On this last day of July, at least, our forecasts show Pennsylvania -- a "tipping point state" -- won't be easy for Mitt Romney to win in November. But the Romney campaign cannot ignore it.
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As markets continue to yo-yo and commentators deliver mixed forecasts, investors are faced with some tough decisions and have a number of important questions that need answering. On a daily basis we are asked . . . → Read More: Which Direction Are Oil Prices Headed? Is the Eurozone Doomed?
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As predicted by Joan McCarter Monday, the Democratic National Committee has confirmed that there will be an affirmative plank on marriage equality in the 2012 Democratic Party platform. The first
openly gay Congressman to voluntarily announce he is gay, Rep. Barney Frank, wrote of the decision:
I want you to be one of the first to know: After a unanimous decision on Sunday, the drafting committee for the Democratic National Convention embraced marriage equality as part of our platform for the 2012 Convention.A new Pew poll, shows that 65 percent of Democrats now support marriage equality, up from 50 percent in 2008 and 40 percent in 2004.
The next step will be for the full platform committee to vote on it, after which it will be presented to the delegates at the Convention in Charlotte for a final vote. Make no mistake: This is a historic step toward fairness for all. Once again, Democrats are fighting to move this country forward. [...]
Now, it?s up to us to speak up for what he has called a simple proposition: that every single American deserves to be treated equally.
As Rep. Frank said, now it's up to all of us to speak up for this basic civil right.
Even after the Supreme Court ruled that the Medicaid expansion in the Affordable Care Act must be truly optional for the states, the Medicaid expansion provision in general remains very popular. According to the Kaiser Family Foundation tracking poll 67[...]
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American television news outlets continue to devote sparse time to one of largest banking scandals in history. The controversy over whether major banks have been manipulating the LIBOR, a crucial interest rate that banks use to borrow money from one another, has been gathering steam for more than a month since U.S. and U.K. regulators fined British bank Barclays $450 million for its role in trying to rig the rate.
CNN's Erin Burnett has explained that LIBOR is "an interest rate at the core of our entire economy," adding, "It's really not wrong to say that if you can't trust LIBOR, you can't trust anything in banking." According to The Economist, the LIBOR is used "as a benchmark to set payments on about $800 trillion worth of financial instruments." Baltimore City filed a lawsuit against major banks in the first of what may be a wave of such actions, alleging that the LIBOR manipulation potentially cost it millions of dollars in investment returns.
Despite the enormous implications of the scandal, ABC's World News and NBC's Nightly News both ignored the story in the 16 days after news of the Barclays fine broke, as we documented earlier this month. In the 16 days following the period of our original study, the LIBOR blackout has continued on ABC and NBC's flagship evening news programs. Those programs have gone more than a month without mentioning the controversy.
CBS Evening News devoted more than five and a half minutes to the story in the first 16 days following the Barclays fine, but has not returned to the scandal in the subsequent 16 day period despite a host of new developments.
After spending roughly six and a half minutes combined covering the scandal on their evening newscasts and opinion programming between June 27 and July 12, MSNBC, CNN, and Fox News devoted less than 32 minutes to stories related to the controversy from July 13 to July 28, with more than two-thirds of that coverage coming from CNN.
These same news outlets spent significantly more time on trivialities like shark sightings and the Tom Cruise/Katie Holmes divorce than on the banking scandal. For context, ABC, NBC, CBS, Fox News, MSNBC, and CNN spent 44 minutes combined on the LIBOR scandal during their evening programming from June 27 to July 28. By contrast, these same outlets devoted nearly 65 minutes to stories about sharks for only the first sixteen days of that period.
Far from being a dormant story, fallout from allegations that the LIBOR has been manipulated has been steady.
On July 14, the New York Times reported that the U.S. Justice Department had "identified potential criminal wrongdoing by big banks and individuals at the center of the scandal" and was building criminal cases "against several financial institutions and their employees." The Times explained that the "prospect of criminal cases" was expected to "rattle the banking world."
The scandal has also reached Capitol Hill, with both Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner and U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Ben Bernanke being questioned about regulators' response to allegations that banks were manipulating the LIBOR. During his appearance in front of the Senate Banking Committee, Bernanke said the LIBOR is "structurally flawed" and called the controversy "a major problem for our financial system."
The story has gotten major coverage in financial press and on shows like Current TV's Viewpoint with Eliot Spitzer and MSNBC's Up with Chris Hayes, but, with a few exceptions, has still received little attention on major American television news outlets their during evening newscasts and primetime programming. Washington Post media critic Erik Wemple has urged media outlets considering LIBOR coverage to "Get on it," providing "Nine reasons to cover" the scandal.
That little trip abroad that Mittens took to bolster his foreign policy chops didn't go so very well. In fact, he managed to do the near-impossible and pull off a hat-trick by embarrassing himself in all three of the countries he visited.
