MIB: Men in Black is a 1997 science fiction comedy film directed by Barry Sonnenfeld, starring Tommy Lee Jones, Will Smith, Linda Fiorentino, Vincent D’Onofrio, Rip Torn and Tony Shalhoub. The film was based on the Men in Black comic book series by Lowell Cunningham, originally published by Marvel Comics. The film featured the creature effects and makeup of Rick Baker. The film was released on July 2, 1997, by Columbia Pictures and grossed $589,390,539 worldwide against a $90 million budget. It was followed by a 2002 sequel, Men in Black II, inspired an animated series titled Men in Black: The Series, and a second sequel, entitled Men in Black III, which will be released on May 25, 2012.
THANK YOU! Rev. Moss; you preach TRUTH & LOVE.
NOVEMBER IS COMING. WE NEED TO RE-ELECT PRESIDENT OBAMA & VICE PRESIDENT BIDEN.
DO NOT ALLOW THE RHETORIC OF THIS MOMENT TO KEEP US AWAY FROM THE POLLS.
RAW VIDEO: Rev. Lowery on gay marriage
The Real Bain of Willard Romney’s Existence
By Charles P. Pierce at 4:09PM
From time to time going forward, we are going to engage, from here in his former and possibly still-temporary home state, in some lovely little flashbacks to earlier moments in the career of Willard Romney, Presumptive Nominee. Today’s lesson in the archaeology of the many Romneys comes from 1994, when the late Senator Edward Kennedy resolved to make Romney a memory in their race for the United States Senate in Massachusetts. Kennedy and his campaign made great use of Romney’s adventures as a vulture capitalist, even going to far as to bring some former employees of Ampad, one of the companies Romney and Bain had looted down to the ground, to Massachusetts in order to dog Romney around the Commonwealth (God save it!) for a while. Fed up, Romney decided that, in a debate on October 25 of that year, he’d point out that the Kennedys weren’t exactly holding bake sales themselves, and that they hadn’t made their particular pile singing in the choir, either. At which point, the Senior Senator laid him out flat:
“The Kennedys are not in public service to make money. We have paid too high a price.”
(As a comeback, Romney could only come up with the unique combination of hauteur and whinging that have made him beloved among the politicians of his time: “I think it’s inappropriate when we have to engage in discussions about your personal family history. We all have sympathy for that.” Mighty white of you there, Willard. Who’d a thunk that, 18 years later, we’d have to listen to him complain about all those mean things said about his wife by Hilary Rosen, Warrior Illuminati Queen Of The Left. What a tool.)
This all comes up in the midst of a concerted attempt by the president’s campaign to hang Bain Capital’s business practices around Romney’s neck again. It’s certainly worth the effort. Romney’s career in business has not been about creating jobs or destroying jobs. It hasn’t been about jobs at all. It’s been about making boatloads of dough for himself and his investors. Whatever else happens is, quite simply, none of his affair. The line of attack on Romney for what he’s done in business is not to accuse him of greed, it’s to accuse him of having all the human empathy of a brick tossed through a window. If you’re running against Romney, who’s done nothing his entire career except make money for himself and his investors, it is a more obvious strategy today than it was in 1994. More people are out of work longer. And it’s certainly emotionally effective. The problem is that the president goes around the country undermining the strategy by cozying up to the people who are in the same business as Romney is.
Ted Kennedy, filthy rich son of a bootlegger pappy, was able to get away with this because he and his brothers could have spent their entire lives chasing tail on Miami Beach and, instead of doing that all the time, they also threw themselves into public service to the point where two of them were shot to death for their trouble. (And let’s be kind to Romney and not mention that, when his war erupted, Jack Kennedy signed up for virtually suicidal PT boat duty while, when his time to be called came, Romney dedicated himself to keeping Provence safe for Mormonism and from the Viet Cong.) So, when Kennedy hooked off the jab in that debate, there was so much emotional power behind it that Romney went down like a sack of meal.
The president doesn’t have that option. He needs the money too badly. So, at the same time he’s lining up in his commercials with unemployed steelworkers, he’s raising money from hedge-fund cowboys, and speaking softly about Jamie Dimon and his unfortunate experience at the casino’s $2 billion window. Meanwhile, Steve Rattner, the president’s genius car czar, is calling the ad unfair, and Republicans are pointing out (rightly) that Jonathan Levine, one of the president’s chief bundlers, was actually in charge of Bain when it closed the steel mill in question. Stephanie Cutter of the president’s campaign went on with my man Chuck Todd this morning and floundered pretty badly about all of this. “Jonathan Levine is not running for president,” she said lamely.
The only thing that can make the president’s line of attack truly work is that Romney himself behaves like a guy who’d tie Polly to the railroad tracks. He not only was born on third base and thinks he hit a triple, he’s ready to fire the third-base coach for telling him to hold up. Dammit, he should have been born in the dugout, two runs in, and the bases loaded. If the president can get away with sucking up to the financial services industry while casting Romney as that industry’s most destructive product, it will be because Romney can’t help but behave that way.
Wanker of the Day: David Brooks
Tue May 15th, 2012 at 12:21:36 PM EST
We’ll have to bookmark this wisdom of David Brooks and check back in November to see if he was prescient or dead wrong:
I’d say that Obama is a slight underdog this year: the scuffling economy will grind away at voters. But his leadership style is keeping him afloat. He has defined a version of manliness that is postboomer in policy but preboomer in manners and reticence.
Ezra Klein helpfully eviscerated the premise of Brooks’ column. The economic fundamentals predict a modest win by the president, and treating poll numbers as economic fundamentals is the work of a high-paid wanker. The president is suffering from a temporary dip in the polls brought on by the shock a lot of the country experienced when he endorsed gay marriage. Once people have a little time to digest that decision and the campaign moves on to other issues, the polls will return to the status quo. Nationally, Obama will lead by a small margin, but in the key states, he will have a comfortable lead. The reason for this is that Obama is very unpopular in the states he will lose, which brings down his national numbers. Yet, in the swing states, he is preferred to Mitt Romney.
The only time David Brooks mentions Mitt Romney in his column is to note that one analyst thinks Romney is operating with a disadvantage and another analyst thinks the contest is a toss-up. At no point does Brooks consider the possibility that the president is doing so well because his opponent is a terrible politician who emerged unloved from a disgraceful GOP primary. Instead, it’s all about the president’s post-feminist ‘ESPN masculinity.’
The president is winning because he’s self-evidently a better person and a better leader than his opponent. He’s winning because the economic fundamentals, while not strong, are good enough that people aren’t going to toss him out in favor of a bullying dork whose policies are based on fantasies and flip-flops. You can’t explain this election without noting the president’s strengths, including his likability. But you can’t explain it without noting the ridiculous state of the GOP and their preposterous standard-bearer either.
David Brooks is calling the president a man/child.
PBO’s just Too much MAN for these MOFOS.
Posted at 03:05 PM ET, 05/15/2012
Get ready for a rerun of debt ceiling armageddon
By Greg Sargent
As you’ve probably heard, John Boehner is threatening today that Congress will not raise the debt ceiling again this year without spending cuts that are greater than the size of the increase. This sets the stage for a rerun of last year’s massive exercise in GOP hostage taking, which badly damaged Congress’ image, though some neutral observers ultimately concluded Republicans had taken the greater hit.
Democrats are pointing out that it’s a bit surprising to see the House Speaker laying demands down for the next debt deal, when Republicans are trying to reneg on the last one by cancelling the defense cuts mandated by the deficit supercommittee’s failure.
But that aside, where is Mitt Romney on this? Will he support House Republicans in their pronouncement that the debt ceiling shouldn’t be raised — damaging the country’s economy — without spending cuts that exceed the size of the increase? It seems likely he will.
Romney’s position on the debt ceiling hasn’t been easy to pin down. Last summer, he came out against the debt ceiling compromise, an apparent effort to pander to the Tea Party at the start of the GOP primary. He repeatedly slammed Rick Santorum for voting to increase the debt limit as a Senator — more apparent pandering to the right. He’s said he would agree to raise the debt ceiling, but only with “compensating reductions in federal spending.”
May 15, 2012 9:52 AM
Cookie-Cutter for the Cookie-Cutters
By Ed Kilgore
ALEC claims it’s not a “working document” anymore, and it doesn’t much want to talk about it anyway, but the release by Common Cause (via HuffPost) of a Q&A the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) seems to have been recently sending to its state legislative members is pretty amusing. Here’s Dan Froomkin:
When the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) first started facing public scrutiny about its extraordinary ability to turn “model bills” written by corporate lobbyists into state law, the secretive group sent out a list of talking points to its members, telling them what to do when faced with questions about the role of the group’s corporate sponsors.
The guidance, in a nutshell: Change the subject….
The model answers provided by ALEC have the consistent theme of attempting to obscure the influence of its corporate members and to shift emphasis onto the role of legislators, whose dues comprise only 2 percent of the group’s budget, according to an analysis by the Center for Media and Democracy.
So you’ve got an organization whose entire M.O. is to get lobbyist-drafted cookie-cutter legislation into the hands of eager, understaffed conservative state legislators who, lo and behold, have been introducing identical bills and getting a lot of them enacted (particularly after the 2010 wave election). Once unfriendlies finally took notice of the whole game, ALEC sent out cookie-cutter instructions to the same legislators on how to deal with questions about all the cookie-cutting. Remarkable.
Most of ALEC’s damage is already done; the model bills, moreover, are all still out there circulating. Some, like the truly diabolocal Taxpayers’ Bill of Rights (TABOR) have gone viral. I’m convinced that if the world’s population was wiped out leaving three people to start all over with a new government, one would have a copy of TABOR. It’s that ubiquitous.
So if I were running ALEC, I’d shut it down, regroup, and start all over with a new name and a slightly revised scam. If ALEC’s own experience is any indicator, it’ll take progressives five years to catch onto it, and the MSM another ten.
Minister Modifies Stance on President, Not Gay Marriage
Date: Monday, May 14, 2012, 10:20 pm
By: Jackie Jones, BlackAmericaWeb.com
A prominent Baltimore-area pastor and Maryland legislator who denounced President Obama’s stance on same-sex marriage and told his congregation he would not vote in the November election, told BlackAmericaWeb.com on Monday that he has modified his position and would continue to support the president.
On Sunday, the Rev. Emmett Burns, pastor and founder of Rising Sun First Baptist Church, publicly withdrew his support for the president, who said in a television interview last week that he believed gay Americans should have the right to marry. Burns, who has been a strong Obama supporter has been equally opposed to same-sex marriage and has been working to get a proposal to ban gay marriage on the November ballot.
