Wiki: Space Jam is a 1996 family film starring Michael Jordan and Wayne Knight, as well as the cast of the Looney Tunes. The movie also marks the debut of Lola Bunny. It was produced by Ivan Reitman, and directed by Joe Pytka (live-action), Tony Cervone, and Bruce W. Smith (animation).
A fictional account of Jordan’s retirement from the NBA, the film was released theatrically by Warner Bros. Family Entertainment on November 15, 1996. There was also a licensed pinball game by Sega based on the film and a video game by Acclaim Entertainment. It plays out as an alternate story of Jordan’s initial return to basketball, this time with him being inspired by Bugs Bunny and others. Although the film received generally negative reviews, it was a box office success, opening at #1 in the US, and grossing over $230 million worldwide.
Donations to Scott Walker Flagged as Credit Card Fraud
Source: The Atlantic Wire
When MaryAnn Nellis tried to pay for groceries on April 14, her credit card was declined. Later, she said, she found out why: Her credit card company, Capital One, had flagged an earlier purchase as potentially fraudulent. The problem? A $5 donation to Friends of Scott Walker, the Wisconsin governor’s campaign committee, Nellis said.
Nellis told a Capital One representative she had not made the donation to Walker, who is fighting an effort to recall him as governor in a closely watched, expensive election set for June 5.
“Over my dead body,” said Nellis, a potter and retired teacher in upstate New York who describes herself as “adamantly angry and upset” at Republicans such as Walker. Nellis disputed the charge and she was issued a new card.
Though the amount of money was small, ProPublica decided Nellis’ complaint was worth following up. There have been other reports recently about insecure campaign-donation websites and the potential for fraud. Earlier this month, The Washington Times reported that Restore Our Future, the super PAC supporting Republican Mitt Romney, was using a collection system that made online donors’ credit card information accessible to even amateur snoopers.
Read more: http://www.theatlanticwire.com/politics/2012/05/donations-scott-walker-flagged-credit-card-fraud/52535/#
May 18, 2012 6:10 PM
By Ed Kilgore
As an addendum to my last post about Mitt Romney’s delicate balancing act between a monomaniacal economic message and the need to appeal to a conservative activist “base” seething with cultural resentments, I offer this observation from Paul Begala, as quoted by Jonathan Martin and James Hohmann in a Politico piece on Mitt’s handling of the latest excrusion of the Jeremiah Wright “issue:”
The problem with running against every incumbent president, but especially this one, is that you don’t ever want to look like you’re rooting against America. So Romney needs a deft touch. And it’s not in him.
Following Obama meeting, France’s Hollande promises different approach to Afghan aid
By David Nakamura, Updated: Friday, May 18, 1:15 PM
President Obama welcomed new French President Francois Hollande to the White House on Friday, an initial meeting that came as world leaders feel a renewed sense of urgency to contain the European debt crisis.
The two leaders spoke for about 20 minutes in the Oval Office, covering such issues as Afghanistan, Iran, Iraq and Syria — including Hollande’s pledge to draw down French combat troops in Afghanistan by the end of the year.
May 18, 2012 10:59 AM
By Ed Kilgore
Dave Weigel offers an insight on the Ricketts/Wright affair from the perspective I’m most interested in: Romney’s relationship with the toxic elements of the Right:
It’s all a little awkward. Up to now the Romney campaign — aided by a thick-as-thieves relationship with the Drudge Report — has been quick to jump on scandals and stories that the base wanted it to use. It built then rode an outrage rollercoaster out of Hilary Rosen’s CNN riff on motherhood; afterwards, the campaign used the Rosen story to prove to conservative bloggers that it “got it.” The subtext: McCain didn’t get it. Guys, we know. We’re not going to let Obama off easy, like McCain did.
And then came the Ricketts Plan and the idea of Jeremiah Wright campaign ads. It’s the first general election instance of the Romney campaign ducking a story that the base wanted it to use. Last night, on his Fox News show, Sean Hannity was barely consolable.
“I think for Governor Romney to take it off the table — he doesn’t have to talk about it,” Hannity whimpered. “But to repudiate people that do…”
Weigel goes on to note that Hannity is just plain psychotic on the Wright “issue,” and in fact, it was on Hannity’s show that Romney made his most recent remarks on the Rev (you know, the ones he had trouble remembering yesterday).
If Dave’s right, however, the Romney campaign will soon find some way to let “the base” know it still gets it, even if it chose not to go over the brink into the racial precincts of The Crazy over Jeremiah Wright.
Posted at 01:01 PM ET, 05/18/2012
Mitt Romney: `America’s economy runs on freedom’
By Greg Sargent
Mitt Romney’s interview with Town Hall is getting a lot of attention over his repudiation of that super PAC’s plan to revive Jeremiah Wright, but now that the full transcript is available, there’s another Romney quote that’s worth a look:
“I think it’s very hard to tell exactly what the president would do, other than by looking at his record in his first three and a half or four years. And we can see where he took the nation in these years. It’s a massive expansion of federal spending, an expansion of the reach of the federal government, and there’s no question in my mind but that his Supreme Court nominees and his policies would be designed toward expanding the role of government in our lives. And frankly, America’s economy runs on freedom. And he has been attacking economic freedom from the first day he came into office.”
America’s economy runs on freedom.” That’s perhaps the most perfectly distilled version of Romney’s economic plan we’ve seen yet.
The frame Romney is asking us to adopt is very simple: The Obama administration’s response to the economic crisis is to entirely blame for your economic misery. To the extent that the economy has recovered, it has only happened in spite of Obama’s response, and it would have progressed far faster in the complete absence of that response.
What’s missing from this narrative is what, if anything, Romney would have done if he had been president in January of 2009, when the economy was on the brink of global meltdown. The implication of Romney’s remarks above is that doing nothing at all would have been preferable to what Obama did. I don’t know if Romney subscribes to quite this level of free market fundamentalism or not. But if America’s economy runs on the fuel of freedom alone, and everything Obama has done in office is an attack on freedom, it’s not unreasonable to ask whether Romney thinks the economy would have recovered faster, and would be recovering faster right now, if it had been allowed to recover entirely of its own accord, with no government interference or meddling of any kind.
And indeed Romney’s policy platform does call for rolling back Obama’s response to the crisis entirely, while not saying with any meaningful specificity what he would replace it with. He’s told us he’d replace Obama’s policies with “common sense reforms,” a phrase he’s applied both to Wall Street and health care reform, and, now, with “economic freedom.”
The political goal of all this, of course, is to make the campaign entirely about Obama, and not at all about what he would proactively do to create jobs, or about what he would have done proactively in response to the crisis, or about the similarities between his approach to the economy and that of George W. Bush, or even about the latter’s role in presiding over the meltdown that precipitated the economic free fall that Obama inherited upon taking office.
The game plan is to minimize the depth and severity of the crisis Obama inherited, while maximizing the depth and severity of the crisis Obama has presided over, and pin the blame for the latter entirely on the incumbent’s policies.
And so: has any reporter asked Romney what he would have done if he’d been president in January of 2009
Yes; Mitt Romney, because all that UNREGULATED AMERICAN FREEDOM is what sent our econmy down the shithole, while making the 1% filthy, stankin’ rich!
