Rick Santorum on CBS Sunday morning
A stopped clock is right twice a day, which compares favorably to Rick Santorum, but it's hard to argue with his criticism of Mitt Romney:
"It really has to do with what your principles and your core is," Santorum said. "I have a core. I'm someone who has really strong convictions about the limited role of government, about the importance of having a strong defense, you know, lowering taxes and getting regulation down. That's a sharp contrast with Mitt Romney, who is for Romneycare, the blueprint for Obamacare, advocated for Romneycare, advocated for mandates at the federal level. This is someone who doesn't have a core. He's been on both sides of almost every single issue in the past ten years."Santorum made those comments yesterday on CBS, but even as he stepped up his attack on Mitt Romney, he was losing yet another chunk of delegates in Puerto Rico, where he got crushed by Mitt Romney in a low-turnout election.
Santorum's defeat came despite having campaigned on the island last weekend, raising questions about his campaign's judgment with Tuesday's Illinois primary looming. Santorum is trying to spin his Puerto Rico defeat into a Mitt Romney negative, saying Romney only won because he flip-flopped on whether English should be the official language, but that's just seems like an after-the-fact attempt at rationalization.
Meanwhile, things don't look good for Santorum in Illinois: according to PPP's latest numbers, Santorum will be crushed by Romney by double-digits. Assuming he's beaten badly in Illinois, Santorum will be in desperate need of a string of wins to avoid being written off, but with just four contests (Louisiana, Wisconsin, Maryland, and D.C.) coming up between tomorrow's primary in Illinois and April 24, he doesn't have much to work with. And given that Santorum isn't even on the ballot in D.C., he's got quite a challenge ahead of him.
To stay relevant, Santorum needs to demonstrate that he (along with Ron Paul and Newt Gingrich) can win enough delegates to deny Mitt Romney the ability to win the nomination outright from primaries alone, a scenario which would either force Romney to either make a deal to get the delegates he needs or result in a contested convention. Santorum says he believes the chances of a contested convention are "increase," but given that he needs to at least hold Romney less than 48 percent of the remaining delegates for that scenario to materialize, Santorum can't afford lopsided defeats like Puerto Rico and what is likely to transpire in Illinois.
Santorum doesn't have anywhere near the financial resources of Mitt Romney, who is outspending him by a 7:1 margin in Illinois and whose total spending has far exceeded $100 million, but even though Romney might owe his ability to compete to his financial resources, that doesn't do Santorum any good. At this point, his only hope is that he can put together a message that will defeat Romney?and that he can get his message out without relying on paid media. The best way to do that is to throw rhetorical bombs, and that's exactly what we're seeing. It probably won't work, but at this point, it's the only thing Santorum has got.
(AP Photo/The Star-Ledger, John O'Boyle, Pool)
Dharun Ravi waits for a judge to explain the law to a jury before jurors begin deliberating. Friday, Ravi was convicted of using a webcam to spy on his roommate, Tyler Clementi, having an intimate encounter with another man. Days later, Clementi committed suicide.
In September 2010, Rutgers student Dharun Ravi used a webcam to spy on his roommate having sex with another man (He didn?t tape him or broadcast him; he just took a few quick peeps and tweeted about it, according to in-depth reporting by Ian Parker at The New Yorker). Three weeks later, that roommate, Tyler Clementi, jumped off a bridge to his death. On Friday, a New Jersey jury convicted Ravi of 15 charges, including invasion of privacy and bias intimidation. Some of the charges carry possible sentences of ten years in prison. Because Ravi was born in India and arrived in the United States at the age of two, he could also be deported to a country he scarcely knows.
Like many in the LGBT community, I am torn about this. Clearly, what Ravi did was appalling?not specifically because he spied on his gay roommate, but because hacking into anyone?s life in that way is a hideous invasion of privacy. I cannot imagine having to face the world if this were done to me.
But it wasn?t manslaughter. And it seems to me that it has been treated as if it were.
Dharun Ravi did not kill Tyler Clementi. Tyler Clementi killed himself. Another young man might have given his roommate the finger and returned the favor in kind. Or demanded that the Rutgers administration charge him with some infraction. Or?and I admit, this would take an exceptional person?decided to embrace his new notoriety and run for student body president on the slogan ?Nothing To Hide.? The point is that this isn?t a story that started with a webcam and ended with a dive off a bridge. Clementi must have already suffered a great deal of inner turmoil?whether shame and doubt, depression and despair, or a feeling that there was, indeed, something wrong with being gay?for that webcam to send him off the edge.
