So here's an example of the danger of tying foreign policy to humanitarian aid. The US and North Korea inked a deal on nuclear inspections and negotiations that would free up food aid for the North Korean people. Then the Kim Jong-un regime announced[...]
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?The active and putrescent campaign of defamation now in full swing against this dead child is a reminder of just how little black life matters to some. No matter the facts, their deaths are always justified.?
It turns out that chocolate is connected to weight-loss.
Amanda Marcotte is right on about the offensive and racist comic published by UT Austin?s student newspaper.
Joe McCutchen isn?t your average Mitt Romney supporter. When it comes to the Republican front-runner, the seventy-two-year-old former carpet mill owner ?is just so fired up, [he] can?t even sleep at night,? and makes sure to wear a campaign sticker on his lapel every day. McCutchen is whatThe Washington Post called one of the ?sasquatches of American politics: rumored, hoped-for, so elusive that they can seem imaginary ? Mitt Romney?s superfans??of which only 346 have been found in the wild. Most Romney supporters are a bit more tepid. According to a Gallup poll from March 8-11, only 35 percent of Republicans would vote enthusiastically for Romney. The halfhearted approval for the former Massachusetts governor continues as you move up the echelons of the party?the candidate has only won the endorsement of 91 GOP members of Congress so far. As a result, primary turnout has lagged, a trend that some Republicans fear will translate to the general election.
But things aren?t looking too sunny on the Democratic end, either. The Obama campaign raised $45 million in February. At the same point four years ago, the candidate?who definitely boasted more than 346 superfans?had raised $57 million. It?s unfair to compare President Obama to candidate Obama?running a government just isn?t as sexy as making eloquent promises about how you want to fix government?but the truth remains that the 2012 presidential election isn?t shaping up to be as exciting as the last go-around.
Where the excitement's at is on the congressional front. There are already a few races across the country that have locals fired up, donors throwing money, and party elites scheming. The Massachusetts senate race between Scott Brown and Elizabeth Warren is an obvious example, but a senate race in Montana has attracted almost $3 million from outsider money. In addition, Tim Kaine and George Allen are drawing up super PAC guidelines for their sure-to-be-expensive Virginia senate race. By the time the presidential race fires up, it may become a sideshow to the high-stakes nail-biters happening across the country that are sure to keep more than one superfan awake at night.
?I think their egos are too big ... They?ll fight over who?s going to be top dog.?
?Ron Paul on Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum's fight to overtake Mitt Romney
Barack Obama now leads Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum in the crucial swing states of Florida, Ohio, and Pennslyvania, according to a new Quinnipiac poll.
Mitt Romney laughingly recalls his dad closing a car plant in Michigan and consolidating production in Wisconsin. [...]
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Stephen Colbert gave the NRA and their flame throwing head, Wayne LaPierre the mockery they deserve for again ginning up fears that if President Obama is reelected, he's coming for all of your guns. As Colbert pointed out in his opening segment this Tuesday evening, the irrational fear of what President Obama might do, has lead to this:
COLBERT: Yes, the fear of not being able to buy guns, has led to buying so many guns, that now we can't buy any guns, just like we feared! Oh... oh too simple. Right? I know what you're thinking. Colbert's being irrational. Oh really? It happened before. In 2008 when people bought guns before Obama took office, because they knew he'd pass harsh gun regulations, which he didn't!
And I will not fall for it again, Mr. President, because we are one step ahead of where you are not planning to go.
What's really sad and tragic is just how many people actually buy into what Colbert was making fun of here and as Bill Maher pointed out, that the Democrats have ceded the fight on gun control.
TPM Reader ML delves deeper into what for many of us remains utterly surreal: the Supreme Court giving the Commerce Clause attack on the health care law serious and sustained attention:Adding to what Blumenthal, et al. are saying: I think they understate[...]
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Sanford City Manager Norton BonaparteThe Trayvon Martin case has sparked another investigation, this time of itself:
It's been more than a month since 17-year-old Martin was killed and only a week since the Department of Justice, the U.S. Attorney's Office and the FBI launched investigations into why George Zimmerman shot him. Now, the Department of Justice is launching another investigation into the entire Sanford Police Department. [...]Among other complaints, some citizens have complained that African Americans are treated differently by police than whites are in Sanford.