May 18, 2012 10:59 AM
The “Clinton Doctrine” Revisited
By Ed Kilgore
As you may recall, Mitt Romney continued his bizarre invocation of Bill Clinton’s legacy in a speech in Iowa the other day, referring to a “Clinton doctrine” of fiscal discipline that he alleges Barack Obama to have abandoned.
Now I know the non-opinion media are not in the habit of calling B.S. on this sort of thing, but Mitt giving a shout-out to Clinton on budget-balancing is especially rich. Salon’s Steve Kornacki succinctly explains the irony:
[T]here’s really only one thing that Bill Clinton did to erase the deficit: He raised taxes on the rich – against the wishes of every single Republican in Congress.
Clinton’s 1993 budget, which was enacted as the country was emerging from a recession and confronting leftover deficits from the Reagan years, hiked rates on the top 1.2 percent of income-earners and created a new 39 percent tax bracket. Republicans branded it “the biggest tax increase in world history” and screamed that it would kill millions of jobs and plunge the country back into recession…. Attacks on the Clinton tax increase became a major component of the GOP’s 1994 midterm campaign strategy
And as Kornacki notes, one of the featured candidates in that 1994 campaign was one Mitt Romney, running against Ted Kennedy and railing against the tax increases in the ‘93 budget (which he called “Bill and Ted’s excellent adventure”) with the best of them. The denouement:
[V]oters reelected Kennedy anyway, by 17 points, and the deficit was gone just a few years later. The Republican warnings about a second recession never materialized, and as the economy picked up strength, the new Clinton tax rates (on top of the hikes that President George H.W. Bush enacted over his own party’s objections in 1990) produced a revenue windfall and the resulting surpluses — which Romney and Republicans now hail as the work of a Democratic president who, unlike Barack Obama, just didn’t believe in class warfare.
Steve oversimplifies just a bit; there were some spending measures in that ‘93 budget. But there is no question the tax increases were the politically risky part, and without them there is no way Clinton and congressional Republicans would have been able to reach a balanced budget agreement in 1997, much less generate the surpluses that enabled George W. Bush to go before Congress in 2001 and demand “a rebate” as justification for the tax cuts that plunged the budget back into deep red almost immediately and ever since.
May 18, 2012 1:00 PM
Repeal and Reverse
By Ed Kilgore
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When John Boehner put the word out this week that House Republicans would indeed have some sort of agenda to “replace” ObamaCare in the event the Supreme Court strikes it down or the GOP gains the power to repeal it, there were negative reactions from two directions: from skeptical progressives like yours truly who noted how ridiculously unfeasible it would be to reenact “the popular parts” of the law, and from conservatives horrified that any Republican would be talking about taking action on health reform.
You can guess which objection got the attention of House Republicans. Almost immediately, Paul Ryan suggested GOPers would offer nothing beyond a “vision” of the “market-based” system of their dreams. Meanwhile, Boehner hastened to reassure conservatives that they would jump up and down on the corpse of ObamaCare for an extended period of time before considering what if anything they’d do to replace it.
So is the “replace” in “repeal and replace” just a shuck? Absolutely, if by “replace” you mean restoring any ObamaCare provisions. Aside from the absurdity of pretending that it makes any sense at all to reenact popular provisions like banning exclusions on pre-existing conditions (and as Jonathan Cohn notes, Mitt Romney and other Republicans are not actually on board with that in the first place) as stand-alone provisions, why on earth would you repeal a reform in order to immediately reeanact it? You wouldn’t, as a matter of fact, unless you had no intention of reenacting it in the first place.
But Republicans do have plans to “replace” ObamaCare with provisions that would be far worse than the status quo ante.
Best anyone can tell, the only post-ObamaCare actions we can count on Republicans to take involve the Ryan Budget’s attacks on Medicare and Medicaid, plus that “market-based vision” which essentially means pushing the whole country into the individual health insurance market and then encouraging insurance companies to discriminate to their heart’s content by allowing them to circumvent state regulation via interstate sales. From the point of view of the uninsured, and those paying exorbitant premiums for crappy coverage because they are sick, this “vision” is a reversal, not just a “repeal,” of the progress made under ObamaCare. Between the green light they want to give insurers to discriminate, the discouragement of group coverage through elimination of the employer tax subsidy, and the vast restriction of Medicaid eligibility the Ryan budget would force, we could be looking at a significant increase in the ranks of the uninsured. I don’t expect Republicans to brag about all that, but the truth is repealing ObamaCare is the least of the damage they are promising to inflict.
Progressives should spend a little less time mocking the empty promises of Republicans to only partially get rid of ObamaCare, and a lot more time explaining their ultimate designs on the health care system.
Loved the season finale of Scandal.
Undermining the ‘competence’ theme
By Steve Benen – Fri May 18, 2012 2:02 PM EDT.
Mitt Romney’s campaign, eager to attack the Recovery Act that pulled the economy bank from the brink of collapse, thought it had come up with a brilliant idea. The former governor would go to New Hampshire and mock the 19th century Sawyer Bridge, which was restored with public funds, but which is closed to traffic.
It’d be a new “bridge to nowhere” that proves the stimulus was wasteful. Obama spent a quarter of a million dollars on a bridge no one can drive on? Outrageous, right? Wrong.
Romney’s attack on the $288,000 bridge restoration will run into several immediate challenges: Funding for the project was overwhelmingly supported by state Republicans, including a significant number who have now endorsed Romney for president. The infrastructure project created much-needed jobs during tough economic times. And it left behind a public park enjoyed by Granite State residents who take great pride in their early-American and colonial history — and who will be casting critical, swing-state votes in November.
It’s a curious breed of conservatism that would find offense in the job-creating conservation of a stone arch bridge that is one of the earliest examples of dry-laid masonry vaults in New England.
The project was championed by 28 New Hampshire Republicans who now support Romney’s presidential campaign.
This guy really needs a new research team.
Last month, Romney blamed President Obama for a closed drywall plant in Ohio, but the facility was shut down during the Bush era. This week, the Romney campaign released a video showing a closed Electrolux plant in Iowa, but the company has added more American jobs than it had lost.
Then it released a video of a steel plant that benefited in part from an investment by Bain Capital, but which thrived thanks to government assistance Romney opposes. Now it’s new evidence of wasteful spending isn’t an example of wasteful spending.
These are amateurish unforced errors that undermine the “competence” theme the campaign is so fond of.
Repeal and Replace, Without the Replace
Repeal and Replace”—the slogan is as meaningless as it is catchy. The Republicans have zero intention of replacing the Affordable Care Act with a law that would make insurance available to everybody, regardless of income or pre-existing condition. That was obvious before an article that appeared in Politico on Thursday. It’s even more obvious now.
The story, by Jake Sherman and Jennifer Haberkorn, focuses on how Republicans would react if the Supreme Court overturns part or all of the Affordable Care Act—or, failing that, if Republicans get full control of the federal government after the November elections. It’s consistent with what other journalists, including The Hill’s Sam Baker as well as Robert Pear and Jonathan Weisman of The New York Times, have reported: The Republicans won’t try to pass sweeping reforms. At most, the Politico story explains, Republicans might
draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions [of the Affordable Care Act] in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.
