Jon Stewart on the "mediagasm" surrounding the charging of George Zimmerman. Watch.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Clooney and Obama.[...]
Read The Full Article:
Why DC's cool kids are all wrong about the "Buffett Rule". Must Read. [...]
Read The Full Article:
Politico takes a page from Breitbart.
The problem is they’ve done it so poorly their naked opportunism reveals only corruption. Talk about torturing a meme to drive hits to your site. I’ll bite, because the Politico team deserves the attention in the form of derision for this one.
It’s one of the most dishonest, contorted and contrived pieces you’ll read on Mitt Romney, but what the Politico team conjured up out of thin air against Democrats is downright scurrilous. Oh, and for good measure they throw in the war on women, via Hilary Rosen and Ann Romney, because you wouldn’t want to miss the hat trick when you’re pulling out all the stops.
If Mitt Romney could be “Draperized” he’d actually have a better chance of winning in November.
From Jonathan Martin and Maggie Haberman, no less:
The Draperizing of Mitt Romney is under way.
He may not drink or cheat, and he lacks the fictional ad-maker?s charisma, but Democrats, despite the potential perils of such a strategy, remain determined to paint Romney as a throwback to the ?Mad Men? era ? a hopelessly retro figure who, on policy and in his personal life, is living in the past.
Romney doesn’t drink or cheat, and he also lacks the third fundamental element of the fictional ad-maker, charisma, but never mind all of that, Mitt Romney is Don.
It gets worse when Martin and Haberman decide to play the Mormon card out of thin air, attributing it to Democrats.
What Democrats won?t say, even under the cloak of anonymity, is that the highly charged discussion of Romney and gender opens the door to an even more combustible topic: the candidate?s membership in a church that encourages women to stay at home and handle child-rearing.
Obama and his advisers will never overtly go there, of course.
But in appealing to the female vote, the president has held out his own family?s experience of trying to juggle dual careers with child-rearing ? an implicit contrast with his GOP rival.
?We didn?t have the luxury for her not to work,? Obama said last week at a White House forum on women in the workplace, noting that Michelle Obama ?gave it her all to balance raising a family and pursuing a career.?
Last time I looked evangelicals, Southern Baptists and other fundamentalist religions all choose to embrace the roles of women staying at home to take care of child-rearing. The home-schooling, as Michele Bachmann revealed, extends well beyond Mormonism.
While acknowledging that Democrats won’t mention Mormonism, “even under the cloak of anonymity,” their fantasy Draperizing of Mitt Romney opens a non-existent door to hit Romney on religion.
It’s a twofer for traffic.
Trading on “Mad Men” popularity as a safe opener, the poison political pill of hitting Democrats via the Mormon card that hasn’t been played, which Debbie Wasserman-Schultz has said is off limits, is irresistible for the popular beltway spinners. Politico actually believes it’s a dying urge for Obama reelect to mine Mitt’s Mormonism, but also that it wouldn’t backfire horribly. The charge comes without proof, without even an infamous blind quote or on background source, but out of the fevered corners of Politico’s insider gossip mill.
As someone who makes Politico a first stop for morning news, especially Mike Allen’s Playbook, I’ve seen Jim VandeHei on his PoliticoLive C-SPAN show say that Romney’s Mormonism should be in the conversation. But the way Politico weaves it into this story stretches the journalistic bounds.
This is a scurrilous piece of business from Jim VandeHei, but from John Harris it’s absolutely stunning.
It’s a bipartisan alarm that should make Democrats, as well as Romney supporters, take note of what they’ll receive in a 2012 political year that’s shaping up to be a battle to the bottom.
Someone is either desperate for attention or a complete loon. Maybe both. The Democrats barely even have liberals in Congress let alone communists. Making a bizarre statement like this only proves how extremely far right the GOP has become.
NOTE FROM JOHN: This is GOP Congressman Allen West, who is desperate for attention and a complete loon.
Democrats had better nip this kind of attack in the bud, now. They did little to respond to attacks from Republicans in 2008 that labeled Obama a "socialist." Now it's a generally accepted fact on the right that Obama is -- which is absurd. What's ironic is that many on the left don't find Obama nearly liberal enough.
But our guys have a habit of letting this extremist, even dangerous, rhetoric fester on the right until it sticks and becomes "true." Then some nut either picks up a gun and tries to assassinate a Democratic congresswoman or a judge, or less sensation but equally harmful, the public ends up believing that a health care plan that gets rid of annual limits and pre-existing conditions actually contains "death panels" when it doesn't.
