That whole Newt for President thing really did happen. Watch.[...]
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Rep. Todd Akin (R-MO) says the federal government shouldn't be involved in student loans at all: "America has got the equivalent of the stage three cancer of socialism because the federal government is tampering in all kinds of stuff it has no business[...]
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MSNBC's Lawrence O'Donnell invited Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke to respond to Rush Limbaugh's latest attack on her, this time for daring send out a tweet on the fact that interest rates are going to to up on student loans if Congress fails to act shortly. Fluke was gracious as usual and discussed how ridiculous it was to accuse her of some kind of "coordinated" attack with the Obama administration.
As she noted, if she wants to know what the President is doing, she finds out like most of the rest of us and uses Google. Fluke pointed out that the changes were not doing to directly affect her, but they would greatly impact incoming students and fellow students she interacts with daily, who really cannot afford the rate hikes, which might make the cost of going to college prohibitive for those just on the edge of being able to afford it right now.
Here's more from the Huffington Post on Limbaugh's latest attack -- Rush Limbaugh Attacks Sandra Fluke Again (AUDIO) :
Rush Limbaugh went after Georgetown University law student Sandra Fluke again on Tuesday for what he called "coordinating" with President Obama to "scare students about the interest rates on their loans."
During his Tuesday radio show, Limbaugh read a tweet Fluke sent, which said, "#DontDoubleMyRate. Many students will see the interest rate on Fed #StudentLoans increase if Congress doesn't act by 7/1."
Limbaugh called Fluke's tweet a coincidence since she allegedly sent it thirty minutes before Obama told students at the University of North Carolina that their federal student loans will double if Congress doesn't act by July 1.
Limbaugh laid into the law student, saying that "contraception isn't enough" and that "some people want their education paid for by other people too." He also seemingly mocked Fluke as the person his listeners all knew for "courageously and bravely fighting for contraception at Georgetown and wherever else it can be provided at no charge."
I guess we can add college students and their parents to the list of those the Republicans and Rush Limbaugh are determined to help alienate before the upcoming election. John Boehner's spin on the House Republicans refusing to keep the loan rates low -- it's all the Democrats' fault of course.
Steve Benen did a great job of breaking that down here -- The problem with Boehner's logic:
This tweet from House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) probably wasn't intended to be important, but it's an astonishing message. [...]
Let's back up for a moment. At issue is a 2007 law, set to expire on July 1, which keeps the interest rate for federal Direct Stafford Loans at 3.4%. If Congress fails to act, the rate will double, affecting more than 7.4 million students, who'll face, on average, an additional $1,000 in debt. President Obama and congressional Democrats are fighting to keep the rates where they are, and Mitt Romney agrees with them.
Congressional Republicans have balked at the proposals, and today, Boehner is arguing that this is all Democrats' fault anyway -- they're the ones who "included an expiration provision that placed the looming increase in the middle of an election year."
Democrats wanted to lower student interest rates. Now, they want to keep the lower student interest rates. As far as Boehner is concerned, this means Dems "voted to double" interest rates.
Mr. Speaker, you really should have thought this one through a little more.
First, voting to cut interest rates in half is the opposite of voting to double interest rates. Second, when the law passed in 2007, it enjoyed strong bipartisan support. This wasn't a Democratic bill; it was a bipartisan effort to give students and their families a break.
And third, and arguably more important, is the fact the Bush tax cuts included an expiration provision that placed a looming tax increase in 2010 -- an election year. Thanks to a Republican plan, they were extended until 2012 -- another election year.
In other words, by Speaker Boehner's logic, taxes are set to go up for practically every American worker because Republicans voted for a massive tax increase.
The Supreme Court heard oral arguments today on the constitutionality of Arizona's anti-immigration law. The case is important not only because of the discriminatory treatment it has fostered against Hispanics and others but because it has become a[...]
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I'm sorry, guys. I can't believe you gave Rick Santorum a victory for his "JFK makes me want to puke" over Herman Cain stumbling over his Libya answer. Did you watch the video clip of Cain? It was priceless!
Yesterday was the first upset in this competition, and no good bracket competition takes place without a good upset.
Today, we have the Bachmanns versus the most honest Romney staffer.
1. THE BACHMANNS AND THOSE UNFORTUNATE CORN DOGS
Yes, I know many of you will think this is childish or silly or beneath the dignity of this site (as if I pretend it has any), but still ... I don't care if you're pandering to Iowa voters, stay the hell away from the corn dogs!
2. MITT ROMNEY WIELDS AN ETCH-A-SKETCH
This one is so recent, it feels almost like it belongs in the "general election" category, but it was essentially the Romney campaign's final primary gaffe.
John Fugelsang: Good morning, sir. It's fair to say that John McCain was considerably a more moderate candidate than the ones that Governor Romney faces now. Is there a concern that the pressure from Santorum and Gingrich might force the governor to attach so far to the right it would hurt him with moderate voters in the general election?The comment came after Romney's Illinois victory, as his team began to pivot to the general election. Obviously, everyone knows that Romney is a political chameleon and will say whatever it is he has to say to get elected?even if it contradicts what he said three minutes ago. But you're not supposed to brag about that on the air.
Eric Fehrnstrom: Well, I think you hit a reset button for the fall campaign. Everything changes. It's almost like an Etch a Sketch. You can kind of shake it up and we start all over again.
It was too late in the primary for his split conservative opposition to do anything about it. But you'd be hard pressed to find a press release from the Democratic side that doesn't include the words "Etch a Sketch."