“I love the president, but I cannot support what he has done,” Burns said.
According to CNN, a Pew Research Center poll conducted in April found that 49 percent of black Americans opposed legalized same-sex marriage and 39 percent supported it, while 47 percent of whites supported gay marriage and 43 percent opposed it.
Many black pastors have played key roles around the country in the effort to ban same-sex marriage. About 30 states currently have such bans in place.
On Monday, however, Burns told BlackAmericaWeb.com that he decided to modify his stance after some reflection.
“I got a lot of calls from people who said that we should vote because voting rights were denied us for so long,” said Burns, a protégé of the late civil rights icon Medgar Evers.
“I was so disappointed in the president last week that perhaps I spoke more than I really wanted to, but upon reflection, I analyzed my stance. I’m working diligently here in this state to get (an anti-same sex marriage referendum) on the November ballot and I’m confident we will win,” Burns said.
“I’m also confident with my scriptural position and what it says in the Bible. On the other hand, black folks should vote and I encourage them to vote.”
Burns said Monday that even if he had not initially suggested sitting out the November race, “I would not have voted for (presumptive Republican presidential nominee) Mitt Romney under any circumstances.”
He also said that he would continue to support Obama on other issues.
CNN can’t ask Jay-Z about other issues that affect BLACK folks, huh?
Jay-Z still has Obama’s back
“I’ve always thought it as something that was still, um, holding the country back,” Jay-Z said of not allowing same-sex coupled to wed. “What people do in their own homes is their business and you can choose to love whoever you love. That’s their business. [It] is no different than discriminating against blacks. It’s discrimination plain and simple.”
Is Mitt Romney finally paying the cost for repeating debunked lies?
By LOLGOP on May 14, 2012 in Mitt Romney
How Mitt’s constant falsehoods help make the “bully” label stick
For weeks Rachel Maddow, Steve Benen, Greg Sargent and various other people with ears have been wondering if Mitt Romney would ever pay a price for repeating lies that had been debunked, again and again.
It seems to finally have happened. But not the way anyone expected.
By focusing on repeating lies about President Obama, Mitt was clearly avoiding a more important subject: Mitt Romney.
Howard Fineman of Huffington Post explains:
Most of the American people don’t know who Mitt Romney really is. They don’t know what is good and decent about his life story, his family, his work, his philosophy or his personal ethics. They don’t know the bad news either. They don’t know much of anything except a few caricatured, cartoonish facts.
Why doesn’t Mitt focus on Mitt?
Mormonism plays a role in this. In the same way President Obama wanted to avoid constantly confronting the issue of race on 2008, Romney wants to avoid discussing his religion except to align it with evangelical Christianity.
But the broader story is that Mitt Romney’s story sums up exactly what’s wrong with the Bush economics he advocates. Mitt’s habit of reaping in huge profits for the .01% at the expense of everyone else is particularly unpopular at this point in history.
Even former Bush speechwriter David Frum sees it:
His own job-creation record as governor of Massachusetts was not especially impressive. As a CEO, he was better known for downsizing purchased companies, than for new hiring. And he has been pressed by his party to campaign on a platform that emphasizes radical spending cuts for the young and the poor and another big round of upper-income tax cuts on top of the Bush tax cuts of 2001 and 2003.
So what can Mitt Romney run on? Romneycare.
By implementing his reforms nationally, the President turned Mitt’s greatest achievement into something that made Rick Santorum call him the “worst possible candidate” on health care. Tucker Carlson points out that only two men in history have signed health care mandates into law, and the GOP is about to nominate one.
Stranded in the fight of his life without a life story to tell, Mitt has had to rely on his one advantage: His ability to repeat debunked lies.
Then came the story that Mitt bullied a gay kid in his prep school. It pointed out two things: 1) Mitt, like a kid who couldn’t fail, has no empathy for the millions of us who can; 2) Mitt’s strange willingness to bend to the truth has a bullying quality to it. Who are you to tell me what I can or cannot say? I will never apologize for being so awesome. NEVER.
Mitt’s favorite lie is to say this President apologized for America. Never happened but today Mitt will probably say it did and then say he’d never apologize. You know who else never apologizes? Bullies.
Posted at 11:35 AM ET, 05/15/2012
Could campaign finance free for all cost GOP a Senate seat?
By Jonathan Bernstein
Today’s primary in Nebraska for the Republican nomination for Senate is important for several reasons, but in particular it may turn out to be a milestone for the current state of campaign finance — if longshot Deb Fischer shocks two statewide elected officials and wins the seat of retiring Ben Nelson.
Until very recently the primary appeared to be a showdown between Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, a seemingly up-and-coming politician who appears to be a very strong general election candidate, and state Treasurer Don Stenberg, who has received support from national conservative groups like the Club for Growth. It’s not unusual for a third candidate to benefit from a vicious negative campaign run by two well-funded frontrunners, but there’s a new element this year: The $200,000 dropped by Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts into the race on behalf of Fischer and against Bruning.
This is exactly the kind of contest that people concerned about the wide-open spending associated with the Citizens United decision should be worried about. Big money isn’t apt to make much of a difference in presidential campaigns, because of diminishing returns and the large amounts of money and press coverage that those races receive. Nor is it likely that big money will matter a lot in Congressional races this November; while it could sway some votes on the margins, party identification, and not advertising, drives most votes in November.
But a Senate primary is exactly where someone should theoretically be able to show up, write a check, and buy himself or herself a Senator. It’s exactly where a late hit — fair or not — could be enough to tilt an election. There’s nothing to keep a pure outsider, someone acting on behalf of an interest group or even someone from the other party, from trying the same tactic. And we’re not talking about all that much money here…sure, enough to restrict this to the very rich, but not enough that it would be a real strain on anyone with a seven-figure income.
Here’s a question: if Deb Fischer does ride this late hit to a Senate nomination but then turns out to be a third rate candidate and costs Republicans the Nebraska Senate seat they were counting on picking up, will anyone within the GOP wonder if maybe some sort of campaign finance limits might not have been a bad thing after all?
UPDATE: A new Public Policy Polling survey finds Fischer leading with 37 percent, with Bruning at 33 percent and Don Stenberg at 17 percent
Posted at 12:50 PM ET, 05/15/2012
Mitt Romney’s simplistic tale about the economy
By Greg Sargent
Mitt Romney released a new Web video today attacking Obama on the economy that’s generating a lot of discussion. “Millions of Americans are struggling under the Obama economy,” the video’s narrator says. “Here are their stories.”
One primary example offered by the video of the damage inflicted on Americans by the “Obama economy” is what happened to workers after the Frigidaire plant in Webster City, Iowa, closed, leading to hundreds of layoffs — an example chosen because Romney is in Iowa today.
“At Webster City, Frigidaire was there for a hundred years or whatever, and they just up and said, `hey, we’re done here,’” one young man says. Another city resident laments her ongoing struggle to find work.
But a closer look at the closing of this plant complicates Romney’s narrative. Certain aspects of the history don’t support the broader story Romney is telling — and the details offer an interesting window into the larger debate over the economy that’s driving the presidential race.
For one thing, the jobs lost at Frigidaire, which is owned by Electrolux, were outsourced to Mexico, not destroyed, even though the video doesn’t tell you that. And Electrolux first started eyeing Mexico as a location for production back in 2006.
According to Caryn Klebba, a spokesperson for Electrolux, Frigidaire used to have around 700 manufacturing jobs in Webster City, at two plants manufacturing washing machines. In 2006, the company announced that it was building a new plant in Mexico to manufacture a new line of front-loading machines. In fairness to Romney, this did not change the number of jobs in Webster City. But the company did begin manufacturing in Mexico during the Bush years, before increasing its manufacturing abroad later.
In October of 2009, nine months after Obama took office, and only a few months after the recession ended, Electrolux announced it was closing its Webster City operations and moving them to Mexico. The Romney video blames this on the Obama economy, in keeping with his amnesia strategy of trying to get people to forget just how dire the crisis already was in 2009, when Obama took office.
But according to Klebba, the primary reason for the move was a drop in demand due to global economic conditions. “Relocating the production was a difficult but necessary decision, because the sale of laundry products were dramatically impacted by the global economic crisis,” Klebba said.
A third way this example complicates Romney’s story: Electrolux is actually adding more jobs in the United States now than were lost in Webster City. The company is building a plant in Tennessee to manufacture cooking products, and it’s expected to add 1,200 jobs.
The rub, though, is that this new plant, which is shipping jobs here from Canada, is being built in part because of incentives created by city, county and state government, Klebba confirms — exactly the sort of government “picking winners and losers” that Romney likes to decry. Obama, by contrast, favors this sort of use of government resources to create American jobs.
In a broad sense, there’s no denying that Obama’s policies have not turned the economy around as fast as we’d hoped. But the example cited by the Romney campaign shows that the story is far more complex than the tale Romney is telling us, and in some ways it even undercuts Romney’s tale.
A lesson never learned
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 12:36 PM EDT.
It was, to my mind, the worst thing an American major party has done, at least in domestic politics, since the Civil War. Last summer, congressional Republicans held the full faith and credit of the United States hostage, threatening to impose a catastrophe on all of us, on purpose, to achieve a specific (and unnecessary) policy goal.
It was a move without parallel. The entirety of a party threatened to deliberately hurt the country unless their rivals paid a hefty ransom — in this case, debt reduction. It didn’t matter that Republicans were largely responsible for the debt in the first place, and it didn’t matter that Republicans routinely raised the debt ceiling dozens of times over the last several decades.
This wasn’t just another partisan dispute; it was a scandal for the ages. This one radical scheme helped lead to the first-ever downgrade of U.S. debt; it riled financial markets and generated widespread uncertainty about the stability of the American system; and it severely undermined American credibility on the global stage. Indeed, in many parts of the world, observers didn’t just lose respect for us, they were actually laughing at us.
It’s the kind of thing that should have scarred the Republican Party for a generation. Not only did that never happen, the Republican hostage takers are already vowing to create this identical crisis all over again, on purpose.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) will threaten Tuesday that Congress will not raise the debt limit next year without spending cuts greater than the size of the debt ceiling increase.
According to excerpts of the remarks Boehner will deliver to the Peter G. Peterson Foundation fiscal summit on Tuesday afternoon, the Ohio lawmaker will “insist on my simple principle of cuts and reforms greater than the debt limit increase.” […]
He will also tell the audience: “We shouldn’t dread the debt limit. We should welcome it. It’s an action-forcing event in a town that has become infamous for inaction.”
