So Republicans are responding to the new Priorities USA ad featuring Bain layoff victim Joe Soptic, who lost his job and health insurance in 2001 and whose wife died of cancer in 2006, with a new web video focusing almost entirely on the question of whether or not Obama deputy campaign manager Stephanie Cutter was correct when she said she didn't know exactly when Soptic's wife passed way.
But what I can understand is why they don't want to deal with the issue raised by the Priorities USA ad: Mitt Romney's lack of concern for people like Joe Soptic. Romney made millions on the deal involving Soptic's company, but Soptic was left holding the bag: out of a job and without health insurance. Within five years, his wife?who herself had lost health insurance from another job?died of cancer.
Nobody can say for sure if Soptic's life would have been saved if she'd had health insurance. But one thing we do know is that if Obamacare had been in effect when Soptic was laid off, she would have had health insurance and access to to the health care that might have saved her life. In fact, Romney's campaign tried to defend itself yesterday by saying basically the same thing, arguing that if Soptic had been in Massachusetts, Romneycare would have provided coverage.
That would have been a good argument to make, but Mitt Romney has now abandoned Romneycare. If he gets his way, Obamacare will be repealed, jeopardizing the health security of families just like Joe Soptic's. Romney once supported taking Romneycare national, but when it became politically inconvenient, he flip-flopped to save his own skin. And that's what Mitt Romney has always been about: ruthlessly putting himself first. That's why Joe Soptic got the raw end of the deal when Mitt Romney was CEO and sole owner of Bain Capital. That's why Mitt Romney made millions even when his investments went bankrupt, putting employees out of work, destroying their retirement funds, and kicking them off insurance. That's why Mitt Romney has never made a promise he wouldn't break for the right price. And that's why Mitt Romney is not what this country needs as president.
Republicans want to dismiss Soptic's story as being the equivalent of an accusation of murder. But that's not what it is. It is, however, an accusation of callousness. The central point of the ad is that Mitt Romney put his own interests ahead of others, a pattern that we see continued to this very day with Romney's abandonment of his signature policy achievement, Romneycare. The fact that Republicans refuse to defend Romney on the merits and instead try to shift the debate into hyperbole and irrelevancy speaks volumes about just how weak Romney's position is on this very point, and Democrats can't afford to walk away from this fight.
Democratic National Convention Committee Invites Americans to Sign Up for Community Credentials and Witness History
Public Can Sign Up For the Opportunity To Attend President Obama and Vice President Biden’s Nomination Acceptance Speeches on Thursday, September 6
CHARLOTTE – The Democratic National Convention Committee (DNCC) and Obama for America today announced that the public can sign up for the opportunity to attend President Obama and Vice President Biden’s acceptance speeches for the Democratic Party’s nomination at Bank of America Stadium on Thursday, September 6th.
These community credentials will allow Americans to participate in the final night of the 2012 Democratic National Convention in Charlotte and be there in person to witness history as President Obama gives his last convention speech as a candidate for president. Eight years ago, the President gave the keynote address that propelled him onto the national stage. Four years ago, he gave a historic acceptance speech in front of Americans in Denver. This year, in Charlotte, is the last opportunity for a convention audience to see him give a speech as a candidate for president.
“We are thrilled to invite North Carolinians and Americans from across the country to witness the Vice President and President Obama accept the Democratic Party’s nomination on the final night of the convention,” said 2012 Democratic Convention Chair, Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa. “The 2012 Democratic National convention will define the election as a choice between two very different paths for our nation. The President will lay out his vision for an economy built to last: that if you work hard and act responsibly, you should be able to find and keep a good job with decent wages and good benefits, retire securely and leave your kids a little better off. And you can be there to hear it.”
“The Democratic National Convention is engaging more Americans than ever before by opening the doors to the public to attend the acceptance speeches of President Obama and Vice President Biden and be a part of history,” said DNCC CEO Steve Kerrigan. “From the beginning of our convention planning, Democrats have used this convention as an opportunity to engage Americans in a conversation about moving our country forward. By opening and closing our convention with open events, we have an unprecedented opportunity to organize and engage the American public and particularly residents of North Carolina and surrounding states.”
Americans interested in signing up for community credentials should visit barackobama.com/community-credentials.
Just last month, Obama for America in North Carolina announced the opportunity to receive community credentials through the 9-3-1 campaign which asks people to commit nine hours of time over three shifts to receive one guaranteed community credential for the acceptance speeches. This effort has already recruited thousands of North Carolinians and will continue over the next several weeks.