If Congress doesn’t act, the interest rates on government-backed student loan will jump in July, so President Obama has made a big push this week to prevent that from happening. Republicans have thus far held up the extension, though presumed GOP nominee Mitt Romney called for preserving the lower rates Monday.
But Romney’s “man in Congress,” Sen. Roy Blunt (R-MO), seems to misunderstand the issue. In an interview on MSNBC this afternoon, Blunt blamed high student loan rates on the Affordable Care Act:
BLUNT: Why is that rate as high as it is? Because it was one of the pay-fors in the president’s health care plan. If the health care plan goes away, as the court very well might decide, there is no longer an argument about this loan rate, because it was used to take money from students, and pay for health care. … The wrapping up of that student loan thing into the Obama health care deal is the real problem here.
In fact, the rate was set back in 2007, when President Bush signed a Democratic-backed law to lower the rate from 6.8 percent to 3.4 percent. That law expires on July 1 of this year, and the lower rates end along with it. The Affordable Care Act and President Obama are entirely irrelevant.
Blunt is likely thinking of the Student Aid and Fiscal Responsibility Act (SAFRA), a bill that was attached to the Affordable Care Act. And while it did not affect loan rates, it did remove banker middlemen from the student loan process, which will save taxpayers millions of dollars.
In a recent campaign speech, Senate candidate John Raese (R-WV) offered a full-throated defense of Ted Nugent’s recent threatening comments about President Barack Obama and lambasted the Secret Service for taking the comments seriously.
The Huffington Post posted a portion of his speech, in which Raese said:
RAESE: How many of you remember Ted Nugent? I do. Ted Nugent came to West Virginia to help me in 2010. He came along with Sarah Palin and we had a wonderful event. And we had a wonderful event. Now I?m with Josh Sowards. Josh, how are you today? Josh is a former Mountaineer basketball player. He played in a lot of those good [West Virginia Mountaineers basketball coach] Bob Huggins games that we all sat at many Lincoln Day dinners when people said ?Time out, we gotta listen to the Mountaineers beat Kentucky.? Remember all that stuff? He was a part of that. Now Josh, if Bob Huggins came in and told you that we?re are in a vicious game against Penn State and we are gonna go right out on that court and we?re gonna kill?em, would the FBI want to investigate Bob Huggins? I don?t think so. That?s called a figure of speech. Controlling the people. Remember that, controlling the people. Ted Nugent is a patriot. Ted Nugent is somebody that?s firm in this country. And when you see scenarios that break down like that scenario, it?s a concern, isn?t it.
Watch the video:
But Nugent didn’t say that Republicans should “kill” Democrats in the general election. He said “If Barack Obama becomes the president in November again, I will be either be dead or in jail by this time next year.” Virtually all 63,500 Google hits for the phrase “dead or in jail by this time next year” are references to Nugent’s comment, so it is hard to see how that constitutes a “figure of speech.”
Nugent has not been charged with any crime — merely interviewed by the Secret Service so they could be certain he was not a threat to the safety of the president. Forty three men have served as president of the United States. Four have been assassinated and several others — including Obama — have survived assassination attempts. Because America is rooted in the belief that ballots, not bullets, are the way to settle political disagreements, any threats to the safety of the president or others directly in line to be president are a crime and must be taken seriously by the officers tasked with protecting their safety.
It is hard to imagine many West Virginian’s would share Raese’s opinion of what constitutes “controlling the people.”
A new survey finds that gay men in Scotland “are nearly eight times more likely to have attempted suicide in the last year and four times more likely to have taken drugs. Three percent of gay men and 7 percent of bisexual men have attempted to take their own life in last year — compared to 0.4 percent of the general population — while 44 percent gay men had taken drugs in the last year, compared to 11 percent of the general population. Gays and lesbians can serve openly in the armed forces in Scotland, adopt children, and enter into civil partnerships, although same-sex marriages are not recognized.
The White House has been roundly criticized for opting not to sign an executive order that would require federal contractors protect LGBT employees from discrimination, but those contractors continue to improve their policies anyway. The Williams Institute reports that of the top 50 companies contracted by the U.S. government, 86 percent prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and 55 percent prohibit discrimination based on gender identity. These are increases from 81 and 44 percent (respectively) just two years ago, and they account for 46.9 percent of all contracting dollars awarded by the federal government ? over $249 billion. These companies already understand that non-discrimination protections are good for business ? hopefully the Obama administration realizes that soon as well.
Committees in the House are busily marking up legislation to avoid the scheduled cuts that lawmakers approved as part of the 2011 Budget Control Act. Those automatic reductions to domestic and defense spending — agreed to by both parties during the effort to raise the nation’s borrowing limit — will go into effect on January 2, 2013 unless Congress can agree on a proposal to lower the national deficit by at least $1.2 trillion over 10 years.
Since the demise of the super committee tasked with identifying the savings, the GOP has relied on the House-passed Budget Resolution to initiate a budget reconciliation process that would eliminate or disperse the $600 billion of proposed reductions to military spending to other federal agencies. Now, in a memo from the Republican leadership to its members, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH), Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA), Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-CA), and House Republican Conference Chairman Jeb Hensarling (R-TX), spell out how they plan to generate “savings” in mandatory programs that “would first be used to offset the cost (approximately $78 billion) of replacing the automatic across-the-board discretionary spending cuts” and “further reduce the deficit.”
As it turns out, Republicans’ plan to protect the ballooning defense budget will come at a significant cost to lower-income Americans, women, and children, as well as the nation’s financial security. ThinkProgress has compiled a table of just some of the consequences of the GOP’s cuts: