Lazy Saturday Reads: New Hampshire Primary Weekend

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Good Afternoon!!

So now it’s New Hampshire’s turn–a state that is even whiter than Iowa. Iowa is 92% white and New Hampshire is 94% white. Some interesting facts about New Hampshire from The Connecticut Post:

New Hampshire is even whiter than Iowa. Its largest “city” has 110,000 people in it.

Its population is slightly more educated and well off than the rest of the country.

Together, Iowa and New Hampshire tell us something about the voting behavior of white people who don’t live in or near large cities.

Blacks, Asians and Hispanics are basically excluded from the first two elections in the presidential nomination process.

This distorts results for both parties, but it especially affects Democrats because minorities vote in Republican primaries far less.

Hillary Clinton, for example, does far better than Bernie Sanders with minority voters in all the polling so far, so Sanders is lucky that Iowa and New Hampshire come first.

The big contest after the first two is South Carolina, which has a large minority population.

If Clinton wins big there, the Democratic race will suddenly look very different than it does today.

The U.S. is growing more diverse very quickly. For example, in 2012 there were 23.3 million Hispanic eligible voters; there are 27.3 million this year, making Hispanics the largest block of minority voters.

In 2014, there were four states where minorities make up the majority; by 2044, the U.S. will be majority-minority.

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Some primary envy from The Detroit News:

The campaigns spent $40 million to sway Iowa caucusers; at the end, the spending hit a $6 million-a-week pace. Over the the past year, Iowa and New Hampshire residents had to be in hiding to avoid bumping into a candidate.

It would be one thing if these two states were microcosms of the nation. But neither represents the industrial or demographic diversity of America.

Fewer people live in Iowa than in Metro Detroit. Ninety-two percent of the population is white; fewer than 1 percent of businesses are owned by African-Americans. New Hampshire is even smaller and, at 94 percent, whiter.

Appealing to Iowa and New Hampshire voters requires different messages than would resonate nationwide. But if candidates fail to move the homogenous voters of these states, they’re at risk of seeing their funding dry up and their ambitions busted.

Presidential hopefuls should have to prove their appeal to a broader audience early on. The primary season should be revamped to force them to spend those early months demonstrating the resources to mount a national campaign.

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The lack of diversity in the two earliest states has handed a big advantage to Bernie Sanders. We’ll have to wait for Nevada and South Carolina to see how much impact his “enthusiastic” support in Iowa and New Hampshire has had on voters in states that are more representative of the U.S. population.

And let’s not let voters forget that Sanders clearly stated in a debate that he considers white people to be the “general population” and African Americans and Latinos to be somehow outside the “general population.”

From Time:

Sanders was asked about this exact problem at the debate Sunday night in Charleston. His answer:

“When the African American community becomes familiar with my Congressional record and with our agenda, and with our views on the economy, and criminal justice — just as the general population has become more supportive, so will the African American community, so will the Latino community. We have the momentum, we’re on a path to a victory.”

A little bit condescending, no? So we can only wait and see what happens on Tuesday and go from there. I don’t think it’s time for the Clinton campaign to panic just yet.

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For a little deep background on the New Hampshire primary, here’s a great article from 1988 by the Washington Post’s Henry Allen: New Hampshire is a fraud.

New Hampshire is a fraud.

Which is to say that behind that idyll of white-steepled, sleigh-belled, town-meeting, republican-with-a-small-R America lurks a much realer and hidden New Hampshire — the souvenir hustlers, backwoods cranks, motorcycle racing fans who sometimes face trouble after a motorcycle crash so they can find legal help from accident lawyers in Dallas, out-of-state writers, dour French Canadians and tax-dodging Massachusetts suburbanites who have conspired as New Hampshire has conspired for two centuries to create an illusion of noble, upright, granite-charactered sentinels of liberty out of little more than a self-conscious collection of bad (if beautiful) land, summer people, second-growth woods full of junked cars and decaying aristocracy, lakes howling with speedboats, state liquor stores that are open on Sundays and the most vicious state newspaper in America — the Manchester Union Leader, which recently greeted the birthday of Martin Luther King by describing him as a Communist dupe.

They sell the rest of the country maple syrup, lottery tickets and Yankee sagacity the way Indians on reservations sell moccasins, bingo and environmental wisdom. They never shut up about how closemouthed they are. They beat you rich and they beat you poor. They do this by taking a Calvinist pride in the riches from the high-tech boom in the southern part of the state, and then asssuming the smugness of Thoreau in defending the poverty of the swamp Yankees and shack people living back in the woods with yards full of mean dogs and broken snowmobiles. They exhibit the ethics of Switzerland and the shrugging shabbiness of New Jersey.

Or as Emerson wrote: “The God who made New Hampshire taunted the lofty land with little men.”

The question is not who they think they are, to be holding us hostage every four years with their presidential primary. Instead, who do we think they are, to let them get away with it, this white, tight and right smidgen of a place, this myth-mongering bastion of no-tax/no-spend conservatives with no minorities to speak of and a total of .43 percent of the American people? As Thomas Jefferson said, after New Hampshire town meetings had attacked his Embargo Act, “The organization of this little selfish minority enabled it to overrule the union.”

Read more at the link. It’s a long read, but a fun one.

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The media is finally beginning to vet Bernie Sanders with some serious research. Some examples:

Michael Grunwald at Politico: Bernie’s Radical Dilemma: If we need a revolution, how does he explain that things are already getting better?

Now that Bernie Sanders is looking less like a quixotic left-wing protest candidate and more like a serious contender for the Democratic presidential nomination, a contradiction at the heart of his campaign is becoming more glaring. You can call it the Radical’s Dilemma, or the Revolutionary’s Quandary, or maybe just Bernie’s Obama Problem. Whatever you call it, it was on stark display at last night’s debate in New Hampshire, even though Sanders tried to gloss over it.

The conundrum boils down to a schizophrenic view of a nation where progressive change is impossible and where progressive change is simultaneously happening. On one hand, Sanders argues that the political system is hopelessly corrupt, that the economy is outrageously rigged, that nothing good can happen as long as Wall Street, drug companies and fossil-fuel interests own Washington. On the other hand, Sanders says President Barack Obama has done a “fantastic job,” that America is in “much better shape than we were seven years ago,” that there has been significant progress on financial reform, health reform and climate action.