That last part (the one I’ve bolded) might sound significant. And it would be if Republicans were seriously thinking about that goal. But they almost surely aren’t. Most likely, they are probably discussing an idea that Mitt Romney and other leading Republicans have been promoting: Making sure that people who have pre-existing conditions and already have insurance can keep it, even if they switch jobs.
That distinction is critical.
For one thing, lots of people end up temporarily uninsured because they lose their jobs or get divorced, for example, or because they can’t keep up with premiums. A plan guaranteeing coverage only for people who have it already would not help them. More important, making that sort of guarantee, on its own, turns out to be very difficult. We know this because the federal government already tried it, in 1996, when President Clinton signed the Health Insurance Portability and Accountability Act (HIPAA).
The impetus for that law was an effort to salvage something, even something modest, from Clinton’s failed attempt at comprehensive reform. But the law was not very effective. Karen Pollitz, who knows more about the individual insurance market than just about anybody and who now works at the Kaiser Family Foundation, wrote about HIPAA’s problems in 2005:
HIPAA requires nongroup coverage to be offered to eligible individuals … However, there is no limit on what insurers can charge under HIPAA. Some states regulate HIPAA premiums, but in those that do not, the cost can be prohibitive. HIPAA also does little to regulate the content of coverage, leaving the door open to insurers to offer bare-bones policies. In addition, HIPAA notice requirements are weak, making it hard for people to know about this protection.
Could the Republicans decide to bolster HIPAA, by closing these loopholes and genuinely requiring insurers to cover people with pre-existing conditions? Sure, but it would mean significantly strengthening regulations on the insurance industry. And if the regulations were successful, then the mix of people seeking insurance would change: People with serious medical problems would be more likely to enroll, since coverage would finally be available to them, while people without medical problems would be less likely to enroll, since they could always wait until they were sick. Premiums would rise, inducing more healthy people to drop coverage and eventually sending insurers into what’s known as the “adverse selection death spiral.” The only way to stay out of the death spiral would be to create a system that also included some combination of subsidies and financial penalties for non-enrollment—i.e., a mandate.
Getting the picture here? As economists and health policy experts have said all along, the only way to make coverage available to everybody, short of creating a single-payer system, would be to recreate Obamacare or something similar to it. And that’s not going to happen. According to follow-up that Sherman filed with Politico on Thursday, conservatives were furious that House leadership would contemplate replacing the Affordable Care Act with anything that looked remotely like it. In response, aides to Boehner quickly communicated the Speaker’s intention to “knock down” the rumor of such intentions.
John Boehner is walking into it… again.
Thursday, May 17, 2012 | Posted by Deaniac83 at 1:14 PM
In August of last year, Speaker John Boehner put himself into a bind as the debt limit deal brought down the hammer on defense spending (and other Republican crony priorities) should a balanced approach to deficit reduction not be reached by Congress. Of course, Republicans wouldn’t agree to any balanced approach that asks the wealthiest to pay a dime more. And just as we told you here at TPV, the President is standing by the deal and refusing to accept Republican attempts to upend it by severe cuts to assistance for the most vulnerable and the middle class.
But the debt limit deal of August 2011 raised the debt limit just enough to get us through the 2012 elections. So after that, there is going to be another big fight over the debt limit. And John Boehner is about to walk into another disaster for himself and his party. He is now threatening to let the United States default should the president be re-elected (and he will be) and remain opposed to European-style Romney-Ryan austerity measures. Boehner wants Tea-party size cuts in domestic programs plus huge tax cuts for the super rich by keeping the Bush tax cuts permanently.
John Boehner is bad at his job. Even the political side of it. By bringing this up, not only is he convincing the American people that his party has nothing to offer, he is handing President Obama something he’s wanted: the ability to run against an extreme ideologue Congress that is hell bent on hurting people rather than compromising and signing on to a proposal for the greater good.
President Obama, quite rightly, wants to run against exactly that. When people ask him why more wasn’t done – whatever the issue – he could already point to the Republicans in Congress and correctly say that they have had an agenda of obstruction from day one. All Boehner is doing is thrusting himself into the news cycle and pretty much yelling, “Yes, yes yes! Look at me, look at me! I did it!” Now, the President’s campaign doesn’t even have to go into all the instances of the past; they can just point to what’s going on and say, “See? They’re doing it right now!”
It’s not just the Obama campaign that will be able to do this of course. Democrats in Congress and running for Congress will also be able to use this threat to point out Republican extremism to voters. John Boehner is sending an unmistakable signal: if you want the government to work, if you want to release it from gridlock, vote Democratic.
But what about Mitt Romney? The conventional wisdom is that this won’t harm Romney; that he would just stand apart from it and blame the President for gridlock. Here’s the problem with that conventional wisdom: the debt limit isn’t even up for a debate until after the election, and the moment of reckoning won’t come until early next year. It’s not as though John Boehner can make things difficult for President Obama in this respect right now. So, Romney won’t have a chance to stand apart and pontificate about gridlock, because on that issue, there’s no gridlock to be had just yet.
But the Speaker’s threat will give the President and his campaign another opportunity to tie Mr. Romney to the extreme Republican agenda, even without doing any actual legislative fighting over the debt limit. Mitt Romney is on record embracing Paul Ryan’s Path to Poverty, as well as Boehner’s extreme position that programs that help the poor and the middle class must be essentially ended and Medicare voucherized not in order to close the deficit but in order that we can give ever larger tax giveaways to the rich and write bigger checks to defense contractors.
Mitt Romney will have to answer whether he supports Boehner’s threat that cuts in assistance for students, children, the elderly and the disabled are more important than the full faith and credit of the United States. If he says yes, independents will desert him in droves. If he says no, Teabaggers will.
Great job, Speaker Boehner, and thank you! When the president wins re-election and if Democrats take over the House, we will have this orange man to thank
Friday, May 18, 2012
When the chickens come home to roost
I am struck today by the fact that if President Obama is the master of the long game, Republicans are stuck creating chaos with a short game. In other words, they don’t seem to think through the consequences of their actions.
We’re seeing an example of that this week as stories surface about what Republicans will do if the Supreme Court finds the ACA unconstitutional. Of particular concern is what Congress will do if, instead of throwing out the whole bill, they only find the mandate unconstitutional. I’ve discussed before that a decision like that will require immediate action from Congress because many other provisions in the law are not financially feasible without the mandate. The entire health insurance industry would go into chaos if that is not resolved…fast.
So this week there was some discussion about what Republicans would do under that scenario. Would they attempt to pass legislation that would keep the “popular” provisions on the ACA intact or simply try to repeal the whole thing.
Here’s the dilemma they face: if they work to repeal the whole thing, we go back to the previous status quo where insurance companies can deny coverage for pre-existing conditions, millions of young people will no longer be covered by their parents plans, and seniors will pay more for prescriptions because the donut-hole will return.
That will piss off a lot of voters.
But if they try to maintain those popular provisions, they have two really big problems: First of all, they’ll have to figure out how to pay for them. That’s what the mandate was all about. And secondly, their tea party base will get totally pissed off. That’s what happened this week when Politico published a story suggesting this is the plan. By the next day Boehner had to assure them that no, they’ll repeal the whole thing.
When, as Senator McConnell said, your only goal is to ensure Obama is a one-term president, you also ensure that your party doesn’t have a plan – only power plays. When/if you actually get something you want, you’re left flat-footed with chaos when the chickens come home to roost.
Boehner on health care: everything must go
By Steve Benen – Fri May 18, 2012 11:28 AM EDT.
For about three years now, congressional Republicans have sworn up and down that they’re hard at work on a health care reform package of their own. It’s going to be awesome, they said, and will meet Obamacare’s goals without all that unpopular stuff.
Sensible people gave up on actually seeing this vaporware quite a while ago, realizing that “repeal and replace” was a rather pathetic scam. But with the Supreme Court ruling on the Affordable Care Act due fairly soon, and with the possibility of a Republican White House and a Republican Congress on the horizon, there’s renewed interest in what, exactly, GOP policymakers intend to do on the issue.
There was some talk this week that Republicans, fearing a public backlash, would “draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place — like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions.” (The interconnectivity of the popular and unpopular parts are generally as lost on Republicans as they are on the general public.)
The GOP’s base immediately said this would be outrageous. Yesterday, House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) joined them, making it clear that Republicans intend to kill the whole law, including the parts Americans like, want, and have come to expect.
House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) reiterated Thursday that he wants to repeal all of President Obama’s healthcare law if the Supreme Court doesn’t toss out the entire statute.
“We voted to fully repeal the president’s healthcare law as one of our first acts as a new House majority, and our plan remains to repeal the law in its entirety,” Boehner said to reporters. “Anything short of that is unacceptable.”
Let’s not brush past too quickly exactly what this means. The only “acceptable” outcome for Romney is one in which tens of millions of Americans lose their health care coverage, seniors pay higher prescription drug costs, small businesses lose their tax breaks, and the deficit goes up by hundreds of billions of dollars over the next decade.
But there’s another point that’s gone largely forgotten: we’ve gone from a policy landscape in which Republicans agreed with 80% of Obamacare to one in which Republicans agree with 0% of Obamacare.
No one seems to remember this, but in September 2009, Louisiana Rep. Charles Boustany (R), the Republican who delivered the official GOP response to President Obama’s speech on health care reform, made an interesting declaration, telling MSNBC “about 80%” of the Democratic proposal is acceptable to Republicans.
Soon after, none other than Eric Cantor, now the House Majority Leader, said Republicans and Democrats agree on 80% of the health care reform measures.
Keep in mind, these comments came when the public option was still a key component of the Democratic plan — which suggests by the time the proposal was being voted on, Republicans liked more than 80% of Obamamcare.
This, of course, leads us to a few questions for Boehner and his cohorts. One, how is it congressional Republicans went from 80% to 0%, when the reform package itself did not move to the left? And two, if Republicans intend to get rid of “the entirety” of the law, including parts that enjoy overwhelming public support, why should voters back GOP candidates?
May 18, 2012
CFPB takes on “for profit” student loan program
Posted by Linda H on 6:55 AM
The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is investigating Corinthian Colleges Inc., the company said last week, with a broad inquiry that may revolve around Corinthian’s institutional student loan program.
It was not clear if the bureau is investigating other for-profits. Corinthian has caught flak for its lending program, in part because company officials have been open about the high risk of default on those loans. The CFPB’s interest in Corinthian is likely to draw plenty of attention, mostly because of expectations by consumer advocates (and fears of for-profit officials) that the agency would pursue the sector. Both camps are also uncertain about how the bureau could pursue the industry, and how aggressive it might be. As the Beltway’s new regulator, the CFPB’s powers have yet to be tested. And its every move is being watched closely.
The CFPB has authority over most non-federal student loans, an oversight power that some for-profits resisted. Student lending has been an overt focus for the bureau, which launched a complaint system on private lending in March, and has been studying student borrowing patterns. The CFPB has also made rumblings about for-profit colleges’ recruitment of veterans, and hired Holly Petraeus as its assistant director for servicemember affairs. Her husband, David Petraeus, is director of the Central Intelligence Agency and a retired four-star general in the U.S. Army.Richard Cordray, the bureau’s director, has repeatedly criticized institutional student loans, with language that appears to reference a 2009 Corinthian disclosure.
“We’re seeing some of the schools anticipating as much as a 50 percent default rate on their students, yet they’re making those loans anyway,” Cordray told The New York Times in January.Corinthian enrolls 93,000 students at its Everest, WyoTech and Heald College campuses. The company created its alternative lending program in 2008, as the financial crisis was peaking and “after private lenders stopped making loans to our students,” said Kent Jenkins, a company spokesman, in an email. Non-federal loans also help keep Corinthian and other for-profits from running afoul of the so-called “90/10 Rule,” a government requirement that the colleges do not receive more than 90 percent of their total revenue from federal financial aid sources, like Pell Grants or Stafford loans.
Corinthian’s institutional loans come with a high risk of default, in part because Corinthian enrolls large numbers of lower-income students. In a February 2009 call with investors, company officials said they expected an institutional loan default rate of about 50 percent. The National Consumer Law Center cited that disclosure in a critical report on for-profit student lending, noting that Corinthian’s estimated loan default rate later went up.
Not all for-profits make institutional loans. Loonin said the University of Phoenix does not, for example. Corinthian and ITT Educational Services, Inc., which has received similar scrutiny for its lending, have some of the largest loan programs, she said.
12:04 PM EDT, Friday May 18, 2012
Ruling On Voting Rights Act Sets Up Supreme Court Showdown
A divided panel of judges on the Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit upheld Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act – which requires certain states to have changes to their voting laws approved by the Justice Department – on Friday, setting up a likely hearing on the topic before the U.S. Supreme Court.
Congress, the majority ruled, “drew reasonable conclusions from the extensive evidence it gathered and acted pursuant to the Fourteenth and Fifteenth Amendments, which entrust Congress with ensuring that the right to vote—surely among the most important guarantees of political liberty in the Constitution—is not abridged on account of race. In this context, we owe much deference to the considered judgment of the People’s elected representatives.”
Law school professor Rick Hasen says he expects the case, brought by Shelby County, will end up in the Supreme Court in short order.
“I expect Shelby County to seek cert., and for the Court to agree to hear this case next term, with a decision likely by June 2013,” writes Hasen. “It is also possible that another one of these cases, such as the Texas or South Carolina section 5 challenges related to their voter i.d. laws, could leapfrog over these cases and be heard first by the Court.”
Laughlin McDonald, director of the ACLU Voting Rights Project, said the ruling “recognizes the need to uphold the Voting Rights Act in order to ensure every eligible American citizen can vote, regardless of race or language ability. Our cherished right to vote is under a continuous attack in Alabama and across the country, and millions of voters could be blocked from voting in upcoming elections. It is crystal clear that we must have these protections in place so that does not happen.”
Romney allies not helping jobs message
By Steve Benen – Fri May 18, 2012 10:38 AM EDT.
About three weeks ago, Mitt Romney appeared at a campaign event in Ohio, one of the nation’s most important battlegrounds, alongside Gov. John Kasich (R). Some Otterbein University students, getting ready to graduate, reflected on the difficult job market, and the governor was quick to set their minds at ease.
Kasich noted a website his administration created, listing 80,000 job openings in Ohio, many of which are “exciting opportunities” for young workers, underscoring the state’s growing economy.
You could almost hear Romney wince while Kasich was talking. The Republican presidential hopeful doesn’t want Ohio voters talking about exciting opportunities and a growing economy; he wants Ohio voters feeling depressed and hopeless. The governor was stepping all over his ally’s message.
