(clicky for biggie)
Even after losing the Deep South primaries, Newt Gingrich refuses to back down from his bid for the Republican presidential nomination:
Former House Speaker Newt Gingrich says there?s probably no circumstance that would lead him to pull out of the Republican presidential sweepstakes before the party?s August nominating convention.
?I?ll be with you in Tampa,? Gingrich tells CBS?s ?This Morning? show, when asked about his plans.
The former congressman from Georgia has won primaries in only two states, South Carolina and Georgia. But when asked Friday what conditions could lead him to withdraw from the race, he says, ?Probably none.?
If you believe that there is a path for Rick Santorum to win the nomination, then there are two ways you can look at this. The first is to say that Santorum doesn?t have a chance; both him and Gingrich are vying for the same set of conservative voters, and by splitting the electorate, they allow Mitt Romney to eke by with slight wins and small delegate leads.
On the other hand, while it?s true that Santorum and Gingrich have split the conservative vote, it?s not clear that their supporters are interchangeable. If conservative voters are backing Gingrich out of opposition to Romney, then it makes sense that they would jump to Santorum if the former House Speaker were to leave the race. But if their support has more to do with Gingrich qua Gingrich?in particular, his ?most experienced? persona?than it does with Romney, then those voters could jump over to support the former Massachusetts governor if Newt leaves the race. In which case, Santorum is worse off.
There is one other possibility; Gingrich continues to rack up delegates and then, when the convention comes, gives those to Santorum in an attempt to deny Romney the legitimacy of a win. This seems far-fetched to me, but?then again?I never expected Rick Santorum to be a force in this primary.
On the whole then, this might be good news for the former Pennsylvania senator; if he can peel off a few more votes from Gingrich to bolster his total, then he can stay competitive without the risk of losing former Gingrich voters to Romney. Of course, this doesn?t do much for Santorum in the delegate count, where he remains hugely behind.
Gallup says Republicans are less enthusiastic for Mitt Romney than they were for John McCain:
If it weren't for hatred of President Obama, Mitt Romney wouldn't have a chance. But even that isn't enough enough: 19 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents say they won't vote for him, up from 14 percent for John McCain.
So why did God let us light the Cuyahoga River on fire? Does God just really hate Cleveland? What about smog - God hates kids with asthma?
I missed the part in the Bible about God cleaning up our messes for us. God is not our mom - no, wait, mom wouldn't pick up after you, either.
Maybe people like Rick Santorum and Jim Inhofe should stop acting like bratty kids and take responsibility for our mess instead of leaving it for someone else to deal with.
Read The Full Article:
The Congressional Budget Office looked at the potential impact of companies choosing to drop their employee provide health insurance as a result of the Affordable Care Act. According to its analysis, if a large number of companies stop providing health[...]
Read The Full Article:
Outside The Village, a "moderate Republican" would be a right-wing sociopath
The DCCC is doing what it likes best-- recruiting a rich Republican to run as a Democrat. This time, though, we're not talking about Florida but Michigan... and about someone who was already a House Republican. Joe Schwarz, who was mayor of Battle Creek from 1985-1987 and then a state senator for a decade and a half was elected to Congress from Michigan's 7th CD in 2004 and served one term before being ousted by Club for Growth-backed extremist Tim Walberg. He's universally described as a "moderate," which in plain English means he was a mainstream conservative rather than a neo-Nazi. He has always been "pro-Choice," although he voted for restrictions to women's Choice when he had the opportunity, favoring, for example, Chris Smith's HR 6099 which was designed to ensure that women seeking an abortion are forced to confront the pain allegedly experienced by their unborn fetus (an approach that has come back today as the GOP's transvaginal ultra sound attack on women's privacy). He also voted for other right-wing legislation that only DC insiders would term "moderate," like Bush's horrific anti-consumer, anti-family bankruptcy bill and for anti-worker legislation like CAFTA and Boehner's pernicious pension "protection" act and all the anti-immigrant legislation any right-wing xenophobe wanted to toss into the House well. But to an "ex"-Blue Dog like DCCC Chair Steve Israel, who has given the green light towards recruiting him... Schwarz is a "moderate."