Sanford City Manager Norton Bonaparte said that so many people complained at Monday night's city commission meeting about Sanford officers, the city asked the Department of Justice to step in.
"I am now in the process of talking with the Department of Justice and instituting a mechanism whereby citizens that have concerns or complaints about the Sanford Police Department can have their concerns heard and investigated by an independent agency," Bonaparte said.
In light of the Supreme Court hearing arguments this week about the constitutionality of the Affordable Care Act and the individual mandate, it seems appropriate to revisit a New England Journal of Medicine article from January concerning the mandate's legality.
The article, like others that cite precedent for the individual mandate, first considers Wickard v. Filburn and Gonzalez v. Raich, the 1942 and 2005 rulings that uphold Congress' authority to regulate an individual's commercial activity if their action (or inaction) has an effect on the market as a whole. Such citations are often countered by conservatives who maintain that, no matter what legal precedent exists today, the Founding Fathers would never have dreamed of such a tyrannical interpretation of the Constitution and would have considered any form of a mandate an affront to freedom, liberty, justice, and all other things green and good in our country.
But is that really the case?
The article goes on to cite three laws, passed in 1790, 1792 and 1798 respectively, that provide for mandates not unlike the one being considered by the Supreme Court this week. Einer Elhauge, the author, writes:
[In] 1790, the first Congress, which was packed with framers, required all ship owners to provide medical insurance for seamen; in 1798, Congress also required seamen to buy hospital insurance for themselves. In 1792, Congress enacted a law mandating that all able-bodied citizens obtain a firearm. This history negates any claim that forcing the purchase of insurance or other products is unprecedented or contrary to any possible intention of the framers.PolitiFact dug deeper into Elhauge's claims and found evidence that mandates were approved by Congressmen who had also signed the Constitution; refuting the assertion that the laws passed despite framers' objections:
There was no roll call for the House and Senate bills requiring health care for seamen. But on the proposal mandating the purchase of a musket, firelock or rifle as part of the larger bill to establish a uniform militia, 10 of the 14 framers whose votes were recorded endorsed the measure.Not only did mandates pass muster with the Framers in Congress, they were signed into law by George Washington and John Adams. Those who say that the Founding Fathers would object to any governmental regulation of the free market should double-check their history. They won't like what they find.
The House Republican budget makes some deeply flawed arguments about higher education. It claims both that rising financial aid is driving college tuition costs upward and that Pell Grants, which help cover tuition costs for low-income Americans, don’t go to the “truly needy.” Republicans — led by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-WI) — use these falsehoods to justify cutting the Pell Grant program by $200 billion.
According to an analysis by the Education Trust that was provided to the Huffington Post, the House Republican budget would ultimately knock more than one million students off of Pell Grants entirely:
More than 1 million students would lose Pell grants entirely over the next 10 years under Rep. Paul Ryan’s budget, according to an analysis that the national reform organization Education Trust provided to The Huffington Post.
And by the looks of it, the Ryan budget, which is slated to hit the House floor this week, would hit the poorest kids hardest. [...]
The budget would cut Pell grant eligibility for students who attend classes on a less-than-halftime schedule — which usually means low-income students who need to work their way through college.
And it gets worse. Sixty percent of students who receive Pell grants also take out loans — twice the rate for college students overall — so they might be doubly hit by the Ryan cuts: In addition to receiving less Pell money, they would have to start paying interest on their loans while still in school.
A new study shows that nearly half of American college students drop out before obtaining a degree, with cost being one of the main factors cited. Since 1985, the cost of college tuition and fees has nearly sextupled, while student loan debt in the U.S., according to the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, has cleared $1 trillion.
At the same time that they’re proposing to cut Pell Grants, Republicans have become fond of promoting for-profit colleges, despite those schools having a record of leaving students buried in debt and with bleak job prospects. Currently, more than three-quarters of for-profit students fail to earn a degree after six years and they are more likely to default on their loans than students at non-profit institutions.