It’s not hyperbolic to characterize this as madness. Boehner is, in no uncertain terms, announcing that he and his party will deliberately hurt the country — and he’s calling his hostage-taking strategy an “action-forcing event.”
At a certain level, it’s true that holding a gun to someone’s head forces “action,” but it’s also true that such aggression tears at the fabric of the body politic.
I should emphasize that Boehner’s comments don’t come as a surprise. After the crisis was resolved last summer, the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities President Robert Greenstein explained, “Those who have engaged in hostage-taking — threatening the economy and the full faith and credit of the U.S. Treasury to get their way — will conclude that their strategy worked. They will feel emboldened to pursue it again every time that we have to raise the debt limit in the future.”
And that’s exactly what has happened. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) told Fox News that the GOP-created crisis “set the template for the future.” He vowed, “We’ll be doing it all over” in 2013.
In case anyone’s forgotten, over the last 72 years — before 2011 — Congress raised the debt ceiling 89 times. Lawmakers from both parties, working with presidents from both parties, treated this as routine housekeeping. Preconditions have never been applied to this process, and neither party has ever used the law to hold the nation’s full faith and credit hostage. Clean debt-ceiling votes weren’t always popular, but they’ve been a standard American norm for generations.
Last year, radicalized Republicans changed the game, and they apparently have no intention of going back. This wasn’t a one-time hostage strategy, threatening the nation’s wellbeing in a fit of partisan rage; this was the creation of a new norm, to be repeated forever more. Why? Because the dangerous scheme worked — when radicalism is rewarded, the result is more radicalism.
Update: Incidentally, it’s also worth realizing that Boehner is demanding another debt-ceiling deal less than a year after breaking the terms of the agreement he reached last summer. President Obama is well positioned to ask a simple question: “If you won’t keep your word and honor your own agreements, why should I negotiate with you?”
IT’S OFFICIAL; GEORGE BUSH IS BACKING ROMNEY’S BUSH YEARS PLANS!
May 15, 2012 11:59am
George W. Bush: ‘I’m for Mitt Romney’
Mitt Romney has the support of George W. Bush.
“I’m for Mitt Romney,” Bush told ABC News this morning as the doors of an elevator closed on him, after he gave a speech on human rights a block from his old home — the White House.
Bush’s endorsement isn’t a surprise, given that Romney is virtually the Republican Party’s nominee. But the 43rd president has been absent from the 2012 campaign and hasn’t made any public comments showing his support for Romney.
Romney did get the formal backing of Bush’s parents, President George H.W. Bush and Barbara Bush, in March.
People who worked in the Bush administration say they doubt the former president will be campaigning for Romney this year. Even in his post-presidential life, Bush still gets a lot of the blame for the poor economy, according to polls, though he has become more popular since leaving office.
Bush was speaking today at an event to promote the George W. Bush Presidential Center’s campaign for human rights activists around the world.
Jindal attacks — four years too late
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 11:20 AM EDT.
It sometimes seems as if Republicans haven’t updated their talking points in a very long while.
Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal, who has endorsed Mitt Romney and is sometimes mentioned as a potential running mate, attacked President Obama on Tuesday and defended Romney’s record in business.
“President Obama hasn’t run anything before he was elected President of the United States,” Jindal said on Fox News’s America’s Newsroom. “Never ran a state, never a business, never ran a lemonade stand.”
This is a pretty standard criticism for any presidential candidate whose background is legislative work. Recent major-party nominees like John McCain, John Kerry, and Bob Dole — none of whom served as a governor or business leader — faced similar critiques.
But what Jindal lacks is a calendar — these criticisms of Obama’s record were made four years ago. Since early 2009, he’s been president of the United States during a time of foreign and domestic crises. Obama may not have led a state or a business before getting elected, but he led a nation after getting elected.
Like him or not, Obama’s experience with lemonade stands isn’t nearly as relevant in 2012 as his experience as Commander in Chief during a time of war. So what on earth is Jindal talking about?
Perhaps Republicans are feeling a little defensive about the fact that they’re nominating the least-experienced major-party presidential nominee in more than 70 years, and if elected, Mitt Romney would be the least experienced president in 100 years.
But defensive or not, the GOP should try to remember it’s running against a sitting president, not a sitting senator.
Have a seat, Bobby “Brady” Jindal.
did you all see this foolishness?
Obama best look for variation in ‘Bradley effect’
By L. DOUGLAS WILDER | 5/14/12 9:19 PM EDT
Is the “Bradley effect” dead? The Obama campaign had better not count on it.
The way Barack Obama won the presidency in 2008 led many commentators and political scientists to drive what they cited as the final nail into the coffin of the Bradley effect. This term, named for Los Angeles Mayor Tom Bradley, defines how polling for elections between a minority candidate and a white candidate is skewed if voters won’t admit that they will not vote for a minority candidate. (Some East Coast political analysts call this the “Wilder effect” — since this same phenomena happened during my 1989 gubernatorial campaign in Virginia.)
But what if the Bradley effect is not dead? What if this byproduct of racism has only metastasized?
Time magazine explained the Bradley effect in an October 2008 article:
“In 1982, Tom Bradley — the African-American mayor of Los Angeles — ran for governor of California. On the eve of the election, polls anointed him a prohibitive favorite. But on Election Day, Bradley lost to his white opponent, Republican George Deukmejian.”
Post-election analysis showed that white voters had cast ballots for Bradley in far smaller numbers than polling suggested. Meanwhile, the votes of the avowed “undecideds” fell in a cascading wave for Deukmejian.
Read more: http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0512/76274.html#ixzz1uxENyr8D
I always remember this piece from Prometheus 6:
The Bradley Effect
October 14, 2008 — ptcruiser
There never was and there never will be a “Bradley Effect”. Citing covert white racism as the principal reason for the Republican George Deukmejian’s defeat of the Democrat Tom Bradley is simply wrong. Attributing Bradley’s loss solely to white voters not casting their ballots for him because he was black is understandable because it allows us to construct a narrative that neatly fits into our preconceptions and experiences. This story, however, lures us away from searching for any other reasons that might better explain Bradley’s defeat.
The truth is that if the Bradley campaign and the California State Democratic Party had turned out just one-third more of the state’s registered and eligible black voters then Bradley would have won the election. Yes, some white voters in California changed their minds or lied about voting for a black candidate, but that should not excuse the failure of the Bradley campaign and the state Democratic Party to reach out to black voters and mount a serious GOTV effort in predominantly black neighborhoods in the state.
In Los Angeles County and in the City of Los Angeles alone, where Bradley had served four terms as the city’s mayor, tens of thousands of black voters and blacks eligible to vote did not go to the polls to vote. Bradley and his advisors either never saw a need to organize and mobilize black voters or they were afraid to do so for fear of alienating whites. If the latter case is true, then it might be more appropriate to label this behavior as the real Bradley Effect.
In the wake of Bradley’s loss one enterprising reporter asked a Bradley aide if the campaign could have done more to reach out to minority voters. The aide cited a television ad the campaign ran featuring Bradley in a suit standing in a grove of redwood trees talking about “diversity” as an example of the campaign’s effort to reach out to minority voters!
The fact is that Bradley simply failed to generate as much enthusiasm as might have been expected among a large swath of the black electorate in the city and the county of Los Angeles and the State of California. Many blacks may not have voted because they did not believe that Bradley would win but many others may have felt that Bradley and his campaign either took their support for granted or chose to ignore their concerns.
Let’s not forget too, for example, that Bradley had managed in the 1950s to become a lieutenant in the LAPD, which was one of the most brutal and notoriously racist police departments in the country. A black man who attained an officer’s rank in the LAPD was probably not a black man who openly challenged the department or directly confronted a political system that oppressed blacks and other minorities. In addition, the Bradley campaign probably put too much stock in the advice of too many arm-chair generals in the black community rather than organizing elements of the black electorate to walk the streets and knock on doors. Bradley’s ascension to the governor’s office might have met the legitimate aspirational concerns of the black bourgeoisie but not the needs of a broader swath of the black electorate.
If a larger percentage of black voters statewide had turned out to vote, the specter of the Bradley Effect would never have been raised despite the fact that some white voters misled pollsters as to their intentions. The Bradley Effect has now entered popular lore as a short hand way of explaining why black candidates may not do as well on election day as the polls indicated they would do. The sad reality is that covert racism was only one of several factors in Bradley’s loss and it would have been a non-factor if the Bradley campaign had done more to reach out to California’s black electorate.
I <3 THIS ARTICLE! GO, Prometheus 6!
Black folks just need to get their ASSES to the polls and vote. PERIOD
Briefing by Press Secretary Jay Carney
The White House
May 15, 2012 12:30 PM EDT
President Obama Welcomes Major League Soccer champions, the LA Galaxy, to the White House
The White House
May 15, 2012 2:15 PM EDT
The First Lady’s South Lawn Soccer Clinic with students and the LA Galaxy
The White House
May 15, 2012 2:15 PM EDT
WATCH IT LIVE HERE: http://www.whitehouse.gov/live
Revenge fans, ABC has moved it to Sunday nights, behind Once Upon A Time.
“Implicit Racial Bias” and Preference for Republican Candidates over Obama
At UW Today, a University of Washington publication, Molly McElroy recently published a summary of research by Anthony Greenwald at the University of Washington with some other psychological researchers. The title of her article is “Unconscious racial attitudes playing large role in 2012 presidential vote.”
McElroy summarizes their current and earlier research:
In a study done just prior to the 2008 presidential election, Greenwald and colleagues found that race attitudes played a role in predicting votes for the Republican candidate John McCain.
They used the implicit association test (IAT), which we have discussed a bit previously here. One version of the IAT has respondents match white and black faces to desirable and undesirable words, and the speed/difficulty in matching in used to judge “implicit” or “unconscious racial bias.”
Romney campaign defends JPMorgan loss as market risk
U.S. Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign said on Tuesday that JPMorgan Chase & Co’s huge trading losses were an unfortunate part of a free market economy.
Romney adviser Eric Fehrnstrom told NBC that, while Romney supports some financial regulation, the losses at one of the nation’s largest banks involved investors, not taxpayers, and that rules for Wall Street should not hamper investments.
“The leadership of that company will be held accountable for this trading loss, but we don’t want to punish companies, he told NBC’s “Today” program. “There was no taxpayer money at risk. All of the losses went to investors, which is how it works in a public market.”
