McCain, don’t have much to grasp onto, given the new scheme’s long time horizon. Mitt Romney might try to make up some basis for criticizing the plan as too vague or weak, but with Karzai’s signature, the apparent support of the US military, and a something-for-everyone agreement, Obama has had a very good Tuesday. Happy anniversary, Mr. President. The President is taking a page right out of Karl Rove’s playbook. By saying the war is winding down while the continued troop presence protects his right flank, Obama can effectively carry the Afghanistan debate through November. It doesn’t help that Romney has no military service and no obvious position of strength from which to attack the incumbent. And now with Karzai’s signature, Obama has effectively checkmated the issue.
Dow hits 4-year high, lifted by ISM factory data
By Edward Krudy
NEW YORK | Tue May 1, 2012 4:36pm EDT
NEW YORK (Reuters) – The Dow closed at its highest level in more than four years on Tuesday after U.S. manufacturing expanded at a faster pace than expected in April, easing jitters about a slowdown in the economic recovery.
The Dow now sits at levels not seen since December 2007. The gains leave the benchmark S&P 500 within about 16 points of a high reached in May 2008. A convincing break above that level could set the market up for more gains, traders said.
“That’s where a lot of traders’ eyes are right now – it might be tough to get through there the first time,” said Michael James, senior trader at Wedbush Morgan in Los Angeles.
But the Nasdaq sold off sharply into the close on weakness in Apple (AAPL.O) and BlackBerry maker Research in Motion (RIMM.O) in a sign the market could struggle to make further headway in the short-term.
The Institute for Supply Management said U.S. manufacturing growth came in at its strongest rate in 10 months in April. That reading suggested the economy remains resilient after indications it had lost momentum at the start of the second quarter.
Early gains this year have been held in check in recent weeks on worries about U.S. economic growth.
Shares of Intel Corp (INTC.O),
Obama: Afghan war not over but light on horizon
(Reuters) – President Barack Obama on Wednesday warned U.S. troops of further hardship ahead in Afghanistan but told them “there is a light on the horizon” after more than a decade of war.
“The battle is not yet over,” he told a cheering crowd at Bagram airbase outside of Kabul during a visit to Afghanistan. “There is going to be heartbreak and pain and difficulty ahead. But there is a light on the horizon because of the sacrifices you’ve made.”
Osama Bin LODEN-LADEN…. BWA HA HA HA Wassamatau, Mittens, can’t see the teleprompter?
First term= JEEZY…
Marco Rubio on Florida GOP credit card: ‘I shouldn’t have done it that way’
Posted by Felicia Sonmezat 01:39 PM ET, 05/01/2012TheWashingtonPost
In an interview with Fox News Channel’s Bret Baier Monday night, Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) addressed some parts of his political history that have dogged him, including his use of a Florida Republican Party credit card for personal purchases as well as his relationship with embattled Rep. David Rivera (R-Fla.)
The interview comes as Rubio, a freshman who served for nine years in the Florida state House before winning election go the Senate in 2010, is increasingly being floated as a potential VP choice for former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican presidential nominee.
On his use of the Florida GOP credit card, Rubio acknowledged, “I shouldn’t have done it that way. It was lesson learned.”
But he also argued that “it’s important people understand I did not bill personal expenses to the Republican Party of Florida.”
“At the end of every month, we would get those statements,” he told Baier. “We would see what was on there that was party-related, and the party would pay that. If it wasn’t party-related, I would pay that directly to American Express.”
He continued: “Now, obviously, in hindsight, it looks bad, right? I mean, why are you using a party credit card at all? Well, some of these expenses were because a travel agent had the number, you know, the credit card number, and they billed it to that card instead of the other card. Sometimes, it was just a mistake, you know, literally just reached for the wrong card.”
The Miami Herald and the Tampa Bay Times (then known as the St. Petersburg Times) reported during Rubio’s Senate bid that the Florida Republican had billed the state party for more than $100,000 during the two years he served as state House speaker:
The charges included repairs to the family minivan, grocery bills, plane tickets for his wife and purchases from retailers ranging from a wine store near his home to Apple’s online store. Rubio also charged the party for dozens of meals during the annual lawmaking session in Tallahassee, even though he received taxpayer subsidies for his meals.
Rubio said the billings all related to party business — the minivan, for example, was damaged by a valet at a political function — and that he repaid the party for about $16,000 in personal expenses.
In the Fox News Channel interview, Rubio also addressed his relationship with Rivera:
RUBIO: He’s a friend. I mean, he’s a friend I’ve known on a personal level even before I was elected or he was elected to office. So look, I know he’s going through a tough time. And we’ve all read the press reports and none of us like to see that about anybody, much less a friend. And he’s going to have to deal with those issues.
President Obama is in Afghanistan. He will address the nation live from Bagram Air Base tonight at 7:30 p.m. EDT.
POTUS is in Afghanistan.
prayers for him until he leaves that place.
May 01, 2012 11:48 AM
By Ed Kilgore
In my meditation on Jon Chait’s fine evisceration of the Paul Ryan Legend yesterday, I noted that for all the endless talk about Ryan being a Very Serious debt-fighter willing to make “touch choices,” deficit reduction has always been a third-order priority for him, far less important than high-end tax cuts and spending reductions as an end in themselves (aimed at the gross immorality of aiding the unsuccessful). In this respect he’s very representative of his fellow House Republicans, as evidenced by their lack of interest in identifying “offsets” for the trillions it will cost to extend the Bush tax cuts. Here’s the latest on that issue from The Hill’s Russell Berman and Bernie Becker:
House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010.
The income and investment tax cuts enacted in 2001 and 2003 are set to expire at the end of the year and are at the center of a thicket of fiscal decisions that Congress must make in the next several months….
The political problem for Republicans comes from the system used by congressional score-keepers, which projects that extending the 2001 and 2003 cuts and other income tax provisions included in the 2010 tax deal would cost roughly $2.4 trillion over a decade. Republicans lawmakers have long expressed frustration with that system and want the Congressional Budget Office and the Joint Committee on Taxation to score tax proposals more dynamically — that is, more fully take into account economic growth.
Yes, Republican lawmakers have long express frustration with arithmetic. So they’ll ignore it, knowing full well that if and well deficits swell, they’ll just blame it on “runaway spending,” and/or on Democratic governance that has frightened job-creators into hoarding their tax cuts or sending them overseas instead of investing them in the U.S.
It’s a nice, closed system that is intended precisely to avoid “tough choices.” The problem, though, is that nearly all of them have voted for Ryan’s budget, which may be intentionally vague when it comes to the “tax reform” initiatives that will supposedly offset still lower rates on high earners and businesses, but is pretty specific in hammering programs affecting the poor and elderly.
In any event, by asserting once again that tax cuts are eternally a free lunch, House Republicans shown their true colors, and their ultimate loyalties.
Found this in the comments at Balloon Juice:
Looks like the emerging theme is that Mitt Romney is a coward, while Obama is a thoughtful leader who has the guts to make tough, unpopular decisions. These adds are great tactics, putting Willard off his game early and making him look like a whiner. They’re inside Willard’s OODA loop, and it’s driving him nuts. The ads highlight that Willard won the nomination by default, that he really has no record of positive accomplishments, all before Willard gets a chance to define himself or even formally secure the nomination. Talk about shitting on someone’s parade. Couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.
I would suspect the Obama folks will milk the OBL stuff for a little while longer, then switch to the success of the auto bailout and Romney’s prior asinine statements on that. A similar tack may be taken on DADT and womens’ rights, where Mitt has also been a pandering wimp and Obama can create a narrative of measured, brave decisionmaking that will sell to the middle. A great finale would be to talk up the ACA by talking about the successes of the MA health plan and how that will translate to success for the country as a whole under the ACA. This will blunt the effectiveness of “Obamacare” attacks while further reinforcing the impression that Mitt is a coward who won’t even stand up for his own accomplishments.
