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Here's how Rick described Willard on "This Week" Sunday:
GOP presidential candidate Rick Santorum lambasted Mitt Romney this morning on ?This Week,? calling him a flawed candidate and asking for a one-on-one debate with the former Massachusetts governor.
?I?d love to be able to get one-on-one with Gov. Romney and expose the record that would be the weakest record we could possibly put up against Barack Obama,? said Santorum. ?We can?t nominate such a weak candidate.?
Any remaining notion that Santorum is angling for the veep slot should officially be put to rest. He's already basically called Willard a liar ? and now he's saying he's unelectable.
This isn't the kind of invective you throw around when you want to be on the ticket. Ricky's clearly positioning himself for 2016.
by Jeff Turrentine, an OnEarth Magazine repost
F. Sherwood Rowland, the chemist whose work on ozone layer depletion won a Nobel Prize, died last Saturday in California. Rowland earned his place in environmental history by being one of the first scientists in the world to discover that chlorofluorocarbons, or ?CFCs? for short, were flying right out of our air conditioners and aerosol cans and combining with sunlight to destroy stratospheric ozone. With his colleague Mario Molina, Rowland published the 1974 article in the journal Nature that blew the lid, so to speak, off the ozone-layer issue.
Meanwhile, the actual lid of the ozone layer was quite literally blowing off, evidence of which finally came to light a few years later when scientists detected a massive hole over Antarctica that was allowing previously blocked ultraviolet radiation to enter the earth?s biosphere. Once people learned — thanks in large part to the scientific foundation laid a decade earlier by Rowland and Molina — that this increase in UV radiation could be responsible for a host of ailments ranging from sunburn to cataracts to cancer, individuals and nations banded together to take decisive action. The chain of events that these scientists? findings set in motion culminated in a national moment of concerted effort, the likes of which we haven?t seen since.
In the current poisoned political climate, one wonders when — or if — we?ll get to see it again.
The direct result of Rowland?s discovery was the Montreal Protocol, an international treaty that attempted to reverse the ozone-depleting trend by severely curtailing its root cause: the production, and subsequent release into the atmosphere, of CFCs. The president of the United States signed the protocol in December 1987. In his accompanying letter to the Senate — a body that would, only a few months later, vote 83-0 in support of the protocol — our nation?s chief executive lauded it as a ?historic agreement? and proudly noted America?s ?leading role? in its negotiation.
Note the year, please. The Montreal Protocol was signed, of course, by none other than Ronald Reagan as he neared the end of his second term, and right as his vice president was launching a campaign to become the next occupant of the White House. The Senate that lent its unanimous support to the protocol was still reeling, at the time of this dramatic display of bipartisanship, from bitterly contested midterm elections the year before, when Democrats had retaken the chamber from Republicans and wrested control of its powerful committees.
David Doniger, currently the policy director of the climate and clean air program at NRDC (which publishes OnEarth), got to know Sherwood Rowland while working on ozone-layer issues during the 15 years between Rowland?s discovery and the ultimate passage of the protocol. ?He was a very good scientist, but he was more than that,? Doniger recalls. ?He was a true citizen-scientist, in that it seemed to come quite naturally to him to report on the results of his work out in the public sphere.?
Doniger is quick to note, however, that Rowland and Molina initially were met with a chilly reception when they first published their paper. Manufacturers of products that emitted CFCs sensed the danger that their findings posed and sprang into action. ?When scientific findings — even very robust ones — threaten industry, industry pushes back, often with a campaign to confuse the issues and harass the messengers,” Doniger told me. “It happened to Sherry Rowland then, and it?s happening to Michael Mann right now.? (Mann, the climate scientist best known for the much-debated — and repeatedly vindicated — “hockey stick” graphic, was the subject of a two-year investigation launched by Virginia?s attorney general, Ken Cuccinelli, a conservative Republican who has been highly critical of government efforts to regulate carbon emissions. On March 2, Virginia?s Supreme Court ruled in favor of Mann, tossing the case out.)
