Tuesday Evening News and Live Blog/Open ThreadPosted: March 20, 2012
Good Evening Sky Dancers! I’m filling in for Minkoff Minx, who is having internet connectivity problems. This is an open thread to discuss the results of the Illinois primary, the latest news, and anything else on your mind.
There was a 7.4 magnitude earthquake in Mexico</ this afternoon. CNN:
Hundreds of houses collapsed after a strong earthquake that rattled residents in southern Mexican resort towns and the nation’s capital Tuesday, officials said.
The quake had a magnitude of 7.4, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
Its epicenter was about 15 miles (25 kilometers) east of Ometepec, Guerrero, the USGS said, and its depth was about 12.4 miles (20 km).
In the nearby town of Igualapa, officials reported that at least 800 houses had collapsed, the Guerrero state government said in a statement. There were no immediate reports of serious injuries or deaths.
More than an hour after the quake, residents in Ometepec were feeling aftershocks, said Francisca Villalva Davila, the city’s comptroller.
A reporter for the Christian Science Monitor who was on the scene Mexico wrote about his personal reactions.
I have lived in Mexico City for six years and never worried much about earthquakes. But now I have a baby. And as all parents will understand, earthquakes have now joined the list of things like airplane turbulence and speeding taxis, to name but a few, that I now care desperately about.
So when the unusually long and strong earthquake shook this city right after noon local time, as I was typing away at a local Starbucks where I often work, I slammed shut my laptop and ran as fast as I could home (losing a powercord and mouse along the way).
The streets were packed with people who had evacuated, looking up at the highrises around us, wondering if there was damage and if buildings would hold. As I looked up and ran, I kept thinking not about what lay in my own path, but that the buildings standing firm must mean that mine probably did too.
Everyone was fine at home, my sweet baby outside with her caretaker and the rest of our neighbors. But the earthquake was the biggest that I felt since living here.
The polls close in Illinois at 8PM Eastern, so results will be coming in soon. It appears that Romney is way ahead, so unless Santorum gets his god to pull off a miracle for him, there won’t be much excitement. I’ll post any updates I hear, and I invite everyone else to do the same. CNN’s Political Ticker has a piece on the “nuts and bolts” of today’s primary.
With 54 delegates at stake, the state has already proved a prime battleground for Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum whose campaigns and supporting super PACs have spent millions of dollars in television ads attacking each other.
As with most other states, Illinois allocates its delegates proportionally. Voters directly elect the 54 delegates in the state’s 18 Congressional Districts.
Additionally, there are 12 statewide delegates reserved for a non-binding “beauty contest,” which has no impact on delegate selection Tuesday and will later be selected at the state convention in June.
The total delegate count also includes three delegates for Republican National Committee members, which are not tied to Tuesday’s primary results.
As happened in Ohio, Rick Santorum didn’t field enough delegates in every district, so he can at most win only 44. Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich each filed a full slate of delegates.
The early exit polls suggest that Mitt Romney did better with Illinois voters than in other states in terms of “relatability.”
An improved sense that he understands voters’ problems gave Mitt Romney hope in today’s Illinois Republican primary, as did a less religiously focused, less strongly conservative electorate than he’s faced in some other contests, especially to the south.
Preliminary exit poll results find that six in 10 Illinois voters see Romney as the candidate with the best chance of beating Barack Obama, a bit better than his average across exit polls this year. More strikingly, Romney also leads Rick Santorum, albeit narrowly, as the candidate who “best understands the problems of average Americans.”
It’s only the second state, of six where the question’s been asked, in which Romney’s been poised to beat his rivals on empathy. The other was Florida.
Among other advantages for Romney, the Illinois primary is characterized by vastly fewer evangelicals than the Southern contests, and fewer voters expressing a desire for a candidate who shares their religious beliefs, two groups in which he’s generally struggled. About four in 10 are evangelicals, near the average in primaries this year and far below their 80-percent share in Alabama and Mississippi last week. Similarly, nearly half the voters in those states were highly focused on shared religious beliefs; it’s half that in Illinois today, fewer even than in Ohio early this month.
Read more at the link. I can’t imagine what kind of voter would rate Romney high on empathy! A low information voter, I guess.
In case you haven’t heard yet, President Obama is “fast-trackng the Southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline.”
President Obama plans to announce in Cushing, Oklahoma Thursday that his administration will expedite the permit process for the southern portion of the Keystone XL pipeline, a source familiar with the president’s announcement tells CNN.
In January, the Obama administration denied a permit for the 1,700 mile long Keystone XL oil pipeline, which would stretch from Canada’s tar sands development to the U.S. Gulf Coast. That decision was met by persistent Republican criticism that the president has not been doing everything possible to create jobs and combat high gas prices.
Late last month, TransCanada, the company behind the Keystone XL Pipeline, announced it would move forward with the process to build the southern portion of the pipeline, which would begin in Cushing, the president’s third stop on his two-day energy tour. The White House praised the move.
Still, the permit process for a project like this can typically take a year or more. The source familiar with the president’s announcement says the administration could shave several months off that timeline.
You know, I had pretty much resigned myself to voting for Obama if necessary, but he seems to be working overtime to lose my vote again.
You can add another front to the war on women. According to an article by Robert Pear in the NYT today,
Women still pay more than men for the same health insurance coverage, according to new research and data from online brokers.
The new health care law will prohibit such “gender rating,” starting in 2014. But gaps persist in most states, with no evidence that insurers have taken steps to reduce them.
For a popular Blue Cross Blue Shield plan in Chicago, a 30-year-old woman pays $375 a month, which is 31 percent more than what a man of the same age pays for the same coverage, according to eHealthInsurance.com, a leading online source of health insurance.
In a report to be issued this week, the National Women’s Law Center, a research and advocacy group, says that in states that have not banned gender rating, more than 90 percent of the best-selling health plans charge women more than men.
Isn’t that just peachy keen? What stories have caught your eye this afternoon? Please share!