Friday ReadsPosted: September 21, 2012
You want a good laugh? You know how all those Wall Street Banks keep giving bonuses to people that crashed the economy and forced tax payers to bail out their bad investment decisions? How about this one for size? Romney campaign gives bonuses to top staff. Ever notice how bonuses–which are usually said to be for merit pay–always look more like gifts from slush funds? Yup, he can’t afford media buys, but he can shower his incompetent staff with big money.
Mitt Romney’s campaign handed out $112,500 in bonuses to four of its top staffers, according to new disclosure records filed Thursday.
Richard Beeson, Romney’s national political director, received a $37,500 payment on Aug. 31, in addition to his monthly salary of $13,750, according to records filed with the Federal Election Commission.
In addition, campaign manager Matt Rhoades, policy advisor Lanhee Chen and communications director Gail Gitcho each received $25,000 payments on the same date, filings show. The trio are also paid at the same rate as Beeson, which works out to an annual equivalent of $165,000.
A Romney spokeswoman did not immediately respond to requests for comment on the payments Thursday.
The bonuses came the day after Romney formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination at the party’s convention in Tampa. Despite strong fundraising since May, new records show that the campaign was struggling badly for money in August because it had run low on primary funds and was unable to tap into contributions collected for the general election until after the nomination. Instead, the campaign borrowed $20 million.
Records show that the campaign still owed $15 million of a $20 million loan from the Bank of Georgetown on Aug. 31. The campaign has since paid off another $4 million of the total by collecting new contributions for its primary account, officials have said.
Romney’s failure to match President Obama’s campaign in television advertising, along with worsening polling numbers and a series of missteps, have prompted grousing among political strategists about the Republican nominee’s campaign and senior staff. Former Ronald Reagan speechwriter Peggy Noonan called Romney’s operation “incompetent” in a widely read column earlier this week.
This is what’s called making sure your staff doesn’t abandon you even if they are really bad at their jobs. Just imagine what he’d do with the federal deficit!
The Princeton Election Consortium believes that Republicans are at risk of losing the House now. This is good news for those of us that are tired of seeing continual attacks on Planned Parenthood, abortion rights, voting rights,and healthcare reform instead of anything else.
Conditions through August showed a 2% lead on the generic Congressional ballot for Democrats. As of September 20th, in the wake of the Democratic convention, the lead has widened to 4.0 +/- 2.0%. Although it has yet to be appreciated by pundits, this could well translate to a November loss of the House of Representatives by Republicans. Based on the generic Congressional ballot, the probability of a Democratic takeover is 74% with a median 16-seat majority. Whichever party is in control, the seat margin is headed for being narrower than the current Congress. Like any probability in the 20-80% range, this is a knife-edge situation. This picture may change over the coming six weeks as more information, especially district-level polls, becomes available.
As seen in recent articles in Politico and U.S. News, few pundits think the Democrats will re-take the House. However, analysis of a leading indicator suggests to me that transfer of control is a distinct possibility.
Predicting the House outcome is challenging. First, there is the basic problem that we have to estimate how far opinion will move between now and November. On top of that, there is uncertainty in knowing how the polling measurement – generic Congressional ballot preference – translates to a seat outcome.
It’s been widely observed that Mitt Romney’s attacks on Obama over Medicare, welfare, dependency and “redistribution” are about driving up Romney’s share of working class white support. Romney — who may need two thirds of that vote to win — is arguing that Obama isn’t really looking out for their interests and wants to redistribute their hard-earned money and medical benefits to those other people.
So today’s report on white working class Americans from the Public Religion Research Institute is a must read. It defines them as ”non-Hispanic white Americans without a four-year college degree who hold non-salaried jobs, and make up one third (36 percent of all Americans,” and it sheds light on what all this stuff is all about.
On “dependency,” the study finds that large numbers of working class whites (46 percent) have received Social Security or disability payments over the last two years; more than a fifth have received food stamps; 19% have received unemployment.
Yet the study also finds that three quarters of working class whites believe poor people have become too dependent on government assistance. There’s obviously overlap there, which bears out what some have already pointed out — many of these voters simply won’t think Romney’s comments about the freeloading 47 percent, or about government “dependency” in general, are about them.
