Sometimes, a video is worth a thousand words:
(Caricature by DonkeyHotey)"No, no, no," would have been the instant response of a smart campaign boss. When a guy best known for writing Arizona's notoriously racist, anti-immigrant law says it's "identical" to the policies of the fellow you're trying to elect to the presidency, you want to sever that connection immediately.
Unless, of course, the party of that fellow you want to elect is filled with racist, anti-immigrant elected officials and rank-and-file voters. Then you have to put on your electoral calculus hat to see how many moderates and independents you might gain, weighing this against how many peckerheads you might lose by such severing.
You especially want to put some distance between that guy and your candidate if that guy is Russell Pearce, a recalled Arizona state senator, formerly one of notorious Sheriff Joe Arpaio's deputies who beat his wife and forged his way out of a state job as well as palled around with white supremacists, one of whom was a neo-Nazi Marine-reject whom Pearce backed for a city council seat in 2006.
Making the connection between himself and Romney is exactly what Pearce did in an interview Tuesday. He said he's endorsing Mitt Romney in the November elections, in part because of Romney's position on illegal immigration:
"I don?t want to take credit for being there and helping him write it, but much of his policy was modeled?by people who I?ve worked with?after my legislation."Romney backers might quibble and argue that their candidate hasn't directly endorsed Pearce's law. But the candidate's "self-deportation" stance is, as Felicia Sonmez writes, the "idea at the root of SB 1070."
So far, the Romney campaign itself is not arguing with Pearce's characterization. Still, apparently, running their calculators.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Common People?s Source for News has a running list of ?reasons for? the Occupy movement. The most recent, Reason No. 54:
?Special Interest and Banks Buying Tax Laws and Banking Regulation Laws?
If you?re a member of Congress and on the right committees, you are positioned to get very huge campaign funds from special interest.
?The committees in the House of Representatives that oversee tax writing and regulation of the financial industry have provided huge boosts to their members? campaign fundraising accounts over the last nine congresses, according to a new study from the Sunlight Foundation, a campaign finance watchdog.
Seats on the House Ways and Means Committee, which oversees tax writing, added more than half a million dollars over mean fundraising totals, while assignments on the House Financial Services Committee add nearly $300,000 when donations from individuals and political action committees are combined, the Sunlight Foundation found in its analysis of the 103rd-111th Congresses.?
CPS cites a study done by the Sunlight Foundation, ?conducted at the request of and in collaboration with This American Life and Planet Money public radio programs,? according to Sunlight. The study provides ?estimated committee ?bonuses? for individual members? by way of ?itemized contributions? and ?PAC contributions.? Some committees are significantly more ?lucrative? than others. Sunlight also looked at ?patterns of incumbent switching.?
Certain committees are clearly more popular than others. Over almost two decades, Ways and Means had 53 incumbents join, but only four leave. Energy and Commerce had 76 incumbents join, but only 10 leave, and Appropriations had 62 incumbents join, but only 11 leave.
Other committees have different flows. Judging by members? behaviors, the least desirable committee to be on is Small Business ? only 18 incumbents joined, while 100 left. Agriculture and Veterans? Affairs are also committees that incumbents leave far more often than they join.
The results, the study concludes,
… confirm that some House committees are better for member fundraising than others. In particular, Ways and Means, Financial Services, and Energy and Commerce are very good fundraising committees. And for good reason: Ways and Means has jurisdiction over tax policy, Financial Services over securities and banking policy, and Energy and Commerce over energy policy. In all three policy areas, a substantial number of corporations care very much about how policy gets made, and their employees are willing to contribute substantial sums ? both through their PACs and individually ? to make sure that they have access.
NPR?s Planet Money report added a related factor:
The value of being a chairman.
Being a committee chairman carries huge power in Congress. Not surprisingly, it also leads to a huge fundraising boost. But the lawmakers who land these spots are expected to raise lots of money, and turn it over to the party, which spreads it around to other members.
What could possibly go wrong with these arrangements?
What the study does, of course, is provide more, though not surprising, ?things to consider? when making decisions about voting. Assuming voters look at this study and think, ?What a mess, we need to change things,? what will that mean in terms of choosing, say, who you vote for to be your U.S. Representative? If ?change? means you are limited to two choices, you?re screwed, because both of those choices are entrenched in the System that includes the ?bonuses? described in the study. If ?change? means refusing to accept the ?you have no other choice? framing ? euphemistically referred to as our ?options? ? then the work of #OWS and other advocacy efforts will, in fact, be seen as important.
One of the ?other advocacy? efforts is the ?99% Spring.? I?ve written about this before ? ?The 99% Spring,? brought to you by ? MoveOn.org?, noting my questions about the ?insider? nature of the coalition. That doesn?t mean they don?t have some clout. They certainly have ?connections? Occupiers don?t, related to, for example, House and specific committee members. My skepticism remains, but I?ll take another look at the 99% Spring on Monday, as they become more active.