This is not just a political problem, as Sanders tries to carve out space to Obama’s left without denouncing a president with a 90 percent approval rating among Democrats. And Sanders can’t wave away the problem by saying the progress under Obama has been impressive, considering the Republican opposition, but insufficient; Obama says the same thing. This is a philosophical problem for a radical candidate, a question he hasn’t figured out how to answer: If things are never going to get better without a political revolution to take power back from special interests, how is it that things are getting better?

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Tim Mak at The Daily Beast: The Veterans Scandal on Bernie Sanders’ Watch.

Bernie Sanders’s tenure as chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee was characterized by glaring neglect of his oversight responsibilities, allowing the 2014 VA scandal to unfold under his watch, veterans’ rights advocates argue.

Sanders has touted his work on veterans’ issues, most recently citing his involvement in “the most comprehensive VA health care bill in this country,” in a debate Thursday.

Left unsaid however, is that he was the chairman of the Senate Veterans Affairs Committee, responsible for overseeing the Department of Veterans Affairs, as the scandal erupted.


Mitt Romney Just Doesn’t Get It

Bob Garon and Mitt Romney

This morning on Twitter, I clicked on a link to a video posted by Mansur Gidfar. It’s a recording of a spontaneous conversation between Mitt Romney and a Vietnam veteran named Bob Garon that took place in a Manchester, New Hampshire restaurant on a December morning in 2011.

To me the episode depicted in the video is emblematic of who Mitt Romney is–a stodgy, selfish, self-centered man who sadly is unable to empathize with anyone who doesn’t share his own experiences as a privileged, wealthy, straight white male Mormon.

Romney sat down with Mr. Garon uninvited and began talking to him about Vietnam. He had no idea that Garon was a gay man who was having breakfast with his husband.

On January 1, 2010, New Hampshire legalized same sex marriage and ordered that all civil unions in the state would automatically become legal marriages. There was an effort to repeal the statute that legalized same sex marriage that Mitt Romney supported. That effort failed in March 2012. In New Hampshire’s Democratic governor John Lynch would have vetoed the repeal even if it had passed.

I discovered that this meeting between Romney and Garon was pretty well covered at the time, but somehow I missed it. The NYT Caucus blog covered the interaction on December 12, 2011. After the exchange, Garon summed up his reaction to Romney:

Afterward, Mr. Garon, who legally married another man in June, said Mr. Romney was not getting his vote.

“He told me that I’m not entitled to Constitutional rights,” he said. “I think a man and a woman and a man and a man should be treated equal.”

Adding that while he had been undecided until he chatted with Mr. Romney, Mr. Garon said, “I’m totally convinced today that he’s not going to be my president — at least in my book.”

“This man is ‘No way, Jose,’” he said. “Well, take that ‘No way, Jose’ back to Massachusetts.”

Though Mr. Garon conceded that Mr. Romney had handled his question fairly, giving him the yes or no answer he’d requested, he nonetheless offered an unfavorable prediction for the Republican primary outcome.

“He is not going to make it,” he said. “Because you can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes. I judge a man by his eyes.”

Times change. People change.

Romney doesn’t understand that times have changed since he was a prep school bully judging his classmate’s “manliness” back in the 1960s. He and his Gen-X running mate are still living in the past, when straight white males ruled the roost and the rest of us were also-rans. But no more. America is changing, and I don’t think reactionaries like Romney and Ryan are going to be able to stop it.

Just comparing the crowds of delegates at the two parties’ conventions shows how time has flowed onward despite the Republican Party’s reactionary efforts to stop it.

At the Republican Convention, we saw a sea of mostly older white faces, with a few token people of color on the stage and fewer in the audience. We heard mostly negative, messages that excluded those of us who don’t fit the Republican view of what a “real American” should be–including our President.  Even though there was a parade of people on stage talking about Romney’s kindness and generosity, we never heard of his helping people who weren’t like him–those he helped were mostly fellow Mormons as far as I could tell.  We never heard episodes in which he reached out to those outside his own circle.

At the Democratic Convention, we have been seeing a rainbow of faces–people wearing different kinds of clothing, belonging to many cultures, but united in wanting this to be a country in which people care about and for each other–because we’re all in this together. We’ve heard an inclusive, forward-looking message of hope for the future rather than a futile wishes to go back in time to a pristine America that never really existed.

I know which group I want to be part of, and I hope we send Romney and Ryan packing in November. Let them live in their fantasy world if they want to, but we must stop them from forcing their reactionary values on the rest of us.

This is an open thread. I’ll post a live blog later this evening for the third and last night of the Democratic National Convention.


Wednesday Reads: Two Mormons…and Ron Paul

Good Morning!

I tell you, last night’s top three New Hampshire primary results sound more like the beginning of a joke…two Mormons and a neo-confederate walk into a bar…you see what I mean. (Actually, this post was originally entitled, Two Mormons and A Guy Wearing A Hood…but I thought that was a bit over the top.)

Yes, we all expected Romney to win, I was just amazed at how fast it took the news media to declare Romney the winner.  Just an hour after the polls close. Granted, it looks like the turnout was a bit lower than predicted, which has some on the Right (Fox News) a bit concerned.

Ron Paul came in second, which makes his quote at the NH speech even more ironic: “We are dangerous…”

 “There’s no way to stop the momentum we have,” Rep. Paul told the crowd, admitting that “I sort of have to chuckle when they describe you and me as being dangerous.” “They are telling the truth,” he concluded. “We are dangerous to the status quo.”

I would also add dangerous to women and minorities…but you can read more about that over at Cannonfire.

At this writing, Paul will probably win second place in the New Hampshire primary. I don’t expect much from the Republicans — but is it really too much to ask the party of Lincoln to favor the concept of maintaining the union under any and all circumstances? Apparently so. (As we shall see, some alleged “liberals” also have no problem rationalizing Paul’s treasonous instincts.)

What have we come to? What would Honest Abe think about Paul’s popularity?

Modern conservatives are a contradictory bunch: They continually threaten to upend the very ideals they claim to cherish.

Give this post a bit of your time. We have been talking about Paul for weeks now…as we head to South Carolina, I can’t help but think Paul will do well in the state that started the Secession movement.

Here are a couple more links for you, if you haven’t gotten you fill yet.

