Rick Santorum and Women Voters

On February 28, the day after the Michigan primary, there were a number of news stories about Rick Santorum’s problem with women. In fact, Santorum lost the Michigan primary by 3 points and he lost women voters to Romney by 5 points. If he had done better with women, Santorum would have been the winner. Patricia Murphy at The Daily Beast wrote:

Female voters in Michigan spoke out Tuesday night, but they weren’t singing Rick Santorum’s tune. The former Pennsylvania senator lost the Michigan primary to Mitt Romney by 3 points due in large part to his weakness among Michigan women. Although Santorum lost among Michigan men by just 1 point, he lost the women’s vote by a full 6-point margin, leaving him well behind Romney and unable to close the gap with male voters in any way.

Not only did he lose among women voters, Santorum lost in every female demographic group.

Santorum lost every category of women polled Tuesday night, including working women, single women, and married women. He lost working women by 4 points, single women by 7 points, and married women by 3 points.

Of course it shouldn’t be surprising to anyone that women are wary of Santorum. He has repeatedly talked about his opposition to abortion and birth control and his belief that feminists have fooled women into going to college and building careers instead of staying home and home-schooling the children who results from their many pregnancies.

Either Santorum spontaneously remembered that women can vote or his advisers reminded him before he gave his post-Michigan concession speech, because Santorum really laid it on thick about how much he respects women and how many “strong” women he has known and loved.

“I grew up with a very strong mom, someone who was a professional person who taught me a lot of things about [sic] how to balancing work and family, and doing it well, and doing it with a big heart and commitment,” he said. He also praised her for getting a college education in the 1930s and eventually a graduate degree in nursing.

“She worked all of my childhood years. She balanced time, as my dad did, working different schedules, and she was a very unusual person at that time,” Santorum said. “She was a professional who actually made more money than her husband.”

Clearly this was a deliberate change in strategy. Santorum’s advisers even spoke to the Washington Post about their plans to shift gears.

Rick Santorum does not plan to abandon the fiery Christian rhetoric or the shoestring campaign that got him to where he is today. But as a slate of high-stakes Republican presidential primaries approaches, he is being forced to shift his strategy to beat back perceptions that he is obsessed with controversial social issues and harbors outdated ideas about women.

The shift will test Santorum’s skills as a candidate as well as his bare-bones campaign operation, which is struggling to match his status as a top-tier candidate. The operation’s priority this week is to hold on to the candidate’s lead in polls in Ohio, which will vote on Tuesday.

Although Santorum sought to spin the Michigan results as a tie, it is clear that the contest revealed a significant challenge for him. He has been outspoken about contraception, abortion and his wife’s decision to leave her career as a lawyer to home-school their seven children….in at least three speeches in recent days, he has made appeals to women, recalling not only his wife’s career, but also that of his 93-year-old mother. On Wednesday, in Tennessee, he described his daughter Elizabeth as “one of the great women” in his life.

Santorum staffers also emphasized that there are women in senior positions in the campaign.

But as Rebecca Lawless, director of the Women and Politics Institute at American University told the Chicago Tribune, he “threw us a symbolic bone by saying, ‘Hey, I think my mom was great.'”

“It is one thing if it’s one statement, it’s another thing if it’s a broad range of statements that tap into the same problem and that’s where Rick Santorum finds himself,” Lawless says.

Not only is Santorum alienating women writ-large, she adds, but conservative women as well.

“In a lot of ways, the discussion about women’s roles and traditional family arrangements and the use of contraception have taken us back many, many decades,” Lawless says.

Despite his campaign’s recognition of the problem, it may not be possible to right the ship, she adds.

I honestly didn’t think Santorum could carry this off, because he just can’t seem to stop himself from lecturing us all about his 13th century ideas about women’s roles. And it looks like I was right. Santorum appeared on two of the Sunday morning shows and failed to steer the discussion away from social issues or reach out to women in any way.

On Fox News Sunday, Chris Wallace asked Santorum about the defeat of the Blunt amendment, and the former senator actually used the words “grievous moral wrong” in reference to contraception.

Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum says an amendment put forward by Senate Republicans that would have allowed any business to exclude contraceptives from health care plans was not really about birth control.

“The Blunt amendment was broader than that,” Santorum told Fox News host Chris Wallace on Sunday. “It was a conscience clause exception that existed prior to when President Obama decided that he could impose his values on people of faith, when people of faith believe that this is a grievous moral wrong.”

Wallace asked Santorum if he truly believed that 99% of American women have “done something wrong.”

“I’m reflecting the views of the Church that I believe in,” the former Pennsylvania senator replied. “We used to be tolerant of those beliefs. I guess now when you have beliefs that are consistent with the church, you are somehow out of touch with the mainstream. And that to me is a pretty sad situation when you can’t have personally-held beliefs.”

Although Santorum recently has been claiming that he doesn’t plan to impose his 19th century views on the rest of us, it’s important to keep in mind that he said in an October 2011 interview with a religious blog, Caffeinated Thoughts, that he would “repeal all federal funding for contraception.” In addition, he has repeatedly said that he does not believe in separation of church and state.

On Chris Matthews’ show Santorum apparently sidestepped a question about Rush Limbaugh and repeated much of what he had told Chris Wallace at Fox.

Right now, Santorum and Romney are “neck and neck” in Ohio. How will Ohio women vote after a couple more days of being preached at by true believer Rick Santorum? My guess is women’s votes will decide Ohio just as they did Michigan.


Thursday Reads: Happy Animals, Dickish Theocrats, Jurassic Fleas, and ET’s

Good Morning!!

I thought I’d start out with something upbeat. How about some photos of happy animals? Buzzfeed has 26 of them. Here are some of my favorities:

How can you not smile at those? Check out the rest at Buzzfeed, and don’t miss the joyful anteater!

Now let’s get to the news. I thought Michigan was a winner-take-all state, but I guess not. The Santorum campaign claims the result was really a tie, because Willard and Rick the Dick will each get 15 delegates from Michigan.

While there has been no final determination of who won how many delegates in Michigan on Tuesday, current results suggest both candidates won seven of the state’s 14 congressional districts, each of which award two delegates to the winner. In addition, Santorum adviser John Brabender said the state’s two at-large delegates are likely to be split between Romney and Santorum because the vote was so close.

So I guess it’s winner-take-all by district? I don’t understand the GOP delegate system at all.

“It’s highly likely this is is going to end up being a tie, based on the data that we have,” Brabender said. “I don’t know how you look at that as anything besides this being a strong showing for Rick Santorum and anything short of a disaster for Mitt Romney.

“If we can do this well in Romney’s home state, this bodes well for Super Tuesday.”

Romney won the popular vote in the state by about 3 percentage points, according to the latest tally.

The final delegate totals haven’t been determined yet, according to the WaPo article.

According to numbers whiz Sean Trende at Real Clear Politics, Odds of a Brokered Convention Are Increasing

We’re finally close enough to Super Tuesday to get a sense of how the overall delegate count might work out in the GOP primary. The end result: Assuming that none of the four candidates drops out of the race, it looks increasingly as if no one will be able to claim a majority of the delegates. The candidate with the best chance is Mitt Romney, but he probably wouldn’t be able to wrap up the nomination until May or even June. The other candidates will probably have to hope for a brokered convention.

Trende lays out the Super Tuesday math state by state. Check it out at the above link. Can you believe Super Tuesday is less than a week away? I can’t decide if I should vote on the Dem or Repub ballot. I guess I’ll decide at the last minute. I don’t think Elizabeth Warren has any real competition, but I’ll need to find out for sure.

Ed Kilgore had an interesting post yesterday at Political Animal. Rick Santorum lost the Catholic vote to Romney in Michigan 44-37. I guess Rick has the Bishops but not the rank and file Catholics who like to plan their families. Kilgore:

Immediately there was speculation that Rick’s visceral dissing of JFK’s church-state relations speech might have contributed significantly to this result, or had perhaps cost him Michigan altogether.