MITT ROMNEY, OWN YOUR GOVERNORSHIP OF MASSACHUSETTS
April 30, 2012
After 12 years, the bad history still hurts. From today’s Cillizza column:
In 2000, Bush won 271 electoral votes — one more than he needed to claim the presidency. In eking out that victory, Bush not only carried the South and Plains states with a near sweep but also claimed wins in swing states such as Nevada, Colorado, Missouri and the major electoral-vote prizes of Ohio and Florida.
Bush of course did not win 271 electoral votes, any more than he won the popular vote. His actual electoral count was 246, well below the victorious threshold of 270–and by some unexpired, journalistic statute of limitations, every political column that refers to Bush’s 2000 “election” should come with an explanatory, as well as apologetic, asterisk.
As a student of history, I have often wondered how other students of history could rank George W. Bush merely among the five or 10 worst U.S. presidents. In infamy, James Buchanan usually outdoes W. in these ranking polls, as do other antebellum incompetents such as Franklin Pierce, Zachary Taylor and Millard Fillmore. Yet each of them faced a truly irrepressible conflict; Lincoln could do no better in averting it. Andrew Johnson? A racist drunk, little more, whom Congress crushed in rather short order. Warren Harding? Hell, the best looking president we’ve ever had, which was about all we wanted in 1920. And Rutherford B. Hayes, our other appointed president, was a veritable Pericles compared to George W. Bush.
Only W. single-handedly grasped a reasonably well-ordered nation by the throat and expended thousands of its lives needlessly, drained its public treasury, and choked all honor from it.
But given that he was unelected, all that deserves at least an asterisk, does it not?
8 years of SHEER LIVING HELL is the price we all paid and continue to pay for Bush getting to sit his pastey ass in the White House Oval Office leather for stealing the 2000 election.
May 01, 2012
How wretched is our wretchedly black valley
President Obama’s “nonstop campaigning” is upsetting Dana Milbank. Obama has ratched “the permanent campaign … to a whole new level”; he is using his incumbency’s natural advantages “to promote his reelection prospects even while handling taxpayer-funded business”; he is averting his eyes from safe states while coquettishly tailoring his travel to battleground states; and he is making it “increasingly difficult to distinguish … political events and speeches from the official ones.”
But … wait for it …
In fairness, it’s not entirely clear what choice Obama has…. [T]he alternative is unilateral disarmament.
So, let me get this straight. “The preezy of the United Steezy is making [Milbank] queasy” because of the unspeakable state of political affairs to which Obama has no choice, no alternative. However Obama “should follow his own advice” by not subjecting “everything … to politics” against a political foe that has laid waste to every Obama initiative for the last two years; and will, should it maintain power, lay utter waste to Obama’s next four years; and should it gain in power, most likely lay final waste to the nation.
OK, got it. If Eisenhower and Zhukov had reasoned with the Wehrmacht, all that disagreeable business of the mid-1940s would not have been averted; nonetheless Eisenhower and Zhukov should not have subjected everything to warfare against an implacable, warfaring foe.
If you understand and accept that, then you, gentle reader, qualify as a Beltway commentator of the first rank–balanced, impartial, and insanely evenhanded, to the death.
And David Brooks would have your back, delving again today, as he is wont to do, in the sociopsychogibberish of utopian vapidness: “The campaign-as-warfare metaphor may seem sensible to those inside the hothouse…. But it’s probably bad sociology and terrible psychology.”
Well, David, I can go you one better: It is absolutely barbaric politics. But this is not the politics of Obama’s choice. (See, even, Milbank.) Were it, I possess no doubt that Obama would choose a let-us-reason-together roundtable campaign of the sort he staged with healthcare reform’s Republican opponents in February 2010. But of course at that summit, Obama, through reason and intellect, humiliated the Republicans, after which they declared reason and intellect permanently off the table and reached instead for their guns and knives.
It’s all they have. It’s all that political thugs throughout history have ever had. But the good guys can’t win by just being good.
Yes, that’s sad. Yes, that’s deplorable. And like Bogart in “The Big Sleep,” we all grieve on long winter nights over this whole wretched state of political affairs–and read columnists who grieve about how sadly wretched is our deplorable wretchedness.
Dana Milbank can go run in the heaviest of traffic with the largest, sharpest pair of scissors.
Q: Who do you trust more to keep interest rates on student loans low: Barack Obama or Mitt Romney?
Barack Obama: 52
Mitt Romney: 31
Both equally: 10
Not sure: 7
If this topic stays front and center, it looks like the president, and not his challenger, will benefit. Not only does Obama perform far better among Democrats than Romney does among Republicans (85-9 vs. 63-16), but independents also think Obama is more likely to keep student loan rates down, by a 45-26 margin.
And this is one issue Americans agree on quite broadly:
Q: Do you think Congress should extend the current low interest rate on student loans, or not?
Not sure: 9
Why I Am So Optimistic
Tue May 1st, 2012 at 12:23:08 PM EST
We have records of the popular vote in our presidential elections going back to 1824. In all that time, there have been only 11 presidents who were elected to a second (consecutive) term. With the exception of the first, Andrew Jackson, every president who has been reelected has received a higher percentage of the popular vote the second time around. Here’s the list, with their percentage improvement:
Andrew Jackson: -1.2%
Abraham Lincoln: +15.5%
Ulysses Grant: +2.9%
William McKinley: +0.5%
Woodrow Wilson: +7.4%
Franklin Roosevelt: +3.4% (-6.1%, -1.4%)
Dwight Eisenhower: +2.2%
Richard Nixon: +17.4%
Ronald Reagan: +8.0%
Bill Clinton: +7.4%
George W. Bush: +2.8%
Grover Cleveland also won a second term, but it was non-consecutive and does not concern us here. We can look at the individual circumstances of each of these elections and find reasons why the popular vote percentage increased. Reagan and Clinton faced fairly strong third-party challengers in their first election, for example, which kept their numbers down. Lincoln’s reelection took place during the Civil War. But the point remains that presidents tend to have two fates: they are rejected, or they win reelection by a larger margin. We have to go back to the election of 1832 to find a counterexample. So, why do so many people assume that Obama will win reelection, but by a narrower margin?
No doubt, people are relying on some data. Polling numbers, mainly. But polls this far out are fairly meaningless, and Obama has a comfortable lead in almost all of them. I’ve been reading articles about the Indiana Senate race between Richard Lugar and Richard Mourdock, and I consistently see it predicted that Obama will not win in Indiana this time around. I sometimes hear the same thing said about North Carolina and Virginia. But, here’s my guess, based on history. If Obama loses in Indiana or North Carolina or Virginia, it means he has lost the election. But, if he wins reelection, he will win all three of those states and some new states that he lost four years ago. What states might those be? Arizona and Missouri are possibilities. Georgia and Montana and the Dakotas are not out of the question. It might surprise you, but even South Carolina isn’t out of the question.
For all the Republicans’ efforts, President Obama is nowhere near as polarizing as George W. Bush or Bill Clinton (post-Lewinsky) turned out to be. And the GOP has completely left the mainstream of American politics. I think that Dick Lugar is going to lose his primary next Tuesday. Do you know what that means?
If Dick Lugar,” said John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri, “having served five terms in the U.S. Senate and being the most respected person in the Senate and the leading authority on foreign policy, is seriously challenged by anybody in the Republican Party, we have gone so far overboard that we are beyond redemption.”
These are the types of events that cause people to switch long-standing allegiances. For some, it happened when they impeached Clinton, or when they stole the 2000 election or when they invaded Iraq or after Abu Ghraib or when they sent John Bolton to the United Nations or when they intervened in the Terri Schiavo case or when they let New Orleans drown. I know people who switched in each and every one of those cases. I’m sure there are some who finally made the jump after the debt ceiling fiasco. There are limits for almost everyone. The truth is that the GOP isn’t just ceding the center-right to the Democrats. They’re force-feeding the center-right to us. And the election results should reflect that.
