Romney’s push back is that anyone would have made the same decision that Obama made in ordering the raid on bin Laden’s compound last year. ?Any thinking American would have ordered exactly the same thing,” Romney said today. One problem with that argument is that Vice President Biden and then-Defense Secretary Robert Gates advised Obama against taking the course he chose on the bin Laden raid.
Top Romney surrogate John McCain (R-AZ) used a similar line last night on Fox News. “I say any president, Jimmy Carter, anybody, any president would have obviously under those circumstances done the same thing,” McCain said. When host Bill O’Reilly pointed out that Biden would not have, McCain’s response was basically, “eh, anybody but Biden”:
MCCAIN: Biden is the same one that said we should divide Iraq into three countries. Biden is the same one that said Desert Storm would be another Vietnam. Biden has — has been consistently wrong on every national security issue that I’ve been involved in in the last 20 years or so. So, I wouldn’t use Biden as a bellwether.
Watch the clip:
So Biden should not be brought into this debate because he may have gotten some things wrong. If that’s the measure, than McCain has been irrelevant for many, many years.
The MPAA has pulled together some interesting statistics on race and movie attendance that really ought to be getting more attention, especially in the context of Think Like a Man‘s two-weekend long stretch atop the box office. White moviegoers buy more tickets than people of color simply by virtue of there being more white people than people of color. But people of color turn out to be somewhat more dedicated moviegoers than white folks.
Latinos make up 25 percent of moviegoers even though they’re only 16 percent of the population. The average Latino moviegoer makes it to 5.3 movies a year, compared to 3.7 movies per year for African Americans and 3.5 movies per year for white moviegoers.
I tend to end up pointing to the performance of movies with African American leads or diverse casts to point out that there’s an underserved market there, and I think that point remains true. But maybe an ancillary point is that African American moviegoers are, by a narrow margin, and Latino moviegoers are by a wide margin, more dedicated customers of Hollywood’s existing products than white audiences are, and their numbers are growing. You’d think Hollywood would want to hold on to those customers, and to recognize that the day is coming when those consumers’ preferences will be more important than the white consumers who no longer have either numerical superiority or proof that they’re more loyal customers. Nothing about the state of writers’ rooms and directors chairs suggest that movies are television are actively preparing for that eventuality. And I wonder how ready white entertainment consumers are for a day when pop culture doesn’t automatically reflect their faces because we no longer have the numbers or the proof of market power to expect that we be the default.
Wisconsin Supreme Court Justice David Prosser allegedly grabbed fellow Justice Ann Walsh Bradley around the neck during argument in her chambers last June. Even Gov. Scott Walker (R-WI) called the allegations against Prosser a “serious matter of grave concern,” and the Wisconsin Judicial Commission sought an investigation into whether Prosser’s actions violated his ethical obligations as a judge.
Prosser, however, has a very different take on the situation, suggesting that his alleged assault on a fellow justice is nothing more than a breach of “etiquette”:
Prosser, the subject of an ethics complaint filed in March with the Supreme Court, said in his response to the complaint Monday that the commission “may not investigate or prosecute protected speech, advocacy and etiquette of Wisconsin Supreme Court justices when they are deliberating in confidential closed conferences.”
The three alleged ethics violations stem from a June 13 incident in which Prosser acknowledges putting his hands around the neck of Justice Ann Walsh Bradley “to protect himself” and a February 2010 incident in which he admits calling Chief Justice Shirley Abrahamson “a total bitch.”
For the record, a violation of “etiquette” occurs when someone uses the dessert spoon to eat the soup course. Placing your hands around a colleague’s neck is quite a bit more serious.
Full availability here.Mitt Romney earlier this afternoon near Ground Zero with Rudy Giuliani at his side, essentially crying uncle:
And this of course is on the anniversary of the day when Osama bin Laden finally was taken out. And we respect and admire the many people who were part of that, from the president who authorized that attack, to the intelligence community who worked on it for so many years to identify where he was and of course to the members of our armed services, particularly SEAL Team Six that took the extraordinary risk of going into Pakistan and removing one of the world's worst characters.And he swears he would have done the same thing:
QUESTION: Would you have handled things differently with respect to Osama bin Laden?As we've repeatedly documented, Mitt Romney is full of it when he says he would have done the same thing as Obama, but that's not something he'll ever admit. Instead, he has been playing for a tie?trying to convince people that he would have done the same thing as Obama. And in his desperate effort to secure that tie, Romney has repeatedly praised President Obama's leadership, with "respect and admire" being the most dramatic example.
ROMNEY: Of course I would have ordered taking out Osama bin Laden. Of course, this is a person who had done terrible harm to America and who represented a continuing threat to civilized people throughout the world, and had I been President of the United States, I would have made the same decision the president did, which was to remove him. And I acknowledged a year ago when this was announced that the president deserved credit for the decision he made and I continue to believe that and certainly would have taken that action myself.
That praise?especially the "respect and admire" phrase?undercuts the apocolyptic case Romney had been seeking to make against Obama. Time and time again, Romney has accused Obama of apologizing for America and seeking to transform the United States into Europe. Throughout the primary, he portrayed Barack Obama as someone who at his core is not a true American, and even now he says Obama seeks to divide America for political gain. And yet here he is saying he respects and admires the very same man whom he has so often condemned.
You can't really square Romney's praise with his attacks, so the logical conclusion is that he must have been lying about one or both of them. And given his track record, I'd bet on both.
For May 1st, 2012 Occupy Los Angeles is organizing around a ?4 Winds? People?s Power Car and Bike Caravan through the urban sprawl of Los Angeles that will culminate in Direct Action in and around the Financial District of downtown LA. People from all[...]
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Mocking the Obama campaign's "Forward" slogan, Fox News displayed a graphic purporting to show that the economy has worsened under President Obama. But the data in the graphic hide the economic recovery under Obama and ignore the effect of the economic downturn and fiscal policies that started under President Bush.
Fox & Friends Attacks Obama Campaign Slogan "Forward" With Series Of Misleading Statistics. On the May 1 edition of Fox News' Fox & Friends, co-hosts Steve Doocy and Brian Kilmeade mocked the new slogan for the Obama re-election campaign, "Forward," by airing a graphic that purported to show "how things are right now as opposed to when they were when [President Obama] was elected." From Fox & Friends:
DOOCY: They say that this particular slogan is going to stress the fact that looking forward how the president needs to build on his accomplishments and deserves a second term. But when you look forward, let's take a look at some of the things -- and this data gathered by the New York Post this morning, let's take a look at how things are right now as opposed to when they were when he was elected.
KILMEADE: For example, the debt was $10 trillion, now it's $15.6 trillion. The jobless rate is now up to 8.2 [percent], was 7.8 [percent].
DOOCY: Both forward numbers.
KILMEADE: Right. And gas is $3.81, $2.50 when he took over. Americans on food stamps almost doubled. It was 28.2 million, now it's 46.2 million.
GRETCHEN CARLSON (co-host): So that's one way of analyzing the new slogan.
KILMEADE: But he tried --
CARLSON: I don't think that's the way they're going to analyze it.
During the segment, Fox & Friends aired the following graphic:
[Fox News, Fox & Friends, 5/1/12]
Ezra Klein: Bush Policies Responsible For Vast Majority Of Debt Increase Under Obama Administration. In a January 31 Washington Post column, Ezra Klein estimated that Obama's policies are responsible for $983 billion of the nearly $5 trillion increase in public debt over the course of his administration, while the remainder of the debt increase is attributable to Bush-era policies. From The Washington Post:
[I]f you're a deficit-obsessed voter, the clock doesn't answer the key question: How much has Obama added to the debt, anyway?
There are two answers: more than $4 trillion, or about $983 billion. The first answer is simple and wrong. The second answer is more complicated but a lot closer to being right.
When Obama took office, the national debt was about $10.5 trillion. Today, it's about $15.2 trillion. Simple subtraction gets you the answer preferred by most of Obama's opponents: $4.7 trillion.
But ask yourself: Which of Obama's policies added $4.7 trillion to the debt? The stimulus? That was just a bit more than $800 billion. TARP? That passed under George W. Bush, and most of it has been repaid.
