The Senate Majority Leader, relishing his new role as big thorn in Mitt Romney's side. [...]
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POLITICO OFFERS a prime example today of why more women don’t run for office. The headline above says it all. Written by Maggie Haberman, the piece begins with a typical caption underneath stories about women in politics, which feeds off female candidates for sport.
“Some believe…” notes the picture caption, that Warren is a “high risk” choice. Establishment, squishy Democrats believe would be accurate, while also lifting the blame off of Warren that isn’t hers to bear. However, when top Democratic officials help push the talking point, you can’t totally blame the media for lapping it up. From Haberman:
Warren has ?that one elusive quality that we all want in our leaders, but can?t ever seem to get ? freshness. Few people can combine newness with competence ? Palin demonstrates the obvious pitfall ? but she?s one of them. That was obviously a big part of Obama?s allure in 2008,? said former Democratic Governors Association executive director Nathan Daschle.
?At the same time, her anti-Wall Street message is powerful but limiting. As Obama learned, what works in Massachusetts isn?t necessarily what will work nationally,? he added.
?Most Americans are optimists, not pessimists. They don?t see themselves as victims. They see themselves as upwardly mobile, and that?s the product of their own sweat and labor. They work so hard to provide for their families that they naturally resent anyone they perceive as taking credit away. What they hear is ?You didn?t work hard enough to deserve what you have.??
Would they run that about Sarah Palin? She’s taking the hit for why Mitt Romney likely won’t choose a female vice president, even if it’s equally about Romney’s patriarchal persona that represents men always leading. It’s just as likely that if Palin had a prime speaking engagement the media talk would also include how she’s a big draw for the base, which Romney hasn’t successfully seduced.
Haberman’s piece does give full voice to the progressive side, which is a welcome bit of reporting amid a media who trumpets the Tea Party, but ignores this powerful part of the Democratic base.
More important, she represents a growing force within the party ? a progressive agenda coupled with disdain for the type of transactional politicking that former White House chief of staff Rahm Emanuel and his colleagues in the Clinton administration were known for.
The announcement of Warren as the speaker who will introduce Bill Clinton was largely lost amid headlines about Mitt Romney?s missteps on his overseas trip. Democrats highlighted her strengths ? a woman and an icon with the base for her message about economic fairness, fighting one of the most competitive and strategically important Senate battles in the nation.
?Elizabeth Warren is getting the base excited by virtue of being a genuine populist anti-vulture capitalist candidate,? wrote Daily Kos founder Markos Moulitsas in an email. ?That has nothing to do with whether she speaks at the convention or not. For activist Democrats, she?s already a hero.?
?It?s a terrific opportunity to talk about what America must do to level the playing field for middle class families and small businesses,? said Warren spokeswoman Julie Edwards of the speech. ?Too often, the system is rigged in favor of the big guys. Elizabeth believes we need to do more to create opportunity for everyone so that the next person with the great idea has a chance to succeed.?
Then there is Will Marshall, president of the “center-left” Progressive Policy Institute, who reveals his invertebrate status. A common thread among all squishy Democrats.
?The truth is that most of the public isn?t going to know who she is, so I don?t think that?s going to be a big problem for her or the party,? said Will Marshall, president of the center-left Progressive Policy Institute. But he argued for the validity of criticism that Obama ?needs to deal with the [Republican criticism] that he is insufficiently appreciative of entrepreneurs and the role of free enterprise in prosperity.
?But,? he said, ?I don?t think they should shy away from her at the convention.?
Oh, well, if he says no one “should shy away” from Warren, what other order from on high do Democrats need?
This guy represents everything that’s wrong with Democrats.
Inside the progressive movement Elizabeth Warren is not just a star. When I talk to people about the importance of keeping the narrative on electing the first female president, Ms. Warren’s name is the first to come up. Whether that’s feasible is another story, with everything hinging on her winning what remains a very rough race against Sen. Scott Brown.
All the attention on Pres. Obama, especially to donate, is unearned, when you consider how important Elizabeth Warren would be in the Senate.
The amazing men and women of the National Aeronautics and Space Administration landed the Curiosity rover on Mars last night. But the piece of writing that perhaps best encapsulates the wild joy at the Jet Propulsion Lab, and the meaning of their accomplishment, was published almost 20 years before, on January 1, 1993. I hope everyone will forgive me quoting Kim Stanley Robinson’s introduction to Red Mars, the first of his masterful trilogy about the colonization of the Red Planet, at length here, because it’s the most powerful meditation on the meaning of Mars that I know, and it’s so strikingly applicable here (and make it worth it by going out and buying the book if my repeated proselytization for it hasn’t convinced you already). Robinson wrote:
Mars was empty before we came. That?s not to say that nothing had ever happened. The planet had accreted, melted, roiled and cooled, leaving a surface scarred by enormous geological features: craters, canyons, volcanoes. But all of that happened in mineral unconsciousness, and unobserved. There were no witnesses?except for us, looking from the planet next door, and that only in the last moment of its long history. We are all the consciousness that Mars has ever had.