He started off by insulting the British by questioning their readiness to hold the Olympics and getting himself mocked by the Mayor of London and British PM David Cameron, as well as inspiring the most hilarious twitter hashtag ever, #RomneyShambles.
After he had succeeded in insulting every man, woman and child in the United Kingdom, he went on to Israel where he committed American forces to an attack on Iran, praised the Israeli national health system that includes an individual mandate . . . and scheduled a $50,000-per-plate fundraiser on the Israeli holy day Tisha B'Av - a day of fasting in memory of the victims of the Holocaust and to commemorate the destruction of the First and Second Temples.
There was no salvation in Poland, either. Sure he has Lech Walesa's support - but that ain't worth all that much. The guy was great as a labor leader and his Solidarity movement was integral to the demise of the Soviet Union, but he wasn't all that awesome when it came to leading the country, plus he's a socially-conservative lunatic.
By Tuesday the strain of trying to keep their candidate from self-destructing and the press at bay was showing and his staff started losing it. After reporters who were assigned to cover the trip started asking questions at one of the candidate's photo-op stops, his traveling press secretary Rick Gorka told a New York Times reporter to "kiss my ass."
CNN: "Governor Romney are you concerned about some of the mishaps of your trip?
NYT: "Governor Romney do you have a statement for the Palestinians?
Washington Post: "What about your gaffes?
NYT: "Governor Romney do you feel that your gaffes have overshadowed your foreign trip?"
CNN: "Governor Romney just a few questions sir, you haven't taken but three questions on this trip from the press!
Gorka: "Show some respect"
NYT: "We haven't had another chance to ask a question..."
Gorka: "Kiss my ass. This is a Holy site for the Polish people. Show some respect."
If you think November is a long ways away and you shudder at the thought of the hours of commercials, lies, attack ads and bullshit you are going to have to face down over the next thirteen weeks or so, you can at least take some small measure of comfort in the fact that you don't work for the Romney campaign and you don't have to keep your train-wreck of a candidate from publicly imploding on a schedule that's more reliable than Old Faithful.
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From the July 31 edition of Fox News' On The Record with Greta Van Susteren
Mitch McConnellFor the first time ever, an appeals court nominee with bipartisan Judicial Committee support was blocked by Senate Republicans, urged on by Minority Leader Mitch McConnell. His reason? He says he's honoring past Senate tradition of not approving judges so close to a presidential election. Because McConnell, the guy who has set numerous records for obstruction, cares so much about Senate tradition.
The 56-34-3 vote reflected the unprecedented nature of this filibuster. Oklahoma Republican Sens. Tom Coburn and James Inhofe supported the nomination of Robert Bacharach to be a U.S. circuit judge for the Tenth Circuit court in Oklahoma. They didn't want to vote against party leadership, or the judge, so they voted present, and allowed an unprecedented filibuster.
The White House fired off this statement after the vote.
[...] The American people deserve better than this unprecedented partisan obstruction of the President?s efforts to ensure a fair and functioning judiciary.
Nearly one in eleven federal judgeships stands empty. The judicial vacancy rate has never been this high for this long. Currently there are 20 judicial nominees waiting for consideration by the Senate, half of whom would fill vacancies deemed judicial emergencies. Almost all of these nominees have the support of the majority of Committee Republicans, and nine are supported by their Republican home-state Senators. These nominees should be confirmed immediately.
There are 20 nominations waiting floor action, but there are 76 vacant federal judgeships and 32 of those vacancies are called judicial emergencies because of the tremendous backlog of cases they've created. Those nominations will languish, with McConnell hiding behind the excuse of Senate tradition, while at the same time blowing Senate tradition to smithereens with his obstruction.
Majority Leader Harry Reid says he's ready for Senate reform. We need to make sure there are enough progressive Democratic senators in his caucus to hold his feet to the fire and make it happen.
The chart below show how our income tax dollars were spent in the year just completed ? FY20010 ? which ended last September 30 (data from Budget of the United States Government: Historical Tables Fiscal Year 2012 Table 8.7).
As you can see, the government sent $689 billion or 51.1% of all discretionary funds (those allocated by Congress in appropriation bills) to the military. This represents an average of about $5,862 from each of the 118 million households in the US.
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The federal budget includes two types of spending: mandatory and discretionary. Mandatory spending refers to money that is spent in compliance with existing laws that govern the particular program or function.
Mandatory spending includes entitlements, which are money or benefits provided directly to individuals such as Social Security, Medicare, Medicaid, Food Stamps, and Federal Retirement. It also includes interest payments on the national debt. Discretionary spending refers to the part of the federal budget that Congress debates and decides every year.
Congress may choose to increase or decrease spending on these programs or ?level-fund? them with or without adjusting for inflation. The discretionary budget includes national defense, as well as expenditures for education, housing assistance, and many health programs.
Discretionary Budget m vs Nm
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