They're voting in the Republican primary for U.S. Senate in Indiana today. The consensus is that incumbent Dick Lugar loses to tea party sweetheart Richard Mourdock. The TPM Poll Average gives Mourdock a 45-41 lead, but there hasn't been any polling on[...]
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Asked about Mitt Romney claiming credit for the auto bailout, John Kerry laughed: "I just - he cannot be serious."[...]
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Maurice Sendak, widely considered the most important children?s book artist of the 20th century, who wrenched the picture book out of the safe, sanitized world of the nursery and plunged it into the dark, terrifying and hauntingly beautiful recesses of the human psyche, died on Tuesday in Danbury, Conn. He was 83. – New York Times
Marice Sendak is most notably remembered for “Where the Wild Things Are,” which was made into a Hollywood film in 2009. Sendak died due to complications of a stroke.
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No, really, he did. Those were his exact words. Video via WEWS in Cleveland.
(AP) EUCLID, Ohio ? Campaigning in the backyard of America?s auto industry, Mitt Romney re-ignited the bailout debate by suggesting he deserves ?a lot of credit? for the recent successes of the nation?s largest car companies.
That claims comes in spite of his stance that Detroit should have been allowed to go bankrupt.
The presumptive Republican presidential nominee told a Cleveland television station on Monday that President Barack Obama followed his lead when he ushered auto companies through a managed bankruptcy soon after taking office.
?I pushed the idea of a managed bankruptcy, and finally when that was done, and help was given, the companies got back on their feet,? Romney said in an interview inside a Cleveland-area auto parts maker. ?So, I?ll take a lot of credit for the fact that this industry has come back.?
Romney has repeatedly argued that Obama ultimately took his advice on the auto industry?s woes of 2008 and 2009. But he went further on Monday by saying he deserves credit for its ultimate turnaround.
The course Romney advocated differed greatly from the one that was ultimately taken. GM and Chrysler went into bankruptcy on the strength of a massive bailout that Romney opposed. Neither Republican President George W. Bush nor Democratic President Barack Obama believed the automakers would have survived without that backup from taxpayers.
Romney opposed taxpayer help.
Shameless. Completely and utterly without shame. The guy whose NY Times op-ed Let Detroit Go Bankrupt set the standard for Republican obstinance is now trying to claim credit.
The Obama campaign called it "a new low in dishonesty" and called on Romney to "have the courage and integrity" to admit he was wrong. Yeah, like that'll happen.
Keeling Pilaro is a 13-year old boy who grew up playing field hockey in Ireland. He is now being told that, after two years of playing on a girls' high school team following his family's move to New York, he will not be allowed to compete next year due to his gender. There are no boys' field hockey teams in the area, leading Pilaro to seek an exemption under Title IX allowing him to play...
Whoowhee! We had a photo finish in yesterday's matchup:
1. RON PAUL DIDN'T WRITE RACIST NEWSLETTERS THAT HE WROTE
Those newsletters had all sorts of, um, interesting material:
[O]pinion polls consistently show only about 5% of blacks have sensible political opinions [...]
[I]f you have ever been robbed by a black teen-aged male, you know how unbelievably fleet-footed they can be [...]
?Order was only restored in L.A. [during the Rodney King riots] when it came time for the blacks to pick up their welfare checks three days after rioting began [...]
As early as December 1989, a section of his Investment Letter, titled ?What To Expect for the 1990s,? predicted that ?Racial Violence Will Fill Our Cities? because ?mostly black welfare recipients will feel justified in stealing from mostly white ?haves.?? Two months later, a newsletter warned of ?The Coming Race War,? and, in November 1990, an item advised readers, ?If you live in a major city, and can leave, do so. If not, but you can have a rural retreat, for investment and refuge, buy it.? In June 1991, an entry on racial disturbances in Washington, DC?s Adams Morgan neighborhood was titled, ?Animals Take Over the D.C. Zoo.? ?This is only the first skirmish in the race war of the 1990s,? the newsletter predicted. In an October 1992 item about urban crime, the newsletter?s author--presumably Paul--wrote, ?I?ve urged everyone in my family to know how to use a gun in self defense. For the animals are coming.?
South Africa?s transition to multiracial democracy was portrayed as a ?destruction of civilization? that was ?the most tragic [to] ever occur on that continent, at least below the Sahara?; and, in March 1994, a month before Nelson Mandela was elected president, one item warned of an impending ?South African Holocaust.?
One newsletter ridiculed black activists who wanted to rename New York City after King, suggesting that ?Welfaria,? ?Zooville,? ?Rapetown,? ?Dirtburg,? and ?Lazyopolis? were better alternatives.By 2001, Ron Paul denied that the words written in the RON PAUL newsletters were written by him, RON PAUL. The newsletters included no other bylines or names on a masthead, and often used pronouns like "I" and "me," which could only mean one thing, given that the newsletters were titled after RON PAUL.
Yet this year, when the newsletter became an issue, Paul held to the notion that he had little to do with the content of the newsletters:
"I was not an editor. I'm like a publisher?. There were many times when I did not edit the whole letter and other things got put in."Yet he continued to pretend it was a few stray words here and there:
"These were sentences that were put in ? I think it was a total of about eight or ten sentences, and it was bad stuff," [Paul] told host Jan Mickelson. But, he added, "it wasn't a reflection of my views at all, so it got in the letter, I think it was terrible, it was tragic."I wonder if Paul's 8-10 sentences included the entire "Special Issue on Racial Terrorism" scanned above? His excuses and rationalizations were ludicrous, but that was okay, because his entire campaign was ludicrous. And really, could you expect anything better from one of the GOP's fringiest lunatics?
2. RICK SANTORUM WARNS AGAINST SEX FOR PLEASURE
One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea ... Many in the Christian faith have said, "Well, that's okay ... contraception's okay."Rick Santorum is obsessed with gay sex, and clearly doesn't enjoy having straight sex.
It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be. They're supposed to be within marriage, for purposes that are, yes, conjugal ... but also procreative. That's the perfect way that a sexual union should happen. We take any part of that out, we diminish the act. And if you can take one part out that's not for purposes of procreation, that's not one of the reasons, then you diminish this very special bond between men and women, so why can't you take other parts of that out? And all of a sudden, it becomes deconstructed to the point where it's simply pleasure. And that's certainly a part of it?and it's an important part of it, don't get me wrong?but there's a lot of things we do for pleasure, and this is special, and it needs to be seen as special.
Again, I know most presidents don't talk about those things, and maybe people don't want us to talk about those things, but I think it's important that you are who you are. I'm not running for preacher. I'm not running for pastor, but these are important public policy issues.
Instead of an "important public policy issue," this seems more like a "bizarre and perhaps a little tragic personal issue."
Despite writing an op-ed titled “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt,” Mitt Romney is trying to take “a lot of credit” for the government’s successful bailout of the auto industry, claiming (falsely) that President Obama followed his playbook.
This is surprising to a lot of people, including, apparently, one of Romney’s chief surrogates — Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), the GOP’s 2008 presidential nominee, who has been campaigning for Romney. ?Romney said that he was responsible for the auto bailout?? Mccain asked TPM’s Brian Beutler today when asked about Romney’s comments. He went to criticize the deal that Romney is now trying to take credit for: “I know that if the auto companies had gone into bankruptcy like thousands of small businesses had to do across America, they could?ve emerged without the sweetheart deal for the unions like was orchestrated by the Obama administration.?
Earlier this year, presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney came out strongly against the Obama administration policy that will require health insurance plans to offer birth control coverage at no additional cost — one of the many important preventive health benefits women will receive as a result of Obamacare.