Talking Points Memo @TPM:
POLL: Obama opens up 8 point lead in Virginia http://tpm.ly/IF14AQ
Did you see: Health Insurance rebates on the way
Thanks to the Affordable Care Act, health insurance rebates are on the way for millions of Americans. According to PBS NewsHour:
Millions of consumers and small businesses will receive an estimated $1.3 billion in rebates from their health plans this summer under a provision of the health care law that effectively limits what insurers can charge for administration and profits, a new study projects.
About one third of people who bought their own insurance last year will get rebates averaging $127, according to an analysis of state data by the nonpartisan Kaiser Family Foundation.
… The requirement, aimed at holding insurers more accountable and slowing premium increases, went into effect last year and applies to all health plans, except those offered by self-insured employers.
‘Even Jimmy Carter’
By James Fallows
Apr 30 2012, 5:42 PM ET
Mitt Romney informs us that the raid that took out Osama bin Laden one year ago was no big deal, because “even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
Necessary disclosure: I worked for Jimmy Carter and admire his intentions, his character, and many of his achievements, although I am not usually considered an uncritical booster of his record as president.
But let’s remember:
1) Jimmy Carter is a graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy who spent ten years in the uniformed service of his country. As far as I can tell, this is ten years more than the cumulative service of all members of the Romney clan. Obviously you don’t have to be a veteran to have judgments about military policy or criticisms of others’ views. But when it comes to casual slurs about someone else’s strength or resolve, you want to be careful, as a guy on the sidelines, sounding this way about people who have served.
2) Jimmy Carter did indeed make a gutsy go/no-go call. It turned out to be a tactical, strategic, and political disaster. You can read the blow-by-blow in Mark Bowden’s retrospective of “The Desert One Debacle.” With another helicopter, the mission to rescue U.S. diplomats then captive in Teheran might well have succeeded — and Carter is known still to believe that if the raid had succeeded, he would probably have been re-elected. Full discussion another time, but I think he’s right. (Even with the fiasco, and a miserable “stagflation” economy, the 1980 presidential race was very close until the very end.)
But here’s the main point about Carter. Deciding to go ahead with that raid was a close call. Carter’s own Secretary of State, Cyrus Vance, had opposed the raid and handed in his resignation even before the results were known. And it was a daring call — a choice in favor of a risky possible solution to a festering problem, knowing that if it went wrong there would be bad consequences all around, including for Carter himself. So if you say “even Jimmy Carter” to mean “even a wimp,” as Romney clearly did, you’re showing that you don’t know the first thing about the choice he really made.
3) Precisely because of the consequences of Carter’s failure, Obama was the more daring in making his go/no-go decision. That’s the case I argued last year, and nothing I’ve learned since then changes my view. As a college student, Obama had seen a marginally popular Democratic president come to ruin because he approved a helicopter-based secret mission into hostile Middle Eastern terrain. Obama went ahead with a helicopter-based secret mission into nominally “allied” territory, also with huge potential for trouble if things had gone wrong.
4) And while the Osama killing reflected a decade’s worth of intelligence and effort from people of both parties, and of no party, it happened on Obama’s watch. Is there any doubt that if it had happened on Bush’s, or on a President John McCain’s, it would have been the centerpiece of every political speech and commercial? Was there a single speech in the Republicans’ 2004 convention — in New York — that did not begin and end with a reference to 9/11, or the removal of Saddam Hussein?
The Last Word: Lilly Ledbetter on the war on women
April 30: ‘You don’t have to take my word for it — you’ve got my signature on it.’ That was President Obama stating his commitment on women’s issues, refering to the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act- the first bill he signed into law.
WATCH IT HERE:
Dems accuse housing finance agency chief of witholding evidence from Congress http://huff.to/JFnhy2
David Axelrod @davidaxelrod:
5 yrs ago, T-Paw championed health care exchanges in MN, just as Mitt had in MA. Now MN GOP is trying to thwart them. http://nyti.ms/JvwBEL
Mr. President, Mitt Romney said you were scared to run on your record. What are your thoughts on that, Mr President?
BWA HA HAAAAAAAAAAA
Posted at 11:05 AM ET, 05/01/2012
One more time: Republicans don’t care about the deficit
By Jonathan Bernstein
So let me get this straight. Republicans are currently blocking the extension of lower student loan interest rates because they insist on cutting a health care fund to pay for its cost. But when it comes to the Bush tax cuts, they continue to believe that no budget offsets are necessary to pay for them.
The Hill reports: “House Republicans say they have no plans to pay for the extension of the Bush-era tax rates, a move that could erase the deficit reduction they have achieved since winning their majority in the chamber in 2010.”
In other words, Republicans intend to do exactly what they did when they passed the 2001 and 2003 tax cuts in the first place, which (along with not paying for the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, or for Medicare prescription drug coverage) is exactly what created our budget mess in the first place.
Welcome, again, to the GOP War on Budgeting. You really couldn’t ask for clearer evidence that Republicans are not only wholly uninterested in reducing federal budget deficits, but even oppose the whole notion of considering individual spending and taxing decisions in the context of an overall budget.
Here’s how the GOP War on Budgeting actually works. If Republicans are seeking increased spending on one of their priorities (such as defense), or are looking to cut taxes and decrease revenues, there’s no need (in their view) to offset either; whatever they’re demanding is simply an urgent national priority, end of story.
If, however, Democrats want a tax cut (such as on the payroll tax) or spending increase on one of their priorities, then suddenly it must be paid for — by more spending cuts in programs that Dems favor, which Republicans are always for, regardless of the budget situation. That’s why Republicans have twice eliminated “PayGo” budget rules that would require tax cuts to be paid for.
Will Romney support the Paycheck Fairness Act? Steve Benen gets right to the heart of the dilemma:
Romney refused to state a firm opinion on the Violence Against Women Act, and he’s said even less about the Paycheck Fairness Act….If he sides with Democrats in support of the measure, Romney undercuts his allies on Capitol Hill, as well as friends at the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, which is lobbying to kill the bill. If he sticks with this party, Romney risks exacerbating the already-large gender gap, taking yet another position that’s hostile towards women’s interests.
* What’s Romney’s position on Paycheck Fairness? As of Friday, the Romney campaign wouldn’t reveal his position on this pending legislation, and presumably news orgs will soon begin to press for an answer to this question.
Posted at 09:05 AM ET, 05/01/2012
The Morning Plum: The attacks begin
By Greg Sargent
The Obama campaign released a new ad this morning attacking Mitt Romney over his “Swiss bank account.” The spot will be widely seen as the most direct and negative assault on Romney’s background yet, and it’s certainly an effort to define the challenger early on with an attack on his profiteering and wealth.
But the ad is more than that — it’s also the beginning of an effort to draw a stark contrast between the two candidate’s visions of the economy and the future — a contrast the Obama team hopes will be central to the campaign:
The ad, which will air in Ohio, Virginia and Iowa, is about pivoting off Romney’s moneymaking to make a larger point: That Romney’s vision of the economy ensures a future founded on a flimsy foundation of corporate profits driven by tax breaks and risky deals. The Obama campaign will contrast this relentlessly with Obama’s message that rebuilding a stable middle class is the route to a secure economic future. The sharp clash of visions is designed to sow doubts among swing voters about whether a President Romney would truly have the economic security of middle class Americans at heart. It’s all about turning Romney into the walking embodiment of the type of economic behavior that led to the meltdown.
The spot also suggests that the Obama campaign will make green energy — and the role it should play in strengthening the economy and the country — more central to the campaign than expected.
Michael Tomasky: How the GOP Became a Party of Whiners Over Osama
by Michael Tomasky May 1, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Republicans love to act like tough guys. Yet it’s the Democrat in the White House who got bin Laden—and the GOP that’s throwing a temper tantrum about a modest Obama ad.