The Romney campaign’s comments come the day after President Barack Obama said the huge trading loss highlighted the need for Wall Street reform. Some JPMorgan executives have already left the bank, which could see additional fallout when its shareholders meet later on Tuesday.
Wall Street reform has become a top campaign issue for Obama, a Democrat, and his presumptive Republican rival leading up to the November 6 presidential election.
Obama has faced opposition in implementing new rules for Wall Street, one of his signature domestic policy achievements. Romney has stressed his experience as a business executive.
“Mitt Romney is not advocating that there be no regulation,” Fehrnstrom said. “But our regulation should be effective, it should be streamlined. It should not be cumbersome, and it should not act as a wet blanket or a damper on the economy.”
here are the KOCH BROTHERS going against this country.
Republicans Order Navy to Quit Buying Biofuels
By Noah Shachtman Email Author May 14, 2012 | 1:58 pm | Categories: Navy
On Monday, the U.S. Navy will officially announce the ships for its demonstration of the “Great Green Fleet” — an entire aircraft carrier strike group powered by biofuels and other eco-friendly energy sources. If a powerful congressional panel has its way, it could be the last time the Navy ever uses biofuels to run its ships and jets.
In its report on next year’s Pentagon budget, the House Armed Services Committee banned the Defense Department from making or buying an alternative fuel that costs more than a “traditional fossil fuel.” It’s a standard that may be almost impossible to meet, energy experts believe; there’s almost no way the tiny, experimental biofuel industry can hope to compete on price with the massive, century-old fossil fuels business.
Committee Republicans, like Rep. Randy Forbes, insist this isn’t an attempt to kill off military biofuels before they have a chance to start. “Now, look, I love green energy,” he said in February. “It’s a matter of priorities.”
But if the measure becomes law, it would make it all-but-inconceivable for the Pentagon to buy the renewable fuels. It would likely scuttle one of the top priorities of Navy Secretary Ray Mabus. And it might very well suffocate the gasping biofuel industry, which was looking to the Pentagon to help it survive.
“We’d be years behind if it wasn’t for the military,” said Tom Todaro, a leading biofuel entrepreneur whose companies have supplied the military with tens of thousands of gallons of fuel made from mustard seeds.
When Mabus took over as Navy Secretary, he declared that the service would get half of its energy from sources other than oil by 2020. The two-day Great Green Fleet demo, scheduled for the end of June in Hawaii, is supposed to be the biggest step yet towards that beyond-ambitious goal.
The destroyers USS Chafee and Chung Hoon will plow through the Pacific and F/A-18 jets will scream off of the USS Nimitz‘s flight deck, all thanks to a 50/50 blend of alternative and traditional fuel. It’ll not only show the world that the Pentagon is serious about biofuels — a full-scale Green Fleet deployment is scheduled for 2016. It’ll also serve as a signal to skittish investors that biofuel companies have a willing customer in the U.S. Navy.
But the Green Fleet’s 450,000 gallons of fuel made from chicken fat and other waste greases (plus a dollop of algae oil) didn’t come cheap. At $12 million — arguably the biggest biofuel purchase in military history — the algae-chicken goop costs about four times more than an old-school petroleum product.
There were political costs, too. Committee Republicans — unhappy about shrinking defense budgets and skeptical about the White House’s green initiatives — used the biofuel buy as a way to go after the administration.
“I understand that alternative fuels may help our guys in the field, but wouldn’t you agree that the thing they’d be more concerned about is having more ships, more planes, more prepositioned stocks,” Rep. Randy Forbes said during a February hearing with Mabus. “Shouldn’t we refocus our priorities and make those things our priorities instead of advancing a biofuels market?” Then he told Mabus: “You’re not the secretary of the energy. You’re the secretary of the Navy.”
Mabus and his allies countered that the Republicans were taking an overly-simplistic view of things. Of course relatively small batches of a new fuel are going to be expensive — just like the original, 5GB iPod cost $400 and held fewer songs than today’s $129 model, which holds 8 GB. That’s the nature of research and development. With development time and big enough purchases, the costs of biofuels will come down, they argued; already, the price has dropped in half since 2009.
“It’s a false choice to say that we should concentrate on more ships versus a different kind of fuel. If we don’t get a different kind of fuel, if we don’t have a secure domestic supply of energy at an affordable price… the ships and the planes may not be able to be used because we can’t get the fuel,” Mabus told the Senate Subcommittee on Water and Power in March.
What’s more, Mabus added, there’s a value in a more stable, domestic supply of fuel; every time the price of oil goes up by a dollar per barrel, it costs the Navy $31 million. “We simply buy too much fossil fuels from places that are either actually or potentially volatile, from places that may or may not have our best interests at heart,” he said. “We would never let these places build our ships, our aircraft, our ground vehicles, but we do give them a say on whether those ships steam, aircraft fly, or ground vehicles operate because we buy so much energy from them.”
None of those arguments managed to sway House Republicans, who last Wednesday voted to impose its ban on alt-fuels that cost more than the traditional stuff. InsideDefense.com first noted the measure.
Long before the congressmen made their decisions, biofuel industry insiders told Danger Room that their products would never be as cheap as petroleum-based ones.
“This idea that we can match [the price of] crude oil — I think it’s such a bullshit question,” Tom Todaro said back in October. “A car with airbags costs more than a car without. Society decides how valuable those airbags are. Society can decide the value of renewable fuels.”
But the armed services committee didn’t put limits on all alternative fuels — just the ones with environmental benefits. The Energy Independence and Security Act of 2007 forbids federal agencies from buying alternative fuels that are more polluting than conventional ones. Last week, the congressmen ordered to exempt the Defense Department from those regulations.
“I need to sit down…”
By Laura Wilson on May 14, 2012
“I need to sit down…”
That’s what Beth, a teacher in New Jersey, said when she found out she was one of the grassroots supporters who had won the chance to meet President Obama at a fundraiser at George Clooney’s house.
Karen, a working mom in Florida, got that call, too:
Karen: “I didn’t want to get my hopes up! But when we knew for certain, it was nerve-wracking, and exciting.”
Beth: “When we got on the plane it was the best feeling ever. But I had trouble sleeping—I was smiling too much to sleep! My husband was just as excited. He always voted Republican until Barack Obama. He admires the President so much, and he’s been really frustrated by Republican road-blocking.
“When we arrived at George Clooney’s and we were introduced as the contest winners, a bunch of guests immediately came running up to take pictures with us! Oh my goodness, what a crazy twist. Jerry said right away, ‘I see George Clooney; lets thank him for making this possible.’ Jerry’s the kind of guy who can talk to anyone about anything, and they hit it off.”
Karen, who brought her husband Patrick along, had been thinking about what they wanted to say to the President from the moment they heard about the contest.
Karen: “I wanted to thank President Obama for having courage to pursue the presidency as a person of color—and for then staying true to what he wanted to do from the very beginning, making America a place where everyone has the same opportunities.
“When the President arrived, we went into George Clooney’s living room. The anticipation of actually meeting him … I didn’t want to mess up! But the President was so calm and down to earth, it put us right at ease.”
Beth: “It was like meeting a friend. As a teacher, I thanked him for his STEM initiatives. And we talked about his daughters, what sports they’re in, and how he misses having time with them now that they’re older and busy with activities. He said when they run into the house they go blasting by and give him a peck on the cheek. The day before we left the President spoke out in support of gay marriage, and when I saw how he talked about his daughters’ reaction … it’s neat that he cared about how they see the world.”
Karen: “After we chatted we took some group pictures. My mom and my dad both have pictures of the Obama family on their mantles—I think they cut them out from somewhere—and I’m so happy I can give them a real picture of the President now. As Floridians, my husband and I are ready to do our part—we’re talking about hosting a grassroots fundraising party at our home sometime soon.”
Beth: “In his speech during the dinner, the President said we can’t be complacent—that the last election was like lightning in a bottle, and that it can’t happen the same way twice. People need to be involved now more than ever.”
Thanks for sharing this. Too cool.
The drivers of our debt
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 10:03 AM EDT.
About a year ago, Rep. Michael Grimm (R-N.Y.) hosted a town-hall meeting with some constituents, one of whom said Bush-era policies are largely responsible for the current budget deficit. The Republican didn’t take the news well.
“This year’s deficit is due to George Bush? That’s insanity!” Grimm said. He added, “That’s insane.”
I can appreciate why Grimm’s pushback might resonate with some folks. George W. Bush left office more than three years ago, so it may seem as if today’s problems no longer have anything to do with him. Why blame Bush for Obama-era deficits? Grimm, who routinely struggles to understand the basics of current events, was incredulous, and I suspect plenty of Republicans agree.
But reality isn’t “insane,” and the facts are incontrovertible. Sahil Kapur published this chart this morning.
If the image looks familiar, it’s because the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities published something very similar a while back (the wonks call it the “parfait chart”).
This is important for a couple of reasons. First, there’s the simple matter of basic accountability — though some on the right prefer to think it’s “insane” to hold Bush-era policies responsible for current problems, the truth is, sweeping policy agendas carry lasting consequences. In this case, Bush not only squandered a massive surplus, added $5 trillion to the debt, and left a $1.3 trillion deficit for Obama to deal with, he also approved policies that we’re still struggling to pay for, years after his departure.
That’s not opinion or spin; it’s fact. When Republicans in 2012 cast blame for this year’s budget shortfall, they’re generally condemning the wrong president.
Second, understanding what actually drives our debt is key to understanding how to address the debt. For GOP policymakers and their presidential nominee, the answer is increasing defense spending, more tax cuts, and slashing investments in health care, education, and combating poverty.
But the chart tells a very different kind of story: Bush-era tax breaks represent the biggest chunk of the deficits projected in the coming years. If there’s a “debt crisis” — there isn’t, but for the sake of conservation, let’s say it’s possible — common sense suggests policymakers would start with the single biggest driver of the debt.
For the right, President Obama’s policies are “bankrupting” the country. For those who care about facts, it’s not Obama’s agenda that’s causing the budget shortfall.
Rush Limbaugh, busted
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 9:22 AM EDT.
About two months ago, as controversy swirled around Rush Limbaugh, the right-wing radio host lost all kinds of advertisers who didn’t want to sponsor his on-air misogyny. But the news wasn’t all bad.
Despite his antics, the Missouri Legislature announced at the time that it would honor the Republican broadcaster with a statue at the state capitol, giving him a place in the Hall of Famous Missourians. Limbaugh’s bust will sit alongside the likes of Mark Twain, Harry Truman, and Walt Disney.
The event for Limbaugh was held yesterday, and after delivering some remarks, the host returned to the microphone with some thoughts he’d neglected to mention. Our pal James Carter passed along this clip.