That was my initial reaction, too, until I started wondering: why did we all assume Santorum had an advantage among Catholics in the first place? …. as I and others have amply documented, the idea that Catholics are more conservative than Americans generally, even on “social issues,” is pretty much a myth. But you had to figure that the kind of Catholics who choose to vote in Republican primaries are pretty significantly correlated with “traditionalists” like Rick, right?

That’s actually not so clear at all. The last contest with exit polling by the networks was Florida. There Santorum won 13% of the overall vote, but just 10% of Catholics; Mitt Romney ran a bit better among Catholics than he did overall. Now maybe you could say Florida’s heavily Latino Catholic vote is atypical. What about South Carolina? There Santorum won 17% of the overall vote, but just 15% of Catholics. Again, Romney performed a bit better among Catholics than among voters generally.

It doesn’t really surprise me. I wonder why Kilgore didn’t break down the gender numbers? I’ll bet Catholic women didn’t care for Santorum’s act.

The New Civil Rights Movement blog has more interesting details on which population groups voted for Rick the Dick and which ones preferred Willard.

Speaking of dickish theocrats, Darrell Issa may have topped Rick the Dick Tuesday at the latest War on Women hearing in the House. From the estimable Sarah Posner at Religion Dispatches:

One of the strangest moments at yesterday’s very strange hearing on whether a regulation duly promulgated under a law passed by Congress was “executive overreach” and an infringement of religious freedom was when Rep. Darrell Issa (R-Not Catholic) asked to have the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae entered into the Congressional Record.

His point, obviously, upon questioning the now-ubiquitous Bishop William Lori of the Ad Hoc Committee on Religious Liberty of the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, was to show the authoritative (or rather, authoritarian) roots of the Catholic opposition to “artificialqui” contraception.

There it is now, part of the Congressional Record! A document few Catholics follow, and which provoked dissent from (believe it or not) American bishops when Pope Paul VI issued it in 1968.

I’m really starting to tire of bishops testifying before Congressional hearings and now we have quotes from Papal Encyclicals in the Congressional Record?! WTF?

Via Think Progress, disgusting misogynist pig Rush Limbaugh opened his bit yap yesterday and

called Sandra Fluke, the Georgetown student whom House Republicans wouldn’t let testify at a contraception hearing last week, a “slut” and a “prostitute” today, because, Limbaugh argued, she’s having “so much sex” she needs other people to pay for it:

LIMBAUGH: What does it say about the college co-ed Susan Fluke [sic] who goes before a congressional committee and essentially says that she must be paid to have sex. What does that make her? It makes her a slut, right? It makes her a prostitute. She wants to be paid to have sex. She’s having so much sex she can’t afford the contraception. She wants you and me and the taxpayers to pay her to have sex.

You can hear the clip at Media Matters if you are so inclined. I decided not to listen.

Also at Think Progress, check out Alyssa Rosenberg’s Pop Culture Guide to the War on Women.

In science news, an article in Nature reveals that Dinosaurs had giant fleas–about an inch long!

Female (left) and male fleas from the Jurrassic Period

Primitive fleas were built to sup on dinosaur blood in the Jurassic period, more than 150 million years ago. The potential host–parasite relationship has been uncovered thanks to a set of beautifully preserved fossils found in China.

Today, the varied group of parasitic insects known as fleas frequently infests mammals, birds and thankfully we have products like Comforits amazon to remedy those woes. But little is known about their origins. The flea fossil record consists mainly of modern-looking species from the past 65 million years, and the identity of possible fleas from the Cretaceous period (145 million to 65 million years ago) has been debated by experts. But Michael Engel, a palaeoentomologist at the University of Kansas in Lawrence, and his colleagues have now extended the history of the parasites by at least 60 million years. Their work is published online today in Nature1.

