A few days ago, I noted that the fundamentals of this election are still on the president?s side. According to most models, Obama is projected to win a small majority of the vote on account of relative economic growth and a sufficiently high approval rating. On that note, political scientist Alan Abramowitz has released the first forecast from his ?Time for Change? model, which uses June approval, 2nd quarter GDP, and incumbency to project the president?s share of the two-party vote. Because of intense polarization in the electorate, Abramowitz added that as an additional variable.
Altogether, depending on economic growth, Obama should expect 50.2 to 50.8 percent of the two-party vote, which would amount to a moderate electoral college victory. Here?s the chart:
The usual caveat?that this is a projection and not a prediction?applies. It suffices to say, however, that this should bolster the emerging conventional wisdom: the race hasn?t changed, and Obama is still a (very) slight favorite for winning the election.
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The story about Romney's tenure at Bain and his
inconsistencies lies about when he left is a very, very big deal. This should be self-evident, but in case it's not, let me be specific. The core of Romney's campaign is that he can jumpstart the economy in ways Barack Obama cannot. He points to his time and successes at Bain Capital as evidence of his ability to lead. But those successes did not build the economy at all. They made really large profits for investors, but they left thousands out of work as jobs were shipped overseas or just eliminated altogether, forever.
One might think that a seasoned reporter like Andrea Mitchell (aka Mrs. Greenspan) might be really concerned about those lies, because well, aren't journalists supposed to be interested in truth? Please, don't bury me in your laughter.
In Mrs. Greenspan's case, it would appear that she is more interested in rehabilitating the notion of outsourcing than she is in actually looking at the snake oil the current presumptive Republican nominee is selling.
MITCHELL: What do you think the larger import of this is? In terms of Mitt Romney's career at Bain, what it says about himself. What are you trying to suggest, if in fact, he was in some role at Bain according to the SEC filings four years beyond when he says he left for all intents and purposes to go to the Olympics? What is the larger point, in terms of his qualification to be President?
In case that question isn't answered in anyone's mind, please refer to the first paragraph of this post. Really? Shorter Andrea Mitchell: So he lied? Why does that matter?
Stephanie Cutter answers pretty clearly. Again, refer to paragraph one of this post. That's followed by Ben LaBolt patiently explaining that it really does matter because President Obama's plan for the country is to reward countries for bringing jobs back to the United States, whereas Romney's rewards outsourcing. To which the intrepid Mrs. Greenspan asks this:
MITCHELL: Do you think outsourcing is a bad thing for the economy? Do you reject the suggestion that outsourcing is part of the normal ebb and flow of global trade, that it helps farmers in Iowa as much as it helps some auto workers in some cases?
The campaign's answer was to point out that we can either join a race to the bottom or lead a race to the top. It was a good one, but REALLY?
Do you think outsourcing is a bad thing for the economy? The magical economy with magical markets that doesn't give one rat's @ss about whether or not that family of four has to go on food stamps because the jobs moved overseas, or whether the only people who can actually afford a home are zillionaires?
Are we supposed to just overlook the care with which Mitt Romney has disguised his Bain career to deny involvement with outsourcing -- to the point of trying to bully a national news publication -- in order to have a meta discussion about outsourcing as a good or bad thing?
If we make stuff, the country (and the economy) does better. Forget all the argle bargle about "ebbs and flows." People work, they spend, the economy grows. When the work dries up, so does the economy. More to the point, this is about whether Mitt Romney LIED -- said things that were untrue -- in order to advance his ambitions for the White House.
Please, Mrs. Greenspan. Can we possibly pay attention long enough to look at what the candidate is doing rather than defending outsourcing as a global economic "good thing"?
Grrrrr. At the risk of sounding clicheŽ, this is why we can't have nice things.
One more time: Romney is lying. Either he was involved in outsourcing jobs and is lying to all of us, or he wasn't, and he lied to the SEC. That is a BFD, global economy or not.
In response to the news that Mitt Romney may have committed a felony by lying in federal documents about when exactly he left Bain Capital, the Romney campaign today lied about Romney's lie.Here's what Romney himself claimed (via his campaign) in documents filed with the federal government:"Mr. Romney retired from Bain Capital on February 11, 1999 to head the Salt Lake...
Our guest blogger is Daniel Pereira, Managing Editor at Brafton Inc.
Revelations of corruption, rate-fixing, regulatory collusion and outright fraud continue to spread across the global banking industry. But still, the LIBOR rate-rigging scandal hasn’t grabbed the same amount of attention as the robo-signing debacle that effectively locked down foreclosures actions in the U.S. or the JPMorgan Chase “London Whale” losses, which could reach $9 billion or more.
Yet the LIBOR case, for all the complexity and financial subtlety behind it, affects a breadth of products and sums of money that dwarf those previous episodes.
In effect, LIBOR (the London InterBank Offered Rate) is the baseline pulse of a significant chunk of the global economy — it sets the basic interest rate for products in the United Kingdom, Europe, much of Asia and even some U.S. assets. Private banks (like Barclays or JPMorganChase) report to the British Banker’s Association the rates they believe they could get borrowing from other banks. The estimates are collated by the BBA — a private group — and published each day, setting the basic interest rate from which all others are calculated.
So rigging the LIBOR is akin to a doctor lying about a patient’s blood pressure to make his treatment look more effective. AccountingDegree.net has a cute but damning infographic laying it all out.
The U.S. has a similar but distinct system for the federal funds rate, which is more tightly managed by the Federal Reserve. Imagine, however, that the Fed was colluding with the banks to tweak that number up or down. The effect would be massive, although not necessarily catastrophic in the short-term. It would, however, affect the rates consumers pay on pretty much every kind of debt, from mortgages to student loans to credit cards.
When the banks gamed LIBOR up, consumer credit became more expensive. And while the instances when they manipulated LIBOR down may have helped some consumers, it hurt those who had investments based on LIBOR, as NPR explained:
When the rate was going down during the crisis, consumers might have gotten better deals on their loans. But that doesn’t mean we should celebrate. A lot of cities and pension funds and transportation systems had money in LIBOR based investments. They would have made a lot less money if LIBOR was manipulated down. The City of Baltimore, for instance, is suing and claims to have lost millions of dollars in the manipulation.
Halah Touryalai at Forbes added, “if you have a 401(k) or a pension fund or bonds benchmarked to Libor you are getting paid less” when banks push LIBOR downwards.
Most worrying, as economist Simon Johnson pointed out, is the implication that rate-fixing wasn’t just a hobby at Barclay’s. It was a pandemic across the industry. That’s not one doctor lying about his patient’s pressure to make his tactics look better. That’s an entire hospital administration colluding to lie about all their patients’ conditions in order to make more money and avoid scrutiny.
It has previously been estimated that as many as 40 percent of homeless youth identify as LGBT, and a new Williams Institute study of youth shelters confirms this estimate. Between October 2011 and March 2012, 354 agencies completed surveys about their clients and found that about 40 percent of their homeless and non-homeless clients were LGBT (9 percent of whom identified as bisexual). About 30 percent of clients using housing-related services (like emergency shelter and transitional living programs) were LGBT.
What was particularly disconcerting about this study was how evident family rejection contributed to this disproportionate number of homeless LGBT youth:
Of all the agencies’ LGBT homeless clients, 68 percent have experienced family rejection and more than half (54 percent) experienced abuse in their family. Fortunately, nearly 80 percent of the service providers who work with clients under the age of 18 are doing family acceptance-related work, though only about half of providers working with older youth offer such resources.
The largest barriers to doing more work to reduce LGBT youth homelessness were insufficient state funding, insufficient local funding, and insufficient federal funding.
This data demands that more be done to support these agencies, but important than treating the symptom is treating the problem itself. Family rejection is devastating the lives of young people across the country, and very few organizations outside the Family Acceptance Project are addressing this issue. It’s all too easy to see LGBT homeless youth as an invisible population, but there is a very visible onslaught of anti-gay and anti-trans propaganda specifically targeting parents to raise their fears of the LGBT community. Rather than protecting children, the anti-gay efforts led by conservative evangelical Christians may very well be causing the exact kinds of child abuse that they blame LGBT people for.
A GOP operative told Reuters that Romney’s “instinct is to call the Cheney-ites” on foreign policy issues, and indeed, Romney reportedly turned to a former Cheney aide to guide his hard line on China. Romney’s Cheney-esque foreign policy raising questions about how much a Romney presidency would resemble the disastrous Bush-Cheney administration.
The questions are more than reasonable: Romney and Cheney already share controversial positions on matters like ending the Iraq war and whether the U.S. should torture terror suspects. Here’s a quick rundown of their positions on these two issues:
With their closely mirrored language on these controversial issues, it’s no surprise that Romney said last year that Cheney was a “man of wisdom and judgment.” For good measure, Romney added: ?That?s the kind of person I?d like to have [as vice president] ? a person of wisdom and judgment.?
That sort of lavish praise and the fundraising relationship could portend more war and strife for the U.S. in a potential Romney administration. Cheney is the second Romney fundraiser host this week who has been intimately involved with advocating for an attack on Iran.
I really want to, as you say in the House, revise and extend my remarks I said yesterday. He not only couldn?t be confirmed as a cabinet secretary, he couldn?t be confirmed as a dog catcher, because a dog catcher ? you?re at least going to want to look at his income tax returns. And the long report that we have in the Boston Globe today indicates that, as one of his own employees said, it doesn?t make sense. He said he left Bain to go to the Winter Olympics in Salt Lake City and stopped any association with Bain. But his SEC filings indicated that he was Chief Executive Officer, sole stockholder, and ran the corporation for at least 3 more years. And that?s why people who say there?s been advertisements where businesses were closed, people laid off ? and he says oh I wasn?t there, I left in 1999. As his own operative said, it doesn?t make sense. And it doesn?t.With all due respect, sir, Seamus disagrees. But he hopes you're right.