It couldn’t be more hilarious, watching these Republicans rend their garments over the Obama administration’s bin Laden video. Imaging the paroxysms we’d have been forced to endure if George W. Bush had iced the dreaded one is all we need to do to understand how hypocritical it all is. But what obviously gets under Republicans’ skin is not the fact of this video’s existence, but the fact that Barack Obama got him and they didn’t, which destroys their assumption of the past decade that they are “the 9/11 party.” And more than that—and this is the real story here—it’s the fact that the Democrats don’t appear to be afraid of the Republicans anymore. That, to Republicans, is what’s truly unacceptable
So this is the new standard for political ads—that if a politician said something about Topic X and an ad quotes it, that’s no longer good enough? Suddenly it’s only acceptable if the ad makers scour the record for everything the candidate said and then take care to ensure that the full measure of the candidate’s views is fairly represented? Okay. Let’s hold Romney’s campaign and American Crossroads and all the rest of them to that standard this fall. By the way, what Romney said one month after the initial comments was this: “We’ll move everything to get him. But I don’t want to buy into the Democratic pitch that this is all about one person … It’s more than Osama bin Laden. But he is going to pay, and he will die.” To the folks at Fox News the Obama ad was under some mystical obligation to note this instance of ass-covering.
Which Romney undertook, incidentally, after he was attacked by John McCain for not being sufficiently hawkish on the bin Laden question. Today, of course, McCain is up there excoriating the president who was sufficiently hawkish on bin Laden. Allegedly it’s hypocritical of Obama because Hillary Clinton ran an ad that mentioned bin Laden in 2008, and the Obama people complained about it. OK, McCain has a point there. It was stupid of the Obama people to whine about that in 2008. If McCain had stopped there, fine. But he also said, “Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11.”
McCain Is Outraged That Obama Politicized 9/11, But He Did The Same Thing
“Shame on Barack Obama for diminishing the memory of September 11th and the killing of Osama bin Laden by turning it into a cheap political attack ad,” McCain says in the statement. “This is the same President who once criticized Hillary Clinton for invoking bin Laden ‘to score political points.'”
Which is fine. He did criticize Hillary Clinton for that four years ago.
But to feign outrage over the politicization of this goes against some of the moves he pulled during his own 2008 campaign against Barack Obama.
Read more: http://articles.businessinsider.com/2012-04-27/politics/31418656_1_osama-bin-john-mccain-political-hypocrisy#ixzz1tdXYXcnx
Image used at the 2008 McCainPalin RNC
Sahil Kapur-May 1, 2012, 6:16 AM528429
In the first two years after “Obamacare” was signed, Medicare reforms in the law saved seniors a total of $3.4 billion in prescription drug costs by bridging a coverage gap, according to official figures.
Over 220,000 beneficiaries have saved an average of $837 in the first three months of 2012, the Medicare agency said Monday. That’s on top of $3.2 billion in savings enjoyed by some 5.1 million seniors in 2010 and 2011 thanks to the Affordable Care Act, according to the advisory on the new figures.
The savings were wrung through a combination of discounts on Medicare prescription drugs — 50 percent on brand names, 7 percent on generics — and rebates for seniors who fell under a coverage gap known as the “doughnut hole.”
“The Affordable Care Act is helping millions on Medicare save billions of dollars on care and prescription drugs,” top Medicare official Marilyn Tavenner said in a statement. “The Affordable Care Act gives people on Medicare the relief they need from medical costs and more resources to stay healthy.”
TEE HEE HEE
Major Romney Donor, Ex-Bain Exec, Pens Book Defending The 1%
Former Bain Capital executive Ed Conard, who TPM readers might know for donating $1 million anonymously to a pro-Romney super PAC through a dummy corporation, is back in the news. He’s the subject of a lengthy New York Times magazine profile this week explaining his new book, “Unintended Consequences: Why Everything You’ve Been Told About the Economy Is Wrong,” which purports to explain why the 1 percent deserve every penny they have and why increasing income inequality is actually a good sign for the economy.
In one passage of the profile, Conard mocks Americans who don’t want to become ultra-wealthy entrepreneurs as lazy and unambitious:
A central problem with the U.S. economy, he told me, is finding a way to get more people to look for solutions despite these terrible odds of success. Conard’s solution is simple. Society benefits if the successful risk takers get a lot of money. For proof, he looks to the market. At a nearby table we saw three young people with plaid shirts and floppy hair. For all we know, they may have been plotting the next generation’s Twitter, but Conard felt sure they were merely lounging on the sidelines. “What are they doing, sitting here, having a coffee at 2:30?” he asked. “I’m sure those guys are college-educated.” Conard, who occasionally flashed a mean streak during our talks, started calling the group “art-history majors,” his derisive term for pretty much anyone who was lucky enough to be born with the talent and opportunity to join the risk-taking, innovation-hunting mechanism but who chose instead a less competitive life. In Conard’s mind, this includes, surprisingly, people like lawyers, who opt for stable professions that don’t maximize their wealth-creating potential. He said the only way to persuade these “art-history majors” to join the fiercely competitive economic mechanism is to tempt them with extraordinary payoffs.
April 29, 2012
With an Eye on the Court, Foundations Help States Adopt Health Law
By Suzanne Perry
Sara Kay, an official at the Nathan Cummings Foundation, says she has been “obsessing” lately about the Supreme Court.
It’s not something that Ms. Kay, who oversees the foundation’s health-care grants, normally has to worry much about. But the court is expected to rule in June on an issue that’s close to her heart: whether the 2010 law that overhauled the country’s health-care system is constitutional.
Nathan Cummings strongly backs the measure and has committed $1.5-million to a fund dedicated to putting it into effect.
Supporters like Ms. Kay regard the 2010 law as a critical step in bringing down health-care costs and ensuring that low-income and other vulnerable people have access to care. So they are watching nervously to see whether the court strikes it down—either entirely or in part—or delays a decision until after certain contested provisions go into effect in 2014.
1 May 2012 10:45 AM
The Bin Laden Freakout
I can see no problem with the ad run by Obama on his extraordinarily ballsy decision to choose the riskiest path to get bin Laden and all the intelligence his compound contained. It is the kind of ad that would be a no-brainer for any Republican president, seeking re-election. If Bush had done it, he would have jumped out of a helicopter in a jump-suit with fireworks. And it is simply true that both George W. Bush and Mitt Romney downplayed the importance of finding and bringing Osama bin Laden to justice. Here is the last president, after his bungling of the battle at Tora Bora, in March 2002:
“I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority… “I am truly not that concerned about him.”
And here is Mitt Romney who still seems to believe that the “Soviets” are our number one geopolitical foe
“It’s not worth moving heaven and earth spending billions of dollars just trying to catch one person.”
And this was a key issue in the 2008 election. You may remember the debate in which Obama pledged that he would launch a unilateral attack within Pakistan if necessary to get the mass murdering religious fanatic. McCain cited this as evidence of Obama’s insufficient experience in foreign policy and general jejuneness. So this was a hugely successful policy opposed by McCain, opposed by Bush and opposed by Romney. No wonder they’re so upset at reality. It’s the same reaction they have when it becomes clear that Osama bin Laden was captured and killed by a president smart enough not to deploy torture, years after a bunch of thugs took over US intelligence on the orders of the panicked incompetent, Dick Cheney.
And one thing about John McCain. He actually said: “And, you know the thing about heroes, they don’t brag.” For his entire political career, McCain has done nothing but brag about his own military service, milking every last, disgusting drop for his own interests, making it the center-piece of his campaign. And he didn’t kill anyone – just crashed his plane, was tortured, and cracked under tortured interrogation. He has spent decades making this a reason for him to be elected to various offices, from the very first first=person account in US News, which launched his political career. Heroes don’t brag, Senator? How else would you describe your entire career?
I’m with Jon Meacham, who plays a tiny violin for the upset Republicans:
Republicans are — forgive the cliché — shocked, shocked to discover that a presidential contender is “politicizing” an important national event. In this sense, “politicizing” might be best translated as “beating us up and we don’t have anything much to say to stop it.” The ad itself raises intriguing, substantive, legitimate questions — and the ferocious, sputtering Republican reaction is proof positive that they know it, or at least suspect it.