Engel and his co-authors studied nine flea specimens from two sites: the 165-million-year-old Jurassic deposits in Daohugou and the 125-million-year-old Cretaceous strata at Huangbanjigou, both in China. The insects were not quite like fleas as we now know them. Whereas modern fleas range from 1 to 10 millimetres in length, the Jurassic and Cretaceous species were between 8 and 21 millimetres. “These were hefty insects as far as fleas are concerned,” says Engel.

If you’re more interested in futuristic science, Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence (SETI) is going “live on the web.”

Announced at a technology conference in Los Angeles, the site Setilive.org will stream radio frequencies that are transmitted from the Seti (Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence) Allen Telescope Array in Northern California.

Participants in the project, being run by Jillian Tarter of the Seti Institute’s Center for Seti Research, will be asked to search for signs of unusual activity in the hope the human brain can find things automated systems might miss.

“There are frequencies that our automated signal detection systems now ignore, because there are too many signals there,” Tartar told BBC News.

I think just about anyone can volunteer to help sort out unusual frequencies from radio and TV signals.

Finally, Davy Jones of the artificially created ’60s group The Monkees died yesterday of a heart attack at 66. From TMZ:

An official from the medical examiner’s office for Martin County, Florida confirmed with TMZ they received a call from Martin Memorial Hospital informing them that Jones had passed away.

We’re told Davy suffered the heart attack at a ranch near his Florida home, where he was visiting his horses. Davy began experiencing distress while he was sitting in his car, and that’s where a ranch hand found him.

The ranch hand told Sheriff’s detectives … the singer began to complain that he was not feeling well and was having trouble breathing. Paramedics were called and Jones was taken to a nearby hospital where he was pronounced dead. Authorities say there are no suspicious circumstances surrounding his death.

Here’s one of the group’s classic bubblegum hits. RIP Davy Jones.

That’s it for me. What are you reading and blogging about today?


Live Blogging: 2012 GOP Michigan and Arizona Primaries

Shhhh….

Did you hear that?

Sounds like the drumming of thousands of religious right wingnut feet as they get out the vote in the lands of automobile factories and Mexican immigrants.

(Okay, that immigrant jab may have been a bit too much…)

CNN is reporting this:

Breaking News: Early exit polls in Michigan’s primary show frustration with the GOP field and hints of mischief among Democratic voters.

They are live blogging the results here: Live blog of Michigan and Arizona primaries – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

So far, TRENDING: Michigan mischief: ‘A deal with the devil’ – CNN Political Ticker – CNN.com Blogs

A longtime liberal radio host asking Democratic listeners to vote for Rick Santorum in Michigan’s Republican primary told CNN Tuesday he loves making mischief.

After spending nearly all of his three hour program encouraging Democrats to get out and vote for Santorum Tuesday, Tony Trupiano made no apologies for his behavior.

I guess the big orange site is not the only one with the “hilarious” plan to get Santorum nominated.

“Because Rick Santorum is doing as well as he is doing here in the polls, we could actually take some serious delegates away from him [Mitt Romney],” Trupiano said. “What that really does is it gives America a little more time to get to know these candidates. And don’t for a minute tell me we haven’t learned a lot more about all of them in the last six weeks. What more can we learn six weeks from now?”

From one of the sheep:

At a polling station in Dearborn Heights, Crystal Larson said her vote for Santorum made her “feel like I made a deal with the devil.”

“Voting for Santorum goes against everything I believe in and everything I’ve ever stood for in my life and to vote for him takes a lot of guts I think,” Larson said.

TPM has this to offer: Will Mitt Go Quietly? | Talking Points Memo

This morning I got this email from TPM Reader SL

I don’t really hear anyone talking about what Romney would do if (he loses Michigan) and the GOP leaders look for a white horse candidate. Does anyone really think he would just step aside for a new nominee or hand over his delegates at a brokered convention?

He has been running for this job for years. He has plenty of money. They cant offer him a bigger job, financial power, etc. So what could the party leaders offer him to step aside. It wouldn’t be “wait until next time” because stepping aside would show he is damaged goods politically.

It sure looks like Michigan will be a close finish so either way the conversation of a white horse will likely get louder.

I would love to see you address this in an article.