Schwarz was born in the 1930s. Election Day is two weeks before his 75th birthday. What the hell is wrong with the DCCC? "We talked and have had very pleasant conversations about it,? Schwarz said. ?The DCCC is correctly looking for a candidate to run in the 7th district because there certainly would be a stark contrast between Congressman Walberg and a viable, credible Democratic candidate... ?I do think I would be the strongest candidate to take him on... I consider myself an independent,? he said. ?I haven?t gone anywhere philosophically? I?m a fiscal conservative, someone who?s for a very strong military presence and someone who?s a social moderate.? In 2008, Schwarz worked for the McCain for President campaign. In Steve Israel's world, that's moderate too-- and qualifies you to run as a Democrat of course.
Calhoun County is the electoral base (and home) of both ex-Congressman Mark Schauer, a Democrat who Walberg defeated in 2010, and of Joe Schwarz. It's no longer part of the district, which played into Schauer's decision not to run again. Schwarz says he'll make up his mind in the next week or two whether or not to accept Israel's offer. The actual Democratic candidate in the district is Kurt Haskell, a pro-union attorney from Pinconning. He describes himself as a "moderate Democrat... a little left of center." The DCCC has studiously ignored him, although he won't be bullied out of the race and will face Schwarz in the Democratic primary if need be. I spoke to him this morning and this is what he told me:
Joe Schwarz is a Republican who doesn't live in the district and lost to incumbent Tim Walberg in the 2010 election. Joe Schwarz's base is in the Battle Creek area of Calhoun County. Due to redistricting, Calhoun County is no longer in the 7th District. I am flabbergasted that the Democratic Party, knowing that I am running for the seat, is promoting Joe Schwarz over myself. The voters of the 7th District deserve to have a choice between a Republican and a Democrat and not two Republicans. Joe Schwarz is a career politician and represents more of the same for the 7th District. I represent a new, positive mindset and a belief that the United States can once again become a great nation. Although I am not known in the political arena, I am known in the legal community. After coming from modest beginnings, I have built myself a very successful legal career as a self employed attorney. Nothing has ever been given to me. Everything I have was earned through hard work, determination and a desire to succeed. I am not running for office to become a career politician, for fame or for fortune. I seek only to usher in a more open and honest government of the people, by the people and for the people. Due to my involvement in the underwear bomber case, I have developed quite a following of supporters nationwide. My supporters have indicated a willingness to help support my campaign to whatever extent necessary to ensure my election to office. God willing and with the help of my supporters, we can accomplish our goal.
I've been reading some pretty outraged comments online, most of them denouncing Moroccans as savages, inhuman, animals, etc. This is certainly a horrifying story and I can understand why people are so upset:
The suicide of a Moroccan teenager who reportedly had been forced to marry her rapist has spurred calls from around the world to change criminal laws long lamented by Moroccan feminists.
Human rights groups complain that Moroccan law has been interpreted to allow someone who rapes a minor to escape punishment if he marries the victim. Moroccan media reported that was what happened to Amina Filali, a 16-year-old who reportedly swallowed rat poison Saturday.
"It is unfortunately a recurring phenomenon," Fouzia Assouli, the president of the Democratic League for Women's Rights, told the Associated Press. "We have been asking for years for the cancellation of Article 475 of the penal code, which allows the rapist to escape justice.?
What kind of backwards patriarchal thinking reduces women ? rape victims, even ? to mere chattel, to be married off as a remedy for their family's honor? Don't be so quick to look down your nose, because that would also be that all-American favorite, the Bible. Deuteronomy 22:28-29:
If a man happens to meet a virgin who is not pledged to be married and rapes her and they are discovered, he shall pay her father fifty shekels of silver. He must marry the young woman, for he has violated her. He can never divorce her as long as he lives.
So another desert tribe had pretty much the same law. Yes, but that was 2000 years ago! What kind of crazy people would try to impose ancient tribal rule on a modern society as its legal code? Just about any right-wing politician:
If a man also lie with mankind, as he lieth with a woman, both of them have committed an abomination: they shall surely be put to death; their blood shall be upon them. -- Leviticus 20:13
Even though the latest translations of the Bible say this is a complete misinterpretation.
