If 2010 was a political earthquake, the epicenter may well have been the state of Pennsylvania. The Keystone State replaced Democratic Gov. Ed Rendell with Republican Tom Corbett, and elected far-right former Republican Rep. Patrick Toomey to the United States Senate. Worse still: the GOP picked up a gaudy five seats in the House of Representatives, sending Kathy Dahlkemper, Patrick Murphy, Chris Carney, and Paul Kanjorski to the rail, and picking up the seat of Senate candidate Joe Sestak.
The thundering crash of Democratic fortunes in Pennsylvania led many to speculate that the state that John McCain counted on as a desperation firewall in 2008 (and failed to win) would be a key cog in the GOP's path to 270 electoral votes and Barack Obama's early retirement.
Now, with little more than seven weeks remaining in the 2012 electoral cycle, it looks like Pennsylvania is nearly certain to remain in the Obama coalition of states, and quite possibly by a healthier margin than the 2008 landslide.
More on that in a bit, but first, on to the numbers:
PRESIDENTIAL GENERAL ELECTION TRIAL HEATS:
NATIONAL (Gallup Tracking): Obama d. Romney (49-45)DOWNBALLOT POLLING:
NATIONAL (Rasmussen Tracking): Obama tied with Romney (48-48)
NEW JERSEY (Philadelphia Inquirer): Obama d. Romney (51-37)
PENNSYLVANIA (Philadephia Inquirer): Obama d. Romney (50-39)
OHIO (Rasmussen): Sen. Sherrod Brown (D) 49, Josh Mandel (R) 41A few thoughts, as always, await you just past the jump...
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From this Friday's Real Time with Bill Maher, Bill takes Mitt Romney to task for his carping over the made up non-controversy that President Obama supposedly wants to take the word God off of our money. And then you had the Republicans making a big deal about whether god was removed from their platform or not at this year's convention.
As Bill pointed out, worrying about whether the word is on our money or not is redundant, since our god is already the almighty dollar, and in Mittens' case, probably parked over in the Cayman Islands in one of those tax shelters he loves so much.
Will Vegas try for the conventions?
“I was thinking this morning it’s too bad we’re not in Las Vegas,” Obama’s top adviser, Robert Gibbs, said as he made a beeline from the outdoor security gate toward the air conditioning beckoning from Charlotte, N.C.’s Time Warner Cable Arena last week. “It might be 10,000 degrees, but at least it would be dry.”
In general, Las Vegas’ clustered hotels, abundant supply of taxi cabs, never-ending nightlife and safe geographic distance from the path of hurricanes collectively called like a siren song to delegates getting stuck and soggy in the Southeast over the past two weeks.
“The transportation was absolutely horrid. ... There were no taxicabs,” Bacchus, a first-time convention-goer, said of Tampa. “In Las Vegas, certainly activities would be a lot more fun. You don’t have to try too desperately hard to entertain people because just where you’re staying in your hotel is entertaining.”
But the reasons Las Vegas might be better at hosting a convention are exactly why the city hasn’t volunteered for the opportunity.
“We’ve been invited (to pitch a convention plan), and solely as a business decision, we haven’t,” said Billy Vassiliadis, whose firm, R&R Partners , represents the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority. “It’s just a function of our business model and the (parties’) needs not intersecting.”
The political parties pick their convention cities about two years in advance. Once selected, a convention host is required to hold the convention-dedicated space open for a long period of time: for at least two weeks, and as some tourism officials told the Sun, up to 90 days.
That’s a huge block of time for a city that normally hosts almost 60 major conventions per year.
To make room for a political convention, Las Vegas would have to bump as many as 10 regular conventions, depending on the year, tourism officials said. Some of those bumped conventions could even be potential repeat customers, meaning Las Vegas might be undermining its own business interests in exchange for a one-time political showcase.
Plus there might be the added cost, for Las Vegas, of building an indoor stadium big enough to seat all the delegates. UNLV’s Thomas & Mack Center won’t cut it. There were complaints in Charlotte and Tampa that the stadiums were too small, even after chairs were pushed four inches closer together than normal in the Tampa Bay Times Forum. In Charlotte, delegates — save for a few special swing states — were placed in the stands instead of on the floor of the Time Warner Cable Arena.
Still, that wasn’t enough for Las Vegas to bite when it was approached — by both parties — four and eight years ago.
And that doesn't even cover Las Vegas' reputation, deserved or not. I would expect Vegas to keep passing on making a bid.
