First some things that are upsetting to say the least. Warning, graphic images. GOP Rep. Steve King Defends Dog Fighting | ThinkProgress
If you believe that the United States should legalize dogfighting because we allow humans to fight, fear not. You’ve got an ally in the United States Congress.
During a tele-townhall late last week, Rep. Steve King (R-IA) fielded a question about his opposition to animal rights and recently introduced legislation that would undermine local standards preventing animal torture. “It’s wrong to rate animals above human beings,” he told the questioner. To make his point, King argued that “there’s something wrong” for society to make it a “federal crime to watch animals fight” but “it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting.”
KING: When the legislation that passed in the farm bill that says that it’s a federal crime to watch animals fight or to induce someone else to watch an animal fight but it’s not a federal crime to induce somebody to watch people fighting, there’s something wrong with the priorities of people that think like that.
I mentioned this in the comments earlier but I want to put it up front. Florida Man Charged With Hate Crime Says He ‘Only Shot a N*gger’ | Video Cafe
Authorities in Port St. Joe, Florida say a man charged with a hate crime felt inconvenienced by his arrest because he had “only shot a n*gger.”
Walton Henry Butler, 59, was arrested by Gulf County Sheriff’s deputies on Monday night for shooting 32-year-old Everett Gant, who is black, in the head with a .22 caliber rifle.
According to a charging affidavit obtained by The Star, Butler had referred to Pamela Rogers’ child and other children at his apartment complex with racial slurs.
Gant was shot between the eyes when he went to Butler’s apartment to confront him over the remarks, the documents said. Butler allegedly closed his sliding glass door and left Gant bleeding on ground outside.
The suspect contacted 911 and had finished his dinner before Gulf County Sheriff Joe Nugent arrived.
Nugent recalled that Butler appeared “inconvenienced” by the arrest, saying that “he had only shot a n*gger.”
I am glad they got him and he is being charged with a hate crime.
This is something BB has written about all day, but it is still trending…
Drew Peterson trial is on, and today was the first day, and in opening statements Drew Peterson Lawyer Attacks Dead Wife Kathleen Savio – ABC News
Drew Peterson’s lawyer told the jury in his murder trial today that the woman he is accused of killing was bossy, lied, had a furious temper and went to therapy.
Lawyer Joel Brodsky, Peterson’s lead defense attorney, attacked the character of Kathleen Savio, Peterson’s third wife, in his opening statement. Brodsky’s opening argument was interrupted by objections from prosecutors, just as the prosecutor’s opening statement was marked by objections from Brodsky.
The contentious start to the trial foreshadows what is expected to be a battle over the prosecutor’s key evidence: comments that Savio made to others before she died in 2004, and comments that Peterson’s fourth wife Stacy Peterson made to people. Stacy Peterson has been missing since 2007.
Well, things are still flying on the moon…flags that is. Apollo Flags on the Moon Still Standing : Discovery News
Flags at the Olympics may come and go, but there’s one U.S. record that remains unchallenged. New images from NASA’s Lunar Reconnaissance Orbiter show all but one of the U.S. flags planted during the six Apollo missions to the lunar surface are still standing.
“I was a bit surprised that the flags survived the harsh ultraviolet light and temperatures of the lunar surface, but they did,” LRO researcher Mark Robinson posted on the project’s website.
“What they look like is another question,” he added.
Stephen Colbert — long cable television’s most ardent defender of the sport, neigh, the art of dressage — found himself once again defending the Olympic event.
This time, he found himself up against criticism by conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer.
I know tonight’s post is a little lame, but I am very distracted at the moment…this is an open post.
In a super-snotty, smirky interview with Fox News’ Carl Cameron, Mitt Shady attempted to control the damage caused by his gaffe-tastic speech in Israel by telling a few of his trademarked bald faced lies. He claims that he:
“did not speak about the Palestinian culture or the decisions made in their economy.”…..“That is an interesting topic that perhaps can deserve scholarly analysis but I actually didn’t address that,” Romney said. “I Certainly don’t intend to address that during my campaign. Instead I will point out that the choices a society makes have a profound impact on the economy and the vitality of that society.”
Romney’s insistence that he was not addressing Palestinian culture seems at odds with his lengthy and detailed speech at a fundraiser in which he offered up a direct comparison between the per capita GDP of Israel and the Palestinian territories before launching into an explanation of why he thinks culture and perhaps a little divine help are so important to the stronger Israeli economy.
“I was thinking this morning as I prepared to come into this room of a discussion I had across the country in the United States about my perceptions about differences between countries,” Romney said at the time. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality.”
