Wednesday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) Poll: Nearly Half Of Americans Say Deficit Primarily Caused By Wealthy Not Paying Enough In Taxes - A plurality of Americans — 46 percent — say the primary cause for the nation’s deficits is that “wealthy Americans don’t pay enough in taxes,” according to a new United Technologies/National Journal Congressional Connection poll. Just three percent blamed too much federal spending on the elderly, and just 14 percent blamed too much federal spending on poor people. Meanwhile, 80 percent oppose cuts to Medicare, 75 percent oppose cuts to Social Security, and nearly two-thirds oppose cuts to Medicaid. Perhaps for those reasons, Americans prefer President Obama’s budget, which raises taxes on the rich and preserves Medicare and Social Security, by a 10-point margin over the one proposed by congressional Republicans.

via: odinsblog

2) TheTruth Behind The GOP’s ‘1000 Days Without A Budget’ Canard - But the much more important fact Republicans have left out is that the Senate passed a budget on an overwhelmingly bipartisan basis last summer — one that unlike an annual “budget resolution” has the force of law behind it. The Budget Control Act — the law that resolved the debt limit fight — set binding appropriations caps for this fiscal year and the next and instituted a mechanism to contain spending on domestic discretionary programs — education, research, community health programs and the like — through the next decade. [...] When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid says it would be redundant for the Senate to pass a budget, this is what he means. Republicans know this.

3) Poll: Catholics approval of Obama mostly unchanged amid birth control battle - Catholics approval of President Barack Obama has remained relatively unchanged despite facing harsh opposition from the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops over new contraception rules. A survey released Tuesday by Gallup found that 46 percent of Catholics approved of Obama last week. A week prior to that his approval was at 49 percent, a change within the margin of error. [...] Facing a backlash from Catholic bishops and their Republican supporters, the White House said last week that it would change the proposed rules by exempting religious hospitals and universities, and instead mandating that insurance companies provide those services.

4) The Internal Contradictions of Mitt Romney - And by “internal”, I mean in the same paragraph: “This week, President Obama will release a budget that won’t take any meaningful steps toward solving our entitlement crisis,” Romney said in a statement e-mailed to reporters. “The president has failed to offer a single serious idea to save Social Security and is the only president in modern history to cut Medicare benefits for seniors”. Yep, Obama has failed to resolve the problem of excessive entitlement spending; furthermore, he’s cutting entitlement spending!

5) Rick Santorum doesn’t want to be typecast as a social conservative - Um, Ricky? Too late. Rick Santorum is hoping to turn the political conversation away from the social and cultural issues that have dominated his quest for the Republican presidential nomination so far and focus instead on the economy as he prepares to compete in the big, recession-plagued battleground state of Michigan. [...] So now, after endless moralizing and sanctimonious preaching against sex for fun, Santorum wants to pretend he’s got something else in his pocket? Ha ha ha! He’s a Republican. His job plan is to cut taxes for Mitt Romney. There. Done. Now that that’s out of the way, he can get back to talking about what he really wants to talk about: Your bedroom.

6) BREAKING: Tentative deal reached on payroll tax cut extension - Congressional negotiators have reached a tentative deal to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment benefits while avoiding a fee cut for Medicare doctors, according to Republican legislators and aides.

7) Meh: Poll finds low enthusiasm for Republican candidates - Most Republicans believe Mitt Romney will be their party’s presidential nominee and that he has the best chance to beat President Barack Obama in November, a national poll released Tuesday found. But the CNN/ORC International poll found little enthusiasm for the former Massachusetts governor’s presidential bid, instead favoring Christian conservative Rick Santorum over Romney, 34 to 32 percent. The poll findings underscored Romney’s failure to ignite his base weeks into a primary season that has seen one candidate after another surge to challenge his de facto frontrunner status, and then lose steam.

Mitt or get off the pot - Nevertheless, he’s probably right that the GOP is running out of fools, that’s it’s quarter-to-three, there’s no one in the place except Rick and Romney, that it’s time for some hot man-on-man action: “We think this is a two-person race right now,” Santorum said on CNN’s “State of the Union” yesterday,“and we’re just focused on — on making sure that folks know we’re the best alternative to Barack Obama and we have the best chance of beating him.” I’ve always said that in this primary, Republican voters love the bad boys. Now it’s come down to a guy who wears sweater vests versus a guy who wears magic underwear. Who’s bad?

