(Recuerdos de Pandora/Flickr)
Mother Jones? Andy Kroll reports that top Republicans continue to ?whisper? about a campaign to draft a new candidate into the presidential race should Mitt Romney falter in Michigan:
On CNN Tuesday morning, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chair of the House homeland security committee, hinted at a whisper campaign among ?top Republicans? who want a GOP favorite such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to enter the race if Romney loses the Michigan or Arizona primaries or struggles on Super Tuesday, when ten states controlling 437 delegates hold GOP primaries on March 6.
?I think there?s going to be more of an interest, more of an emphasis on having someone ready if on Super Tuesday? Mitt Romney does not manage to break loose, and to have that candidate ready to come in,? King said. He added, ?Again, I have no inside knowledge. Just whispering and mumbling here among top Republicans who are concerned that Governor Romney has not been able to break loose.?
As much as it would be difficult?if not impossible?for a new candidate to enter the race and win the necessary delegates, I?m not sure that it matters. When it comes down to it, Republican leaders determine the rules of the nomination contest, and if they want to bend them for the sake of a ?white knight,? I?m not sure that there?s anyone who could stop them.
That said, GOP leaders are insane if they believe that they could draft a candidate into the race, hand him the nomination, and avoid a shitstorm of anger from Republican voters. According to a Gallup poll released last week, 66 percent of Republicans and Republican-leaning independents said that it would be better ?if one of the four candidates now running managed to secure enough delegates to clinch the nomination.? What?s more, a subsequent poll from the Associated Press shows broad satisfaction with the current slate of candidates?60 percent of Republicans are satisfied with the people running for the nomination.
Conservative voters are suspicious of the GOP establishment and desperate to nominate someone from the tribe. If Mitt Romney is the nominee, they?ll be disappointed, but can at least say that they gave him a fight. But circumventing those voters with a white knight candidate is a recipe for anger and division. There might not be riots, but conservative voters might turn decisively against the GOP in protest.
Put another way, which would Republican leaders prefer: a unified party with Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum at the helm, or a divided party, and a third-party challenge from the right? It?s a real possibility, if they opt to ignore their voters.
Crossposted at Things That Really Piss Me Off
Our word for today is "OFFENDED" as in the Republicans appearing to be in some kind of race to see who can be the most "offended" by the fact that a black guy lives in the White House.
I know, I know. Big surprise, huh? The very notion that the various junkies and pimps and whores that make up our entire body politic would say whatever it takes no matter how outlandish, to accomplish their agenda, even resorting to distortions, half truths and outright lies as the situation appeared to require is big news to most of us. NOT!!! But when they start being "offended", it's time to simply sit back and watch them make fools of themselves again and again.
Jim Hightower had a bit today on Karl Rove being "offended" by the Chrysler/Clint Eastwood Superbowl half time ad in which long time Republican Eastwood appeared to be defending the president's decision to bail out the American automobile industry and save thousands of jobs at the same time it was bailing out the too flipping big to fail banks that were deliberately eliminating even more thousands of jobs in the name of increased profits and dividends for a bunch of sick %$##s who don't do a goddamned thing but push piles of other people's money around all day.
Karl Rove, the supreme sleaze-meister of negative political advertising, complained about a recent television ad: "I was frankly offended by it."
Wow - that's like a skunk saying some other critter stinks! What could possibly make an ad so offensive that Karl would gag? Hope, that's what. The sweet flower of optimism nauseates Karl.
The ad was Chrysler's Super Bowl spot. Aired during halftime of the game, it featured Clint Eastwood in a darkened factory, saying, "It's halftime in America, too. People are out of work and they're hurting," he said, but revival is coming from the the American people's can-do spirit: "Detroit's showing us it can be done." Our country can't be knocked out with one punch, Eastwood declared. "We get right back up again. Yeah. It's halftime, America. And our second half is about to begin.