Back to the CPS list of ?reasons for? #OWS ? a few examples of other ?reasons?:
Earlier this week the most corrupt federal appeals court on the planet also known as the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals angrily threw a gauntlet, also known as a hissy fit, at the feet of the Obama administration.
Judge Jerry Smith, a Republican appointee on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 5th Circuit, was part of a three-judge panel hearing arguments in a lawsuit over the Affordable Care Act when he issued his unusual demand, saying the Justice Department must submit the three-page, single-spaced letter by noon Thursday, according to a lawyer who was in the courtroom. The demand was first reported by CBS News.
The Department of Justice, ever deferential to court orders, delivered the requested three-page, single spaced letter in a timely fashion. As much as I'd love to report to you that it said "I <3 Obamacare." over and over again to fill up the space, the DOJ treated the order with far more deference than it deserved.
Here is part of their response:
2. In considering such challenges, Acts of Congress are ?presumptively constitutional,? Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. v. FCC, 507 U.S. 1301, 1301 (1993), and the Supreme Court stressed that the presumption of constitutionality accorded to Acts of Congress is ?strong.? United States v. Five Gambling Devices Labeled in Part .. Mills,? and Bearing Serial Nos. 593-221,346 U.S. 441 , 449 (1953); see, e.g., Gonzales v. Raich, 545 U.S. 1, 28 (2005) (noting that the ?congressional judgment? at issue was ?entitled to a strong presumption of validity?). The Supreme Court has explained: ?This is not a mere polite gesture. It is a deference due to deliberate judgment by constitutional majorities of the two Houses of Congress that an Act is within their delegated power or is necessary and proper to execution of that power.?
I had to laugh at some of the citations Holder used in the letter. There was a reference to Ayotte vs. Planned Parenthood and Thomas More Law Center vs. Obama. Nothing like shoving conservatives in conservatives' faces.
This whole exercise was ridiculous. The order to write a response in three single-spaced pages smacks of an elementary school punishment. Of course, these are the same judges that lifted the Obama administration's embargo on offshore drilling in the Gulf of Mexico after the disastrous Deepwater Horizon oil spill without any regard to what such a decision would do to the already damaged Gulf.
Of course, conservatives are in high dudgeon these days. Mitch McConnell's imperious order to the elected President of the United States to "back off" is but one example of their arrogance and presumptuous disrespect. These guys seem to be genuinely bent out of shape that the black President isn't bowing and scraping to them.
I look forward to the day when they're all irrelevant.
Yesterday I noted the efforts of the activist coalition working on getting corporations to stop underwriting ALEC, the right-wing legislation factory. Today brings news of two more companies dropping their funding.[...]
Read The Full Article:
It will be ironic if his Mormonism beats Willard instead of his mammonism! Now that he's officially started ignoring Santorum and has, in effect, won the Republican nomination, the old question comes up again: will his devotion to Mormonism be lethal to his campaign? It seems to have played a significant role in his losing most of the red states he competed in. (Most Romney primary victories were in blue states where he won't have any chance in November.) Will the anti-Mormon Christians in the Bible Belt bite the bullet and pull the lever for him anyway? No doubt many will. My masseuse belongs to a fundamentalist church in the Inland Empire and she says the Republicans there will vote for Romney on the same day they vote for Satan.
David Gregory wasn't breaking any new ground the other night on Jay Leno's show when he said Romney is a fundamentally weak GOP front-runner who isn't comfortable with his religion.
"Let's be honest, this is the core of who Mitt Romney is. He was a missionary in France for two years. He has been a bishop in the church, which, in the Mormon church, is effectively like a priest. Philanthropically, he's made huge contributions. He's had a big impact on the church. And yet he doesn't talk about it. It's the core of who he is, and yet he doesn't feel like it's safe to talk about."
Hatch's claim is ridiculous. In fact, it is right-wing politicians and pundits who keep on "warning" us that Democrats will attack Romney's faith-- and then use those "warnings" as opportunities to slam Mormonism themselves.
The American Family Association's Bryan Fischer, like others on the Religious Right, has continually attacked Mormons, even going so far as to say their faith shouldn't be protected by the First Amendment and claiming that a Mormon president would threaten the "spiritual health" of the nation. But Fischer warned in a column yesterday that the "the out-of-the-mainstream media" will attack "every unusual thing Mormons have ever believed or done"-- helpfully listing a litany of things he deems "unusual" about Mormonism.
The Southern Baptist Convention's Richard Land has likewise claimed that progressives will make Romney's faith a campaign issue-- while he himself insists that Mormonism is "technically...a cult."