8) Wingnuts Furious About … Fox News Going Liberal - What are America’s old white racist exurban cretins on Medicare and Social Security upset about today? Oh, the usual: Obama, liberals, gays, sex, black people, youth, hippies, the poor, the rich, Mexicans, “the hip hop,” Iran, exercise, unemployment, unemployment benefits, vegetables, a talented black woman with addiction problems such as Whitney Houston, [or, now, her young daughter], organic farms, birth control, people having sexual intercourse in general, solar energy, Mormons, national parks, public transportation, Europe, NPR, Media Matters, the New York Times, CNN, MSNBC and Fox News. WAIT WHAT IN THE ??? Yes, Fox News. The wingnuts have spastically lurched from one invented outrage to the next with such shallow furor that they finally wound up enraged about the very teevee channel that tells them what to freak out about.

9) 52% Say GOP Agenda In Congress Is Extreme - While positive ratings for Congress remain at an all-time low, more voters than ever see the Republican agenda in Congress as extreme. The latest Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey finds that 35% of Likely Voters say it would be more accurate to describe the agenda of Republicans in Congress as mainstream, while 52% feel extreme is a more accurate description. Thirteen percent (13%) are not sure.

Monday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) The fight begins: Obama’s budget going to Congress - WASHINGTON (AP) – The new budget that President Barack Obama is sending to Congress aims to achieve $4 trillion in deficit reduction over the next decade by restraining government spending and raising taxes on the wealthy. To help a weak economy, Obama’s proposal Monday requests increases in transportation, education and other areas. While administration officials on Sunday defended the plan as a balanced approach, Republicans belittled the effort as a repeat of failed policies that did too little to attack soaring costs in such programs as Medicare and threatened growth by raising taxes. The debate is almost certain to go all the way to Election Day in November with gridlock keeping Congress from resolving many pressing issues on expiring tax cuts and across-the-board spending cuts until a lame-duck session at year’s end.

Obama’s election-year budget to target rich - (Reuters) – President Barack Obama will propose an election-year budget on Monday that raises taxes on millionaires and seeks billions of dollars for job-creating infrastructure projects, drawing a populist battle line with his Republican opponents. Obama’s fiscal 2013 budget proposal to Congress will defer significant cuts in the deficit until the economy is securely back on track, a priority as he seeks re-election in November, while outlining measures to shrink that funding gap over time.

2) Long Time Coming: Obama’s Approval Rating Goes Positive - It was a long road back, but President Obama is now back in positive territory in our TPM Poll Average. The shift comes on the heels of a completed Iraq withdrawal, a legislative win on the payroll tax cut before Christmas, and perhaps most importantly, good economic numbers in January and early February. The President’s numbers have jumped in the last few days in both Gallup and Rasmussen tracking polls as well as individual national polls.

3) GE to hire 5,000 U.S. veterans, investing in plants - WASHINGTON (Reuters) – General Electric Co plans to hire 5,000 U.S. military veterans over the next five years and to invest $580 million to expand its aviation footprint in the United States this year. The largest U.S. conglomerate unveiled the moves ahead of a four-day meeting it is convening in Washington starting on Monday to focus on boosting the U.S. economy, which has been slow to recover from a brutal 2007-2009 recession.

4) Volcker to Push Back on Banks’ Trading - The former Federal Reserve chairman is expected to file a comment letter on the Volcker rule before a Monday deadline, contending that the U.S. financial system will be safer and healthier with a ban on proprietary trading by banks, according to people familiar with the situation. [...] The former Fed chairman also plans to push back on critics who claim proprietary trading didn’t play a role in the financial crisis, people familiar with his thinking said. Betting with a firm’s own money can cause employees to be more focused on individual profit than the well-being of clients, Mr. Volcker believes.