What we have here is a case of old Turdblossom being pissed off because the bailouts of Chrysler and General Motors were successful. In other words, they did what they were supposed to do, Keep those companies and those factories alive until they could get back on their feet and start turning a profit again and in the process, keeping thousands of Americans gainfully employed and off the welfare and unemployment roles. In Rove's twisted little cesspool of a mind, this somehow makes President Obama look good at the expense of elitist pricks like Mitt Romney who would have enjoyed firing entire factories full of American workers. This aspect hasn't been helped by those on the "other side" who are quick to give the president 100% of the credit for the success of the automotive bailouts and who enjoy rubbing the Republicans' faces in it every chance they get.
Truth of the matter is, as Jim explains:
I hate to interrupt Rove's nasty tantrum with a dose of reality, but the auto bailout was initiated not by Obama, but by George W. Bush - for whom Rove worked! And, in an embarrassing happenstance, on the very day that Karl was fulminating on Fox, Bush himself was expressing pride in helping save the industry, pointedly saying: "I'd do it again."
Now nobody hates giving George Bush credit for anything good that came out of the bailout debacle more than I do. I am firmly in the camp of those that believe that GW Bush was the wors flipping president in the history of the republic. I know that Mr. Obama deserves credit for standing against those that would have denied bailout funds to the auto companies during his term but the simple truth is that the bailouts for the auto companies were engineered on W's watch.
I suspect that the decision to save the American auto industry by the Bush administration was not a unanimous one and that Turdblossom found himself on the losing side of the argument and was possibly even overruled by his boss and that his negligee has been in a tight little wad ever since. I also suspect that Mr. Rove is fully aware that it was his own former boss who bailed out the auto companies in one of the few actual success stories to come out of the current depression recession so far.
I also suspect that Rove wouldn't get much mileage from bashing the bailouts if he didn't wrap it in a coating of "hate the black dude" before presenting it to the FOX Tea Party Channel for general dissemination and that criticizing anything a Republican has ever done is still strictly off limits, especially as far as Fox News is concerned. Therefore, Turdblossom finds himself with a choice between keeping his damned mouth shut for a change and bashing a highly popular commercial featuring a long time fellow Republican touting what is technically a Republican accomplishment and we all know old Karl ain't capable of keeping his mouth shut, right?
Rove is the one with a crass partisan agenda. He's now amassing a $100 million war chest to carpet bomb Obama with negative TV ads, so he's "offended" by any positive message about America's future. Karl Rove is the sickness in today's politics.
To which I can only add, "Frankly Mr. Rove, I find YOU offensive.".
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We know that Wall Street speculation shoulders part of the blame for rising gas prices, and that the Commodity Futures Trading Commission has done little to stop it. But I didn't know that even the weak CFTC rules established last year were being[...]
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Rep. John Culberson (R-TX) offered an impassioned defense of his state's voter photo ID law during an appropriations hearing featuring Attorney General Eric Holder on Tuesday. But he didn't get the details quite right.
In the middle of Culberson's questioning of Holder during an Appropriations subcommittee hearing on the Justice Department's budget request, Rep. Chaka Fattah (D-PA) asked Culberson whether photo IDs issued by state universities could be used at the polls under the Texas law.
"I.... I don't know why it wouldn't, I don't see any prohibition against it, I read it, I don't see it," Culberson said. "I've read it and I don't see any prohibition against a photo ID issued by a state university in Texas."
Culberson continued: "I see nothing in the law that prohibits a valid student ID issued by a state university from being used to vote."
There's been plenty of reporting about how student IDs issued by Texas state universities would not, in fact, be allowed under the law, which is currently under review by the Justice Department's Civil Rights Division under Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act. Under the new requirements, only driver's licenses, law enforcement personal ID cards, military IDs, citizenship certificates, U.S. passports or a license to carry a concealed handgun would be accepted.
When Fattah later pulled up a copy of the Texas statute on his iPad to demonstrate that state university IDs wouldn't be accepted, Culberson changed his tune a bit.
"It's up to the state legislatures to determine whether or not the verification procedures for issuing that ID are sufficient. I'm confident they had good reason," Culberson said, maintaining that he didn't see student IDs banned under the legislation.
Fattah said that allowing concealed weapons permits but not student IDs at the polls showed the bill was about a lot more than trying to stop in-person voter impersonation fraud.