The distribution of community credentials will allow more Americans to attend the final night of the convention. The first two nights of official convention proceedings, Tuesday, September 4th and Wednesday, September 5th, will be held at Time Warner Cable Arena. All delegates and guests credentialed for the first two nights of the convention will also be seated at Bank of America Stadium.
President Obama's executive order to give legal status to young, law-abiding immigrants who call the United States home needs to have the force of law. That's what Senate candidate and current Rep. Martin Heinrich (D-NM), believes, and he wants the Democratic Party to adopt the DREAM Act as one of the party platform planks.
"I think the time has come for the DREAM Act to be part of our identity as a party," Heinrich said in a telephone interview.Here's his proposed language for the platform:
?The Democratic Party appreciates the hard work and commitment immigrant families have brought to the United States throughout our history. Immigrants? children, brought to the United States as youth through no fault of their own, are being raised and educated as Americans today, to work and fight for the same dreams as every other American. We support the adoption of the DREAM Act to allow the undocumented children of immigrants to pursue the American dream by seeking a higher education or by serving in our armed forces, and applaud the decision of President Obama to grant deferred action to those children.?Shelley Berkley, the Democratic Senate candidate in Nevada, supports the campaign as does Richard Carmona in Arizona. This should be a totally non-controversial no-brainer for Democrats. Obama's executive order received huge support?64 percent?from the general voting public, and absolutely galvanized Latino voters.
Beyond that, it's the moral, humane thing to do. That's something Democrats shouldn't just be united behind. It's something they should fight. Kudos to Heinrich for pushing that fight.
It can?t be easy being a climate denier this summer. Record-breaking heat waves, freak storms, enormous fires, and the worst drought in 50 years are making it harder to ignore the reality of climate change.Many meteorologists, network news shows, and[...]
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This welfare dustup in the Presidential election, as I said earlier in the week, generates a lot of heat as an argument while being irrelevant to the actual issue. Newt Gingrich, the architect of welfare reform in the 1990s who has been employed by the[...]
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THE TITLE of Erick Erickson’s post says it all:
The Moment All the Doubts About Romney Resurfaced on the Right
The “Read My Lips” Moment of Betrayal At Least Comes Before the Election This Time
Romneycare is the word that shall not be uttered, even if it is Mitt Romney’s crowning achievement in politics.
She fell on June 4. She went to work the next day but continued to be in pain. She turned to the Office of the Attending Physician, which provides medical care to members of Congress and the justices, said court Public Information Officer Kathy Arberg.
Ginsburg discovered she had fractured two ribs, which would only heal with time. Ginsburg "followed her schedule as usual," Arberg said on Wednesday. "She indeed did not skip a beat and did not feel it rose to a serious health concern."
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, said Tuesday a team from his organization will be credentialed to attend the platform committee meeting, which will take place the week of Aug. 20 in Tampa, Fla., prior to the start of the convention. [...]
Gary Howard, a spokesperson for the Republican National Committee, confirmed Log Cabin?s involvement in the platform process, but also said other organizations, including social conservative groups, will take part.
?As has been the practice in previous years, the Platform Committee Staff maintains an open door policy and welcomes input and suggestions from outside groups,? Howard said. ?This year the staff has heard from hundreds of different groups as they presented their views on the Platform, this includes suggestions submitted by the public at-large at the gopplatform2012.com website. The Log Cabin Republicans reached out to the RNC to share their ideas as well. Additionally, the Platform Staff hosted meetings with dozens of social conservative groups to emphasize the importance of keeping the GOP?s commitment to traditional marriage.?
Two years after the Franklin-based Tea Party Nation organization failed to lure tea party activists to a rally in Las Vegas, a judge is ordering the group to pay the bill for a slew of hotel rooms booked for the event.
For secretary of state, most advisors interviewed for this article said that Sen. Joe Lieberman (I-CT) is under serious consideration at the top levels of the [Romney] campaign. An "independent Democrat," Lieberman, who hasn't endorsed any presidential candidate this cycle, was almost chosen by Sen. John McCain to run as vice president on his 2008 ticket. Lieberman will be unemployed in January when he retires after 24 years in the Senate. He has spent much of that time developing close relationships with foreign leaders all over the world, and he is a strong supporter of Israel, a major focus of Romney's critique of Obama. By choosing him, Romney could show bipartisanship while handing the reins in Foggy Bottom to someone with international stature and whose foreign-policy views are more hawkish than many Republicans.
Among the other things secretly recorded by the FBI: "that Blagojevich mentioned naming Oscar-winning actress Halle Berry to Obama's vacant Senate seat so he could 'have a shot' at having sex with her."Wonder how that worked out with Roland Burris.
Over at IFC, Terri Schwartz reports that Ben Affleck’s been approached about directing DC’s Justice League movie, and has a smart assessment of his strengths and weaknesses in the position that also suggests a way DC, as it tries to build a viable movie franchise to match The Avengers, could distinguish itself from Marvel’s approach:
For now, we?re just intrigued by the possibility of Affleck. He has some experience with superhero films, but we?ll be the first to admit that ?Daredevil? wasn?t great. Fortunately Affleck has greatly matured as an actor and a director since then, which is good for this project. However, Affleck doesn?t have any experience directing with CGI, which could be a boon or a curse. He filmed some great realistic action scenes in ?The Town,? which could make a ?Justice League? film more in line stylistically with Christopher Nolan?s ?The Dark Knight? trilogy. To us, the more realistic this film is, the better, though we know there?s no way to make characters like the Green Lantern and the Flash work without some semblance of computer assistance. Hopefully Affleck is up to the task.
Mike Fleming at Deadline is more skeptical of the prospect that Affleck is going to happen:
This is a story I checked out days ago, and didn?t run when Affleck?s reps stated that it was not going to happen with him. Now, it makes sense that Warner Bros would offer Affleck the project. Chris Nolan is top man over there, but after three Batfilms and after producing the Superman reboot Man of Steel, he?s gotten spandex-clad protagonists out of his system. After Nolan, the studio then offers everything else to Harry Potter director David Yates (who is now keen on Tarzan) and Affleck, who has become a major director with Gone Baby Gone, The Town, and the upcoming Argo. Just because the studio wants Affleck doesn?t mean he will do the movie, and several sources tell me he might take a meeting, but that?s it.
After putting his acting career in the dumper with questionable choices like Gigli, Affleck admirably scripted a second act for himself with his writing and directing skills, and did it by taking on unexpected, thoughtful films. His reps clearly denied he would take this, and why would he want to direct a Justice League movie, unless he himself had figured out a way to make one that would compare favorably with Joss Whedon?s billion dollar Marvel smash The Avengers? I don?t see it.
Whether or not Affleck ends up being the man to do it, I think that DC would be strategically and creatively smart to create a franchise that’s less cosmic and more realistic than Marvel’s, and that maintains at least the gloss of ideas from Christopher Nolan’s Batman trilogy. Given that Whedon’s locked in for Avengers 2, it probably doesn’t make sense to get into an witty arms race with him. Similarly, Marvel is, I think, potentially going to test audiences’ tolerance for cosmic characters and conflicts with Guardians of the Galaxy, and DC could distinguish itself by grounding its conflicts in the real world, and potentially even in real issues. Even if I think the politics of Christopher Nolan’s Batman movies were ultimately flimsy and inconsistent , they got people talking without getting in the way of the movies’ blockbuster status, and that’s not a terrible brand if you can find directors and writers who can walk that line intelligently. It may not be possible to do emotional connection and dialogue better than Whedon, but given the way The Avengers has been set up so far, I think it’s possible for DC to come off build a more grounded world that gets audiences to connect to the characters and conflicts in a more serious way. We’ll see whether that’s Zack Snyder’s actual approach in Man of Steel, but DC’s certainly selling the initial hero’s journey as deeply rooted in the American experience and landscape rather than foregrounding the cosmic elements of it.
I also think that a more grounded, naturalistic (in so much as these things can be naturalistic) approach to the DC Comics universe might be a smart hedge against the day that mass audiences get a little tired of superhero movies. If you don’t need to to use Skrull spaceships and giant space lizard fish in the climax of your action sequences, you can make excellent action movies on smaller budgets. In boom times, that can mean bigger profits. If trends slow, it can mean preserving a margin. I don’t really expect DC to think that strategically, given the general death of the mid-budget action picture. But the company needs some smart insight to distinguish itself if it wants to do more than tag after Marvel’s coattails.
by Kasim Reed, Mayor of Atlanta, Georgia
At the Clinton Global Initiative America meeting in Chicago earlier this summer, I joined President Clinton and other mayors from across the country and across party lines to explore how to accelerate investment in job-creating domestic infrastructure.
Each mayor faced unique challenges, but there was an immediate recognition of the enormous potential to improve our cities and our economies through public-private partnerships. We looked closely at the example of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel?s newly created Infrastructure Trust ? a nonprofit entity designed to attract private capital for infrastructure investment, which will promote job creation and economic growth in Chicago.
We all left that initial meeting with a clear desire to sustain collaboration among mayors to explore better tools for public and private financing. Mayor Nutter, president of the U.S. Conference of Mayors, recently expressed interest in similar strategies to overcome the fiscal challenges local governments can face. Working together, I believe we can identify successful financing solutions and models that would work in any city in America to increase the value, efficiency, and sustainability of our cities. Simply, a successful private-partnership could improve not only our roads and bridges and electrical grids but also our citizens? quality of life.
So, this week in Tarrytown, New York, President Clinton is hosting a two-day meeting organized by the Clinton Global Initiative that I?ll attend with Asheville Mayor Terry M. Bellamy, Bridgeport Mayor Bill Finch, Charlotte Mayor Anthony Foxx, Jacksonville Mayor Alvin Brown, Joplin Mayor Melodee Colbert-Kean, and Portland Mayor Sam Adams, as well as top city officials from Chicago, Denver, Kansas City, Louisville, New Orleans, New York, Philadelphia, San Diego, and San Francisco. Former Pennsylvania Governor Ed Rendell, former director of the Office of Management and Budget and current Vice Chairman at Citigroup Peter Orszag, as well as infrastructure experts and capital providers will also attend in the hopes of advancing that conversation that began in Chicago this June. While each of us represent different cities and constituencies, I hope we will work towards a common goal?finding a workable model to increase private investment in public infrastructure.
In Atlanta, I?ve seen the potential for success in exactly this kind of partnership in our own Atlanta BeltLine, which I believe is one of the most transformative urban development projects in the nation. The Atlanta BeltLine will be a system of rails, trails, and greenspace that will seamlessly connect 45 of our neighborhoods, while providing first- and last-mile transit connectivity for the entire metro Atlanta region. This is the most comprehensive revitalization effort ever undertaken in our city and a true model of sustainability, smart land use, and mobility.
The success of this project hinges on private-public partnerships.
To date, tens of thousands of passionate grassroots supporters are engaged, and the city?s philanthropic and business communities have generously invested in this dynamic initiative.
And we?ll continue to bring our diverse perspectives and discuss strategies for accessing private capital to finance public investment in projects including transportation, water, energy efficiency, clean energy, and other strategic infrastructures. We?ll take a holistic look at our current fiscal challenges to investment in public infrastructure and existing models of leveraging private capital for investment in public infrastructure, and then think through the steps of creating an urban infrastructure bank and identifying investable projects.
In June, we started the discussion about how we could replicate Chicago?s feat in other American cities, including Atlanta. I look forward to meeting with other mayors, senior city staff, funders, and experts over the next two days to identify and implement strategies for accessing private capital to finance public investment in the roads, bridges, and water systems that bring value to our city and jobs to our citizens. Public-private partnerships are promising opportunities to get domestic infrastructure funded by putting in a small amount of public funds to attract corporate investment. More importantly, such partnerships are crucial to putting more people back to work and creating a better Atlanta.
Kasim Reed is the Mayor of the City of Atlanta. For more updates on the work of President Clinton, CGI, and the Clinton Foundation, visit http://www.clintonfoundation.org/blog.
States and cities across the United States have used generous taxpayer subsidies to build new sports facilities. But as ThinkProgress has noted, those deals often fail to live up to the economic promises cities make in order to get taxpayers to sign off on the funding. Instead, cities are often left in debt, even as the franchises come calling for more generous deals.
Most of the research proving that these deals aren’t friendly to taxpayers, however, has focused on football and baseball facilities and not on basketball arenas, which are more often built with multi-use purposes in mind. But a new study from George Washington University’s Geoffrey Propheter looked exclusively at basketball arenas and found similar results: the arenas generally don’t add economic value to a city, and in certain circumstances, they can actually hurt a city’s economy, as The Atlantic Cities’ Richard Florida writes:
The results suggest that basketball arenas do not add economic value on their own but instead are highly dependent on the local economic, social, and cultural context where they are located. The basic version of the model, covering three decades from 1979 to 2009, found “no statistically significant association between having an NBA arena or an NBA franchise and MSA regional personal income.” [...]
The cities with the newest arenas took the biggest economic hit ? a “decline in per capita income of about $2,430, a larger decline than in any other period, according to the study.” Alarmingly, the magnitudes of the income declines in this study “are generally larger than what has previously been observed,” the study finds.
Taxpayer subsidies often wipe out miniscule economic gains some cities do see, and in other instances, economic gains were actually “income transfers from the suburban area around the central city,” meaning the metro area as a whole did not benefit.
Arenas, Propheter concludes, “are not primary catalysts of economic development but are instead economic complements,” more likely an effect of economic development rather than a cause. Still, cities around the country continue to peg their economic hopes on these projects, even as evidence mounts that the returns almost never justify the investment.