Murdoch Faces New Pressure Following Parliamentary Report
Eric Lach, Ryan J. Reilly, David Taintor- May 1, 2012, 10:48 AM
The latest twist in the News Corporation phone hacking scandal came today in the form of a scathing UK parliamentary report that, among other things, states that its patron Rupert Murdoch “is not a fit person to exercise the stewardship of a major international company.”
The report, by Parliament’s select committee on culture, media and sport, “examines whether or not there is good evidence to suggest that the Committee and its predecessor Committees have been misled by any witnesses during the course of their work on the phone-hacking scandal.” While the report itself is harsh, the committee was apparently split on party lines about at least some of its conclusions.
“The issue on which no Conservative member felt they could support the report itself was the line in the middle of the report that said that Mr. Rupert Murdoch is not a fit person to run an international company,” Louise Mensch, a Conservative member of the panel told reporters, according to The New York Times.
Ofcom, Britain’s media regulator, issued a statement in response to the report, saying that it has “a duty under the Broadcasting Acts 1990 and 1996 to be satisfied that any person holding a broadcasting licence is, and remains, fit and proper to do so. Ofcom is continuing to assess the evidence that may assist it in discharging these duties. As part of this we are considering the Committee report.”
News Corp. itself issued a terse response to the report a few hours after its release.
“News Corporation is carefully reviewing the Select Committee’s report and will respond shortly,” the company said in a statement. “The Company fully acknowledges significant wrongdoing at News of the World and apologizes to everyone whose privacy was invaded.”
Steve Hewlett, a columnist at The Guardian and host of the BBC Radio 4 Media Show, called the report “pretty damning.”
“Everyone was kind of astonished,” at the conclusions, Hewlett told TPM. “[The] MP’s were very, very annoyed”
Hewlett said he expects an “imminent” decision on the police files on phone hacking, email hacking, and police bribing sent to prosecutors.
Back in March, Guardian reporter Nick Davies, who has reported extensively on the phone-hacking story, suggested to PBS’ FRONTLINE that the scandal will continue to unfold for years.
“It’s almost unstoppable, this process,” he said. “… we have not yet got to the bottom of the barrel.”
Matt Kelly, editor and publisher of Compliance Week, an information service on corporate governance, risk and compliance, told TPM today that he suspects the report “is payback that many members of Parliament have wanted to give to the Murdoch family for a long time” and that it offers “ammunition” to non-Murdoch investors in News Corp. “to wrest power away from Rupert Murdoch and the family.”
But Kelly also sees a bigger picture.
“The most damning thing in my opinion… when you look at something like this coming right on the heels of this mess with Wal-Mart, it gives such a sour taste in the public mouth about large companies,” he said.
The Obama/Clooney fundraiser raised a total of $10 million: http://lat.ms/IqyVP4 (via @PoliticsNowLAT).
WHICH IS IT, GEROGE BUSH? YOU’RE GOING TO HUNT OBS DOWN AND KILL’EM OR YOU’RE NOT CONCERNED OR THINK ABOUT SPENDING TO MUCH TIME THINKING ABOUT OSAMA BIN LADEN?
President Obama on Death of Osama bin Laden
My fellow Americans, I am here and happy to say, we can celebrate on this momentous day. Now look, let me be clear, Osama Bin Laden… we caught’em and he’s outta here.
BWA HA HA Clasic, Comedy GOLD!
Good morning Twitter. President @BarackObama killed Osama but b/c the President is Black, killing a war criminal is now political
Commentary: George Bush Did Not Get Bin Laden, Obama Did
..And that’s why they’re MAD. Hope their heads EXPLODE!
Scott Brown has an ‘Obamacare’ problem
By Steve Benen – Tue May 1, 2012 10:13 AM EDT.
Since the Affordable Care Act became law two years ago, 2.5 million young adults have been able to get health coverage through their family’s plan. One of them is Sen. Scott Brown’s (R-Mass.) daughter
Senator Scott Brown, who won office vowing to be the 41st vote to block President Obama’s health care law and who has since voted three times to repeal it, acknowledged Monday that he takes advantage of it to keep his elder daughter on his congressional health insurance plan.
“Of course I do,” the Massachusetts Republican told the Globe.
Brown is insuring his daughter Ayla, a professional singer who is 23 years old, under a widely popular provision of the law requiring that family plans cover children up to age 26.
Brown’s younger daughter is 21 and getting ready to graduate from college, and she, too, will be able to be covered thanks to the Affordable Care Act.
Brown, in case this wasn’t obvious, opposes “Obamacare” and has already voted to repeal the landmark reform law in its entirety. The senator hasn’t made any exceptions, and continues to support eliminating all of the protections within in the law — including the provision that allows young adults up to age 26 to get coverage by staying on their parents’ plans.
For the Republican senator, this isn’t necessarily hypocrisy. Brown’s voted to take this benefit away from millions of families, but he’s glad to have this benefit in place for his own family.
And what happens if Brown succeeds and the law is eliminated? The senator’s family doesn’t have much to worry about — Brown and his wife made over a half-million dollars last year, and they’re in a position to help their adult kids pay for insurance and medical expenses.
Whether Brown understands this or not, the larger problem is everyone else.
How the Death of Osama bin Laden Sent the GOP Chasing Its Tail http://fb.me/1PmrAeVBF
Talking Points Memo @TPM:
Another Obama official resigns after ginned up conservative outrage: A timeline http://tpm.ly/InBZtz
found this great observation at TOD:
May 1, 2012 at 9:31 am
The real strategy behind pres. Obama’s stealth attack on Romney re: Osama bin Laden is because if he had not done so, the entire Repug cabal would have swarmed the airwaves on this First anniversary to steal the credit exactly as they did last year when OBL was killed and Rumsfeld, Wolfowitz et al all flooded the airwaves to take credit.
Now that Pres. Obama has asserted his alpha male territorial boundaries, they are left sputtering on the sidelines. And now Pres. Obama can mark the anniversary without pesky Repugs crowding the field. Genius!
PBO totally is on the OFFENSIVE with these MOFOs. He is not playing with any of them.
Can we define ‘politicizing’?
By Steve Benen – Tue May 1, 2012 9:17 AM EDT.
Mitt Romney apparently doesn’t think the U.S. mission that killed Osama bin Laden should be a “political” issue.
In a rare joint television appearance, presumptive GOP nominee Mitt Romney and his wife Ann sat down with CBS’s Charlie Rose on Tuesday to discuss the presidential race. […]
“I acknowledged the president’s success and think he has every right to take credit for ordering that attack,” Romney said. “At the same time, I think it was very disappointing for the president to try to make this a political item by suggesting that I wouldn’t have ordered such a raid. Of course I would have.”
We could note that Romney tried to make this a political item during the last election when he criticized Obama’s vow to get bin Laden, and we could note that Romney explicitly said he wouldn’t have ordered such a raid.
But let’s put that aside and consider a separate issue: what do complaints about politicization really mean?
I’ll gladly concede that common decency dictates that some issues shouldn’t be turned into partisan, ideological, and/or campaign disputes. In 1994, for example, just a few days before the midterm elections, a deranged woman named Susan Smith drowned her two young sons. Newt Gingrich, at the time, argued, “The mother killing her two children in South Carolina vividly reminds every American how sick the society is getting and how much we have to have change. I think people want to change and the only way you get change is to vote Republican.”
The politicization of infanticide was, for lack of a better word, disgusting. I’d like to think most reasonable people would agree Gingrich took an issue that had nothing to do with politics, tried to exploit a tragedy to advance partisan ends, and crossed the line.
But most examples aren’t so obvious. Is killing the al Qaeda leader responsible for 9/11 a political issue? By most measures, of course it is.
A politician told voters what he’d do if elected; he followed through after the election; and now he wants to remind voters about his counter-terrorism victory during a campaign. It’s neither unexpected nor unusual. Different candidates and parties have different ideas about how to address national security, and unlike a sick woman killing her kids, dealing with international threats is an issue that voters are likely to consider when evaluating candidates.
Romney finds this “very disappointing,” but does anyone seriously believe he’d make these comments if a Republican launched the mission that killed bin Laden? Indeed, does anyone remember Romney complaining when his party made every effort to shamelessly exploit 9/11 in 2004 and 2008?