SL’s question, I think, all but answers itself. And this is basically why the whole White Knight fantasy is so preposterous. Go quietly. Mitt? Like he did when it was time for Newt to take it away from him? Or Santorum? As I wrote a few days ago, “Okay, cool. I’m still ahead in delegates. I’ve got tons of money. I’m not sure what else I’ll do with my life at this point beside do this. But sure, I’m just going to step aside now and become the only mulligan nominee in modern history.”

Hmmm….so would Jeb Bush riding on a white horse be the MacGuffin? (Alfred Hitchcock reference.)

You can follow TPM’s results here:

Michigan Republican Presidential Primary | TPM Elections

Arizona Republican Presidential Primary | TPM Elections

Let’s go ahead and post a couple more links, these are from Huffpo:

MI Primary Election 2012: Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum Battle To The End

Who’s Ahead – Huffington Post 2012 Election Dashboard

Mitt Romney Blasts Rick Santorum For Robocalls, Labels Him An ‘Economic Lightweight’

And Huffpo’s live blog:

Michigan Primary 2012 & Arizona Primary 2012: Live Updates

That should keep you all busy, stick around for the fun…I have a shitload of laundry to iron…so I’ll be here all night!

**Updated to add more links for you, I guess those links above weren’t enough for some people:
2012 Michigan Primary – Results | Politics | Fox News

2012 Arizona Primary – Results | Politics | Fox News

Breaking Politics News, Political Headlines, Stories and Video – CBS News

Politics News: Latest Political News and U.S. Elections Coverage – ABC News

Complete Republican Presidential primary Results – Politics – Decision 2012 – msnbc.com

Results from Michigan and Arizona – Live Results – Election 2012 – NYTimes.com

US elections 2012 | World news | The Guardian

Oops…did I just pull an Obama? Yup, I compromised and put links to Fox News…


Tuesday Reads

Morning Muffin with Coffee Cup, by Delilah Smith

Good Morning!!

Today is the big day for Mitt Romney. Will he win the primary in Michigan, where he was born and raised? Or will Rick Santorum beat him with a little help from Democrats? Daily Kos has been advocating for Democrats to cross over and vote for Santorum in order to extend the Republican primary race, and today it was revealed that a Michigan man had engineered and e-mail and robocall campaign to push the idea. From CNN:

Michigan Democratic strategist Joe DiSano has taken it upon himself to become a leading mischief maker.

DiSano says he targeted nearly 50,000 Democratic voters in Michigan through email and a robo call to their homes, asking them to go to the polls Tuesday to vote for Rick Santorum in attempt to hurt Romney.

“Democrats can get in there and cause havoc for Romney all the way to the Republican convention,” DiSano told CNN.

“If we can help set that fire in Michigan, we have a responsibility to do so,” he said.

The Santorum camapaign apparently picked up on the idea too, according Talking Points Memo:

Rick Santorum’s campaign is locked in a tight battle with Mitt Romney ahead of Tuesday’s Michigan primary. On Monday his camp started openly courting a demographic that’s not often reached out to in GOP primaries: Democrats.

Michigan’s primary rules allow Dems to vote in the state’s GOP primaries. The liberal site DailyKos and other progressive partners have been trying to drum up enthusiasm for “Operation Hilarity” – an effort to get Democrats to vote in the GOP primary and tilt the vote against Mitt Romney. The Santorum campaign evidently decided they’d take votes from any legitimate source.

Following some speculation that the robocall may have been a “false flag” effort designed to harm Santorum, a spokesman Hogan Gidley confirmed to TPM that they were indeed footing the bill, and reaching beyond party lines. “If we can get the Reagan Democrats in the primary, we can get them in the general,” he told TPM.

Nate Silver’s forecast for the Michigan primary: Romney’s Lead Looks More Tenuous.

Since we ran the Michigan numbers early Monday morning, three new polls are out that make the state look more like a true toss-up and less like one that favors Mr. Romney.

