Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Bob Marley Week!



Now Chuck Krall or whomever, going forward, you can go through WORDPRESS and then my attorney if you want 3 Chics to take down these photos.

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88 Responses to Serendipity SOUL | Tuesday Open Thread | Bob Marley Week!

  1. Ametia says:

    AND this comment right here:

    “It has come to my attention that you have been copying and selling my Bob Marley photograph.” Is a BALD-FACED LIE. And you’d better provide said proof of this come to my attention charge

    BYE, and thanks for playing!

    • Ametia says:

      Bitter, bitter, bitter, Clintonista. PBO is more man than any man in WASHINGTON DC, Rendell, this includes you. Bitter, much.

  2. America only prospers when we meet our obligations to one another

  3. rikyrah says:

    they’ve already called the Indiana Senate Primary – Lugar is OUT.

  4. rikyrah says:

    Balloon Juice went crazy with this thread. …it’s hilarious

    it just kept going on and on with what Willard has done…it’s at 300 replies and growing.


    These two former presidential candidates are thinking: “I never got away with that”
    By Kay May 8th, 2012

    Rare bipartisan agreement on Mitt Romney taking credit for the rescue of the auto industry:

    “Romney said that he was responsible for the auto bailout?” asked Sen. John McCain (R-AZ) in disbelief, unaware that Romney had told a local affiliate in Ohio he should be credited for having saved the industry. “I’d have to look at the context of his remarks. I know that if the auto companies had gone into bankruptcy like thousands of small businesses had to do across America, they could’ve emerged without the sweetheart deal for the unions like was orchestrated by the Obama administration.”

    Sen. John Kerry (D-MA) laughed at Mitt Romney’s claim to “a lot of credit” for the auto bailout.
    “I just – he cannot be serious,” Kerry told TPM in the Capitol Tuesday.

  5. rikyrah says:

    A Word from Tally: A response to BWD

    First I want to thank BWD for her amazing, heartfelt piece on Marriage Equality. Everyone should have that experience, and feel that way. I really feel if more people cared about the happiness and well being of others, this would be a much better world. Perhaps that is all it will take – personal experience.

    Alas, we are not there today. In fact I feel that if we’re not careful, and don’t recognize RightWing PropagandaBait when it’s thrown at us (thanks to our GOPWHOREMEDIA™®), we’re going to give this election to the crazies.

    I am just about at the end of my rope regarding the shortsightedness of the Left.

    I am straight. I never woke up and made a decision that I was going to like men. I just do. It was never a choice.

    I was born and raised in Southern California. I grew up in Theatre, and in the Entertainment Industry. It’s hard to avoid if you live here. I have countless friends who are gay. Most of them are in more stable, long-term relationships than my straight friends. Many of them married during the brief window of legality, only to have forces of hate from across the country send in millions of dollars – including donations from Mitt Romney – to fund taking away the rights of other humans they disagree with.

    Yes. Marriage (and complete) Equality should be a no-brainer. No one’s marriage has any affect whatsoever on another’s. But what we’ve witnessed during the Prop 8 fight here in California has shown that there are not only a majority on the Right who disagree vehemently with this, and feel the government should be given jurisdiction over who can love and marry whom, there are many on the Left, that for whatever reason, religious or otherwise, also (unfortunately still) feel the same.

    Yet today, there is a new groundswell for President Obama to come out before the biggest, most important, and what maybe the most contentious election in my lifetime, in support for repealing DOMA. Of course many Liberal Bloggers who didn’t get their Progressive Pony due to all the GOP and BlueDog obstruction are once again putting their PL EmoProg hats on and whining about every problem President Obama didn’t instantly fix with his Magic Harry Potter Wand™, and have jumped on the End DOMA Yesterday bandwagon, because life wouldn’t be complete without something to complain about.

    Take The Nation’s Richard Kim who whines that President Obama has “evolved rightward” on his position on Marriage Equality (subscribe for free for access).

    Dear EmoProgs,

    Seriously? This is your line in the sand for the most Progressive President in the last 50 years who has done more for LGBT rights than any other President? You want to force him to say more than he already has, and mock him for his stance on it?

    Why, exactly? What do you hope you’ll gain? That he’ll come out and say YES, I’m all for getting rid of DOMA before the election? Because……. you think that the LGBT people who will vote for him outnumber the crazies on the Right, and the religious on the Left who disagree? Really? You really think that President Obama will win in a landslide if he does that?

    If you honestly believe that, you’re dreaming. If it didn’t work in California for Prop H8te, then it’s not going to work on a National level, and we’ll end up with President Romney who will repeal every single supportive law for LGBT people including DADT, AND then some!

  6. rikyrah says:

    GOP slams Obama for agreeing with the GOP (again)
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 4:30 PM EDT.

    The Republican National Committee hosted a teleconference call with reporters earlier, and clearly the big news from the discussion was the Republicans’ Hispanic Outreach Director, Bettina Inclan, saying that Mitt Romney is “still deciding what his position on immigration is.”

    I think it was meant to be some kind of complement.

    But there was something else in the same teleconference that struck me as interesting.

    [Inclan] did slam Obama on immigration, saying Latinos were “incredibly disappointed” with his immigration policy and his failure to persuade Congress to enact immigration reform.

    “He talked about uniting families and all he’s done is deport more immigrants than any president in American history,” she said. “It’s another example of how he’s failed the Hispanic community.”

    [Inclan] did slam Obama on immigration, saying Latinos were “incredibly disappointed” with his immigration policy and his failure to persuade Congress to enact immigration reform.

    “He talked about uniting families and all he’s done is deport more immigrants than any president in American history,” she said. “It’s another example of how he’s failed the Hispanic community.”

  7. rikyrah says:

    Obama leads Romney, helped by independents
    Tue, May 08 15:12 PM EDT

    By Deborah Charles

    WASHINGTON (Reuters) – President Barack Obama extended his lead over Republican Mitt Romney to seven percentage points because of increased support from independent voters and some optimism over the economy, a Reuters/Ipsos poll showed on Tuesday.

    Obama was backed by 49 percent of registered voters in a telephone poll conducted from May 3-7, compared to 42 percent who supported his likely rival in November’s presidential election. In April, the poll showed Obama leading Romney 47 percent to 43 percent.

    Obama’s overall approval rating among the 1,131 adults surveyed was 50 percent, up one point from last month, while 47 percent said they disapproved of how he handles his presidency.

    “The economy continues to chug along. Presidential ratings are correlated fairly closely with economic optimism and when the public sees things like unemployment going down and other signs of economic recovery, they are more inclined towards voting for the status quo – which in this case is to keep the incumbent in office,” said Ipsos pollster Julia Clark.

    The poll showed a jump in the number of independent voters who approved of the way Obama is doing his job. Forty eight percent approved and 40 percent disapproved in May compared to 37 percent who approved and 57 percent who disapproved in April.

    “Independents obviously are going to be critical in this election,” said Clark. “That independent approval jump is absolutely significant. It contributes to his jump in approval month on month. We’re talking increments here, but where Obama is right now, the increments matter a lot.

    Among the 959 registered voters surveyed in the poll, a majority said Obama was stronger than Romney on healthcare, Afghanistan and the war on terror. Romney had a one point advantage over Obama on immigration.

  8. Ametia says:

    Senate Republicans Block Bill on Student Loan Rates
    Source: New York Times

    Senate Republicans on Tuesday blocked consideration of a Democratic bill to prevent the doubling of some student loan interest rates, leaving the legislation in limbo less than two months before rates on subsidized federal loans are set to shoot upward.

    Along party lines, the Senate voted 52 to 45, failing to clear the 60-vote hurdle needed to beat back a filibuster and begin debating the measure. Senator Olympia J. Snowe, the retiring moderate Republican from Maine, voted present.

    Republicans said they wanted to extend Democratic legislation passed in 2007 that temporarily reduced interest rates for the low- or middle-income undergraduates who receive subsidized Stafford loans to 3.4 percent from 6.8 percent.

    But they oppose the Senate Democrats’ proposal to pay for a one-year extension by changing tax law that currently allows some wealthy taxpayers to avoid paying Social Security and Medicare taxes by classifying their pay as dividends, not cash income.

    Read more:

  9. rikyrah says:

    Tue May 08, 2012 at 11:25 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney mum in Michigan on auto industry he takes credit for saving+
    by Jed Lewison

    Mitt Romney yesterday in Ohio on how he deserved credit for saving the auto industry:

    I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.

    Mitt Romney today in Michigan on how he deserved credit for saving the auto industry:

    No, that’s not a typo. That blockquote was intentionally left blank—because in his 2,250 word speech delivered in Michigan, the home to America’s big three auto companies, Mitt Romney didn’t say a single word about how he deserves credit for saving the auto industry. The reason is obvious: he doesn’t deserve credit, and he knows it. .

  10. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 02:32 PM ET, 05/08/2012
    The amnesia candidate
    By Greg Sargent

    Mitt Romney, during his big speech today in Lansing, Michigan:

    I propose an entirely different course, a new course — unlike anything of our past. It will draw on the creativity and invention of the world’s most innovative citizenry. Government will be the partner, not the master….
    The President is trying to breathe life into the failed policies of the past. We’ve got to instead invigorate the spirit of free people and free enterprises with a new vision for the future.

    RNC spokesperson Alexandra Francheschi, in a recent exchange with a reporter about Romney’s approach to the economy:

    REPORTER: Now, how different is that concept from what were the policies of the Bush administration? … Is this a different program or is this that program just updated?
    FRANCHESCHI: I think it’s that program, just updated.
    This isn’t just a gotcha. It goes right to the heart of what this whole campaign is all about.

    The big danger for Obama is the possibility that swing voters will accept the basic premise of Romney’s candidacy — that his success in the private sector shows he possesses basic leadership qualities and a talent for turning around troubled enterprises that can be applied to a whole country. Obama’s rebuttal is that Romney amounts to more than whatever aura of competence he manages to project; he is offering a set of policies, priorities, and ideas about the economy that we’ve already tried and that have already failed.

    Romney’s big speech today was all about obscuring this. In addition to repeatedly proclaiming his approach is unlike anything we’ve tried before, he repeatedly claimed that Obama is the candidate who embodies the failed policies of the past — an effort to muddy the waters around what is increasingly becoming the central argument of the campaign.

  11. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 12:44 PM ET, 05/08/2012

    Will unpopular Congressional GOP be Mitt Romney’s albatross?
    By Jonathan Bernstein

    Here’s something to keep an eye on: Democrats are going to be able to exploit the narrow hold that Tea Partiers, social conservatives, and antitax absolutists have on the Republican Party — including GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney.