Lessons from an Early Night in New Hampshire – Molly Ball – Politics – The Atlantic

Jon Huntsman’s Billionaire Dad Won’t Commit to More Campaign Cash | Mother Jones

Lets move on to world news for a moment. Syria is still a hotbed of violence. The latest word from the UN is very disturbing, Syria conditions dire says U.S. United Nations Abassador Susan Rice.

United States Ambassador to the United Nations Susan Rice made a statement today strongly condemning the ongoing stream of violence in Syria.

The statement was made following a Tuesday January 10, 2012 UN Security Council briefing on the serious situation in the region lead by Lynn Pascoe, Head of the United Nations Department of Political Affairs.

“The briefing we received was alarming…” says Ambassador Rice during a UN Press communique released on Tuesday covering the UN Security Council briefing.

“The [UN] Under-Secretary-General noted that in the days since the Arab League monitoring mission has been on the ground, in fact an estimated 400 additional people have been killed, an average of 40 a day, a rate much higher than was the case even before their deployment,” Rice continued to tell press following her appearance at the briefing.

Rice points out that activist bloggers are one of the targets in the Assad regime.

Internet freedom has also been curtailed as blogger Ms. Razan Ghazzawi was arrested and released after bail was paid following her days in detention. Other bloggers have also been arrested in a string of crackdowns since April that have been directed at bloggers to prevent them from speaking under restrictions limiting freedom of the press in the region. Ms. Tal Al-Mallohi, who’s twenty-first birthday fell on January 4 this year, has been serving a five year sentence since her arrest in 2009 on charges that were made against her because of her blog posts.

“This [Tal Al-Mallohi] is a deeply disturbing case,” said Kate Allen UK Director for Amnesty International in a September 2010 news release report on Al-Mallohi. “No-one should be detained just for discussing freedom of expression and if this is why Tal al-Mallohi is behind bars then it’s an absolute disgrace.”

More on Syria from Robert Fisk: Assad faces his people’s hatred – but as their anger grows, his excuses are still just the same –

It was the Assad Speech of the Year. There was an international conspiracy against Syria. True. Arab states opposed to Syria were under “outside pressure”. True, up to a point. Nobody could deny the seriousness of these plots. True. After all, the Syrian government itself registers 2,000 dead soldiers, while the UN estimates civilian dead at 5,000. And when Turkish Prime Minister Erdogan warned that the violence in Syria was “heading towards a sectarian, religious war”, there were few supporters of President Assad who would disagree with him.

Fisk goes on to connect Assads control over journalist and media, with the leaks of Youtube videos that find their way out to the world via the internet and Al Jazeera.

Assad’s government, however, has still found itself unable to deal with the news side of the crisis. By allowing few international journalists to enter the country, officials have allowed the stunning YouTube images of the opposition to lead public opinion. When Al Jazeera can broadcast a Muslim imam in a crowded mosque shouting “Assad’s soldiers – God curse them – say Assad is their God; if that doesn’t make you angry, what will?” and then give specific details of protesters’ demonstration tactics in a suburb of Damascus, the Syrian Ministry of Information has a real problem.

The President can say – as he did yesterday – that “according to the law, nobody should open fire – only in self-defence or in a battle with an armed person”, but dozens of YouTube phone videos on Al Jazeera suggest that such laws are widely ignored by the regime.

Of course, Al Jazeera is funded by the Emir of Qatar, and the Qatari royal family’s influence has now reached its zenith in the Arab League – which has threatened to allow the whole bloody business to go to the UN Security Council. It’s not difficult to see how – from a sparse Baathist drawing room – this looks more like conspiracy than coincidence. The League has been boasting of its sense of resolution, while Assad believes it was his idea to bring the League’s monitors to Syria. And that’s exactly what he told us all yesterday. The Kuwaitis, meanwhile, said that two of their League military monitors in Syria had been slightly wounded by “unidentified protesters”. It would be interesting to know whom the protesters were protesting against.

Boston Boomer had a post a couple of days ago that focused on Guantanamo. Well, a new report has been released from Amnesty International: Guantánamo: A decade of damage to human rights | Amnesty International

The failure of the US government to close the detention facility at Guantánamo Bay is leaving a toxic legacy for human rights, Amnesty International said on the 10th anniversary of the first detainees being transferred to this notorious US prison.

In a report published ahead of the anniversary, Guantánamo: A Decade of Damage to Human Rights, Amnesty International highlights the unlawful treatment of Guantánamo detainees and outlines the reasons why the detention centre continues to represent an attack on human rights.

“Guantánamo has come to symbolize 10 years of a systematic failure by the USA to respect human rights in its response to the 9/11 attacks. The US government disregarded human rights from day one of the Guantánamo detentions. As we move into year 11 in the life of the detention facility, this failure continues,” said Rob Freer, Amnesty International’s researcher on the USA.

Despite President Obama’s pledge to close the Guantánamo detention facility by 22 January 2010, 171 men were being held there in mid-December 2011. At least 12 of those transferred to Guantánamo on 11 January 2002 were still held there. One of them is serving a life sentence after being convicted by a military commission in 2008. None of the other 11 has been charged.

I want to post some updates on a few things we have discussed here on the blog.  This past Sunday, I had posted a link about the ultra-light plane being grounded while it was escorting migratory Whooping Cranes to Florida.

The article I linked to was from MSNBC: ‘Whooping cranes plane’ runs afoul of FAA – US news – Environment – msnbc.com By reading this article, you would assume that the group flying the birds down to Florida have been doing this for 10 years, and all of a sudden there is a problem with the FAA. No where in this article does it mention that this particular trip, the pilot is being paid. See this here: Legal Problem Grounds a Bird Migration – NYTimes.com

For 11 years, conservationists have used ultralights to guide the birds from Michigan to Florida. The birds are essentially orphans, raised in captivity without parents, but if they can be shown the 1,200-mile route once, they will find their way back to Michigan the following fall on their own, and fly unescorted for the rest of their lives.

The idea is a bit weird; the pilots dress up to look like birds so the fledglings will be “imprinted” with them. But everybody seems to like it; this year’s trip is underwritten in part by the Southern Company, a big utility.

But now it turns out that some of these do-gooder flights face a legal challenge.

The Federal Aviation Administration classifies the ultralights as “light sport aircraft,” a category with simplified licensing rules. Such aircraft can carry only one or two people, cannot fly in congested areas and cannot fly for hire, among other restrictions.

The question is, are the pilots flying for hire?

