Friday Open Thread | Country Music Week

John David Anderson (born December 13, 1954, in Orlando, Florida)[2] is an American country music artist with a successful career that has lasted more than 30 years. Starting in 1977 with the release of his first single, “I’ve Got a Feelin’ (Somebody’s Been Stealin’)”, Anderson has charted more than 40 singles on the Billboard country music charts, including five Number Ones: “Wild and Blue“, “Swingin’“, “Black Sheep“, “Straight Tequila Night“, and “Money in the Bank“. He has also recorded twenty-two studio albums on several labels. His newest album, Bigger Hands, was released on June 2009, on the Country Crossing label.

About SouthernGirl2

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

  1. rikyrah says:

    Bryan Fischer: Gov. Romney goes Triple Etch-A-Sketch on homosexuality
    Friday, May 04, 2012 12:14 PM

    By Bryan Fischer

    The Romney circus is becoming the theater of the absurd.

    Richard Grenell, the homosexual marriage crusader Mitt Romney hired to be his foreign policy spokesman, is gone because Romney wanted him gone. Romney’s camp said not a single solitary word in his defense when the issue of his gay activism was raised.

    They slapped duct tape on his mouth to keep him from saying a word, even on a conference call he himself organized (some “spokesman,” eh?), then remained studiously silent until he got the message and fell on his sword.

    And now Gov. Romney and his minions, according to the Washington Post, are trying to blame the whole thing on me, by calling me along with others “voices of intolerance.”

    This is a classic triple Romney Etch-A-Sketch moment:

  2. rikyrah says:

    LMAO about Michael Eric Dyson guest-hosting The Ed Show tonight


    Protesters At Ryan Town Hall Slam His ‘Shameful’ Budget | A small group of protesters gathered to protest the “shameful” budget authored by House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) outside a town hall in Racine, Wisconsin this morning. About 10 protesters stood outside the townhall, where one of Ryan’s constituents, Kelly Gallagher, told ThinkProgress’ Scott Keyes that she agreed with the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, which denounced the deep cuts to food stamps and other safety net programs. “Paul Ryan’s budget is shameful,” Gallagher said. “The bishops are right. Expanding the military and cutting food stamps is immoral.” She added: “[It is] really shameful that the budget only asks for sacrifices from the poor, not the rich.”

  4. Ametia says:

    Oh dear Tweeety has Mark Foley on hammering Romney on his refusal to say he made a mistake for not speaking out for Grenell

  5. Obama’s re-election rallies on Saturday to be blitzed by Romney campaign

    Mitt Romney’s campaign is working hard to steal President Barack Obama’s spotlight this weekend, when the president is set to hold the first major rallies of his 2012 re-election campaign.

    At Ohio State University in Columbus, where Obama is set to speak around 1:25 p.m. ET on Saturday, Romney aides are planning to circle the candidate’s campaign bus. The campaign will also set up a phone banking operation staffed by Romney supporters and volunteers in a parking lot near the rally site at Ohio State.

    The campaign is also planning to dispatch staff and local surrogates to Obama’s rally at Virginia Commonwealth University in Richmond, where the president is expected to speak at 4:35 p.m. ET.

  6. Ametia says:

    Judge: Texas can’t cut funds to Planned Parenthood

    AUSTIN, Texas — A federal appeals judge says Texas cannot ban Planned Parenthood from receiving state funds.

    Fifth Circuit Judge Jerry Smith agreed Friday that there’s sufficient evidence the state’s law banning Planned Parenthood from participating in the state’s Women’s Health Program is unconstitutional. He let stand an injunction blocking Texas from enforcing it.

    Smith had stayed the injunction earlier this week so he could review it.

    The law passed last year by the Republican-controlled Legislature forbids state agencies from providing funds to an organization affiliated with abortion providers. Eight Planned Parenthood clinics that do not provide abortions sued the state.

    Texas officials have said that if the state is forced to include Planned Parenthood, they’ll likely shut down the program that serves basic health care and contraception to 130,000 poor women.

  7. Ametia says:


  8. Ametia says:

    CHART: Economy Has Recovered All Private Sector Jobs Lost Since Obama Took Office

    Our guest blogger is Michael Linden, the Director of Tax and Budget Policy at the Center for American Progress Action Fund.

    As of April, there are now more private sector jobs in the United States than there were in January 2009, when President Obama took office. You read that right. We have now replaced all of the private sector jobs lost while Obama has been president. And that was no mean feat, given that over the course of 2009, the private sector shed about 4.2 million jobs.

    Unfortunately, the news is not nearly so good when it comes to the public sector, where there are currently 607,000 fewer people working than there were when President Obama took office.

    The chart below tells the whole story. Under President Obama, the private sector has experienced a relatively robust recovery, and is now back to where it started when he took office. The public sector continues to shed jobs, and as a result, the overall jobs picture in the US remains weak. If you want to understand why conservative efforts to slash funding for teachers, firefighters, cops is bad for the economy, look no further than this graph.

  9. rikyrah says:

    did you all know that that CAC Senator from Kentucky wouldn’t even go to the WH to congratulate the University of Kentucky Basketball Champs?

  10. Ametia says:

    Ok, I missed key segments of last night’s “SCANDAL.” Rikyrah did you see it, and if so, can you fill me in. I saw next weeks preview and looks like Olivia gonna knock da boots with POTUS.

  11. Ametia says:


  12. rikyrah says:

    How dare you attack us?
    Wednesday, May 02, 2012 | Posted by Liberal Librarian at 10:29 AM

    The tide has turned”. President Obama used that phrase in his remarks from Bagram to the nation last night. I don’t think he chose those words cavalierly. Let’s examine the context.

    …10 years ago, the United States and our allies went to war to make sure that al Qaeda could never again use this country to launch attacks against us. Despite initial success, for a number of reasons, this war has taken longer than most anticipated. In 2002, bin Laden and his lieutenants escaped across the border and established safe haven in Pakistan. America spent nearly eight years fighting a different war in Iraq. And al Qaeda’s extremist allies within the Taliban have waged a brutal insurgency.

    But over the last three years, the tide has turned. We broke the Taliban’s momentum. We’ve built strong Afghan security forces. We devastated al Qaeda’s leadership, taking out over 20 of their top 30 leaders. And one year ago, from a base here in Afghanistan, our troops launched the operation that killed Osama bin Laden. The goal that I set — to defeat al Qaeda and deny it a chance to rebuild — is now within our reach.

    He starts his speech by reminding viewers in so many words that the government in power in 2002 took attention away from the country where the 9/11 attacks were planned, and shifted that attention to a country that had no role in the attacks, but did have oil and an animus towards our Israeli ally. And, of course, that government was a GOP government.

    He then switches to what he’s done: decimated both the leadership and foot soldiers of al Qaeda, building up Afghan forces, and, of course, killing the man responsible for 9/11. Through subtle rhetoric, he’s leaving no room for Republicans to claim any credit for the successes in Afghanistan, which should have been the only theater of war post-9/11. The Cheney-Bush regime abandoned Afghanistan soon after bombing whatever was left to be bombed, leaving it to fester and teeter on the precipice of becoming what it had been during the 90s: a failed state, lawless, haven for criminals of all stripes.


    But the past few days have seen a turning of the tide in the domestic political arena as well.

    Ever since Vietnam, Democrats have been painted by their right wing opponents and being soft on national security, even to the point of being treasonous. The Republican refrain since 1968 has been that Democrats can’t be trusted to keep the country safe from enemies, and can’t be relied upon to protect allies—whether from external threats, or in the case of the dictatorships we’ve supported in the name of “stability”, from their own people. Only Republicans could ensure that the US remained dominant in world affairs, and maintain the imperial Pax Americana.