Two of the surveys, from Mitchell Research and American Research Group, in fact give Rick Santorum a nominal lead in Michigan, by 2 and 1 percentage points respectively. The third, from Rasmussen Reports, gives Mr. Romney a 2-point advantage.

We also added a hard-to-track down survey from Baydoun Consulting, which gave Mr. Romney an 8-point advantage. However, it is less recent than the others, having been conducted on Thursday night rather than over the weekend.

Among the five polls that were conducted over the weekend — including those that had been included with the previous update — three give Mr. Romney a small lead while two show an edge for Mr. Santorum.

Late last night, another poll came out from PPP Polling that suggests the momentum in Michigan has switched back to Santorum.

PPP’s final poll in Michigan finds Rick Santorum holding on to the smallest of leads with 38% to 37% for Mitt Romney, 14% for Ron Paul, and 9% for Newt Gingrich.

It’s always good to be cautious with one night poll numbers, but momentum seems to be swinging in Santorum’s direction. Romney led with those interviewed on Sunday, but Santorum has a 39-34 advantage with folks polled on Monday. The best sign that things have gone back toward Santorum might be that with those polled today who hadn’t already voted, Santorum’s advantage was 41-31.

Much has been made of Democratic efforts to turn out the vote for Santorum and we see evidence that’s actually happening. Romney leads with actual Republican voters, 43-38. But Santorum’s up 47-10 with Democratic voters, and even though they’re only 8% of the likely electorate that’s enough to put him over the top. The big question now is whether those folks will actually bother to show up and vote tomorrow.

They do note that Romney already has a big lead with the people who voted early (18% of the electorate). We’ll be live blogging the results of the primaries in Michigan and Arizona later tonight. Romney is expected to win easily in Arizona.

The forgotten candidate Newt Gingrich made some news today with a mean-spirited statement about Afghanistan.

”We’re not going to fix Afghanistan,” the former House speaker said. “It’s not possible.”

His prescription:”What you have to do is say, ‘You know, you’re going to have to figure out how to live your own miserable life… Because you clearly don’t want to learn from me how to be unmiserable.’”

Gee, I wonder if all those bombs killing civilians–including children–might have something to do with Afghans being unhappy? That’s in addition to U.S. soldiers burning Korans–whether inadvertent or not–and urinating on bodies of insurgents.
Think Progress reports that Darrell Issa has finally admitted that his no-women-allowed contraception hearing wasn’t “my greatest success.”

Eight days after getting roundly-chastised for holding an all-male anti-contraception, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) admitted on Friday that the episode did not go as well as he expected.

“I won’t call it my greatest success to get a point across on behalf of the American people,” said the six-term congressman.

He still doesn’t concede that he’s incorrect about the Obama administration’s conception rule violating the First Amendment.

The White House is supporting a Canadian company’s decision to begin building part of the Keystone XL pipeline.

TransCanada announced Monday that it plans to begin building the southern part of the pipeline, which would ship crude oil from Cushing, Okla., to the Gulf of Mexico.

White House press secretary Jay Carney said President Barack Obama “welcomes” the news that the Canadian pipeline company is moving ahead with its plans, despite the fact that the administration halted work on the cross-border portion of Keystone through 2013 — a move that sparked outcry among congressional Republicans — until TransCanada works out a new route through Nebraska that avoids ecologically sensitive areas.

“As the President made clear in January, we support the company’s interest in proceeding with this project, which will help address the bottleneck of oil in Cushing that has resulted in large part from increased domestic oil production, currently at an eight year high. Moving oil from the Midwest to the world-class, state-of-the-art refineries on the Gulf Coast will modernize our infrastructure, create jobs, and encourage American energy production,” Carney said in a statement.

We haven’t talked about this much lately, but the trial of Tyler Clementi’s roommate Dharun Ravi has begun in New Jersey. Clementi was the Rutgers freshman who committed suicide after his roommate filmed him with a gay lover and streamed the video on the internet. Ravi is charged with invasion of privacy and a hate crime, “bias intimidation.” From the New York Times:

The trial of Dharun Ravi promises to turn less on what happened between him and Tyler Clementi in September 2010 — there is general agreement about most of the events — than on why. The most serious charge against Mr. Ravi is bias intimidation, carrying a potential 10-year prison sentence, which raises crucial questions about whether he had been motivated by antigay bias and whether Mr. Clementi had felt intimidated or had believed that his roommate was mistreating him because of his sexual orientation.

