In what is a truly pathetic and what can only be seen as a deeply corrupt move by the Obama administration, companies who engage in hydraulic fracturing will only need to disclose what chemicals they use after the well has been drilled.[...]
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Once the general election kicked into gear, and it was clear that Barack Obama would have the overwhelming support of African American voters, a meme picked up among some white voters. ?They?re only voting for him because he?s black.? This, of course, was at odds with the facts. Black voters were initially ambivalent toward the then-Senator, and only embraced him after the Iowa and South Carolina primaries. Moreover, by that point, African Americans had been loyal Democratic voters for four decades; their positive feelings may have stemmed from racial pride, but their material support everything to do with his political affiliation.
Now that we?re in an election year, voters are beginning to reevaluate the president. And for some in crucial swing states like Ohio, his race has reemerged as a sticking point:
?I?ll just come right out and say it: he was elected because of his race,? said Sara Reese, a bank employee who said she voted for Ralph Nader in 2008, even though she usually votes Democrat. [?]
Many who raised race as a concern cast Mr. Obama as a flawed candidate carried to victory by blacks voting for the first time. Others expressed concerns indirectly, through suspicions about Mr. Obama?s background and questions about his faith.
?He was like, ?Here I am, I?m black and I?m proud,? ? said Lesia Felsoci, a bank employee drinking a beer in an Applebee?s. ?To me, he didn?t have a platform. Black people voted him in, that?s why he won. It was black ignorance.?
There are a few ideas at work here. The first is a perception that Obama is an ?affirmative action candidate.? Far from someone who pulled himself up from modest beginnings, Obama is seen as a victor of the (perceived) racial spoils system. Everything, from his Harvard law degree to his Illinois Senate seat, was the result of guilt-induced white generosity.
Second, is the striking attitude toward black political agency. Traditionally, overwhelming black support has always gone toward white candidates: John Kerry, Al Gore, Bill Clinton, etc. But this never came with complaints; no one questioned Clinton?s legitimacy because he received 84 percent of African American votes. 2008 was the first time in history that African Americans could give their one-sided support to a black presidential candidate, and at the same time, it was one of the few times (in the 20th century, at least) when voters questioned that president?s legitimacy because of his huge support from black voters.
This, I think, points to a broader discomfort with black political agency, and the relationship of African Americans to our political system. It?s not uncommon for voters to support in-group politicians?white Southerners and conservative Evangelicals come to mind. But African Americans are the only group challenged for doing so; the view captured by the New York Times, for example, is that it was illegitimate for blacks to vote overwhelmingly for Obama. This standard?a requirement to split their votes between the two parties black candidate is on the ballet?is unique to African American voters.
This isn?t a fringe perspective; Herman Cain?s appeal to conservatives was based, in part, on the notion that he had escaped the ?Democratic planation.? Likewise, black voters have been described as ?brain-washed slaves? who are addicted to government ?dependency.? In other words, we can?t trust the political decisions of African Americans because they are tainted by a desire to advance their material interests. It?s ?ignorance,? not an informed choice.
I?m not one who sees the current crop of voter identification laws as akin to Jim Crow voting restrictions; they have more to do with naked partisanship than they do with any notion of black inferiority. Buried in that, however, is a genuine unease with black political power and the (real) possibility that African Americans could decide the fate of the nation.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Team Romney is still fairly new to the general campaigning mode. Missteps are inevitable. The Richard Grenell story shows that. First, they seemed to think putting an ?openly gay? man in a high profile position (foreign policy), a man well known for his support of marriage equality, wasn?t going to be a problem. It shouldn?t be, but given the just concluded round of Bachmann / Cain / Perry / Santorum / Gingrich rightwing rhetoric, how the Romney campaign could have been surprised at the onslaught from Bryan Fischer, Gary Bauer, Tony Perkins, etc, is amazing.