    Two cases in point: First, the Republicans in the Senate just successfully filibustered the Dem proposal to extend low interest rates on student loans, even though both the provision itself, and the Dem proposal to pay for it by closing tax loopholes are both popular. And second, Dick Lugar is expected to lose his seat in a primary election today — which everyone will interpret as punishment for his lack of 100% slavish devotion to extreme conservative policies.

    The larger story here is very simple. Republican positions on public policy are increasingly constrained by intense but relatively small groups — making it easier for Democrats to gain political advantage on the mounting number of issues where Republican politicians can’t support popular measures.

    Look at the new poll by National Journal that Greg talked about below. It tests three issues before Congress: the Violence Against Women Act renewal, the student loan bill, and the Paycheck Fairness Act:

    The poll shows that Americans largely favor the Democrats’ positions on these issues: Majorities favor provisions protecting gay and lesbian victims of domestic violence and making it easier for women to sue for wage discrimination. A plurality prefers Democrats’ plans to pay for student-loan subsidies by raising taxes on some businesses, as opposed to Republicans’ plans to shift money from a preventative-health fund created as part of the 2010 health care law.
    It’s worth taking a step back to realize just how astonishing it is that a major political party has managed to get itself on the wrong side of something called the Violence Against Women Act.

    The truth is that Republicans are so far down the rabbit hole that they’re unable to recognize that, say, most Americans are no longer bigots when it comes to LGBT issues and so extending protections to gays and lesbians is just common sense for most people — or, to take another example, that most voters actually support raising taxes on corporations and wealthy folks.

    All of which makes for a large gap between where Republicans are and where voters are that is relatively easy for Democrats to exploit — as they are doing with these three bills, and as they’ll no doubt continue to do as the campaign goes along. For Congressional Republicans, that’s going to produce votes (along with the House Republicans self-inflicted budget votes) that will be showing up in challenger attack adds all fall. For Romney, the question is whether there is any way to duck all this stuff, since he doesn’t want to alienate either marginal voters (by supporting GOP positions) or to provoke his party’s most vocal opinion leaders (by distancing himself from them). It’s going to take some pretty fancy footwork for him to manage it.

  12. rikyrah says:

    Obama’s Marriage Mess; Romney’s Support For “The Homosexual Cure”
    In the aftermath of the clearest yet revelation of Obama’s exquisite non-position on marriage equality, the RNC is claiming that Romney’s position on marriage is the same as Obama’s. Weigel counters:

    Romney’s committed to a federal marriage amendment. Has Obama ever spoken about such an amendment? Yes. He was against it.

    Does Romney support North Carolina’s amendment, stripping gay couples of all rights, even in second-class domestic parnerships? Yep. David Link focuses on the candidates’ actions:

    Jim Burroway aptly notes that whatever rhetorical symmetries Obama and Romney may share on same-sex marriage, it’s clear that the President won’t pander to the lingering brackishness of prejudice, while Romney not only will, he will do so with vigor.

    That’s too weak in my view. Romney has also donated to groups that advocate “psychological cures” of gay people, and his church is arguably the most effective and well-financed religious organization dedicated to keeping gay citizens out of civil marriage, with an eliminationist organization called Evergreen which tries to cure you. That’s way worse than even the Catholic hierarchy. According to this survivor of the therapy, a third of the enrollees commit suicide:

    This is not a fringe issue for the LDS. Here’s a leading LDS Bishop speaking to the “reparative therapy” group. Ezra Klein may well sigh:

    Obama’s real pitch to the gay community: He’s not Mitt Romney.

    But, given how little power the president has on marriage, that’s enough for me. Romney is virulently anti-gay, and could not stand up to even the most rancid of homophobes in Bryan Fischer. His church, moreover, is brutal in its hostility. I have some personal experience of this. I dated an ex-Mormon several years ago. He went to BYU and as he ventured out to gay bars, the university sent out spies to track his movements. They intimidated and bullied him. When he tested positive for HIV, they disowned him. I went to his funeral. Even his family wouldn’t show up. There are many Mormons fighting this, and I’ve been honored to speak with and to them over the years. But they are fighting against an institution which enshrines eternal male-female marriage in ways other faiths don’t.

    I’m disappointed in Obama, but his leading from behind is not exactly a surprise at this point. And after the end of DADT and withdrawing from a legal defense of DOMA, he’s done a huge amount. But the idea that there is some kind of equivalence between his cynical waffling and Romney’s rank hostility to gay people’s equality is preposterous.

  13. rikyrah says:

    RNC Hispanic Outreach Director: ‘I Misspoke’

    RNC’s Hispanic Outreach Director Bettina Inclan said at a pen and pad session with reporters earlier on Tuesday that she cannot comment on Mitt Romney’s position on immigration because Romney is “still deciding” on what that position is.

    Now, however, Inclan tweets that she “misspoke,” linking to Mitt Romney’s campaign website:

  14. rikyrah says:

    Tue May 08, 2012 at 09:32 AM PDT.

    Senate Republicans filibuster student loan bill +*

    Joan McCarter
    .Tue May 08, 2012 at 09:32 AM PDT.

    Senate Republicans filibuster student loan bill +*by Joan McCarterFollow .
    Share17 permalink 46 Comments / 46 New

    Sen. Mitch McConnell: the face of the filibuster.
    (Jim Young/Reuters)
    Senate Republicans voted unanimously to block the Democratic bill to extend a lowered interest rate on student loans, 52-45, with one voting “present.” (Sen. Reid voted no so that he can bring the vote back up at a later date.)
    Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had made a very generous offer to Senate Republicans on extending the low interest rate on student loans: if they agreed to drop their filibuster of the Democratic bill, he’d give them a vote on the Republican plan. Straight up or down votes for the Senate to decide which approach it approved.

    “If Republicans would stop filibustering our legislation … if they want some other way to pay for it, let’s take look at it,” Reid said. “Let them offer that. The stakes in this debate are too high to let partisanship get in the way.”
    Republicans didn’t take him up on that offer, refusing to go on the record on the House bill. They say they support an extension of the 3.4 percent interest rate on federally subsidized student loans. But they don’t like the Democrats’ plan to close the corporate tax loophole to pay for the extension. (And, yes, it has to be paid for while Republicans still say that tax cuts for the wealthy don’t have to be paid for.) In case you missed it, de facto Republican leader in the House, Paul Ryan, has a simple answer to whether he would consider closing this loophole to help students: “Nope.”
    The most recent polling shows clear support for the Democrats’ position of ending this loophole for the wealthy to help students: “Fully half of respondents said they favor Democrats’ plans to pay for these student loans, while only 34 percent favored the GOP’s approach.”

    But, of course, what the majority of Americans want doesn’t matter to Republicans. For the umpteenth time, they did what the very wealthy demanded.

  15. rikyrah says:

    The utter lametude of the Romney campaign’s (attempted) slam on President Obama’s first campaign rally
    By Eclectablog on May 8, 2012


    But I’m not writing about this to debunk the Romney photo. Others have done that quite well already like Jason Easley over at PoliticusUSA.

    What I’m fascinated by is how lame this is. I understand the slams that go on back and forth during a campaign. That’s normal. Getting worse each election cycle, of course. But normal.

    But this? This is lame. This sinks below lame, actually. Did Ryan Williams actually believe that the national news networks weren’t going to show a rowdy crowd of 14,000 cheering on President Obama and his classy, beautiful wife, First Lady Michelle Obama? Did he actually think that people would believe that only a handful of people showed up after the news cycle was completed?

    Oh, sure, and some of the other lunatic fringe anti-Obama sites ate it up like chocolate covered Hate Balls. But they are never going to support President Obama. Hell, they’ll vote for someone they despise like Mitt Romney before they’d support the President.

    But the middle-of-the-political road Americans? Those independents and undecideds that both campaigns need to woo? Does Ryan think that blatant, demonstrably false lies are somehow the key to success with that group?

    The fact is, Romney’s biggest crowds to date have been around 3,000, about 11,000 less than the crowd in Columbus on Saturday. Mitt Romney would give his wife’s second Cadillac to draw crowds half the size that President Obama draws.

    What this whole thing shows isn’t that President Obama is a failure because he isn’t the celebrity rock star at this point in the game as he was in 2008 when Americans were parched to near-death for a tall drink of Hope and Change and Not-George W. Bush. It shows that the Romney campaign has so little to use against him that they are willing to scrape the gum off the bottom of their shoe to throw at him.

    And that, kids, is the definition of lame.

  16. rikyrah says:

    Obama leads Romney by 10 in Iowa

    PPP’s first general election poll of Iowa since last October really exemplifies how the Republican nomination process enhanced Barack Obama’s chances at reelection. Last fall Obama led Romney only 46-42 there but now his lead is up to 10 points at 51-41, matching his 2008 margin of victory in the state.

    The reason for Obama’s enhanced standing in the state is pretty simple- over the last six months he’s become more popular and Romney’s become less popular. Obama was under water at a 43/52 approval spread, now he’s on narrowly positive ground at 49/46. The most noteworthy shift has come with independents, who he’s gone from 37/54 to 52/41 with.

    Romney meanwhile remains incredibly unpopular in Iowa with only 34% of voters rating him favorably to 56% with an unfavorable opinion. He used to have a decent amount of crossover appeal to Democrats with a 17/72 spread, but that’s now worsened to 9/86. And with independents he’s at an atrocious 28/59.

    In the head to head Obama leads with independents by a striking 54/34 margin. Obama gets 90% of the Democratic vote while only 79% of Republicans are committed to Romney. In a sense that’s good news for Romney because it indicates he has a lot more room to grow and make Iowa more competitive. But it also speaks to the fact that Obama’s base is a lot more sold on him than Romney’s is.

    The Ohio poll we released earlier today showed big problems for Romney with women and young voters and we see the same trend in Iowa. Obama’s up 20 points with women at 57-37 and has a 58-30 advantage with voters under 30. Obama’s running basically even with Romney among seniors, a group the Republican would need to win big in order to be successful in Iowa.

  17. Obama leads Romney 50-40 in Iowa, up from 46-42 when we last polled the state in October:

  18. rikyrah says:

    12:36 PM EDT, Tuesday May 8, 2012
    UAW President Bob King: Mitt Romney Would Not Have Saved Us

    United Auto Workers President Bob King is out with a statement slapping down Mitt Romney’s claim that he deserves “credit” for saving the auto industry by recommending they go through bankruptcy. King notes that there was no private financing available in the midst of the 2008 and 2009 crisis to keep them afloat, meaning that without billions of dollars of government loans – opposed by Romney – the car companies would have likely been liquidated.

    His full statement, below:

    Statement by UAW President Bob King on Mitt Romney and the recovery of the domestic auto industry

    The Republican presidential candidate, Mitt Romney, is taking credit for the success of the American auto industry, yet he opposed federal loans for U.S. automakers – loans that ultimately saved more than a million American jobs – in a 2009 New York Times editorial, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.”