This week, reporters in Ohio asked Kasich about the contradiction (video by way of our pal James Carter).
Notice how the Republican governor still doesn’t quite know how to deal with this. On the one hand, under President Obama, Ohio’s economy is improving and its unemployment rate is dropping. Kasich doesn’t want Obama to get credit — he’d prefer to take the credit himself — but he has a positive story to tell.
On the other hand, the governor also wants Ohioans to think Romney will rescue them from an economy that’s improving. In the clip, Kasich is left saying, “I can’t straighten all that out.”
The problem is not limited to Ohio.
Some Chicago Style Politics, Fool
Fri May 18th, 2012 at 09:20:36 AM EST
Most hardball political tactics are unattractive, but I have a soft spot for this from the notoriously brass-knuckled mayor of Chicago:
The Chicago angle on this is that Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Mr. Obama’s former chief of staff, has been trying to put together a deal for the city to put $100 million or more in tax incentives into a Wrigley [Field] rebuild.
Now, Joe Ricketts’ political support for conservative causes is no secret. And his children, particularly son Tom Ricketts, run the team day to day.
Beyond that, another of Joe Ricketts’ kids, daughter Laura Ricketts, is a lesbian activist and major fund-raiser for Mr. Obama. Still, it’s not unfair to ask whether money the city would ship the Cubs would free up family cash to trash Mr. Obama. At a bare minimum, the timing is very, very, very awkward
Joe Ricketts wants to spend 10 million dollars or more trashing the president with scurrilous attacks during the Democratic National Convention. He may not approve a plan that was presented to him to revitalize the Jeremiah Wright controversy, but he solicited that plan and others. He did that at the very same time that Rahm Emaunuel was working on a plan to help his family upgrade the aging home of the Chicago Cubs.
The Mayor was livid when he read that the Ricketts were going to launch a $10 million campaign against President Obama – with the type of racially motivated ads that are insulting to the president and the presidential campaign,” said the aide, who was granted anonymity to speak candidly about the situation. “He is also livid with their blatant hypocrisy.”
The aide also said Emanuel, who is Obama’s former chief of staff, has cut off communication with the family.
“The Ricketts have tried to contact the mayor, but he’s said that he does not want to talk with them today, tomorrow or anytime soon,” the aide said.
If your family is so rich that it can blow 10 million bucks on advertising that is unrelated to your businesses then you can easily come up with 100 million to renovate Wrigley Field. Even if Emanuel was not a former consigliere of the president, he would find it politically impossible to continue his support for the Wrigley project. Chicago, after all, is a Democratic town that loves the president. But he is a former consigliere. And that means that a certain family is now dead to him.
Arizona Goes Birther: Secretary Of State Says It’s ‘Possible’ Obama Won’t Be On Ballot
Nick R. Martin- May 18, 2012, 10:53 AM
The man in charge of running Arizona’s elections has gone to the birthers. Secretary of State Ken Bennett now says he’s not convinced Barack Obama was really born in the United States and so he is threatening to keep the president off the ballot in November.
Bennett’s comments came in an interview late Thursday with conservative radio talk show host Mike Broomhead on Phoenix station KFYI.
Bennett said he was following the lead of the state’s eccentric Sheriff Joe Arpaio, a fellow Republican who ordered an investigation into the president’s birth certificate last year and concluded the document released by the White House is a forgery. Bennett said he is now trying to get verification from state officials in Hawaii that the certificate is authentic.
In doing so, Bennett caved to a fringe group of activists and writers who believe in a conspiracy theory that just never seems to die no matter how much proof they get. Hawaiian officials have said time and again that Obama was born there in 1961, yet the theory persists.
Bennett, the state’s No. 2 elected official just below Gov. Jan Brewer (R), said his investigation isn’t personal. He said the reason he started looking into it is because he got more than 1,200 emails asking him to do so after Arpaio’s investigation came out.
“I’m not a birther. I believe the president was born in Hawaii — or at least I hope he was,” Bennett said on the show. “But my responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking.”
Bennett’s newfound birtherism also breaks with Brewer, who led the secretary of state’s office in 2008 when Obama last appeared on the Arizona ballot. Brewer said last year that despite her disagreements with Obama, she is fully convinced the president is eligible for office and believes the birth certificate issue is a “huge distraction.”
“It’s just something I believe is leading our country down a path of destruction and it just is not serving any good purpose,” she told CNN’s John King.
On Thursday, Bennett said he sent his request to Hawaii officials eight weeks ago but has yet to get the proof he was hoping for. He said he didn’t want another copy of the birth certificate. He wants Hawaii to give him what he described as “a verification in lieu of a certified copy of a birth certificate.”
In the weeks since then, Bennett said, Hawaii officials have forced him to provide proof that he is who he says he is. They asked him to send them copies of the Arizona laws that prove the secretary of state really is the person in charge of handling the ballots. Admittedly, Bennett said they told him they were “tired of all the requests.” But he is continuing anyway.
Broomhead, the radio host, pressed Bennett on what he would do if he didn’t get the right response back from Hawaii.
“If they won’t comply, if they refuse to comply with this, will you remove the president from the ballot?” Broomhead asked. “Will you exclude him from the ballot?”
“That’s possible,” Bennett said. “Or the other option would be I would ask all of candidates, including the president, maybe to submit a certified copy of their birth certificate. But I don’t want to do that.”
These Crackas have lost there COLLECTIVE minds.
This story just breaks my heart….. When are they going to try Zimmerman?
NOTICE: the title of the BBC’s video is MISLEADING… WTF does it have to do with
TRAYVON MARTIN BUYING SKITTLES & ARIZONA ICED TEA AT A 7-11
SHOULD’VE BEEN THE TITLE
REPOST: “Willard: “I stand by what I said, whatever it was” WTF
This morning, OFA released an interactive map that highlights examples of where Mitt Romney’s management decisions at Bain Capital left companies bankrupt and Americans without jobs. The site highlights 8 states now, and will continue to add more through the next few weeks. The graphic illustrates this basic idea: as a businessman, Romney cared more about making money for himself and his partners than growing companies and creating jobs.
CHECK IT OUT HERE:
Lawrence O’Donnell of The Last Word takes on Mitt Romney’s job creation record and the bogus notion that the rich create jobs. Trickle down is totally debunked. He interviews Nick Hanauer. Bottom line, consumer demand rules everything.
Facebook shares open at $42.05, an 11% increase from the companys $38 IPO price.
Facebooks IPO, the third largest in U.S. history, is on track to raise $16 billion and give the company a valuation as high as $107 billion.
Founder Mark Zuckerberg raised $1.1 billion in the offering and holds a remaining stake worth around $19.1 billion.
Posted at 08:15 AM ET, 05/18/2012
The Morning Plum:
A key Romney argument crashes and burns
By Greg Sargent
As you know, Mitt Romney has settled on a key counter-argument in the battle over his Bain years: his Bain restructurings, at bottom, are really no different from what Obama did to rescue the auto industry. As I and several others have noted (see Steve Benen), this argument rests on a comical rewriting of the history of the auto-bailout, and an equally absurd series of shifting assertions about his Bain years.
