Things Rick Santorum would be against…

…whale on Elmo! 

Rick Santorum: “In every society, the definition of marriage has not ever to my knowledge included homosexuality. That’s not to pick on homosexuality. It’s not, you know, man on child, man on dog, or whatever the case may be.

via: thefrogman

Lake Vostok: the Russians celebrate

Nature has a really great graphic (below) to show the incredible depth that the Russians drilled to get to Lake Vostok, along with a timeline of their efforts since 1990.

Russians celebrate Vostok victory : Nature

After two decades of chilly drilling and fiery debate, a Russian team has finally broken into Lake Vostok. The largest of the lakes hidden under Antarctica’s ice, and the most deeply buried, Vostok has been isolated for millions of years and may contain specially adapted microorganisms. “I’m sure they’re drinking vodka this week,” says John Priscu, an Antarctic researcher at Montana State University in Bozeman, who has been in contact with the Russian team.

[...] Although the Russian scientists have taken samples, which are most likely to be from a pocket of water just above the lake (one container was presented to Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin with great fanfare), they will have to wait until December to extract any frozen lake samples, and until 2013–14 to retrieve unfrozen lake water. “This is a technological achievement. The scientific pay-off is still many years away,” says Mahlon Kennicutt, president of the international Scientific Committee on Antarctic Research.

The Vostok drilling project began as an ice-coring effort to examine ancient climatic conditions. By the mid-1990s, scientists had confirmed that a giant lake lurked beneath the borehole and speculated that sampling its water might yield signs of ancient life. Continue…

And that answers my earlier question about a sample given to Putin.

Mitt Romney doubles down on his fail

Keep going, Mitt. You’re doing great!

Romney condemns auto-industry rescue

In a new Detroit News op-ed, the former Massachusetts governor says he’s glad the industry still exists, but proceeds to complain anyway about the way in which Obama rescued GM and Chrysler from an imminent collapse.

Three years ago, in the midst of an economic crisis, a newly elected President Barack Obama stepped in with a bailout for the auto industry. The indisputable good news is that Chrysler and General Motors are still in business. The equally indisputable bad news is that all the defects in President Obama’s management of the American economy are evident in what he did.

Instead of doing the right thing and standing up to union bosses, Obama rewarded them…. By the spring of 2009, instead of the free market doing what it does best, we got a major taste of crony capitalism, Obama-style.

It takes a fair amount of chutzpah to face a crisis, get it wrong, then whine about the way in which the other guy got it right.

This is a subject Romney would be better off ignoring. After all, in 2009, he famously urged policymakers to “let Detroit go bankrupt.” Romney was so certain Obama’s policy would fail, he said Americans could “kiss the American automotive industry goodbye” if Obama’s policy moved forward in 2009. Indeed, at the time, Romney called the administration’s plan “tragic” and “a very sad circumstance for this country.” He wrote an April 2009 piece in which he said Obama’s plan “would make GM the living dead.”

Yep. Shoulda let ‘em go bankrupt. Can’t imagine why Santorum is ahead in Michigan.

Let’s take another look at that satirical take on “It’s Halftime America” — the if-Romney-had-his-way, alternate-reality GM Super Bowl commercial:


Well are ya? 

Hey, hey! It’s Valentine’s Day and Newt Gingrich got a Viagra refill

In describing his plans for Valentine’s Day with his (third) wife Callista, the summary of Newt’s description might be: “Know what I mean? Know what I mean? Nudge, nudge. Say no more!” *barf*

Gingrich gives us WAY too much information on his Valentine’s Day plans with Callista

Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich on Tuesday may have given supporters too much information about his sexy Valentine’s Day plan to “reconnect” with his wife, Callista. “All I can promise is that I believe she will be quite happy,” the former House Speaker told an audience in El Monte, California. “I think for the first time in a while we’ll have a private dinner and just hopefully exchange gifts and, you know, reconnect a little bit,” he said with a grin, adding, “No more details! 

God, yes! WE GET IT. No more details.