    The problem with that framing is that it’s a right wing frame. Democrats never assailed the assumptions behind the GOP rhetoric, that there was only one way to keep the US safe, only one way to conduct foreign affairs. Democrats basically accepted the Republican stance on what an acceptable foreign policy was, and, unsurprisingly, suffered for it. From Dukakis in the tank to Clinton being accused of a “wag the dog” war in the Balkans, Democrats fell into the Republican trap, over and over.

    Obama is reordering the terms of the debate. And he started in the most audacious manner, by releasing an ad on the anniversary of bin Laden’s death that uses Mitt Romney’s own words against him. By reminding voters that Romney claimed that he wouldn’t “move heaven and earth” to catch Osama bin Laden, and doing it in the context of an ad in which the President claims credit for killing bin Laden, he takes a Republican tactic and turns it adroitly against them. That has left the Republicans and Romney sputtering, outraged that Obama would dare to use the death of bin Laden politically.


    The GOP has no answer for Obama. It’s like a sports team that has one mode of playing. It has been successful for a number of years, but when confronted by an opponent which employs a strategy that breaks up its gameplan, it has no response, no plan B. It only knows one mode of attack, and when that attack is blunted, and then turned around, it flounders, and loses the match in the most devastating fashion.

    The President doesn’t merely want to win re-election; he wants to bring devastation upon the GOP and the right. That started this week. Game on.

  13. rikyrah says:

    Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks
    By Krissah Thompson, Updated: Friday, May 4, 11:34 AM
    The Washington Post

    The number of black and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008, posing a serious challenge to the Obama campaign in an election that could turn on the participation of minority voters.

    Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations fell among whites as well, but this is the first time in nearly four decades that the number of registered Hispanics has dropped significantly.

    That figure fell 5 percent across the country, to about 11 million, according to the Census Bureau. But in some politically important swing states, the decline among Hispanics, who are considered critical in the 2012 presidential contest, is much higher: just over 28 percent in New Mexico, for example, and about 10 percent in Florida.

    For both Hispanics and blacks, the large decrease is attributed to the ailing economy, which forced many Americans to move in search of work or because of other financial upheaval.

    “The only explanation out there is the massive job loss and home mortgage foreclosures which disproportionately affected minorities,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan policy group that focuses on Latinos. “When you move, you lose your registration.”

    Political strategists and election experts are divided on whether registrations will rise to their previous levels. But the prospect of a tight race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, has placed great importance on getting eligible Americans to register and vote. In the 2008 election, robust turnout among black and Latino voters is credited with putting Obama over the top in key swing states, such as Virginia and New Mexico.

    The decline in minority registration “is obviously an area of concern,” said Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a left-leaning think tank.

    But he predicted the Obama campaign “will have enough money and enough focus to mitigate the problem. . . . They have five months to get the electorate looking the way they want.”

    The GOP is also watching the shifting voter registration numbers, tracking active Republican voters in swing states and making sure they are still registered. In some places, the number of voters registered as Republicans is catching up with Democrats.

  14. dannie22 says:

    hello everyone

  15. Ametia says:


    Voter registration down among Hispanics, blacks
    By Krissah Thompson, Updated: Friday, May 4, 11:34 AM

    The number of black and Hispanic registered voters has fallen sharply since 2008, posing a serious challenge to the Obama campaign in an election that could turn on the participation of minority voters.

    Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations fell among whites as well, but this is the first time in nearly four decades that the number of registered Hispanics has dropped significantly.

    That figure fell 5 percent across the country, to about 11 million, according to the Census Bureau. But in some politically important swing states, the decline among Hispanics, who are considered critical in the 2012 presidential contest, is much higher: just over 28 percent in New Mexico, for example, and about 10 percent in Florida.

    For both Hispanics and blacks, the large decrease is attributed to the ailing economy, which forced many Americans to move in search of work or because of other financial upheaval.

    “The only explanation out there is the massive job loss and home mortgage foreclosures which disproportionately affected minorities,” said Antonio Gonzalez, president of the William C. Velasquez Institute, a nonpartisan policy group that focuses on Latinos. “When you move, you lose your registration.”

    Political strategists and election experts are divided on whether registrations will rise to their previous levels. But the prospect of a tight race between President Obama and Mitt Romney, the presumptive Republican nominee, has placed great importance on getting eligible Americans to register and vote. In the 2008 election, robust turnout among black and Latino voters is credited with putting Obama over the top in key swing states, such as Virginia and New Mexico.

    The decline in minority registration “is obviously an area of concern,” said Democratic strategist Simon Rosenberg, president of NDN, a left-leaning think tank.

    But he predicted the Obama campaign “will have enough money and enough focus to mitigate the problem. . . . They have five months to get the electorate looking the way they want.”

    • rikyrah says:

      1. they can’t write their usual ‘ Obama is losing the base’ articles
      2. pretend that it doesn’t have anything to do with deliberate GOP VOTER SUPPRESSION. ,,,I didn’t see that in the article, did you?
      3. pretend that it’s a horse race.

      • Ametia says:


        THIS: ” In the 2008 election, robust turnout among black and Latino voters is credited with putting Obama over the top in key swing states, such as Virginia and New Mexico.”


  16. rikyrah says:

    Fri May 04, 2012 at 10:51 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney wishes he could have kept gay spokesman. Just not enough to do anything about it.+*

    Mitt Romney may have muzzled his now ex-spokesman Richard Grenell and let the homophobic right bully him out of his campaign post because he was gay, but Romney and his remaining, apparently non-gay, advisers wants us to know they had no problem with Grenell’s sexuality and wanted him to stay. He just, for his own reasons having nothing to do with them not having his back, decided to leave:

    “He’s a very accomplished spokesperson, and we select people not based upon their ethnicity or their sexual preference or their gender but upon their capability,” Romney said.
    The former Massachusetts governor added: “He expressed a desire to move on and I wish him the very best.”

    There’s a necessary step after selecting people based upon their capability, Mitt. It’s called standing up to pressure from bigots who attack your capable employee for reasons unrelated to his capability or lack thereof. Making a hiring decision without regard to the person’s sexuality doesn’t advance the cause of equality if you let others unmake your decision because of it.
    But if you thought this signaled something about Romney’s willingness to indulge bigotry, fear not:

    “Wherever there are voices of intolerance within the party, or the Democratic Party for that matter — it doesn’t matter where it’s coming from — it’s disappointing,” [Romney senior adviser Eric] Fehrnstrom said. “And the governor has taken the opportunity in the past to denounce those voices of intolerance.
    Oh, well. That settles things. In the past Romney has denounced intolerance, so we can forget that in the present he let it silence the person he had chosen as the best to carry his foreign policy message. .

  17. rikyrah says:

    Fri May 04, 2012 at 09:35 AM PDT.

    Swift boating jumps the shark+*
    by Jed Lewison

    Great quote from a fascinating Mother Jones article on Joel Arends, the South Dakota Republican who is leading the effort to swift boat President Obama over the bin Laden raid (my emphasis):

    Joel Arends, [Vets for a Strong America’s] founder, chairman, and sole staffer, tells me he’s proud of his organization’s viral video, even if it’s characterized as swift boating. “Yes, it’s the swift boating of the president, in the sense of using what’s perceived to be his greatest strength and making it his greatest weakness.”