Romney’s latest: he has revived the claim that he created 100,000 jobs while at Bain, after spending months employing a constantly-changing Bain “job creation” figure. He’s now added another twist: not only did he create 100,000 jobs at Bain, but a comparable number were lost under Obama’s restructurings of the auto companies.
Today Post fact checker Glenn Kessler weighs in with a definitive piece that does a total demolition job on Romney’s entire argument. There’s a lot to chew on here, but this is the key conclusion:
Romney appears to be saying it is okay to count jobs created after he left Bain, but it’s not okay to count jobs lost after he left Bain…Not only is his claim of creating 100,000 jobs at Bain untenable, but also his assertion that 100,000 jobs have been lost in the auto industry “on the president’s watch” does not add up.
Yes, there were some painful cuts in the auto industry at the start of Obama’s presidency, largely because tough choices had to be made. One could argue whether those choices were necessary or effective, but the bottom line is clear: No matter how you slice it, jobs overall have grown substantially in the auto industry under Obama. In fact, it is one of the bright spots of today’s economy
That’s not all. Bain execs made millions off their turnaround deals; Obama didn’t. More broadly, Romney’s use of the auto-bailout in this context only reinforces the philosphical difference the Obama camp is trying to heighten with the attacks on Bain in the first place, and highlights an area where Romney’s economic worldview compelled him to get it entirely wrong.
I think the jury is very much out on whether the Bain attacks will work. Voters appear open to accepting Romney’s preferred narrative about the meaning of his business years, and it’s unclear whether the Obama campaign will succeed in undermining it. But there’s no longer any doubt: Romney’s grand argument about Bain and the auto-bailout — which is absolutely central to his candidacy — is entirely untenable on every level. And more news organizations should say so.
Joe Ricketts’s Retreat From Obama Attack Campaign: Are the Chicago Cubs to Blame?
by Jim Warren May 18, 2012 4:45 AM EDT
Joe Ricketts has had quite a day. Thursday morning’s New York Times identified the billionaire founder of TD Ameritrade as bankroller of a $10 million super PAC campaign to attack President Obama over his past ties to his old pastor, the hyperbolic Rev. Jeremiah Wright—a favorite villain of the right wing during the 2008 campaign.
But by early afternoon, a Ricketts aide was disavowing the Jeremiah Wright plan, proclaiming that it went too far. He said that the anti-Obama proposal was neither authored nor funded by Ricketts, though the newspaper was careful to say it was one of several being “studied” by Ricketts. As the Mitt Romney campaign itself voiced mild disapproval, the aide blamed the confusion on Ricketts’s consultants, some of whom worked on John McCain’s failed campaign against Obama.
The roller coaster ride left political reporters scratching their heads. But the reason for Ricketts’s seeming about-face may prove the adage that all politics is local. And it just might have a lot to do with the Chicago Cubs.
Ricketts is the patriarch of a conservative clan with strong ties to Chicago; one of his sons, Tom, is chairman of baseball’s beloved, if wins-challenged, franchise. As it happens, the Cubs’ legendary stadium, Wrigley Field, is both an economically vital tourist mecca and a 98-year-old dump in need of millions of dollars of patchwork each winter. Tom Ricketts has spent much of the last two years lobbying for city, county, and state help on a planned $300 million renovation, with construction to commence as early as October.
A sudden fatherly assault on Obama could hardly be helpful to the cause—especially when you consider that Chicago’s mayor is Rahm Emanuel, formerly Obama’s White House chief of staff, and current co-chairman of the president’s reelection campaign.
“The mayor is pissed. Very pissed. Very, very pissed,” an aide to Mayor Rahm Emanuel, Obama’s hyperkinetic former chief of staff told me upon reading the news of Ricketts Senior’s planned anti-Obama assault. Hours later Emanuel said brusquely, “It’s insulting to the president. It’s insulting to the country.”
Also upset: Tom Ricketts, who said: “As chairman of the Chicago Cubs, I repudiate any return to racially divisive issues in this year’s presidential campaign or in any setting—like my father has.”
But the damage may have already been done. The word that Joe Ricketts was gunning for Obama could well cost his son the support not only of Emanuel, but of many black aldermen, whose interest in aiding the Cubs arguably dropped through the floorboards Thursday.
The Cubs play in a largely white, gentrified North Side neighborhood about a mile from the home of Emanuel, who has been more amenable to some deal. But Emanuel, ever a pragmatist in an era of declining city revenue, has quietly discussed only a deal where the city gets the maximum benefit with the least possible expenditure.
At the heart of it all is freezing some portion of amusement taxes paid by the Cubs and to borrow against that revenue stream. Whatever the final details, any plan would have to be approved by three government bodies, the Chicago City Council, the Cook County Board, and the Illinois General Assembly. That helps explain why the Joe Ricketts revelation can serve as a Harvard Business School case study in excruciatingly poor timing.
Romney’s plan for ‘Day One’
By Steve Benen – Fri May 18, 2012 9:18 AM EDT.
Mitt Romney’s campaign unveiled this morning its first television ad of the general election, a generally-positive spot describing what the Republican would do on “day one” if elected.
There’s nothing wrong with getting voters thinking about what these candidates would do in office in 2013, and given the general vagueness of Romney’s policy agenda, it’s worthwhile that his campaign start focusing on his top priorities.
But his “day one” agenda isn’t exactly compelling. Romney wants an environmentally-risky oil pipeline that won’t lower gas prices and will create far fewer jobs than Republicans believe. He wants tax cuts for “job creators” — i.e., Romney’s very wealthy friends — that won’t help the economy and would make the deficit much worse.
And Romney intends to kill the Affordable Care Act on his first day, taking health care away from millions of Americans, raising prescription drug prices for seniors, and even raising taxes on small businesses that are currently taking advantage of Obamacare’s tax breaks.
Romney wants to replace the law with “common sense” reforms, but he refuses to say what those reforms might look like. Presumably, they wouldn’t resemble his own state-based reform law — Obamacare mirrors Romneycare.
If this ad is supposed to be persuasive, Romney appears to have left out the compelling parts.
The spot is part of a $1.2 million ad buy, and will air in Ohio, North Carolina, Iowa, and Virginia.
Romney’s suffering from too much cabin pressure on those “AIRCRAFTS”
Who the fuck uses the term “aircraft, these days?
President Obama Speaks at the Symposium on Global Agriculture and Food Security
Ronald Reagan Building, Washington, DC
WATCH IT LIVE HERE @ 10:15 a.m. today.
Quote of the Day
Posted on 05/17/2012 at 5:15 pm by JM Ashby
This is Mitt Romney, in a nutshell.
I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. -Romney on Rev. Wright Attacks
“I stand by what I said, whatever it was” is a dangerous thing for Mitt Romney to say, because he could have said anything.
He has said anything. That’s been his entire campaign strategy. To say whatever people want to hear. And apparently he stands by it. Whatever it was.
I don’t expect him to actually stand by what he said today after “whatever it was” he said previously is dug up.
And yes, in case you didn’t know, we’re back on Reverend Jeremiah Wright. The New York Times reported today that Chicago Cubs owner Joe Ricketts is considering a $10 million ad buy to run political attack ads connecting President Obama to Reverend Wright. And we all just took a trip back to 2008.
Ricketts, meanwhile, is seeking $100 million socialized dollars from the local government to renovate Wrigley Field.