It?s horrifying that Clementi felt he couldn?t turn to anyone to help him through whatever he was feeling after his humiliation?not family, not friends, not campus counselors. According to Parker?s reporting, he did discuss (and dismissed the importance of) the incident with two close friends; he reported the incident to the Rutgers administration, and his desire for a room change was taken seriously. Why, then, did he kill himself?
We can?t know. Suicide is a mystery. The perpetrator and victim die together. The punishment is delivered simultaneously with the crime.
Had Clementi lived, would Ravi had been prosecuted? I don?t think so. Had this boorish kid picked on someone else, or apologized sooner, or not been so stupid as to tweet about his online glimpse of his shirtless roommate kissing another man, he might not be facing prison. Here?s what New Yorker editor Amy Davidson wrote on the magazine?s blog, after the verdict, about Parker?s reporting:
Parker writes about an exchange Ravi had with a resident adviser?Clementi had talked to the R.A. about a room change?in which Ravi was confronted about the webcam and his own careless unkindness, and Clementi?s hurt. He then wrote Clementi a long text in which he talked about computers being set to sleep and accidental glimpses. Parker continues,
Ten minutes later, Ravi wrote again, in a less weaselly way. This message is something that one wishes had been written three weeks before: ?I?ve known you were gay and I have no problem with it. In fact one of my closest friends is gay and he and I have a very open relationship. I just suspected you were shy about it which is why I never broached the topic. I don?t want your freshman year to be ruined because of a petty misunderstanding, it?s adding to my guilt. You have a right to move if you wish but I don?t want you to feel pressured to without fully understanding the situation.?
One does wish it had been written three weeks before, or maybe even three hours. Fifteen minutes earlier Clementi had posted to Facebook, ?Jumping off the gw bridge sorry.? It was a few days before his body was found.
Here?s a second question: Had Ravi been white, native-born, or simply lighter-skinned, would he have been convicted? Maybe he would have, but maybe not. There?s plenty of evidence that darker skin leads to harsher convictions. And there?s a lot of post-9/11 bias against Ravi?s ethnic appearance.
And yet a third question: What would the reaction be if someone had spied on a young Rutgers woman having sex with a man, calling her a ?slut? and the like on Twitter? If she didn?t kill herself, would the peeper be prosecuted, or would the campus deride her as a slut?
I don?t know the answers to my questions. I raise them because I?m not certain that this trial produced justice. I raise them because I fear that Ravi is an easy scapegoat for a complicated problem.
I?m glad that some Americans are starting to stand up for young gay people. I?m glad we take seriously the kind of bullying about sex and sexuality (I don?t just mean gay sexuality, but any sexuality) that can destroy an adolescent, filling her or him with shame and self-hatred. I don?t think we know yet what to do with cyberbullying, and the kind of untrammeled gossip and invasions of privacy we can spread via the new social technologies. I don?t have answers. But I hope Ravi goes to jail for no longer than one year, with some serious empathy training and community service afterwards, and that he remains here in the United States. And I hope we don?t just close the door and say that justice has been done and the problem has been solved. The problems remain.
Come learn about what is in the Affordable Care Act and hear from your neighbors how it has touched their lives.On Wednesday, March 21st at 12 Noon
Join NEPA Area Labor Federation, Keystone Progress, Common Cause Project, and NEPA Citizens in Action for an important event at:
Nay Aug Park across from CMC Hospital 1800 Mulburry Street Scranton, PA
Speakers- 2nd Anniversary Cake to Celebrate - Coffee
Stand up and show your support for health care reform!
For more information/to RSVP contact Roxie at RoxieP9@aol.com
Join New Voices Pittsburgh, Raising Women's Voices of Western Pennsylvania and Pennsylvania Health Access Network to commemorate the passage of the Affordable Care Act and strategize for our latest campaign Countdown to Coverage to ensure access to contraception for all women who want and need it.
Thursday, March 22, 6-8pNVP Office
5907 Penn Avenue, Suite 340
Pittsburgh, PA 15206
All are welcome to attend. Refreshments will be served! On-street parking is available. RSVP to info@newvoicespittsburgh.
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Soon, the Wisconsin Supreme Court will hear one or more voter ID cases that have halted implementation of the GOP voter obstruction project.