The updated news is that the FAA did grant the exemption. Whooping cranes are cleared for takeoff after getting FAA exemption –

Noting that the flock was stuck in an incorrect location for the past month, the FAA Tuesday green-lighted Operation Migration to continue the journey to the St. Marks and Chassahowitzka national wildlife refuges in Florida.

According to an FAA statement, “Because the operation is in ‘mid-migration,’ the FAA is granting a one-time exemption so the migration can be completed. The FAA will work with Operation Migration to develop a more comprehensive, long-term solution.”

Duff said the FAA has two criteria for issuing a waiver of this regulation: first, that it does not impede safety; and second, that it is a benefit to the American people. Duff believes Operation Migration’s flights meet both criteria, noting their three pilots practice all safety measures and the organization is assisting with the eco-tourism business and reintroducing an endangered species, which he believes does benefit the American people.

The FAA and Operation Migration will work to resolve the situation in the near future, but for now, this year’s new flock continues the journey south for the winter.

You may also remember that police where investigating the Natalie Wood case, Natalie Wood probe yields no new evidence

Nearly two months after they began a controversial new investigation into Natalie Wood‘s death while sailing off Santa Catalina Island in 1981, Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department detectives have found no evidence to suggest that the cause was anything but accidental.

Although the case has not been closed, a top Sheriff’s Department official said it’s highly unlikely any new ground will be broken on how the actress died.

“At this point, it is an accidental death,” said William McSweeney, the sheriff’s chief of detectives. “Nothing has been discovered to suggest changing that at this time.”

We learned yesterday, that a Texas Appeals Court is forcing women to adhere to the Abortion law while the case is waiting to be heard. I wanted to give you this link to the RH Reality Check Action Page. Letter to TX Media: Women can make their own reproductive choices | RH Reality Check

This next link caught my eye when I was looking for new info on the Texas Abortion crapola, The Barbie Syndrome: Interchangeable Fundamentalist Wives Easily Replaced by the New Model

It was written prior to the Michelle Duggar miscarriage, just keep that in mind as you give it a read:

…most of the online discussion of how dangerous her playing maternal Russian roulette actually is no one seemed to hit upon my first thought, how quickly would Jim Bob replace her with a newer, younger, prettier model.

I mean, really, it’s like shooting dice, eventually snake eyes is going to come up. Bad things happen if you keep repeating the same risky behavior. Look at the last of her pregnancies. Something did go wrong. It’s just simple statistics that sometimes things go haywire and we can’t do much about them. But why put yourself in those types of risky situations in the first place?

Back when I was with my old church I got to see this numerous times. Lady either gets pregnant that probably shouldn’t be or would contract a very serious illness. They’d start praying, asking for prayer but refusing medical monitoring or intervention by the medical world at all. They say the same things Michelle Duggar does about this is God’s will and God would either deliver her safely or He would heal her.

One of the saddest cases of this was a lady named Christina who contracted breast cancer and refused all medical treatments, saying only God alone would heal her. She wasn’t going to have any surgery, no chemo, no radiation, she would simply rely on God.

Calulu, the author of this post says that everyone at the church supported Christina, except her…being a breast cancer survivor, Calulu writes that…

Not getting health care while you have children in the home to finish raising is just irresponsible.

But the men of the church always had medical intervention, and it never seemed to strike anyone there that was some sort of warped double standard. I never understood why that was so I’m guessing the lack of serious health care was because in the world of Fundy-Gelicals women were without intrinsic value and considered interchangeable.

Christina died after an agonizing torturous 18 months. What did did Mr. Christina do? He did what I’ve witnessed a number of Patriarchal men have done. He collected that big insurance check, bought a sports car and within six months married a much younger, better looking, newer model. And the cycle continued. Even our Pastor did it, boom, wife dies of cancer, 9 months later Pastor has another wife and life goes on as before.

Then and now it struck me as a basic lack of respect for any woman to hold them all so interchangeable. The Barbie Syndrome. The sad part is that we all put up with this behavior at the time and thought we were holding up the image of the Good Christian Woman, never realizing that culture considers us as unique as an assembly line of Barbies.

For my last link today I’m going to bring it from Christian Barbies to this article over at Wall Street Journal. Is Your Personality Making You Put on Pounds?

Losing weight is simple: Eat less and exercise more. Why that’s so difficult for so many people is embedded deep in the human psyche.

A variety of personality traits, such as being a night owl or a multi-tasker, all contribute to weight gain in different ways, Melinda Beck reports on Lunch Break. Photo: Getty Images.

A growing body of research is finding intriguing connections between personality traits and habits that can lead to obesity. The same parts of the brain that control emotions and stress response also govern appetite, several studies have shown. Early life experiences also set the stage for overeating years later, researchers have found.
“If we can understand how personality is contributing to weight gain, we can develop interventions to help people deal with it,” says Angelina R. Sutin, a researcher at the National Institute on Aging who led a study published last year comparing the body mass index, or BMI, and personality traits of nearly 2,000 Baltimore residents over 50 years.
In the study, those who scored high on neuroticism—the tendency to easily experience negative emotions—and low on conscientiousness, or being organized and disciplined, were the most likely to be overweight and obese. Impulsivity was strongly linked to BMI, too: The subjects in the top 10% of impulsivity weighed, on average, 24 pounds more than those in the lowest 10%. People who rated themselves low on “agreeableness” were the most likely to gain weight over the years. The study was published in July in the Journal of Personality and Social Psychology.

It breaks down several personality traits…I am posting them below, click the link to find ways to fix them.

The Night Owl
Unless they have the luxury of sleeping late, night owls are often sleep deprived. That drives down levels of leptin, the hormone that signals fullness, and drives up ghrelin, the hormone that fuels appetite, particularly for high carbohydrate, high calorie food, numerous studies show. Even short-term sleep deprivation can make healthy people process sugar as if they were diabetic, according to research from the University of Chicago.

Night owls also tend to skip, or sleep through, breakfast, missing an important chance to get their metabolism going early, and they often snack far into the night. That sets the stage for “night-eating syndrome,” when people consume a significant portion of their daily intake after dinner, which is associated with obesity and diabetes.

[…]

The Stress Junkie

People who thrive on competition and deadline pressure may seem high-powered, but what powers them internally are adrenaline and cortisol. Those stress hormones supply quick bursts of energy in fight-or-flight situations, but when the alarm is unrelenting, they can they can cause health problems, including obesity.