Now everybody knows the history of Mars in the human mind: how for all the generations of prehistory it was one of the chief lights in the sky, because of its redness and fluctuating intensity, and the way it stalled in its wandering course through the stars, and sometimes even reversed direction. It seemed to be saying something with all that. So perhaps it is not surprising that all the oldest names for Mars have a peculiar weight on the tongue?Nirgal, Mangala, Auqakuh, Harmakhis?they sound as if they were even older than the ancient languages we find them in, as if they were fossil words from the Ice Age or before. Yes, for thousands of years Mars was a sacred power in human affairs; and its color made it a dangerous power, representing blood, anger, war and the heart.
Then the first telescopes gave us a closer look, and we saw the little orange disk, with its white poles and dark patches spreading and shrinking as the long seasons passed. No improvement in the technology of the telescope ever gave us much more than that; but the best Earthbound images gave Lowell enough blurs to inspire a story, the story we all know, of a dying world and a heroic people, desperately building canals to hold off the final deadly encroachment of the desert.
It was a great story. But then Mariner and Viking sent back their photos, and everything changed. Our knowledge of Mars expanded by magnitudes, we literally knew millions of times more about this planet than we had before. And there before us flew a new world, a world unsuspected.
It seemed, however, to be a world without life. People searched for signs of past or present Martian life, anything from microbes to the doomed canal-builders, or even alien visitors. As you know, no evidence for any of these has ever been found. And so stories have naturally blossomed to fill the gap, just as in Lowell?s time, or in Homer?s, or in the caves or on the savannah?stories of microfossils wrecked by our bio-organisms, of ruins found in dust storms and then lost forever, of Big Man and all his adventures, of the elusive little red people, always glimpsed out of the corner of the eye. And all of these tales are told in an attempt to give Mars life, or to bring it to life. Because we are still those animals who survived the Ice Age, and looked up at the night sky in wonder, and told stories. And Mars has never ceased to be what it was to us from our very beginning?a great sign, a great symbol, a great power.
In Robinson’s vision, we sent the first colonizing mission to Mars in 2026. President Obama’s FY 2013 budget proposes cutting NASA’s planetary science budget from $1.5 billion to $1.2 billion and ending the U.S. partnership with the E.U. to send probes to Mars on two planned missions in 2016 and 2018?this year, the Jet Propulsion Lab’s open house was marked by a bake sale to call attention to the proposed cuts. What the scientists at JPL did last night was a critical part of our future in space not simply because they did something extremely difficult that will advance our understanding of the planet that’s fascinated so many of us so deeply and for so long, but because they helped keep the dream alive at all, reminding of what it’s like to watch the future arrive, and how cheap it is to purchase in comparison to what we spend to maintain conflicts and policies that mire us in the past.
Friday’s same-sex “Kiss-In” at Chick-fil-A might not have achieved the same traffic-stopping scope as Mike Huckabee’s Chick-fil-A Appreciation Day, but it still attracted media attention across the country. Though its president, Dan Cathy, believes that same-sex couples are inviting God’s judgment upon society and the company has given millions of dollars toward opposing LGBT equality, that will not stop gays and lesbians from loving and building families. Here’s a look at some of the protests:
After the disheartening image of thousands of people proudly eating chicken on behalf of their anti-gay beliefs, these simple photos remind that the LGBT community is unfazed in its struggle toward the freedom to marry.
Here also is a special song performance from Daniel Torres, who is currently understudying Ricky Martin in Evita in Broadway. He encourages people not to eat at Chick-fil-A, reminding them that even though the restaurant claims to operate according to the Bible, you shouldn’t “chow down at Chick-fil-A if you support the gays”:
More than 100 students, faculty, and alumni at the University of Notre Dame have signed a petition opposing the college’s decision to join a lawsuit against the constitutionality of an Obamacare regulation that requires employers and insurers to offer preventive health services ? including contraception ? without additional cost sharing for consumers. Notre Dame was one of 43 religious institutions that filed 12 lawsuits against rule, arguing that it infringed on their religious liberty. The petition began as a personal letter to university President Fr. John Jenkins from Kathryn Pogin, a philosophy graduate student, according to Notre Dame’s student newspaper The Observer. Polgin said, “It?s not clear to us that the University couldn?t comply with the mandate without remaining within Catholic practice.”