"The issue here is we've got some people who think that the kids at college are snobs or kids of snobs" -- referencing a line Rick Santorum has used on the campaign trail -- "and that the people who carry concealed weapons are patriots," Fattah said. "We don't want the right to vote to be subjected to these partisan types of views, that's why these issues need to be reviewed. Because a student ID issued from a state university in Texas should be, in my opinion, just as valid... as any other state issued form of ID."
Pennsylvania Rep. Chaka Fattah (D) schools Texas Rep. John Culberson (R) on his state's voter ID law. [...]
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New numbers from Public Policy Polling suggest Gov. Scott Walker will have a serious fight on his hands in the upcoming recall against him. [...]
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Oh my, this is not looking very good for Rupert Murdoch's team. Each day reveals something deeper and larger than the day before. When there is such an extensive culture of corruption among a team, you have to start looking at the leadership. The Guardian:
Six journalists at the News of the World were involved in instructing private investigator Glenn Mulcaire to hack phones of celebrities and others, it has been alleged in documents released by the high court to the Guardian. Paperwork submitted on behalf of phone-hacking victims by lawyers shed new light on the alleged extent of knowledge within the newspaper about the activities of Mulcaire, the £2,000-a-week investigator at the centre of the scandal. It has been alleged in these court documents that there was "a conspiracy" between Mulcaire and "senior executives" including "Clive Goodman" and five other journalists, known as A, B, C, D, and E, whereby he would obtain information on their behalf using "electronic intelligence and eavesdropping".
A new study led by the Georgia Institute of Technology provides further evidence of a relationship between melting ice in the Arctic regions and widespread cold outbreaks in the Northern Hemisphere….
Since the level of Arctic sea ice set a new record low in 2007, significantly above-normal winter snow cover has been seen in large parts of the northern United States, northwestern and central Europe, and northern and central China. During the winters of 2009-2010 and 2010-2011, the Northern Hemisphere measured its second and third largest snow cover levels on record.
?Our study demonstrates that the decrease in Arctic sea ice area is linked to changes in the winter Northern Hemisphere atmospheric circulation,? said Judith Curry, chair of the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. ?The circulation changes result in more frequent episodes of atmospheric blocking patterns, which lead to increased cold surges and snow over large parts of the northern continents.?
That’s from the news release of an NASA- and NSF-funded study in the journal Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences, “Impact of declining Arctic sea ice on winter snowfall.”
I think Curry’s use of the phrase “cold surges” is important. Although there have definitely been some major cold blasts, our winters aren’t actually getting colder — see the 10/11 Climate Progress post, “Last Two Winters? Warm Extremes More Severe Than Their Cold Snaps, Study Finds.” And that’s without counting this winter. Of course, winters are just going to keep getting warmer globally — so I think some of the reporting on this study has been a tad misleading.
The point is that it now appears over the next couple of decades, the gradual rate of warming will not be able to overcome the occasional incredible winter cold surges fueled by the loss of Arctic ic. This is particularly true if, as I and others have argued, we’re going to see continued rapid ice loss in the next decade (see “The New Arctic Abnormal: Record Low Sea Ice Volume, Area and Extent*” and “The death spiral continues“).
Arctic sea ice in September 2007 reached its lowest extent on record, approximately 40% lower than when satellite records began in 1979. Sea ice loss in 2011 was virtually tied with the ice loss in 2007, despite weather conditions that were not as unusual in the Arctic.
The new PNAS report is about the third study to come to the same conclusion:
The disinformers have repeatedly suggested that big snowstorms disprove (!) climate science. They can’t stand the fact that actual science says that the Snowpocalypses we’ve been seeing can be directly linked to global warming, which, of course, wasn’t news to anyone who actually reads the scientific literature or talks to real climatologists (see “An amazing, though clearly little-known, scientific fact: We get more snow storms in warm years!“).
This study is probably particularly annoying to the disinformers since it was co-authored by Curry, who has transformed herself from climate science advocate into a promoter of many long-debunked disinformers (see ?The curious incident of Curry with the fringe?).
The lead author, Jiping Liu, a senior research scientist at Georgia Tech, explained that the study looked at more than just changes in atmospheric circulation. It also looked at changes in atmospheric water vapor content, which into scientists have long said would increase because of global warming and drive more extreme precipitation events, which in fact is what has happened (see “Two seminal Nature papers join growing body of evidence that human emissions fuel extreme weather, flooding that harm humans and the environment“).