Cortisol stimulates a brain chemical called neuropeptide Y, which boosts carbohydrate cravings. It also makes the body churn out excess insulin and accumulate fat, particularly in the belly where it raises the risk of diabetes, heart disease, stroke and other diseases. People who feel chronically stressed often use food for energy and comfort and rationalize that they’ve earned it.

[…]

The Mindless Multitasker

People who habitually work, read, drive, watch TV or do anything while dining often eat more than they realize. “Anything that takes our focus off the food makes us more likely to overeat without knowing it,” Brian Wansink, an expert on food, marketing and consumer behavior, wrote in his 2006 book, “Mindless Eating: Why We Eat More Than We Think.”

He now directs the Food and Brand Lab at Cornell University. His research shows that few people overeat because they’re hungry, but because of myriad other subconscious cues, from family and friends to plates and packages.

[…]

The Giver

People who constantly put other people’s needs ahead of their own often become emotionally depleted and seek solace in eating. Eating coach Karen Koenig, author of “Nice Girls Finish Fat,” writes that many of the clients in her Sarasota, Fla., practice are “ultranurturing, self-effacing, unselfish, generous and caring to a fault.” Food works because it’s close, it doesn’t require burdening others, and it signals comfort and love. But because it doesn’t really fill the emotional void that givers have, they keep eating more and more.

Some “givers” also live in fear of disappointing other people or engaging in conflict, so they try to stifle their own feelings with food.

[…]

The Perfectionist

Like givers, people who drive themselves to be perfect often use food to relieve the pressure. And many set themselves up for failure with impossible weight and fitness goals. Bariatric surgeons say they see a high correlation between perfectionism and obesity; experts in eating disorders say perfectionism is often at the root of anorexia, bulimia and binge eating. Many perfectionists also engage in all-or-nothing thinking that leads them to get discouraged easily with dieting and seek solace again in food.

That is it for this night owl…catch y’all later in the comments after I sleep in. What are you all reading and blogging about today?


Crowd Heckles Romney at NH Polling Place

Mitt Romney in Manchester, NH today

Buzzfeed reports that Mitt Romney was Heckled a couple of hours ago at a Manchester, NH polling place. Voters seemed unhappy about Romney’s statement yesterday that he likes to fire people.

At what was meant to be an invigorating warmup to Mitt Romney’s primary-day victory lap here, the candidate’s flub at a Chamber of Commerce breakfast yesterday continued to dog him.

Stopping by a polling place at Webster School in Manchester, Romney was greeted by enthusiastic crowds of supporters chanting, “Let’s go MItt!” and rowdy libertarian voters shouting “Ron Paul! Ron Paul!”

But as media surrounded him to collect obligatory quotes about how “the entire nation is watching,” antagonists were committed to continuing the narrative of Romney’s record of a heartless job-slasher.

As the candidate held one voter’s infant, an activist repeatedly shouted, “Are you going to fire the baby?” Another shouted, “I don’t like firing people!”

Romney attempted to explain that his comment was taken out of context. He meant that he thinks people should be able to fire their insurance companies. I guess he doesn’t know that if he gets rid of Obamacare, as he has promised, nothing will prevent insurance companies from dropping sick people and refusing to insure people with preexisting conditions.

Funny how when you’re worth a quarter of a billion dollars, little problems like that don’t seem so troubling.

Nevertheless, Romney is anticipating a big win tonight. But the LA Times suggests that unless he gets more than 37% of the vote, a win may still be perceived as a loss because of the media expectations game.

Romney could still lose ground in the eyes of the media and professional political strategists if he fails to win by a convincing margin here, a northeastern state where he’s been campaigning for years.

How big a vote does Romney need to look like a winner? Reporters and pundits –- the unofficial Board of Expectations, if you will -– have been debating that question in Manchester’s restaurants and bars for the last week.

Here’s what they say: Romney’s standing in New Hampshire polls over the last month has ranged between 33% and 46%. If the former Massachusetts governor comes in at the low end of that range — say, 35% or below — most reporters will see it as a setback. But at 40% or higher, Romney will be declared a clear winner, with momentum that can carry him through the next contests in South Carolina and Florida –- even though he won’t have come near a majority.

We’ll know the outcome later tonight. Be sure to join us for Dakinikat’s live blog of the returns at 8PM Eastern.


Tuesday Reads: Gordon Gekko for President?

Good morning! Today is the New Hampshire primary. We’ll live blog the returns later tonight. As of last night, Gordon Gekko Mitt Romney had a big lead in the polls, with Ron Paul second and John Huntsman and Rick Santorum tied for third place.

Romney, the former governor of neighboring Massachusetts, holds a 24 percentage point lead over his closest rival, with 41 percent of likely Republican primary voters indicating they’d vote for him, the WMUR New Hampshire Primary Poll said.

U.S. Rep. Ron Paul from Texas was favored by 17 percent of likely primary voters, followed by former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman and former U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum of Pennsylvania, each with 11 percent, and former House Speaker Newt Gingrich collecting 8 percent.

Several polls indicated Gingrich would finish in the top three.

“All of the candidates behind Romney have a good chance finishing anywhere between second and fifth place,” said Andrew Smith, director of the UNH Survey Center in Durham.

Yesterday Romney stepped in it again when he told an audience that he really likes firing people.

The final day of campaigning saw Romney under fire for a comment about health insurance that quickly became fodder for criticism.

Asked about the issue in Nashua, New Hampshire, Romney said he wanted a person to be able to own his or her own policy “and perhaps keep it the rest of their life.”

“That means the insurance company will have the incentive to keep you healthy. It also means if you don’t like what they do, you can fire them,” he said.

“I like being able to fire people who provide services to me,” Romney added. “If someone doesn’t give me the good service I need, I want to say I am going to get somebody else to provide that service to me.”

Romney complained that everyone was taking his remarks out of context, but when you’re a former corporate raider worth $250 million, it’s probably a good idea to watch what you say about putting people out of work.

Anyway, the latest meme about Romney is that he’s Gordon Gekko brought to life. I think it’s a pretty good comparison. I don’t know if you recall the quote from the recent Vanity Fair profile of Romney that I included in a recent post:

Romney described himself as driven by a core economic credo, that capitalism is a form of “creative destruction.” This theory, espoused in the 1940s by the economist Joseph Schumpeter and later touted by former Federal Reserve Board chairman Alan Greenspan, holds that business must exist in a state of ceaseless revolution. A thriving economy changes from within, Schumpeter wrote in his landmark book, Capitalism, Socialism and Democracy, “incessantly destroying the old one, incessantly creating a new one.” But as even the theory’s proponents acknowledged, such destruction could bankrupt companies, upending lives and communities, and raise questions about society’s role in softening some of the harsher consequences.