Secondly, having Grenell help organize Romney?s first big foreign policy moment, via a phone conference with international news outlets, but then doing this : (via Think Progress):
?Ric,? said Alex Wong, a policy aide, ?the campaign has requested that you not speak on this call.? Mr. Wong added, ?It?s best to lay low for now.?
?The campaign? has such a safe, don?t-blame-anyone-in-particular sound to it. Not expecting repercussions to the ?lay low? directions is difficult to understand.
Third, when it became clear Grenell wasn?t going to go along with such things, ?the campaign? tried to keep him onboard (but very quietly), and then said he really hadn?t officially started his job, and so really didn?t resign … thinking this would satisfy anyone ? Grenell, his supporters or his detractors ? is another stumble.
How could they think they could appoint an ?openly gay? man, and this would be 1) good enough to get some moderate votes, but 2) small enough not to lose ?social conservative? votes? When the opposition quickly escalated, they never came out in ?stand our ground? support of Romney?s choice. Maybe that?s because they really aren?t sure what their ground is.
This is not what leadership looks like. Although, it does look very familiar. There?s something about walking the line, trying to please disparate voting blocs, abandoning appointees or nominees when things start heating up, and taking a cautious, incremental approach in efforts to avoid controversy … that?s all very familiar, in a bipartisan kind of way.
The same Think Progress report includes this:
?It?s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,? an anonymous ?Republican told the Times. ?They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn?t want to confront the religious right.?
That?s wanting to have it both ways, but ?the campaign? really should know that isn?t how the ?religious right? plays the game.
American Family Association?s Bryan Fischer declared a ?huge victory,? and took the obvious next step, as reported at Right Wing Watch. Fischer said
… that since Romney is partial to ?political convenience? over ?political conviction,? conservatives must keep up the pressure on him ?since the governor has demonstrated in the Grenell affair that he is maneuverable.?
Being perceived as ?maneuverable? surely doesn?t make ?the campaign? happy. From the same piece, a response from ?conservative talk show host Janet Mefferd,? who said
… you can?t be the party of freedom and the Constitution if you?re not going to understand that the Constitution enshrines the First Amendment and not gay rights.
It?s extreme, but this general view of ?the homosexuals? exists alongside ?woman as womb? and labeling persons as ?illegals.? These views still manage to scare candidates on Left and Right. Romney just gave them another reason to insist on their way. At Catholic Bandita:
It?s not Grenell?s ?sexual orientation? that we conservatives have a problem with. It?s that he is public about it and that he advocates for policy that threatens religious freedom. This should not be a difficult concept for a presidential candidate to understand. ?Gay rights? and religious freedom do clash.
Classic arguments: ?I don?t care what you do in the bedroom as long as you don?t try to shove it down my throat,? meaning, ?as long as you don?t demand equality,? in marriage or anything else.
But what about those Republicans who are not of this mindset? Andrew Sullivan writes:
Romneyites are correct when they say they tried to talk (Grenell) out of (resigning). But they kept and keep their views quiet. The gay-inclusive elements in the elites simply do not have the balls to tackle the religious right. And this is particularly true of Romney, as this case now proves. The Christianists gave Bush a pass on social issues because of his born-again Christianity. They trust Mormon Romney not an inch. And this week demonstrates without any doubt that Romney will therefore not be able to deviate from their wishes an iota.
Mitt Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom appeared on CNN, but as Igor Volsky writes, Fehrnstrom
… failed to harshly criticize conservative right wing activists who had derided the aide as a ?homosexual activist? … .
Instead … Fehrnstrom found false equivalency between ?voices of intolerance? in both political parties … .
At HuffPo Jon Ward notes that the Romney campaign had distributed statements in defense of Grenell.
But the Romney campaign did not blast the statements out to its entire email list but instead provided them to reporters upon request. This added up to a more passive defense of Grenell than an active one.