But the findings on “redistribution” are also revealing. White working class voters want to soak the rich, and they agree with key aspects of Obama’s views about capitalism and inequality.
Comedian Sarah Silverman’s has a new video saying exactly what she thinks of the GOP effort to suppress Democratic votes with their new voter ID laws. Take a few minutes to watch it. Make it a viral hit.
And then make sure your voter registration is up to date. If you moved since you last voted, you need to update your address before your state’s registration deadline. In Florida, Colorado, Ohio, Pennsylvania, North Carolina and Nevada, that’s two weeks away.
The gap between women’s and men’s pay remained about the same for the fourth straight year in 2011, as both genders got slammed by lower wages.
Women earned 77 cents for every dollar a man earned in 2011, the Census Bureau said this week as part of its extensive annual report on income and poverty.
The female-to-male earnings ratio for full-time workers has been little changed for four years, after hitting a record high of 78 percent in 2007.
Experts say the latest figures show that women aren’t making significant gains in terms of earning power – but men aren’t either.
“It’s not that gap is not closing,” said Katherine Gallagher Robbins, senior policy analyst with the National Women’s Law Center. “It’s that wages are sort of flattening.”
For men who work full-time and year-round, inflation-adjusted median earnings fell about 2.5 percent between 2010 and 2011, to $48,202, according to the Census Bureau. For women working full-time, the median, or midpoint, of annual earnings also fell by about 2.5 percent, to $37,118.
Dahlia Lithwick writes in October’s The Nation on “One Nation by and for the Corporation”.
But how does one measure the ways big business is faring at the Roberts Court, and whether it’s happening at the expense of ordinary citizens? We can start with a study in late June by the Constitutional Accountability Center showing that the US Chamber of Commerce, the powerhouse business lobbying group, had seven straight wins this past term at the Court—a vastly better record than it had during other recent periods of stability in the Court’s membership. When Lewis Powell wrote his famous 1971 memorandum urging the Chamber to press its agenda in the courts, in academia and in the media to give the business community a larger and more unified voice in the legal system and society at large, he could hardly have dreamed of the gains made by the Chamber and other pro-corporate entities in the decades since [see William Yeomans, “How the Right Packed the Court”].
Another measure of the Supreme Court’s favoritism for corporations over ordinary people lies in the ways it has eroded access to the courts for ordinary litigants in recent years. It’s worth recalling that the courts exist as the one branch of government intended to be immune from the kind of concentrated and wealthy influence contemplated by the Powell memo. The judicial branch was conceived as the one above-the-fray realm where ordinary people—those without lobbyists, Super PACS or position papers—might still find a fair hearing when they were wronged. But one of the central projects of the conservative legal movement in recent decades has been to recalibrate that balance, allowing big business to throw up roadblocks to the courthouse doors and make the courts less and less accessible to the people it has harmed.
Can we please put Rush Limbaugh in a straight jacket in some nice facility some where–like Gitmo–and off the air? Limbaugh: “Male Private Parts Are Shrinking” Because Of “Feminazis” And “Chickification”. You can go listen to it. I don’t even want to print it here.
You know how BP swears it cleaned things up down here? Well, it appears Isaac uncovered a heckuva lotta oil that’s still here.
Coast Guard Capt. Duke Walker told the state Coastal Protection and Restoration Authority that officials would investigate as many as 88 segments of the coast requested by state officials in the aftermath of Isaac in areas that are not still part of the existing BP cleanup.
But Garret Graves, chairman of the authority, failed to gain assurances from Walker that the joint Coast Guard-BP response will expand its search for BP oil at locations other than those requested by the state or where the public has reported oil.
Walker said BP contractors have removed 44,000 pounds of tar mat uncovered on Elmer’s Island, and a large amount of tar balls at neighboring beaches. They haven’t completed a survey of known oiled areas in interior wetlands, however.
Graves said the state has found a combination of tar mats and liquid oil at Keelboat Pass in St. Bernard Parish, and at a variety of locations between there and Elmer’s Island on the west side of the river. He said BP should search all beach and wetland areas in between.
So, that’s an offering of things that I think are important to know. What’s on your reading and blogging list today?