One of the tea party’s 2010 ‘dream picks’: Sen. Ron Johnson (R-WI)

Just what our country needs: more ‘Palin celebritards‘ in political office. Steve Benen reports on a freshman Senator with no desire to actually work:

Two years later, Roll Call reports that Johnson is poised to “purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team,” in large part because they expect the senator to work on legislation — and he doesn’t want to.

“He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store.” [...]

Sources indicated that when Johnson came to Washington, he put a staff together like “any other Senator” but quickly realized that the day-to-day grind of legislating was not his forte. Johnson said last week that he wanted more of his office’s focus to be on building an effective messaging operation.

Yes, Johnson, like all freshmen, was supposed to do the grunt work of learning how to become a real senator, but according to Republicans on the Hill, he’s decided it’s more fun to give speeches and come up with soundbites.

“Messaging” is fun; governing is hard.

This seems entirely too common in contemporary Republican politics — the challenging work of crafting legislation, assembling coalitions, trudging through the committee process, making concessions, and agreeing to compromises requires a real commitment, and for those who just want to appear on Fox News, parade around CPAC with an entourage, and feel important, there appears to be no desire to actually legislate.

Thanks, tea party. Your movement will be the marker for COMPLETE FAILURE in the history books. Republican celibritards instead of legislators: your tax dollars at “work.” It’s not like our country has any real problems that might need to be actually fixed by honest people with a brain or anything. It’s more important for you to hate Obama and the Democrats and to choose your candidates by their hatred of the same things.

Maybe Johnson is just looking ahead to his own reality show, Fox “News” contract, or the many books that could be written for him one day.

Some attitudes never change, they merely solidify: Harry S. Truman on ‘the Republicans’

“Republicans approve of the American farmer, but they are willing to help him go broke. They stand four-square for the American home—but not for housing. They are strong for labor—but they are stronger for restricting labor’s rights. They favor minimum wage—the smaller the minimum wage the better. They endorse educational opportunity for all—but they won’t spend money for teachers or for schools. They think modern medical care and hospitals are fine—for people who can afford them. They consider electrical power a great blessing—but only when the private power companies get their rake-off. They think American standard of living is a fine thing—so long as it doesn’t spread to all the people. And they admire of Government of the United States so much that they would like to buy it.” – Harry S. Truman

via: sarahlee310

Live tracking: watch tornado outbreak on radar

Live Tracking: Watch the Tornado Outbreak on Radar

A dangerous tornado outbreak is set to unfold across portions of Kansas and Oklahoma later today. Follow the storms on radar to stay alert of the situation.

Today the “bulls-eye” states are Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa says CNN & MSNBC

100 years later, ‘we remain divided and valued by the ticket we can afford’

TITANIC SURVIVORS: a breakdown by class

  • First Class Passengers: 63% survived (200 out of 319 lived).
  • Second Class Passengers: 43% survived (117 out of 269 lived).
  • Third Class Passengers: 25% survived (172 out of 699 lived).

Any death, regardless of class, is a horrible and tragic thing, but on the anniversary of the Titanic’s sinking it’s important to remember one of the things that night symbolizes: that, even in moments of terrible crisis and great collective peril, we remain divided and valued by the ticket we can afford.

Data via John Henderson of Ithaca College | via: thepoliticalnotebook

100 years ago today, the Titanic sank to the bottom of the Atlantic ocean. The Titanic hit an iceberg at 11:40pm (April 14, 1912) and sank two hours later at 2:20 am. 2,200 souls aboard, more than 1,500 perished and only 675 survivors mostly women and children.

via: carlito-pepito-stylinson1

Meanwhile in the Midwest: tornadoes forecast in Iowa, Minnesota, and Wisconsin today

Stay safe out there.

Via CNN:

While severe weather could continue to hammer much of the region, the states in the “bull’s-eye” for the most dangerous conditions Sunday will likely be Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa, said CNN Meteorologist Alexandra Steele.

Authorities call on everyone in the region to follow weather reports and make emergency preparations.

About 5 million residents from Wisconsin to Texas “need to be on guard,” Steele said.

“Some of the bigger cities that could see isolated tornadoes, large hail and damaging winds are: Green Bay, Chicago, St. Louis, Little Rock, and Houston.”

Five people, including two children, died from injuries related to a suspected tornado in the northwest Oklahoma town of Woodward early Sunday morning, said Amy Elliott of the state Medical Examiner’s Office.

Read it all…

Via MSNBC

The areas “most likely” to see tornadoes by Sunday afternoon, the National Weather Service said, are northeast Iowa, southeast Minnesota and parts of Wisconsin.

“Severe storms are also possible in a band from Illinois and Missouri southward into Arkansas, northwest Louisiana and east Texas,” the service added.

Saturday saw 122 reports of tornadoes in the central plains, the Storm Prediction Center noted.  Not all have been confirmed, and some might be the same twister reported in a nearby area, but the number of reports is unusually high.