Prejudice is personal, but always includes the generalized ?other.? You?re ?less than,? you don?t meet the standards and norms imposed from those who think they?re in positions to make such judgments. Politically, I disagree with Mr. Grenell in significant ways. And I dislike what, to me, are the sexist remarks he?s made. But I abhor the attacks from Fischer and company, and while not surprised at Romney?s ?passive defense,? find it as revealing as such cautious, fearful actions always are.
Meanwhile, such ?maneuverability? provides cover for timid Democrats, who really don?t have to do much to look better.
(Romney Pro Gay Flyer, unedited, via Think Progress)
Ever see someone dressed to the nines step out of a fancy car, about to walk into a fancy building for a fancy party and realize he has to get the dogshit off his fancy shoes... fast? That would be Wisconsin Congressman Paul Ryan. He used to be able to ignore all the videos and blog posts about his infatuation with the adolescent heartthrob he never could quite get over. But now that it's entered the zeitgeist and voters are starting to grok that not only has Ryan based his miserable budget proposals on the anti-social philosophy of Ayn Rand but that his entire political career is predicated on the work of this Republican prophet of gloom and-- for the 99%-- doom... well he can't get it off his shoes fast enough. He hasn't been recorded saying, "Ayn? Ayn who" yet, but if Ron Zerban keeps pressing him of where all the mean-spirited, hysterical, unAmerican selfishness comes from... I hope someone has a tape recorder ready.
Ryan may have been a little embarrassed this when Edward Hudgins, a director at the Randian Atlas Society said he would-- like most Gordon Gekko types-- "like to see Paul Ryan as president one day." That's also Wall Street's goal-- which is why Blue America started StopPaulRyan, perhaps the most crucial page for the future of this country on all of ActBlue.
"I'd love to see him as president or as vice president on the ticket coming up because I know what the man's values are: They're admirable values," Hudgins said. "To what extent he considers himself in agreement with Ayn Rand, as a public figure, a public policy person, you're not going to find them a lot better."
?Doubling the student loan interest rate and saddling our young people with an extra $1,000.00 in costs each year, at a time when families are already struggling to make sure their children have the opportunity for higher education, is a recipe for disaster.
?I personally know how important these programs are-- they are the reason I was able to attend school and become a job creator that Paul Ryan and his Washington Republican buddies tout. I was able to live my version of the American Dream because our country made a modest investment in me through Pell Grants and Stafford Loans.
?We as a country can never compete in the global economy if we continually put up barriers for young people to thrive in whatever future they choose. Paul Ryan?s budget does absolutely nothing to help Americans succeed-- it is simply yet another giveaway for the oil & gas companies, Wall Street and corporations who fund his campaigns on the backs of our working families.?
What an exciting time to be on campus?Mitt Romney is reaching out to college students! He's got all sorts of ideas about how to help students out with loans, and the kind of support that only comes from a GOP candidate.
But, even as Mitt thrills college students with his message it's vitally important to keep a level head and not completely freak out. Unless you're doing so ironically, in which case the Mitt Romney For President College Outreach Program 2012 will officially understand.
So if you find yourself seated at a Romney event, know that you're front and center! The whole world is watching, and like these folks you want to respond appropriately. Otherwise Josh Marshall will totally make fun of you, and you seriously do not want that?dude is trenchant as hell.
A conservative school board member in Loudon County, Tennessee is calling for a criminal investigation into the faculty members who advise in the Lenoir City High School yearbook for publishing an article titled, “It’s OK to be Gay.” The piece, written about gay student Zac Mitchell, “includes Mitchell’s description of how he and his family have dealt with the issues of coming out in public and being bullied by others” and has stirred controversy among the student body. “According to students, petitions were being circulated urging others to tear the page from their yearbook as a sign of protest during graduation or to deny Mitchell the right to attend the ceremony.” Van Shaver, the school board member calling for the investigation, claims “What I am intolerant of is an adult, a teacher no less, inflicting their personal beliefs and sexual orientation decisions on impressionable students.” The article:
Abortion-related lobbying dropped significantly in 2011, both for choice advocates and for abortion opponents, despite the onslaught of anti-abortion legislation around the country (in the first six months of 211, states enacted 162 abortion restrictions). According to a report by OpenSecrets, anti-choice groups still spent more than their pro-choice counterparts, but the numbers were down altogether: “Pro-choice groups spent just $238,000 lobbying this year, which is down 75 percent from the $969,000 they spent in the closing months of 2011. Planned Parenthood, which leads the category, spent just $128,000, less than the organization has spent in any three-month period since the second quarter of 2010.”