    Romney has been vocally opposed to the auto loans for the past 3 years. He criticized President Obama as recently as February, 2012 in his opinion article in the Detroit News saying, “The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse. I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.” But now he’s claiming credit for President Obama’s intervention to save the industry.

    President Obama and Democrats in Congress provided emergency bridge loans for an auto industry that was a casualty of a collapsed credit market, when no private investors or companies would provide financing.

    The loans – which were predicated on painful sacrifices by workers, management and other stakeholders – enabled the companies to return quickly to profitability and repay the loans years ahead of schedule.

    Moreover, the industry has added more than 200,000 jobs in the last few years and 2011 was the strongest year of industry job growth since 1994. None of this would have happened if Romney had been the one making the decisions.

    The successful recovery of the American auto industry is a great national success story that most Americans are very proud of. It’s an example of how business, labor and the government can work together to find solutions to some of the nation’s most difficult problems. Mitt Romney’s values of profits-over-people are wrong for Michigan, wrong for workers and wrong for all Americans who value hard work, shared sacrifice and shared prosperity.

  19. rikyrah says:

    Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:29 AM PDT.

    Teamsters union endorses Obama, calls Mitt Romney a ‘vulture capitalist’ +*

    The International Brotherhood of Teamsters endorsed President Obama’s reelection Monday, with Teamsters President James P. Hoffa announcing the endorsement at the union’s annual conference in Las Vegas. The endorsement focused on praise of Obama’s first term in office, with Hoffa saying that “Despite inheriting the worst economy since the Great Depression, President Obama has led the country down the long road back to prosperity, providing relief for the middle class and fighting for workers’ rights.”
    By comparison, the Teamsters endorsement statement describes Mitt Romney as a vulture capitalist; according to Hoffa, “He represents everything that is wrong with our financial system. He made his money as CEO of Bain Capital by destroying U.S. businesses, sending good-paying American jobs overseas and filling his pockets with millions while putting workers out on the street.”

    Obama spoke to the Teamsters conference by phone, saying “I’ve seen and appreciated how you support the American economy and social justice, a tradition that goes back more than a 100 years … America would look a lot different without the Teamsters.”

    Like other unions, the Teamsters union will communicate about the election with its own 1.4 million members and provide “boots on the ground in all 50 states.”


  20. rikyrah says:

    RNC: Romney ‘still deciding’ his position on immigration
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 12:31 PM EDT

    .The Republican National Committee hosted a teleconference call with reporters this morning, and Bettina Inclan, the RNC’s director of Hispanic outreach, inadvertently made Mitt Romney’s Latino troubles worse.

    Yes, Mitt Romney has been seeking various public offices for 18 years; he was a governor for four years; and he’s been running for president pretty much non-stop for six years, but he’s “still deciding what his position on immigration is.” This, from one of his allies, hoping to make him look better.

    Oh my.

    It’s also worth appreciating the fact that it’s far too late for the presumptive Republican nominee to “decide his position on immigration” — that decision was already made quite a while ago. Romney has already said he’s an opponent of the DREAM Act; he’s palling around with Pete Wilson and Kansas Secretary of State Kris Kobach; he endorses a “self-deportation” agenda; he’s critical of bilingualism; and his casual dismissals of “amnesty” and “illegals” are a staple of his campaign rhetoric.

    He’s not “still deciding”; he’s already decided to be the most anti-immigrant major-party nominee in at least a generation.

    It’s why Romney has successfully alienated Latino voters to such a remarkable degree. There’s just not much left for the candidate to “decide.”

  21. rikyrah says:

    Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:50 AM PDT.

    Top Romney aide voluntarily brings up Mitt’s Swiss bank account+*

    Apparently Mitt Romney’s top media strategist doesn’t know the first rule of presidential politics: you don’t talk about your candidate’s Swiss bank account unless you absolutely have to.

    “They’ve decided to run, at least for the moment, a campaign that is very personal,” Mr. Stevens said, pointing to a recent ad that mentions that Mr. Romney has a Swiss bank account.
    Hey, Stuart—next time, don’t forget the one in the Caymans. .

  22. rikyrah says:

    FROM ZIZI over at TOD about all the handwringing about the President’s ‘ position’ on gay marriage:


    May 8, 2012 at 12:03 pm
    I had to repost this from the bottom of the last thread re: BWD’s statement:

    I’m sorry BWD, but you are VERY WRONG. What is happening is that people are projecting their REAL FEAR of GOP & Wingnut noise-making power into making Pres. Obama a “Scape-Goat” (as in Greek Tragedies) for those fears. It is instructive that the very people lashing out at Pres. Obama have said ZERO to fight against the slew of marriage Amendments being pushed by religious folk around the country. Pres. Obama’s verbal assurance that he supports gay marriage will do zilch to stem the tide of hyper-bigotry being unleashed on us all.

    It’s as if people like BWD have a death wish. If, as you yourself say, PBO is our last firewall against the real DOOM that Repugs will unleash on us, why do we wanna cripple that firewall? Why?? More importantly a verbal statement from him does SQUAT for LGBTQ rights SQUAT!

    What more do folks want? His DEEDS show where his priorities lie. I thought we were the -reality-based crowd? He is NOT a therapist. The menace we face from the fucking GOP demands steely-eyed realism not group therapy sessions. He “walks like a duck, talks like a duck, he is a duck, for Pete’s sake. He is on the side of Gays!! We do not have the luxury at this point to nurse hurt feelings because PBO has not yet voiced approval. Sheesh?

    So he does say the magic words, then the last round of Wingnut hellfire rains on him even more than it is a this point. He loses, we all lose. Then what? We sit in a corner commiserating together while the nasty wingnuts UNDO EVERY fucking single civil rights progress of the last century and further back? Is that what we want?

    BWD and others cut it out. IT is a war out there and the other side is rigging the fucking game. And when it all settles PBO’s voiced or unvoiced approval of gay marriage will be the last thing we would be talking about. It will be brass-knuckle fight for survival!

    People should read up on the history of the African American Civil Rights struggle sometime. It fucking took 400 years of taking to steps forward then 20 steps backward, inn order to get a few measly rights thrown our way. But even now those few rights are under constant threat. Perspective, people, get some perspective.

    P.S. I apologize for the salty language. I’m miffed that’s all.

  23. rikyrah says:

    Will Low Hispanic And Black Voter Registration Doom Obama?

    Brian Beutler- May 8, 2012, 6:08 AM

    Friday Washington Post analysis brought to light a staggering obstacle for the Obama campaign.

    “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,” the article read. “Voter rolls typically shrink in non-presidential election years and registrations among whites fell at roughly the same rate, 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 blacks, whose registration numbers are down 7 percent nationwide, and Hispanics, 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.”

    Alarming — and darkly ironic. The economic and housing crises Obama inherited could potentially become the source of the disruption that sees him ousted from office after only one term. But is the problem real — and if so, is it fixable?

    According to the Obama campaign, and to the political scientist who calculates a widely accepted measure of the actual voting-eligible turnout rate, it’s not such a desperate situation for Obama after all.

    In recent years, according to Michael McDonald, a government and politics professor at George Mason University, the Census’ Current Population Survey statistic the Post relied on has varied in a troubling way with the ultimate turnout figures. Whether you compare presidential years (2004 and 2008) or midterm-years (2006 and 2010) the CPS measure has found turnout decreasing. The opposite has been the case.

    • Ametia says:


  24. rikyrah says:

    The Upbeat Populist
    Alec Macgillis detects in Obama’s first campaign speech over the weekend a populism that is “upbeat and aspirational rather than caustic, that harkens more to the Progressives than the Bryan-style Populists, that ties fairness to growth and opportunity, that warns against excessive inequality without dwelling on it”:

    All in all, the message Obama unveiled Saturday comes off as less “us versus them” than “all together now.” … We built this country together. I’m pretty sure we’ll be hearing even more of this line in the months ahead than the “people are people” line. (And it’s surely no accident that Obama’s new post-speech theme song is “We Take Care of Our Own,” from Springsteen’s latest album.) This is the kind of populism that is suited to Barack Obama—that evokes the warm glow of the 2004 convention speech while also drawing a clear distinction with the eat-what-you-kill ethos of Bain Capital and the Ayn Randianism of Romney’s Washington ally, Paul Ryan. It summons to action the 99 percent in a way that does not traffic in class-warfare rhetoric (though he’ll still be accused of that, of course.) Most importantly, it has an inspirational cast for a candidate who has far less potential be conjure a spark than he did four years ago, but must find a way to do so nonetheless.

  25. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 11:22 AM ET, 05/08/2012
    Mitt Romney still ducking key issues
    By Greg Sargent

    Today, the Senate will hold a vote on the Dem version of the proposal to extend low interest rates for federally-funded student loans. In the next few weeks, the Senate will hold a vote on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which would update and strengthen the Equal Pay Act of 1963 and is strongly supported by President Obama.

    Does anyone know what Mitt Romney’s position is on these two issues?

    Yes, Romney has called for the extension of low interest rates. But both sides agree on this point. What’s getting lost in the discussion is that he hasn’t taken a position on the actual dispute between the two parties over the extension — how to pay for it. Nor has Romney taken a position on the Paycheck Fairness Act, which was broadly opposed by Senate Republicans two years ago. Both these issues have far reaching importance to two of the major consistuencies that are currently being fought over in this election — young voters and women.

    As it happens, the public sides with Dems on both of them. A new National Journal poll asked specifically about the core dispute over the student loan extension, and 50 percent support the Dem approach of paying for it with tax hikes on some businesses. Only 34 percent support the GOP approach of paying for it out of a preventive health fund that’s part of Obamacare. Independents support the Dem approach by 49-31. And young voters — the same ones Romney keeps telling us should vote for him out of their own self interest — support the Dem plan 58-28.

    The poll also found that 52 percent trust Dems on the issues raised by the Paycheck Fairness Act, while only 36 percent trust Republicans. Women trust Dems by 59-29.

    On an Obama campaign conference call this morning, spokesman Ben LaBolt called on Romney to take a position on the Act. He pointed out that the Romney campaign had yet to say whether he would have signed the Lily Ledbetter Act, and noted that the Paycheck Fairness Act picks up where Lily Ledbetter left off, by making it easier to challenge pay discrimination in new ways.

    “This is just one more issue where we’re waiting for the Romney campaign to get back to us,” LaBolt said.

    These two issues go right to the main arguments driving this presidential camapign — over how, or whether, government programs should act to combat the free market’s imperfections and to foster opportunity and social mobility, and over the priorities that should dictate how we pay for them. Will Romney detail his positions on either?