Neither shall a garment mingled of linen and woolen come upon thee. -- Leviticus 19:19
Looks like we need the fabric police!
When men fight with one another, and the wife of the one draws near to rescue her husband from the hand of him who is beating him, and puts out her hand and seizes him by the private parts, then you shall cut off her hand. -- Deuteronomy 25:11-12
This would not only ruin most episodes of "Cops," it would put professional wrestling out of business.
Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor -- Exodus 20:16
Unless you work as a political spin doctor.
Do not go around as a gossiper among your people... -- Leviticus 19:16
Unless you're trying to sell opposition research to a media outlet.
They shall be stoned with stones, their blood shall be upon them. -- Leviticus 20:27
Among the Biblical reasons for which death is prescribed: homosexuality, adultery, gluttony, astrology, being a disrespectful child, being a drunken son, blasphemy, breaking the Sabbath, and most importantly, eating seafood.
If you killed all the gay staffers on Capitol Hill, there would be no one left to run the place. If you killed all the adulterous politicians, there would be only a handful left. If you killed all the people who faithfully read their horoscopes, you wouldn't have many voters left. And if you killed all the people who broke the Sabbath by watching football, well, ditto.
So why aren't fundamentalist Christians, who claim to follow the literal interpretation of the Bible, out smiting and killing people in the name of the Lord? (Most of them aren't, anyway.) Why aren't they picketing seafood restaurants, screaming at people to turn back and save their souls before they eat the unclean food?
Because deep down, they know how absurdly contradictory these ancient laws are. They know they are picking and choosing from these Biblical injunctions (even though the Lord tells them they have to keep all of them. Leviticus 26:14-16 that "If you do not obey me and do not carry out all of these commandments, if instead, you reject my statutes, and if your soul abhors my ordinances so as not to carry out all my commandments ...I, in turn, will do this to you: I will appoint over you a sudden terror, consumption and fever that shall waste away the eyes and cause the soul to pine away; also, you shall sow your seed uselessly, for your enemies shall eat it up." ).
So most of them are hypocrite enough to ignore the rest, thank God. (As we've seen in some of the more extreme religious sects, the ones who do follow all these ancient tribal laws are pretty crazy -- because, as I've pointed out, they were written for a 2000-year-old desert tribe.)
This is why, once we start trying to codify the Bible into our legal system, things get nuts.
No question that some of that old-time religion still holds great appeal to the New Christian Taliban ? namely, anything having to do with girly bits.
There is nothing in the Bible about abortion. The closest we get is Exodus 21:22-25, which says if a woman has a miscarriage as the result of a fight, the man who caused it should be fined. If the woman dies, however, the culprit must be killed.
But surely God doesn't want people killing babies?
About Babylon, the Bible states, Happy is the one who seizes your infants and dashes them against the rocks (Psalms 137:9). And: Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished. (Isaiah 13:15?16). Not so baby-friendly. So where did the idea that God wants to protect fetuses come from?
In Numbers 5:27-28, we even have a recommendation for abortion if an adulterous woman become pregnant:
If she has made herself impure and been unfaithful to her husband, this will be the result: When she is made to drink the water that brings a curse and causes bitter suffering, it will enter her, her abdomen will swell and her womb will miscarry, and she will become a curse.
If, however, the woman has not made herself impure, but is clean, she will be cleared of guilt and will be able to have children.
There's plenty more where that came from, but I've made my point. Those who try to selectively impose this ancient code on a modern society will suffer from a severe cognitive dissonance, and people of good conscience would do well to reject every single attempt they make to get the rest of us in line with their mythologies.
Because you'll notice the one Bible quote they carefully avoid? "The greatest of these is love."
This post contains spoilers through the March 15 episode of Community.
I appreciate that the day I wrote a post arguing that Community’s static approach to its characters and their potential?or lack thereof?for growth was one of the benefits of the show, it returned with an episode that moved a number of the characters forward, if in fits and starts.
Community’s sometimes had trouble deciding if Pierce is just an unpleasant, manipulative person, or if he’s deeply wounded, and this episode was a convincing example of the later approach. Dressed up to look like, as Troy puts it, “a wealthy murderer,” Pierce is looking for business opportunities to prove that he can be as impressive an investor as his father was. And the other members of the group point out that he can move one of their number forward as part of his project, turning Shirley’s long-dormant plan to open up some sort of baking business into a reality now that a vacancy’s opened up in the Greendale cafeteria.