Ten facts about Obama’s budget

This budget will be an immediate “no-go” with Republicans. Not only are there no tax cuts for the corporations and the one percent but items 2,3 and 8 below will really make them clutch their pearls:

Ten Facts About The Obama Budget

ThinkProgress compiled 10 facts about the Obama budget based on the White House fact sheet and other reports:

1. The budget includes $350 billion in short-term measures to encourage job growth, including $50 billion in immediate infrastructure investment, $30 billion to rebuild schools, and year-long extensions of the payroll tax holiday and unemployment insurance.

2. The implementation of the Buffett Rule and the repeal of the Bush tax cuts for the wealthy helps reduce the deficit by $1.5 trillion over the next 10 years.

3. For every $1 in new revenue from those making more than $250,000 per year and from closing corporate loopholes, the budget has $2.50 in spending cuts including the deficit reduction enacted over the last year.

4. The total budget reduces the deficit by $4 trillion over the next decade.

5. Obama preserves the maximum Pell Grant award, a key difference from the GOP budget, and makes permanent then Americans Opportunity Tax Credit, which helps 9 million families afford the costs of college.

6. Unlike the last two GOP budgets, Obama’s budget protects Medicare and Medicaid from structural changes, and through small tweaks, saves $360 billion from those programs.

7. States will receive $30 billion in aid to prevent further layoffs of firefighters, teachers, and police officers, some of the hardest-hit workforces in the nation.

8. The budget eliminates 12 tax breaks to oil, gas, and coal companies, saving $41 billion over 10 years.

9. Obama preserves planned cuts to the Defense Department negotiated in the debt limit deal last August.

10. The budget maintains goals of putting one million electric vehicles on the road by 2015; doubling share of electricity from clean energy sources by 2035; and reducing buildings’ energy use by 20 percent by 2020.

As the Center for American Progress’ Michael Linden notes, Obama’s budget is far from perfect. It’s spending caps are too low, it’s defense cuts are too small, and it contains less new revenue than bipartisan plans like Simpson-Bowles and Rivlin-Domenici. But it prioritizes job creation and economic development and keeps America on the path to recovery, something Republican plans, unfortunately, fail to do.

Tuesday morning’s 9 interesting things

GOP Drops Demand For Offsetting Payroll Tax Cut - Facing emboldened Democratic negotiators and a quickly thinning legislative calendar, House Republican leaders have offered to extend the payroll tax holiday through the end of the year without paying for it. The development represents a dramatic reversal for GOP leaders, who nearly allowed the payroll tax cut to lapse in December in part because of their insistence that the package be financially offset. [...] That’s a huge concession to legislative and political realities, and a tacit admission that Republican leaders desparately want to avoid another no-win fight over renewing a tax cut that overwhelmingly benefits the middle class.

Jon Stewart mocks Santorum’s hypocrisy in contraception spat – Stewart on the Catholic Church’s opposition: “Yes, we are men of God, that money must not be used for contraception. That money has been set aside for out of court alter boy settlements and of course some priest relocations.” On the media reporting that “many Catholics” are against it: “Seriously, a firestorm among many Catholics? Or the old dudes who run it?” Stewart then asked.

Rick Santorum vs Catholics – Rick Santorum, Driver of Bulldozers – There’s the usual poor-widdle-me defensiveness. (Does anybody who lived through the past 30 years really see liberalism as a “bulldozer”?) And then this: “A penchant for aggressive and sanctimonious use of power is always a temptation in politics, though much more so for progressives than conservatives. Rick Santorum doesn’t need a bulldozer to sustain and reinforce marriage. He only needs to defend what is already in place. The defending rather than invading character of conservatism is one reason why it is so much less likely to inflate the power of the state. Conservatism largely involves sustaining things and tending to them.” Yes, over the past two weeks, as a passel of celibates has decided that their Presbyterian janitors and Jehovah’s Witness orderlies have to abide by a discredited doctrinal prohibition based in a twisted view of human sexuality, I have noticed the non-intrusive nature of organized religion.