Sherwood Rowland?s legacy is easy to discern. A 2006 report by the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration stated that ?[t]he Montreal Protocol is working: There is clear evidence of a decrease in the atmospheric burden of ozone-depleting substances and some early signs of stratospheric ozone recovery.? The scientific work that Rowland and Molina performed, not to mention the doggedness with which they advocated for action, educated and galvanized people. The impulse to do something about the problem cut across national, cultural, political and demographic lines. Though there was resistance — Reagan?s arm had to be twisted somewhat by members of his cabinet before he would sign — science, and a sense of shared duty, prevailed.
Fast-forward to our current debate over the causes of climate change and the proposed solutions. No, scratch that sentence: fast-forward to our current debate about the very existence of climate change, and whether or not it?s an actual catastrophe-in-the-making or some kind of academic conspiracy designed to topple economies and frighten people unnecessarily. That we?ve gone from arguing over how best to address the problems that science presents to us to arguing over whether science is lying to us is a sign of how degraded our process has become. The notion of a unanimous Senate vote in support of immediate and drastic action on climate change is pretty laughable today — or would be laughable, if it weren?t so dispiriting.
But the science is there — just as it was for our political leaders back in 1987. Sherwood Rowland had to wait a dozen years to see the real-world results of his scholarship. We?ve been waiting at least that long for industry and politicians to cast aside their cynicism and accept the facts as they are, not as they wish them to be. We can?t wait around for another dozen years.
Jeff Turrentine is OnEarth’s articles editor. A former editor at Architectural Digest and reporter for The Washington Post. This piece was originally published at the OnEarth website.
The Department of Health and Human Services will announce today that nearly 4 million seniors saved $2.16 billion on prescription medications last year thanks to the health care law. Under the law, prescription medication in the so-called “doughnut hole,” or the gap area between traditional and catastrophic coverage levels, must be discounted by 50% until 2020, when the ACA will close the gap completely. According to government statistics, seniors saved $319 million on blood sugar medication and $280 million on cholesterol drugs.
Reading through the transcript of this weekend’s episode of This American Life, in which Ira Glass explores how the program came to air an excerpt of Mike Daisey’s monologue, The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs, despite clear warnings that numerous elements and anecdotes in it were fabricated for dramatic effect is a striking thing. It’s not just that Daisey’s actions will likely harm the larger?and still just?cause of pushing Apple to improve working conditions throughout its supply chain, or that a venerable program let itself be tripped up by the desire for a good story. It’s more that it’s a clear articulation of a troubling worldview that’s been awfully present in campaigns from this one, to Stop Kony, and that’s penetrating even the academy itself: that in telling moving stories, emotional experiences may be more important than precision.
” I?m not going to say that I didn?t take a few shortcuts in my passion to be heard,” Daisey told Glass. “But I stand behind the work. My mistake, the mistake that I truly regret is that I had it on your show as journalism and it?s not journalism. It?s theater. I use the tools of theater and memoir to achieve its dramatic arc and of that arc and of that work I am very proud because I think it made you care, Ira, and I think it made you want to delve. And my hope is that it makes?has made?other people delve.”
But of course, it didn’t really take Daisey’s monologue to make people delve. Daisey himself says on the program that “I wanted to have the voice of this thing that had been happening that everyone been talking about,” which suggests a desire more to capitalize on a rising wave of conversation to instigate it. And the New York Times reporting by Charles Duhigg and David Barboza has certainly succeeded in getting people talking and thinking critically about Apple and its supply chain without a whit of fictionalization for dramatic effect. It’s odd that Daisey wouldn’t trust the facts when the facts have proven to be so compelling time and time again.
The same is true for the efforts to stop Joseph Kony and the Lord’s Resistance Army. While some of the defenders of the Stop Kony! viral video campaign suggested that it was forgivable for the video to make factual errors, including the number of members in the LRA and the fact that Kony’s moved out of Uganda, in the name of raising broader awareness about Kony’s brutality, it’s not particularly clear why such a thing was necessary?or effective. In fact, there’s been rather significant media attention paid to the campaign against Kony over the past several years. Samuel Childers, the evangelical preacher and biker who’s made it a personal mission to stop Kony, was profiled in Vanity Fair in 2010 and the subject of a movie starring Gerard Butler, Machine Gun Preacher, released last year. In other words, Kony, and the kind of militant interventionism by white Americans that Stop Kony championed, are already media stars here in the U.S. Stop Kony’s exaggerations weren’t necessary to achieve that kind of fame, and as Max Fisher at the Atlantic’s pointed out, their efforts seem to have produced a short-term interest spike rather than a long-term engagement.