Romney grossly overstated the Palestinian per capita GDP (it’s about $1,500) while underestimating the per capita Israeli GDP (about $31,000), but the juxtaposition was clear as he segued into an explanation of his “perceptions about differences between countries” based on a Harvard history professor’s book.
“Culture makes all the difference,” Romney said. “And as I come here and I look out over this city and consider the accomplishments of the people of this nation, I recognize the power of at least culture and a few other things.” One of the additional factors he cited was “the hand of providence.”
Palestinian officials said Romney’s remarks were offensive not only because they implied the Israelis were inherently superior as a people, but because they ignored that the Palestinian territories have been under military occupation for decades and residents face major restrictions on their movement and ability to conduct trade.
Before you laugh hysterically, go over and read Charlie Pierce’s latest Romney post. Here’s the gist:
Romney continues to stubbornly refuse, in the face of a general outcry from within his own party, to release more than two years of his tax returns. He is the most easily mockable candidate in decades. (By contrast, it took real work, and a lot of money, to make John Kerry look ridiculous.) And, most spectacularly of all, only four years after the excesses of unregulated vulture capitalism nearly ate the world, stealing everything it could steal and wrecking what was left behind, with 25 million Americans either underemployed, unemployed, or vanished from the statistics entirely, the Republicans not only have chosen as their nominee a guy who made almost every dime of his money in the legalized freebooting that passed for a business community over the past 30 years, but also they have decided to run him as the guy who will fix the broken middle class, and return the country to full employment, by re-instituting all the policies that created the disaster in the first place.
And, by and large, it’s working.
As should be clear by now, the forces that make Romney a formidable candidate are far stronger than the forces that make him a ridiculous man. Nothing he does to embarrass himself in public is bad enough to overwhelm the power of what a truly remarkable liar he has become. No misstep is bad enough that it cannot be disappeared from our collective mind by a few dozen more commercials. The memory hole in this election is located in Sheldon Adelson’s wallet. His is the most purely cynical campaign in recent memory, selling to a battered economy the very policies that battered it in the first place, and doing so confident in the knowledge that the country has forgotten, or has become completely confused, about what was done to it. And cynicism sells best to the cynical.
Please let him be wrong!!
This is an open thread.
Mitt Romney is going to wrap up his gaffe-tastic European vacation today, but the gaffes may not be over yet. I read in JJ’s late night post last night that he’s going to make a speech in which he attacks Russia and Putin and criticize Obama for making efforts to cooperate with Russia on some issues like controlling nukes. Whatever happened to Romney’s promise that he wasn’t going to criticize current U.S. policies while overseas?
After all of Romney’s pandering during his visit to Israel, Ehud Barak spoke highly of President Obama in an interview with CNN’s Wolf Blitzer yesterday.
Israel’s Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Defense Ehud Barak said the Obama White House has been the most supportive administration throughout the two countries’ diplomatic relations on matters of Israeli security, in an interview to air Monday on “The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer.”
Barak -also a former prime minister of Israel – said that though historically administrations from both political parties have supported the Jewish state President Obama’s support, security-wise, is unparalleled.
“I think that from my point of view as defense minister they are extremely good, extremely deep and profound. I can see long years, um, administrations of both sides of political aisle deeply supporting the state of Israeli and I believe that reflects a profound feeling among the American people,” said Barak. “But I should tell you honestly that this administration under President Obama is doing in regard to our security more than anything that I can remember in the past.”
I’d love to be a fly on the wall when Romney finds out about that.
As JJ also noted last night, NBC is not getting rave reviews on its delayed and edited coverage of the Olympic games. In just one of their #NBCfail updates the Independent reports that Bob Costas, whom I usually like, “made a series of jingoistic remarks, including a joke about Idi Amin when Uganda’s team appeared.” Of course the loudest complaints have been about NBC’s refusal to show any of the events live.
There was feverish anticipation for the debut of the USA men’s basketball “dream team”, who began their hugely hyped Olympic campaign yesterday afternoon. But you wouldn’t have known it by turning on a television in their home country.
While Kobe Bryant and other big names in US sport were completing a 98 to 71-point victory, viewers of American network NBC were forced to watch edited highlights of a women’s cycling race that had been completed several hours earlier.
It was the latest in a string of mistakes by the broadcaster, whose coverage is sparking ridicule from TV critics and outrage from the US public. For most of the weekend, the phrase “NBC Fail” was trending on Twitter.
Why would I bother to watch when the winners and losers have already been announce earlier in the day? I wouldn’t bother watching a delayed broadcast of a Red Sox game either, but sometimes I stay up till all hours watching them when they’re out on the West Coast.
In another update, The Independent reports that one of their reporters, Guy Adams, was suspended from Twitter after NBC complained of his many negative tweets about their coverage.