In particular, Romney denounced the fact that insurance plans would now be required to cover Plan B, a form of emergency contraception that he falsely referred to on numerous occasions as “abortive pills.” This is what Romney said in Colorado on February 6, 2012:
ROMNEY: This same administration said that the churches and the institutions they run, such as schools and let?s say adoption agencies, hospitals, that they have to provide for their employees free of charge, contraceptives, morning after pills, in other words abortive pills, and the like at no cost. Think what that does to people in faiths that do not share those views. This is a violation of conscience.
(Plan B works just like regular birth control pills and is not, in fact, an abortifacient.)
The Miami Herald’s Marc Caputo reports that next week the Romney campaign will be doing a major fundraising blitz across Florida, including an event “at the Star Island manse of pharmaceutical magnate Phil and Pat Frost where dinner costs $50,000.”
Who is Dr. Phil Frost? He is the Chairman of the Board of Directors of Teva Pharmaceuticals, a major manufacturer of contraceptives. Its North American website prominently advertises several forms of contraception, including Plan B One Step, which Romney previously denounced as an “abortive pill”:
This isn’t Romney’s first instance of hypocrisy on this issue. Earlier this year, ThinkProgress revealed Romney’s hypocrisy, noting that he was financially invested in — and profiting from — the very products he was seeking to restrict affordable access to:
Romney?s Goldman Sachs 2002 Exchange Place Fund, valued at over a million dollars in 2010, brought in nearly $600,000 in gains in 2010 and is invested in:
- Watson Pharmaceuticals: manufacturer of nine forms of emergency contraception (which Romney incorrectly identifies as ?abortifacients?).
- Johnson & Johnson: launched the first U.S. prescription birth control product in 1931 and produces various forms of birth control.
- Merck: produces various forms of birth control
- Mylan: produces birth control medication and filed the first application for a generic birth control pill last year.
- Pfizer: a contraception producer that recently had to recall about a million packs of birth-control pills that weren?t packaged correctly.
It appears that Mitt Romney strongly opposes emergency contraception, except when it’s of financial benefit to him or his campaign.
The Nation’s leading scientists have issued a stark warning: America’s ability to monitor the environment is rapidly diminishing. And if we don’t properly fund our satellite capabilities, the country could lose three quarters of its Earth observation systems by 2020.
That alarming conclusion comes from the National Research Council in a new report assessing the progress of the nation’s Earth observation programs. In short: our leading scientific institutions aren’t actually making much progress.
Rather, a lack of funding and infrastructure will result in “a rapid decline” in our ability to monitor extreme weather and changes to the climate.
The committee found that the number of NASA and NOAA Earth observing instruments in space is likely to decline to as little as 25 percent of the current number by 2020…. The U.S. system of environmental satellites is at risk of collapse.
The projected loss of observing capability could have significant adverse consequences for science and society. The loss of observations of key Earth system components and processes will weaken the ability to understand and forecast changes arising from interactions and feedbacks within the Earth system and limit the data and information available to users and decision makers. Consequences are likely to include slowing or even reversal of the steady gains in weather forecast accuracy over many years and degradation of the ability to assess and respond to natural hazards and to measure and understand changes in Earth’s climate and life support systems.
The report is a mid-term update of the NSA’s 2007 decadal survey ? a proposed 10-year plan for improving earth sciences programs at NASA and the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). The NSA assessment did find that NASA was able to launch new satellites into space and work on international partnerships to make up for shortfalls in money; however, those won’t be enough to meet needed technology improvements.
There are three major factors contributing to this unprecedented decline in Earth monitoring capabilities: budget cuts, a rapidly aging fleet of satellites, and a lack of launch capabilities.
The budgetary issues have been ongoing. According to the NSA progress report, NASA’s Earth science program still hasn’t been funded to the requested $2 billion to meet future objectives.