As ABC News reports, “more water is evaporating into the air as Arctic ice at the ocean?s surface melts away”:
?This greatly enhances the transfer of moisture from the ocean to the atmosphere,? Liu said. That humidity, he says, essentially acts as fuel to help supercharge ?Snowmageddon?-type storms like the ones that paralyzed parts of the northeastern U.S. in 2010. A more recent, deadly deep freeze in Eastern Europe left 650 people dead.
?The record decline in Arctic sea ice is at least a critical contributor to recent snowy winters in northern continents,? Liu said.
Liu says the new research may also help connect the dots between human-caused global warming, vanishing ice and our changing weather.
As Climate Central notes, “The Arctic has been warming at about twice the rate of the rest of the globe, a trend studies show is largely due to manmade climate change. Fall sea ice cover declined by 27 percent between 1979-2010, and the five lowest sea ice extent years have all occurred during the past five years.”
They spoke to another leading expert on the subject:
Jennifer Francis, an atmospheric scientist at Rutgers University who was not involved in this study, said the findings largely fit with other investigations into the ways in which Arctic climate change is reshaping weather patterns.
?… Enhanced Arctic warming, caused by climate change, is increasing the tendency for weather patterns of all sorts to become more ?stuck,? she said via email. ?The cold [and] snowy winters of late have received a lot of attention, but it should be noted that at the same time other places had abnormally dry and warm conditions.?
Francis said a warming Arctic will increase the chances of extreme winters, both cold and warm. ?Which areas will experience which conditions is a tough call.?
Here’s more background on the study from the release:
In this study, scientists from Georgia Tech, the Chinese Academy of Sciences and Columbia University expanded on previous research by combining observational data and model simulations to explore the link between unusually large snowfall amounts in the Northern Hemisphere in recent winters and diminishing Arctic sea ice.
The researchers analyzed observational data collected between 1979 and 2010 and found that a decrease in autumn Arctic sea ice of 1 million square kilometers — the size of the surface area of Egypt — corresponded to significantly above-normal winter snow cover in large parts of the northern United States, northwestern and central Europe, and northern and central China.
The analysis revealed two major factors that could be contributing to the unusually large snowfall in recent winters — changes in atmospheric circulation and changes in atmospheric water vapor content — which are both linked to diminishing Arctic sea ice. Strong warming in the Arctic through the late summer and autumn appears to be enhancing the melting of sea ice.
?We think the recent snowy winters could be caused by the retreating Arctic ice altering atmospheric circulation patterns by weakening westerly winds, increasing the amplitude of the jet stream and increasing the amount of moisture in the atmosphere,? explained Jiping Liu, a senior research scientist in the School of Earth and Atmospheric Sciences at Georgia Tech. ?These pattern changes enhance blocking patterns that favor more frequent movement of cold air masses to middle and lower latitudes, leading to increased heavy snowfall in Europe and the Northeast and Midwest regions of the United States.?
Diminishing Arctic sea ice can cause changes in atmospheric circulation that lead to a circulation pattern that is different than the ?negative phase? of the Arctic Oscillation.
In addition to analyzing observational data, the researchers also assessed the impact of the diminishing Arctic sea ice on atmospheric circulation by comparing the results of model simulations run with different sea ice distribution. They ran one experiment that assumed seasonally varying Arctic sea ice and utilized sea ice concentration data collected between 1979 and 2010. Another simulation incorporated prescribed sea ice loss in autumn and winter based on satellite-derived Arctic sea ice concentrations.
The simulations showed that diminishing Arctic sea ice induced a significant surface warming in the Arctic Ocean and Greenland/northeastern Canada, and cooling over northern North America, Europe, Siberia and eastern Asia. The models also showed above-normal winter snowfall in large parts of the northern United States, central Europe, and northern and central China.
The bottom line is that for the foreseeable future, we can expect to see whipsawing winters and more Snowmaggedons, thanks in large part to human emissions of greenhouse gases.