“Our so-called ‘friends’ on the other side of the aisle,” Limbaugh said, “are deranged.”
Mark Twain, Harry Truman, Walt Disney, and a misogynist who thinks Democrats are “deranged” and advocates for access to contraception are “sluts.” Congratulations, Missouri.
Incidentally, Republican leaders of the Missouri House kept yesterday’s event secret until 25 minutes beforehand, hoping to keep protestors away from the unveiling of Limbaugh’s bronze bust.
>b>The Last Word: Rewriting Romney’s Christian pandering
THE LAST WORD-LAWRENCE O’DONNELL
Posted at 08:59 AM ET, 05/15/2012
The Morning Plum:
Wall Street accountability resurfaces as major issue
By Greg Sargent
In purely political terms, the J.P. Morgan debacle was a gift for Dems. It has given them a new rallying point in the push to draw a sharp ideological contrast with Republicans over government oversight of the private sector and to align the GOP with the sort of Wall Street recklessness that led to the economic meltdown and widespread economic misery.
Elizabeth Warren, who is perhaps more identified for a confrontational posture towards Wall Street than any Dem in the country, is up with a new radio spot that seizes on the J.P. Morgan loss to amplify that case — and charging that Wall Street is out to steal people’s pensions.
“Even now, Wall Street banks that got bailed out are still at it — gambling recklessly,” Warren says. “Wall Street isn’t going to change its ways until Washington gets serious about strong oversight and real accountability. No special deals. We need a tough cop on the beat to amke sure that nobody steals your purse on Main Street, or your pension on Wall Street.”
Meanwhile, Eric Griego, a candidate in the battle for New Mexico’s First District, a House race worth watching, is up with a new ad in which Griego explicitly says he “won’t stop until Wall Street bankers who broke the law go to jail.”
Griego — perhaps the first to campaign on a call for jailing bankers — has the backing of national liberal groups like the Progressive Change Campaign Committee, who see this as a test of whether unabashed liberals get get elected to Congress with a tough message demanding genuine accountability for Wall Street criminality. National Dems should keep an eye on this race, too, to see what kind of resonance this message has
GOP= WAR ON WOMEN, CHILDREN, POC, GAYS, & ANY RELIGION OTHER THAN CHRISTIANITY.
Just in: FBI seeks to Charge Zimmerman with a Hate Crime
Posted on May 14, 2012 by Adalia Woodbury
It looks like George Zimmerman’s legal problems are getting more serious as the possibility that he could face a Federal hate crime charge in addition to State charges becomes increasingly likely.
After months of speculation about Federal action in this case, wftv.com reports that the FBI is actively questioning witnesses in an effort to obtain the evidence necessary to prosecute Zimmerman for a hate crime in the shooting death of 17 year old Trayvon Martin earlier this year. If he is charged with a hate crime, Zimmerman could face the death penalty.
According to legal analyst, Bill Schaeffer, a successful conviction would mean proving that when Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin he acted out of hatred for African Americans.
“What the government would have to prove is that Mr. Zimmerman acted out of hatred toward African-Americans. That’s why he came into contact with him. That’s why he shot and killed him,” Sheaffer said.
Sheaffer said a federal hate crime murder charge could bring more serious consequences than the second-degree murder charge Zimmerman faces now.
“Mr. Zimmerman could be punished by up to life in prison or even the death penalty,” said Sheaffer.
In other news on this case, ABC reports O’Mara received volumes of evidence from the prosecution on Monday including: never before seen witness statements, 911 calls, non-emergency calls, photos, video and medical records. He was also given a list of 22 new witnesses.
The next schedule court appearance is on August 8.
May 15, 2012 8:03 AM
JPMorgan CEO Jamie Dimon faces shareholders after $2B trading mistake
CBS/AP) TAMPA, Fla. – JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon is set to face shareholders days after announcing a $2 billion trading mistake and while a full-scale revolt is unlikely, there may be calls for the bank to split the roles of chairman and chief executive, both of which Dimon currently holds.
Shareholders will be looking for information on what Dimon’s role was in the blunder – a bad bet with so-called credit derivatives. But despite the hit to his reputation as an expert at managing risk, the executive has enjoyed widespread support within the company and among shareholders, making calls for his ouster improbable.
There is, however, an actionable measure on the ballot at the bank’s annual meeting that could prevent one person from holding the titles of chairman and CEO. A number of shareholders told CBS News correspondent Rebecca Jarvis that they would be more comfortable with splitting the roles, a setup that other big banks, such as Citigroup, employ.
Investors lopped almost 10 percent off JPMorgan’s stock price the day after he told analysts about the $2 billion loss, and 3 percent more on Monday. Since Dimon made the announcement, almost $20 billion in market value has evaporated.
Over the weekend, Elizabeth Warren, architect of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau and a Senate candidate from Massachusetts, called for Dimon to give up his board seat at the Federal Reserve Bank of New York.
Mon May 14, 2012 at 08:19 AM PDT.
Scott Brown sole state legislator to back up Mitt Romney in LGBT youth commission veto
Here’s another thing Mitt Romney and Sen. Scott Brown have in common: an apparent problem with the gays. In 2006, in his capacity as governor, Romney attempted to disband the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, a commission set up in 1992 by then-Gov. William Weld, also a Republican.
The state legislature, determined to preserve the commission, passed legislation to make the group independent of the governor’s office. Romney vetoed that legislation. One state senator, only one, voted to uphold Romney’s veto. That state senator was Scott Brown, something Brown apparently doesn’t want to talk about now.
Brown’s campaign did not return a request for comment about why he supported Romney’s veto. […]
Although Romney and Brown are running in two of the most high-profile races of the 2012 election cycle, they have largely kept their distance from one another. In 2010, Brown broke with his party and supported the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.
“It’s no wonder they’re staying away from each other. … Romney’s message is, ‘I really am a conservative.’ Scott Brown’s is, ‘I am a Massachusetts Republican, I am more moderate,’” Chip Felkel, a Republican strategist based in South Carolina, told theBoston Herald. “They’re conflicting.”
In the state legislature, Brown apparently didn’t find bullying of gay kids a problem, and he apparently still doesn’t. Remember this, when all of the Massachusetts congressional delegation got together to make a joint “It Gets Better” spot?
Who’s missing? Scott Brown, of course. He wasn’t left out of they party because he’s a Republican. He was invited to participate, but declined. Massachusetts voters shouldn’t be fooled by Brown’s DADT vote; he’s no more a moderate than Romney.
Mon May 14, 2012 at 02:10 PM PDT.
Mitt Romney campaign ignores the question at the heart of the Bain criticism
Mitt Romney’s campaign is responding to the Obama campaign’s criticism of Romney’s Bain record with a 60-second web ad talking about a Bain deal that went well and created jobs: their investment in Steel Dynamics, which is now worth more than $6 billion and employes over six thousand workers.
The ad does a good job of selling Steel Dynamics as a success story, but it glosses over at least three important points:
1.Bain Capital sold its stake in Steel Dynamics 13 years ago, in 1999. It helped get the company off the ground, but can’t take credit for turning it into the company that it is today.
2.Bain isn’t the only reason Steel Dynamics got off the ground: The company sought and received $37 million in subsidies from state and local officials in Indiana.
3.Steel Dynamics is in the same industry as GST Steel … but the two companies have nothing to do with each other.
The bottom-line is that Bain made more than $80 million on the Steel Dynamics deal more than a decade ago. Yes, it got $37 million in public subsidies, but there are still people on the job. That’s a good thing, but it has nothing to do with the central question raised by the Obama campaign’s ad, which is this: Why did Mitt Romney make millions even when his investments failed?
GST Steel, the company at the center of the first Obama campaign ad on Romney’s Bain record, is just one example of such an investment, but it goes straight to the heart of the Bain criticism—criticism that Romney has not addressed, and probably will not address.
The issue isn’t that GST collapsed or that its workers lost their jobs. It’s that Romney and Bain Capital made enormous profits on the deal despite the failure of the company. They loaded it up with debt, bankrupting the company and destroying its pension fund, walking away with millions—leaving employees out of work and taxpayers on the hook for the pension fund guarantees.
Nobody expects every single business to be a success, but how is Mitt Romney’s business motto—tails I win, heads you lose—compatible with free enterprise? If a company he invests in fails, shouldn’t he share in that failure? Isn’t that one of the most basic rules of our economic system? Yet with Mitt Romney’s business model, that rule did not apply to him, and he’s never explained why. And changing the topic by talking about Steel Dynamics doesn’t put the question to rest.
A Bully Never Forgets. Unless That Bully Is Mitt Romney.
By Tom Junod
I was a bully in fifth and sixth grade. I wasn’t one of the bullies — I wasn’t strong or dominant enough to be one of the kids who bullied everyone in equal measure. I was a bully, in that I bullied a kid, whose name I won’t mention here. My bullying was selective and personal. I was vulnerable, and so when I found someone more vulnerable than I was, I went after him with a directed fury. I didn’t hate him; but I hated the idea of him, which amounted to his very existence. I punished his weakness as a way of punishing my own. That I wasn’t articulate enough to poison myself with elaborate self-justification doesn’t mean that I didn’t try: clearly, my bullying was meant as a corrective of some kind, for both myself and my victim. He was weak and I was strong (though it’s more psychologically accurate to say that I was strong as long as he was weak) and I took it upon myself to make a man of him. It was an infernal and infernally extended mission, but it succeeded to this degree: When I called him ten years ago for an article I was writing on bullying, he said, “I’ve had to overcome a lot of obstacles in my life, and you’re one of them. Please don’t call me again.”
It was a formative experience, then, for both me and him. For him, a trial by fire, administered from the outside, as the world’s vengeance upon his innocence; for me, because I was not the innocent but rather the offender, a trial of a different kind altogether. He’ll never forget me, and neither will I — that is, I’ll never forget him but I’ll also never forget myself and what I did to him. It is insufficient to say that my experience as a bully haunts me. Rather, my experience as a bully has been fundamental to the creation of my conscience, because it is what prevents me from making the basic human claim that I am a good person. It stands in the way, and so although like all human beings I am powerless to expunge or undo an experience eternal to my past, I can try to remember it, and what it said — what it continues to say — about me. I have a mean streak and I am capable of cruelty. This does not mean that I am necessarily mean and cruel; instead, it means that I have to be vigilant about my capacity for cruelty and the mean bone in my body. It means that I have to subject my motivations to rigorous examination, especially since I am in a business that often rewards cruelty for its own sake.
And so it was with a shock of recognition and then, well, shock, that I heard last week’s revelations that Mitt Romney was a prep-school bully. I am not running for president, but I’ve always known if I ever did run for president — or local dogcatcher, for that matter — the boy I bullied would and should arise as a necessary ghost from my past. And I have always known what I would say: that yes, I was a bully; that I remember each and every attack I originated; that the experience is burned in my memory as it is burned on my conscience, because memory and conscience are intertwined; that although the experience happened long ago, it has become part of me; that I acknowledge it as a way of surmounting it; that I hope I have surmounted it, and that every day I hope and I pray I am not that person, although the only way to avoid being that person is to admit that I am that person, the one capable of doing those things.
But Mitt Romney didn’t say anything like that. Mitt Romney blew the report off. Mitt Romney said that he didn’t remember the incidents in question — that he didn’t remember orchestrating an attack on a long-haired classmate, that he didn’t remember pinning the boy down and personally taking the scissors to him, that he didn’t remember the boy weeping and begging for mercy. Mitt Romney apologized for “whatever pain” his “prank” may have caused. Well, it takes one to know one, as the schoolyard saying goes, and so my first reaction was that the so-called “presumptive Republican candidate for president” is lying — either to us or to himself. He remembers. Of course he remembers. He has to remember, because no one forgets doing something like that, and the ones who do forget….
Which is what led me to my second reaction: What if Mitt Romney is telling the truth? What if he doesn’t remember because he thought nothing of it? The language of his statement suggests that he’s copping to being a prankster but not a bully — that he’s not denying the past but simply saying that the past is a matter of interpretation. But it’s not, and as man who has spent the better part of his life silently pleading guilty to the kinds of crimes of which Mitt Romney stands accused, I can only wonder what kind of person I’d be if I tried to beat the rap of conscience on a technicality. I can only wonder what kind of person I’d be if instead of confronting the past I tried to forget it or, worse, tried to say it wasn’t really that bad. I can only wonder what kind of person I’d be if the stone of cruelty in my heart was subject not to the slow trickle of conscience but rather to my sense of ambition and entitlement — to those jewelers of the self who, beholding the stone, declared it a gem, precious and hard, of inestimable worth in the bazaars of business and politics, and set it for my presidential ring.
And here’s the thing: I thank God I don’t know. Long ago, I made an innocent kid suffer; one of the great gifts of my life is that I suffered in return. Mitt Romney doesn’t appear to have suffered at all for the suffering he inflicted; but as one lucky enough to have broken the mean bone in my body and to have worn it in a sling, I can tell him that what he’s accused of doing to the boy whose hair and existence was such an affront to him was not a prank; it was a punishment, to both the victim and the perpetrators. The victim almost certainly remembered it to the day he died; the least the perpetrator can do, if only for himself, is to try and do the same.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/mitt-romney-bullying-8835667#ixzz1uwZXJYsW
May 14, 2012 5:32 PM
The Affordable Care Act Gets Real
By Ed Kilgore
It’s been obvious since the enactment of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 that opponents had a “window” for seeking its repeal during which its most important and beneficial provisions would not have yet taken place. A handful of provisions from which some citizens have already benefitted—e.g., allowing children to remain on their parents’ health insurance policies longer, and a one-time rebate for people affected by Medicare Part D’s “doughnut hole”—have already taken effect. The biggies—the individual mandate, the introduction of the exchanges, the new federal subsidies, the bans on health-condition denials and preexisting condition exclusions, the introduction of community rating, the Medicaid expansion—come later, mostly at the end of 2013
But a few provisions kick in between now and then, and as Steve Benen has explained, one quite tangible one is the so called “medical loss ratio” rebates that insurers are expected to mail out by August 1 to an estimated 16 million Americans (a majority, actually, via their employers). The rebates are required whenever less than 80% of premiums are ultimately spent on actual health care, as opposed to advertising, lobbying, executive salaries, or other major “overhead” costs.
A Kaiser Foundation estimate is that the initial rebates under this rule will amount to $1.3 billion, with the rebates averaging $127. The number of people benefitting in various states will differ significantly. Mark Halperin has come up with estimates that 1.7 million people will benefit in Florida; just over a million in Pennsylvania; 642,000 in Virginia; and 511,000 in Colorado.
The checks will not, of course, go out if the entire ACA is declared unconstitutional by the U.S. Supreme Court in June or July. If the checks do go out, you can add the medical loss ratio rebates, or as some call it the 80/20 Rule, to the list of popular items that Congress is going to be under considerable pressure to resurrect next year.
Why the Democrats Lose
By Charles P. Pierce
And then, of course, there are the Democrats, who are complete idiots.
Make no mistake. Recalling Scott Walker is a big honking deal. America is full these days of Republican governors who overrreached, and whose political support is trembly at best, whether it’s Snyder in Michigan, or Kasich in Ohio, or Bat Boy down in Florida, whose chief-of-staff just resigned in a hail of conflicts of interest — or, as Governor Bat Boy calls it, “Monday.” Bringing down Walker would bring more heat on all these guys, to say nothing of energizing labor for the campaigns ahead. Anybody who doesn’t recognize the Wisconsin recall as a national event hasn’t been paying attention. Certainly, the Republicans recognize it as such; Walker’s been in Wisconsin less than Ryan Braun has in the past few months.
For some reason, and I may never figure out why, the national Democratic party seems locked into the notion that there are national campaigns and local campaigns and that the latter affect the former only in what is accidental. Whereas the Republicans, through their vast interlocking political institutions like ALEC, take as gospel the notion that the national and the local are indistinguishable from each other in every important way. It’s inconceivable that a Republican effort to recall a Democratic governor would have to call national headquarters more than once before the dough started rolling in…..
According to the Wisconsin Dem, the party has asked the DNC for $500,000 to help with its massive field operation. While the DNC has made generally supportive noises, the money has not been forthcoming, the official says — with less than a month until the June 5th recall election. The DNC did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
How is this possibly even an issue? Half-a-million is boutonniere money in advertising dollars, but half-a-million for field organizing can be the difference in getting 10,000 people to the polls and, since the numbers in this race seem stuck on “by an eyelash,” it’s going to be won or lost on the ground. Perhaps, if she can be reached in one of her regular 25 Green Room, DNC chair Debbie Wasserman Schultz could be asked about this.
Read more: http://www.esquire.com/blogs/politics/scott-walker-recall-dnc-fundraising-8836645#ixzz1uwYzcJsN
Posted at 03:52 PM ET, 05/14/2012
Only one party’s to blame? Don’t tell the Sunday shows.
By Greg Sargent
Last month, Thomas Mann and Norman Ornstein published an Op ed and a book making the extremely controversial argument that both parties aren’t equally to blame for what ails Washington. They argued that the GOP — by allowing extremists to roam free and by wielding the filibuster to achieve government dysfunction as a political end in itself — were demonstrably more culpable for creating what is approaching a crisis of governance.
It turns out neither man has been invited on to the Sunday shows even once to discuss this thesis. As Bob Somerby and Kevin Drum note, these are among the most quoted people in Washington — yet suddenly this latest topic is too hot for the talkers, or not deemed relevant at all.
I ran this thesis by Ornstein himself, and he confirmed that the book’s publicity people had tried to get the authors booked on the Sunday shows, with no success.
“Not a single one of the Sunday shows has indicated an interest, and I do find it curious,” Ornstein told me, adding that the Op ed had well over 200,000 Facebook recommends and has been viral for weeks. “This is a level of attention for a book that we haven’t received before. You would think it would attract some attention from the Sunday shows.’
Ornstein also noted another interesting point. Their thesis takes on the media for falling into a false equivalence mindset and maintaining the pretense that both sides are equally to blame. Yet despite the frequent self-obsession of the media, even that angle has failed to generate any interest. What’s more, some reporters have privately indicated their frustration with their editorial overlords’ apparent deafness to this idea.
“The piece focused on press culpability — it would be hard to find a more sensitive issue for the media than the question of whether they’re doing their job,” Ornstein said. “We got tons of emails from some of the biggest reporters in the business, saying, `We’ve raised this in the newsroom, and editors just brush it aside.’”
Ornstein, while stressing that he wasn’t casting any blame, noted that the topic hasn’t come up on Howard Kurtz’s weekend media show.
This is curious. Is “experts confirm that, yes, one side is more to blame than the other, and journalists should say so” really too hot a topic for the Sunday shows? Is it not relevant or interesting?
New Romney Video Touts Steel Mill That Benefited From Government Largesse
By Alex Seitz-Wald on May 14, 2012 at 3:52 pm
Seeking to combat charges from the Obama campaign that Bain Capital extracted value from companies it purchased by firing employees and cutting benefits, Mitt Romney’s released a web video today profiling Steel Dynamics, one of the companies that Bain invested in.
The ad implies that the plant would not have been built without Romney’s assistance. Steele Dynamics “almost never got started,” the narrator says. “When others shied away, Mitt Romney’s private-sector leadership team stepped in.”
But the Fort Wayne Journal Gazette reported at the time (via Nexis), that Bain was just one of eight financiers for the project — hardly the lone white knight:
Financing to build the plant is coming from the Mellon Bank in Pittsburgh, NBD Bank, Fort Wayne National Bank, Lincoln National Life Insurance Co., the Bank of Japan, the Bank of Germany and the Paris Bank. Capital and Bain Capital are also investors.
And while the video touts Romney’s “private-sector” team, the company was successful thanks, in part, to big government subsidies and grants — $37 million from the state of Indiana and DeKalb County. And as the Los Angeles Times reported in January of this year, the county even raised taxes on residents to help fund the mill:
The county promised $23.4 million in property tax abatements and tax increment finance bonds, as well as a new income tax to generate economic development funds. The latter was required by the state, which shelled out another $13.6 million in tax credits, energy grants, workforce training and funds for roads.
A new quarter-percent tax on DeKalb County residents financed infrastructure improvements such as roads and railroad exchanges that benefited Steel Dynamics.
Indeed, while Romney and conservative allies have attacked President Obama for employing “corporate welfare” and “crony capitalism” to create green jobs, Romney-backed Steel Dynamics enjoyed government largesse on the local level. As the LA Times noted, “The story of Bain and Steel Dynamics illustrates how Romney, during his business career, made avid use of public-private partnerships, something that many conservatives consider to be ‘corporate welfare.’”
Bain invested $18.2 million in Steel Dynamics in 1994. Five years later, it sold its stake for $104 million, walking away with $85 million profit.