  26. rikyrah says:

    Quote For The Day

    “I can’t name a single Romney foreign policy adviser who believes the Iraq War was a mistake. Two-thirds of the American people do believe the Iraq War was a mistake. So he has willingly chosen to align himself with that one-third of the population right out of the gate,” – Christopher Preble, Cato Institute. Ari Berman has the staffing details to prove it.

    You want a reprise of Bush-Cheney? You know who to vote for.

  27. rikyrah says:

    Obama up 7 in Ohio
    Barack Obama continues to have the upper hand in Ohio, even if Mitt Romney puts one of the Buckeye State’s leading politicians on his ticket.

    Obama leads Romney 50-43. That 7 point margin is unchanged from late January when he was ahead by a 49-42 spread. Obama also led 50-41 when PPP polled the state in early November so this makes three polls in a row over the span of six months with him leading by 7-9 points. Obama certainly looks like the favorite in Ohio at this point.

    Ohio voters don’t love Obama. They’re evenly split with 48% approving and 48% disapproving of him, although that is an improvement from the negative numbers he’s posted during most of his time in office. Obama’s lead in the state may be driven more by the fact that Ohioans just don’t much care for Mitt Romney. 37% have a favorable opinion of him to 53% with a negative one. That includes a 33/59 spread with independents. Romney’s performance in Ohio in the primary wasn’t terribly impressive and his issues seem to be extending to the general election.

    Rob Portman has received perhaps more attention as a potential running mate for Romney than anyone else over the last month but even with all of that publicity he remains a relatively obscure figure in the state. 36% of voters have no opinion on his job performance, the highest level of indifference we’ve found to any of the 87 sitting Senators we’ve polled on in their home states. Those who do have a take on Portman are closely divided with 31% approving of him to 33% who disapprove.

  28. rikyrah says:

    Obama gives Congress an economic ‘to-do’ list
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 11:33 AM EDT

    .Mitt Romney last week that President Obama should stop talking about defeating terrorists and start talking about “important issues people care about,” like the economy.

    Apparently, Obama is thinking along the same lines.

    With a polarized Congress already on the defensive, President Obama on Tuesday will outline a five-point “to do” list for lawmakers that packages job creation and mortgage relief ideas he has proposed before, administration officials say.

    Mr. Obama will present the election-year list during a visit to a university science complex in Albany. The components of his challenge to Congress — and to the Republican-led House in particular — will be a feature of his appearances throughout the spring, aides said.

    The agenda is not exactly sweeping, and even if the five-point “to do” list were passed in its entirety, the economic impact would be fairly modest. That said, they’re perfectly reasonable proposals: (1) a tax credit for companies that move their operations to the U.S.; (2) making it easier for homeowners to refinance; (3) another new-hire tax credit for small businesses; (4) extending the Production Tax Credit and expanding tax credit to investments in clean energy manufacturing; and (5) the creation of a Veterans Job Corps.

    Will Congress approve the list? Well, no, probably not. While these fairly non-controversial ideas might have been easy to pass in previous years, Republican filibusters and GOP control of the House probably makes any kind of economic legislation impossible. It’s not even clear if Republican lawmakers want the economy to improve before the election.

    Then why bother? I suspect the point is to show the president presenting mainstream economic ideas that would have traditionally enjoyed bipartisan support, while a do-nothing Republican Congress sits on its hands.

    White House Press Secretary Jay Carney told reporters yesterday that each lawmaker on Capitol Hill “has to explain to his or her constituents what they did while they were in Washington these last two years. Did they just say no? Did they just block every effort put forward to help the economy grow and create jobs? Or did they actually try to work constructively to get something done?”

    If only those weren’t rhetorical questions.

  29. rikyrah says:

    Durbin-Brown hearing on voting rights in Cleveland
    By Kay May 8th, 2012

    I went to a field hearing on voting rights yesterday in Cleveland. The issue in Ohio right now is early voting. Here’s the background. Republicans passed a law with additional restrictions and barriers to voting in 2011. Ohio already has a voter ID law, these are brand new (and quite creative) barriers. Democrats, unions, and civil rights groups collected enough signatures to put that law up to a “citizen veto” which has the effect of putting the law on hold in Ohio. Success! But wait: Republicans now are attempting to repeal their own law, making the ballet issue we worked so hard on null and void, and replace it with another law restricting voter access to the polls. So that’s where we are.

    This is immediately prior to hearing, the two gentlemen seated at the center of this photo are the GOP witnesses and I was sitting where a juror would sit when I took the picture

    Senators Durbin and Brown held the hearing, and I listened to five witnesses, three on the access side and two on the restrictions side. Both Democrats and Republicans are given an opportunity to provide written testimony and witnesses. Republicans sent only two witnesses for their side.

    The AA ministers and local civil rights leaders were seated in the jury box tiered above and beside the counsel tables where the witnesses sat. That pleased me to no end, because advocates for restricting voter access are so rarely on defense and they’re never, ever faced with the actual people these laws harm. I’d wager it’s a lot easier to promote arbitrary and ridiculous voting restrictions from the plush confines and safe distance of the Fox News studio or the editorial pages of the Wall Street Journal than it is selling that nonsense while local community leaders in Cleveland are sitting 12 feet away, looking at you. Explain to that 70 year old minister up there why you believe the members of his church are committing felony voter fraud on the Sunday before an election without a shred of proof. You go ahead. I’ll watch.


    Mr. Arrendondo went first on their side, and I smiled when he started with “voting is a privilege” because that’s crazy making to voting rights advocates. Voting is a right, not a privilege, and invoking the now-standard misleading and inaccurate conservative “privilege” frame takes those of us on the access side to full adrenaline red alert. The law professor sat straight up in his chair when he heard “privilege” probably just dying to rebut on that. I sympathize. Anyway. My feeling on that first GOP witness was that he’s unreachable. No facts on voting will ever get through. He made a passionate case for Sunday voting (which is what they do in Mexico, he said) until Durbin reminded him that he was there to oppose Sunday voting in the US, because that’s the issue: early voting on Sunday. He’s FOR Sunday voting in Mexico and AGAINST Sunday voting in the US. Okay. Next witness.

    Dale Fellows, the second Republican, was different. He started out with what I thought was a solid attempt to defend changing the law on early voting, but as the hearing went on, and he responded to the questions of Durbin and Brown he seemed less and less interested in defending the broader national Republican position on voting rights. He said there were parts of the new law that he didn’t agree with, and he looked toward the jury box when he stated his own personal commitment to voting rights. I’m wondering if his approach was different for two reasons: first, he was once on a county board of elections, so has a real working knowledge of voting process on the ground, and, second, it is harder to accuse people of fraud when they are sitting in front of you.

    On the first, the practical working knowledge part, county boards of election members are NOT usually rabid partisans, in my experience. The joke is that the the best result for a county board of elections member is LANDSLIDE! (for either side) because that means there’s no contentious dispute and recount. But I also wonder if he seemed more sympathetic to our position because sitting in a room in Cleveland faced with ordinary local people who are on the other side really is different than promoting the voter fraud stuff seated around a pundit table on television or writing some editorial page screed about “voter fraud”. The people seated in the jury box are real people, they’re respected local leaders in Cleveland, and they are dead serious about what they believe is an attempt by Republicans to disenfranchise their communities. It’s personal.

  30. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 08, 2012 11:12 AM

    The Borg Absorbs the Former Resistance

    By Ed Kilgore

    It’s all very predictable, but I have to admit I’m impressed with how rapidly the Romney campaign is absorbing the legions of conservative activists—or at least their leaders—who fought his nomination for so long. It’s clear this is one of its main objectives at present. Check out this not-so-veiled reference in Rick Santorum’s email to his minions about his recent meeting with Romney:

    As it is often said, “personnel is policy.” I strongly encouraged Governor Romney as he builds out his campaign staff and advisors that he add more conservative leaders as an integral part of his team. And you can be sure that I will work with the Governor to help him in this task to ensure he has a strong team that will support him in his conservative policy initiatives.

    He might have been thinking of his former campaign manager Mike Biundo, who has been named “coalitions director” for Team Mitt, which is another way of saying the guy who has a budget to coopt as many people from his (and probably Newt Gingrich’s) organizational charts as possible. Indeed, as National Review’s Robert Costa reports in a piece entitled “Beyond Boston,” buying off the organized Right appears to be Job One. Appropriately enough, Costa turns to the guy who has long stood at the very intersection of money and ideology in the GOP, Grover Norquist, for a progress report:

    “They are doing a reasonably good job,” says Grover Norquist, the president of Americans for Tax Reform and the host of an influential weekly meeting of conservative activists. “In terms of bringing the party together, the polling shows that happening. In terms of outreach to the movement, they’re sending people to our Wednesday meeting, such as policy director Lanhee Chen, and hosting lunches with key people.”

    You can’t take the politics out of politics, and you sure as hell can’t take money and status out of Republican politics. But it will be interesting to see how lavishly “Boston” spreads both among hungry tribes of conservative activists in the weeks just ahead.

  31. ThinkProgress ‏ @thinkprogress:

    BREAKING: George Zimmerman waives right to speedy trial, attorney wants to delay trial (via @JeffWeinerOS)

  32. Barack Obama ‏ @BarackObama:

    See the impact on students in every state if Congress votes to raise student loan interest rates: http://OFA.BO/cMHm9R #DontDoubleMyRate

  33. Ametia says:

    May 08, 2012 1:25 PM EDT
    President Obama Speaks on the economy:
    Albany, New York

    • US President Barack Obama chats with Col. Mike Minihan,Commander, 89th Airlift Wing, Andrews Air Force Base, while making his way to board Air Force One May 8, 2012 at Andrews Air Force Base in Maryland. Obama was headed to Albany to visit the College of Nanoscale Science and Engineering’s Albany NanoTech Complex at the State University of New York and to speak on the economy.

  34. rikyrah says:

    Romney’s Auto Rescue Claims Don’t Hold Up
    Benjy Sarlin- May 8, 2012, 10:46 AM

    With the general election in full swing, Mitt Romney is tacking to the center on the auto rescue with furious speed, with a top spokesman and then Romney himself both claiming he deserves a big “thank-you” for saving Detroit.

    He doesn’t.

    “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney told a Cleveland TV station while visiting a local auto plant Monday. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”

    The trouble is that the people who helped craft the actual auto bailout — and not just on the Democratic side — have said Romney’s public position would likely have resulted in destruction of the industry.

    This isn’t the first time Romney has courted credit. He applauded Obama in 2009 for showing “backbone” in implementing certain aspects of the initial bailout, and called it “a course I recommended a number of months ago.” Romney’s position was vague enough then, despite a high-profile “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt” op-ed, to make a plausible case he and Obama were on the same page. But during the 2012 Republican primary he clarified that the measures he endorsed were nowhere near what actually was needed to fix the problem at hand.