    It’s hilarious enough that this would-be swift boater actually describes his goal as being the “swift boating of the president,” but the best part of the statement is that instead of making Obama’s greatest strength his greatest weakness, Arends is actually just reminding people again of one of President Obama’s most significant achievements.
    The key thing to remember here is that when the swift boaters went after John Kerry, they were accusing him of fraud. They were saying that Kerry did not actually deserve the honors that he had been awarded. They said he lied about his service. And if their charges were actually true, they would have been damning.

    Arends is accusing President Obama of taking sole credit for having killed bin Laden. That’s an absurd and false claim, but even if it weren’t, Arends isn’t challenging that bin Laden was killed under Obama’s watch. If this were really Kerry-style swift boating, Arends would be claiming that bin Laden was still alive. He’d be demanding a death certificate.

    And if the Kerry swift boaters had made the argument Arends is making, they wouldn’t have challenged what Kerry did in Vietnam, they’d have merely complained about how his campaign talked about it. You can imagine how ineffective that line of attack would have been: “We acknowledge that John Kerry is war hero, but we believe he shouldn’t brag about it.” But swift boaters didn’t take that line of attack because they didn’t want to concede that Kerry had done anything heroic.

    So when Arends runs an ad accusing President Obama of refusing to share credit for ordering the Osama bin Laden raid, the worst possible outcome is that some of the people who watch the ad don’t realize it’s a lie and as a result walk away thinking President Obama is kind of a dick. But even if that happens, at least they’ll still think he’s the dick who killed bin Laden.


  18. rikyrah says:

    Romney Claims Economy Should Be Adding 500,000 Jobs A Month, Which It Has Done Only Four Times In 50 Years
    By Travis Waldron on May 4, 2012 at 10:00 am

    The American economy added 115,000 jobs in April, and while that number fell well short of expectations, it represents the 26th consecutive month of private sector job growth. Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney was quick to harp on the report, appearing on Fox & Friends just minutes after the release to say that the economy should be growing at a much faster pace. The economy should be adding more than 500,000 jobs a month, Romney said:

    ROMNEY: We should be seeing numbers in the 500,000 jobs created per month. This is way, way off from what should happen in a normal recovery.

    Romney’s call for 500,000 jobs a month would certainly make for a faster economic recovery. That sort of growth, however, is hardly “normal,” as Romney claims. As the chart below shows, there have only been 16 months since 1939 — and only four in the last 50 years — in which the economy added 500,000 jobs or more:

    It isn’t the first time Romney has made unreasonable claims about the economy. Romney released a tax plan in March that would reduce federal revenues by more than $6 trillion because of its massive tax cuts for the wealthy and corporations. Despite that number, Romney says his plan won’t add to the deficit, but economic analysis of the plan shows the economy would have to grow 6.8 percent a year for five years — significantly faster than it has in any five-year period in recent history. As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden and Seth Hanlon said at the time, Romney’s plan is “implausible, to say the least.”

    Not only are Romney’s claims unrealistic and borderline impossible, his economic plan also provides no path toward such growth. Romney’s policies, according to a Republican National Committee official, would be the same as former President George W. Bush’s, “just updated.” Those tax cutting policies, of course, failed to create jobs or stimulate economic growth and instead left the country with the massive budget deficit and sputtering economy Romney now claims he’ll fix.

    Romney has staked his campaign on his knowledge of the economy. But as his former primary opponent Rick Santorum said in March, “If Mitt Romney’s an economic heavyweight, we’re in trouble.”

  19. Michele Bachmann Says Romney Cannot Beat Obama | Crooks and Liars #P2

  20. ‏ @Colorlines

    NY Post to Jay-Z: Why Not Call New Brooklyn Basketball Team the New York N******

  21. rikyrah says:

    The gubernatorial term Romney no longer remembers
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 4, 2012 12:44 PM EDT.

    President Obama will have his first official 2012 campaign rally tomorrow in Columbus, Ohio, with a major event at Ohio State University. To mark the occasion, Mitt Romney has an op-ed in the Cleveland Plain Dealer today, “welcoming” the president to the Buckeye State (via Greg Sargent).

    Most of the piece is fairly predictable — it uses the word “fail” four times — and some of it is just odd. Romney argues that the economy hasn’t turned around in places like Ohio, which just isn’t true — the jobless rate in the state is down to 7.5%, dropping to its best level in several years.

    Here’s Romney’s pitch, ostensibly to the president

    Unlike you, I am not a career politician. Unlike you, I’ve spent more than two decades working in the private sector, starting new businesses and turning around failing ones. Undoing the damage you’ve done will be a daunting challenge. But I’ve learned a thing or two about how government policies can kill private investment and stifle job creation and I have a plan to get government out of the way. […]

    I have spent much of my life in business, turning around troubled enterprises. I can do the same for the most troubled of all enterprises: our federal government.

    Let’s put aside the fact that Romney arguably is a “career politician” — the guy’s been running for various offices for 18 years — as well the rather ridiculous notion that Obama has done “damage” to the economy. Instead, there are two broad angles to the piece that stood out for me.

    The first is that Romney had a chance to put his know-how to use when he, after making a similar pitch, got elected governor of Massachusetts. And yet, Romney’s entire op-ed doesn’t include any references at all to his only leadership experience in public office. How can Romney boast about his background, and pretend his life experiences stopped in 2002?

    Perhaps because while Romney was in office, applying all of those lessons he learned about the economy, Massachusetts’ job creation was “one of the worst in the country,” ranking 47th out of 50 states in job growth.

    If Romney’s such a turnaround artist, aside from the mass layoffs he orchestrated at his vulture capital firm, shouldn’t Massachusetts have fared far better under his leadership? Wouldn’t he have been able to leave Boston as a success, rather than a wildly unpopular one-term governor?

    The second angle has to do with what we talked about yesterday: Romney still can’t engage in any meaningful form of transactional politics.


    Romney’s op-ed says he’s constantly meeting Americans “who are tired of being tired” — a line his speechwriters appear to have stolen from Joe Biden — but note just how little he has to offer those who are struggling. Romney’s “path forward,” as he puts it, is to simply “get government out of the way.”

    That’s nice enough rhetoric, I suppose, but it reinforces an unavoidable truth: there are no public constituencies with which Romney has anything constructive to offer.

    When he talks to students, “getting government out of the way” means cutting off their college aid and health insurance.

    When he talks to seniors, “getting government out of the way” means raising the cost of prescription drugs and turning Medicare into a voucher scheme.

    When he talks to firefighters, teachers, and police officers, “getting government out of the way” means massive layoffs and pay cuts.

    When he talks to those worried about foreclosure or hospital bills or paying for groceries, “getting government out of the way” means wishing them luck, because a Romney administration plans to tell them they’re on their own.

    As we discussed yesterday, campaign politics, especially at the national level, tends to have a definite transactional quality. A candidate will identify a group of voters and offer to make what is, in effect, a trade — in exchange for your support in the election, the candidate will deliver a policy that will make a material difference in your life.

    But Romney’s appeal to the American mainstream, reinforced by today’s op-ed, is to tell them that public institutions will simply stop trying to offer them benefits, protections, and safeguards. He doesn’t have anything to offer in exchange for votes, except a pat on the back and best wishes when already-struggling people find themselves more isolated and on their own.

    His is an agenda of austerity, a sharp reduction in public investments, and hostility towards government activism in general. In a transactional sense, Romney has to hope most voters aren’t looking to make a traditional electoral trade, because he doesn’t intend to give them anything.

  22. rikyrah says:

    Adam Yauch of Beastie Boys dead
    May 4, 2012, 4:14 PM EST

    Adam Yauch, one-third of the pioneering hip-hop group Beastie Boys, has died at the age of 47, Rolling Stone has learned. Yauch, also known as MCA, had been in treatment for cancer since 2009. The rapper was diagnosed in 2009 after discovering a tumor in his salivary gland.

