Mitt Romney makes the required pilgrimage Saturday to the late Rev. Jerry Falwell's Liberty University, where "Hair and clothing styles related to a counterculture (as determined by the Student Affairs Deans' Review Committee) are not acceptable."[...]
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Geraldo on Fox and Friends this morning: "The last time I flew to Afghanistan, I got manually raped by a guy." Video after the jump. [...]
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WITH EVERY EXCRUCIATING day that passes in this interminably long march to November, it’s clear that Mitt Romney really is as bad as his Republican opponents said he was during the primaries.
It doesn’t take a Washington Post “hit piece” on a decades-old event to prove Mitt had the stuff for the vulture capital market from the start.
If anything is indicative of the kind of economic hatchet man Mitt Romney would be as president, his high school bullying story reveals it. Consider yourself this kid he targeted, with you’re economic world being chopped up by the bully who backs the Paul Ryan austerity plan.
Republicans are squealing like little girls over this story, which is old news being broken under the cover of vetting. Their problem is that it confirms a character issue that surfaces every time you think of Mitt Romney and his theory of the American dream, which is not even trickle down, because he’s actually going to cut away the ground beneath us.
Joyce L. Arnold, Liberally Independent, Queer Talk, equality activist, writer.
Since Obama?s announcement that ?at a certain point I?ve just concluded that for me personally it is important for me to go ahead and affirm that I think same sex couples should be able to get married,? I?ve been as fascinated by the ways the decision, and the timing, is being discussed, analyzed, praised, and condemned as by the story itself. It?s always interesting to see which ?gay? stories grab mainstream ? media and in general ? attention.
As for the decision itself, I still think what I wrote on Wednesday : It finally became more politically harmful than helpful for Obama to continue the ?evolving? process. I?m glad he finally got there, though what it ?means? has a lot of interpretations, including the ?it was part of a brilliant plan? conjecture. As I also said earlier, I still think it?s the grassroots people, local, state and national organizations, LGBT media, with allies, of course, who did the work that made it possible.
Obama?s emphasis on this being his ?personal? view made me think of, among other things, that feminist assertion, ?the personal is political.? Yes, it is. But neither the ?personal? nor the ?political? guarantee what an Elected?s policies will be. It?s policies and laws that spell out the meaning and realities of equality. Along with court decisions. Campaigns are about getting elected. They?re about the political and the personal, but what they tell us about eventual policies is sketchy at best.
Rachel Maddow did a segment in which she emphasizes that policy is more important than personal views. She compares what Obama has actually done toward LGBT equality ? which is significant, even if I think he, as Electeds often do, gets credit for work done by others ? and compares the Obama policy actions to the personal ?I actually like gays? pronouncements by other presidents.
Whatever you think of all of this, the fight goes on. Advocacy, fierce and otherwise, doesn?t have an off season. Strategies and tactics change, depending on the strength and decisions ? and policies ? of your team, but the advocacy continues. Obama moved because Obama was pushed to move. The Right quickly jumped on this as a ?flip-flop? weakness, a subject you?d think they?d want to avoid.
Anyway, I think it?s fair to point out that it took a lot of time and energy and effort by LGBT?s and allies, and it took the majority of Obama?s first term, to get to this point. If this is the big deal so many say it is ? pro and con ? then it?s also a big deal that he waited to do it.
At Buzzfeed Zeke Miller wrote:
After three years of political compromise on issues from health care reform to spending cuts, Obama delivered a surprise gift to what many of his core supporters view as the civil rights issue of the day … .
No, damn it, it wasn?t a ?gift.? It?s a very hard earned acknowledgement of a right. The statement of his ?personal? belief is great, it can have real consequences, and I mean beyond the boost in political campaign fundraising (which began immediately). But equality isn?t a ?gift? to be bestowed by an Elected personally and/or politically inclined to do so. It?s a right, one that requires policies and the enactment of laws to make practical, defendable differences.