    Both Romney and Obama agreed the car companies should be put through bankruptcy, which is what ultimately occurred. But the key difference was who would pay to keep the companies alive as they restructured. Experts say that without the tens of billions of dollars in federal loans, the companies would likely have been liquidated, as the private financial industry was in a meltdown of its own and completely unwilling to step in with loans.

    Romney danced around this issue while campaigning in the Michigan primary earlier this year, where his bailout position received a lot of attention, but ultimately sided with those on the right who insisted the private sector should sort it out.

    “The president tells us that without his intervention things in Detroit would be worse,” Romney wrote in an op-ed in the Detroit News in February. “I believe that without his intervention things there would be better.”

    This squared with previous remarks: Romney told Piers Morgan in June 2011 that “the bailouts were a mistake” and suggested that the companies could have gone through bankruptcy immediately with minimal federal help.

    Romney’s insistence in February that he would have saved Detroit drew some pushback from within his own party. Even while campaigning in support of Romney in Michigan, Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI) told reporters plainly, “There was no one that could have picked up those pieces other than the federal government.”

    Steve Rattner, the “auto czar” responsible for managing the rescue, penned a New York Times op-ed savaging Romney for claiming credit for the most popular aspects of the bailout while disowning the loans that were necessary to make it work.

    “[Romney’s position] sounds like a wonderfully sensible approach — except that it’s utter fantasy,” he wrote. “In late 2008 and early 2009, when G.M. and Chrysler had exhausted their liquidity, every scrap of private capital had fled to the sidelines. I know this because the administration’s auto task force, for which I was the lead adviser, spoke diligently to all conceivable providers of funds, and not one had the slightest interest in financing those companies on any terms. If Mr. Romney disagrees, he should come forward with specific names of willing investors in place of empty rhetoric. I predict that he won’t be able to, because there aren’t any.”

    Democrats rushed to hold Romney to his original position after his latest comments Monday. The Obama campaign distributed a statement from Rep. Sander Levin (D-MI), one of the strongest advocates for the auto rescue in 2009.

    “Mitt Romney is on a hook of his own making because of his vocal opposition to the auto rescue, which saved General Motors and Chrysler from liquidation and prevented hundreds of thousands of job losses in a vital industry,” Levin said. “Governor Romney should have the courage and integrity to say he was wrong instead of trying to pull off another flip-flop.”

    Romney will likely be asked to clarify his position further Tuesday as he returns to Michigan, the state most affected by the auto rescue. But at this point, he’s taken so many twists and turns, it’s impossible to have any clear idea what exactly he would have done.

  35. Ametia says:


    Romney-Rya​n Budget Would Double Interest Rate on Student Loans- Mitt Romney Tells Students to “SHOP AROUND”

    Posted on April 24, 2012by Ametia

  36. Ametia says:

    Let’s see if Mittens tells the students to “SHOP AROUND” today.

    Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder will introduce Mitt Romney when the presidential candidate campaigns at Lansing Community College.

    Snyder spokeswoman Sara Wurfel said Monday the Republican governor will do the honors when Romney appears early Tuesday afternoon at Dart Auditorium on the downtown Lansing campus.

    The Michigan native narrowly won the state’s Feb. 28 Republican presidential primary over former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, Texas Rep. Ron Paul and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    Romney won 16 of Michigan’s national convention delegates to Santorum’s 14. Santorum and Gingrich have since dropped out of the race.

    President Barack Obama was last in Michigan on April 18, when he attended Democratic fundraising events in Dearborn and Bingham Farms.

    More than 4,000 Democratic activists nominated him for a second term at party caucuses Saturday.

  37. Team Barack Obama ‏ @TeamBarackObama:

    New Poll: Pres Obama up 7 pts in Ohio;
    19 pts with Women
    32 pts with Voters Under 30 #obama2012

    • Ametia says:

      and the LGBT vote? have the media and FAUXGRESSIVES tell it, he’s losing the gay vote! WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH WAHHHHHHHHHHHHHH IMMA RUN TELL MOMMY!!!


  38. Ametia says:

    “Mitt Romney will have a lot of questions to answer when he visits Lansing Community College today. Just yesterday, he equated the President’s support for keeping the interest rate on student loan rates low with giving away ‘free stuff’—an assertion that millions of hard-working students would likely contest.

    These out-of-touch comments come after Romney told students struggling with the cost of tuition that their only answers were to ‘shop around’ for lower prices and ask their parents to lend them money, proposed ending the college tax credit, and endorsed the Ryan budget, which would cut Pell Grants and let the student loan interest rate double. His record in Massachusetts is equally troubling- amidst tuition and fee hikes, he cut funding for higher education. With a record of statements and actions like that, why should young Americans trust any support he claims to offer now?”—Lis Smith, campaign spokeswoman

  39. Canvassing in Ohio: A Typical Day for a Canvasser

  40. Ametia says:

    Romney Argued That The Federal Government Subsidizing College Tuition Would Increase Tuition Rates.Romney said in an editorial board interview with the Ames Tribune, “I look at place like University of Phoenix and others, I think you are going to find students saying, ‘you know what, that’s not a bad deal. I’m not willing to come out of college with $100,000 in debt.’ The alternative is to say that the government’s going to pay for that. And if the government starts writing checks for people to go to a university, they will just keep raising their rates because there will be no incentive to say we’ll have to hold our rates down in order to attract the best students. Now, of course some of the big institutions have great scholarship programs that keep the costs down through those charitable contributions. But, I’m not in favor of having the federal government start spending money

  41. Ametia says:


  42. Ametia says:

    .Senate heads toward showdown vote on student loans
    By ALAN FRAM | Associated Press – 4 hrs ago.

    WASHINGTON (AP) — The Senate is steaming toward a showdown on a Democratic proposal to keep student loan interest rates from doubling for 7.4 million students. In a measure of how the upcoming election is driving work in Congress these days, it’s a vote Democrats won’t terribly mind losing — which is probably what will happen.

    The Senate planned a Tuesday roll call on the plan, which would extend today’s 3.4 percent interest rates on subsidized Stafford loans for another year. Without congressional action, those rates will double July 1.

    Republicans say they favor freezing student loan interest rates but oppose how Democrats would finance the $6 billion bill: by raising Social Security and Medicare payroll taxes on high-earning stock holders of some privately owned corporations.–finance.html

  43. rikyrah says:

    ‘The Life of Julia’
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 10:15 AM EDT.

    There’s an old joke that goes something like this: my neighbor went to public schools before joining the military. He went to college on the G.I. Bill, bought his first home through the FHA, received his health care through the V.A. and Medicare, and now receives Social Security. He’s a conservative because he wants to get the government off his back.

    I thought about this joke about a week ago, when the Obama campaign unveiled an interesting online feature called “The Life of Julia,” featuring a woman at 12 different stages of her life — ages 3 to 67 — and “how President Obama’s policies help one woman over her lifetime — and how Mitt Romney would change her story.”

    The point of the project is fairly obvious: throughout a woman’s life, Obama has an agenda that provides protections and benefits that offer opportunities, while Romney has an agenda that does largely the opposite. Head Start programs help “Julia” at age 3; college aid benefits her at 17; the Affordable Care Act covers her at age 22; the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act protects her at 23, Medicare covers her at 65, etc.

    The right is not at all fond of “Julia’s” story. As Joan McCarter noted yesterday, House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) called the online feature “creepy” and an extension of a “government-centered society.” Ross Douthat is thinking along similar lines.

    Jon Chait makes the case that conservatives seem to be missing the point.

    Obviously, the feature is about government programs because it’s about politics. If Obama’s website decided to publish a novella about a character whose only interactions were with Head Start and the Affordable Care Act, it would certainly be creepy. But its purpose is to illustrate how public policy affects a person. That, rather than Douthat’s imagined paternalism, explains why Julia’s life story is missing friends, a husband, and so on.

    “The Life of Julia” also portrays government in a positive way because this is its contrast with Romney, who has tied himself to a sweeping anti-government agenda. It’s not an embrace of unlimited government, it’s an attack on the extremely truncated vision of government proposed by the Republicans. […]

    And this is the policy contrast of the election. It’s not Obama’s government-centric society against Romney’s market-centric society. It’s Obama keeping something resembling the status quo intact — a relatively small government that partially offsets some of the worst imperfections of the market – against the Republican plan to rewrite the social compact.

    Reading through the “Life of Julia” slideshow, it’s hard to imagine the American mainstream finding anything “creepy.” It doesn’t show a model in which the government controls anyone’s life; it shows public institutions that offer everyone opportunities to succeed.


    The next question should be to press Ryan and Douthat on what, exactly, they find “creepy” about the specific measures within the feature. Is Head Start scary government intervention? How about student loans? Is health care coverage for young adults (backed by 85% of the country) considered excessive? How about Medicare? Is access to affordable contraception and equal-pay laws offensive? How about small-business loans?

    The right finds “The Life of Julia” to be an extension of a socialistic worldview. Fine. Then let’s have a debate about which of the public benefits conservatives intend to destroy, present that to the electorate, and see whether voters agree.

    Incidentally, Judith Grey reports that Republicans have been seething about the Obama campaign’s feature, but women seem to like it quite a bit.

  44. rikyrah says:

    8:33 AM EDT, Tuesday May 8, 2012
    Obama Campaign To Hit Romney On Student Loans

    The Obama campaign is planning to attack Mitt Romney over student loans Tuesday after Romney suggested at an Ohio town hall Monday that President Obama would promise ”free stuff” to college students to engage them during the election, reports Politico. Romney undercut attacks from the Obama camp over student loans last month when he said he supported an extension of a program to subsidize government student loans – which the Senate plans to vote on Tuesday.

  45. rikyrah says:

    Competence vs. Incompetence
    by BooMan
    Mon May 7th, 2012 at 08:40:05 PM EST

    Remember when the Maine GOP pulled all those shenanigans to make sure Romney beat Ron Paul in their caucuses? Turns out that Ron Paul had the last laugh. He also piledrived Romney in Nevada this weekend:

    Augusta, Maine, Paul supporter Brent Tweed narrowly won the election to chair the state’s GOP convention. From there, he presided over a meeting that ended up with Paul winning 18 of the state’s 24 delegates to Tampa.
    Romney narrowly won Maine’s caucus straw poll earlier this year. But that was a nonbinding beauty contest. Sunday’s vote was what really counted.