    Yauch sat out the Beastie Boys’ induction to the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in April, and his treatments delayed the release of the group’s most recent album, “Hot Sauce Committee, Pt. 2.” The Beastie Boys had not performed live since the summer of 2009, and Yauch’s illness prevented the group from appearing in music videos for the album.

    Yauch co-founded the Beastie Boys with Mike “Mike D” Diamond and Adam “Ad-Rock” Horowitz in 1979. The band started off as a hardcore punk group, but soon began experimenting with hip-hop. The band broke big with their first proper album, “Licensed to Ill,” in 1986, and further albums “Paul’s Boutique,” “Check Your Head” and “Ill Communication” cemented the band as a true superstar act.

    In addition to his career with the Beastie Boys, Yauch was heavily involved in the movement to free Tibet and co-organized the Tibetan Freedom Concerts of the late ’90s. In 2002, he launched the film production company Oscilloscope Laboratories.

  23. Obama Fundraiser Will Be Largest in History:

    President Obama’s dinner with George Clooney “has officially sold out,” and campaign sources are telling The Hollywood Reporter that “the event is expected to raise up to $12 million for the president’s re-election bid, making it the biggest presidential fundraiser in U.S. history.”

    “The Obama campaign also has been conducting an online sweepstakes, with the winner to receive two seats at the head table with the chief executive and Clooney.”

  24. Michele Bachmann claims her presidential campaign was “almost mistake free”

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 01:00 PM ET, 05/04/2012 TheWashingtonPost Charles Krauthammer’s shell game
    By Greg Sargent
    Charles Krauthammer’s column today is called “divider in chief,” and it attacks Obama for divisive populist rhetoric that “makes a mockery of Obama’s pose as the great transcender” and “healer of divisions.”

    Steve Benen points out that it’s not easy for a president to unite the country when the opposition party’s leaders have openly declared that his political destruction is their top priority, and have adopted a deliberate strategy of grinding government to a halt with with unprecedented obstructionism to make it happen.

    But that aside, I wanted to focus on one particular claim Krauthammer makes — one about Obama’s appeal to young voters and his criticism of the Paul Ryan budget — because it will be central to one of the most important arguments that will unfold this year:

    Ethnicity, race, gender, class. One more box to check: the young. Just four years ago, they swooned in the aisles for Obama. No longer. Not when 54 percent of college graduates under 25 are unemployed or underemployed.
    How to shake them from their lethargy? Fear again. Tell them, as Obama repeatedly does, that Paul Ryan’s budget would cut Pell Grants by $1,000 each, if his domestic cuts were evenly distributed. (They are not evenly distributed, making the charge a fabrication. But a great applause line.)
    What a beaut! Krauthammer attacks Obama for assuming that Ryan’s proposed budget cuts are distributed evenly across the board, and concluding the budget would cut Pell Grants by $1,000. Ryan’s budget — which Mitt Romney supports in principle — doesn’t say cuts would be evenly distributed, Krauthammer argues, making Obama a liar.

    But here’s the thing: The White House is assuming even distribution of those cuts because Ryan’s budget itself has not told us in any meaningful detail what it would actually cut to realize spending-reduction targets. The White House has openly admitted it is making assumptions about Ryan’s budget, in the absence of more detail that would make it easier to gauge what his vision would mean in practice.

    Ryan wins conservative adulation from the likes of Krauthammer for his pose as a deficit scourge, even though he isn’t detailing the actual consequences of his proposed deficit reduction policies in any meaningful way. And anyone who even tries to game out the consequences of Ryan’s plan gets attacked for inventing them out of thin air, even though … the info that would enable one to gauge those consequences accurately isn’t actually in Ryan’s budget. Neat trick, eh?

    There’s a reason for all this: If Ryan were to spell out the consequences of his vision in any meaningful detail, it would be deeply unpopular. Similarly, any reasonable assumptions about what his vision would mean in the real world also risk making it deeply unpopular. So they, too, must be attacked as fabrications. The GOP argument for replacing Obama will turn heavily on the claim that Republicans would do better on deficit reduction — even though they may never tell us how, precisely, they would cut spending to realize it. And conservative opinionmakers will cover for them the whole way.

    This is worse than a shell game. It’s a shell game without the pea.

  26. Mitch McConnell refused the invitation to attend the White House championship ceremony for Kentucky Wildcats.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Thu May 03, 2012 at 01:46 PM PDT.

    Mitt Romney, who thinks government workers are unfairly overpaid, meets firemen who work two jobs+*

    Boy, if you listen to him some of the time, Mitt Romney just wants everyone to live really well. At a northern Virginia fundraiser, showing that he feels for the middle class, Romney cited a firefighter struggling to make ends meet:

    “I spoke with a fireman yesterday, and he has a one-bedroom apartment, and his wife is pregnant, and he can’t afford a second bedroom,” he said, referring to a visit to New York City. “I asked the firefighters I was meeting with, about 15 or them, how many had had to take another job to make ends meet, and almost every one of them had.”

    You’d think, to read that, that Romney was suggesting he thinks that’s a less than ideal situation, firefighters having to work two jobs or unable to afford a two-bedroom apartment. But while that may have been his implication in that moment, Jonathan Chait flags a quote from Romney’s stump speech that reflects his policy positions on how many bedrooms firemen should be able to afford: that “we will stop the unfairness of government workers getting better pay and benefits than the taxpayers they serve.”

    The unfairness he’s talking about, of course, isn’t the unfairness of a quarter of workers earning less than two-thirds of the median income, or low-wage workers becoming an older and more educated group. He’s certainly not talking about the unfairness of taxpayers paying a higher tax rate than he does on less annual income than he earns in a day. These are all unfair—and all things Mitt Romney’s policies would increase. No, the thing that’s unfair to him is that the public sector has lagged somewhat in the race to the bottom. Stories about firefighters with pregnant wives are just a lame attempt at window-dressing on his real position, the one all his policy proposals promote.

    I wonder if he told those firefighters how unfairly overpaid he thinks they are.


  28. rikyrah says:

    Thu May 03, 2012 at 05:59 PM PDT.

    Obama and Romney: A Tale of Two American Dreams+*

    by Troubadour

    This election is shaping into something more profound than I had expected: A contrast not merely of talents, personalities, and agendas, but of two fundamentally different and incompatible versions of the American Dream. One version epitomizes the hopes and aspirations of all mankind, and has been a case in point of why this nation is more than the sum of its parts. The other is a lie, demonstrating the shallow mockery of those aspirations in the life of a man who creates nothing and adds nothing to the world, but simply accumulates wealth at other people’s expense as an end in itself. One of these Dreams seeks to extend the opportunities that made it possible to all Americans, the other to burn the bridges behind it so that none may follow.


    In the life and Presidency of Barack Obama, we find that courage, inspiration, and determination overflow: A child of two races and a divided home following his mother to the other side of the world, living among diverse peoples and learning about the many commonalities that unite us, the differences that enrich us, and the mutual blindness that stymies our better natures.

    By the time he was a grown man, Barack Obama had come to know friends and family all over the world – in Hawaii, Chicago, Massachusetts, Kansas, California, Ireland, Indonesia, and Kenya, if not even more places – from living with his mother, living with his grandparents, pursuing his education as a young man, traveling for its own sake, and pursuing his career as an adult. Every step of the way, he learned, and other people learned with him. On talent and passion alone, he attended Harvard Law School and won distinction; broke into the Chicago political machine, again on talent and passion alone; and all along the way brought more people to see the potential, brilliance, and humanity of a skinny, nerdy black guy with a very unusual name.