Previously, Nashville, Salt Lake, Newark, Indianapolis, Dallas, Phoenix, St. Louis, Cleveland, Columbus, Charlotte and Philadelphia have been mentioned as potential candidates to host one or both of the conventions in 2016.
By now, most have heard that Rick Santorum declared:
We will never have the elite, smart people on our side."From where I sit, Mitt Romney strikes me as a pretty elite vulture capitalist, but I think Santorum is on to something about smart people being scarce in the Republican Party. Proving Santorum's point is Michele Bachmann, who said at the Value Voters Summit that President Obama is the "most dangerous president we have ever had." Maybe a seven foot tall doctor told her. I got one letter for Ms. Bachmann - W.
Bachmann did get one thing right though: she said ""I'm no master war strategist[.]" Hell, Bachmann is not a master at anything, except, exemplifying the depths of Republican stupidity.
Rick Santorum must be happy she is around to prove his point.
This may not happen, since the country may change political leadership, but it's certainly a milestone:
TOKYO ? Japan said Friday that it would seek to phase out nuclear power by 2040 ? a historic shift for a country that has long staked its future on such energy, but one that falls far short of the decisive steps the government had promised in the wake of the world?s second-largest nuclear plant disaster last year.
Although the long-awaited energy policy was named the ?Revolutionary Energy and Environment Strategy? by its authors, it extended the expected transition away from nuclear power by at least a decade and includes caveats that appear to allow some plants to operate for decades past even the new deadline.
The government had been considering several options: whether to close all the plants over time or to maintain enough reactors to provide a smaller but still substantial percentage of the country?s electricity needs. Before the nuclear accident at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, Japan depended on its reactors for about 30 percent of its electricity and had planned to raise that share to more than 50 percent by 2030.
The announcement comes after months of increasing anxiety and intense political pressure from those on both sides of the debate who believe Japan?s future is at stake. Many political and business leaders argue that shutting nuclear plants would doom the resource-poor country to high energy costs and a deeper economic malaise. But many Japanese, while acknowledging the economic upheaval it could cause, have expressed hope that the country will phase out nuclear energy within two decades and a nascent, but increasingly vocal antinuclear movement has pressed for even faster action.
While important for setting a tone, the announced strategy is subject to vast change, not only because of the long lead time, but also because the unpopular prime minister, Yoshihiko Noda, and his governing Democratic Party are likely to lose the next national election, which could be called within the next several months.
The blatant shucking and jiving to the extreme right continues as Mittens, Paul Ryan, Rick Santorum and other luminaries drop the masks to engage in outlandish theocratic pandering on social issues at a conference put on by a well-known Beltway hate[...]
Read The Full Article:
Tammy BaldiwnRep. Tammy Baldwin (D-WI), is a candidate for the state's open U.S. Senate seat. She's also an unapologetic progressive, was born and raised in Wisconsin, and a dedicated public servant. Oh, yeah, and she's a lesbian. Now, that's not supposed to be an issue in this race. In fact, the Capitol Hill paper Roll Call reported this week: "Plenty of 'L' words will be used to describe Democratic Rep. Tammy Baldwin in Wisconsin's closely watched Senate race?'liberal,' 'left,' 'labor'?but 'lesbian' is not likely to be one of them."
Yeah, right. Tammy Baldwin is this week's Hell to Pay candidate, with 45 percent of the vote by Kossacks because Tommy Thompson's campaign has made her sexual orientation an issue. When Thompson's political director, Brian Nemoir, sent out an email blast questioning her "heartland values" and featuring this video of Baldwin at a 2010 gay pride parade, gay-baiting entered this race:
Wisconsin Democrats have demanded Thompson fire Nemoir for attacking Baldwin because of her sexual orientation. Thompson told reporters he demoted the Nemoir. He didn't. He also told reporters that Nemoir had apologized. He hasn't, and in fact "he actually told the media that he stands by his attacks on Baldwin."
Thompson apparently doesn't have a problem with gay-baiting. We do. How much Hell to Pay should there be for his campaign's gratuitous attack? It's up to us. Let's see if we can get 150 donations for Baldwin tonight. Can we do it?
Yes, we Can!
Pop open a brew. Pour a glass of wine. Put your feet up. Hang out and play in comments for a while, and get that credit card out.
Update: So check out what has found it's way into my inbox. Not only has Brian Nemoir not been fired, he's apparently in charge of the debate negotiations for Thompson.
4:35 PM PT: Almost halfway to the donor goal! Can we do it?
4:41 PM PT: wOOt!!!! I hardly got an update done, and we're over the halfway point. Just 43 more donations, but I still think we can hit 150. Who's up for that challenge?