    In Sparks, Nev., the result was even more one-sided. Paul supporters won 22 of 25 delegates up for selection. But Nevada’s caucuses, unlike Maine’s, were binding on delegates. Some delegates were also awarded on an at-large basis. The bottom line: In the first round of voting in Tampa, 20 Nevada delegates are bound to Romney, and eight are free to vote for Paul, no matter their personal preference

    The article goes on to discuss a possible strategy for the bound Romney Paul delegates at the convention. They can apparently abstain without violating the rules. So, on the crucial first ballot, Romney can only count on 9 delegates from Maine and Nevada combined, while Paul is assured of eighteen.

    I have two thoughts on this. First, it just highlights what a sad joke it is to think about our nominating contests as elections. They’re not elections. If you want to be the nominee, it helps a lot to win the elections that take place, but don’t ever think that your vote is going to count. Figure out what the rules are in your state and make sure your candidate gets your support when it matters.

    Second, how incompetent is Mitt Romney? While the president is out chasing down the terrorists who blew up the USS Cole twelve years ago and disrupting terrorist plots and putting General Motors on the Forbes Top 5, Romney is losing fistfuls of delegates to a guy he tried to cheat out of those very same delegates three months ago. I thought the one thing Romney was good at was taking people’s shit away from them, and here he is getting his pockets picked by a near-octogenerian.

    In the end, Ron Paul can’t do anything to prevent Romney from being the nominee, but he can make him look stupid. Oh wait! He already did.

  46. rikyrah says:

    8:27 AM EDT, Tuesday May 8, 2012
    ‘Where The Wild Things Are’ Author Maurice Sendak Dies At 83

    Maurice Sendak, author of “Where the Wild Things Are’ is dead at 83, the New York Times reports in a breaking news update.

    From the Times’ obituary:

    Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children’s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83 and lived in Ridgefield, Conn.

    • Ametia says:

      Prayers to Mr. Sendak’s family. Thank you for your contributions to our chilren’s imaginations! You are an American treasure.

  47. rikyrah says:

    Romney wants ‘a lot of credit’ for policy he condemned
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 9:26 AM EDT.

    Mitt Romney likes to blame President Obama for developments the president didn’t really have anything to do with. As it turns out, the inverse is true, too — Romney likes to take credit for developments the Republican didn’t have anything to do with, either.

    Despite his 2008 call to “let Detroit go bankrupt,” presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney said Monday that he would “take a lot of credit” for his impact on the U.S. automobile industry’s comeback.

    During an interview with WEWS-TV in Cleveland following a campaign stop, Romney said his views helped save the industry.

    “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy,” Romney said. “And finally, when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet. So I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry’s come back.”

    Look, I’ve come to expect quite a bit of dishonesty from Romney, who seems a little too comfortable working from the assumption that he can say literally anything and quite a few voters will believe his nonsense.

    But even by Romney standards, this is just laughable.

    The former Massachusetts governor — the guy who said we should “let Detroit go bankrupt” — predicted that we could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if Obama’s policy moved forward in 2009. Indeed, at the time, Romney called the administration’s plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.” He wrote another piece in which he said Obama’s plan “would make GM the living dead.”

    We now know that Obama was right and Romney was wrong. We now also know that Romney wants “a lot of credit” for the same Obama policy the Republican said wouldn’t work.

    Following up on a piece from last week, Romney can condemn the Obama administration’s policy or it can take credit for the Obama administration’s policy, but he can’t do both.


    Romney has said, publicly and repeatedly, that he opposed Obama’s industry rescue plan — the one he now wants credit for. The former governor has said repeatedly that GM and Chrysler should rely on private funding to restructure and get back on their feet.

    Of course, in early 2009, the credit markets were frozen and there was no private funding available. (When a company called Bain Capital was approached, it refused to invest.) How does Romney reconcile his demands with reality? For the last three years, he hasn’t even tried to explain the contradiction. In fact, he’d prefer if we just overlook the details altogether.

    Just at face value, it takes a fair amount of chutzpah to face a crisis, get it wrong, then whine about the way in which the other guy got it right. But it takes truck loads worth of chutzpah to condemn the other guy then take credit for his success.

  48. rikyrah says:

    The Curtain is Coming Down on GOP
    by BooMan
    Tue May 8th, 2012 at 08:59:17 AM EST

    Kos writes about Texas’s steady march to swing-state status, but he overlooked one thing. He notes that the latest PPP Poll shows Romney with an anemic 50-43 lead in the Lone Star State, but he doesn’t dwell on the numbers among Latinos, where Obama leads by an equally meager 56-34 margin. A February Fox News Latino poll found Obama leading Romney 70%-14% nationally. An April Pew Research Poll found Obama ahead 67%-27%. If Obama were doing as well among Latinos in Texas as he is nationally, Texas would already be a swing-state. And there are the 2.7 million Latinos in Texas who are legally eligible to vote but who haven’t registered. Imagine if they all voted. At a 56% level of support, Obama would net 300,000 votes. At a 67% level of support, he would net 600,000 votes. McCain won the state by about 950,000. If the Latinos who are registered and likely to vote are added and their support is 67%, then the state would probably lean in Obama’s direction. And, remember, Romney is polling weaker than McCain, so Obama probably doesn’t have to make up a 950,000 vote deficit. It’s probably more like 650,000.

    The Obama administration isn’t going to devote the kind of resources that would be required to take a real shot at winning Texas. But the fact that there is a clear path there already shows how quickly the GOP is going to have to change its nature. As Kos points out, the demographics of Texas tell an unforgiving tale for conservatives.

    Out of Laredo’s 24,788 students, just 81 are Anglo. In Houston, just 8 percent of public schoolchildren are white, and that number is 5 percent in Dallas. In Fort Bend, 40 percent of kids were white in 2000. Today, it’s 19 percent. Lubbok went from 42 percent to 28 percent.

    In the entire state, 43.1 percent of public schoolchildren were Anglo in 2000, compared to just 30.5 percent. And if Republicans are hoping that those are undocumented immigrants, turns out that just 5.4 percent of Texans lack the proper paperwork. Yes, that’s a serious number — 1.2 million — but it won’t save them in the long term.

    Once those kids turn 18, the entire political culture of Texas will change. And if Texas is no longer the anchor of the Republican Party, the national political culture will change, too.

  49. rikyrah says:

    Tue May 08, 2012 at 06:02 AM PDT.

    Mitt Romney wants a round of applause for saving the auto industry+*

    Get a load of this:

    Campaigning in the backyard of America’s auto industry, Mitt Romney re-ignited the bailout debate by suggesting he deserves “a lot of credit” for the recent successes of the nation’s largest car companies.
    That claims comes in spite of his stance that Detroit should have been allowed to go bankrupt.

    Okay, pick your jaw back up off the floor … but get ready to lose it once again:

    “I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,” Romney said in an interview inside a Cleveland-area auto parts maker. “So, I’ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.”
    This is pure, unadulterated bullshit. Romney repeatedly opposed the emergency loans (aka, “bailouts”) that prevented the collapse of the American auto industry in late 2008 and early 2009 and he repeatedly criticized the way in which the Obama administration used managed bankruptcy to restructure GM and Chrysler.

    Here’s Mitt Romney in March of 2009 on the emergency loans issued by President Bush at the request of then President-elect Obama:

    Bailout of enterprises that are in trouble, that’s not the right way to go. I know President Bush started it with the auto industry. I thought it was a mistake.
    That statement is an emphatic reminder that Romney opposed the emergency bailout loans that came before the managed bankruptcies of Chrysler and GM. His plan was to simply let Detroit go bankrupt. If the government stepped in to help the companies before their bankruptcy, he said, “you can kiss Detroit goodbye.”
    But they did get the bailouts, preventing their collapse and giving them time to restructure. And instead of kissing Detroit goodbye, Motor City doing so well that Mitt Romney is now claiming credit. Because he hasn’t Etch-A-Sketched his opposition to the bailout loans, he’s hanging his hat on the fact that the industry was ultimately restructured through managed bankruptcy, which he claims is his idea.

    Managed bankruptcy, however, is not his idea. As diarist cc writes, President Obama himself said managed bankruptcy could be a tool in an overall restructuring plan—and he said it before Mitt Romney. The difference: for Obama, who was then president-elect, managed bankruptcy was just one part of a plan to save the auto industry. For Mitt Romney, bankruptcy was the entire plan.

    But it’s not just the absurdity of Mitt Romney claiming credit for the idea of using managed bankruptcy as part of the restructuring effort, it’s also that Mitt Romney has repeatedly condemned the outcome of the restructuring process.

  50. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 08, 2012 8:59 AM
    A Better Investment
    By Ed Kilgore

    Progressives who look with horror at the hundreds of millions of dollars that right-wing Super-PACs are planning to spend on attack ads during the general election have been wondering: “Where’s the cavalry?” Where’s the countervailing money from the rich people on the other side of the barricades, such as they are?

    The partial answer, according to Nick Confessore of The New York Times, is that progressive money is mostly going into election infrastructure rather than advertising war chests.

    “The idea that we’re going to engage in an arms race on advertising with the Republicans is not appealing to many liberal donors,” said David Brock, the founder of American Bridge 21st Century.

    The advertising-oriented Democratic super PACs, including Priorities USA and two groups founded to back Democrats in Congress, remain on the list of organizations that the Democracy Alliance recommends to its members. Robert McKay, who is the chairman of the Democracy Alliance and sits on the board of Priorities USA, said the $100 million expected to be spent this year by alliance members would include some money for election ads, but would most likely favor grass-roots organizing and research groups.

    “There is a bias towards funding infrastructure as it relates to the elections,” Mr. McKay said. “That means get-out-the-vote efforts” directed toward young voters, single women, black voters and Latinos, he said.

    Even where paid broadcast media is an important line-item expenditure for independent progressive groups, it’s likely to be subordinate to grassroots GOTV efforts, it seems:

    Some groups will pay for both advertising and organizing. PAC+, a super PAC founded by the San Francisco philanthropist Steve Phillips, a member of the Democracy Alliance, expects to spend about $10 million on Latino voters in six states, with a heavy emphasis on Arizona, which the Obama campaign is seeking to turn into a battleground. Half of PAC+ spending will go to enrollment and half to advertising.

    “You can dump 10 or 20 million in TV ads in Ohio and try to reach the persuadable swing voters there, or you can up voter turnout among Latinos in Colorado and Arizona and win that way,” Mr. Phillips said. “It’s much cheaper.”

    You get the feeling reading Confessore’s piece that some progressives with money to invest simply think of massive ad spending as “enemy turf,” where it’s impossible to compete effectively, or as morally suspect. Others may figure it’s the job of the Obama campaign or the national party committees.

    But it’s also worth noting that the consensus of political scientists for some time has been that paid broadcast advertising in presidential general elections is vastly overrated. (Read this John Sides piece that covers some of the reasons why that might be the case). Yes, it’s extremely dangerous to let the other side completely dominate paid ads, and perhaps more importantly, they can be very effective in down-ballot races where the candidates are not as well known. But dollar-for-dollar, particularly in a close election, it probably makes more sense for the marginal expenditure to go into election infrastructure efforts that will pay off for multiple candidates.