5) Grassley Asks Holder to Probe Enforcement of Exec Pay in Bankruptcies - Sen. Charles Grassley, the Iowa Republican who introduced broad bankruptcy legislation that became law in 2005, expressed concern that companies might be skirting the law when issuing bonuses and other compensation to executives during Chapter 11 bankruptcy proceedings. “Corporate directors, executives and managers who were at the helm of a company as it spiraled into bankruptcy should not receive bonuses of any kind, let alone excessive bonuses, during a reorganization or liquidation,” Mr. Grassley wrote in a Feb. 7 letter.

6) CPAC settles for Mitt Romney’s ‘severe conservative’ routine - Romney squeaked through CPAC better than expected. He won the straw poll, and his speech on Friday was not greeted with ice-cold hostility. He avoided any spectacularly embarrassing interactions with the ultra-conservative crowd, which could have swung the race from Rick Santorum’s temporary domination – he’s leading the latest national poll by 15 percentage points over Romney, capitalizing on the momentum from his three state wins last Tuesday night – to his permanent command. Was the crowd taking pity on him? Even this black-hearted reporter felt a twinge of agony for Romney as he delivered a speech of forced proto-emotion featuring 24 mentions or variations on the word “conservative”, as though he was dutifully checking off boxes on a presidential nominee’s permit application that no one had asked him to fill out.

7) Rick Santorum’s Anti-Abortion Politics Would Have Killed His Own Wife - Karen Santorum’s difficult pregnancy and resultant life-saving, induced early delivery is no secret; in a 2004 interview with NPR’s Terry Gross, her husband characterized the 1996 procedure as a harrowing but necessary. Karen, in her 19th week of pregnancy, received a risky surgery to save a pregnancy that doctors thought had little chance of survival. After the surgery, she came down with an infection, and doctors told Rick that unless the source of the infection — the fetus — was removed, his wife would die and his already-born children would be motherless. The doctor also told Santorum that his wife’s fetus would not survive outside of the womb. According to Santorum, Karen went into labor as a result of the antibiotics, and then doctors gave her a drug that further induced labor. She delivered, and unfortunately the doctors were right.

8) Fox’s Liz Trotta On Sexual Assault In Military: “What Did They Expect? These People Are In Close Contact” - During a segment about new rules regarding women in the military, Fox News contributor Liz Trotta attacked the Department of Defense for increasing spending on support programs for victims of sexual assault. Trotta also reacted to a Pentagon report showing a 64% increase in violent sexual assaults since 2006 by stating: “Well, what did they expect? These people are in close contact.” Trotta began by claiming “we have women once more, the feminist, going, wanting to be warriors and victims at the same time” and later added that feminists “have also directed them, really, to spend a lot of money. They have sexual counselors all over the place, victims’ advocates, sexual response coordinators. … you have this whole bureaucracy upon bureaucracy being built up with all kinds of levels of people to support women in the military who are now being raped too much.”

9) Republicans undiscover fire - The truth is that the Republicans have nothing to offer. Not even anything that looks like a governing philosophy. Conservatism has moved out of the ranks of political theories and simply become a cult; one that requires that certain phrases be mouthed, that certain hatreds be nourished, and that purity be maintained regardless of cost. That schism with reality is increasingly large and increasingly obvious. They try to paper over that gap by dismissing little things like science, reason, history. Real science fails to support their contentions, so they have to write it off. Reason doesn’t work for them, so any question must be met with red-faced indignity — every question a gotcha question. Real history is full of warts, quirks, and unfortunate truths that don’t fit their ritualized beliefs. So they have to try to rewrite history, giving us rewrite Reagan who never raised a tax or increased a debt, rewrite FDR who created the issues he actually solved, rewrite Lincoln who championed the Confederate cause, rewrite founding fathers who never owned slaves, never supported government regulation of the economy, never wavered in their ardent love for a form of religiosity that didn’t yet exist. Tricorner hats are the new tinfoil.