Read the rest…

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 4.15.2012

————————————-WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY

In case it wasn’t already clear that last week’s controversy over stay at home moms was entirely manufactured, this should put the question to bed. [Mitt Romney] told a New Hampshire audience“I wanted to increase the work requirement,” said Romney. “I said, for instance, that even if you have a child 2 years of age, you need to go to work. And people said, ‘Well that’s heartless.’ And I said, ‘No, no, I’m willing to spend more giving day care to allow those parents to go back to work. It’ll cost the state more providing that daycare, but I want the individuals to have the dignity of work.” [ThinkProgress]

Mitt Romney and Ann: the students “struggling” so much that they had to sell stock – Her idea of her and Mitt facing “not easy years,” having “no income,” “living on the edge” as “struggling students,” was that the couple had had to face college with only sale of stock to sustain them. By Ann’s own account, the stock amounted to “a few thousand” dollars when bought, but it had gone up by a factor of sixteen. So let’s conservatively say that they got through five years as students—neither one of them working—only by “chipping away at” assets of $60,000 in 1969 dollars (about $377,000 today). Look. I don’t begrudge Romney’s having had his college tuition and living expenses paid for with family money. Mine were too. My background, though not as fancy as Mitt or Ann Romney’s, was privileged enough. But the guy should just come out and admit it: “I was a child of privilege and have my parents’ wealth to thank for my education. That said, I worked very very hard in business, and the vast majority of my fortune I earned myself.” But there is of course a reason he can’t say that: such a statement is customarily followed by an expression of gratitude and a willingness to give something back to society. And gratitude and a willingness to give something back are precisely what Romney lacks—in common with the party he’s aspiring to represent. [via: yobaba]

While some in media don’t even know what the Lily Ledbetter Fair Pay Act is, some Republicans remain actively hostile towards it. Former Republican congressman Pete Hoekstra, who is now running to unseat Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), weighed in on the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act on Thursday, saying the law was a “nuisance” that shouldn’t be in place. [...] “Will, you know, will repealing it be a priority? If you came back and said, you know, that’s really the thing that’s hurting my business the most. My guess is there are other things that we can do that have a higher priority in terms of what I, what I believe might need to be done. I think you know we need to create — that thing is a nuisance. It shouldn’t be the law,” replied Hoekstra. The Fair Pay Act may seem obvious and noncontroversial, but let’s not forget that when the bill came to the House floor in 2009, 172 out of 175 House Republicans rejected it. And one of them, Hoekstra, wants to go to the Senate next year to help repeal this “nuisance.” Incidentally, Mitt Romney, who doesn’t want to say whether he supports the Ledbetter law or not, is quite friendly with Pete Hoekstra. [Maddow Blog]

———————————————————–——PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

A video comparing Presidents Obama and Reagan talking about tax loopholes for the wealthy, as compared to the tax rate paid by average Americans:


Bill Moyers: Wall Street’s Massive Freak Out When Asked to Pay Their Fair Share – April 12, 2012 | So what do these big moneyed nabobs have to complain about? Why are they whining about reform? And why are they funneling cash to super PACs aimed at bringing down Barack Obama, who many of them supported four years ago? Because, writes Alec MacGillis in The New Republic — the President wants to raise their taxes. That’s right — while ordinary Americans are taxed at a top rate of 35% on their income, Congress allows hedge fund and private equity tycoons to pay only pay 15% of their compensation. The President wants them to pay more; still at a rate below what you might pay, and for that he’s being accused of – hold onto your combat helmets – “class warfare.” One Wall Street Midas, once an Obama fan, now his foe, told MacGillis that by making the rich a primary target, Obama is “[expletive deleted] on people who are successful.”

DCCC billboards hit Republicans on Ryan budget in 14 states – As House Republicans drive around their districts during the April recess, 14 of them will see billboards attacking them on Medicare and tax cuts for millionaires, courtesy of the Democratic Congressional Campaign Committee (DCCC). The billboards will remain up for all of April, and target Republicans facing difficult reelection campaigns. GOP Reps. Charlie Bass (N.H.), Sean Duffy (Wis.) and Steve King (Iowa) are on the list, as are Dan Lungren (Calif.) and Steve Southerland (Fla.). The billboards show a concerned-looking elderly man next to the House member’s name and the phrase “protecting millionaires instead of Medicare.” Voters are directed to a website, www.millionairesovermedicare.com, where a video shows footage of the targeted Republicans. In the video, a banner pops up as each Republican is speaking to say that he “voted to end Medicare.” The fine print sources the 2011 roll call vote for House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s (R-Wis.) budget proposal.