Or more to the point, if Obama’s plan last year had failed, is there any doubt that Romney would make it “a political item” now?
It’s far from clear what Romney thinks can and should count as “a political item,” and some clarifications would be helpful. When the former governor talks about unemployment, is he politicizing job losses? When he vows to uproot the health care system, is Romney politicizing Americans’ access to health care? When he condemns Obama for bring troops home from Iraq, is Romney politicizing a war?
Want aknow what I think should be a POLITICAL ISSUE, Mitt Romney?
YOUR TAX RETURNS & YOUR RECORD AS GOVERNOR OF MASSACHUSETTS; ALL OF IT!
By mistermix May 1st, 2012
Political messaging is hard in the details but the overall plan is simple enough that an eighth-grade pep squad could articulate it: tell us why you rock, and why your opponent sucks. Sometimes circumstances dictate that “rox” or “sux” alone have to carry the day, but over the long span of the campaign, you need a mix of both. This latest Obama ad is a good example. Obama’s clean energy initiative rocks, Romney’s lies and Swiss bank account suck, the end.
Here’s some typical Romney campaign imagery, and at least for this biased and simpleminded observer, the 24/7 “he sucks” is wearing thin, and it’s also getting him into trouble. The latest dust-up over the Bin Laden killing is a good example. Some things are just better left untouched by the candidate, and the right response to Obama’s Bin Laden celebration would have been to let surrogates handle the sniping and to have Romney highlight what he would be doing differently to make America stronger. But he lacks the “I rock” portion of his campaign, so his “all sux no rox” campaign had to chew up the bait that Obama laid down for him, and after they did, Obama made them look like chumps. (BTW, the often criticized Josh Marshall is right that Obama did the bitch-slapping here and even this Morning Joe regular agrees).
Even the “sux” portion of Romney’s program is just hollow reliance on right-wing tropes. The Jimmy Carter example was a good one, because anyone who’s over 40 remembers how much that raid hurt Carter. If you remember that, then you know how the Bin Laden raid could have turned to shit, and if it had, we’d have ended up with years of Rove-style messaging about Obama’s weakness.
These guys have been living in a Beavis and Butthead world where just saying “Barack Hussein Obama”, “Michelle is Fat” or “Just Like Jimmy Carter” gets a high-five from the other idiots in the room, and it’s starting to show.
Obama 2012, Bin Laden, and Willard’s 3 A.M. Phone Call
By Charles P. Pierce at 2:05PM
Is anyone taking seriously the complaints now coming about how the president’s re-election campaign is using the decision to kill Osama bin Laden to its own advantage? I think the killing of the author of the 9/11 atrocities, and a considerable international murderer even beyond that particular crime, is something that a president who wants to be president again is within his rights to use…..
…. it’s no more or less “fair” on the merits than is Romney’s constant refrain that the president “doesn’t understand how the economy works” because he’s never been a vulture capitalist.
….. demonstrating the pure class and raw political courage that has marked his entire political career by throwing a cheap shot at someone who wasn’t in the room, Romney said that, “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.” This from a man whose toughest decision in his life has been which house to sleep in.
…. every time he talks about foreign policy, Romney is a blindfolded man in a yard full of rakes. He wrote a Washington Post op-ed about arms control that proved Romney didn’t know enough about the subject to feed to his fish. He flirted with advocating a trade war with China, and he and his advisors occasionally slip and call Russia “the Soviet Union.” Of course, he did make the bobsleds run on time, so there’s that.
By Kay May 1st, 2012
I’m going to this Monday, so if you’re in or around Cleveland, it’d be good if we had a supportive crowd of democracy enthusiasts outside the courthouse:
DURBIN ANNOUNCES FIELD HEARING ON OHIO VOTING LAW
Field Hearing Will Be Subcommittee’s Second Examining State Voting Laws
[WASHINGTON, D.C.] – US Senator Dick Durbin (D-IL), Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights, today announced a field hearing examining the impact of Ohio’s new voting law, HB 194, which restricts early voting, eliminates the requirement that poll workers direct voters to the proper precinct, and makes it harder to vote absentee. The hearing will be held on Monday, May 7th, at the Carl B. Stokes United States Court House in Cleveland, Ohio. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-OH) will join Durbin at the hearing.
Ohio’s new law reduces the number of early voting days from 35 to 17, eliminates voting on the weekend before an election, removes the requirement that poll workers direct voters to their proper precinct and prohibits county boards of elections from mailing unsolicited absentee ballots. HB 194 will be subject to a ballot repeal measure in November. Witnesses will be announced at a later date.
“For more than half of the life of our Republic, a majority of Americans were not allowed to vote. Fortunately, we learned from these mistakes and expanded the franchise and reach of our democracy though six constitutional amendments,” Durbin said. “Worryingly, a spate of recently passed state voting laws seem designed to restrict voting by making it harder for millions of disabled, young, minority, rural, elderly, homeless, and low income Americans to vote. Protecting the right of every citizen to vote and ensuring that our elections are fair and transparent are not Democratic or Republican values, they are American values.”
“We should encourage seniors, students, minorities, and working Americans to vote, rather than making it harder for them to do so,” said Brown, who served as Ohio’s Secretary of State for two terms. “But rather than protecting the right to vote – we have seen brazen attempts to undermine it. The march toward free and fair elections continues to be burdened with voter suppression and denial. Voting is a right enshrined in our Constitution – not a privilege bestowed by the few. By helping eligible voters access the ballot, we uphold the integrity of our electoral system.”
Over thirty states have new or pending changes to current voting laws. States seeking to change their laws have passed or proposed provisions that significantly reduce the number of early voting days, require voters to show restrictive forms of photo identification before voting and make it harder for volunteer organizations to register new voters. Supporters of these laws argue that they will reduce the risk of voter fraud. The overwhelming evidence, however, indicates that voter fraud is virtually non-existent and that these new laws will make it harder for hundreds of thousands of elderly, disabled, minority, young, rural, and low-income Americans to exercise their right to vote.
The Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights held a hearing on these new state voting laws in September of last year. In January, the Subcommittee held their first-ever field hearing in Tampa, which examined Florida’s restrictive new voting law. More information on those hearings can be found here and here.
Who: US Senator Dick Durbin
US Senator Sherrod Brown
What: Judiciary Subcommittee on the Constitution, Civil Rights and Human Rights
Field Hearing: “New State Voting Laws III: Protecting the Right to Vote in America’s Heartland”
When: Monday, May 7, 2012
Where: Carl B. Stokes United States Court House
801 West Superior Avenue
The voter impersonation fraud scam is basically a cottage industry at this point and so may never die, but the claim by conservatives that certain groups of voters are breaking the law really shouldn’t be allowed to go completely unchallenged, because it isn’t true. It was never true. They invented it. There is not not now and was never a problem with people who are not legal voters impersonating other legal voters in order to cast ballots in US elections.
At base, this is and always was an attack on the character of certain targeted voters, because that’s what it means when conservative leaders and lawyers and elected officials say “voter fraud!” They mean certain targeted voters are breaking the law. That’s a direct accusation, it’s a lie, and it shouldn’t go unchallenged.
It’s rare in US politics to go after voters, but somehow conservatives have gotten away with it. Ordinarily political operatives and marketing people target “leaders” or “politicians”, but they steer clear of attacking individual voters. I can’t help but wonder why conservatives have gotten away with attacking these particular targeted voters.
The Obama Diary has some hilarious Willard cartoons this morning.
Watching Scotty Go, Part The MCMXIV
By Charles P. Pierce at 2:45PM
In what has to be one of the most remarkable accidents in American politican history, Scott Walker, the goggle-eyed homunculus hired by the Koch Brothers to manage their midwest subsidiary formerly known as the state of Wisconsin, just happened to be in Milwaukee today and announced that he was going to save the poor folks. This has nothing to do with the fact that his likeliest opponent in the recall election in June is Tom Barrett, who just happens to be the mayor of Milwaukee. Nothing at all….