Watch: The Truth About GOP Hero Ayn Rand

Saturday morning’s 9 interesting things

1) CPAC Racist Rap (or EVERYTHING you need to know about CPAC in one video)  - Yet another jaw-dropping moment from CPAC, as right wing “comedians” Steven Crowder and Chris Loesch perform an absolutely nauseating “rap” song, wearing “founding fathers” powdered wigs. And don’t miss what happens at about the 2 minute mark, as an African American walks out. Yes, they’re yelling the N word, pretending they’re saying “knickers.”  Right wing humor:

2) Romney Brags AT CPAC: ‘We Prevented Massachusetts From Becoming The Las Vegas Of Gay Marriage’ - “…I successfully prohibited out- of-state couples from coming to our state to get married and then going home. On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage. When I am president, I will defend the Defense of Marriage Act, and I will fight for an amendment to our Constitution that defines marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.” [...] In 1994, while running for a seat in the Senate, Romney told the GOP group Log Cabin Republicans, “We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern.”

3) Mitt Overdoes It At CPAC - In his address this afternoon, Romney boasted, “I fought against long odds in a deep blue state, but I was a severely conservative Republican governor. …[...] The awkward phrasing reminded Erick Erickson of this bit from Chris Orr in 2008: It occurred to me that the same is true of Romney’s desperate, if never terribly persuasive, impersonation of a conservative Republican. That persona–angry, simple-minded, xenophobic, jingoistic–is exactly what Romney (who is himself cultured, content, and cosmopolitan) imagines the average GOP voter to be. || Note: lol, Romney isn’t the only one who imagines the average GOP that way (see video above).

4) GOP Won’t Yield on Millionaire Surtax in Payroll Deal - House Speaker John Boehner today urged Democrats to come to terms with Republicans on a year-long extension to the payroll tax cut, as negotiations between conferees struggle to yield progress on a path towards a deal. At his weekly news conference, the speaker once again suggested that Democrats should give up on a proposed tax hike on millionaires to pay for the extensions, which Democrats have persistently called for it to cover the cost of the extensions.

5) Rick Santorum: Women Are Capable Of ‘Flying Small Planes’ - In the past 24 hours, Santorum [has] accused Obama of helping Iran acquire nuclear weapons; suggested that male soldiers are incapable of controlling their emotions around female comrades in combat; and said women are better suited to “flying small planes.”

6) White House Seeks To Mute Catholic Uproar Over Contraception Rule - On Friday, President Obama announced the plan… But if a religious institution declines to provide coverage that includes contraceptive services, “the insurance company will be required to reach out directly and offer her contraceptive coverage free of charge.” The administration argues further that because contraceptive services prevent the costs of unintended pregnancies, the rule comes with no financial costs to either the insurer or religious employer. A similar rule resulted in no premium increases in the Federal Employee Health Benefits plan, officials noted, and the White House argues this moots the charge that religious money will be indirectly footing the bill for birth control and other contraception.

7) Anti-Contreceptor, King of the Spermicons, Jumps Into the Lead - If your party’s goal is to make sure every ejaculation has a clear path to its target, it’s Santorum or bust:


8) Obama budget to propose election year spending on jobs, roads - President Barack Obama will project lower deficits and request billions of dollars for infrastructure and jobs in his 2013 budget, laying out a plan he will sell to voters in November, despite Republican criticism of rising federal debts. Obama’s budget proposal, which he will submit to Congress on Monday, will project a $901 billion deficit for fiscal 2013, a sharp drop from the $1.33 trillion funding gap that is predicted for this year, a senior administration official said on Friday. Obama is expected to repeat a call for millionaires to pay a minimum tax rate of 30 percent, while taking aim at the foreign profits of big U.S. corporations. || Note: To which Bob Cesca adds: And by the following Monday, conservapundits will be asking why the president hasn’t introduced a budget.

9) Walker, Van Hollen: Chunk of mortgage settlement going to state budget - Wisconsin will use a chunk of its $140 million share of a national settlement over foreclosure and mortgage-servicing abuses to help the state budget rather than assist troubled homeowners, Gov. Scott Walker and state Attorney General J.B. Van Hollen said Thursday. [...] But of a $31.6 million payment coming directly to the state government, most of that money – $25.6 million – will go to help close a budget shortfall revealed in newly released state projections. Van Hollen, whose office said he has the legal authority over the money, made the decision in consultation with Walker. || Note: *shrug* no surprise. There will be a recall election sometime between April – June, however. If you didn’t vote last time, maybe you will this time?