Ed Gillespie, senior adviser to Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, told Chuck Todd on MSNBC’s Daily Rundown that the campaign would make President Obama’s support for marriage equality an issue this November and that Romney will actively push for a constitutional amendment to take away the right of states to voluntarily extend marriage equality to same-sex couples.
Gillespie told Todd that same-sex marriage “will be another bright-line difference in this campaign.” He added that the GOP intends to campaign on the issue:
TODD: Will you guys campaign on this, campaign on this issue of marriage?
GILLESPIE: Sure. I think it?s an important issue for people and it engenders strong feelings on both sides. I think it?s important to be respectful in how we talk about our differences, but the fact is that?s a significant difference in November.
Later, Gillespie added that Romney believes a federal marriage constitutional amendment banning same sex marriage “should be enacted.” Watch the video:
Gillespie is no stranger to using same-sex couples as a wedge issue; he served as President George W. Bush’s Republican National Committee Chairman during the 2004 campaign. During that campaign, Republicans pushed for anti-LGBT state constitutional amendments to get out the conservative vote. They also wrote the following into the Party’s official platform: “We strongly support President Bush?s call for a Constitutional amendment that fully protects marriage, and we believe that neither federal nor state judges nor bureaucrats should force states to recognize other living arrangements as equivalent to marriage.”
Popular support for marriage has soared since — most Americans now support same-sex marriage. The fact that a number of states enacted constitutional amendments back in 2004 has little bearing eight years later.
Romney has played up his pro-discrimination stand throughout this presidential campaign, boasting that he’d fought to take away marriage equality from same-sex couples and that he’d dug up an an obscure 1913 law (originally intended to limit interracial marriage), to keep out-of-state couples from marrying in Massachusetts. “On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage,” Romney told a CPAC Convention in February.
The Idaho Statesman ran a good piece on climate change Tuesday, “Climate change accelerating, complicating Idaho’s spring runoff.” The report:
The effects of global warming are making it more difficult for reservoir managers to control floods and manage flows for irrigation, recreation and fisheries.
Two days of record high temperatures and two days of record rainfall the same week in late April sent 26,000 cubic feet per second surging into the Boise River dam system, forcing federal river managers to increase flows to more than 8,100 cfs ? the highest flow out of Lucky Peak Dam since 1998 and just the second time it has hit 8,100 in 30 years.
The water station at Twin Springs on the Middle Fork of the?Boise River has been recording flow data for 100 years. Such long-term monitoring is increasingly important ? and rare ? as scientists try to understand long-range effects of climate change. PROVIDED BY USGS
We reported last year on a US Geological Survey study that found “Global Warming Drives Rockies Snowpack Loss Unrivaled in 800 Years, Threatens Western Water Supply.”
As many recent studies find, it is increasingly going to be feast or famine, flood or drought, because of manmade climate change (see “Study: Global warming is driving increased frequency of extreme wet or dry summer weather in southeast, so droughts and deluges are likely to get worse“).
As the Idaho Statesman piece explains:
The more variability in the climate, the harder it is for the two federal dam-managing agencies to balance their competing tasks of preventing floods while filling the reservoirs to provide water for various uses.
The evidence that the runoff timing has changed is based on streamflow gauges maintained by the U.S. Geological Survey. One of the oldest is the gauge on the Middle Fork of the Boise River, installed near Twin Springs above Arrowrock Dam in 1912.
It shows that runoff that used to begin in early April now starts in late March. That flow used to peak in late May or June, but now peaks in early May.
Droughts and wet years have come and gone over the past century on the Boise River, said USGS hydrologist Greg Clark. But the past 30 years have generally been drier. With the snowpack melting earlier, that leaves flows even lower in the late summer and fall in the tributaries above reservoirs and in rivers without dams.
And this increase in extremes has real impact for real communities:
That affects things besides farmers? irrigation water. It affects fish, for instance, especially since the water is getting warmer, said Clark, associate director for the Idaho Water Science Center in Boise.
It also affects recreation. On the Boise River, the longer period of high flows through town through the spring to prevent flooding delays floating season. On rivers such as the Middle Fork of the Salmon, low flows late in the season limit the number of days for whitewater rafting.
Yet, just as we need to be spending more money on measurement and planning, money for the key federal agencies is being cut and “money for the 100-year-old Boise Middle Fork streamflow gauge is in doubt.”
The story ends with a warning from Ron Abramovich, “a water-supply specialist with the Natural Resources Conservation Service in Boise”:
?A lot of people think global warming is going to be a gradual increase in temperatures,? said Abramovich. ?It may be a roller coaster … kind of like the stock market.?
It is noteworthy that a local paper did such a good job of reporting on a subject that has proved challenging to say the least for many in the national media (see “Silence of the Lambs 2: Media Herd?s Coverage of Climate Change Drops Sharply ? Again“). Special kudos to The Idaho Statesman for not undermining the science with any false balance.
I hadn’t seen the covers for the Game of Thrones comics adaptation until Latoya Peterson tweeted this one out in horror:
It’s amazing how even an original, powerful franchise with its own following can get squished into comic book conventions even when they don’t fit very well. Here, Dany’s a standard comic-book babe with an impossibly tiny waist and significant-sized breasts, even though her character has just hit puberty in the scene from the novel depicted here. Even if she’s been aged up, as she was in the show to make the depiction of her marriage to a Ghengis Khan-like barbarian less problematic, the way she’s portrayed here is about serving her up as a delectable object, not to explain how frightening what’s about to happen to her is.
Even worse may be this cover:
The scene that’s depicted here? The one where Dany looks like she’s having an orgasm? It’s the moment after she, in extreme grief at the loss of her husband and the fact she’s been abandoned by her people, does something that everyone around her thinks is suicidal, but that turns out to be an act of vision that makes her a critically important and sought-after leader. Also, all her hair burns off. But no, that couldn’t possibly be what’s important here. What’s important is that she look devourable, whether by dragons or by men.
A study published in the most recent edition of the Journal of Pediatrics found that children who had public insurance, like Medicaid or the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), or no insurance at all, did not receive the same level of treatment in emergency rooms as children with private insurance. The study found that those children were 22 percent less likely to have testing when they visited a hospital’s emergency department, while children without insurance were less likely to receive medication than their insured counterparts. However, there was no difference in admittance rates based on insurance status for children with serious illnesses. While the reasons for this discrepancy are unclear, one possibility is that ERs are overtreating children with private insurance, which pays hospitals more. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation, nearly half of all children do not have private insurance.
Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) talked a big talk when he was preparing to take over as chair of the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee in 2010. He promised “hundreds of hearings” intended to “measure failures” by the federal government under President Obama. His office was inundated with resumes from conservative lawyers looking to make a name for themselves as Obama killers. Issa even changed his Twitter avatar into a braggadocious image of himself as a stick-figure policeman sternly keeping watch over the Capitol.
A year and a half later, all those eager young lawyers who took jobs under Issa might be reconsidering their career choice. As Oversight Chair, Issa’s proved far more adept at booking himself on Fox News than he has at actually uncovering real scandals. He’s used his media celebrity status to tout bizarre conspiracy theories, such as a claim that a series of botched law enforcement operations begun under the Bush Administration were actually secret Obama plot to undermine the Second Amendment. His highest profile hearing to date was an all-male panel on contraception that did far more to embarrass conservatives than it did to provide government oversight. Issa’s compared himself to Martin Luther King, Jr. in response to criticism of how he wields his gavel. And he turned oversight of one of the few legitimate scandals his Committee has focused upon — the botched “gun running” operations along the Mexican border that rightfully led to several Justice Department officials losing their jobs or being demoted — into a baseless campaign to pin blame for these operations on Attorney General Eric Holder.
Indeed, Issa’s overreach has become so apparent that even the House leadership appears to be losing faith in his judgment:
Speaker John Boehner of Ohio, Majority Leader Eric Cantor of Virginia and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy of California have decided to slow Rep. Darrell Issa?s drive to hold the attorney general in contempt over the controversial Fast and Furious program, a move that could infuriate conservatives who have been calling for Holder?s resignation.
The delay could be a month or even longer, according to lawmakers and aides familiar with the issue.
Some within House GOP leadership circles would like Issa to abandon his plan for a committee and floor vote, which was sparked by a 64-page memo last week, which laid out the case for contempt.
This is not the first time Issa’s self-promoting approach to his job sparked tension between himself and other top House Republicans. Energy and Commerce Chair Fred Upton (R-MI) publicly disagreed with Issa’s hostile approach to an agreement between the Obama Administration and the auto industry over emissions standards. And Issa “ruffled the feathers” of fellow committee chair John Mica (R-FL) after Issa appeared to push Mica out of the spotlight once a scandal involving the General Services Administration started to receive media attention.
Nevertheless, the most recent disagreement over whether to move forward with Issa’s anti-Holder crusade appears to be the first time the House’s most senior leaders publicly made their disagreement with Issa known, and that alone is significant. When even Eric Cantor thinks you are overreaching, it’s a good sign that you might need to dial it back a few notches.
Presumptive 2012 GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney has released an economic plan that would spend trillions of dollars on tax cuts for the wealthiest Americans and corporations. These tax cuts would dwarf the Bush tax cuts, and Romney has in no way indicated how he will prevent the cuts from blowing a huge hole in the federal budget.