Apparently, the New York Post’s Phil Mushnick thought it was clever to write, in reference to Jay-Z’s work as part owner of the New York Nets:
As long as the Nets are allowing Jay-Z to call their marketing shots ? what a shock that he chose black and white as the new team colors to stress, as the Nets explained, their new ?urban? home ? why not have him apply the full Jay-Z treatment? Why the Brooklyn Nets when they can be the New York N——s? The cheerleaders could be the Brooklyn B—-hes or Hoes. Team logo? A 9 mm with hollow-tip shell casings strewn beneath. Wanna be Jay-Z hip? Then go all the way!
?I guess I won?t need my color TV anymore now that the Nets will be wearing black and white,?? writes reader John Lynch. And reader David Distefano now wonders what?s left for the Nets to choose as ?their alternate third-uniform to sell during nationally televised games.?
And his editors saw fit to let this get into print, which perhaps says more about their failings. If you can’t see Jay-Z — the guy who made it possible to be viably middle aged in hip-hop, a long-established businessman, a guy with a wife and kid — as anything other than an ignorant thug, you’re willfully blind in the same way as people who look at President Obama and insist on seeing a radical. No one who sees the world through lenses that distorted should be trusted to interpret it for the public. And it’s contemptible to make money off that kind of willful blindness and the pleasure people get out of casual racism. This column may be the consequence of Mushnick’s views being taken to their logical extension. But someone let him off the leash.
Missouri state Rep. Zach Wyatt (R) told MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell last night that he come out as gay to his Republican colleagues to urge them to abandon their support for the state’s ?Don?t Say Gay? bill and help young gay people embrace who they are. “I just wanted to make sure if I could get one student to not go home, go home from being bullied and hurt themselves, or worse yet, possibly take their own lives, I think I’ve done my job as a state representative,” Wyatt explained. He is currently the only out, gay Republican holding state office in the United States. Watch it:
Calling JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon an outspoken critic of efforts to reform Wall Street would be an understatement. Dimon has slammed the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform Act and the new regulations it contains, saying they would be “the nail in our coffin for big American banks,” and he led a group of Wall Street executives to Washington this week to personally lobby the Federal Reserve to weaken the Volcker Rule, a ban on risky proprietary trading at banks like his.
And yet, while accepting an “Executive of the Year” award at the University of Rochester yesterday, Dimon acknowledged that Occupy Wall Street, a movement that has called for new regulations and reforms and has protested outside his office, had some “legitimate complaints,” MarketWatch reports:
Asked about the Occupy Wall Street movement against financial greed and economic inequality, Dimon acknowledged that the protesters have some ?legitimate complaints.?
Dimon either didn’t elaborate about which complaints were legitimate or MarketWatch didn’t report them. It’s safe to say, though, that he wouldn’t go as far as former Merrill Lynch banker Roger Vasey, who called the Volcker Rule “necessary to correct a mistake that poses a danger to our economy” or former Goldman Sachs trader Greg Smith, who decried the “toxic and destructive” culture that existed at firms like his. In fact, after acknowledging the legitimacy of some Occupy claims, Dimon seemed to rub in the fact that the biggest banks are only getting bigger. ?Investment banking is going to have a bright future,” he said. “It will always be a highly paid industry.?