Average working women vs Ann Romney: ‘getting your ass out the door at 7am when it’s cold’

Mitt Romney in January: Mothers Should Be Required To Work Outside Home Or Lose Benefits – Women who stay at home to raise their children should be given federal assistance for child care so that they can enter the job market and “have the dignity of work,” Mitt Romney said in January, undercutting the sense of extreme umbrage he showed when Democratic strategist Hilary Rosen quipped last week that Ann Romney had not “worked a day in her life.”


image: alliancewithnone

“The language here was, perhaps, inartful, or perhaps America is a society that lives to fight stupid, non-consequential, meaningless controversies and this is the new one. But what she meant to say, I think, was that Ann Romney has never gotten her ass out of the house to work. No one is denying that being a mother is a tough job, I remember that I was a handful. Okay, but there is a big difference in being a mother, and that tough job, and getting your ass out of the door at 7am when it’s cold, having to deal with the boss, being in a workplace, and even if you’re unhappy you can’t show it for 8 hours, that is a different kind of tough thing.” – Bill Maher, on the Ann Romney hissy fit (see link for video)

via: Buzzfeed

And from The Rude Pundit (warning: language!),

Are we really doing this again? Are we really having some worthless fucking debate over how hard it is to be a stay-at-home parent? President Obama said, “There’s no tougher job than being a mom.” Really? Ask a coal miner. Ask a sweatshop worker. It’s fucking stupid. Are we just back to Hillary Clinton and the motherfucking cookies? Oh, wait, Michelle Malkin’s quoting that 1992 remark, so the Rude Pundit supposes that we are.

The Rude Pundit’s sick of bowing down at the altar of the homemaker. Sure, sure, it’s hard work raising children. Ask the people who run day care centers and preschools. It’s hard work whether you work a full-time job or not. But let’s be honest here: Choosing to be a stay-at-home parent (and that includes the increasing number of dads that do it) for the last generation or so is a bourgeois indulgence that’s primarily available to the financially privileged. Even those who “sacrifice” to stay home with the kids get to do so only because they have an amount of security that’s simply not available to the vast majority of Americans (and let’s leave out the long-term unemployed who have decided, “Well, fuck it. May as well stay home”). It’s a choice that’s available only to a select minority of the people of this country that does so little to actually help parents.

[...]  But, you know, sure, raising kids is work, a lot of work, constant work. That’s something we can’t deny. Still, it’s work that parents chose to do by having children, so, you know, don’t fucking complain. And when someone says it’s not a job, suck it up. It’s not a fucking job. It’s a privilege, one that millions of parents would love to be able to have but can’t because they don’t have the means of Ann Romney.

Read it all…

Mitt Romney in 1994: “This is a different world than it was in the 1960s when I was growing up. When you used to be able to have mom at home and dad at work. Now mom and day both have to work.” 

I guess he could have added: Well, MY children’s mom doesn’t have to work but YOURS probably does… heheh!

Jessica Valenti at The Nation agrees with Rosen,

There’s no doubt that Rosen, a CNN contributor and Democratic political consultant, made a gaffe in providing such a juicy sound bite. But her message—in context—was right on. Rosen was responding to Mitt Romney’s constant trotting out of Ann when he gets a question on women’s issues:

What you have is Mitt Romney running around the country saying, well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.

Guess what, his wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we—why do we worry about their future?

There’s nothing there about stay-at-home moms, or the idea that that raising children isn’t work. Rosen was referring to the fact that Ann Romney—an incredibly rich and elite woman—likely does not understand the economic concerns of most American women. Again, it was unfortunate choice of words—but she wasn’t wrong.

[...]  Focusing on this slip-up just brings more attention to the way in which a Romney presidency wouldn’t support mothers. Because empty platitudes about motherhood “being the hardest job in the world” doesn’t change the reality of most moms’ lives, or make their job any easier.

But it’s not just that Romney is bad for women (whether they work outside the home or not). What’s being lost in this conversation is the incredibly facile and insulting notion that just because a woman made the decision to marry Romney and occasionally talk to him about other women, that he is somehow well-informed on women’s issues. Ann Romney is not an expert on women’s issues just because she happens to be one. And she’s not an expert in what mothers need just because she has children. Believing otherwise is infantilizing and reduces women’s very important and complex concerns to beauty parlor chitchat.

Unfortunately, female conservative base voters will take their party’s empty platitudes and tell themselves to be grateful they’re given that much. Politics above all. Gay people might get married.

I said this to a commenter yesterday,

Money can’t buy health or happiness, but it can at least buy medical care and some measure of comfort for the pain and suffering. And at a certain level of wealth, naturally you’re going to get the best medical care that money can buy.

So I have difficulty understanding how Ann Romney — a breast cancer survivor and diagnosed with MS — could support her husband’s position to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood clinics and do away with Obamacare, especially with its provision that insurance companies can’t reject women with pre-existing conditions, like breast cancer or Multiple Sclerosis. There are American women with little or no means who utilized PP for early breast cancer screening. There are women (and men, and children) who can’t get insured or can’t afford the premiums because of pre-existing conditions. I wonder where is Ann’s empathy for other people, who aren’t married to a vastly wealthy man, but who suffer from health issues just as serious as her own.

And THAT’S another reason why Ann Romney as no idea (nor will she ever) about the concerns of average working women. More importantly, that’s why her husband is completely clueless if Ann and her “ladies who lunch” crew are going to be Mitt’s standard for American women and what he knows about them in general.

Comedy relief: Eddie Murphy from 20 years ago in his concert film “Raw,” on the work that goes into being a wealthy stay at home mom (Warning: language!):