Mon May 14, 2012 at 12:04 PM PDT.
Romney campaign: Mitt destroying GST Steel was just like Obama saving the American auto industry
Byron York previews how Romneyland will respond to the Obama campaign’s Bain attack:
How will Romney respond? The Romney campaign has given some broad hints lately. First, the campaign has carefully scrutinized Romney’s entire record at Bain and believes it is a strongly positive one overall. But that is the big picture — there are individual instances in which Bain investments failed. Given that, look for the Romney campaign and its surrogates to counterattack by focusing on an instance in which Barack Obama, in essence, took over a company and laid people off in an effort to save the larger enterprise.
That was, of course, the auto bailouts, and while Obama often cites his success in “saving” the car industry, few remember today how many (non-union) workers lost their jobs in the Obama administration’s handling of the matter.
As crazy as that argument sounds, York may very well be right. In fact, earlier this year, it’s exactly the case that Romney himself made:
In the general election, I’ll be pointing out that the president took the reins of General Motors and Chrysler, closed factories, closed dealerships, laid off thousands and thousands of workers. He did it to try to save the business,” Romney said on CBS’s “This Morning.”
“We also had the occasion to do things that are tough to try to save a business,” Romney said. “We started a number of businesses, invested in many others and, overall, created tens of thousands of jobs.”
As Greg Sargent points out, this is a really strange argument for Romney to make: His goal was profit, not job creation. That’s not inherently bad; Romney was a private citizen. But it’s not at all like what Obama did, which was try to save an industry that had been crippled thanks to a private sector run amok.
The biggest problem with Romney’s counterattack, however, is that while everybody agrees that saving the auto industry was a good thing—hell, Romney himself is even trying to take credit for it—nobody in their right mind thinks it was good for the economy when Mitt Romney and Bain Capital made millions of dollars while putting GST Steel out of business. People don’t have a problem with successful businessmen: They just don’t like it when somebody like Mitt Romney makes huge profits while destroying companies.
To put it simply: The auto industry is still here, GST Steel isn’t. Mitt Romney got rich from what he did, President Obama didn’t. That’s not a contrast that works well for Mitt Romney. And even if it weren’t such a bad contrast, even if the core analogy that Romney is trying to make actually held up to scrutiny, he’d still be saying that President Obama did the right thing by saving the American auto industry. And that would raise another question: If Mitt Romney thinks President Obama is doing such a good job, why is he running the first place?
Obama Hits Mitt Where It Hurts
May 14, 2012
Why the president’s most recent ad is also his most important
The latest advertisement from the Obama campaign—which will air in Iowa, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Colorado, and Virginia—is, so far, the most important one of the president’s re-election effort. Take a look:
This is a brutal attack on Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital, and far more effective than anything launched by the former Massachusetts governor’s Republican opponents in the GOP primary. The workers are given space to speak for themselves, and the result is a focus on the human toll of Romney’s career. The ad insinuates that this is what a Romney presidency has in store for America. When coupled with continued emphasis on Romney’s opposition to the auto bailouts, it presents Romney as a cold, cruel plutocrat.
Here’s why this is crucial. If President Obama has built his“ brand” around honesty and likeability, then Mitt Romney is trying to center his on competence; you may not like the former Massachusetts governor—you may not even trust him—but you know that he can fix the United States, and turn around the ship. It’s why he focuses so heavily on his career in venture capitalism, and why—as Politico describes—this morning, the Romney campaign is devoted to “steadily building up Romney as a safe and competent alternative to President Barack Obama.”
Indeed, the idea that Romney is competent is key to building a perception of moderation for the GOP nominee. In American politics—or at least, the coverage thereof—“moderation” is tied to affect. In truth, Howard Dean was a left-leaning centrist, but his loud opposition to George W. Bush made him an “extremist.” On the other end, Wisconsin Representative Paul Ryan wants to drastically reshape government with low taxes on the wealthy, and deep cuts to programs for the poor, sick, and infirm. But because of his affable, wonkish persona, he’s perceived as a mainstream figure, despite how radical his agenda is. Romney is on the Paul Ryan side of the ledger, with a budget plan that would shred the social safety net. He needs voters to see him as a reasonable and competent steward of their affairs, and not as a stalking horse for the right-wing.
The Obama ad (and it’s corresponding website, Romneyeconomics.com) is a direct attack on Romney’s competence. In much the same way as Karl Rove, the campaign is trying to turn Romney’s strength—his private-sector experience—into a weakness. “Yes, Governor Romney was a skilled generator of wealth, but he did so at the cost of families like yours. Just imagine what he’ll do in the White House.” The Romney campaign has been trying to do the same to the president—and may well succeed—but for now, it’s a half-step when compared to this effort.
The good news for Romney is that voters are willing to accept his claim to competence. In the most recent survey from Pew, Romney wins 48 percent of those who say that jobs are the most important issue in this election. Likewise, according to Gallup, 61 percent say that Romney would do a “good or very good job” of handling the economy if elected president.
The bad news, however, is that Obama has space for his message; according to NBC News and the Wall Street Journal, 71 percent say that they would be more likely to vote for a candidate who says “America is better off when everyone gets a fair shot, does their fair share, and plays by the same rules,” and 76 percent say that they are more likely to vote for someone who promises to “fight for balance and fairness and encourage the investments needed to grow our economy and strengthen the middle class.” This is the core of Obama’s message, and one of the themes highlighted in his attack on Bain Capital.
Poll Shows Political Perils Of Obama’s Gay Marriage Stance
Tom Kludt- May 15, 2012, 8:08 AM
CBS News/New York Times poll released Monday evening confirmed that most people were unfazed by President Barack Obama’s public support of same-sex marriage. But the poll shed light on another development that could give the Obama re-election team pause: among those who were affected by his much-publicized announcement, 26 percent said they are now less likely to vote for the president.
While the CBS/NYT poll found that the majority of respondents — 57 percent — were unaffected by Obama’s announcement, the fallout could still affect what is shaping up to be a tight race. The poll underscores the political perils of Obama taking a position that, for all of the shift in public opinion, is still controversial within certain parts of the electorate (a point that TPM has noted as well).
Moreover, the poll seems to echo Republican criticism that the president’s decision to support same-sex marriage was driven by politics: 67 percent said Obama made his announcement “mostly for political reasons” while only 24 percent said he did it “mostly because he thinks it’s right.” A staggering 70 percent of independents — a voting bloc won by Mitt Romney, who also edged the president overall, in the poll — think Obama was politically motivated.
Ed Schultz talks about the GOP War on Healthcare and how, at the federal and state level, the GOP is doing what it can to hurt the American people.
The Top Four GOP Responses To Obama’s Bain Attack
Benjy Sarlin- May 15, 2012, 5:45 AM 2370It was only a matter of time. After staying mostly quiet through the Republican primaries, Democrats are kicking off a new campaign to convince voters that Mitt Romney earned his fortune by exploiting workers at Bain Capital.
But if Romney and Democrats alike were caught off guard when the topic came up in the otherwise finance-friendly GOP contest, they’ve had years to prepare for a general election fight on the issue, which came up in both Romney’s 1994 and 2002 statewide runs. So what are Romney and his allies doing to shut down the populist attack that many believe has already cost him a Senate seat and the South Carolina primary? Let’s review the emerging counterattacks so far.
1) What About All The Workers Who Weren’t Laid Off?
This has been Romney’s favorite response to Bain questions so far: playing up the company’s more voter-friendly success stories. He rebutted attacks from Gingrich during the primary with a statement from the founder of Staples, whose company used a small initial investment from Bain to grow into the office empire it is today.
This time around, Romney’s campaign was ready Monday with a feel-good web video about Steel Dynamics, an Indiana company that also used an investment from Bain to expand into a larger business and hire more workers.
Part of this strategy relies on carefully distinguishing between two aspects of Bain — and Romney’s — business practices. Most of Romney’s favorite success stories are examples of venture capital investments, like Staples, in which Bain helped a fledgling company take their business to the next level. But the bulk of Bain’s portfolio is private equity, a practice that is often less pretty in which existing companies are often bought up by an investor and stripped down to make them more appealing to investors in the short term. These are the stories Democrats like to highlight, like GST Steel, where Bain made millions in profit even as the company was on the path to bankruptcy.
2) Obama Hearts Private Equity
The Obama campaign has insisted repeatedly that its beef with Romney is about his specific business dealings and not private equity in general. But it can sound like a pretty thin distinction at times, especially to prominent Democratic donors who’ve worked in private equity themselves and are sensitive about being vilified as greedy corporate raiders.
Republicans looked to exploit this tension on Monday, circulating comments from former Obama adviser Steve Rattner, who co-founded the Quadrangle Group, a successful private equity firm. Rattner, hardly a fan of Romney in most circumstances, defended Bain Capital on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” as a model company and called Obama’s attacks “unfair” (though he did disagree with Romney’s claim that private equity creates jobs).
In a case of awkward timing, Obama attended a fundraiser Monday hosted by Tony James, a top executive at the world’s largest private equity firm, Blackstone Group. Like Rattner, James is on the record defending private equity from the “layoff artist” attacks that the Obama campaign now employs.
3) Let’s Talk About Solyndra Instead
The Romney campaign’s very first reaction to Obama’s Bain ad on Monday was to attack the president over Solyndra, the solar energy company that went bankrupt despite receiving over $500 million in loan guarantees from the federal government.
“President Obama has many questions to answer as to why his administration used the stimulus to reward wealthy campaign donors with taxpayer money for bad ideas like Solyndra, but 23 million Americans are still struggling to find jobs,” said Romney spokeswoman Andrea Saul in a statement.
This is another counterattack that Romney dusted off from the Republican primaries to deploy again in the general election. It doesn’t exactly make much sense beyond putting two stories next to each other that both involved the word “bankruptcy.” In the primaries, Republicans like RNC Chairman Reince Preibus tried to make the case that somehow Obama was no different than Romney because workers at Solyndra are now losing their jobs, too. But that was an investment in an independent company that went wrong, not a decision by the Obama administration to give out pink slips. By contrast, Bain’s business strategy was to take over companies and install their own manager to carry out a new plan that often involved laying off workers and cutting benefits in order to trim costs. Perhaps aware that they’re skating on thin ice with the analogy, Romney’s spokeswoman mostly used it as a non sequiter change of subject rather than a direct comparison.
British prosecutors charge Rebekah Brooks, ex-News of the World editor, and her husband in U.K. phone hacking probe.
WHEN IS RUPRET GOING DOWN?