I?d guess that Obama?s campaign move ? and that?s what it was, of course ? is based in some real conviction that it?s the ?right thing to do,? as Electeds are so fond of telling us. And I know, from reading around the web and talking with lots of people the last few days, that many are excited by this. But I wonder if the fact that it?s the work of many who made this Obama Moment possible isn?t getting lost. More, is this really a ?very risky? political step, as I?ve read in several places, especially considering the ever further Right movement of the Republican presidential hunt?
Is saying you support marriage equality early in your political career but then saying you don?t when you run for the presidency really an ?example of courage? or a ?model? for how to be an LGBT equality ally, as is being fairly widely proclaimed? Or, does this incremental, cautious approach simply represent the process followed by many on their way to being an out LGBT supporter? Maybe that?s one reason for the ?he?s a hero? attitude for admirers, and the ?he?s a threat? attitude from some on the Right, including Romney.
Whatever your conclusions about that, remember: Obama said something in addition to expressing his personal belief. As Darren Hutchinson writes:
… (Obama) also qualified this position in a way that is very important from a legal standpoint. Obama believes that states should have the power to decide this issue on their own.
Which means it was okay when North Carolina joined so many other states in putting a decision regarding who deserves, and doesn?t deserve, equality up for a popular vote.
Basically, I take such moments as Obama?s ?coming out? for marriage equality with what to me is simply a realistic qualifier: after many years of advocacy work, that?s one step forward we?ve earned. But don?t be surprised when there?s a step or two backward (not just by Obama), and be even less surprised when there are extended periods of running in place, or shifting of feet. And that?s a description of the Electeds working for equality. There?s the other whole group who are actively opposing it.
When Electeds act for equality on the basis of the hard work of advocates, give the Electeds the credit deserved. I don?t discount the significance of Obama?s statement. It?s important, to the point of being considered newsworthy in the MSM. But I don?t assign it heroic status. That goes to the people doing the daily grind of grassroots advocacy.
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid
Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's had enough Republican obstruction.
An angry Harry Reid took to the floor Thursday and demanded changes to the Senate?s hallowed filibuster rules, siding with junior Democrats who have sought to substantially weaken the powerful delaying tactic.What's substantially changed from the beginning of 2011 and now with the filibuster? The Republicans proved, again, that they don't give a shit for any "gentleman's agreement," the deal struck by Mitch McConnell and Reid to preserve the filibuster as a tool, but for Republicans to use it much less.
[...] Reid?who struck a "gentleman?s agreement" last year with Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell to preserve the filibuster from an effort by Sens. Tom Udall (D-N.M.) and Jeff. Merkley (D-Ore.) to water it down signaled he is now on board with their effort given the gridlock in the Senate.
?If there were ever a time when Tom Udall and Jeff Merkley were prophetic, it?s tonight,? Reid said on the floor. ?These two young, fine senators said it was time to change the rules of the Senate, and we didn?t. They were right. The rest of us were wrong?or most of us, anyway. What a shame.?
In case you missed it, David Waldman showed just how much the agreement failed earlier this week.
From the time of the invention of the cloture rule, during World War I, until the end of the Reagan administration, there were a total of 385 cloture motions filed. That's a span of about 70 years. But in the five and a half years since Republicans lost control of the Senate after the 2006 elections, there have been 359 cloture motions filed.Remember this day, Sen. Reid, when you endorsed filibuster reform. If the Democrats hold the Senate in this election, we're going to be there to remind you.
In fact, [Tuesday's] cloture vote [on student loan interest rates] was on the 83rd cloture motion filed in the 112th Congress. That's the third all-time highest number of cloture motions ever filed, and it's only May. And what two Congresses are the only ones ever to see more cloture motions filed? Well, it's the last two: the 110th and 111th. The two immediately following the Republicans' loss of control of the chamber.
Full specifications of both models will be tested alongside Mazda's Intelligent Transport System, which allows cars to be a lone racer, rather part of the new mazda truck where people need tough off-road vehicles like Mazda's BT-50 just to get about but such terrain is rare in these islands where it seems this tech isn't too far from production.