And as Climate Progress reported last year, Republican lawmakers proposed slashing $1.2 billion from NOAA’s funding levels, cutting into satellite programs. The satellite programs were eventually funded to requested levels, but future funding is uncertain. Senate lawmakers have proposed moving NOAA’s satellite program over to NASA where operational efficiencies could potentially save money.
Officials at these agencies say that more money is needed to replace the fleet of aging satellites that will inevitably fail in the coming years. According to the NSA report, there’s also a severe lack of launch vehicles for Earth satellites that “directly threatens programmatic robustness.”
After all, satellites aren’t much good without a way to launch them.
What’s the solution? Increasing the budget for new satellite infrastructure is the most obvious. But a major boost in funding for these programs is unlikely. So the NSA report recommends establishing new partnerships and “balancing costs with science objectives and priorities” by focusing on a more diverse range of projects rather than a few high-profile missions.
Programmatic efficiency is key. But it still doesn’t fully address what could become a national crisis. As our planet overheats — making extreme weather more intense, deadly and expensive — our ability to monitor the health of planet is collapsing.
“That’s BS,” a constituent told Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) during a town hall Friday. “I don’t think you or any of the rest of the politicians want to fix” it, the Wisconsinite declared as the crowd roared with applause.
Ryan, however, was less than sympathetic to their views. He insisted instead that money will always follow power, so because Washington is where policy is made, there is little we can do to mitigate the influence of money in politics. Worse, Ryan even claimed that the rush of corporate and billionaire donations authorized by the Republican justices in Citizens United justifies enacting his draconian budget.
CONSTITUENT: You have all these different things and I look up there and I say none of them will ever work because of one single item we have in our country today, and I don’t think you or any of the rest of the politicians want to fix. It’s called “campaign financing,” which makes special interests. [Crowd applauds.] This country is bought, it’s paid for, it’s gift-wrapped. Supreme Court didn’t help us one bit when they made corporations humans, now they can dump all this money in. When you dump $16 million into your campaign fund, I own you. You can look me in the eye and say, “oh no, that’s not going to me anything to me.” That’s BS. This is what’s wrong with our country today. We need to get rid of it. Every other country in the world calls it bribery. We call it campaign financing.
RYAN: The point I would make is so long as so much money is going to be handled and run through government, through Washington, there will always be an attempt to influence it. So to me the best antidote is not give all of our money and our power to Washington, keep it for ourselves and our communities so there’s less influence-peddling there in the first place. [...] Even under the so-called new clean law that Russ Feingold wrote, even with the Supreme Court ruling that affected parts of that law. So let’s try and have more transparency so you see where the money’s going, let’s not destroy the political parties which are more [inaudible] to elected officials. Right now you have all these groups that pop up and then they go down come the election cycle.
Ryan’s argument is both roundabout and silly. Rather than fighting to remove the corrupting influence of money on politics, he thinks we should simply pack up our bags and accept draconian cuts to Medicare and Medicaid — because such programs are doomed to be corrupted by the very donations Ryan’s Supreme Court allies authorized in Citizens United. It’s a bit like saying that, rather than banning drunk driving, we should simply tear up all the nation’s roads.
Moreover, he may call for shrinking Washington in order to shrink the influence of campaign money, but even under Ryan’s own budget, the government still spends more than $3.5 trillion. With a budget that size, under our current campaign finance law, the Koch Brothers can spend a few million dollars and get a fantastic return on investment. In modern America, it is impossible to achieve Ryan’s “antidote” of having a national government small enough that those with money wouldn’t be tempted to influence it.
It’s worth noting that, while Ryan also touts transparency as an alternative to keeping big money out of politics, he hardly has credibility on this point either. He was given an opportunity to actually vote on requiring more disclosure, he voted against the DISCLOSE Act. If Ryan now wants groups like Crossroads GPS to be forced to disclose their multi-million-dollar donors, wonderful. If he’s simply using this as a rhetorical sleight of hand to justify unlimited campaign funding from billionaires, as many Republicans are now doing, shame on him.