Thu May 17, 2012 at 06:08 AM PDT.
Mitt Romney, RNC joint fundraising booms to $40.1 million in April
Mitt Romney didn’t become the presumptive Republican nominee—a status that enables him to coordinate fundraising with the Republican National Committee—until April 23, but he nonetheless had a very strong month:
Mitt Romney and the Republican National Committee raised $40.1 million last month and finished April with $61.4 million on hand, a GOP source confirms to POLITICO.
President Obama and the Democratic National Committee raised $43.6 million during the month. We don’t know their cash-on-hand, but they entered April with just over $100 million in the bank.
May is the first month in which both Romney and Obama are able to raise money on equal footing, so the fundraising reports we’ll get one month from now will be the first apples-to-apples comparison of the two campaigns.
Keep in mind that Romney’s fundraising isn’t just limited to his campaign and the RNC: he also has a network of Super PACs backing him—and he’s allowed to help them raise funds. Between his campaign and those Super PACs, Romney is in very strong position to dominate the spending battle. Yesterday, for example, Karl Rove’s Super PAC announced it would match the Obama campaign’s $25 million ad campaign with a $25 million ad campaign of its own.
There are also Super PACs aligned with President Obama, but they don’t have nearly as much money as the Romney groups. Priorities USA just launched an ad campaign focused on Bain, but while the $4 million it is putting behind the campaign is real money, it still falls short of not just Rove’s Super PAC but also the Romney-aligned Restore Our Future, American Future Fund, and Americans For Prosperity Super PACs and independent groups.
Thu May 17, 2012 at 10:04 AM PDT.
Paul Ryan: No health plan from GOP this year, but they have a ‘vision’
Republican wonder boy Rep. Paul Ryan, the guy who has a detailed plan to end Medicare, says there won’t be any other health plan from the Republicans this year if the Supreme Court strikes down the Affordable Care Act.
In their 2010 “Pledge to America,” Republicans vowed to “repeal and replace” Obamacare if they gained power. Though the GOP-controlled House has voted to repeal the law since taking power in January 2011, it has not yet offered replacement legislation. If the U.S. Supreme Court were to strike down the law next month, Republicans would receive increased scrutiny about their lack of a plan to replace it.
“We do feel obligated to articulate our vision for replace,” Ryan said when asked about the matter during an editorial meeting with the Washington Examiner. “Now, we’ve got nine weeks of session left. Do we want to cram through our own 2,700 page vision? No, that’s what the country hated. But do we believe in patient-centered health care and market-based medicine? A lot of us have put time and effort into this, yeah.”
Wow, I sure hope vision pays medical bills. Particularly since his budget cuts Medicaid to the bone. And nice that Ryan at least feels an obligation to sort of make a nod to a campaign promise.
Ryan’s position might be news to leadership, though, because POLITICO is reporting otherwise.
House Republican leaders are quietly hatching a plan of attack as they await a historic Supreme Court ruling on President Barack Obama’s health care law.
If the law is upheld, Republicans will take to the floor to tear out its most controversial pieces, such as the individual mandate and requirements that employers provide insurance or face fines.
If the law is partially or fully overturned they’ll draw up bills to keep the popular, consumer-friendly portions in place—like allowing adult children to remain on parents’ health care plans until age 26, and forcing insurance companies to provide coverage for people with pre-existing conditions. Ripping these provisions from law is too politically risky, Republicans say.
Is anybody actually in control of the House? .
Thu May 17, 2012 at 12:19 PM PDT.
Mitt Romney: I don’t know what I said, but I stand by it, whatever it was
Mitt Romney, asked this afternoon whether he stands by his use of Jeremiah Wright to attack President Obama on Sean Hannity’s radio show in February:
Uh, I’m actually going to to, I’m not familiar precisely with exactly what I said, but I stand by what I said, whatever it was. And with regards to, uh, I’ll go back and take at what was said there.
Yes, the the same Mitt Romney who earlier today said he “repudiates” the use of Jeremiah Wright to attack President Obama … now says he stands by his use of Jeremiah Wright to attack President Obama. Even though he doesn’t know what his attack was. Or so he says.
12:32 PM PT: As several commenters have pointed out, in Mitt Romney’s defense, it can be hard keeping track of what you say when you’re lying all the time.
WHERE ARE THE JOBS, MITT & GOP?!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! It’s 2012 and looks like 1994 in MA again!
Rationalizing bigotry is tougher than expected
By Steve Benen – Fri May 18, 2012 8:00 AM EDT.
We’ve been keeping an eye on the controversy surrounding Tracy Thorne-Begland’s judicial nomination in Virginia, and it took an interesting turn yesterday.
To briefly recap, Thorne-Begland, who enjoyed bipartisan backing, is a state prosecutor, a father, and a former Top Gun fighter pilot, and his nomination enjoyed bipartisan sponsorship, but the Virginia Republicans rejected him anyway. Because Thorne-Begland is gay, and supports equal rights, the GOP said he’s biased and unqualified for the state bench.
Of course, that rationale didn’t make any sense. It’d be the equivalent of saying Justice Thurgood Marshall was unqualified for the Supreme Court, because he fought for civil rights at the NAACP.
On CNN yesterday, Virginia Del. Bob Marshall, a far-right Republican, offered a new rationale.
For those who can’t watch clips online, the full transcript is available, but here’s the gist of Marshall’s case against Thorne-Begland:
“[H]e had to misstate his background in order to be received into the military in the late 1980s. There was a specific question. Are you a homosexual? He had to say no…. Dr. Martin Luther King and Rosa Parks never took an oath of office that they broke. Sodomy is not a civil right. It’s not the same as a civil rights movement.”
Let’s take these claims one at a time.
First, it’s worth noting that the Supreme Court ruled against anti-sodomy laws in Texas v. Lawrence, so in a practical sense, American adults do have a civil right to engage in consensual sexual activity.
Second, and more important, is the notion that Thorne-Begland can’t serve on a misdemeanor court because of how he enlisted in the military. In this case, Thorne-Begland hid his sexual orientation in order to join the Navy, serve his country, put his life on the line in a very dangerous position, and become a respected fighter pilot.
Instead of thanking him for his service, Republicans are now holding his service against him — effectively attacking Thorne-Begland for enlisting and promising to protect the rest of us.
Rationalizing bigotry is apparently harder than Virginia Republicans thought it’d be
Martin: GOP’s Rev. Wright Plan Could Lead to ‘Mormonism on the Table’ (Video)
On Thursday, CNN’s Roland Martin said that a plan by the right-wing to bring up Barack Obama’s past association with Jeremiah Wright could lead to others “putting Mormonism on the table.”
Specifically, the New York Times reported on a proposal by a GOP Super PAC sponsored by billionaire Joe Ricketts that would run commercials tying Obama to Wright, whose sermons, many think, created Obama’s biggest campaign headache in 2008. Mitt Romney, on the other hand rejected the idea as the “wrong course.”
Martin didn’t waste any words. He called the proposal/idea a “ridiculous conversation,” and said it wouldn’t work. He also warned that people on the other side of the aisle might be inclined to bring up the issue of Romney’s faith if the plan were followed through.