Since market research came back with some deeply awful numbers about audience anticipation that suggest that America has basically no interest in seeing John Carter, Disney’s epic and epically expensive movie set on Mars, there’s been a lot of dissection of the way the movie has been marketed. But I want to return to the first big decision in that campaign: to change the name of the movie from A Princess of Mars on the grounds that nobody goes to see movies about women, to John Carter of Mars, to John Carter.
The thing about John Carter is that it’s totally nondescript. This literally could be the name of anything?there have been 8 movies made that are simply called John, and they’re everything from creepy horror movies to drug flicks to foreign films. John Carter could be the name of a cubicle drone or a futuristic warrior. The novels by Edgar Rice Burroughs that the movie is based on may be lovingly remembered, but they’re not part of the canon like Ender’s Game. This name means nothing to be people. A Princess of Mars, or a variant like John Carter and the Princess of Mars, would have at least provided the crucial context that this movie is set some place other than the planet Earth.
And the central premise, that women don’t see enough science fiction to make up for the presumed hordes of men who would run in horror at a move with “princess” in the title is just bizarre. Sure, there are action movies that don’t involve romances. But the vast majority of the time, whether a dude is stealing cars or blowing up planes, he is also wooing a member of the fairer sex. Even if Disney is assuming that its audience is shy dudes who are afraid to talk to women in real life, that audience still seems to enjoy watching Paul Walker or Brad Pitt or whoever spit game and bed ladies. Would that they’d turn out consistently to see women be strong and powerful and be the ones who are delivering lines and seducing guys. But when Disney is setting the bar for their expectations of their audience even lower than I assume it is, dudes and women alike should find themselves insulted.
All of which is a way of saying this fan-made trailer looks amazing:
Today, a coalition of public policy and family advocacy organizations released ?LGBT Families of Color: Facts at a Glance,? which sheds light on the disparate impact of outdated laws and family policies on LGBT families of color and their children. The publication explores the challenges that LGBT Families of color face on a daily basis and dispels the myth often perpetuated in the media that LGBT families are largely white and middle class.
According to ?LGBT Families of Color,? there are roughly 2 million children in the United States being raised in LGBT families and 41 percent of these families are people of color. Both black and Latino same-sex couples are more likely to raise children than white same- sex couples. Black lesbians for example are twice as likely to be raising children as their white lesbian counterparts. The report also notes that:
Children of color, in particular, are more likely to be raised in diverse family configurations that include de facto parents and are more likely to be raised by LGBT parents. Therefore, antiquated laws have a disproportionately negative impact on children of color.
An alarming number of LGBT families of color are living in poverty. For example, 32 percent of children being raised by black same-sex couples are living in poverty compared to 7 percent of children raised by married heterosexual white parents. Yet many of these families, simply because they are LGBT, are denied access to safety net programs and federal and state tax benefits that would improve their economic situations.
LGBT families of color also experience higher rates of unemployment, or underemployment, which disrupts their access to quality healthcare since the majority of Americans rely on employer-sponsored health plans. Nonetheless, access to coverage does not always bridge the gap for these families, since most of these plans do not cover same-sex partners or their non-biological children. LGBT families of color, who are already economically insecure, may have to face the steep cost of purchasing private insurance to cover their families (or simply go without).
Stigma and discrimination further erodes these families? overall wellbeing. The fact sheet touches on the dual burden of social stigma and discrimination LGBT families of color and their children face. These families are not only subject to racial/ethnic stereotypes and discrimination ? they also face invisibility within the boarder communities to which they belong. Moreover, their children may be bullied or harassed based on their own race, ethnicity, sexual orientation or gender identity?or that of their parents.
Fortunately, some common-sense solutions can be employed that would help to eliminate or reduce the legal inequalities and social stigma that hurt LGBT families of color, especially their children. They include:
– Legally recognizing LGBT families of color via parental recognition laws at the state level; allowing same-sex couples to marry; and providing pathways to immigration and U.S. citizenship for binational and immigrant LGBT families.
– Providing equal access to government-based economic protections such as safety net programs by adopting a consistent and broad definition of family within these programs (i.e. domestic partners).
– Providing equal access to health care and health insurance, as well as medical decision-making authority for all families.
– Protecting LGBT families of color and their children with non-discrimination employment and public accommodation laws and anti-bullying policies.