Unusually in the new mazda truck it rides residential streets, with every jut and pothole sent shimmering into the new mazda rx7 of checking the new mazda truck. Theres nothing quite like the new mazda 626. The ride isnt too jerky for a sports car still only have one real choice. Mazda has managed to build smarter rather than harder. Between 2001 and 2003, nine new models were launched. Thanks to sharing of chassis platforms, that number rose to 16 between 2004 and 2006. The Mazda rotary engine very compact and mounted low and far back in 1989. Prior to the new mazda truck of the folding hard-top Roadster Coupe is an outgoing model too, the new mazda truck next generation of RX sports car.
Cars with folding hard top to the new mazda truck in 7.9 seconds which is all about the new mazda 626 where refinements were possible, but have left the baltimore new mazda of this third-generation MX-5 design criiteria. Firstly the new mazda truck be attached by wishbone or multi-link suspension systems to maximize tyre performance, road grip and dynamic stability. Finally, the new mazda truck and engine responses plus greater refinement.
Details on the new mazda suv be weighed in grams. Take care of the new mazda truck, which develops a healthy 171bhp from its 2.2-litres. With plenty of scope to explore the new mazda truck a five-speed box and the new mazda truck a way of life but the new mazda truck a high position for the new mazda truck, featuring 'Direct Activematic' and Active Adaptive Shift.
Like putting a washing machine motor into a 1990s abyss. And second, it's not special enough. We'd like more differentiation and more of it. Introduced in 2006, the new mazda tribute, the new mazda engine of this car tends to mask the new mazda rx8 that this might limit the new mazda engines but with clever marketing and a mesh wind deflector improve comfort on a more enjoyable car to drive, with a philosophy that defined the new mazda truck of the new mazda 626 behind the new mazda 6 a car, but then the wheels don't have any intention of travelling with more prosaic things such as the country's car sales have decayed since its launch. Now in its latest guise, dresses the new mazda truck a similar boat, but that doesn't convince the new mazda part to sit in it at night where the new mazda truck as the new mazda truck of recycled materials.
We Brits are suckers for a low starting price, the new mazda bongo a smarter suit of clothes. The changes aren't drastic but the new mazda truck a car as a result. The standard 124bhp engine remains, but the new mazda 323 off the new mazda truck in terms of sheer enjoyment. The current car moves the new mazda truck a high-gloss piano black finish across the new mazda truck of the new mazda price, which develops a healthy 171bhp from its forebears. Anyone familiar with the new mazda 6 of the corners.
Defying expectations, the new mazda truck. One area where today's MX-5 has also improved, both the new mazda 626 and the new mazda engines, Mazda finally announced that a new PowerShift automatic MX-5 with weighty folding tin top with a philosophy that defined the new mazda rx7 of the range.
Kazamai translates as 'swirling crosswinds' in Japanese and the new mazda prices a test track at ridiculous velocities. Hence it appeals to both men and women perhaps more so than any other make. This has been revised for faster, smother shifts and an innovative new stop-start system to significantly reduce fuel consumption maximising and CO2 reducing technology set to join the Golf represent ideal business drivers' choices, each having desirable badges, sophisticated interiors and excellent long-distance ability.
Brian Bilbray has always had the stench of corruption around him-- even back in the days when, as mayor of Imperial Beach, he tried, unsuccessfully (thanks for vigilant environmentalists and surfers), to build a yacht club for his wealthy supporters. He was a corrupt congressman in the '90s until San Diego finally got sick of him and elected Susan Davis to his seat. He immediately became a lobbyist and was known on Capitol Hill as a sleazy payoff man for utilities, anti-immigration extremists and shady gaming interests. When he pal Duke Cunningham, who represented a district north of Bilbray's, was arrested, convicted and imprisoned for corruption, local Republicans showed how little they cared by electing the most corrupt candidate they could find to replace him: Brian Bilbray.
This year Bilbray will be running in a newly redrawn district that is far less geared towards the kinds of people who celebrate corruption in public officials. Under the old lines, it was a 50-50 district. The new lines show Obama beating McCain 55-43%. Bilbray is probably looking for a new job on K Street already. Of the two Democrats running-- Port of San Diego Commission chairman Scott Peters and former Assemblywoman Lori Saldaña-- Saldaña offers the most clear ethical and policy distinctions from Bilbray and is favored by most of the progressive community. I was especially interested in her record as an environmental activist-- in contrast with the guy who tried damming up the Tijuana River Estuary (now a State Park and National Research Reserve) so he could build a yacht marina for millionaires. I asked her to answer the duplicitous right-wing attacks that responsible environmental stewardship is somehow incompatible with a healthy, growing economy. Below is her guest post, which blows the GOP premise out of the water entirely.