WASHINGTON – Earlier this year, Rep. Gwen Moore (D-WI) spoke emotionally about her experience of being raped as a young woman, to highlight the need for an extensive version of the Violence Against Women Act. Moore, a sponsor of this years’ VAWA, is still hopeful that Democrats and Republicans can overcome their differences and pass a final version of the bill this legislative session.
Since the House and Senate passed different versions of VAWA, members have dragged their feet on reconciling the differences and voting for final passage. Just yesterday, Sen. Pat Leahy called on Congress to pick up the pace.
“Victims should not be forced to wait any longer,” he said.
But Moore is hoping that Congress will act — and soon. “I feel real good about that,” she told ThinkProgress on Wednesday. “How many defections did we have,” she asked, referencing the 23 Republicans who voted against the Republican version of the bill in the House:
There’s a crack on their side that’s significant to the party unity thing. And then their creation of their fake women’s caucus, the young women’s guns or something or another as a response to it. I think that you know this really elucidated, surprisingly, to an extent that the birth control thing wasn’t able to, that there really is some antipathy toward the plight of women. You know, this whole, ‘we’re going to have a neutral Violence Against Women Act’ that’s genderless.’ Come on now, everyone knows who’s getting their butts beat in the house.
The two bills are not irreconcilably different, but the Senate’s version is far more inclusive — it covers undocumented women, Native Americans, and the LGBT community. Should Congress pass the House’s version of the bill, those victims would be left uncovered.
Top Democrats have called the Republicans’ resistance to VAWA a clear political move, and a “directive of John Boehner.” The White House has also threatened to veto a version that does not cover all victims.
We’ve had a lot of conversation on this blog about the way Daniel Tosh handled a woman who told him rape jokes weren’t funny at a recent show. There are a lot of threads to parse here?how people handle heckling (and how clubs should handle them)*, whether rape jokes can be funny under any circumstances, why comedians close ranks around their own. But I want to separate those issues out and talk very specifically about another strain of argument. One thread of conversation here has suggested that the woman who related her story was wrong, or oversensitive to feel threatened when Tosh suggested it would be funny if she were gang raped. The idea behind those objections is that no one would ever act based on Tosh’s words, and that because there isn’t a real prospect of her being actually assaulted, there is no impact to his words.
This is wrong on two levels. First, if you’ve never had someone visualize raping you out loud, and I’m talking about actually visualizing performing sex on you without your consent, not use of sexual violation as metaphor for victory and defeat, I can tell you, it is not pleasant. It’s unpleasant randomly on the internet, and I can’t imagine having it happen in a crowded room. If we stripped away the circumstances, if Tosh had just singled out this woman as an example during his defense of rape jokes, maybe that would be clearer. But because the point of a comedian’s response to heckling is to shut the person interrupting the set down as quickly as possible, there’s an idea that the most effective way to do that is to be as gross and mean as possible. As the anonymous OffensiveComic told me during a long, and for me, useful conversation about heckling on Twitter, “If the thing a comedian says to a heckler isn’t the worst thing anyone’s ever said to them, the comedian lacks imagination.” Daniel Tosh meant for this woman to be uncomfortable. Whether she consented to it or not is another question.
But beyond that, some people are saying that the woman who had this experience should have been aware of what to expect from Tosh. If that’s the case, then she should have been aware, as Angus Johnston points out, referencing a Jezebel post on a Tosh routine from the spring, that Tosh’s schtick is sometimes and intentionally not confined to words. As Katie J.M. Baker reported:
After Tosh introduces the segment, entitled “Lightly Touching Women’s Stomachs While They’re Sitting Down,” he waits for the audience to laugh and then says, “It’s not what you think.” (Huh? What does he think they thought?) Then, he breaks it down: “This is where you sneak up behind women who are sitting and lightly put your hand upon their stomach.”…”Make sure she’s aware that you are in fact feeling a roll,” Tosh clarifies, after asking his audience to follow his examples ? all clips of women giggling confusedly and looking ashamed after having their stomachs patted. “Be careful, because they like to pretend they don’t love it.”
And you know what? People followed his instructions. They went out into the world. They touched women without their consent and laughed at their confusion and embarrassment. This is what it looks like:
Comedy Central billed this as “Daniel develops a way to get closer to women, and challenges viewers to get close, too.” Maybe his response to the woman in the crowd isn’t as direct an instruction as this particular attempt to disguise harassment as hilarity. But Tosh’s defenders can’t have it both ways. If this woman should have known what she was getting into, then her fear and discomfort makes more sense, not less.
*I have a post on this coming tomorrow, informed by conversations with a lot of terrific comedians, to whom I am grateful.
The prosecutors have contended all along that no ?actual damage? has to be proven. Military prosecutor Maj. Ashden Fein said in April, ?Whether the accused knew or thought he knew which documents and information would cause actual harm to the United[...]
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