May 15, 2012
Newsweek cover is an expose of Rubin (et al)
I always knew that Jennifer Rubin was little more than a first-rate, red-lamp hack for the diseased orthodoxy of the contemporary right, but I never realized, until today, that beneath her exterior of grifter opportunism there beat the black heart of a truly malevolent harpy.
That seems over-the-top, you say? Then you haven’t yet read her latest bile–“Newsweek cover is a gift to Romney”–in which she “humorously” assaults the magazine’s Andrew Sullivan and Tina Brown for having honored Barack Obama for his presidential, human, and philosophical decency in the matter of same-sex marriage. As a mouthpiece for Mitt Romney, Ms. Rubin is altogether unfamiliar with manly integrity; hence she resorts to schoolyard ridicule when she encounters it among the opposition.
The result? Something so unworthy of the Washington Post, it further makes one realize that mainstream journalism, as infected by the predatory right, hasn’t hit bottom yet. Here’s a retch-worthy sample, whose entirety she has framed as a letter, from Mitt and Ann, to “Mr. Sullivan and Ms. Brown”:
I’m not about to go stoking the flames of anti-gay fervor in my base. That’s not my style, and as I always say to Ann, a moment not talking about Obama’s economic bellyflop is a moment wasted. But you’ve done it for me!…
[T]o define the president by a rhetorical, meaningless gesture is really above and beyond anything we expected. The “recovery” president or the “jobs” president would, well, be silly, I guess. But so long as he’s carving an identity on an issue that ranks somewhere below “high speed trains” among voters’ priorities I’m just tickled to death.
To refute, in any itemized way, the “critiques” of Ms. Rubin’s petty sarcasm would be but the proverbial exercise in absolute futility: those who understand what Obama has been up against these last three years don’t require an itemized refutation; and those who ideologically revel in the GOP’s vicious obstructionism are closed to all reason and empirical data, anyway. But for Rubin to mobocratically ridicule President Obama’s attention (as well as Sullivan’s and Brown’s) to a piercing social issue that has caused immense and indescribable personal pain to millions of victimized Americans is, well, I guess one can say it is nothing but the unfurling of Rubin’s truest colors.
When will I learn? When will I learn? For the contemporary right and its hired hacks, harpies, and harridans, there likely is no bottom.
The cover was some fuckery, right there. Nothing but a stunt to get $$$$. Canceled my script in 2008.
The death of a dubious idea
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 8:40 AM EDT
.Last summer, there were plenty of centrists who expressed genuine excitement about a project called Americans Elect, which its backers perceived as a vehicle towards bipartisan governing. Thomas Friedman, last summer, devoted a column to singing Americans Elect’s praises, saying its organizers are “really serious, and they have thought out this process well.”
As it turns out, that wasn’t quite right.
Americans Elect, the deep-pocketed nonprofit group that set out to nominate a centrist third-party presidential ticket, admitted early Tuesday that its ballyhooed online nominating process had failed.
The group had qualified for the general election ballot in 27 states, and had generated concern among Democrats and Republicans alike that it could wreak havoc on a close election between President Barack Obama and Mitt Romney.
But just after a midnight deadline Monday, the group acknowledged that its complicated online nominating process had failed to generate sufficient interest to push any of the candidates who had declared an interest in its nomination over the threshold in its rules.
Mississippi lawmaker: Coat hanger abortions might come back. ‘But hey…’
By Laura Conaway – Mon May 14, 2012 6:00 PM EDT.
Last month, Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant signed a law requiring doctors at abortion clinics to have admitting privileges in a local hospital. Mississippi has one clinic left, where, because of the state’s anti-abortion climate, they commute to work from Alabama. It’s no secret that Mississippi Republicans, in particular, are delighted by the prospect that they might put the state’s one and only clinic out of business.
Mississippi State Representative Bubba Carpenter, speaking to the Alcorn County GOP on Thursday, said as much:
We have literally stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi. Three blocks from the Capitol sits the only abortion clinic in the state of Mississippi. A bill was drafted. It said, if you would perform an abortion in the state of Mississippi, you must be a certified OB/GYN and you must have admitting privileges to a hospital. Anybody here in the medical field knows how hard it is to get admitting privileges to a hospital…
“It’s going to be challenged, of course, in the Supreme Court and all — but literally, we stopped abortion in the state of Mississippi, legally, without having to– Roe vs. Wade. So we’ve done that. I was proud of it. The governor signed it into law. And of course, there you have the other side. They’re like, ‘Well, the poor pitiful women that can’t afford to go out of state are just going to start doing them at home with a coat hanger. That’s what we’ve learned over and over and over.’
“But hey, you have to have moral values. You have to start somewhere, and that’s what we’ve decided to do. This became law and the governor signed it, and I think for one time, we were first in the nation in the state of Mississippi.”
I got a chance to ask Representative Carpenter about the coat hanger part today. “That was what a lot of our critics on the House floor said during the debate,” he told me. “That was just some language that some of the African-Americans used.” A few white Democrats also spoke out about the old “home remedies,” he remembered, but in the end the measure passed with support from several Democrats.
The owner of the state’s lone clinic says she’ll sue to block the law, which takes effect July 1, if her doctors can’t get admitting privileges. Tonight on the show, yet more anti-abortion legislation in the states.
A baseless Bain comparison
By Steve Benen – Tue May 15, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
Mitt Romney’s background at Bain Capital, the only experience the Republican presidential hopeful considers relevant to his campaign, can be pretty ugly. Romney orchestrated leveraged buyouts, flipping companies quickly for large profits, at the expense of thousands of workers who were considered collateral damage.
But for months, there’s been a standard line from the GOP campaign whenever President Obama’s team even hinted at this issue: what Romney did at his vulture-capital firm was similar to what the administration did when it saved the auto industry.
The argument has never stood up well to scrutiny. Back in January, when Romney started pushing the argument, the Democratic National Committee put together this video explaining why the comparison doesn’t make sense.
At a purely superficial level, Romney’s argument may appear to have some surface-level accuracy: in order to save GM and Chrysler, the Obama administration had to close some dealerships and make some sacrifices in order to rescue the larger companies themselves. When Bain Capital had to lay off thousands of American workers, the argument goes, Romney was largely doing the same thing.
But a closer look reveals how deeply foolish the comparison really is. Romney’s leveraged buyouts and mass layoffs were intended to do one thing: make a profit for investors. The fate of the companies, the workers, and the surrounding communities was irrelevant. Period. Full stop.
Obama, meanwhile, wasn’t motivated by profit; he was trying to save the American auto industry, the backbone of the nation’s manufacturing sector, millions of American jobs, and the economy in the Midwest.
Romney exploited the companies he gutted to line his pockets and those of his investors. That isn’t the same as what Obama did for GM and Chrysler; it’s the opposite.
Greg Sargent had a good piece yesterday, taking a look at the larger context: whether Romney realizes this or not, he’s helping “underscore the philosophical difference between the two that the Obama campaign is trying to highlight with the Bain attacks.”
Romney defends his Bain years by arguing that any criticism of it constitutes an attack on free enterprise itself. Romney does acknowledge that the layoffs that occured in cases such as that of GST Steel are unfortunate — when turning around companies, you win some, and you lose some. But his philosophy, ultimately, is that such occurences, however unfortunate, are necessary for the greater good, and don’t alter the larger truth: An unfettered free market is the best hope for expanding opportunities for those who lack them. That’s what drives his anti-government rhetoric; he continually tells us that we need to “get government out of the way” to unlock America’s “potential.” Romney believes the best way to to foster shared prosperity is with a near-total commitment to liberating the private sector.
But when Romney invokes the auto bailout, all he does is remind us of an instance where his economic worldview broke down — where his philosophy compelled him to advocate for what likely would have been a disastrous course. This worldview led him to originally argue that the bailout would guarantee the auto industry’s certain demise. This worldview obliges him to continue arguing that the auto industry would be in better shape today than it is now if Obama had not pursued a government “intervention.” Many experts dismiss Romney’s claims about the bailout as thoroughly wrong on several levels .
NASCAR’s first Black woman driver gets up to speed
As the first, youngest and only African-American woman driving on the NASCAR circuit, Tia Norfleet is opening doors of diversity in a highly controversial and predominately White male-oriented sport.
NASCAR has long been accused of racial discrimination, with multiple lawsuits filed by ethnic minorities accusing the organization of bias. With that, many people wonder why Norfleet wants to compete on the circuit. “It is sheer passion and instinct that drives this youngster to want to compete in this sport, she was born to compete,” says Isaac Hayes, spokesperson/CEO of the online fund raising organization, Tiapower.com.
Norfleet comes from a family with a long racing history. Her father, Bobby Norfleet, made his NASCAR debut at the Portland International Raceway road course on March 26, 2000, where he competed against NASCAR driver Bill Lester. It was the only time in NASCAR history that two African-Americans drivers have competed at the same time.
With many accolades of her own — including being spokesperson for the Safe America Diving program, and appearing in commercials such as the Verizon wireless, numerous magazine ads and radio and television interviews — Tia Norfleet hopes to inspire Black women everywhere to follow their dreams.
The question remains, will the NASCAR community accept Tia for who she is? “Our goal is to raise funds needed for everyone to find out,” says Edward Williams, founder of the medium sized marketing company Team Tia.
Marriage Equality Will Not Hurt Obama Among Black Voters At All
By Ta-Nehisi Coates
May 14 2012, 4:06 PM ET
To the polling data, Robin:
The opinions of whites largely reflect the population as a whole: 49% say Obama’s expression of support for gay marriage did not alter their opinion of the president. Among those who say it did, somewhat more say it made their view of him less favorable than more (29% vs. 20%).
Most African Americans, on the other hand, say the announcement did not alter their opinion of Obama. About twothirds (68%) say this, while about as many say it made them view Obama more favorably (16%) as less favorably (13%).
I think Obama ultimately will lose roughly seven or eight votes because of his stand on marriage equality. As I said on Twitter, I think about two of those votes will be black people who claimed to support Obama, but never really did.
There’s also the data cited above. As of April, the gap between African-Americans and white support for gay marriage was eight points (39 percent of African-Americans support, while 47 percent of white support.) The gap between the same groups in terms of opposition was four points (47 percent of blacks oppose and 43 percent of whites opposed.)
This not strike me as the kind of yawning gulf which could sever Obama from his base. I would go further. Given black America’s particular characteristics–more Southern, more culturally conservative, and more religious–focusing on “race” as the defining difference seems like a bad idea.
Good Morning, Everyone! :-)
Good Morning, Ametia and Everyone :)