There is a way to tally the effects Obama has had on the deficit. Look at every piece of legislation he has signed into law. Every time Congress passes a bill, either the Congressional Budget Office or the Joint Committee on Taxation estimates the effect it will have on the budget over the next 10 years. And then they continue to estimate changes to those bills. If you know how to read their numbers, you can come up with an estimate that zeros in on the laws Obama has had a hand in.
A chart accompanying the column made in conjunction with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities (CBPP) illustrated the debt impact of Bush's policies versus Obama's:
[The Washington Post, 6/28/10, emphasis in original]
For more on the impact that Bush's policies have had on the federal debt, click here.
CBPP: "The Pace Of Monthly Job Losses Slowed Dramatically Soon After President Obama And Congress Enacted The Recovery Act." As CBPP noted in an April 27 report, the trend of job losses at the end of the Bush administration "slowed dramatically soon after President Obama and Congress enacted the Recovery Act in 2009." The report included a chart showing that unemployment continued its upward trend immediately after Obama took office, then began dropping. From CBPP:
[Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 4/27/12]
Bureau Of Labor Statistics: Unemployment Has Dropped From High Of 10 Percent To 8.2 Percent Under Obama. As the Bureau of Labor Statistics notes, the unemployment level began increasing in January 2008 and reached a high of 10 percent in October 2009 before declining to the current 8.2 percent rate. From the Bureau of Labor Statistics:
[Bureau of Labor Statistics, accessed 5/1/12]
Steve Benen: Initial Unemployment Claims Have Dropped Steadily Since Stimulus Passed. In an April 5 blog post, Steve Benen noted that initial unemployment claims have been dropping since the Recovery Act was passed. The blog featured a chart showing the decrease with the passage of the Recovery Act highlighted:
Gasoline Prices Plummeted In Late 2008 In The Midst Of A Massive Recession. This chart shows that oil and gas prices fell sharply in late 2008 (displayed as an index to show the correlation between oil and gas prices):
[Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis, accessed 2/16/12]
Analysts: Speculation, Refinery Closures Currently Pushing Up Prices. From a February 14 Bloomberg Businessweek report:
Strangely, the current run-up in prices comes despite sinking demand in the U.S. "Petrol demand is as low as it's been since April 1997," says Tom Kloza, chief oil analyst for the Oil Price Information Service. "People are properly puzzled by the fact that we're using less gas than we have in years, yet we're paying more."
Kloza believes much of the increase is due to speculative money that's flowed into gasoline futures contracts since the beginning of the year, mostly from hedge funds and large money managers. "We've seen about $11 billion of speculative money come in on the long side of gas futures," he says. "Each of the last three weeks we've seen a record net long position being taken."
Refineries have also been getting squeezed by higher crude prices over the past several months, forcing some of them to shut down rather than operate at a loss, says [equity analyst Jason] Stevens. " [Bloomberg Businessweek, 2/14/12]
For more on the factors influencing gas prices, click here.
FactCheck.Org: Food Stamp Program "Has So Far Grown By 444,574 Fewer Recipients During Obama's Time In Office Than During Bush's." In a January 18 "fact check" of what it called "Newt [Gingrich's] Faulty Food-Stamp Claim," FactCheck.org stated that "Gingrich strains the facts when he accuses Obama of being responsible," writing: "Newt Gingrich claims that 'more people have been put on food stamps by Barack Obama than any president in American history.' He's wrong. More were added under Bush than under Obama, according to the most recent figures." The article continued:
Gingrich would have been correct to say the number now on food aid is historically high. The number stood at 46,224,722 persons as of October, the most recent month on record. And it's also true that the number has risen sharply since Obama took office.
But Gingrich goes too far to say Obama has put more on the rolls than other presidents. We asked the U.S. Department of Agriculture's Food and Nutrition service for month-by-month figures going back to January 2001. And they show that under President George W. Bush the number of recipients rose by nearly 14.7 million. Nothing before comes close to that.
And under Obama, the increase so far has been 14.2 million. To be exact, the program has so far grown by 444,574 fewer recipients during Obama's time in office than during Bush's.