Now that the Values Voter Summit crowd really and truly embraces palling around with terrorists, I think it's probably officially no longer out of line to be calling them the American Taliban crowd. Still, but let's not jump to conclusions as to their motivations or driving forces here. Oh look, here's a completely unrelated story from Think Progress:
Literature being handed out at the Values Voter Summit on Friday attacks women for being ?immodest? and extolled them to ?go home and put some clothes on!?Well, that's not so bad. Just your garden-variety movement to point out that you slutty sluts in your revealing slutty church clothes are riling up the godfearing but lustful menfolk, so stop it already. So what's in the (multiple) brochures?
In flyers and brochures on display at Values Voters, the social conservative conference where Republican Vice Presidential nominee Paul Ryan spoke, an organization called Modesty Matters criticized women for dressing ?immodestly? at church, and blamed women for causing men to stare lustfully at them.
- From the ?Modesty: It?s nothing to be ashamed of? pamphlet: ?Since men are particularly visual, immodesty in church can trigger lustful thoughts.?Ah. The old "if I'm having impure thoughts, it's must be because you women are sluts" argument. The favorite argument of anti-women religious movements everywhere, including in such lovely places as Afghanistan, Iran and Saudi Arabia. Women owe it to men to dress in accordance to men's needs, and if they don't, women deserve the blame for it. So cover up!
?My men?s bible study group talks frequently about controlling our lust, thoughts, and eyes. Yes the problem and responsibility are ours, but is it really reasonable for the women of the church to make it THIS difficult for us??No insult intended, but it sounds like your men's bible study group consists of a bunch of perverts. Really? You're supposed to be studying the bible every week, but those meetings keep devolving into conversations about how hot the various women of the church are and how much lust you're feeling because of it? Are these meetings, per chance, being held in a bar? Maybe you should join a bible study group that spends more time on the bible study part.
- From the ?True Woman Manifesto?: ?All women, whether married of single, are to model femininity in their various relationships, by exhibiting a distinctive modesty, responsiveness, and gentleness of spirit.?I don't know what "distinctive" means in this context. I think it means "a lot of."
For a group so concerned about sharia coming to America, telling the womenfolk how to dress in order to make things easier on the menfolk does indeed kinda sound like sharia coming to America. It's the precise rationale behind conservative Muslim governments mandating the wearing of burkas, after all?that if a man thinks about sex, it's the fault of the women around him, so it's the responsibility of all women everywhere to cover up enough that no man can possibly think about sex. And since I am quite certain that, somewhere out there, there are a group of men with a burka fetish, good luck with that, Flanders.
On the other hand, these brochures are probably one of the least offensive things to come out of this summit. I mean that: This group is not talking about mandated modesty, only suggested modesty. They may be spouting the exact arguments of anti-women religious conservatives in other countries, but at least in this case they're not suggesting we stone or jail the womenfolk whose slutty slutty church clothes are giving nearby menfolk the vapors. That rates this group considerably above the much, much larger anti-abortion, anti-birth-control, anti-sex-education crowds at this same event, who do expect to see their own peculiar religious values mandated upon all American women by actual force of law.
Still, though. When your arguments blaming women for the lustful thoughts of men could be taken directly from the preachings of any number of ultra-conservative anti-women Middle Eastern governments, shouldn't you at least, I don't know, reflect on that for a minute?
No? All right then, carry on. There's probably a woman standing in line at Chick-Fil-A right now with her ankles showing, so I think you're going to have to print up another batch of pamphlets.
Lehman went bankrupt; the markets went into the tank. George Bush looked like a deer in the headlights while John McCain said something stupid about the fundamentals being sound just as they were crumbling.. Clueless Sarah Palin just kept hammering and yammering about "palling around with terrorists."
Four years later, Mitt Romney fails his "Lehman moment" spectacularly and resorts to bringing his legions of liars onto the stage to bolster his faltering campaign.
Four years later, Phil Gramm has the nerve to say the repeal of Glass-Steagall didn't cause the meltdown.
Four years later, one of the major beneficiaries of the market meltdown is running for President, funded partly by dollars in the treasuries of the corporations who most benefited from the bailout.
Four years later, Fox News is still spinning propaganda, Sarah Palin is still getting air time, and nearly half of all Republicans believe the president is not a US citizen.
Progress? Are you better off today than you were four years ago? I am, but not in the way I imagined I would be four years back. I guess it pays to be flexible about outlooks.
We do live in interesting times.
What's coming up on Sunday Kos ...