In a recent essay in the New York Times examining the ideas of John D’Agata, a writer and professor who got into an extended battle over an essay for The Believer that had already been rejected by Harper’s because of how fast and loose it played with the facts, Gideon Lewis-Kraus explains:
D?Agata proposes that we give up the idea that there is a genre called ?nonfiction? and instead return to the blurrier, artier time (from Herodotus until around 1940) when we were content with the term ?essay? ? ?an attempt, a trial, an experiment.? From his rostrum as an influential professor in the nonfiction program at the University of Iowa, D?Agata has often argued that we read such essays for the poetry of ?experience? rather than for mere ?accuracy.?…He does defend James Frey, sort of, because even though he thinks Frey is a bad writer, he did fulfill his one obligation to his readers: ?to give them a good experience.?
But why should a good experience trump the facts? And if you’re giving readers of non-fiction a powerful experience that’s built on fabrications, doesn’t that mean the experience is hollow, in danger of imminent collapse? Isn’t the question of whether an experience is good deeply tied to its authenticity? That depends on whether the story is presented as true or not. It’s one thing if Mike Daisey (or, say, Tony Kushner) had written a play called The Agony and the Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (in its own way a Kushner-like title), where actors played Daisey, his translator, and the people he interviewed, and included clear signifiers that what they were relating was fictional, whether in the character names they were given, the cadences of their dialogue, or in the use of made-up companies or locations. If an audience expects that they’ll experience fiction, and experiences fiction, if then there’s no inconsistency to undermine their experience. If an audience expects facts and is given fiction, the realization that they’ve lied to may be shattering, and permanently discrediting. “Each time, I left the theatre electrified,” Michael Schulman writes in the New Yorker of his experiences seeing Daisey, “in part because I took what I was hearing as non-fiction.”
Whether it’s Mike Daisey, Stop Kony’s factual errors, or Greg Mortenson’s lies about his experiences in Central Asia, embellishing perfectly powerful stories for effect speaks of a insecurity about the power of the facts. And to an extent, I understand that sense of desperate urgency to bring attention to a cause in which is someone is deeply invested. We live in a deeply broken world, and it’s hard for an issue to break through and become a priority for the large number of people it would take to make a meaningful difference. But you can’t bridge the difference between what the facts are and what they wish you were with fiction if your viewers or listeners expect facts?and if you expect to motivate them to act in the world.
Iowa Senate Majority Leader Mike Gronstal (D) has been using his position to ensure that Republicans cannot advance a constitutional amendment overturning marriage equality in Iowa. On Tuesday, The FAMiLY LEADER and National Organization for Marriage will rally in the Iowa State Capitol and deliver petitions from Iowans who support such an amendment, but Gronstal told blogger AKSARBENT he is unfazed by the effort. He pointed out that the ousting of the Iowa Supreme Court Justices who ruled for same-sex marriage was not as big a success as Bob Vander Plaats claimed, and Iowa has never voted to take rights away from citizens. Watch a clip from the interview:
Republicans have continually decried the Obama Administration’s “runaway spending” since he took office, blaming him for growing deficits and a mounting national debt. But a quick glance at the facts show that, compared to George W. Bush and Ronald Reagan, Obama is actually embracing fiscal conservatism more than any other president in recent history, with the exception of fellow Democrat Bill Clinton.
The Atlantic crunches the numbers:
For all the talk you hear about Obama’s historic spree, government spending actually hasn’t increased so dramatically under this president. The stimulus was big, but it’s over. It’s been replaced by, if not austerity (which has struck our states and cities) then a hard correction to the center.
Evidence of the cost-cutting measures employed by Obama can be found in the last several jobs reports. While the overall number of jobs created has steadily increased for the last several months, those advances have all come entirely in the private sector. Public sector jobs have actually been on the decline for much of the last year as government spending on some agencies and programs have been cut.
Economics Professor Mark Thoma provides a helpful chart on his blog that puts President Obama’s per capita spending into context, comparing it with the spending of every president in the last 40 years.
That?s likely a hard pill to swallow for Obama?s critics, who have spent years hammering his administration for record spending and fiscal irresponsibility. The Atlantic?s Derek Thompson put it best: ?Going by federal expenditures…it would seem that if Obama’s a socialist, Ronald Reagan is Karl Marx with an ICBM.?