But Shirley has to figure out what she really wants. At first, she insists that when she and her husband get engaged again that it means the ends of her plans, at least temporarily. “I am going to start a business! Soon! I just have floral arrangements to pick and a DJ to hire!” she tells Britta. And when planning sessions don’t go exactly according to plan, Shirley complains to Pierce, “I’d rather be with my man planning my wedding, and you’d clearly rather be with Halle Berry in 1999.” But when they get down to brass tacks, impressing Dean Pelton with their pitch?”I cannot believe you learned all this at Greendale!” he marvels?Shirley’s clearly in her element. And she and Andre work things out even after she’s late to the rehearsal dinner when she tells him she’s ready to step up and take responsibility for their family, and he needs to let her. For someone who often seems so mired between frustration and a carefully controlled emotional facade, it’s great to see Shirley standing up for herself because she has a dream, rather than because she’s on the defensive about religion or where she’s at in her life. And I hope she and Pierce can find a way to fight back and beat the Subway: Community hasn’t had a villain for a while, and it would be nice for the study group to have an affirmative cause.
In that vein, I really appreciated Britta’s emergence as a genius wedding planner, even though she dismisses her mad skills at floral arrangement with the reminder that “There are people dying in Uganda.” Her ambivalence about what her talent means for her politics was very funny. “This may shock you, Annie, but I come from a long line of wives and mothers,” she intoned sadly. And as the episode progressed, it was a reminder of why Jeff and Brita are actually a much more compelling pairing than Annie and Jeff: they’re both misanthropes with gooey centers who hate themselves more than they hate the people around them. “I promise to make no more than 70 percent of what you would make at the same job,” Britta promises bitterly as she and Jeff stumble drunkenly up to the brink of a mock wedding. You can hear her terror of surrender.
The C story, in which Troy and Abed decide to normalify themselves to make sure they won’t upset the wedding didn’t carry quite as much heft, and I was sorry for that. The show’s had an interesting debate in the past about what embracing weirdness means to each character, whether it’s Troy figuring out that he’d rather be in a goofy costume inspired by Alien fighting zombies with his best friend than hitting on chicks as a sexy Dracula; or Abed finding a potential flirtation with a secret service agent who sees the world the same way that he does. I wish the episode had more time to explore what it means to Abed to be getting along with a pretty girl at a wedding, for once, what it feels like for Troy to be back in his normal guise. They’ve gained an enormous amount from their friendship, but I’m curious to see what that relationship gains them when they aren’t hanging out in their Imaginarium or shooting Troy and Abed in the Morning.
Welcome to The Morning Pride, ThinkProgress LGBT?s daily round-up of the latest in LGBT policy, politics, and some culture too! Here?s what we?re reading this morning, but please let us know what stories you?re following as well. Follow us all day on Twitter at @TPEquality.
- Rick Santorum’s classmates and fellow alumni from Carmel Catholic High School will rally against his anti-LGBT positions tonight.
- A new series of spate of anti-LGBT attacks in Washington, DC has catalyzed the community to march in silent protest and raise funds to help pay the victims’ medical expenses.
- Anti-gay evangelist Scott Lively has responded to the lawsuit from a Uganda gay rights group, claiming he never advocated punishing homosexuality, even though he distributed copies of his book blaming gays for the Holocaust.
- A new poll shows that 65 percent of voters in Scotland, England, and Wales believe same-sex couples hould have the right to marry.
- The Archbishop of Westminster described gay relationships as “a very profound and lifelong friendship.”
- The #ToMyUnbornChild hashtag inspired at least 100 people to reveal that they would murder their child for being gay.
- Democratic National Committee Chair Rep. Debbie Wasserman Schultz (D-FL) says, “It gets better.”
- Jimmy Kimmel wants you to know that you can now get Santoromentum by prescription:
To be a modern Republican in good standing, you have to believe ? or pretend to believe ? in two miracle cures for whatever ails the economy: more tax cuts for the rich and more drilling for oil. And with prices at the pump on the rise, so is the chant of ?Drill, baby, drill.? More and more, Republicans are telling us that gasoline would be cheap and jobs plentiful if only we would stop protecting the environment and let energy companies do whatever they want.