– The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms identified the terrorist who killed six people at a Sikh temple this weekend, releasing that he is “an Army veteran who may have been a white supremacist.”
– NASA landed a rover on Mars, which will spend the next two years combing the Red Planet for evidence that it once had the necessary conditions for life.
– Spain’s 2 year bond yields have plummeted recently, suggesting at least temporary improvement in the Euro crisis:
– A British journalist recounts a harrowing story of escaping from his captors after being kidnapped in Syria.
– And finally, Colorado generated 57 percent of its energy from wind power one night, demonstrating the potential of properly-utilized renewable energy sources.
Iowa’s largest newspaper, the Des Moines Register — a paper that endorsed Mitt Romney for the Iowa caucuses — has an editorial touting the benefits of the wind production tax credit. Last week, Mitt Romney’s campaign said he would let the wind production tax credit expire at the end of 2012, drawing criticism from Iowa Republicans like Gov. Terry Brandstad and Rep. Tom Latham.
The Register criticized the lack of action on the tax credit: ?The playing field is uneven now in large part because of more than a century of investment in exploration and infrastructure made by consumers who pay utility bills to companies that use coal, natural gas and nuclear fuel.” Iowa is only behind Texas in having the most wind generation capacity in the U.S.
In a column last week, conservative pundit and global warming denier made an uncharacteristic display of compassion for professional football players, explaining how the changing nature of the sport endangers players’ long term health:
Football is bigger than ever, in several senses. Bear Bryant’s 1966 undefeated Alabama team had only 19 players who weighed more than 200 pounds. The heaviest weighed 223. The linemen averaged 194. The quarterback weighed 177. Today, many high school teams are much bigger. In 1980, only three NFL players weighed 300 or more pounds. In 2011, according to pro-football-reference.com, there were 352, including three 350-pounders. Thirty-one of the NFL’s 32 offensive lines averaged more than 300.
Various unsurprising studies indicate high early mortality rates among linemen resulting from cardiovascular disease. For all players who play five or more years, life expectancy is less than 60; for linemen it is much less. . . . [A]ccumulating evidence about new understandings of the human body — the brain, especially, but not exclusively — compel the conclusion that football is a mistake because the body is not built to absorb, and cannot be adequately modified by training or protected by equipment to absorb, the game’s kinetic energies.
Will is right to raise these concerns as all workers have a right to a safe working environment. The fact that NFL players are both well-compensated and often national celebrities does not deprive them of this basic human right.
It’s just too bad Will doesn’t recognize this basic right with respect to nearly any other worker.
Last year, Will published a column calling the Supreme Court’s 1905 anti-worker decision in Lochner v. New York “correctly decided.” Lochner is widely viewed, along with Supreme Court decisions upholding segregation or Japanese detention camps, as one of the worst court decisions in American history. Even Robert Bork, the failed Reagan Supreme Court nominee who once described the federal ban on whites-only lunch counters as “unsurpassed ugliness,” accepts that Lochner is an abomination.
The crux of the Lochner opinion is that elected officials cannot be trusted to enact laws protecting the health, safety or general well-being of workers, and so any law directed at improving working conditions must be viewed with a very skeptical eye by judges. Lochner struck down a New York law preventing bakeries from overworking their employees, but the decision placed any pro-worker law at the mercy of one of the most conservative Supreme Courts in American history.
So Will’s compassion for NFL players rings more than a little hollow in light of his willingness to declare most laws protecting workers from exploitation — likely including overtime laws, minimum wage laws and many workplace safety laws — unconstitutional.
As conservatives continue to decry supposed booming growth in the size of the American government, the public sector lost another 9,000 jobs in July, according to the Labor Department report released Friday. The public sector, comprised of federal, state, and local government employees, has now cut more than 680,000 jobs since 2009, the worst three-year period on record. Without those public sector cuts, the unemployment rate would be a full-point lower. And that growing American government? It is now smaller than it has been since 1968, according to a Federal Reserve Economic Data chart published by The Atlantic’s Jordan Weissman:
Florida Gov. Rick Scott, Sen. John McCain and former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice are among seven headline speakers announced today for the Republican National Convention in Tampa.
The first look at featured speakers also includes South Carolina Gov. Nikki Haley, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, Ohio Gov. John Kasich and New Mexico Gov. Susana Martinez. -Tampa Bay Times
No keynoter, and no potential VP candidates on the list.