“If Ricketts wants to do that, if the GOP they want to do that, you’re now putting Mormonism on the table,” Martin said. “You’re now putting on the table how African Americans were treated by the Mormon religion. I don’t think Mitt Romney really wants to have that conversation, considering he was an elder and his dad was an elder, and they really did not embrace African Americans. It is a ridiculous conversation.”
Romney Says JP Morgan’s Trading Debacle Is Just ‘The Way America Works’
By Pat Garofalo on May 17, 2012 at 9:35 am
JP Morgan’s $2 billion trading debacle has grown into a $3 billion trading debacle, as the White House is going on offense to push regulators to craft a stronger version of the Volcker Rule, which is meant to rein in banks’ risky trading. Even House Republicans have backed off their deregulatory zeal for the moment, in the wake of JP Morgan’s mess.
Presumptive 2012 Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney, however, said that the loss is simply “the way America works,” and said that it doesn’t make the case for enhancing any regulations:
In his first direct comments on the bank’s missteps, Romney said, “I would not rush to pass new legislation or new regulation.” […]
“This was not a loss to the taxpayers of America; this was a loss to shareholders and owners of JPMorgan and that’s the way America works,” he said. “The $2 billion JPMorgan lost, someone else gained.” […]
While Romney supported the federal bailout of the banking system, known as the Troubled Asset Relief Program, he said in yesterday’s interview that the economic climate has changed and banks now should be allowed to fail.
“My own view is that if a large bank gets in difficulty, why, it can fail,” he said. “There’s no reason why the shareholders or bondholders of a bank can’t lose their funds if a bank were to get in trouble.”
Michelle Obama: Province in Italy dedicates 1,400-year-old olive tree to first lady
By Alexis Garrett Stodghill
3:02 PM on 05/17/2012
Michelle Obama’s Let’s Move initiative has inspired a province in Italy to dedicated a 1,400-year-old olive tree to the first lady. The ancient breed known as “The Queen” from the province of Lecce is seen as a fitting symbol for Michelle, because her promotion of fitness mirrors the health benefits of what many call the Mediterranean diet. Olive oil is a main component of this style of eating, which encompasses the food cultures of countries such as Italy.
“The first lady has launched the ‘Let’s Move’ campaign for a healthier lifestyle and diet … in perfect harmony with the requirements of a Mediterranean diet,” the province said, as reported by the AFP news service.
To honor this commemoration, the Lecce province will gift the White House with approximately 26 gallons of extra-virgin olive each year made from fruits of “The Queen” starting in the fall. Combined with the yield from the first lady’s organic White House garden (and a batch of balsamic vinegar) that will make quite a bit of fortifying salad.
Michelle’s activities to promote healthy eating and end childhood obesity will be further reflected in a coming episode of the Food Network show Restaurant: Impossible. In the coming June 13 episode, the first lady tasks show host Robert Irvine with the challenge of revamping the facilities of a program that provides healthy meals to underprivileged children.
Is Olivia Pope the New Sally Hemings?
Friday May 11, 2012 – by Stacia L. Brown
My president is black. Finally. We’ve had to wait a long time for that, and I’m willing to wager that, when he leaves office, we’ll be waiting a long time again. So it’s interesting to note that, though Hollywood was the first to publicly present depictions of black U.S. presidents, the only current network show featuring our commander-in-chief has cast him as white. We know that Scandal’sOlivia Pope is based on a “fixer” from the Bush administration, but the show itself is set in 2012. And here we are back to a white republican holding the highest office in the land.
This would be a little unsettling on its own. (If Hollywood’s hypothetical black presidents were presented as a bit of revisionist history or a concessionary nod to a hope for where the country was headed, is Scandal’s white president indicative of a similar hope?) But it’s all the more distracting, given the show’s focus on Olivia’s ongoing love affair with said president.
As soapy and sensationalistic as this show is, it’s hard for me to entirely lose myself in it. I’m too distracted by this idea that, for all her gutsy unflappable-ness, and for all her intimidating, unflinching command in the face of an employee or opponent, the married president happens to be her weakness. Even if it weren’t too convenient a plot point, revealed far too early on, it’d still stick in my craw. One of the reasons why is that I can’t seem to view this show through an un-racialized lens.
This show is giving me too many shades of Sally Hemings. I can’t.
It was especially difficult for me to turn off my Mammy-Jezebel-Sapphire-detector during last night’s episode, as Olivia’s and Fitz’s back story developed. This intense need the story-line has to convince us that these two are star-crossed and that their coupling is Something Real reminds me of master-slave-relationship apologists who either believe that the slave is in a position to“seduce” the master or that their relationship can be rooted in healthy love.
Of course times have changed, and Olivia’s no slave. But in choosing to pursue a dominant-submissive relationship with someone who is, as the script keeps forcing him to remind us, the Leader of the Free World, it’s hard not to connect her to the earliest, collective history U.S. black women share.
HUH?! Finally getting around to reading this. Olivia Pope is a grown ASS woman, beautiful, sharp, smart, and sexy, and a CONSENTING ADULT…THE WHOLE PACKAGE, not a 14 year old slave girl.
This is fiction, get over it, and take a look in the mirror dear. Black women are complex and attract men of every ethnicity, yes, even high powered white men like “Fitz.”
Much ado about NOTHING.
BTW, loved last night’s finale; shit’s getting REAL.
So much depends on a capital ‘N’
By Laura Conaway – Thu May 17, 2012 5:56 PM EDT.
Take heart, Michigan: things are looking up. You’re adding jobs. Your state revenue is growing. The worst might be behind you — unless you’re living in a place like Muskegon Heights, where the worst is still unfolding. This week the newly appointed emergency manager of the Muskegon Heights schools announced that dramatic changes were on the way. “[W]e’re off to the healing process,” he said on Monday. On Tuesday, he sent layoff notices to every state employee in the district, then announced that the school board was now merely advisory.
More than 200,000 Michiganders have signed a petition to overturn the emergency manager law that gives unilateral authority for towns and school districts to single unelected overseers. The Board of State Canvassers threw those petitions out last month on a party-line vote, with Republicans saying they couldn’t be sure the type on one part of the petition was big enough.
Days later, says Herbert Sanders, attorney for the petition side, someone inside the Secretary of State’s office told him that the board’s secretary had sought advice from a Michigan State University graphics professor about whether the type was big enough. That professor has since signed an affidavit (included in this pdf) saying he told the state the font looked like the required 14 points:
Visually, the font size on the petition was the same font size that I had utilized which was 14 point bold Calibri.
That information never made it into the secretary’s report to the Board of State Canvassers. Preparing an appeal that was heard today, attorney Sanders attempted to depose the professor this week. The Secretary of State’s office asked the court to quash the testimony. The state said it was too late to hear from the professor whose opinion they’d sought, and the court agreed.
How did this wreck happen? If you read the email exchange (same pdf above) between the state official and the professor, it almost sounds like the state official was a little frustrated with the technicalities of fonts.
“Tomorrow morning I will have to explain why 14 point Calibri is not really 14 point size,” the official wrote on the eve of the Board of State Canvassers vote. He continued, “Again, why would Calibri 14 be put into software as 14 point when clearly it is not?”
Yesterday I talked to that professor, Chris Corneal, and he told me the way the state is trying to measure the type is wrong.
Happy FRY-day, Everyone! :-))))))))))))))))))))))))
Good Morning, Everyone :)