Female Republican Senators go rogue, back Obama on contraceptives – Two female Republican members of the U.S. Senate, Sens. Susan Collins and Olympia Snowe of Maine, have broken rank with their party and come out in favor of a new rule issued by the Obama Administration that requires private health insurers to fully pay for the cost of contraception products. The two lawmakers extended their support after the administration tweaked its rule to exempt religious non-profits from paying any part of the cost for contraception.

White House Chief of Staff Jack Lew: ‘There’s Pretty Broad Agreement That the Time for Austerity is Not Today’ – “…I think that there’s pretty broad agreement that the time for austerity is not today. We need to be on a path where over the next several years we bring our deficit under control. Right now we have a recovery that’s taking root and if we were to put in austerity measures right now, it would take the economy in the wrong way. So the New York Times, for example, has very much argued that 2012, 2013 is not the time for austerity.The challenge is how do you do two things at the same time. How do you put money forward for things like the payroll tax holiday, for things like getting a jump-start on infrastructure, for building schools, and make the decisions for long-term deficit reduction. The president’s proposed a plan that would do that. He was willing over the course of last year to negotiate a bipartisan agreement that would do it.”

Flu season finally arrives, CDC reports – The flu season may finally be picking up steam after the slowest start in nearly three decades, a new government report suggests. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reports an uptick in the number of samples testing positive for the virus — 10.5 percent in the first week of February versus 7.6 percent the week before. That suggests that the flu season is just off to a late start, CDC researchers say. Interestingly, it’s only the second time in 29 years that the percentage of respiratory samples testing positive remained under 10 percent through January.

Polls show Rick Santorum virtually tied with Mitt Romney nationally – With two new polls showing underdog Rick Santorum gaining on front-runner Mitt Romney among Republicans nationally, the contenders for the GOP presidential nomination are taking advantage of a lull between primary contests to stockpile resources and rally supporters for the next phase of the race. Separate surveys released Monday by Gallup and the Pew Research Center suggest that Romney, a former Massachusetts governor, and Santorum, a former senator from Pennsylvania, are virtually tied.

Rick Santorum’s taken a large lead in Michigan’s upcoming Republican
primary
 – He’s at 39% to 24% for Mitt Romney, 12% for Ron Paul, and 11% for Newt Gingrich. Santorum’s rise is attributable to two major factors… // Note: PDF doc

Bob Cesca – This is hilarious. Every time I read about Republicans rallying around Santorum it makes me smile ear-to-ear because it would be like the Democrats nominating Mike Gravel or Dennis Kucinich — a fringe candidate who has no chance of winning and every chance of generating a massive landslide in favor of the other candidate. No one in the moderate swing states will pay attention to fringe candidates of either party. That’s why it’s suicide to nominate them. That’s why Kucinich on the left, Ron Paul on the right, etc, etc, will never be nominated by their party. And now it looks increasingly good for Santorum to actually squeak out an upset nomination here. Unbelievable, especially for a guy who was laughed out of Pennsylvania in 2006, and now he might actually win this thing.

Romney Thinks Mandatory Drug Testing For Welfare Recipients Is ‘An Excellent Idea’ – Romney’s support for blindly drug-testing welfare recipients dates back at least two decades, to his failed 1994 campaign for the US Senate. Civil rights advocates, meanwhile, have been quick to challenge the constitutionality of drug testing bills that were passed last year, and courts blocked similar bills from being implemented in Florida and Michigan. Rather than saving states money or ensuring taxpayer dollars aren’t used to purchase drugs, mandatory testing laws have succeeded only in proving that welfare recipients are actually less likely to use drugs than the public at large, and implementing laws requiring drug testing is costing states like Florida money they don’t have. // Note: George Romney really deserved a better son.

Romney Gets The Santorum Treatment – Courtesy of the CrateGate scandal, Mitt Romney is now the target of a Google-bomb campaign too. The back-story: We all know the sad story of Seamus, the Romney family Irish Setter who was strapped to the top of the Romney station wagon for at least one 12-hour trip to Canada – and who at least once pooped himself in fear and, after being given an “emotion-free” hosing down by Mitt Romney, was placed once more atop the car for more terrifying hours on the highway.