In place of the news round up today, I’m excerpting Paul Krugman excellent op-ed, “Natural Born Drillers.” The Nobel-prize winning economist debunks popular but fact-free right-wing myths:
Thus Mitt Romney claims that gasoline prices are high not because of saber-rattling over Iran, but because President Obama won?t allow unrestricted drilling in the Gulf of Mexico and the Arctic National Wildlife Refuge. Meanwhile, Stephen Moore of The Wall Street Journal tells readers that America as a whole could have a jobs boom, just like North Dakota, if only the environmentalists would get out of the way.
The irony here is that these claims come just as events are confirming what everyone who did the math already knew, namely, that U.S. energy policy has very little effect either on oil prices or on overall U.S. employment. For the truth is that we?re already having a hydrocarbon boom, with U.S. oil and gas production rising and U.S. fuel imports dropping. If there were any truth to drill-here-drill-now, this boom should have yielded substantially lower gasoline prices and lots of new jobs. Predictably, however, it has done neither.
Outside of the WSJ editorial page, though, even the newspaper itself doesn’t buy this nonsense (see Murdoch?s Wall Street Journal and Koch-Fueled Cato Agree: ?It?s Not Obama?s Fault That Crude Oil Prices Have Increased?). Nor does the public (see Poll: 66% Blame Big Oil and MidEast Countries For High Gas Prices, 23% Blame Obama).
Here’s more from Krugman:
U.S. oil production has risen significantly over the past three years, reversing a decline over decades, while natural gas production has exploded.
Given this expansion, it?s hard to claim that excessive regulation has crippled energy production. Indeed, reporting in The Times makes it clear that U.S. policy has been seriously negligent ? that the environmental costs of fracking have been underplayed and ignored. But, in a way, that?s the point. The reality is that far from being hobbled by eco-freaks, the energy industry has been given a largely free hand to expand domestic oil and gas production, never mind the environment.
Strange to say, however, while natural gas prices have dropped, rising oil production and a sharp fall in import dependence haven?t stopped gasoline prices from rising toward $4 a gallon. Nor has the oil and gas boom given a noticeable boost to an economic recovery that, despite better news lately, has been very disappointing on the jobs front.
As I said, this was totally predictable.
First up, oil prices. Unlike natural gas, which is expensive to ship across oceans, oil is traded on a world market ? and the big developments moving prices in that market usually have little to do with events in the United States. Oil prices are up because of rising demand from China and other emerging economies, and more recently because of war scares in the Middle East; these forces easily outweigh any downward pressure on prices from rising U.S. production. And the same thing would happen if Republicans got their way and oil companies were set free to drill freely in the Gulf of Mexico and punch holes in the tundra: the effect on prices at the pump would be negligible.
Krugman also dismantles the jobs argument.
Meanwhile, what about jobs? I have to admit that I started laughing when I saw The Wall Street Journal offering North Dakota as a role model. Yes, the oil boom there has pushed unemployment down to 3.2 percent, but that?s only possible because the whole state has fewer residents than metropolitan Albany ? so few residents that adding a few thousand jobs in the state?s extractive sector is a really big deal. The comparable-sized fracking boom in Pennsylvania has had hardly any effect on the state?s overall employment picture, because, in the end, not that many jobs are involved.
And this tells us that giving the oil companies carte blanche isn?t a serious jobs program. Put it this way: Employment in oil and gas extraction has risen more than 50 percent since the middle of the last decade, but that amounts to only 70,000 jobs, around one-twentieth of 1 percent of total U.S. employment. So the idea that drill, baby, drill can cure our jobs deficit is basically a joke.
Why, then, are Republicans pretending otherwise? Part of the answer is that the party is rewarding its benefactors: the oil and gas industry doesn?t create many jobs, but it does spend a lot of money on lobbying and campaign contributions. The rest of the answer is simply the fact that conservatives have no other job-creation ideas to offer.
And intellectual bankruptcy, I?m sorry to say, is a problem that no amount of drilling and fracking can solve.