Romney, for his part, contrasted the capitalistic benefits of creative destruction with what happened in controlled economies, in which jobs might be protected but productivity and competitiveness falters. Far better, Romney wrote in his book No Apology, “for governments to stand aside and allow the creative destruction inherent in a free economy.” He acknowledged that it is “unquestionably stressful—on workers, managers, owners, bankers, suppliers, customers, and the communities that surround the affected businesses.” But it was necessary to rebuild a moribund company and economy.

That sure sounds Gekko-like, doesn’t it?

Yesterday, Rick Klein of ABC News addressed the Romney/Gekko issue.

Virtually all of Romney’s rivals are now sensing a powerful issue. Jon Huntsman said today that the firing comment shows that Romney is “completely out of touch” with the American economy.

Rick Perry, skipping ahead a state, is calling it the “ultimate insult for Mitt Romney to come to South Carolina and tell you he feels your pain, because he caused it.”

Gingrich is equating Romney’s business style with finding “clever legal ways to loot a company.” Rick Santorum’s stump speech includes a line about not needing a CEO as president, and he suggested at ABC’s Saturday night debate in New Hampshire that Romney’s background calls into question whether he “can inspire and paint a positive vision for this country.”

Romney hasn’t made matters easier for himself as he’s tried to connect with voters on the economy. The son of a millionaire business titan said over the weekend: “I know what it’s like to worry about whether or not you are going to get fired.”

Klein claims it’s too late for any of this to affect the New Hampshire primary results. I wouldn’t be so sure. New Hampshirites are famous for making up their minds at the last minute. Remember Hillary’s surprise win in 2008?

Romney has been expecting the Gordon Gekko comparisons, so you have to wonder why he hasn’t managed to curb some of these Gekko-like remarks.  I guess he just can’t help himself.

Mitt Romney says he knows a photo in which he appears with other executives at Bain Capital LLC posing with cash in their hands, pockets and mouths will be used against him if he wins the Republican presidential nomination.

The 1980s image — called the “Gordon Gekko” photo by some Democrats, a reference to the Michael Douglas character in the movie “Wall Street” — offers an easy attack line at a time of high unemployment and sharp rhetoric against the nation’s top money managers, investors and bankers.

“We posed for a picture, just celebrating the fact that we had raised a lot of money and then we hoped to be able to return it with a good return,” Romney said on “Fox News Sunday.”

Here’s Romney’s defense of the photo on Fox News Sunday.

Andrew Leonard of Salon also discussed the comparison of Romney with Gekko.

Like Gekko, Romney made his fortune buying and selling companies; and like Gekko, he believes that his “greed is good” version of rough-and-tumble creative destruction is a positive force for America, weeding out the bad performers and nurturing lean-and-mean profit engines. If you are looking for the paradigmatic exemplar of the new style of capitalism mogul launched by the Reagan revolution, Romney is your man. Michael Douglas’ Gordon Gekko is merely ersatz.

But what Leonard finds so amazing is that this attack on Romney and his leverage buyouts is being led Newt Gingrich.

The shock is to see Newt Gingrich and his financial backers channeling the Oliver Stone critique so passionately and wholeheartedly. If you have not seen the three-minute advertisement “When Romney Came to Town,” the soon-to-be debuted documentary lambasting Romney as the enemy of the American worker, prepare to be flabbergasted.

“Their greed was only matched by their willingness to do anything to make millions in profits.”

“This film is about one such raider and his firm.”

“His mission: To reap massive rewards for himself and his investors.

“Romney took foreign seed money from Latin America, and began a pattern exploiting dozens of American businesses.”

And so on. Michael Moore doesn’t sting this hard, and MoveOn isn’t this angry. If Romney, as expected, ends up winning the Republican nomination, Obama’s campaign team can relax. Their work has already been done.

Here’s the trailer for the 27-minute documentary that Gingrich backers have purchased.


Politico calls it “the Bain Bomb.”

While conservatives look unlikely to unite around one alternative to Romney, the campaigns themselves are uniting around the theme that the former head of Bain Capital looted companies, tossed people out of jobs and is now exaggerating his success at the venture capital firm.

In the context of this moment in American politics, in which frustration with the privileged is boiling hot, the attack, from Republicans on one side and the Obama campaign on the other, will test Romney. If he ends up looking more like an opportunist who profited for the few than like a man who created jobs for the many, it’s hard to imagine his polls numbers won’t drop.

Conservative bloggers, who generally can’t stand Romney have begun defending him against his rivals attacks, and Dana Millback called Romney “the Scrooge McDuck of the 2012 presidential race. Bloomberg reports that buyout firms are getting nervous about damage to their reputations.

This could be fun to watch. I thought Newt’s attack on Romney yesterday was spot on.

Is Romney full of shit or what? He even makes Newt Gingrich look good. I hope Newt sticks around and continues letting it all hang out. Every single word he said about Romney was the truth.

I’m going to wrap this up with a more serious take on Romney from Robert Reich: Mitt: Son of “Citizen’s United.” I had forgotten that Reich ran for governor of Massachusetts in the the Democratic primary in 2002. Please go read the whole thing and try not to weep while you’re doing it.

As Reich says, Romney is the ultimate big money candidate. He was in 2002, and now with the help of the Roberts Court, he has more money than any candidate ever dreamed of before. If you thought Obama was the candidate of Wall Street–and he was in 2008–Romney is soooo much more so. He has money and connections that make Obama’s fundraising look pathetic. And none of this money even needs to be reported–it could be coming from overseas, even from foreign governments, and we’d never know.

Tonight we’ll find out of any of this barrage of Gordon Gekko/Mitt Romney comparisons will have any effect. I’m rooting for Romney to be taken down a peg. And then on to South Carolina!

Please share your links in the comments, and I hope to see you tonight for the live blog.


Rick Santorum’s notion of “rational, reasoned thought”

Yesterday Rick Santorum spoke to a group of high school and college students at “College Convention 2012” in Concord, New Hampshire and engaged them in what he apparently sees as some kind of Socratic dialogue about same-sex marriage. Here’s the video.