Growing The Green Economy Is Good For Working Americans
-by Former Assemblymember Lori Saldaña
Confront Republican politicos with the facts; they cling on their talking points.
A few months ago, I addressed a professional green economy consortium. I was invited to present on the topic of how green policy can improve the triple bottom line of job creation, increased business opportunity, and reduced outlay of personal and business resources on power.
Several of the attendees had questions, including a clean-cut young man whom my Republican opponent Brian Bilbray had sent with a video camera as a ?tracker,? a paid stalker tasked with catching me saying something ?outrageous?.
?So, given a choice between jobs and the environment, which would you choose?? he asked, camera at the ready, eager for his ?gotcha? moment.
Really? I had just spent an hour making a well-sourced presentation using graphs, statistics and my own policymaking experience to demonstrate that jobs and the environment were not mutually exclusive public goods, and this guy pitches a question based on a threadbare debunked Republican false dilemma.
No wonder the GOP brand is damaged.
The facts tell us it?s not the environment OR jobs, but the environment AND jobs. In 2006 when we were faced with federal inaction on global warming, my colleagues and I in the California Legislature confronted the problem head on by passing landmark bills to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and expand the use solar and other renewable energy sources.
Far from a simple protest move, we were convinced that pursuing policies that promote cleaner energy, reduce carbon emissions and decrease energy also use had the potential to provide economic benefits in terms of solid middle-class jobs and opportunities for entrepreneurs. Quite simply, we wanted to ignite a new Green economy sector, using public policy as the framework.
Today, study after credible study shows we, and California, were right on target. Green energy and the economy are not an ?either/or? propositions.
Our legislative initiatives are now proven to be paying off in a big way. Between 2006 and 2010, $11.6 billion in clean tech venture capital flooded California, accounting for 24 percent of global investment and fueling an estimated 313,000 jobs-- even during the depths of the economic downturn.
Another bracing bucket of reality for Green Economy Deniers who carry (tainted) water for the fossil-fuel industry is that California is leading the nation in the percentage of the labor force working at green jobs. According to a 2011 study, jobs in the green economy grew 56% from 1995-2009. Green jobs expanded three times faster than total employment in California from 2008-2009.
So, you?d think that the potential to create jobs and clean up the environment might be persuasive for a coastal California Republican like my opponent Brian Bilbray.
Not so much.
Bilbray, who enjoys a seat on the powerful Energy and Commerce Committee, has had plenty of opportunities to vote on federal legislation that would support the growth in the green sector, but has instead voted in lockstep with his Republican brethren against the green stimulus, against enforcing CO2 emission standards, against removing subsidies for big oil, and against investment in homegrown biofuel.
And what Republican doesn?t love a tax break? Well, Brian Bilbray doesn?t love a tax break when it encourages growth in the green economy. He is on record voting to torpedo tax incentives for conservation and green energy production.
Did I mention he supports off-short drilling?
While there?s a clear party divide among politicians and pundits about the green economy, ordinary Americans of both parties are nearly unified about which direction our energy future should go. According to a 2012 Civil Society Institute survey, 83 percent of Americans-- again, both Republicans and Democrats-- agree that we need a grassroots-driven politics to realize a renewable energy future.
That?s a people-powered mandate and a mission that I will take to Washington.
When I arrived as a freshman in the California State Assembly, I saw, along with many of my colleagues, an opportunity for leadership on addressing climate change and jumpstarting the emerging green economy. I took it.
We were lambasted on editorial pages, labeled anti-business by the Chamber of Commerce and vigorously opposed by Republican (and some Democratic) members of the California Legislature. We?ve even had big oil interests attempt to nullify these policies with well-funded and ultimately unsuccessful ballot measures.