The NYT Media Decoder reports that another yuppie journalist has bitten the dust.
A publishing industry that is notoriously ill-equipped to root out fraud. A magazine whose famed fact-checking department is geared toward print, not the Web. And a lucrative lecture circuit that rewards snappy, semi-scientific pronouncements, smoothly delivered to a corporate audience.
All contributed to the rise of Jonah Lehrer, the 31-year-old author, speaker and staff writer for The New Yorker, who then executed one of the most bewildering recent journalistic frauds, one that on Monday cost him his prestigious post at the magazine and his status as one of the most promising, visible and well-paid writers in the business.
An article in Tablet magazine revealed that in his best-selling book, “Imagine: How Creativity Works,” Mr. Lehrer had fabricated quotes from Bob Dylan, one of the most closely studied musicians alive. Only last month, Mr. Lehrer had publicly apologized for taking some of his previous work from The Wall Street Journal, Wired and other publications and recycling it in blog posts for The New Yorker, acts of recycling that his editor called “a mistake.”
By Monday, when the Tablet article was published online, both The New Yorker and Mr. Lehrer’s publisher, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt, made it clear that they had lost patience with him.
The War on Women continues apace. In Arizona a judge (a Clinton appointee yet) has ruled that the state’s restrictive abortion law can take effect.
U.S. District Judge James Teilborg said the statute may prompt a few pregnant women who are considering abortion to make the decision earlier. But he said the law is constitutional because it doesn’t prohibit any women from making the decision to end their pregnancies.
The judge also wrote that the state provided “substantial and well-documented” evidence that an unborn child has the capacity to feel pain during an abortion by at least 20 weeks.
Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed the measure into law in April, making Arizona one of 10 states to enact types of 20-week bans.
Arizona’s ban, set to take effect Thursday, prohibits abortions starting at 20 weeks of pregnancy except in medical emergencies. That is a change from the state’s current ban at viability, which is the ability to survive outside the womb and which generally is considered to be about 24 weeks. A normal pregnancy lasts about 40 weeks.
The New York-based Center for Reproductive Rights and another group filed a notice that they would be appealing Teilborg’s decision to the 9th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals.
The law will result in more babies being born even though they have no chance of survival.
Under a new Arizona abortion law that takes effect Thursday, more babies with fatal fetal defects are expected to be carried to term, even though they will die within minutes, hours or days. But more will also be done to help their families get through the trauma of losing a child.
House Bill 2036 forbids doctors from aborting most fetuses with a gestational age of 20 weeks or older, even in situations where the doctor discovers the fetus has a fatal defect. The law also defines gestational age as beginning on the first day of the woman’s last period, meaning abortions are actually banned starting at 18 weeks of pregnancy — typically about the same time a doctor would perform ultrasounds where most abnormalities are detected.
Eight other states also ban abortions after 20 weeks, but Arizona is the only one with a law that actually pushes the ban back to 18 weeks into the pregnancy.
At Salon Irin Carmon spells out the “insanity” that “prevails in Arizona.
The Clinton-appointed district court judge in Arizona just did something, well, unprecedented. He upheld Arizona’s ban on abortions after 20 weeks, claiming it didn’t actually “ban” abortions before viability, it just “regulates” them down to the most grueling emergencies.
Worse, Teilborg even regurgitated the suspect science of “fetal pain,” a first in the federal courts, though his decision was based on the contorted “regulation” versus “ban” finding. The Supreme Court has repeatedly held that the state can only ban abortions after viability, regardless of the rationale, but Teilborg found that Arizona’s H.B. 2036 “does not impose a substantial obstacle to previability abortions,” because a woman can still get an abortion after 20 weeks if she’s about to die or suffer major physical impairment.
“It’s such a game of semantics, to the point of Alice in Wonderland,” ACLU staff attorney Alexa Kolbi-Molinas told Salon. “When the Supreme Court said you cannot ban any abortions prior to viability, regardless of whether there are any exceptions to that ban, that’s exactly what they meant.”
And Virginia’s abortion clinics are still struggling to meet the ridiculous requirements they have been given by the state’s General Assembly.
Rosemary Codding has tried for months to scrape together enough to pay for a costly renovation to her Falls Church clinic, where women get checkups, Pap smears and abortions.
Codding is still short of the up to $1 million it would take to update the 50-year-old building — it needs wider hallways, new ventilation systems and additional patient rooms — after Virginia enacted some of the nation’s toughest restrictions on abortion clinics.
The General Assembly voted last year to require the guidelines, which were quickly adopted by the state’s Board of Health. In a surprise move, the panel later exempted the state’s existing clinics, including Codding’s on busy Lee Highway.
But Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli II (R) refused to sign off on the board’s decision, arguing that it lacked the legal authority to exclude the operating clinics.
Bill Clinton will play a “key role” at the Democratic Convention.
Former President Bill Clinton will have a marquee role in this summer’s Democratic National Convention, where he will make a forceful case for President Barack Obama’s re-election and his economic vision for the country, several Obama campaign and Democratic party officials said Sunday.
The move gives the Obama campaign an opportunity to take advantage of the former president’s immense popularity and remind voters that a Democrat was in the White House the last time the American economy was thriving.
Obama personally asked Clinton to speak at the convention and place Obama’s name in nomination, and Clinton enthusiastically accepted, officials said. Clinton speaks regularly to Obama and to campaign officials about strategy.
In contrast, George W. Bush and Dick Cheney will not attend the Republican Convention. We still don’t know if Mitt the Twit will invite Sarah Palin.
Elizabeth Warren will also speak in prime time, but will not deliver the keynote speech.
Elizabeth Warren will not deliver the keynote speech at this year’s Democratic National Convention, but instead will speak immediately before former President Bill Clinton on what party officials hope will be an energetic penultimate night.
Warren and Clinton will speak in primetime on Wednesday, Sept. 5, and form a one-two punch aimed at crystallizing the choice between President Obama and Republican Mitt Romney in the general election, the Obama campaign said.
The Massachusetts Senate candidate will contrast the president’s economic plan with Romney’s, and outline the impact it will have on middle-class families across the country.
“At the president’s side, Elizabeth Warren helped level the playing field for all Americans and put in place safeguards to ensure that everyone, from Wall Street to Main Street, play by the same set of rules,” said Stephanie Cutter, a deputy Obama campaign manager.
That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?
Oh boy, are you all sick of the Olympics yet?
Is that a loaded question?
I don’t know, one thing I get annoyed with is all the drama. I won’t tell you all what I think of the Jordyn Weiber catastrophe, because I probably will disagree with some of you. (Here is a hint, she has no reason to cry…she is the team Captain, she should be supportive of her team mates. Besides…she is 17, she is young, there are competitors aged 24 and 27 out there...well, you get my drift.)
Then you have the China doping thing, gods forbid a woman can swim faster than a man! I got one thing to say, at least until the drug testing results come in…
Of course, this song is about Billie Jean King, and we know what she did.
There is also Twitter drama associated with NBC and a reporter from The Independent. Time delays? Don’t like ’em one bit. And like Boston Boomer mentioned earlier, the coverage of women’s sports is bothersome. (I agree about all these criticisms of NBC completely btw.)
Perhaps I should just go on with the post, aye?
We’ve mentioned the GOP dude down in Florida, Jim Greer, who is talking about the real game behind the Voter ID laws. Here is a round-up and update on this story from The Grio:
Jim Greer, the former chair of the Florida Republican Party, has accused the GOP of engaging in voter suppression, in statements given under sworn testimony in a deposition surrounding a lawsuit he filed over an unpaid severance. Greer claims he became uncomfortable with leading the party when an official began to openly discuss voter suppression tactics that would keep blacks from participating in the electoral process.
While you are catching up on this at The Grio, you can check the latest news revolving around the Zimmerman case: George Zimmerman supporter Frank Taaffe arrested for DUI | theGrio
Frank Taaffe, the Sanford, Florida neighbor who has been one of George Zimmerman’s staunchest supporters as he fights second degree murder charges in the killing of Trayvon Martin, now has his own case to argue.
Taaffe was arrested Friday night in Lake Mary, the town neighboring Sanford, and was released on $500 bond on Saturday. He was charged with driving under the influence of alcohol (DUI). WFTV reporter Daralene Jones tweeted about the arrest, and Taaffe told her he mixed alcohol with prescription anxiety medication, which intensified the effects of alcohol.
He faced misdemeanor battery and domestic violence charges in 1997 and 1999, respectively, in incidents involving his ex-wife, Susan. Both cases were ultimately dismissed. Taaffe told theGrio the incidents stemmed from his divorce.
More recently, Taaffe faced two separate requests for protective orders, in cases of “repeat violence.” Both were filed in Orange County court in 2008. One of the cases involved Joseph Andrew Amon, who Taaffe said was an acquaintance with whom he got into a “verbal altercation” while “out.” He would not specify where the incident took place, or the details of the encounter. In the second, Taaffe said he got into a verbal altercation “on the phone” with a co-worker, Wesley A. Marsh, who he said then filed a request for a protective order.
I did not know that he has a past similar to Zimmerman…by that I mean his protective orders and past “repeat violence” charges. Just makes you think a bit, huh?