Some lies you ignore, others you nip in the bud. Democrats do the former quite well, the latter not so much. (PS This story is from two days ago, but it's important. We've seen what happens when we let republicans continually move the goal posts of decency farther and father to the right. Our politicians, laws, and populace tend to follow.)
Environmentalists and public health advocates often talk about the harmful “external” costs of coal that are not accounted for in its price.
Those externalities include damage to the local environment, threats to public health, and, of course, climate change.
In a study last year, Dr. Paul Epstein of the Center for Health and the Global Environment at Harvard Medical School attempted to quantify how harmful coal is:
Our comprehensive review finds that the best estimate for the total economically quantifiable costs, based on a conservative weighting of many of the study findings, amount to some $345.3 billion, adding close to 17.8¢/kWh of electricity generated from coal?. These and the more difficult to quantify externalities are borne by the general public.
While these costs are very real, the economic argument can still be abstract to people. So it’s helpful to look at more tangible ways the coal industry is being subsidized by the American taxpayer. Indeed, coal companies benefit from tax breaks, public land loopholes, and subsidized railroads that help them continue being “cheap.”
Below are a few examples of the kind of government support we give the coal industry.
1. Tax breaks
Just as the oil and gas industry receives tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies, coal companies also receive preferential treatment from the Internal Revenue Service. The Treasury Department estimates that eliminating just three tax preferences for coal would save $2.6 billion between 2013-2022:
- Expensing of exploration and development costs: Under current law, coal companies can expense costs incurred by locating coal ore deposits.
- Percentage Depletion for Hard Mineral Fossil Fuels: As the tax code currently stands, coal companies can claim a tax deduction to cover the costs of investments in mines.
- Capital Gains Treatment for Royalties: Some coal royalties for private owners are treated as long-term capital gains, so they are taxed at a lower rate.
2. Public land loopholes
According the Energy Information Administration, 43.2 percent of U.S. coal comes from public lands. However, the coal industry benefits from a number of loopholes that make obtaining leases on public lands easier and cheaper.
For example, the nation?s largest coal producing region, the Powder River Basin in Wyoming, is not legally classified as a ?coal-producing region.? This means that coal tracts within it are rarely competitively leased, which shortchanges taxpayers for the value of the land and the coal underneath it.
Additionally, some have alleged that the non-public process by which the Bureau of Land Management determines fair market value for coal on public lands is flawed. In a lengthy legal brief, Tom Sanzillo of the Institute for Energy Economics and Financial Analysis outlines how the value established by the government is much lower than would the market would command: “In the broader economic arena where coal is bought and sold, the FMV lease process does not capture the full value of the coal.”
3. Subsidized railroads
Coal is the most important commodity transported on railroads in America. As the Association of American Railroads describes, ?In 2009, coal accounted for 47 percent of tonnage and 25 percent of revenue for U.S. railroads.? U.S. railroads get loans and loan guarantees from government agencies like the Department of Transportation/Federal Railroad Administration and have received numerous tax incentives for investments in new infrastructure.
The relationship between coal and railroads becomes more important when considering coal exports. On Tuesday, the Associated Press reported that American coal exports have ?surged? to the highest levels since 1991. A large portion of these exports are going to Asian countries, where coal use has exploded. This begs the question: are American taxpayers subsidizing the coal boom in countries like China, thus helping accelerate global warming at an even faster rate?
In the end, the taxpayer is paying more for coal than the industry would like you to believe.
Jessica is the Manager of Research and Outreach for American Progress’ Public Lands Project. Stephen Lacey is a blogger with Climate Progress.
Since becoming the presumptive Republican nominee, Mitt Romney has abandoned his message that President Obama is waging a “war on religion” in favor of Obama’s supposed “war on women.” To drive this message home, the Romney campaign spent all day Thursday accusing Democrats of not valuing the work of stay-at-home moms after CNN contributor Hilary Rosen (who is not an Obama adviser, but is a CAPAF board member) said that Ann Romney hadn’t worked.
Romney’s apoplectic response to Rosen’s comments contrasts starkly with his reaction following Rush Limbaugh’s sexist attacks on Georgetown Law student Sandra Fluke.
Within an hour of Rosen’s remarks, Romney’s wife Ann joined Twitter and personally condemned Rosen. The following day, the campaign deployed a series of surrogates to slam the pundit in conference calls with reporters and press releases, while Ann appeared on Fox News. The campaign and its conservative allies demanded — and won — public condemnations of Rosen from the Obama campaign, the DNC, prominent Democrats, and even President Obama himself.
Conversely, it took Romney almost three days, about 52 hours, to speak out against Limbaugh’s unquestionably more offensive message, despite being repeatedly asked about it on the campaign trail. Rather than lead the charge against Limbaugh, as he demanded Obama do against Rosen, Romney offered only tepid comments after most leading conservatives had already spoken out.
ThinkProgess made this chart illustrating the difference:
Following his soft remarks on March 2 — Romney merely said, “I?ll just say this, which is, it?s not the language I would have used.” Those were his strongest words on Limbaugh’s attacks, and he refused to speak about it after that. “I?m not going to weigh in on that particular controversy,” he said at a victory party on Super Tuesday.
Perhaps it’s not fair to expect public figures to respond to every offensive thing said by a supporter, as Romney suggested just last month, but his silence then undercuts his feigned outrage now.
*Limbaugh made his initial slut comments before 3:00pm on Feb. 29 and Romney did not speak out against him until a March 2 Rally with Gov. Chris Christie in Cleveland, OH after 7:00pm. Hilary Rosen appeared on CNN before 9:00pm on April 11 and Ann Romney sent her response Tweet at 10:00pm.
In an interview with the Wall Street Journal on Thursday, the president of the pharmaceutical industry trade group PhRMA, John Castellani, discussed some of the adverse effects the industry would experience if the health care law was struck down. The most disruptive effect, he claimed, would be on generic versions of drugs called “biologics.” The law made it easier for companies to gain approval to produce generic versions of those drugs; Castellani claimed it would be harder to approve those if the law was struck down, and that it would take time for that provision to be reintroduced. Overturning the law would also throw some prescription drug benefits, namely those under Medicare Part D, into question, according to Castellani.
Momentum is building against North Carolina’s discriminatory constitutional amendment, which would ban same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships. Yesterday, Gov. Bev Perdue (D) joined Republicans, conservatives, and religious leaders in speaking out against the measure, warning in a new video that the amendment could prove “dangerous for women.” “There is a real risk that some laws we have on the books now to protect the victims of domestic violence may no longer apply to many women in the state,” she says. Watch it:
Margaret Lyons has a nice appreciation of what she’s calling TV’s new crop of “sweatshirt boyfriends,” the laid-back guys who are populating a wide range of shows:
Despite their relaxed attitude toward personal grooming, sweatshirt boyfriends aren’t necessarily Apatowian man-children ? Jack (Nick Wechsler) on Revenge owns his own bar and takes care of his annoying teenage brother, Pete (David Walton) on Bent is a successful enough contractor, Chris (Chris D’Elia) on Whitney is an entrepreneur, and Joe (Luka Jones) on Best Friends Forever is a video game designer. Pete (Mark Duplass) on The League just seems sort of low energy, more depressed than inept, while Nick (Jake M. Johnson) on New Girl and Max (Adam Palley) on Happy Endings fall more in the goofy-slacker camp, though both have started confronting their fears of adulthood, Nick by finally seeing a doctor and Max by learning to enjoy frittatas. Did you know those are like egg pizzas? The newest edition to the SBC (that’s the sweatshirt boyfriend club) is Best Friends Forever’s Joe.
What she doesn’t mention, and what I think is somewhat important about this development, is that this subset of characters contain a fair number of guys who work blue-collar jobs. Sure, there are the video game designers and Whitney‘s tech millionaire. But Jack and Nick are bartenders, Pete is a contractor, and Max drives a limo. Women are getting their shot at jobs outside the normal gamut of party-and-wedding planners and PR professionals, too. The 2 Broke Girls are waitresses and nannying. On GCB, Amanda’s working at a Texas-varietal Hooters, and appears to be rather enjoying it?she gave up an opportunity to move up the rungs working as a consultant to a denim line to stay hustling pitchers and standing up for her fellow waitresses.
There are disconnects between these characters jobs and their lifestyles, of course, from the palatial apartment on New Girl to the Chicago loft on Happy Endings?television has a hard time with the visuals of limited incomes, even when they’re acknowledging that people have job titles other than banker or party planner. Amanda lives with her mother in a gorgeous Dallas mansion, a situation that might be humiliating if it wasn’t so comfortable, and if the house wasn’t giant enough for Amanda to have some genuine autonomy within it. The apartments on Girls, which debuts this weekend on HBO, may be the only socio-economically appropriate dwelling in pop culture in shows that aren’t Raising Hope. But even if these characters and their lives aren’t precisely accurate, it is, frankly, nice to see characters of different incomes be friends, date, occasionally deal with the fact that they’re at different places in their careers and at different levels of financial security, given that’s the way that actual people conduct their actual lives.