Responding to Walker’s announcement, Barrett said he was skeptical about the governor’s sincerity about helping Milwaukee and felt the move might be more about Walker trying to win the recall election. In the seven years that Walker was Milwaukee County executive, Barrett said, Walker never showed any interest in creating jobs or promoting economic development in Milwaukee’s central city. And in Walker’s 15 months as governor, not only did he not create jobs in the “most depressed of this community, there were several instances where he actively worked against the city’s interest,” Barrett said. Barrett cited train-maker Talgo Inc., where as many as 35 jobs are expected to be lost at the Milwaukee facility due to a state decision decline federal funding for passenger rail that would have prompted Talgo to build more trains for Wisconsin. The company recently announced a mass layoff, Barrett said.
To paraphrase Charles Ludlam in The Big Easy, recall elections are a marvelous environment for coincidence.
Also, too, it appears that Chris Christie, the Falstaffian character actor currently assaying the role of governor of New Jersey, will be walking the banks of the shining Menomonee on Walker’s behalf. Lock up the hasenpfeffer, Mother!
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/scott-walker-economic-plan-8484442#ixzz1tcm4i8qO
The Wizards of I.D.
By Charles P. Pierce at 3:50PM
Good on the Obama people for taking on the current national campaign of voter-suppression at the local level. Back in Mississippi during the Freedom Summer, volunteers were deeply schooled in the various regulations and tactics used to deprive African Americans of their right to vote ….
The new Florida rules … were the centerpiece of a training effort over the weekend by the Obama for America staff in the state. All volunteers and staff members in Florida are required to attend a mandatory session on the new laws … Those who go through the training must pass a quiz administered by the campaign before they can attempt to register voters on the president’s behalf.
This is absolutely the same thing that those people did in Mississippi 50 years ago, and it’s become necessary to do it again because the same foul impulses that brought us literacy tests and the poll tax is bringing us these latest attempts to make difficult what should be the easiest right for us to exercise. And, not for nothing, but Greg Palast brings our attention back to 2000 again, and the effect that what looks today like a rudimentary exercise in voter-suppression had on our history.
Mon Apr 30th, 2012 at 10:22:54 PM EST
It is probably little-remembered that Bob Dole ran as Gerald Ford’s running mate in 1976 and that he had a debate with vice-presidential candidate Walter Mondale. During that debate, Bob Dole created some controversy when he said that World War One and Two, the Korean War, and the Vietnam War were all “Democratic wars.” By that he meant that our involvement in all those wars began under Democratic presidents. It was a true statement, but the way he said it made it sound like these were all wars of choice irresponsibly launched by Democrats. I’d argue strenuously against the irresponsibility of fighting in World War Two, but the other three are certainly open for debate. My point here is that it wasn’t that long ago that the Democrats had the reputation for having a “muscular foreign policy.” To be sure, that reputation had begun to erode in a major way in the decade before 1976. That’s part of what made Dole’s comments seem so bizarre. But we fought and won the World Wars under Democratic presidents and we started the Korean and Vietnam Wars under Democratic presidents, only to see both of them sloppily resolved by Republicans.
While the GOP talked a lot of anti-communist smack, they hadn’t actually put any of our boys in harm’s way between 1941 and 1976. Sure, Nixon extended the Vietnam War, but he also ended it. The Republicans didn’t become the actual war party until Carter had some bad luck in his attempt the rescue the Iranian hostages and Reagan became president.
I mention this because I take a position midway between Josh Marshall and digby. I think Josh’s view of machismo in politics is oversimplified and somewhat insulting to the voters’ intelligence. I think digby is wringing her hands a bit too much.
Marshall sees the attack on Romney for not having the guts or wisdom to go get bin-Laden as a way of emasculating him. He’s thinks this is a legitimate strategy and he thinks it’s effective because swing voters respond to these manly/unmanly cues. Digby doesn’t necessarily dispute Josh’s analysis; she just bemoans it.
I’m not quite as ecstatic that we have an awesome manly man who can out macho the opposition with tough orders to kill our evil enemies. I tend to think it reinforces some unfortunate characteristics of our politics, which Marshall defines above. Not to mention that I don’t know anyone who really believes that Democrats can possibly be masculine enough to win this in the long term. The Party of gays, women and kids is never going to out-macho the Republicans. (They might be able to do it if they commit to totally abandoning those constituencies, so I suppose there’s still hope …) I have no doubt that Barack Obama will be remembered as a very manly president because of his national security policies. But if you’re on Team Blue, enjoy it. It’s a one-time thing. I doubt very seriously that will mean a thing to any other Democrat running for office now or in the future.
Why is digby wrong? Well, for starters, she just defined the Democratic Party as the party of gays, women, and kids. That’s pretty self-limiting, don’t you think? Was FDR’s Democratic Party limited to gays, women, and kids? Was JFK’s or LBJ’s Democratic Party limited in that way? I’m not attacking her here, but I think she left out the part about the blacks and the Latinos and Asians and the Native Americans. But she also just ceded the white male adult vote, and I see no reason to do that.
The main point is that liberals can govern this country with toughness and brains, and we should expect to lay our enemies low when we go about things in an intelligent manner. There’s nothing to apologize for. The Republicans started a war with a country that didn’t attack us and ran that war terribly. There is no reason in the world why we shouldn’t take full credit for focusing on our true enemies and defeating them. Contra Marshall, this is no mere schoolyard taunting. This is an actual record of success.
I think they’re both wrong
Always choose wealthy parents
By Steve Benen – Mon Apr 30, 2012 4:46 PM EDT.
It didn’t as generate much attention as some of his other wealth-related gaffes, probably because it came on a Friday afternoon, but Mitt Romney’s latest gem comes with a larger significance.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee was telling students at Otterbein University in Ohio about the virtues of starting new businesses. Romney added that President Obama has launched an “attack” on “success” — I still have no idea what that’s in reference to — while he would prefer to “encourage young people.”
“Take a shot, go for it, take a risk, get the education, borrow money if you have to from your parents, start a business.”
This is important because it offers key context to Romney’s approach to public policy. If you’re a young person who can’t afford rising college tuition rates and/or don’t have the resources to launch a business venture, the GOP’s would-be president has some advice for you: choose wealthy parents.
No, seriously. Romney has already said young people who can’t afford to go to their college of their choice should “shop around” for some other institution, because a Romney administration doesn’t intend to help with measures like Pell Grants or student loans. Now he’s talking about entrepreneurial opportunities, not through programs like SBA loans, but through parental aid.
If you don’t come from a wealthy family with tens of thousands of disposable income, well, that’s a shame — no small business for you.
Romney wants young people to “take a shot,” “go for it,” “take a risk,” “get the education,” and “start a business,” but only if the federal government has no role in creating those opportunities.
In the 2012 campaign context, the point isn’t to mock Romney for being very wealthy or for having very wealthy parents. Rather, what matters here is that he’s opposed to using public institutions to help level the playing field for everyone else.
Senate eyes Paycheck Fairness Act
By Steve Benen – Tue May 1, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
Can the Paycheck Fairness Act pass the Senate?
Two years ago, Democrats brought the Paycheck Fairness Act to the Senate floor, and thought they had a credible shot at passing the bill. Ultimately, 58 senators supported it and 41 opposed it — which, thanks to the way the modern Senate operates, means the bill failed. (The chamber’s GOP “moderates” — Scott Brown, Susan Collins, and Olympia Snowe — all backed the filibuster.)
This year, Democrats are giving it another try.
Senate Democrats are planning to make another attempt to pass the Paycheck Fairness Act, a much-needed updating and strengthening of the 1963 Equal Pay Act.
The measure was narrowly defeated two years ago by solid Republican opposition, despite strong support from President Obama. The bill would enhance the remedies available for victims of gender-based discrimination and require employers to show that wage differences are job-related, not sex-based, and driven by business necessity. The measure would also protect employees from retaliation for sharing salary information, which is important for deterring and challenging discriminatory compensation.
The Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act was an important step forward when it comes to combating discrimination, but it was also narrowly focused to address a specific problem: giving victims of discrimination access to the courts for legal redress. The Paycheck Fairness Act is a broader measure.
While the substance is clearly important, the political context shouldn’t be overlooked. Republicans are struggling badly this election year with women voters, who the GOP seems to have alienated in remarkable ways, and most Senate Republicans already voted last week to oppose the Violence Against Women Act. Democrats are poised to put them on the spot once more with the Paycheck Fairness Act.
‘They said no’
By Steve Benen – Tue May 1, 2012 8:35 AM EDT.
President Obama spoke yesterday at the Building and Construction Trades Department Conference, delivering a spirited message to union allies, but also taking some time to note those responsible for standing in the way of labor’s goals.
Speaking specifically about infrastructure, Obama revised the “party of no” theme that hasn’t gotten much attention lately.
Again and again, I’ve said now is the time do this; interest rates are low, construction workers are out of work. Contractors are begging for work, and the work needs to be done. Let’s do it. And time after time, the Republicans have gotten together and they’ve said no.
“I sent them a jobs bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing our roads, our bridges, schools, transit systems, along with saving the jobs of cops and teachers and firefighters, creating a new tax cut for businesses. They said no.
“I went to the Speaker’s hometown, stood under a bridge that was crumbling. Everybody acknowledges it needs to be rebuilt…. They still said no.
“There are bridges between Kentucky and Ohio where some of the key Republican leadership come from, where folks are having to do detours an extra hour, hour and a half drive every day on their commute because these bridges don’t work. They still said no. So then I said, well, maybe they couldn’t handle the whole bill in one big piece. Let’s break it up. Maybe it’s just too much for them. So I sent them just the part of the bill that would have created these construction jobs. They said no.”
Now, part of this clearly has to do with assigning responsibility. Obama wanted this audience to know he sided with them and congressional Republicans didn’t.
But as Greg Sargent explained yesterday, there’s also a larger thematic effort underway. “Party of no” is making a comeback in part because the president’s campaign team is “burnishing Obama’s character, by painting him as willing to persevere against implacable opposition — represented here by the GOP itself — and tremendous odds.”
Paul Begala:What’s Mitt Romney Hiding in His Record as Governor
Paul Begala:What’s Mitt Romney Hiding in His Record as Governor
Apr 30, 2012 1:00 AM EDT
What’s Romney hiding in his record?
It’s weird. Most governors who seek the presidency can’t shut up about how great their states are. Right now, there’s an even-money chance that Bill Clinton is telling someone that Hope, Ark., produces the biggest, juiciest watermelons in the world. But not Mitt. In the most important speech of his presidential campaign thus far, he ignored the only time he has ever held public office.
Romney’s economic failure in Massachusetts is especially problematic because the central premise of his presidential campaign is the same as it was when he ran for governor: that he can apply his business skills to our economic problems. Massachusetts was the guinea pig for Romney economics. The results weren’t pretty. In addition to almost zero job growth, the state saw a modest decline in real median income, meaning that the folks who had jobs were bringing home less.
Romney did close the $3 billion budget gap he’d inherited (although he then left a projected shortfall of up to $1 billion). The methods he used are instructive. He slashed higher education, cut revenue to local governments, and raised fees on everything from college students to mortgages, from buying a boat to opening a bar.
Romney’s cuts to education and job training were especially severe. Fees for university students shot up 63 percent as Romney hammered college funding. Robert Karam, former chair of the UMass Board of Trustees, was a Romney backer. But no more. “I think higher education really stood still” under Romney, he has said. Romney even annoyed the business community—his core constituency—by cutting job training, workforce development, and trade assistance.
osted at 05:14 PM ET, 04/30/2012
The more things change…
By Greg Sargent
President Obama responds to Mitt Romney’s claim that he would have given the order Obama did to launch the mission that ended in Bin Laden’s killing, and that even Jimmy Carter would have done the same:
I assumed that people meant what they said when they said it. That’s been at least my practice. I said that we’d go after bin Laden if we had a clear shot at him and I did. If there are others who have said one thing and now suggested they’d do something else, then I’d go ahead and let them explain it.
There’s been a lot of debate today over whether the Obama campaign has taken a big “risk” in making Bin Laden’s killing central to his case for reelection. I suppose there’s always the possibility that this strategy does contain political risks, and it also bears pointing out that Dems howled with outrage when George W. Bush made 9/11 central to his reelection campaign in 2004, though the differences in degree here seem obvious. Either way, I’ve previously expressed my own discomfort with too much White House chest thumping over Bin Laden’s death.
That said, it’s hard not to notice that there’s little to no discussion of whether Romney is taking a risk in attacking Obama over the Bin Laden killing, by arguing that touting his death is somehow inappropriate and that any other president would have done the same thing. Back in 2004 and 2006, when Republicans were showcasing George W. Bush’s war-on-terror routine as central to their case for reelection, and Dems were responding by attacking Republicans for politicizing national security and pointing to Bush’s failures, Dems were widely described as the ones taking the big political risk then, too.
We were told again and again during the 2004 and 2006 campaigns that Dems risked coming across as not rooting for American military success; there was little discussion of any danger for Republicans in playing up Bush’s “war president” routine. Now the situation, roughly, is reversed — and this time we’re talking about the Obama administration’s successful targeting of America’s number one global arch-enemy — yet again it’s Dems who are seen to be playing with political fire here.
At risk of overgeneralizing, this suggests that there’s still a strong built-in presumption of political dominance for Republicans on national security, and that any gains Dems have made on the issue are not deeply felt by Beltway establishment types.
Posted at 03:18 PM ET, 04/30/2012
Mitt Romney undermines his own argument about Bin Laden
By Greg Sargent
Today Mitt Romney was asked whether he would have given the order to launch the operation that killed Osama Bin Laden, as Obama did.
“Of course,” Romney said. “Even Jimmy Carter would have given that order.”
But by invoking Carter in this fashion, Romney may have effectively undermined his whole argument.
That’s the point that Mike Breen, the vice president of the Truman Project, a progressive national security think tank, made to me in an interesting interview this afternoon.
The rub is that in a sense, Carter did give “that order,” as Romney puts it. In April of 1980, Carter ordered the launch of an American military operation designed to rescue Americans held hostage in Tehran. The mission went horribly awry, of course, killing eight American service-men — a disaster that played a major role in ending Carter’s presidency.
And so, by invoking Carter, Romney is reminding us that Obama’s call — like Carter’s — was anything but routine, was fraught with major risk, and could have ended with the loss of American lives and the destruction of the Obama presidency.
“I am sure the ghost of Jimmy Carter’s decision was present in the room” as Obama and his advisers debated whether to launch the Bin Laden mission, says Breen, who is not a spokesman or surrogate for the Obama campaign, but supports Obama’s national security policies and is a registered Democrat.
“The president had the option to launch a high altitude bomber that could have destroyed the target, with low risk to the air crew,” continued Breen, a former Army Captain in Afghanistan and Iraq. “He made a decision that was much riskier — a long range helicopter mission with a small special ops force into a country that had not granted permission for the mission at all. That’s remarkably similar to what Carter did.”
“Romney is undermining his own point,” Breen says. “He’s invoking a decision that cost Carter his presidency. Obama bet his presidency on this operation. It’s troubling if Romney thinks it was an easy decision.”
AND THEY’RE ALL WHITE MEN. …
President Obama, Warrior in Chief – http://NYTimes.com http://nyti.ms/IpfUwj
The Urban Politico Radio Hour: That’s Wsup!
Osama Bin Laden Raid Wasn’t Based On CIA Torture Interrogations, Senators Say
Vote straight democratic ticket
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Barack Obama Responds to John McCain
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Keith Olbermann – Special Comment: The Death of Osama bin Laden
Why Obama Owns bin Laden http://ti.me/IhZvay via @TIMEIdeas
Good Morning, Chics!
Good Morning, SG2 and Everyone:)
SG2, you’re slamming with the graphics this morning. :)