On the Romney front: Just Wow | TPM Editors Blog
In his speech overlooking the Old City, Romney did in fact refer to Jerusalem as Israel’s capital, but in a pretty careful and calibrated fashion that didn’t really go much further than previous presidential candidates before him.
But in his comments at a fundraiser Sunday evening with well-heeled donors (chief among them current GOP mega-moneyman Shelden Adelson) Romney promptly disabused anyone of the notion that he either fully appreciates, or is terribly concerned with the punishing realities of the Israeli-Palestinian conflict.
In a salute to Israel’s economic growth, Romney compared the GDP of his hosts to that of the Palestinian territories as though they were just any old neighboring countries. “As you come here and you see the GDP per capita, for instance, in Israel which is about $21,000 dollars, and compare that with the GDP per capita just across the areas managed by the Palestinian Authority, which is more like $10,000 per capita, you notice such a dramatically stark difference in economic vitality,” he said.
Romney (who actually grossly overestimated Palestinian GDP) made no mention of the Israeli occupation, and its restrictions over Palestinian life as being perhaps somewhat determinative in the economic disparity he lauded as a sign of Israel’s success.
Benjy Sarlin has our report.
Mitt Romney, right, with Lech Walesa, the former Polish president and founder of Solidarity. Photograph: Jason Reed/Reuters
Following a gaffe-strewn visit to Britain, where he queried the Olympic host’s fitness to stage the Games, and after stirring controversy in Israel by calling Jerusalem the Israeli capital and seeming to back unilateral Israeli strikes against Iran, the Republican White House contender arrived on Monday in Poland, where he is to deliver a setpiece speech on democracy and freedom.
The speech on the “values of liberty” at Warsaw University on Tuesday is expected to seek to rekindle the flames of US cold war righteousness by featuring a strong attack on Russia and President Vladimir Putin’s rollback of democratic gains, while also criticising the US president, Barack Obama, for allegedly sacrificing the interests and security of central European democracy in favour of realpolitik with the Kremlin.
Romney has previously described Russia as America’s “No 1 geopolitical foe”, in contrast with Obama, who has sought to press “the reset button” in relations with Moscow.
Well, he is keeping his press pool held back…like they are animal members of a petting zoo. Greta Van Susteren: No Press Access To Romney In Poland, ‘Like A Modified Petting Zoo’ | Mediaite
Greta Van Susteren is part of the press pool following Mitt Romney on his overseas trip. But earlier today, she wrote on her blog that press access to the candidate since they arrived in Poland, comparing the situation to a “modified petting zoo” because, as Susteren explained, the press pool is “trapped in a bus while Polish citizens take pictures of us.”
I know it is not Friday night but:
Here is an update on a story I mentioned yesterday:
Southern Baptist groups are asking churchgoers of First Baptist Church of Crystal Springs, Miss., to reject racism, saying that the church’s decision not to marry Charles and Te’Andrea Wilson because of their race is wrong.
While Baptists share common beliefs, individual churches do not have necessarily have consistent practices amongst each other. The leaders of the Mississippi Baptist Convention and the Southern Baptist Convention have asked the First Baptist Church to reconsider their practices, the Associated Press reports.
And someone needs to tell this scientist, he’s got to play the game the right way…the Koch way: Koch-funded climate scientist: I was wrong, humans are to blame | The Raw Story
The founder and director of a climate change study project funded heavily by the Koch brothers, who last year reversed course and said he believed global warming was real, has gone one step further, writing in a weekend op-ed in the New York Times that he is now convinced the phenomenon is caused by humans.
In a piece titled, “The Conversion of a Climate-Change Skeptic,” Richard A. Muller, a University of California, Berkley physicist who founded the Berkley Earth Surface Temperature study (BEST) wrote that his, “total turnaround, in such a short time,” was driven by a new report from the group that concluded for the first time that global warming is a man-made problem. That revelation brings Muller essentially full circle from his stance a few years ago, when he criticized other global warming studies as flawed and questioned whether the Earth was even warming abnormally, dangerously fast at all.
“Science is that narrow realm of knowledge that, in principle, is universally accepted,” Muller wrote. “I embarked on this analysis to answer questions that, to my mind, had not been answered. I hope that the Berkeley Earth analysis will help settle the scientific debate regarding global warming and its human causes.”
Guess they will need to change those little graphs at the Koch exhibit at the Smithsonian.
The BEST study, he wrote, found that the Earth had warmed by about two and a half degrees over the past 250 years, with the bulk of that spike occurring in the past 50 years. Moreover, he found that, “essentially all of this increase” was likely due to greenhouse gas emissions, a point climate change believers have accepted as fact for years.