    The world rejoiced on January 20, 2009 – rejoiced to be reminded that there is a heart of truth to the claims Americans often make about our country, but far too rarely demonstrate. Rejoiced to know that we, as a nation, were not represented by the preceding eight years under the thumb of a maniac. That we could turn things that far around without a civil war awed people both at home and abroad, and that the man we chose to be the focus of our healing was black, liberal, young, and had an exotic name drove the point home: At least some of the time, America really is a land of opportunity where people of merit can aspire to literally anything regardless of background.

    For the first time ever, America could mean the same thing to all peoples, everywhere: The poorest villager in some remote African country could know that their descendents might some day be leaders of wealthy, powerful countries where their skin color is in the minority. People with non-Anglicized names could know that, at least in the United States, their character and talent has a chance to overcome prejudice and xenophobia all the way to the top. We proved that, at our best, we truly are the nation of nations, where all people can come and be one – E Pluribus Unum, in vivo.

    From the lofty height of that accomplishment, the mere facts of his Presidency seem prosaic: Passing new civil rights legislation, extending health care to millions of people who didn’t have it, rescuing the American automotive industry (and by extension the last remaining bastion of US manufacturing), saving millions of skilled jobs from destruction in the economic conflagration created by Republican policies, starting the first major reinvestment in American infrastructure in generations, avenging 9/11 with the death of Osama Bin Laden, ending the Iraq War, allowing gays to serve their country in the military, committing the nation to pursuing clean energy, and rebuilding international respect and affection for the United States destroyed by George W. Bush are just a few of the items one could cite. The list keeps growing, even in the face of obstruction from a Republican Congress that would rather America fail so the GOP can blame the President for its own depravity and corruption.

    For the first time in generations, we have a President who exhibits the best qualities of the American people rather than the worst or being a cuddly mediocrity who simply fails to offend most of us. We have a President who makes intelligent, common-sense decisions that a standard-issue politician would be too wrapped up in gamesmanship to even consider, and yet a leader who is nonetheless competent at navigating political context. It is the first time in a very long time that a President can unambiguously be said to be motivated by an intention to do his job well, and to do right by the people of the United States of America. That is the American Dream Barack Obama represents: To start out nowhere, climb the highest mountain, and then lower a rope that others may follow. That is THE American Dream – the one and only true purpose of this nation.

    And then there is Willard “Mitt” Romney. He is the son of a man who to some extent realized one version of the true American Dream – to be a productive entrepreneur – and an example of what too often happens next, when the profits of the previous generation become the entitlements of the next: The accomplishment, and appreciation for what it means, is unfortunately not something that can be inherited. Mitt Romney did not follow in his father’s footsteps as an entrepreneur, but chose instead to be a man whose sole occupation was throwing other people’s productive enterprises on the fire to create money for himself and his clients. The hard work of men like his father and their employees became his prey – the fuel to feed a simple quest for money unburdened by any wider responsibility or vision.

    Such crypto-patricide is a perfect emblem of what Romney’s version of the American Dream represents to this country – a dream not of excellence, innovation, or creativity, but of advantage gained through predatory cunning, and wanton sacrifice of America’s legacy for a quick personal cash infusion. His is the dream sold to this country by ciphers and sociopaths from Ronald Reagan onward: The one-dimensional, hollow compulsion to acquire at other people’s expense what you lack the talent and passion to create for yourself. Romney and other subscribers to this nihilistic, Gordon Gekko species of ambition do not measure their success by what they create – they can’t, because they create nothing – but merely by what they own. What they control. What they deny to others.

    The highest ambition of this dream is to be a person whose sole occupation – indeed, sole identity – is to be one who enjoys the benefits of society created by others, defends their own entitlement by accumulating and exercising power rather than trying to justify it, and maximizes the amount of that benefit even if the result is harmful to society in general. This could just as easily be a description of medieval lordship as modern corporate corruption, and unfortunately it’s also a description of the kind of man Mitt Romney is. As far as I can tell, he does not want to be President because he has any actual ideas, or because he has any intention of making this country a better place for its people. To all appearances, Mitt Romney simply wants to be President for the same reason he wants money: Because he considers wealth and power his birthright, and the definition of success by which he measures himself.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Tweety on Willard’s ‘ Jimmy Carter’ crack.

    • Ametia says:

      Tweety has been taking Romney to the woodshed ever since he won the last 5 primaries. He knows this clown has no SOUL.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:27 AM ET, 05/04/2012
    Obama catching up with George W. Bush in approval ratings
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Barack Obama is likely to achieve another nice re-election marker this weekend: his approval rating is about to catch up with where George W. Bush’s Gallup approval sat at this point in his first term. Bush, of course, won reelection by a narrow margin.

    During his first year in office, Obama frequenly had approval ratings topping those of Bush during his first year. But he hasn’t been on even terms with his predecessor since September 2009. This was partly because Bush received a huge bump in September of 2001, after the terror attacks, and partly because the sluggish recovery continued to drag Obama down for two years after that.

    But now Obama is on even terms with his predecessor. At this point in Bush’s first term, he had come very much down to earth, with his Gallup approval at 52 percent in mid-April of 2004 — and at 49 percent in polling taken May 2-4. Meanwhile, Obama has now moved up to 51 percent approval in the most recent Gallup tracking (April 30 to May 2). So he’s basically now at Bush’s level.

    To be sure: the odds are that Obama’s 51% is a bit misleading; it may be the result of a temporary bin Laden anniversary bump, and it’s a few points higher than the Pollster approval average. On the other hand, Obama could well keep pace with Bush, because he stayed in a tight range of 46% to 49% approval up until early August 2004. That’s perhaps just a bit higher than Obama has been over the last few months, so as long as Obama’s support stays the same it’s safe to call them basically even.

    What does that tell us? Obama is still well behind where landslide re-election winners Richard Nixon, Bill Clinton, and (somewhat less so) Ronald Reagan were at this point in their first terms. But Obama’s pattern is similar to theirs, albeit at a lower level. All of them, like Obama, slumped at midterm but were recovering during their election year. Obama so far is doing the same, though he has further to go. If he continues to track with their pattern, he’ll certainly end the year happy. And he’s now opened up a real lead over reelection losers George H.W. Bush and Jimmy Carter.

  31. Ametia says:

    May 04, 2012 11:50 AM EDT

    President Obama Speaks on the Importance of Having a Fair Shot at an Affordable Higher Education Washington-Lee High School, Arlington, Virginia

    Watch it here:

  32. rikyrah says:

    What drives ‘division’
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 4, 2012 11:20 AM EDT.

    A couple of weeks after the 2008 election, the Weekly Standard ran an interesting piece, listing ideas then-President Elect Obama could pursue if he were serious about governing in a unifying, post-partisan way. The writer, Peter Berkowitz, was skeptical, but if Obama were sincere about leading in an even handed way, here were seven steps he could take.

    Three and a half years later, Obama embraced nearly all of the Weekly Standard’s recommendations. Indeed, the Democratic president went even further, putting Republicans in high-ranking administration positions; expressing a willingness to compromise; and pursuing an agenda that was moderate and mainstream, embracing ideas that enjoyed bipartisan backing.

    I thought of this reading Charles Krauthammer’s new column, complaining about how “divisive” Obama is. “The entire Obama campaign,” the columnist argues, “is a slice-and-dice operation.”

    It makes a mockery of Obama’s pose as the great transcender, uniter, healer of divisions. This is the man who sprang from nowhere with that thrilling 2004 convention speech declaring that there is “not a black America and white America and Latino America and Asian America; there’s the United States of America.”