  51. rikyrah says:

    A not-so-bright idea
    By Steve Benen – Tue May 8, 2012 8:53 AM EDT

    In 2007, the light-bulb provisions of an energy bill weren’t considered controversial in the slightest. At the time, Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and congressional Democrats worked together on the larger legislative package, which included advanced light-bulb standards, intended to spur innovation, lower costs, and improve energy efficiency.

    The provision was approved with bipartisan support, and the larger bill was easily passed and signed by President Bush. Best of all, the advanced light-bulb standards have worked beautifully, and we’ve seen exactly the kind of innovation the bill intended to create.

    So, it’s a success story, right? Wrong. As the Republican Party became increasingly radicalized, GOP policymakers began looking at the bipartisan energy bill as an authoritarian scourge that sought to take away Americans’ light bulbs. What’s more, they refuse to let this go.

    A House Republican is planning in the coming weeks to revive the GOP offensive against federal lightbulb efficiency standards.

    Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) will offer an amendment to Energy Department spending legislation that would block funding for implementation of the standards, the lawmaker’s office told The Hill. The standards have come under fire from conservatives in recent years.

    Republicans won the inclusion of a similar provision in an omnibus spending compromise that House and Senate lawmakers agreed to in December. The provision blocked funding for implementation of the law for fiscal year 2012. Burgess’ amendment would apply to fiscal year 2013.

    Rush Limbaugh and other leading Republicans are enthusiastic backers of these efforts — even Mitt Romney, who presumably knows better than to fall for this garbage, is parroting right-wing talking points — arguing that Bush’s 2007 energy bill “bans” traditional incandescent bulbs, which in turn takes away consumers’ choices.

    For the umpteenth time, there is no “ban.” Democrats and Republicans simply agreed to make light bulbs more energy efficient, and their efforts are working.

    But GOP lawmakers, at least in 2012, don’t care, and want to undo the effective reforms, which in turn would waste more energy, cost consumers more money, and even undermine the marketplace. Republicans don’t care, however, because this is about some amorphous concept of “freedom” that only conservatives understand

  52. rikyrah says:

    Political AnimalBlog
    May 07, 2012 3:59 PM

    Tough-Guy Portman
    By Ed Kilgore

    You know, I’m really beginning to enjoy the mini-campaign underway to puff Ohio Sen. Rob Portman into something other than a boring Beltway conservative lifer who’s more or less the default-drive Veep option. Last week we had the exciting news that in the barrios of America, Hispanic voters are practically chanting his name, so inoffensive are his views about immigration (and he learned Spanish in college!).

    Now we learn that this mild-mannered party hack has been auditioning as an attack dog—one of those time-honored roles for a Veep. Jonathan Karl of ABC has the story, as spun to him by Portman’s staff:

    Just over the past week, the normally soft-spoken Portman has issued a series of blistering – for him anyway – attacks on Barack Obama.
    By today’s standards, these attacks are actually fairly tame (nothing compared to what Newt Gingrich has said about Romney, for example), but the tough new tone shows Portman is not afraid to play the traditional attack-dog role of a vice presidential candidate.
    Here’s a rundown of what we’ve heard from Portman of just the last week
    – In an interview with Bret Baier on Fox News, Portman turned a question about his lack of “sizzle” into a slam on Obama. “America made a decision in 2008 to go with a president who did have sizzle. And look, he was kind of a celebrity. He also had a very compelling message which was, remember this, ‘I’m going to bring people together to solve problems.’ Didn’t happen. And it didn’t happen because he didn’t have the experience, he didn’t have the record, he didn’t have the policies to do it.”
    – A few days later, Portman accused the President of offering only “lofty rhetoric and poll-tested platitudes” when he visited Ohio. “Instead of changing course, President Obama wants to double down with more job-killing taxes, higher spending, dangerous levels of debt, and more burdensome regulations from Washington.”
    – When the disappointing jobs report came out on Friday, Portman blamed the President for an economy that has 5 million fewer jobs than before the recession, saying “Unfortunately, time and time again, the Obama administration chooses politics over policy and style over substance.”

    I’ll pause for a moment to let your heart stop racing.

  53. rikyrah says:

    The View from One Prudential Plaza: Why the Obama Campaign Is So Confident About Beating Romney
    By Mark Halperin | May 7, 2012

    Barack Obama’s decision to base his re-election campaign outside of Washington seems to be working pretty darn well. The campaign’s massive, high-rise headquarters in Chicago’s Loop achieves a fine balance between 2008’s hip-casual dorm room (there’s a Ping-Pong table and cheeky homemade signage) and 2012’s systematized Death Star (there are more employees than I have ever seen in a political campaign, with work stations subdivided as ever more employees are added). The place hums from early morning until late at night, designed for maximum efficiency and manifest focus.

    For the 20- and 30-somethings who make up the bulk of the Obama-Biden workforce, the vibrant, stylish Chicago headquarters is, by design, removed from the distracting and distorting aspects of the Beltway. At the same time, for those who voluntarily uprooted themselves from the nation’s capital, some surrendering big-time Administration jobs, it was a de facto litmus test: just how badly did they want to help the President get four more years?

    In a series of interviews with campaign officials in Chicago, it is clear that the entire re-elect operation likes its odds of winning a second term. The informal slogan is essentially “Be confident, but take nothing for granted.” Presidential senior adviser David Plouffe, the 2008 campaign manager now overseeing the enterprise from his perch steps away from the Oval Office, Jim Messina, Plouffe’s 2012 titular successor in Chicago, and their deputies in both cities believe that, despite the dangers of high unemployment and gas prices, Mitt Romney faces four major barriers to winning the big prize.

    First, in the view of the Obamans, Romney is still a weak candidate. His stump skills continue to be uneven at best, with speeches plagued by awkward jargon and passionless rhetoric. They believe his tenure as head of Bain Capital and his term as governor of Massachusetts conceal vulnerabilities yet to be unveiled. “No one’s ever looked at Romney’s record, and there’s a lot there,” said one senior campaign official. “He developed this set of values at Bain about what the economy is all about … Whatever it took to make money … He took that same philosophy to Massachusetts [as governor].” Obama’s team is sitting on a multimedia treasure trove of research about both phases of Romney’s career and expects to launch powerful missiles at key moments throughout the campaign, discombobulating the Republican each time.

    Second, they maintain, their research suggests Romney has exactly one rhetorical path to victory, as a can-do businessman able to fix what’s broken. Chicago intends to focus as much of its formidable firepower as necessary to dismantle Romney on that front and prevent the election from becoming a referendum on the President’s economic tenure.

    Read more:

  54. rikyrah says:

    New Frontiers in Neo-Swiftboating: Obama Was Ready to Blame the Troops!
    By David Weigel
    | Posted Monday, May 7, 2012, at 10:44 AM ET

    In the last week of April, Time magazine published a long Peter Bergen take-out on the Osama bin Laden raid, complete with key documents — including the memo that then-CIA Director Leon Panetta wrote after the president ordered the raid.

    Received phone call from Tom Donilon who stated that the President made a decision with regard to AC1 [Abbottabad Compound 1]. The decision is to proceed with the assault.
    The timing, operational decision making and control are in Admiral McRaven’s hands. The approval is provided on the risk profile presented to the President. Any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration. The direction is to go in and get bin Laden and if he is not there, to get out. Those instructions were conveyed to Admiral McRaven at approximately 10:45 am.

    Most news outlets, aping Time (and jealous of the scoop), merely reprinted the memo. Ben Shapiro, one of the new editors of the Breitbart empire, saw another angle. “The memo doesn’t show a gutsy call,” wrote Shapiro. “It doesn’t show a president willing to take the blame for a mission gone wrong. It shows a CYA maneuver by the White House… the hero here was McRaven, not Obama. And had the mission gone wrong, McRaven surely would have been thrown under the bus.”

    That’s one opinion. It might be hard to square with lines like “any additional risks are to be brought back to the President for his consideration.” But the Shapiro Theory got around the world faster than the swine-bird flu in Contagion. His post has been tweeted more than 160,000 times and shared on Facebook nearly 25,000 times. Time’s original story has been shared on Facebook fewer than 100 times.

    On April 30, three days after the memo was released, the Shapiro Theory became Michael Mukasey’s theory. “A recently disclosed memorandum from then-CIA Director Leon Panetta shows that the president’s celebrated derring-do in authorizing the operation included a responsibility-escape clause,” wrote Mukasey. Four days later, Sean Hannity invited Mukasey onto his Fox News show to share the theory.

    HANNITY: So in other words, here, the approximate (sic) president’s now, everything worked out in this case. But he had put in place a CYA [cover your ass] that if it went wrong, McCraven would have been the fall guy.
    MUKASEY: That was a highly lawyered memo.
    HANNITY: Wow. So you are saying this was designed to protect the president politically.
    MUKASEY: I think there is going to be more that comes tumbling out about that escapade. But so far that, memo is enough.

    To paraphrase Newt Gingrich: These are dispatches from Cloudcuckooland. If the bin Laden raid had gone wrong, how would the White House have avoided blame? It would have waved around a memo which mentioned that “additional risks are to be brought back to the President”? Seriously? In the Hannity interview, Mukasey compares this memo to Dwight Eisenhower’s pre-D-Day “message to be given in the event the invasion failed.” That’s the sort of comparison that reveals how weak an argument this is. But this must be why the Obama campaign celebrates Christmas every day that the media discusses OBL — it drives Bush loyalists absolutely insane when they realize Obama gets the credit.

  55. rikyrah says:

    Monday, May 7, 2012
    Romney and the Crazy

    I’m not sure which is worse: the idea that we’re all supposed to care whether or not Mitt Romney adequately knocks down the crazy every time it’s thrust in his face…or the fact that the crazy is constantly thrust in his face (and that he and other Republican leaders encourage it).

    As you may have heard, the latest is that at a Romney rally today someone mentioned (sort of as an aside, in response apparently to someone else shouting it out) that Barack Obama should be tried for treason, and Romney responded by entirely ignoring it.

    I think Greg gets it about right in the post I linked to there. Both parties are going to do this sort of “gotcha” game in response to stupid things their supporters say. Given the current state of things, Republicans are saying more stupid things, just as they did in 2008. The gotcha game is silly, and “winning” a news cycle over it is probably a complete waste of time. But at the same time, yeah, this stuff doesn’t come out of nowhere — and Republican party elites who foster it, encourage it, and tolerate it do deserve to be called out.