To arrive at that conclusion, the group mapped the past two and a half centuries of global temperatures against various events, like solar flares and volcanic eruptions, and found that the temperature swings most closely corresponded to levels of atmospheric carbon dioxide whose historical levels could be measured in arctic ice. Further, they also examined possible methodological problems skeptics cite about past studies, such as questions about the scope and selectivity of data, ultimately determining that those questions did not impact their finding.
“These facts don’t prove causality and they shouldn’t end skepticism, but they raise the bar: to be considered seriously, an alternative explanation must match the data at least as well as carbon dioxide does,” Muller wrote.
And lastly, and finally…if anyone knows how to play the game, it is the one…the only…Samuel L. Jackson.
I love this guy!
Are you following the legendary Samuel L. Jackson on Twitter? If so you’ve been treated to some one-of-a-kind tweets from one of the most distinctive movie stars on the planet. Jackson’s observations on the Olympic Games in London have become a viral sensation. Entertainment Weekly reports:
Hypothesis: Samuel L. Jackson is amazing.
Evidence: In addition to his movies, and other lists EW has compiled, we’re impressed by his recent tweeting of the Olympics, where the actor has been giving his off-the-cuff reactions to the events along with — of course — some signature color commentary.
Click here to read more.
And on that note I am PHUKKEN outta here!
This is a MUTHAFUKKENOPINZ thread…
There’s nothing too exciting going on right now so I’m going to link to a few interesting things that showed up the last few days. I suppose every one’s focused on the Olympics and the last of their summer vacations.
Four reasons: An astonishing number of people work at low-wage jobs. Plus, many more households are headed now by a single parent, making it difficult for them to earn a living income from the jobs that are typically available. The near disappearance of cash assistance for low-income mothers and children — i.e., welfare — in much of the country plays a contributing role, too. And persistent issues of race and gender mean higher poverty among minorities and families headed by single mothers.
The first thing needed if we’re to get people out of poverty is more jobs that pay decent wages. There aren’t enough of these in our current economy. The need for good jobs extends far beyond the current crisis; we’ll need a full-employment policy and a bigger investment in 21st-century education and skill development strategies if we’re to have any hope of breaking out of the current economic malaise.
This isn’t a problem specific to the current moment. We’ve been drowning in a flood of low-wage jobs for the last 40 years. Most of the income of people in poverty comes from work. According to the most recent data available from the Census Bureau, 104 million people — a third of the population — have annual incomes below twice the poverty line, less than $38,000 for a family of three. They struggle to make ends meet every month.
Half the jobs in the nation pay less than $34,000 a year, according to the Economic Policy Institute. A quarter pay below the poverty line for a family of four, less than $23,000 annually. Families that can send another adult to work have done better, but single mothers (and fathers) don’t have that option. Poverty among families with children headed by single mothers exceeds 40 percent.
Wages for those who work on jobs in the bottom half have been stuck since 1973, increasing just 7 percent.
GOP strategists within and outside the Romney campaign insist that the former Massachusetts governor still has plenty of time to acquaint the American people with his softer side, and that, given all the problems the country faces, personality will not be the deciding factor this election year.
Those assumptions show in Romney’s advertising. The standard playbook for challengers is to launch their campaigns with a round of biographical ads. Romney’s first spots after securing the nomination focused on what he would do on “Day One” of his presidency.
“Personal qualities are taking a back seat,” Newhouse said. “What voters are asking us is, ‘What’s he going to do? How is he going to be different? How is he going to lead us out of this mess?’ ”
Sounding a bit like a sympathetic psychotherapist, a recent Republican National Committee ad acknowledged Americans’ affection for Obama and offered them permission to move on.
“He tried. You tried,” the announcer said. “It’s okay to make a change.”
Meanwhile, the Obama campaign has tried to take advantage of a void that Romney has created by his failure thus far to fill in the picture of himself.
It has pounded him with ads that depict him as heartless, privileged and secretive. In an exercise of jujitsu, Obama’s attacks focus on the very aspect of Romney’s résumé that he has highlighted as his greatest strength: his business career.
“Who has owned the Mitt Romney biography? It’s been the Obama campaign that has defined Mitt Romney,” said Steve Schmidt, a veteran Republican strategist who helped run GOP nominee John McCain’s campaign in 2008. “A lot of criticism people make is that Mitt Romney hasn’t revealed a lot of himself in terms of who he is.”
Two Democratic lawmakers on Monday will announce new legislation to regulate the online and mail-order sale of ammunition.
Sen. Frank Lautenberg (N.J.) and Rep. Carolyn McCarthy (N.Y.) said the new law would make the sale of ammunition “safer for law-abiding Americans who are sick and tired of the ease with which criminals can now anonymously stockpile for mass murder,” in a statement released Saturday.