Seventeen months after Mr. Clementi, an 18-year-old from Ridgewood, jumped from the George Washington Bridge, the case still commands national interest, attested to by a crowd of journalists who were packed into a courtroom here or were watching on monitors in adjoining rooms. The case has been used by the news media, politicians and interest groups to illustrate themes that include the abuse of gay youths, teenage suicide, cyberbullying and the loss of privacy in the Internet age, and it prompted New Jersey lawmakers to adopt one of the nation’s toughest civil antibullying laws.

Mr. Ravi, who was also 18 at the time, knew that his roommate was gay and had another man with him in their dorm room, and used the webcam in his computer to watch the encounter from a friend’s room. He posted on Twitter about seeing Mr. Clementi “making out with a dude,” and two days later posted that it would be happening again and invited others to see. But Mr. Clementi, knowing that he had been spied on, turned off the computer to block another spying episode.

“It was not an accident, not a mistake,” Julia McClure, the first assistant prosecutor for Middlesex County, told the jury in her opening statement. “Those acts were meant to cross one of the most sacred boundaries of human privacy — engaging in private sexual human activity.” She said Mr. Ravi’s actions “were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s sexual orientation, and they were planned to expose Tyler Clementi’s private sexual activity.”

Yesterday Molly Wei, the friend from whose room Ravi spied on Clementi, testified for the prosecution.

“First of all, it was shocking. It felt wrong. We didn’t expect to see that. And now that what we did, it was like we shouldn’t have seen it,” Molly Wei said told jurors. “We didn’t want people to know what had happened.”

But within minutes, she testified, she and defendant Dharun Ravi were online chatting with friends about seeing two men kissing. And within the hour, Wei said, she agreed to show a few seconds of the video stream to four other women who visited her dorm room.

Still, she said, Ravi did not intend to humiliate his roommate.

Yeah, right.

She said that she invited Ravi, whom she had known since middle school, to her dorm room for a snack a few minutes after 9 p.m. on Sept. 19, 2010. When Ravi tried to go back, she said, Clementi told him that he wanted the cramped dorm room to himself for a few hours. So Ravi returned.

Within a few minutes, she said, he used her computer to view live images from his webcam. It was then, she said, that she saw about two seconds of Clementi and an older man kissing.

Even though she said they initially agreed not to talk about what they had seen, she asked Ravi to tell a friend about it during an online chat that began at 9:20 p.m. And within minutes, word got around the dorm.

She said she agreed to turn the webcam back on at the request of a woman who was among a group dropped by her room.

“It was the exact same image, except that they had taken their tops off,” she said. “As soon as they saw it, I turned it off.”

Wei was allowed to make a deal in which she agreed to perform community service and see a psychologist.

That’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?


Open Thread: Oops! Rick Santorum Just Can’t Help Himself

Earlier today Rick Santorum spoke to a Tea Party crowd in Troy, Michigan and, as he did about a month ago, suggested that people in “minority communities” are especially reliant on food stamps and welfare.

Speaking to a large crowd at the conservative Americans for Prosperity Presidential forum here, Santorum said he planned to “talk to minority communities, not about giving them food stamps and government dependency, but about creating jobs so that they can participate in the rise of this country.”

Here’s the video:

In Iowa in January, Santorum said what most people thought sounded like this:

“I don’t want to make black people’s lives better by giving them somebody else’s money. I want to give them the opportunity to go out and earn the money and provide for themselves and their families.”

Watch it:

Later he claimed he had really said “blah people.”

Today Santorum was pretty clear in linking food stamps and “dependency” to minorities, even though most of the people using government programs are white. How will he try to weasel out this time? This guy just can’t seem to keep from saying whatever pops into his head.