The resulting high court decision this Spring or Summer will be a historic moment in Wisconsin.
This one decision will determine if Wisconsin is a lawless, unconstitutional state; or a democracy where the rule of law and the rights of citizens guaranteed in the Wisconsin Constitution hold sway over nihilistic politics.
For the State of Wisconsin well protects the right of citizens to vote in the Wisconsin Constitution (Article III) against any legislative or executive fiat that would "cancel or substantially burden a constitutionally guaranteed sacred right," as Judge Richard Niess writes in his March 12, 2012 decision.
No political party or movement can declare the sacred rights of classes of Wisconsin citizens to cease to exist while this party remains in power and acts in its perceived self interest. Judicial case law dating back over a century recognizes the primacy of voting rights in Wisconsin. These points are not controversial.
Looked at from the perspective on the ground: No constitutionally qualified, duly registered voter can walk over to the voting rolls to cast his or her vote and then be told he or she is no longer qualified to vote.
The law is as clear as the stakes are high.
A government that undermines the right to vote imperils its own legitimacy as a government 'by the people, for the people and especially of the people,' (Judge) Niess wrote. 'It sows the seeds for its own demise as a democratic institution' (Treleven, WSJ).Undermining the right to vote would, one might believe, provoke outrage at the responsible political party?the Republican Party.
McCain orders GOP retreat in war on women. [...]
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Santorum website: Obama Justice Department "seems to favor pornographers over children and families."[...]
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After last week's frenetic Republican efforts to shove as many embarrassing bills through as possible before deadline, the focus now shifts to the bills that will implement the Republican budget. March 28 is the deadline for passing revenue and appropriations bills out of their originating house, so we'll now see an effort to strip public schools of a serious amount of funding over the next nine days.Five days after that is the committee deadline to report bills out of committee that have passed the other chamber. There will no doubt be several controversial bills killed or amended heavily in committee by April 3, so this is a deadline to keep your eye on. For those of you who were dismayed to see the House attempt social and racial reconstruction over the last few weeks, you have hope that the Senate may decline to play to the whims of nativists and misogynists and refuse to let some of the more troublesome bills out of committee. We'll find out this week which committees have been assigned some of the more abhorrent legislation such as HB 1196 (mandated transvaginal ultrasounds), HB 1390 (force abortion clinic to be hospital-affiliated), and HB 488 (Alabama-style immigration bill). Once those bills are assigned, the chairmen will have ultimate control over the fate of those bills, as they can kill them by not bringing them up for a committee vote.
How creepy is this? It's still amazing to think that Rupert Murdoch and his media empire in the US is not tarnished by this ongoing investigation. Does anyone really believe this is not a rogue media organization that will do anything to stir up a story and smear anyone who gets in their way? Using alleged former Special Ops teams to monitor the UK's Serious Organised Crime Agency (Soca) doesn't sound right any way you try to spin it. For a team that likes to view themselves as supporters of law and order, they sure don't struggle with staying within the boundaries of the law. The Telegraph:
Mr Harrison said that, on at least two occasions, a vehicle parked up on a roundabout on the outskirts of the town attempted to follow the Soca surveillance team. "We identified them because they were sat in the position that we would sit in if we were doing the same job," he said. "We were told that they were probably ex-Special Forces soldiers who would have a good knowledge of surveillance techniques."
The man has a gift for divisiveness. After a disastrous loss in Puerto Rico, helped along by his English-as-a-first-language gaffe, the not-Romney candidate is in Illinois stirring another class warfare pot.
Santorum is telling crowds to ?look at the map of the United States. Blue being the Democrats, red being the Republicans--it?s almost all red. Except around the big cities. And yet when you look at the economic plan that Republicans put forward, it?s all about tax breaks for higher-income individuals who live in those blue areas mostly.?
His campaigning is clearly aimed at what used to be called the redneck vote to pitchfork their resentments not only against Democrats but to elicit booing of ?pundits? who say ?we?ve got to elect someone who?s more moderate, someone who can appeal to moderates and independents in New York City and Los Angeles on Wall Street and corporate boardrooms.?
His strategy of winning sparsely populated areas against crowded cities is dubious in the face of polling that shows him losing by 45 to 30 percent in the crucial Illinois primary.
If Romney can seal that deal tomorrow, we may be on the way to seeing the last of a candidate who even Sarah Palin has suggested is a ?knuckle-dragging Neanderthal.?
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