It's possible that when the figures for January 2012 are available they will show that the gain under Obama has matched or exceeded the gain under Bush. But not if the short-term trend continues. The number getting food stamps declined by 43,528 in October. And the economy has improved since then. [FactCheck.org, 1/18/12]
US News & World Report: Food Stamps Enrollment Was On The Rise "Well Before" Obama Took Office. From US News & World Report:
Food stamp usage has, as Gingrich suggested, increased dramatically during the Obama presidency, but hanging the increase on the president is difficult. Participation in the Department of Agriculture's Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program, the program to which "food stamps" refers, has increased from an average of 28.2 million people per month in FY 2008 to 46.2 million as of October 2011, the most recent month for which data is available. However, SNAP participation has been on the rise since well before President Obama took office. Nearly 17.2 million people in FY 2000 participated in the program, a figure that increased by nearly 64 percent by 2008. [US News & World Report, 1/17/12]
CBPP: Growth "Reflects The Fact That More Households Are Becoming Eligible Because Of The Recession." According to CBPP, the "rapid caseload growth primarily reflects the fact that more households are becoming eligible because of the recession." CBPP added: "SNAP caseloads can grow for two reasons: because more households are qualifying for the program and enrolling or because a larger share of eligible households are signing up. Both of these occurred in recent years." [Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, 1/9/12]
For more on the role of the economic downturn on SNAP enrollment, click here.
I think what offends people is that instead of recognizing it as a national triumph and having everybody share in it, that the [...] administration has tried to make it look like the president did everything [...] That's what I find most objectionable. [...] I think it's unpresidential [...] and beneath the dignity of the office [...]
High-frequency trading (HFT) accounts for around 3/4ths of all daily trading volume. These firms’ average holding time is often less than a second. They submit thousands of bids and then cancel the vast majority of them before they are executed. Although HTFs compete mostly with other HFTs, their presence in the market affects all of us, and not necessarily for the better (remember the flash crash?).
Declining HFT Profits, But Still A Lot Of Nickels
In 2011, HFTs’ US profits are estimated at $1.5 billion, which is down considerably from their 2008 take of $4.5 billion. Sniffle.
A … [visit site to read . . . → Read More: High Frequency Trading
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The UK parliamentary report on phone hacking practices at Rupert Murdoch's British newspapers is harsh -- but it's just one piece of a much larger puzzle.
"It is only the 'B movie' -- the two main features are the Leveson Inquiry, which has far more real power, and the five ongoing criminal investigations by the police," said Paul Connew, a media commentator and former deputy editor of the News of the World (in its pre-hacking days).
Both Rupert and James Murdoch testified last week before a UK judicial inquiry into press culture and practices. James Murdoch told the inquiry that he didn't control what went into the News of the World. The legal and ethical risks of phone hacking were "very much in the hands of the editor," he said, according to the Guardian. Rupert Murdoch apologized for the phone hacking and admitted that there was a "cover-up" within the paper to shroud the extent of the hacking from senior executives.
More than 40 people have been arrested in connection with the ever-widening scandal and the first charges are expected to be announced within weeks. "This has a long way to run yet," Connew said. "It's like the closing of the second act of a five-act play." Connew told TPM that he thinks the parliamentary report increases the likelihood that the Justice Department and FBI -- already looking into News Corporation -- will "pursue a rigorous investigation" of any violations of the Foreign Corrupt Practices Act. Michael Wolff -- author of The Man Who Owns the News, a biography of Rupert Murdoch -- "absolutely" agrees, but it's likely to happen after the November election.
Rupert Murdoch has been shielded in a way because the scandal keeps unfolding an ocean away from his home and corporate headquarters. If, for instance, a U.S. congressional committee or regulator criticized Murdoch in the way that the British Parliament has, Wolff told TPM -- "willfully blind" and "not a fit person" to lead an international company -- "you would be thrown out or your company would collapse." But Murdoch's standing "in the face of everything that is pushing against him is pretty firm."
So what is next for the media mogul's empire? The company's newspapers, which Steve Hewlett, a Guardian columnist and BBC host, says have become "completely toxic," will probably be sold off. They're old media and and not very profitable, Hewlett said. And British politicians are set to give evidence to the Leveson Inquiry this spring to explain how they got so close to Murdoch.
But no matter what the company does, no matter how much it tries to limit the damage, "there is no getting out from under this," Wolff added. "It doesn't go it away. It follows. It sticks." So the logic is that, at some point, it arrives on U.S. shores. "This will be another Murdoch summer."