The lawmakers cite the recent movie massacre in Aurora, Colo. for spurring their bill.
“The shooter who killed 12 and injured 58 in an Aurora, Colorado movie theater this month had purchased over 6,000 rounds of ammunition anonymously on the Internet shortly before going on his killing spree, according to law enforcement officials,” the statement reads. “The shooter used a civilian version of the military’s M-16 rifle with a 100-round drum magazine, a shotgun and two .40-caliber semi-automatic handguns commonly used by police officers.”
Lautenberg and McCarthy, who will unveil their new proposal at New York’s City Hall say they intend to “make it harder for criminals to anonymously stockpile ammunition through the Internet.”
Lautenberg and McCarthy are two high profile advocates of gun control legislation, but they face an uphill struggle in Congress.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) said last week that he does not intend to bring gun control legislation to the floor and President Obama has been reluctant to press lawmakers to act on the issue in an election year.
Democratic senators though have offered an amendment to the cybersecurity bill that would limit the purchase of high capacity magazines by some consumers. Sen. Charles Schumer (D-N.Y.) defended it last Thursday as a “reasonable” gun control measure.
A quick recap of the purge story thus far: The Florida secretary of state, who oversees elections and is appointed by the governor, initially drafted a list of some 180,000 potential illegal voters based on the state driver’s license database. Some legal immigrants can get driver’s licenses in the state, including those on student or work visas and those in the process of naturalization; the state sought to match those names with the names of voters.
The secretary’s office whittled that list down to about 2,600 names that it considered most suspect and sent those to the respective county supervisors to check. Right away, problems began to crop up. In Broward County, for example, one of the voters who got a letter telling him he’d have to prove his citizenship to continue voting was 91-year-old Bill Internicola, a Brooklyn-born World War II veteran living in a retirement community who’d been voting in Florida for 18 years. But the effort also did turn up more than 100 noncitizens who’d been illegally registered to vote.
The secretary of state’s office maintains that it always realized the driver’s license list was insufficient for the purpose of vetting voter registrations. Instead, it began asking the feds for access to a database — the Systematic Alien Verification for Entitlements system, known as SAVE — used to check the eligibility of applicants for federal benefits. When the Department of Justice sued Florida to stop the initial purge effort, Florida sued back to force the Department of Homeland Security to let it use the SAVE database.
Earlier this month, a resolution was reached when Homeland Security agreed to give the secretary of state’s office access to the SAVE database. At the moment, the secretary’s office is working with Homeland Security on the terms of the agreement, with hopes of signing a memorandum in the coming days, according to Chris Cate, the spokesman for Secretary of State Ken Detzner.
“We’re going to use the SAVE database to verify information we’ve received indicating someone is a noncitizen,” Cate said. “If we receive information that someone on the voter rolls is a noncitizen, we’ll use the SAVE database to validate whether or not that’s true, and then we’ll provide that information to the [county election] supervisors to complete the statutory removal process.”
Cate said a new list of potential noncitizen voters would be created from the most current information contained in the driver’s license database. The main problem with the initial driver’s license list, he said, was that it captured people who had become naturalized citizens since they last renewed their licenses. But running the names through the SAVE database, which is updated through the last 72 hours, will keep those people from being purged, he said.
For now, though, this process is still hypothetical, and the purge is in limbo.
Evidently the Big Dawg will play a big role at the DNC convention in September. I guess all is forgiven.
President Bill Clinton will play a prominent role at the Democratic National convention this summer, several Obama campaign and party officials say.
The former president will formally nominate President Barack Obama for re-election. And he will use a prime-time speech to argue that Obama has the strongest economic vision for the country’s future, the officials say.
Clinton will speak on Sept. 5. That means both Obama and Vice President Joe Biden will speak on Sept. 6, the final night of the convention, before a crowd of about 70,000 people at an outdoor stadium in Charlotte, N.C.
Interestingly enough, Dubya will be a no show at the RNC convention. Here’s some one I wish we could have arrested and hear less from. Dick Cheney calls Palin’s pick as VP a “mistake”. Ya think?
Cheney would not comment on what he told Romney and Myers, but he was harsh in his assessment of McCain’s decision to pick Palin.
“That one,” Cheney said, “I don’t think was well handled.”
“The test to get on that small list has to be, ‘Is this person capable of being president of the United States?’”
Cheney believes Sarah Palin failed that test.
“I like Governor Palin. I’ve met her. I know her. She – attractive candidate. But based on her background, she’d only been governor for, what, two years. I don’t think she passed that test…of being ready to take over. And I think that was a mistake.”
Okay, that’s about all the political news I can stomach for the day.