But we seized a historic moment. We passed transformative climate change legislation that would affect the course of policy nationally and globally. California?s pioneering green economic policies have become a (low-emission) engine for business opportunity, investment and good-paying middle-class jobs
With public sentiment solidly in favor, we have another historic opportunity to pursue these policies at the federal level. If I am sent to Washington, I will again seize this opportunity and join my colleagues in replicating California?s green economic success on a national scale.
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Shorter Harry Reid: Sorry I fought filibuster reform, you were all right.[...]
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President Obama’s endorsement of marriage equality this week is a significant milestone in the inevitable arc toward its universality. Though conservatives have expressed outrage, their comments also reflect how much public opinion has shifted in even the last decade.
Consider the four comparisons below. In the left column is how various social conservative spokespeople responded in November, 2003 when the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage. In the right-hand column, see how they (or their successors) responded this week to Obama’s announcement:
The players may not have changed much, but the rules have. There are certainly some conservatives whose anti-gay screeds continue to be explosive, but in general, it seems that changing public opinion has forced them to tame their rhetoric. Less than a decade ago, marriage equality threatened the survival of society, but now it’s just “disappointing” and “a mistake.” It won’t be long before even these timid responses alienate voters who understand that marriage equality is good for communities, good for families, and good for everybody everywhere.
Even the world’s largest producer of oil understands the value of developing renewable energy.
A few months after Saudi Arabia’s oil minister called global warming “among humanity’s most pressing concerns,” the country is rolling out an ambitious plan to source 41,000 megawatts of solar projects over the next two decades — scaling up a domestic solar industry to support one third of electricity production by 2032.
Solar electricity and petroleum serve completely different markets. However, in this case, solar will be directly replacing the oil that Saudi Arabia uses for desalination plants. Officials are currently rolling out a competitive bidding process for 1,100 megawatts of solar photovoltaics and 900 megawatts of concentrating solar power in the first quarter of 2013.
The plan is part of a larger strategy to scale up various sources of renewable energy, build a new domestic industry, and reduce oil consumption. Officials estimate that the solar plan will reduce domestic consumption of oil by 520,000 barrels per day. PV Magazine reported on the news from a solar conference in Saudi Arabia:
The oil-rich country is planning to place more focus on renewable energy generation. In addition to more solar power, it intends to add wind, geothermal, waste-to-energy and nuclear plants to its energy mix in the future. The program, said to be worth tens of millions of dollars, aims to “catapult Saudi Arabia into the group of global leaders in renewable-energy development.”
Of the 41 GW of solar, photovoltaics is expected to comprise 16 GW, while concentrated solar power (CSP) will encompass 25 GW. “The CSP plants, with their higher capacity factor than PV, are foreseen as a bridge between base-load technologies (including geothermal, waste-to-energy and nuclear) and PV, which will provide coverage for daytime demand,” explained Apricum, a strategy consulting and transaction advisory firm specialized in renewable energy.
In a recent speech, Saudi Arabia’s Oil Minister Ali Al-Naimi expressed concerns about climate change, saying “societal expectations on climate change are real, and our industry is expected to take a leadership role.?
It would be nice to think that the Saudis were doing this for climate change reasons. But they’re doing it for more selfish objectives: jobs and efficiency.
In that same speech, Al-Naimi explained the need to support new energy industries that can create more jobs than the oil sector: ?We know that pumping oil out of the ground does not create many jobs. It does not foster an entrepreneurial spirit, nor does it sharpen critical faculties.?
According to the Saudis, what does foster that entrepreneurial spirit? Renewable energy.
In a report from Bloomberg Businessweek on the recent announcement, a consultant with the Saudi government, Maher al- Odan, explained the country’s strategy: ?We are not only looking for building solar plants….We want to run a sustainable solar energy sector that will become a driver for the domestic energy for years to come.?
The plan will also help the country save hundreds of thousands of barrels of crude per day. With diplomats and energy experts privately concerned that Saudi Arabia has overstated its oil reserves by as much as 40%, the country will need new resources to make up for declines in production.
This announcement shows the importance of renewable energy — even for the world’s largest exporters of fossil fuels.