    That was then. Today, we are just sects with quarrels — to be exploited for political advantage.

    Yes, that rascally Obama said he would reach across the aisle, work in good faith, and bring people with different ideologies together in a spirit of shared values and common purpose, but now he’s, as Krauthammer’s column put it, the “Divider in chief.”

    I wonder if Krauthammer has considered what it’s like to try to be a unifying force during a time of multiple crises when the opposition party’s only goal is to obstruct and destroy.

    Why did Obama’s efforts to bring people together fall short? Let me give you a hint in the form of a chart:

    Today’s Republican Party is the most conservative it’s been in a century. Making matters considerably worse, GOP lawmakers decided on Jan. 20, 2009, that they would not work with this president.

    Robert Draper has a new book coming out, which shines a light on a private meeting “top Republican lawmakers and strategists” held, literally the same day as Obama’s inauguration.

    According to Draper, the guest list that night (which was just over 15 people in total) included Republican Reps. Eric Cantor (Va.), Kevin McCarthy (Calif.), Paul Ryan (Wis.), Pete Sessions (Texas), Jeb Hensarling (Texas), Pete Hoekstra (Mich.) and Dan Lungren (Calif.), along with Republican Sens. Jim DeMint (S.C.), Jon Kyl (Ariz.), Tom Coburn (Okla.), John Ensign (Nev.) and Bob Corker (Tenn.). […]

    [T]he book says they plotted out ways to not just win back political power, but to also put the brakes on Obama’s legislative platform. “If you act like you’re the minority, you’re going to stay in the minority,” Draper quotes McCarthy as saying. “We’ve gotta challenge them on every single bill and challenge them on every single campaign.”

    Together, they sketched out a plan over the course of four hours: attack Tim Geithner, show “unyielding opposition” to every economic proposal, launch early attack ads targeting vulnerable Democrats. The GOP leaders left their meeting “almost giddily.”

    As Jamelle Bouie explained, “In other words, there was nothing President Obama could have done to build common ground with Republicans. From the beginning, the plan was to relentlessly obstruct Obama, regardless of whether that was good for the country The GOP’s high-minded rhetoric of compromise and bipartisanship was bunk.”

    • Ametia says:

      I’ve printed out at least 5 articles from this piece from maddow. She’s done a great job of backing up the nonsensical claim of PBO being a divisive president. Can’t wait to read them all. Thanks for the link.

  33. rikyrah says:

    Luntz Tells Dems How to Win
    by BooMan
    Fri May 4th, 2012 at 11:15:55 AM EST

    Republican pollster Frank Luntz has come up with a list of five myths about Republicans. He’s really talking about voters, not elected officials. Let’s take a look at the list:
    1. Conservatives care most about the size of government.
    2. Conservatives want to deport all illegal immigrants.
    3. They worship Wall Street.
    4. Conservatives want to slash Social Security and Medicare.
    5. Conservatives don’t care about [economic] inequality.

    Luntz specializes in finding the right way of asking a question in order to get a positive response. He tests out different phrases to see which ones people respond to the best. So, what he’s demonstrating is less what the base of the GOP thinks than the most effective way of getting them to respond the way Luntz wants them to respond. But I still don’t think Luntz is wrong in the bigger picture. He has identified five things that are generally, in a statistical sense, not true about Republican voters.

    What he has thereby done is paint an exact portrait of how a Democrat should run in conservative areas of the country. Populism, populism, populism.

    Conservatives don’t have an obsession with the size of government. They don’t like the big cats in the financial sector who finance the party. They don’t want people messing with Social Security and Medicare. And they do care, a lot, about economic inequality. The problem is that the Republican Party is completely the opposite. President Bush tried to privatize Social Security and his tax cuts were like nitroglycerin for economic inequality. Paul Ryan’s budget plan would turn Medicare into a voucher program. Conservatives want to know why so few bankers have been held accountable for the housing collapse and financial crisis. Republicans talk about repealing the Wall Street reforms enacted by the Democrats and signed by the president. And, on immigration, while conservatives are realistic about deportation, Mitt Romney wants to make life so miserable for Latinos that they will leave the country voluntarily.

    The GOP’s platform isn’t really all that popular among mainstream conservatives. But the mainstream doesn’t drive the party. The mouth-breathers drive the party. And that’s why there is a giant opening for the Democrats to come right in and steal their lunch.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Austerity economics, American style
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 4, 2012 10:42 AM EDT

    .It didn’t generate much attention at the time, but Mitt Romney delivered a speech in Ohio recently in which he condemned the Recovery Act. Among other things, the Republican said it did too much to protect public-sector jobs, “which is probably the sector that should have been shrinking.”

    This isn’t just some throwaway line. Romney believes the U.S. economy would be stronger if there were fewer government jobs, not more. In other words, as far as the GOP’s would-be president is concerned, fewer teachers, fewer firefighters, and fewer police officers would mean more economic growth. Public-sector layoffs = lower unemployment.

    Remember, this guy considers economics to be his strong suit.

    For those inclined to take a more sensible look at recent events, the reality paints a very different picture. The truth is, the public sector has been the part of the economy that has been shrinking. Paul Krugman posted this chart last week:

    Krugman explained, “That spike early on is Census hiring; once that was past, the Obama years shaped up as an era of huge cuts in public employment compared with previous experience. If public employment had grown the way it did under Bush, we’d have 1.3 million more government workers, and probably an unemployment rate of 7 percent or less.”

    If you take all the job losses that have happened under President Obama, and all the job gains over the same period, the economy is still in the hole — but nearly 100% of the losses are from the loss of government jobs.

    This may seem counterintuitive, and the right simply chooses not to even consider the facts on the merits, but the principal difference between our fragile recovery and a more robust recovery is the domestic austerity measures that have been in place — and served as a counter-stimulus for three years.


    The facts are plain.

    Since the beginning of his term, state and local governments have shed 611,000 employees — including 196,000 educators — according to government statistics. Unlike the recovery in private-sector employment that Obama and his reelection campaign often cite — with businesses adding 4 million jobs since hiring hit its low point in 2010 — the jobs crisis at the state and local level has continued throughout his term. […]

    “The job losses at state and local governments is the most serious weight on the job market,” said Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics, who has advised both parties.

  35. rikyrah says:

    A Speaker’s sorry spin
    By Steve Benen – Fri May 4, 2012 10:04 AM EDT.

    After another underwhelming jobs report was released this morning, it hardly came as a surprise when House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) issued a statement trying to exploit the totals for partisan gain. But a closer look at his office’s spin reveals a broader problem for the Republican leader.

    “Today’s report is more evidence President Obama’s policies aren’t working for families and small businesses, and aren’t creating enough jobs to get our economy back on track…. [T}hose looking for work can’t find it because ObamaCare, our spending-driven debt, and the threat of tax hikes are making it harder for small businesses to hire. Nearly half of college graduates are unemployed or underemployed in President Obama’s economy.

    “But rather than address these challenges, President Obama has wasted time trying to distract the American people…. President Obama has shown what doesn’t work; now it’s time to try something we know will: getting the government out of the way of families and small businesses.”

    Boehner has routinely struggled to understand the basics of economics and current events, so his press release isn’t exactly shocking, but it’s worth appreciating how painfully wrong he is.

    For one thing, Republicans have argued — last year and this year — that GOP measures have improved the economy, and that credit for recent improvements should go to them, not the president. But the logic on display is incoherent: for Boehner and his caucus, when there’s discouraging economic news, Obama deserves all the blame. When there’s good economic news, Obama deserves none of the credit. Job losses in 2010 were Obama’s fault; job gains in early 2011 and 2012 have nothing do to with Obama; and tepid growth in the spring of 2012 are back to being Obama’s fault again.

    Remember learning the “heads I win, tails you lose” game as a kid? Boehner’s argument is a lot like that.

    For that matter, the Speaker’s larger economic illiteracy is unnerving. He thinks a law that hasn’t been fully implemented and tax measures that may not take effect are holding back job growth? Is there any universe in which that makes sense? Of course not.

    But perhaps the most important argument of all is the notion that the president has chosen not to “address these challenges.” This is wrong in important ways.

  36. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 04, 2012 10:39 AM

    Mitt’s Map

    By Ed Kilgore

    At WaPo today, Dan Balz and Philip Rucker offer a baseline general election story on Romney’s electoral college strategy. From beginning to end, they emphasize that Mitt has a “narrow path to victory,” without a lot of room for maneuvering or feints. That path is basically what Karl Rove, with his knack for making every straight line look crooked, calls a “3-2-1” plan, based on winning three traditionally Republican states Obama grabbed in 2008 (IN, NC and VA), then the two classic “tossup” states (FL and OH), and then one out of a grab-bag of other battleground states, including IA, NH, NV and CO (with many GOPers adding MI and PA based on their party’s recent down-ballot performance, though neither state has gone Republican in a presidential election since 1988).

    The bottom line is that Romney has little margin for error, and even if he wins back Obama’s “breakthrough” states along with the two big tossups, he’s going to have to win somewhere in the northeast, in Rust Belt Land or in the Western states where his weak standing with Latinos is a really big problem (offset partially, at least in NV and AZ, by his exceptional strength among LDS voters).

    Interestingly, the Balz/Rucker piece appears the same day WaPo has released a new poll of VA, one of those must-win Romney states, showing Obama up there among RVs by a 51-44 margin.

    If this sort of battleground maneuvering fascinates you, check out one of the many interactive Electoral Vote mapping sites available on the web, where you can play at being Grand Strategist. It becomes pretty apparent very quickly that whatever strategery Team Mitt deploys, it’s going to need a significant national shift from where we are now to get safely to 270.

  37. Ametia says:

    Romney’s Biggest Fib?

    Under Obama, the GOP candidate says, government will “control half the economy.” Economic experts rate this scare tactic somewhere between “ridiculous” and “stupid.”

    —By David Corn

    | Fri May. 4, 2012 3:00 AM PDT

    On April 24, the night Mitt Romney triumphed in five primary contests and essentially clinched the Republican presidential nomination, the former Massachusetts governor delivered his victory speech in Manchester, the largest city in the swing state of New Hampshire. This address, CNN noted, marked Romney’s “pivot to the general election campaign.” WMUR, the ABC affiliate in New Hampshire, declared, “Romney Delivers Rousing Speech in Manchester.” Fox Nation dubbed the address, “Romney’s Killer Speech.” The New York Times reported that Romney “laid out a succinct argument for his economic leadership.”

    There was not much media analysis of the substance of the speech—especially Romney’s chief argument that he and Obama “have very different visions” of the United States. The core of Romney’s case for himself was this:

    Government is at the center of [Obama’s] vision. It dispenses the benefits, borrows what it cannot take, and consumes a greater and greater share of the economy. With Obamacare fully installed, government will come to control half the economy, and we will have effectively ceased to be a free enterprise society.

  38. rikyrah says:

    May 03, 2012 5:08 PM

    Gallup on Catholic Vote: Where’s the “Wedge?”
    By Ed Kilgore

    You may remember a lot of excited talk earlier this year about the Obama’s administration’s “war on religion” generating a major Catholic backlash that would cost him the election. Matter of fact, you still hear the talk, as evidenced by an April 24 Alexander Bolton piece in The Hill with this ledge:

    President Obama has seen his standing among Catholic voters, a crucial segment of the electorate, slip in recent weeks, and a looming confrontation with Catholic activists could make it worse.
    Democrats want voters this year to focus on what they have branded a war on women, but the flip side of the debate — the so-called war on religion — is not going away anytime soon.

    Bolton reached this conclusion, as it happens, by talking to virtually every blatantly pro-Republican self-styled representative of Catholics he could find, and the “slippage” for Obama he reported was actually just a boost in the minority percentage of Catholics perceiving the Democratic Party as hostile to religion—a response to all the polarizing conservative messaging among Catholics already in the GOP column.

    But the latest Gallup report on Catholic voters, out just yesterday, shows that they are, as they have generally been recently, an almost perfect mirror of national opinion on the two parties’ presidential candidates, with no “wedge” in sight:

    Obama led Romney by one percentage point, 46% to 45%, among the more than 8,000 registered voters interviewed as part of Gallup Daily tracking conducted April 11-30. Among the 1,915 Catholics interviewed during that time, support for Obama and Romney was almost the same, with 46% support for Obama and 46% for Romney.

    Predictably, Obama has a sizable advantage among Hispanic Catholics and a smaller disadvantage among white Catholics (magnified by their larger numbers). Nothing’s changed much at all since 2008 other than the slight decline in Obama’s support levels that’s evident in all voter groups:

    The overall Catholic vote so far this year is similar to what it was in 2008, when Gallup’s final survey before the election found that Catholics’ slim support for Obama over Republican candidate John McCain almost identically matched the overall national vote.

  39. Ametia says:


    More Bad News for Komen: Vice President Biden Will Skip D.C. Event
    The Daily Beast

    As the Susan G. Komen foundation gears up for its most high-profile event of the year, its Global Race for the Cure in Washington, Vice President Joe Biden will not be hosting a kickoff barbecue for the annual D.C. race, as he and his wife, Dr. Jill Biden, have done in previous years.

    Meanwhile, U.S. Congressman Mike Honda, who formed a team for the race last year that raised more than $10,000—making him the top fundraiser on Capitol Hill—told The Daily Beast that he will not be participating this year, linking the decision to Komen’s move to cut funds to Planned Parenthood earlier this year amid pressure from Catholic bishops.

    The Komen foundation quickly reversed its Planned Parenthood decision amid a backlash, but it has struggled since then, with some Komen affiliates around the country reporting declines in participants at spring races and other fundraising events.

    Read more:

  40. rikyrah says:

    Poll: Mourdock Leads Lugar by 10 Points For Indiana Primary
    Eric Kleefeld- May 4, 2012, 10:02 AM

    The new Howey Politics/DePauw University poll of Indiana has some big news: In the Republican primary for Senate next week, longtime incumbent Sen. Dick Lugar now trails his right-wing challenger, state Treasurer Richard Mourdock, by ten points.

    The numbers: Mourdock 48%, Lugar 38%. The survey of likely primary voters was conducted April 30-May 1, and has a ±3.7% margin of error.

    In the previous Howey/DePauw poll from late March, Lugar was ahead by 42%-35%.

    The presumptive Democratic nominee is Rep. Joe Donnelly — with some Dems hopeful that a Mourdock win in the primary would open up this seat for a pickup.

  41. rikyrah says:

    May 03, 2012 5:44 PM

    Battleground Virginia

    By Ed Kilgore

    When Barack Obama won Virginia in 2008 (by a healthy six percentage points, nearly his national margin), alarm bells went off in many Republican strategic circles. After all, the Old Dominion had not voted for a Democratic presidential candidate since 1964, spurning southerners like Jimmy Carter and Bill Clinton even in good years for the Donkey Party. Since Democrats also held both U.S. Senate seats and had won the previous two gubernatorial races, it was obviously time to revisit the assumption the state was part of a Solid Republican South (except, of course, for Florida and also North Carolina, where Obama’s victory was even more of a shock).

    So there were many sighs of Republican relief when Bob McDonnell handily won the governorship back for the GOP easily in 2009, and then Republicans picked off three U.S. House seats in 2010. Things, it seemed were returning to normal.

    Or maybe not. The RealClearPolitics average of recent general election polls in Virginia shows Obama with a 2.4% lead in the state; the most recent survey, by PPP, has Obama up by eight points. The Senate race between former Gov. and DNC chairman Tim Kaine and former Sen. George Allen is, and has been, dead even. And looking ahead, an early PPP poll of the 2013 governor’s race in Virginia shows Democratic Sen. Mark Warner stomping everyone in sight if he chooses to return to Richmond.

    If Mark Warner wants to be the next Governor of Virginia…he’s probably going to be the next Governor of Virginia. PPP’s newest poll finds him blowing away the Republican field of candidates with a 53-33 lead over Ken Cuccinelli, a 53-32 advantage over Bill Bolling, and a 58-19 edge over Tareq Salahi.
    Warner continues to be the state’s most popular politician with a 52% approval rating to only 26% of voters who disapprove of him. He takes 13-29% of the Republican vote in these three match ups while losing only 2-4% of the Democratic vote, and he has a persistent double digit lead with independents as well. At this point the office looks to be Warner’s for the taking.

    Even more worrisome for the GOP is the fact that in the PPP survey conservative darling Cuccinnelli has a large lead over the potential primary field, yet looks exceptionally weak for a general election even if Warner doesn’t run. Cucinelli trails Terry McAuliffe by five points and Tom Perriello by three, despite a gigantic name ID advantage.

    So any way you slice it, Virginia remains a battleground state, and a big vulnerability in the southern fortress the GOP had supposedly built for itself. Obama can definitely win in November without Virginia, but it’s not at all clear Mitt Romney can do so as well.

  42. rikyrah says:

    Issa’s Holder Contempt Resolution All About Politics, Say Experts

    Ryan J. Reilly- May 4, 2012, 5:57 AM

    A year after floating the idea, House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa made a big move Thursday by releasing a draft contempt resolution against Attorney General Eric Holder, claiming the Justice Department hasn’t cooperated with his congressional investigation into the flawed ATF operation known as “Fast and Furious.”

    But several experts in congressional contempt proceedings told TPM that Issa’s move is mostly a problem of political perception for Holder. Legal consequences, should the House pass the contempt resolution, would take years to sort out.

    Issa’s draft contempt resolution contends that the Justice Department hasn’t cooperated fully with the investigation, arguing its been slow to turn over documents, that the committee requested via subpoena, on the operation that let guns “walk” into the hands of Mexican drug cartels.

    DOJ responded to Issa’s draft resolution with a strongly worded letter from Deputy Attorney General James Cole, who wrote that DOJ officials “continue to believe that efforts to arrive at a mutually acceptable resolution have not been fully exhausted.”

    Issa’s committee, Cole wrote, “has not taken sufficient steps to define the categories of documents it deems essential to its review of Fast and Furious and its decision to issue a draft contempt citation appears to express a preference for confrontation over resolution.”

    Congress has pursued contempt resolutions against members of the executive branch in the past, but they aren’t common. Most recently, Democrats on the House Judiciary Committee in 2008 began contempt proceedings against Bush administration officials Karl Rove and Harriet Miers.

    “It’s pretty rare to have executive branch officers to be held in contempt of Congress,” law professor Josh Chafetz told TPM. “Usually these kind of disputes wind up getting settled through negotiations before it ever comes to a contempt citation.”

    Stan Brand told TPM that Holder really shouldn’t be worried because of how cumbersome the contempt process can get, describing contempt proceedings as “mostly for show” and a “circus event.” The House would have to vote before it pursued civil remedies in court.

  43. rikyrah says:

    Does anyone else play around with 270 to win?

  44. Ametia says:

    Romney, Mormons brace for a mean political season

    SALT LAKE CITY – As 20,000 Mormons streamed from the church conference center, a ragtag group of protesters stood across the street shouting that the Latter-day Saints were going to hell. Mormon families, who had gathered here for two days of speeches and spiritual guidance called General Conference, ignored the hecklers or laughed and kept walking.

    This, after all, is a church accustomed to much worse.

    Yet, even with a resilience built over nearly two centuries as outsiders, church members are anxious about what’s ahead. Republican Mitt Romney is about to become the first Mormon nominee for U.S. president on a major party ticket. That will give them a chance like no other to explain their tradition to the public, but the church’s many critics will have a bigger platform, too. And the vetting will take place amid the emotion of what may well be a nasty general election.

    “People who have opposed Mormonism forever will use this as an opportunity,” said Robert Millet, a religion scholar at Brigham Young University who co-founded a pioneering evangelical-Mormon dialogue. “I don’t know if we’re ready for this kind of deluge.”

    At the Salt Lake City headquarters of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, officials are preparing to defend the church.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Scott Brown stumbles on ‘Obamacare’ problem
    Fri May 4, 2012 9:26 AM EDT.

    We learned this week that Sen. Scott Brown (R-Mass.) takes advantage of the Affordable Care Act to bring health care coverage to his own adult daughters. The problem, of course, is that Brown has also voted to kill the entirety of the law, and fully intends to keep trying until “Obamacare” and its benefits have been eliminated.

    The Republican senator wants the law to help his kids, but he also wants to destroy the law, no matter what it does to everyone else’s kids.

    Pressed on this, Brown changed his story. After initially saying he insurers his daughters through his congressional insurance plan, the Massachusetts senator changed his mind and said he’s actually taking advantage of state measures, which he’d voted for, not the Democrats’ reform law.

    As Igor Volsky explained, this version doesn’t appear to be true.

    Brown may have taken advantage of Massachusetts reform while serving in the Bay State, but as a senator, he’s benefiting from the ACA’s most popular provision.

    According to the Office of Personnel Management’s (OPM) website, Brown’s congressional health care plan (the Federal Employees Health Benefits Plan) is regulated by federal law, not state legislation — “The FEHB Program is a Federal program and preempts state law requirements,” the site says — and the program allows dependents to stay on their parents’ insurance plans until age 26 as a result of Obamacare. […]

    An official at OPM confirmed to ThinkProgress that “As long as the parent has a self-and-family enrollment, dependent children are covered under that enrollment until they reach age 26, as a result of passage of the ACA. Before the ACA, the dependent age was by FEHB law up to age 22.”

    So, Scott Brown enjoys a benefit he wants to deny to everyone else, and then he fibbed to try to get out of it?

    That’s not a good combination.


    It’s also worth emphasizing that from Brown’s perspective, the larger issue just isn’t worth worrying about. What happens if he succeeds and the law is eliminated? Brown and his wife made over a half-million dollars last year, so they’re in a position to help their adult kids pay for insurance and medical expenses.

    Since 99% of American households make far less than the senator and his wife, the question becomes what happens to 18-to-25 year olds who don’t come from wealthy families. As Brown sees it, states might consider passing measures similar to “Obamacare” if the law is destroyed, which he thinks would solve the problem. But if your state is dominated by Republican policymakers and chooses not to take this step? Well, apparently you’re out of luck. Maybe you should have picked a better state (or wealthier parents).

    Remember, this is what passes for GOP moderation on health care policy — a confused senator who hates the Affordable Care Act, despite not knowing why, who wants to benefit from the law he thinks he finds offensive, while taking those benefits away from everyone else, and then fudging the truth when questions arise.


  46. Ametia says:

    Hi everyone, the comment box is checked! :-)

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