ABC News summarized and quoted from the exchange. Here’s a bit of it:

As Santorum addressed a group of college students, one asked him how same-sex marriage affects him personally and why not have legal same-sex marriage as long as it’s not religious in nature.

Santorum answered that for “230 years marriage has been between one man and woman. So if you want to change the law … you have to make the positive argument about why.” ….

He called on a woman who asked, “How about the idea that all men are created equal, rights to happiness and liberty?

Santorum responded, “Are we saying that everyone should have the right to marry?”

Several members of the crowd loudly yelled, “Yes!” ….

“So anyone can marry can marry anybody else? So if that’s the case, then everyone can marry several people … so you can be married to five people. Is that OK?” Santorum asked.

It seems to me that Santorum is oddly obsessed with fantasies of group sex. He has made this comparison of same-sex marriage to polygamy repeatedly in the past. In this instance, when students told him his questions about fantasized group marriages were “irrelevant,” he actually lectured them:

“You know it’s important if we’re going to have a discussion based on rational, reasoned thought, that we employ reason, okay? Reason says that if you think it’s okay for two then you have to differentiate with me why it’s not okay for three, right?

That’s Santorum’s notion of reason and rationality? He sets up a bizarre straw man argument and refuses to deal with the question he’s being asked about how two people of the same sex marrying could hurt him. There are already laws against polygamy for heterosexuals in this country, and laws could also be passed against group same-sex marriage if groups of people begin agitating for the right to marry. But as far as I know that isn’t happening.

A little later in the discussion, Santorum explains why he believes marriage must only be between one man and one woman.

“I believe we’re made that way. God made men and woman to keep civilization and provide the best environment to raise children,” Santorum said. “I have no problem if people want to have relationships, but marriage provides a good to society. It’s unique because it is the union that causes children to be raised.”

Santorum added that “every child in America deserves” to know their mother and father.

“We deny children that birthright, then I think we are harming kids and society and not promoting what’s best,” Santorum added, before moving on to the next question.

That’s his idea of logic? Americans should behave according to Santorum’s personal beliefs? So if every child must know his or her mother and father, does that mean that Santorum opposes adoption? Well, he opposes gay couples adopting, but I haven’t been able to find his position on heterosexual adoptions.

After Santorum moved on to other questions, he displayed more of his “reasoned, rational thinking.”

…when a crowd member asked if he would adhere to the conservative pillar of state’s rights in cases when a state legalizes gay marriage and medical marijuana.

“I think there are some things that are essential elements of society to which a society rests that we have to have a consensus on,” Santorum said. “That’s why I believe on things as essential as ‘what is life’ and what life is protected under the Constitution should be a federal charge, not a state by state.”

He then admitted he was not familiar with medical marijuana laws, which led the crowd to press him on how he came to developing his views on issues he was unfamiliar with.

“Well I form that opinion from my own life experiences and having experienced that,” he said. “I went to college too.”

So no states’ rights if the issue is one that involves Santorum’s “beliefs,” apparently. After the town hall with the students ended, Santorum told a reporter his goal in the exchange was “to engage them to get them thinking about why they’re thinking the way you’re thinking.”

Huh? WTF does that mean? All I can say is that this man’s thinking processes seem to me to be not only illogical but also deeply disordered. This, combined with his obvious hypocrisy and corrupt behavior should disqualify him–even from becoming the nominee of the Republican Party, much less President of the U.S. Thank goodness most Americans probably won’t be as receptive to Santorum’s “reasoning” as Iowa Republican caucus voters were.


Tuesday Reads: Iowa Caucuses Edition

Good Morning!!

The Iowa Caucuses will be held tonight, and we’ll live blog the results later on. The outcome is still pretty much up in the air. I’m definitely rooting for Romney to lose, but I can’t decide whom I’d rather see come in first–Rick Santorum or Ron Paul. Neither one has a shot at the nomination, but I’d love to see the GOP elites scrambling if Paul wins it. I think they won’t get as upset by a Santorum win, but it would be irritating for them. Either Paul or Santorum could mess things up for Romney in New Hampshire, if they come out of Iowa with some momentum.

Nate Silver has his usual thorough analysis of the polls: Iowa Race Tightens in Final 48 Hours.

A new Public Policy Polling survey in Iowa, conducted Saturday and Sunday, shows a virtual three-way tie in advance of the Iowa caucuses. Ron Paul has a nominal lead with 20 percent of the vote in the poll, followed by Mitt Romney at 19 percent and Rick Santorum at 18 percent.

Our forecast model, which combines the Public Policy Polling survey with other recent polls of the state, also shows an effective three-way tie, although it has Mr. Romney ahead by the slimmest of margins. The model projects Mr. Romney to receive 21.0 percent of the vote, followed by Mr. Paul at 20.6 percent and Mr. Santorum — whose numbers have been on the rise — at 19.3 percent.

Silver notes that the PPP poll shows a weaker result for Romney’s than the Des Moines Register poll.

The most noteworthy feature of the Public Policy Polling survey is that it shows a slightly worse result for Mr. Romney than The Des Moines Register Iowa Poll, which was conducted Tuesday through Friday and had Mr. Romney at 24 percent of the vote.

We can interpret this in one of three ways. It may merely be random variance. It may reflect methodological differences between the surveys; the Des Moines Register poll calls cellphones, for instance, and uses live interviewers, which the Public Policy Polling survey does not. (Previous Public Policy Polling surveys have shown slightly better results for Mr. Paul, and slightly worse ones for Mr. Romney, than those conducted by other polling firms.)

Or it may suggest that that there has been a percentage point or two worth of erosion in Mr. Romney’s numbers, since the Public Policy Polling survey is the more recent of the two….There is some slight evidence for the latter theory in that Mr. Romney performed slightly worse in interviews that Public Policy Polling conducted on Sunday, receiving 18 percent of the vote to the 21 percent he received on Saturday.

Oh please, let Romney lose!

As for Mitt himself, he’s oozing confidence.

“You guys, I need you tomorrow night,” he told more than 600 people packed into an asphalt company’s truck garage. “I need every single vote in this room, and I need you to get a couple of other votes in your neighborhood, get them to caucus. I need a great showing here in Cedar Rapids. We’re going to win this thing with all our passion and strength and do everything we can to get this campaign on the right track to go across the nation and to pick up the states and to get the ballots I need and the votes I need to become our nominee. That’s what we’re going to get, with your help.”