Our guest blogger is Paul Breer, a former ThinkProgress intern and co-creator of PonySavers.org.
In the last few weeks, ThinkProgress has been documenting studies by political science professors Keith Poole and Howard Rosenthal that show Republicans are both beholden to the 1 percent and responsible for the hyper-polarization of Congress. A new study by Poole has found that Republicans have moved so far to the right that the House is now the most conservative it has even been in the last 133 years.
Note on the graph: The closer to 1.0, the more conservative the party’s votes were that year. The black line in the middle represents the median location of the overall chamber.
Poole’s graph shows that when the Republican Party gained a majority in 2010, they brought the median of the House into a realm of ideological extremism not seen before. For comparison, when the Democratic Party held a majority from 2006 to 2010, the House median made a small move to the left (-0.2) — equal to the level of a moderate Democrat. But when the Republican Party took over in 2010, the House median more than tripled (.43) along the ideological scale.
Considering approval ratings for Congress are hovering around 11% — lower ratings than the IRS, lawyers, and even Nixon during Watergate — a recent poll shows that Americans still disapprove of congressional Republicans more than Democrats. In fact, under Democratic majorities the House median hasn’t passed the level equal to a moderate Democrat (-0.2) in the last 100 years. Meanwhile, just in the last 20 years alone, the House median under Republican control has been above that moderate level on the conservative side (0.2) for approximately 10 years.
Speaking at a high-dollar Chicago fundraiser hosted by Oprah Winfrey as the city basked in June-like weather last week, President Barack Obama admitted to being “a little nervous” about global warming:
?We?ve had a good day,? Obama said. ?It?s warm every place. It gets you a little nervous about what?s happening to global temperatures. But when it?s 75 degrees in Chicago in the beginning of March it gets you thinking??
?Something?s wrong,? Oprah interjected.
?Yeah,? Obama said. ?On other hand we really have enjoyed the nice weather.?
Instead of temperatures in the mid-40s, the historical average, Chicago is in a record-breaking streak of 80-degree weather. This “extreme and unprecedented” heat wave began last Wednesday and may continue through this Wednesday. “Before the heat wave, there had only been 10 March days on record that reached 80 degrees, and on average Chicago would see one 80 degree day in March every 14 years,” the Daily Herald reports. Most of the nation has been gripped by a record heat wave of weather as much as 30 to 40 degrees above normal. Global warming pollution is continuing to accumulate and heat the planet at a rapid pace.
Going into tomorrow's primary in Illinois and fresh off his win in Puerto Rico, Mitt Romney currently holds a huge fifteen point lead in Illinois over Rick Santorum according to Public Policy Polling. This shows a large increase in Romney's support and[...]
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?I love it that women are upset, too, that women are talking about the economy, I love that,? Mrs. Romney said at a pancake breakfast here. ?Women are talking about jobs; women are talking about deficit spending. Thank you, women.?Wow. I mean, just wow. Women are really amazing, you know? Because who would have thought that they would bother to worry their little minds with the economy? It's not like women live and work and (try to) support their families in this lousy economy and have reason to be concerned about what's going on with it, so it must be something special to thank "women" for if they're thinking about the economy at all. Amirite?
Mitt Romney understands why women might be concerned, though:
?You?ve got moms that are driving their kids to school and practice after school and other appointments and wonder how they can afford putting gasoline in the car, at the same time putting food on the table night after night,? he said. ?This president doesn?t understand the economy. He?s an economic lightweight, and he?s made decisions that have hurt the American people.?Mitt Romney feels your pain, ladies. And he really hopes you have been too busy thinking about gas prices on your way to pick up the kids from soccer (that being economic struggle as Mitt Romney imagines it) to notice his support for the Blunt amendment or the fact that all he could bring himself to say about Rush Limbaugh's attacks on Sandra Fluke was that "it's not the language I would have used" or that his answer to the deficit is that "we're going to get rid of" Planned Parenthood funding, cancer screenings and all.
So, please. Ladies. Mitt Romney would love it if you would ignore any economic good news you might hear, keep thinking about gas prices, and forget about his desire to give your boss a say in your birth control options.