The Christian Broadcasting Network's David Brody used the same tactic this week when he posted a video of a Ron Paul supporter grilling Romney on quotes from Mormon scripture-- and then claiming that Democrats and liberals will be the ones to attack Romney's faith.
The Values Voter Summit, the Religious Right's marquee event, fell apart last year after the pastor who introduced Gov. Rick Perry repeated his claims that Mormonism is a "cult" that worships a "false god."
Meanwhile, one of the most powerful Democrats in the country, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, hasn't been held back by any progressive backlash to his Mormon faith.
Romney is receiving attacks on his faith. But, as much as the right-wing media is trying to spin it otherwise, those attacks are not coming from progressives.
This is just too easy, but it has to be said. In general, if a Congressperson is negotiating for a job prior to leaving office, it's the very definition of the "appearance of impropriety" ? if not the fact itself.
It's the reason I've been calling Congress (almost all of it) the "House or Retainers" ? as in paid retainers of the Top 0.01%. They take the cash and do the bidding.
Now comes Barney Frank, who's retiring shortly. Lee Fang has covered this kind of story before, as explained below, and had a request to make (my emphasis and some reparagraphing):
Selling out pays. We looked at just a dozen Members of Congress who became lobbyists and other advocates for special interests after they left office and found that they received an average of a 1,452 percent raise.This is real investigative reporting, folks. Note the activist approach, sending out letters that put people on the spot and on the record.
So we here at Republic Report sent a letter to all 36 retiring Members of Congress asking them to commit to disclosing any job negotiations they have with anyone during the rest of their time in office. That way, we at least know who they?re potentially selling out to, and we can watch out for signs that, while still in office, they are working to please a future employer. ...
The most powerful Wall Street lobbying group, the Financial Services Roundtable, which represents the big investment banks like Goldman Sachs, J.P. Morgan, and Bank of America, is now seeking a new chief lobbyist.
On Friday, Politico Influence, an insider?s publication, floated Rep. Barney Frank?s (D-MA) name as a top recruit after he leaves office this year.
[Mr. Frank] told me that he does not need to sign our letter because he is not having job negotiations nor does he plan to have any negotiations while he is still in office.When pressed to sign anyway, however, Frank demurred. I'll let you read why.
At the beginning of Knocked Up, when a group of nerdy Jewish dudes find themselves unexpectedly admitted to a nightclub, schlubby Ben Stone (Seth Rogen) tells his friends that “If any of us get laid tonight it’s because of Eric Bana in Munich.” Magic City, Starz’s next attempt to burnish its reputation as a provider of high-quality drama along with its standard doses of reasonably explicit sex and violence, follows the noble and recent pop culture trend of portraying Jews as something other than nebbishes. It stars Jeffrey Dean Morgan as Ike Evans, a recently-remarried widower who built his dream hotel, the Miramar Playa, on Miami Beach, just in time for Castro to take Havana and kick out the casinos, creating a hot new market for a Caribbean vacation spot. It’s the first of the current crop of period shows to put Jewish characters at the center of the frame, and it’s one of the best decisions Mitch Glazer, the show’s creator, made in standing up this gorgeous-looking but uneven drama.
Magic City‘s a personal story for Glazer, who in a conversation with me in January described starting out as an “assistant engineer”?or janitor?a job his father, a lighting engineer who ordered the chandelier for the Eden Roc and put in gambling machine hookups below the floor of the Fountinbleau lobby, got him. Living in the city was also his introduction to both Cuban immigration and the Civil Rights movement. “My parents, I was 7, dragged me to Civil Rights marches in Flagler Street, and we had rotten garbage thrown at us. I remember, because they were very active in what was then a very Southern town,” he told me. “Most of my friends when I was in sixth grade, the first-wave of Cubans, were the white-collar Cubans who came to America, guys who had been lawyers who became short-order cooks. Those were my best friends’ parents. I tried to pass for Cuban for about six months. They just seemed cooler. My high school was 60 percent Jewish, 40 percent Cuban, and Mickey Rourke.”
Magic City is at its best when the show reflects that transition. Ike’s second wife, Vera (Olga Kurylenko) contemplated converting to Judaism on the eve of Ike’s daughters bat mitzvah, and Ike and his father squabble over which of them is the worse Jew. Older Russian emigrees play balalaika on the beach and a louche State Senator from Tallahassee goes on at length about the “Aryan” charms of a potential beauty queen. We’ve had Jews at the margins of Mad Men for years, and with the arrival of Michael Ginsburg in the office, we’ll finally have one at the center of the frame. But I enjoyed how Magic City puts Jews and Jewishness at the forefront of the show, giving a Florida Jewish community far richer than the stereotype of retirees we have today. And Jews aren’t the only community Magic City examines. Work in the Miramar Playa kitchens grinds to a halt as word comes over the radio of Castro and Che’s advance on Havana. And Ike plays off the black residents of Overtown against white picketers who want to unionize the hotel, busting up the picket line by violence. It’s that kind of conflict that shows how perceptive characters are of how the world around them is changing, and how bold they are about taking advantage of shifting power dynamics.
It’s less good when it overreaches in search of drama. Starz’s existing viewers may depend on a heavy dose of nipples and killings, but the gratuitousness of both elements in shows like Magic City or Boss seems more likely than not to turn off the new subscribers Starz would like to woo. There’s a troika of characters in Magic City that should have been recast and rewritten: Steven Strait as Ike’s oldest son Stevie, a sullen seducer whose charms are inexplicable to me but appear to turn every woman around him stupid, Jessica Marais as Lily Diamond, the wife of mobster Benny Diamond (an insanely over-the-top Danny Huston), who begins an impossibly foolish affair with Stevie that serves only to fulfill the sexual quotient, and Huston himself, who lurks around killing dogs and threatening to feed people to sharks. Maybe these things really happened. But I wouldn’t mind if Glazer appeared to trust the power of his memories a bit more.
According to a new report from the U.S. Public Interest Research Group Education Fund, the last few years have seen the first drop in miles driven annually by Americans since World War II, in large part thanks to a reduction in driving by young people:
From World War II until just a few years ago, the number of miles driven annually on America?s roads steadily increased. Then, at the turn of the century, something changed: Americans began driving less. By 2011, the average American was driving 6 percent fewer miles per year than in 2004.
The trend away from driving has been led by young people. From 2001 to 2009, the average annual number of vehicle miles traveled by young people (16 to 34-year-olds) decreased from 10,300 miles to 7,900 miles per capita — a drop of 23 percent.
?America’s transportation preferences appear to be changing. Our elected officials need to make transportation decisions based on the real needs of Americans in the 21st century,? said Phineas Baxandall, Senior Transportation Analyst for U.S.PIRG Education Fund. However, it’s quite clear that House Republicans in Congress aren’t quite caught up to speed.
The House GOP has been squabbling for months over a bill to reauthorize the nation’s transportation funding, with more conservative members of the caucus wanting to gut funding and send it back to the states to deal with. Speaker of the House John Boehner (R-OH), in the transportation bill that he proposed, called for ending the government’s dedicated stream of funding for mass transit, and instead implementing a cockamamie scheme that the Congressional Budget Office said would cover just five percent of mass transit needs.
The New York Times called the GOP’s plan ?uniquely terrible,? and as the research organization PolicyLink found, it would have a disproportionately negative impact on minorities, who depend upon mass transit in greater numbers. The Senate, meanwhile, has had none of these problems, passing a bipartisan transportation bill that the House GOP refuses to take up.
Popular conservative columnist and National Review writer John Derbyshire topped all of his previous racist screeds (and sexist rants) today by posting a long breakdown of all of the important lessons he has taught his children about race — and he’s outdone his own racism with this one.
Derbyshire wrote the column in the third person, as a list of lessons to his kids about race. The lessons are his response to “the talk” that black parents have with their children — conversations they are forced to have because of real, persistent racism. After spending a few minutes bemoaning that he can’t say a racist slur (“What you must call ‘the ?N? word’ is used freely among blacks but is taboo to nonblacks”) and opining on the hostility he believes all black people feel toward white people like himself (though he says he isn’t white before calling himself white several times), he cuts to the heart of his lessons for his children:
(10a) Avoid concentrations of blacks not all known to you personally.
(10b) Stay out of heavily black neighborhoods.
(10c) If planning a trip to a beach or amusement park at some date, find out whether it is likely to be swamped with blacks on that date (neglect of that one got me the closest I have ever gotten to death by gunshot).
(10d) Do not attend events likely to draw a lot of blacks.
(10e) If you are at some public event at which the number of blacks suddenly swells, leave as quickly as possible.
(10f) Do not settle in a district or municipality run by black politicians.
(10g) Before voting for a black politician, scrutinize his/her character much more carefully than you would a white.
(10h) Do not act the Good Samaritan to blacks in apparent distress, e.g., on the highway.
(10i) If accosted by a strange black in the street, smile and say something polite but keep moving.
(11) The mean intelligence of blacks is much lower than for whites. The least intelligent ten percent of whites have IQs below 81; forty percent of blacks have IQs that low. Only one black in six is more intelligent than the average white; five whites out of six are more intelligent than the average black. These differences show in every test of general cognitive ability that anyone, of any race or nationality, has yet been able to devise. They are reflected in countless everyday situations. ?Life is an IQ test.?
While they are not included in the quote above, Derbyshire peppers the post with links to news stories of crimes, a few random videos, and his own columns. The only “fact” included in the entire piece (and just a small image, at that) is from the offensive book The Bell Curve. Every other hateful, racist claim is based on a one-off story or his own foregone conclusions.