    And meanwhile, what Romney did say in answering the question was just about as goofy as what he didn’t say. The question was about Obama supposedly not governing within the Constitution, and Romney, in answering that, made sure to say that in his view the Constitution and the Declaration were “not just brilliant, but probably inspired.” Which is standard rhetoric these days within the GOP — it used to be good enough to just emphasize the Declaration (because it specifically invokes God), but now one has to pretend to believe that the United States is all special and all (that is, “exceptional”) because God wanted it that way. You know — in the old days, we would call that a “dog whistle” and move on, but I watched an awful lot of GOP debates this year, and the truth is that the presidential nomination was about 90% dog whistle and 10% substance. And that’s probably a generous reading.

    So the gotcha stuff is junk politics; no one cares, or should care, whether Romney is quick on his feet in denouncing slurs that his supporters make. But pointing that the Republican Party actively encourages the crazy, and that Romney’s campaign rhetoric is often thinly translated versions of the crazy, whether it’s the “apology tour” or, as Greg points out, the loony claim that “Obama favors government enforced ‘equal outcomes’ and wants to ensure that everyone in American society reaps the ‘same rewards’?” Yes, the press should be doing pointing that out.

    After all, if everything that Mitt Romney, Republican Members of Congress, and the other Republican presidential candidates say about Barack Obama was true, then Obama should be tried for treason. It’s that kind of rhetoric that’s the problem, not Romney’s immediate response to what someone says at a rally.

  56. rikyrah says:

    Obama and the Politics of Gay Marriage: It’s Complicated
    Young people and black voters are at odds on the issue, and it’s anathema in some swing states.

    The chance that President Obama will finish “evolving” on the issue of gay marriage before November is about as slim as the winning margin that he or Mitt Romney can assume in this horse race.

    Vice President Joe Biden rekindled the perennial debate over the president’s views on the subject when he said on Sunday that he was “absolutely comfortable’’ with same-sex marriage. Education Secretary Arne Duncan made similar remarks on Monday.

    Pressed to explain the apparent discrepancies between the president’s position and those of his Cabinet members, White House press secretary Jay Carney said on Monday that he had “no update on the president’s personal views.’’ Indeed, Obama’s groundbreaking record on gay rights and friendly public remarks suggest that he personally accepted same-sex marriage long ago. Although Obama described himself in December 2010 as “evolving,’’ it’s hard to see his unwillingness to declare his support for gay marriage as anything other than political expedience.

    For evidence, look no further than North Carolina, poised on Tuesday to join the majority of states with constitutional bans on gay marriage. One of nine swing states where Obama’s reelection campaign began a major advertising campaign on Monday, North Carolina looms as one of the most challenging. Obama carried the state by less than 15,000 votes in 2008, and Democrats chose it to host this year’s party’s nominating convention.

    “He won here by such a narrow margin that almost anything could make the difference’’ said longtime Democratic strategist Gary Pearce, who is based in Raleigh. “I don’t blame him for being cautious. The country is also evolving, and he doesn’t want to get there too early.’’

    In national polls, only a narrow majority of Americans support gay marriage. Many of the toss-up states that Obama needs to win a second term — including Colorado, Florida, Nevada, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Virginia, and Wisconsin — have passed laws or constitutional bans against same-sex marriage. In another battleground state, Iowa voters in 2010 ousted three Supreme Court justices who had legalized gay marriage the previous year.

    A big reason the issue is tricky for Obama is that two of the constituencies that were pivotal to his 2008 victory – young voters and African-Americans — are at odds. While gay-rights advocates frame marriage as a civil-rights issue, many churchgoing African-Americans approach it in a religious context. In North Carolina for example, an Elon University Poll in February found that only 35 percent of voters ages 18 to 34 support a constitutional ban on gay marriage. Among black voters, the percentage supporting the ban jumped to 46 percent.

    The president’s campaign put out a statement in March saying he did not support the ballot measure, but he has not personally addressed it.

    “It’s a gamble,’’ said Mileah Kroner, Elon University assistant professor of political science. “On one hand, him coming out for gay marriage could infuse the base and get young people excited, which could be in his favor. Then again, it could turn off older people, who he didn’t do particularly well with in the last election. Same with black voters, who tend to be evangelical. It’s a political calculation.’’

  57. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:43 PM ET, 05/07/2012
    No comparison between Obama and Romney on same-sex marriage
    By Jonathan Capehart

    At the Human Rights Campaign dinner in 2009, President Obama told the crowd, “I . . . appreciate that many of you don’t believe progress has come fast enough. I want to be honest about that, because it’s important to be honest among friends.” At the same dinner last October, he said, “[Y]ou’ve got every right to push against the slow pace of change.” And so I have pushed the president on his charade-like stance on same-sex marriage in two posts today.

    But make no mistake: There is no comparison between Obama and Mitt Romney when it comes to respecting the dignity of gay men and lesbians and their families. Romney’s position on gay rights is about as fluid as the Charles River. It once flowed in the right direction. Not anymore.

    In 1994, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate against the late Sen. Ted Kennedy, Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans, “I am more convinced than ever before that, as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.” He said some other things in a letter seeking the gay group’s endorsement that would put him squarely in the mainstream of political thought today. But running for the Republican presidential nomination in 2012 is a different story.

    Romney railed against “unelected judges” in February when a panel of the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit ruled that California’s Proposition 8 was unconstitutional.

    Romney put his money where his newfound principles were in 2008, when his political action committee gave $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). This is the same odious outfit that devised a divide-and-conquer strategy to pit African Americans and gays against each other on the issue of marriage equality.

    Then, last summer, Romney signed NOM’s noxious pledge to “support marriage.” Among the things Romney promised to do is enshrine discrimination into our nation’s Constitution through an amendment and to defend the so-called Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) in court.

    These are all actions Obama opposes. In fact, NOM is demanding DOMA be defended against court challenge because the president stopped doing so. He thinks it’s unconstitutional. He also supports Sen. Dianne Feinstein’s (D-Calif.) bill to repeal DOMA.

    So, while Obama won’t say the words I and so many others want him to say with regard to marriage equality, there is no doubt where he stands on equality for gay men and lesbians.

  58. rikyrah says:

    Republicans Laugh, But Women Relate to ‘The Life of Julia’
    May 6, 2012 3:21 PM EDT

    In just two days, ‘Julia’ has already been liked over 37,000 times on Facebook, writes Judith Grey.

    Here’s the brief: Communicate to women in a succinct and visually appealing way how, at every stage of their lives, Barack Obama’s policies would be more beneficial to them than those of his Republican opponent.

    For the Obama advertising team, the solution was simple: create a non-descript fictional everywoman and show her at defining moments of her life: going to school, opening a small business, enjoying affordable prescription medication as a senior. The everywoman, named “Julia,” was shown in a meticulously designed, retro-chicly illustrated, presumably female-focus-grouped interactive slideshow.

    From ages 3 to 67, we see Julia taking advantage of every policy that would be in place should Obama be reelected, while being informed of everything Mitt Romney has said he’d do away with should he win the presidency. The Obama campaign called it “The Life of Julia,” and uploaded it to their website Thursday morning.

    For everyone working at Obama campaign headquarters, I’m sure it was considered a communications slam dunk.

    By Thursday afternoon, the conservative Twittersphere had judged it an abomination, deeming Julia’s life completely antithetical to the American ethos of self-reliance, an embodiment of the European-style, cradle-to-grave welfare state. “The life of #julia: Entitlement, dependency, with distribution,” sneered pundit Michelle Malkin. “Sad and pathetic,” added Romney spokesman Ryan Williams. And on down the line.

  59. rikyrah says:

    Posted at 05:25 PM ET, 05/07/2012
    Top Obama donors witholding money over executive order punt
    By Greg Sargent

    Some leading gay and progressive donors are so angry over President Obama’s refusal to sign an executive order barring same sex discrimination by federal contractors that they are refusing to give any more money to the pro-Obama super PAC, a top gay fundraiser’s office tells me. In some cases, I’m told, big donations are being withheld.

    Jonathan Lewis, the gay philanthropist and leading Democratic fundraiser, is one of many gay advocates who has been working behind the scenes to pressure Obama to change his mind. When Obama decided against the executive order last month, arguing that he would pursue a legislative solution instead, advocates were furious — such a solution will never pass Congress, the executive order has been a priority for advocates for years, and the move smacked of a political cave to conservatives who will not support Obama no matter what he does.

    Now these and other donors are beginning to withold money from Priorities USA, the main pro-Obama super PAC, out of dismay over the president’s decision. (Some of these donors have already maxed out to the Obama campaign, I’m told.) It’s the first indication that areas in which Obama is at odds with gay advocates — and in fairness, his record on gay rights has been very good — could dampen overall fundraising.

    Paul Yandura, a political adviser to Lewis, emails me a statement:

    A number of gay and progressive donors, unsolicited, have indicated to us that they aren’t considering requests to donate to the Obama SuperPac because of the president’s refusal to the sign the order. And those are high-dollar asks, some in the seven digits. We have heard from at least half a dozen major gay and progressive donors that they stand united with us. There is still time for the President to do the right thing and sign this executive order, our great hope is that he does so immediately.
    He declined to name names.

    This comes as the White House is on defense on gay rights today, after it furiously clarified Joe Biden’s vague but supportive comments about gay marriage. The walkback is mystifying to donors and advocates who are already miffed about the executive order, and could stiffen their resolve to keep their wallets closed.

  60. Ametia says:

    PBO is WINNING the messsaging WAR, and the media & GOP know it, thus they are trying to distract with the same-sex issue, and progressives are falling for it. Slap that shit down and let’s keep moving forward!

  61. Ametia says:

    Let’s keep our eyes on Wisconsin today, folks. The media will preserverate on same-sex marriage and Obama, instead of Scotty Walker and his pending outser in WI or Mitt Romney’s continued lying. If you tweet, please tweet on the WI primary race and Romney’s LIES.

  62. Michelle Obama to host NATO spouses at 2 Chicago events,0,1142737.story

    WASHINGTON — First lady Michelle Obama will give the spouses of NATO leaders a taste of her native South Side on May 20 before a private dinner for them at the Art Institute of Chicago, her aides said Monday.

    She’s inviting the group to tour the Gary Comer Youth Center, which offers educational, arts, physical education and other enrichment programs, and boasts a rooftop garden. The center is at 7200 S. Ingleside Ave.

    Performers slated to entertain the dignitaries include the Soul Children of Chicago; the South Shore Dance Drill Team, which makes its home at the youth center; and the Muntu Dance Theatre of Chicago, known for African and African-American dance, music and folklore performances.

  63. GOP Senate Candidate Can’t Name Minimum Wage

    Rick Berg Doesn’t Know the Minimum Wage

  64. Ametia, I’m loving Bob Marley this morning.

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