Campaign aides later said that Romney meant he was going to win the nomination, not necessarily the caucuses.

Roger Simon of Politico says that Romney will be the nominee no matter how he does in Iowa.

If Mitt Romney wins the Iowa caucuses, the race for the Republican nomination is over.

If Mitt Romney comes in second in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.

And if Mitt Romney comes in third in Iowa, the race for the Republican nomination is over.

Why? Is his message of goodness and decency and American exceptionalism so overwhelmingly persuasive or are his personal attributes so awesomely compelling?

No. It’s because the Iowa caucuses do not pick winners as much as they eliminate losers. And the Iowa caucuses Tuesday are likely to eliminate from serious contention the only two men who might have blocked Romney’s path to victory: Newt Gingrich and Rick Perry.

Now that’s depressing. If Simon is right, we’ll have nothing to look forward to but a year of boring back and forth between ultra-boring Mitt and even more boring Barack. Ugh!

But the Republicans still want to find a Romney alternative. Suddenly Rick Santorum is raising big bucks, according to CNN.

Rick Santorum’s poll numbers aren’t the only thing on the rise. The former senator from Pennsylvania’s fundraising figures are also skyrocketing.

A senior Santorum adviser tells CNN the campaign raised more money in the last week than they raised on-line the past six months, adding that fundraising is between 300% and 400% higher on a daily basis than it was just ten days ago.

Yup, they can’t stand Romney and don’t want to get stuck with him. I can totally empathize with that too. I wonder if it bothers Romney that he’s so unwanted? I supposed not….

The candidates are still saying some pretty outrageous things. Mitt Romney compared President Obama to Kim Kardashian because he didn’t live up to his campaign promises. Ron Paul claimed that Rick Santorum is “very liberal” [!]

Ron Paul dinged rival Rick Santorum Monday for being a “very liberal” candidate, saying the former Pennsylvania senator and staunch social conservative voted for too much spending during his time in Congress.

Speaking to CNN Senior Congressional Correspondent Dana Bash before a campaign event with his son, Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul, the White House hopeful said his rival had taken positions counter to true conservative ideas.

And Rand Paul called Santorum a “war mongering moderate” on a talk radio show yesterday. Here are the relevant Rand Paul quotes via TPM:

He’s also someone who never served in the military. Ron Paul served in the military, will use force against our enemies if it’s required and if Congress approves of it, but I’m a little concerned about someone who didn’t serve in the military like Santorum, who’s a little over-eager to bomb countries because I don’t think he’s maturely thinking through the process and the consequences of war.

Well, you know you’re starting to see that some of the conservatives have gone here and there and they’re looking for someone who they think is their champion. But before they settle on Santorum they need to realize he was a big supporter of Medicare Part D, the expansion of Medicare, a big supporter of No Child Left Behind, I’ve seen him asked directly about the Department of Education, he’s for it. … We still believe in eliminating the Dept. of Education, that there is no function on the federal level for that. But Rick Santorum’s a big supporter of the Department of Education; he in fact voted to double the size of the Department of Education with No Child Left Behind. So I call him a big government moderate and I think conservatives need to be wary before thinking Santorum can be their champion.

Supporting the Department of Education? The horror!

The Daily Beast published a primer on the workings of the Iowa Caucuses yesterday for those (like me) who need a review of the process. Here’s the gist of it:

What happens at a caucus meeting?

At 7 p.m., caucus-goers will recite the Pledge of Allegiance and elect officers to run the meeting. Representatives from each campaign—usually campaign staffers—will give a brief speech urging those present to vote for their candidate. After the speeches, caucus-goers will write the name of their preferred candidate on a piece of paper, and campaign representatives will watch while they are counted. The caucus will then report the results to the room, and then by phone to the Iowa Republican Party. Caucus-goers will finish the night by picking delegates and writing platform resolutions—building blocks of a party manifesto—for the county GOP convention. The Iowa GOP will announce the statewide results to the media and on its website.

Yes, there will be Democratic caucuses, even though there’s no competition for Obama.

Jan Bauer fondly recalls the energy that then-candidate Barack Obama brought to Iowa in the 2008 Democratic presidential caucuses and the razor-sharp ground game that paved his road from here to the White House.

Four years later, Bauer finds herself calling other Story County Democrats to remind them that they have important political work to do Tuesday just like their Republican counterparts – even if Obama is unopposed for their party’s nomination.

“A lot of Democrats aren’t even aware that we’re caucusing,” said Bauer, Democratic chairwoman in the county that includes Ames, home to Iowa State University. “We’re getting little to no attention in the media … but we still have to reorganize the party.”

Obama will be speaking to them by satellite.

There’s also an fascinating article at the Daily Beast about Obama’s tightly controlled reelection operation. These guys sound like a lot of frat boys–or maybe Skull and Bones members. I’ve annotated the following for those (like me) who aren’t hip to current yuppie culture.

The Obama campaign is not kidding around. I recently visited its headquarters in Chicago, and I can personally vouch for how much it’s not kidding around. Yes, there was a blue Ping-Pong table in the middle of the office—custom-made, evidently, because the Obama 2012 logo was emblazoned on it. (Twice.) There were printouts of people’s nicknames—Sandals! Shermanator!—where corporate nameplates usually go. There was a mesh trucker hat from South Dakota, which was blaze orange and said “Big Cock Country” on the crown. There was a cardboard speech bubble (“nom nom data nom”) affixed to an Uglydoll. There was miniature air-hockey table. A narwhal mural. A stuffed Rastafarian banana.

But do not be deceived. There was also a chaperone following me everywhere I went and digitally recording everything anyone said to me. Ben LaBolt, Obama’s press secretary, and Stephanie Cutter, his deputy campaign manager, closed their doors as I walked by. An underling clammed up when I asked what she and her colleagues do on the weekends. At one point my minder agreed to let me out of her sight for a few milliseconds, but then I got too close to a big whiteboard covered in hieroglyphic flow charts and she instantaneously materialized at my side, having somehow teleported the 50 yards from where I’d last seen her. “Sorry,” she said, not sounding sorry at all. “You can’t look at that.” The next day it was covered by a tarp.

Sigh…. These are the people who are running the Democratic Party …. and the country. Now what are you reading and blogging about today?