On CNBC today, former GOP Governor Christine Todd Whitman (NJ) criticized Romney’s tax plan, “you can’t do just tax cuts”:
I believe in cutting taxes. I cut taxes as a governor over and over again. But you can’t do just tax cuts. There are going to be times when you are going to have to close loopholes or raise some taxes. And unfortunately, as a candidate, and this is the problem with our primary system, it forces candidates to the right and to the left, Mitt Romney signed the no-new-taxes pledge.
While Romney has indeed pledged fealty to Grover Norquist and the Americans for Tax Reform anti-tax pledge, more and more Republicans have been breaking from that pledge, acknowledging that revenue needs to be a part of the nation’s budget solution. Rep. Timothy Johnson (R-IL) even blasted the pledge as “disingenuous and irresponsible.”
I don't think anybody can blame him for laughing:
ROBIN ROBERTS: Mitt Romney just said that he deserves credit for the revival of the U.S. auto industry.I cannot wait until this issue comes up during the fall debates?President Obama is going to clean Mitt Romney's clock on this.
PRESIDENT OBAMA: (laughs)
ROBERTS: How do you respond to that?
THE PRESIDENT: Well, you know I think this is one of those Etch-A-Sketch moments. I don't think anybody takes that seriously. People remember his position which was "let's let Detroit go bankrupt." So, had we followed his advice, at that time, GM and Chrysler would have gone under, and we would have lost probably a million jobs throughout the midwest.
At the time, everybody?including both President Obama and Mitt Romney?knew the auto industry needed to restructure. The difference was that Romney wanted to force the auto manufacturers into immediate bankruptcy?even though they were on the edge of collapse?while President Obama wanted to first guarantee their financial stability.
So while both Obama and Romney wanted restructuring, President Obama wanted to make sure there was something to restructure. Mitt Romney just saw a feast for vulture capitalists.
If Romney had gotten his way, there would have been nothing to restructure, because at the time the financial crisis was so severe that there were no private funds available to keep General Motors and Chrysler afloat. And it was President Obama's decision to support emergency loans that allowed the companies to survive. Thanks to that bailout, the companies were able to successfully restructure, putting the American auto industry on track to thrive?as it is doing today.
In a newly released video (watch it above), the Obama campaign is hammering Mitt Romney's opposition to gay marriage and civil unions, saying he wants to move "backwards on equality."
The video starts with a clip of of President Obama announcing his support for same-sex marriage and quickly moves to a clip of Mitt Romney yesterday saying he opposes both marriage equality and civil unions, setting up the forward versus backwards contrast that is by now quite familiar.
The video lists the implications of Romney's position: no health insurance of same-sex couples and their children; no ability for same-sex couples to adopt; no legal framework for making emergency medical decisions for partners; and no federal hospital visitation rights. It also points out that Romney's opposition to civil unions puts him to the right of George W. Bush, who campaigned on a constitutional amendment banning gay marriage in 2004, but now favors civil unions. And the video includes a clip of Romney endorsing that constitutional amendment during a 2012 Republican primary debate.
The video concludes with a return to the campaign's core message. "President Obama is moving us forward," it says. "Mitt Romney would take us back."
House leadership, aka a bunch of bigots. Speaker John Boehner, Rep. Paul Ryan,
Rep. Jeb Hensarling, Rep. Eric Cantor and Rep. Cathy McMorris Rodgers. (Jonathan Ernst/Reuters)House Republicans reacted to President Obama's historic announcement in support of marriage equality with some good old-fashioned legislative gay-bashing.
House Republicans voted Wednesday night to bar the Justice Department from using any federal funds to oppose the Defense of Marriage Act. They added the prohibitions to an appropriations measure. [...]The Justice Department announced last year that it would no longer defend DOMA in the courts because it had determined the law was unconstitutional. House Speaker John Boehner promptly announced he wasn't going let a little thing like unconstitutionality get in the way of discrimination, and that the House would take up the cause. They've now one-upped that to prevent the administration from actually fighting the unconstitutional law.
Also Wednesday night, the House Armed Services Committee voted to bar gay and lesbian service members from getting married or holding ?marriage-like? ceremonies at military facilities.
Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi got this one exactly right:
"On an historic day and in the dark of night, House Republicans have voted to tie the hands of the Obama Administration with respect to their efforts to end discrimination against America's families."
It's rare that I'll put forward an optimistic post about a mid-level federal agency hire. But that's what I'm about to do. The Consumer Financial Protection Bureau just hired the man who knows more about MERS - and their deficiencies - than perhaps[...]
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