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He’s kind of lame, and he’s really … annoying. He keeps saying these … things, these incredibly off-key things. Then he apologizes immediately—with all the sincerity of a hostage. Or maybe he doesn’t: sometimes he whines about the subsequent attacks on him. But the one thing he never does? Man up, double down, take his lumps.
In 1987, this magazine created a famous hubbub by labeling George H.W. Bush a “wimp” on its cover. “The Wimp Factor.” Huge stir. And not entirely fair—the guy had been an aviator in the war, the big war, the good war, and he was even shot down out over the Pacific, cockpit drenched in smoke and fumes, at an age (20) when in most states he couldn’t even legally drink a beer. In hindsight, Poppy looks like Dirty Harry Callahan compared with Romney, who spent his war (Vietnam) in—ready?—Paris. Where he learned … French. Up to his eyeballs in deferments. Where Reagan saddled up a horse with the masculine name of El Alamein, Mitt saddles up something called Rafalca—except that he doesn’t even really do that, his wife does (dressage). And speaking of Ann—did you notice that she was the one driving the Jet Ski on their recent vacation, while Mitt rode on the back, hanging on, as Paul Begala put it to me last week, “like a helpless papoose”?
Yes, of course Willard is a wimp. Hey, he doesn’t even have the guts to admit to use his own first name! The only time Mitt feels tough is when he’s beating up on someone weaker than he is–like his opponents in the primaries. He’s still just a prep school bully who’s overcompensating for his own insecurity.
Back to Tomasky:
In some respects, he’s more weenie than wimp—socially inept; at times awkwardy ingratiating, at other times mocking those “below” him, but almost always getting the situation a little wrong, and never in a sympathetic way. The evidence resonates across too many years to deny. What kind of teenager beats up on the misfit, sissy kid, pinning him down and violently cutting his hair with a pair of school scissors—the incident from Romney’s youth that The Washington Post famously reported (and Romney famously didn’t really deny) back in May? The behavior extends, through more sedate means, into adulthood. The Salt Lake Olympics remains his greatest triumph, for which he wins deserved praise. But to many of those in the know, Romney placed a heavy asterisk next to his name by attacking the men he replaced on the Olympic Committee, smearing them in his book, even after a court threw out all the corruption charges against them.
And what kind of presidential candidate whines about a few attacks and demands an apology when the going starts to get rough? And tries to sound tough by accusing the president who killed the world’s most-wanted villain of appeasement? That’s what they call overcompensation, and it’s a dead giveaway; it’s the “tell.” This guy is nervous—terrified—about looking weak. And ironically, being terrified of looking weak makes him look weaker still.
Romney claims the Newsweek cover doesn’t bother him even a tiny little bit. It’s the first time he’s been called a wimp, he says. Really? See here and here. The meme is catching on. If Willard weren’t a wimp, he’d release his tax returns tomorrow and dare the media to find anything to be ashamed of. But he can’t, because he’s terrified.
Psychoanalyst Justin Frank, author of the books Bush on the Couch and Obama on the Couch, provided a first pass on Romney’s psychology at Salon. Frank notes the way Romney frequently responds to situations by seemingly speaking without thinking ahead.
When Brian Williams asked him what he thought about the London games, Romney first tried to answer the question directly – something most politicians usually don’t do. He said, “It’s hard to know just how well it will turn out.” He then began to talk about his own work running the 2002 SLC winter Olympics in what seemed like a canned response. What strikes me is the confidence with which he spoke and the remarkable lack of thought he exhibited. This has become a pattern for him, and not just on this trip. But it is more noticeable than before because he is largely left to his own devices, without prepared remarks that he could use in informal conversation.
In many cases, Romney ends up having to walk back his initial comments as he did in London with his criticisms of Britain’s preparations for the Olympics. Frank’s assessment of Romney so far (emphasis added):
I think the force behind this behavior is massive anxiety, pure and simple. He is anxious about revealing who he is and about interacting with people he doesn’t know. He appears to have much less experience than Obama in interacting with people from all walks of life. Basically, he is uncomfortable except within his own family and in the presence of those who share his wealthy background and Mormon faith. There are many ways to defend against overwhelming anxiety, one of which is to act certain about every answer given.
What comes out besides this sense of smiling certainty are signs of anxious contempt toward others – whether it is how the British run their Games or saying that kids who can’t afford college should borrow money from their parents. Put together, these and many similar statements – his pleasure at firing people or his belief that corporations are people (is that why he can comfortably bankrupt some?) – are all evidence of a hostility not dissimilar to stories about his bullying of others during his prep school days. At this stage, I suspect Mitt Romney is too anxious to be an effective president.