Do they all become pod people when they go to DeeCee or is there just something about being an elected official that turns once (possibly) reasonable people into the worst type of concern troll (definition 2)?[...]
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Gov. Rick Perry’s interview with TIME magazine. On Social Security, he’s obviously not worried GOP primary voters think calling Social Security a “ponzi scheme” is a problem. But you know there?s concern among the Karl Rove crowd[...]
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A number of New Jersey lawmakers are outraged that the state has awarded a $420,000 production tax credit to the hit MTV reality show "Jersey Shore" because, as one GOPer put it, "I can't believe we are paying for fake tanning for 'Snooki' and 'The Situation', and I am not even sure $420,000 covers that."
On Wednesday, NJ.com reported that taxpayers would be paying the credit for the show's first season in 2009, as approved by the New Jersey Economic Development Authority.
"I can't believe we are paying for fake tanning for 'Snooki' and 'The Situation', and I am not even sure $420,000 covers that," said State Rep. Declan O'Scanlon (R). "This is a great investment for the taxpayers, as if they can make a show called 'Jersey Shore' anywhere else."
State Sen. Joe Vitale (D) called on Christie to veto the credit. "It is disparaging to Italian Americans. He should veto it," he said.
Christie himself has criticized "Jersey Shore" for misrepresenting the state (most of the cast members are from Staten Island or other parts of New York). "The Governor's opinions about Jersey Shore and its New Yorker cast are well-known," his office said in a statement Wednesday. "They are phonies and the show is a false portrayal of New Jersey and our shore communities."
But, Christie's office said, "the Governor cannot veto EDA action that is in compliance with non-discretionary, existing law....The bottom line is that the governor has not been in favor of this tax credit, and this and other applications were in the pipeline from the prior administration."
The summary of the show in the EDA application makes it sound almost clean-cut: "The film is about eight roommates. There is no screenplay. The roommates live in a house and are asked to work in a local establishment on the New Jersey Coast. The cameras capture the interaction among the roommates and how the roommates interact at work and at play in Seaside Heights."
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Actually, Perry is trying to tick off American Jews and turn them against Obama. Of course, Republican religious zealots like Perry are only bff with Israel because they need Israel (to burn, actually) in order for the Second Coming of Christ to happen. Yeah, the far right running the Republican party don't often mention that fact - that Israel needs to exist so 2/3 of all Jews worldwide can die a horrible death in order to welcome Jesus back - when they're touting their support for Israel's right to exist.Perry doesn't care about Jews one way or another beyond the fact that the right is looking to chip away at President Obama's political support.
If Perry is such a supporter of Israel, ask him if Jews are going to hell.
Though the Democrats are still in a relatively strong position vis-à-vis Jews, they know Obama is a weak incumbent who has already lost the trust of this community. Their only hope to extend their winning streak among Jews is to demonize their Republican foes.How do you demonize a bunch of religious fanatics who think Jews are consigned to "rivers of blood"?
All sorts of states and cities give tax breaks and even cash pay-outs to shows and production companies to locate their shows in their area. But with the news that the state of New Jersey has shelled out $420,000 to Jersey Shore for locating the show in[...]
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President Obama's jobs speech was pretty good for the most part except when he brought up the part about reforms to Medicare and Medicaid: I'm not sure if this article in FT (which is behind firewall) is accurate, but if it is then I'm getting very nervous and so is the Democratic party. Obama to propose Medicare and Medicaid cuts:
Barack Obama is expected to lay out a plan next week that would cut several hundred billion dollars from Medicare and Medicaid, the large government healthcare schemes for the elderly and the poor, as part of a pitch to cut future deficits by more than $1,500bn. Senior White House officials said the US president would base a detailed blueprint for fiscal reform, which is to be delivered on Monday, on an earlier speech he delivered in April on deficit reduction..
The announcement could create tensions within the Democratic party, which has traditionally staunchly defended Medicare. Mr Obama?s fiscal proposal will be released just one week after the president unveiled a separate plan to raise more than $450bn to pay for a jobs bill that senior officials said would be the president?s singular focus in coming weeks.
The NY Times writes: Democrats See Perils on Path to Health Cuts
As Congress opens a politically charged exploration of ways to pare the deficit, President Obama is expected to seek hundreds of billions of dollars in savings in Medicare and Medicaid, delighting Republicans and dismaying many Democrats who fear that his proposals will become a starting point for bigger cuts in the popular health programs.
The president made clear his intentions in his speech to a joint session of Congress last week when, setting forth a plan to create jobs and revive the economy, he said he disagreed with members of his party ?who don?t think we should make any changes at all to Medicare and Medicaid.?
Few Democrats fit that description. But many say that if, as expected, Mr. Obama next week proposes $300 billion to $500 billion of savings over 10 years in entitlement programs, he will provide political cover for a new bipartisan Congressional committee to cut just as much or more.
And, they say, such proposals from the White House will hamstring Democrats who had been hoping to employ Medicare as a potent issue against Republicans in 2012 campaigns after many Congressional Republicans backed a budget that would have substantially altered Medicare by providing future beneficiaries with a subsidy to enroll in private health care plans.
Representative Emanuel Cleaver II, Democrat of Missouri and chairman of the Congressional Black Caucus, said: ?Ninety-eight percent of the president?s speech was excellent. The Democratic caucus and the black caucus are fired up. But you will find that we have some differences with the president?s plan as it relates to Medicare and Medicaid. We would rather see some kind of increase in revenue as opposed to cutting these programs.?
By offering such proposals, Mr. Cleaver said, the president ?cancels out any bludgeoning that Democrats might give the Republicans over Medicare and Medicaid.?
This grand bargain fetish while pleasing to the Villagers will haunt him and the rest of the Democratic party in 2012 if they actually go through with it.
A new poll by Bloomberg bares this out:
Support for one of the party?s central tenets is declining, with just 34 percent of the country now favoring repeal of President Barack Obama?s health-care overhaul, down from 41 percent six months ago. Republicans support repeal, while political independents and Democrats don?t. A 51 percent majority says a special congressional committee considering how to reduce the federal deficit by $1.5 trillion should opt to raise taxes on higher-income earners before curbing entitlements such as Medicare or Social Security, rejecting Republican pledges against tax increases. Almost six of 10 say the panel must do one or the other to meet its deficit-cutting goal. ?Taxes are at the heart of the controversy because Americans hold two conflicting views,? said J. Ann Selzer, president of Selzer & Co. ?In the abstract, they?d rather cut than raise taxes. But in the context of near-term goals to cut the deficit, they prefer raising taxes to cutting entitlements.?
And Republican ideas are dropping like a rock:
Rejecting Republican Plans---Majorities reject many specifics of Republicans? long-term plan to balance the budget. More than three-quarters oppose cuts to Medicaid, the federal-state health-insurance program for the poor, and almost 6 of 10 reject replacing the Medicare plan for the elderly with a private voucher system. A 54 percent majority would raise taxes on families earning more than $250,000 per year, a measure that Republican leaders oppose.
As Digby notes, there's a little chatter out there that some Democrats are being softened up for reasons I don't understand, but it should be a complete non-starter for any Democratic president. It's pure folly. The Democrats seized momentum from the passing of Paul Ryan's Medicare Destruction Plan. Aren't they getting the message that these trial balloons are a flop? All the polls say the same things. Don't cut benefits and really, there isn't any reason to. We have a revenue problem, not an austerity or tax problems.
Let's wait and see shall we?
UPDATE: Carville has the right idea. I've been terribly angry with the WH's strategy for a long time and have written about it just as long.
1. Fire somebody. No -- fire a lot of people. This may be news to you but this is not going well. For precedent, see Russian Army 64th division at Stalingrad. There were enough deaths at Stalingrad to make the entire tea party collectively orgasm. Mr. President, your hinge of fate must turn. Bill Clinton fired many people in 1994 and took a lot of heat for it. Reagan fired most of his campaign staff in 1980. Republicans historically fired their own speaker, Newt Gingrich. Bush fired Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld. For God's sake, why are we still looking at the same political and economic advisers that got us into this mess? It's not working.
Furthermore, it's not going to work with the same team, the same strategy and the same excuses. I know economic analysts are smart -- some work 17-hour days. It's time to show them the exit. Wake up -- show us you are doing something.
2. Indict people. There are certain people in American finance who haven't been held responsible for utterly ruining the economic fabric of our country. Demand from the attorney general a clear status of the state of investigation concerning these extraordinary injustices imposed upon the American people. I know Attorney General Eric Holder is a close friend of yours, but if his explanations aren't good, fire him too. Demand answers to why no one has been indicted.
Mr. President, people are livid. Tell people that you, too, are angry and sickened by the irresponsible actions on Wall Street that caused so much suffering. Do not accept excuses. Demand action now.
3. Make a case like a Democrat. While we are going along with the Republican austerity garbage, who is making the case against it? It's not the Democrats!
One of the more interesting questions in the most recent GOP debate came when Wolf Blitzer asked Ron Paul what thought about a scenario in which a health 30-year-old man with a decent job decides to go without health insurance and then is hit by a terrible misfortune and finds himself in need of medical attention: “Who?s going to pay if he goes into a coma, for example? Who pays for that?”
The audience, because they’re moral monsters, screamed out that we should let the man die. Paul, because he has a modicum of decency, basically hemmed and hawed and looked like he didn’t have a persuasive response. Roderick Long, however, thinks that the savvy libertarian way to answer the question is to totally avoid confronting it:
The right way to answer a question like Blitzer?s is to proceed in precisely the opposite order. Start by asking what causes people like the hypothetical patient to be in the plight they?re in. In other words, lead with stage three. Why didn?t the patient buy insurance? Because the price was too high. Why is it so high? Talk about the specific ways in which corporatist policies drive up medical costs (and disempower the poor in other ways too).
This is nonsense. The government has a lot of policies. Many of them are bad ones. Many of those policies increase the price of this or that. Then over and above that, situations occur that require responses. For example, an uninsured person may be struck by some terrible misfortune and require medical attention. At which point we can let him die, or we can pay for his treatment. The question at hand is which should we do. Once we concede that in practice we’ll pay for his treatment, we now have a strong prima facie case for some kind of mandatory minimum level of health insurance coverage which is where Blitzer was leading. It’s all well and good to say that there are some other changes we could (and quite possibly should) make, but leading with that answer just shows how weak the anti-mandate case really is.
GOP presidential candidate Rick Perry took criticism from the hawkish Republican right when he said, at Monday night’s debate, “[I]t’s time to bring our young men and women home as soon, and obviously as safely, as we can.” Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) told Foreign Policy’s Josh Rogin he was “disappointed” with Perry’s stance. Now, the Perry campaign deployed an adviser to speak to Rogin and clear things up, albeit still leaving questions.
The adviser told Rogin:
In the dynamic of a debate when you follow someone, you kind of play off of them, and what Gov. Perry wanted to do was to express a similar sentiment to Gov. Huntsman that he very much wants to bring the troops home, we all do, but he wasn’t saying, “I want to bring the troops home now.”
He went on:
Gov. Perry is not confident in the Obama policy, which seems to be driven largely by politics, and he’s not confident in the 100,000 troops number. He’d like to know if it’s possible at 40,000.
But asked what Perry’s target number would be — not just a hypothetical — the adviser was short on specifics: “We’re not in a position to answer that question, we’re not in those briefings.”
Speaking to Time Magazine this week, Perry was equally vague:
I think we need to try to move our men and women home as soon as we can. Not just in Afghanistan, but in Iraq as well. And we?ve got to continually reassess our objectives. We need to make strategic decisions based on consultation with our military leaders on the ground, rather than just some arbitrary political promises.
All the meandering aside, Perry’s Afghanistan war strategy sounds an awful lot like President Obama’s because of the focus on handing over responsibility to Afghan security forces. So too do Perry’s vague numbers sound like those Obama has instituted from the Oval Office.
Perry initially got the Bush foreign policy band back together again to get advice on international affairs, which led the the neocons to think that they may have had their man in the Texas governor. But now, the so-called “hawk internationalist” appears to be reading the tea-leaves and trying to distinguish himself from the rapacious hawkishness of most of the Republican field by declaring that he didn’t want to engage in “military adventurism.” He still seems to be trying to find a middle ground, but doing it with muddled policies.
ThinkProgress Green is covering the Climate Reality Project’s 24 Hours of Reality live from New York City.
A day which began 23 hours ago in Mexico City at 7 PM local time on Wednesday has wrapped around the world, reaching New York City. Former Vice President Al Gore is leading the ultimate presentation of how greenhouse pollution is making our weather more dangerous and deadly, and leading the global discussion on how humanity can rise up to take back our future from the fossil-funded deniers.