Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 5.6.2012

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

BRYAN FISCHER of the American Family Association loudly and gleefully mocks Mitt Romney’s questionable masculinity — Fischer spearheaded the charge to oust openly-gay adviser Richard Grenell from the Romney campaign. Fischer: “Let me ask you this question, people have raised this question, if Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, coopted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership. I don’t think for one minute that Mitt Romney did not want this guy gone; he wanted this guy gone because there was not one word of defense, not a peep, from the Romney camp to defend him. They just went absolutely stone cold silent, they put a bag over Grenell’s head, they even asked him to organize this phone conference and they didn’t even let him speak at the conference that he organized.” — Bob Cesca

  • PANDER-MODE: The resignation of Richard Grenell, the recently appointed and openly gay foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, was as sudden as it was shocking. It was also yet another disturbing sign that the Romney campaign is still in pander mode when it comes to the anti-gay right. Which is exactly the wrong direction for the presumptive GOP nominee to be moving in. Because according to a wide variety of poll data, Republican voters, unlike most of the politicians vying for their support, largely support gay rights. — David Lampo

WEALTHY PEOPLE FACTOID: The Bluegrass Boondoggle gives a special tax break to millionaire horse owners, costing the government $126 million over 10 years. Though McConnell now decries wasteful spending, he publicly touted the millionaire-only earmark in 2008, and the GOP has done everything it can to preserve the tax break since. The House GOP budget, which gives massive tax breaks to the rich that Republicans say will be paid for by closing tax loopholes, doesn’t touch the Bluegrass Boondoggle. — On Derby Day, How Republicans Help Millionaire Horse Owners Pay Less In Taxes

MITT ROMNEY promises to create eleventeen million jobs (and everyone will have servants) — Incidentally, since Romney is proposing a complete return to Bush economic policies, it might be interesting to note the average rate of job creation during Bush’s first 7 years in the White House — that is, his record even if you ignore the catastrophe at the end. And that average monthly rate, from the BLS, was … drum roll … 66,000. – Paul Krugman

FAMILY VALUES and one Republican’s magic sperm — Back in 2010, conservative politician Bill Johnson (R-Ala.) was focused on running for the governor. Two years later, his wife claims he is moving to the other side of the world to fancy a different lifestyle. In a Sunday interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kathy Johnson told the newspaper that her husband has returned to the southwestern Pacific island where he made headlines in December 2011 for allegedly donating sperm to lesbian couples. “He is obsessed with this,” the former Miss America finalist told the Herald. “He doesn’t want to stop.” [...] In Sunday’s New Zealand Herald interview, Kathy told the paper that Bill had donated sperm to women wanting children at least 50 times over a handful of months. Former Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate ‘Obsessed’ With Sperm Donation

PAT ROBERTSON describes how God directed him to build the Christian Broadcasting Network (Unfortunately ‘God’ is what Robertson calls the next door neighbor’s evil dog, who talks to him whenever he’s in the backyard) — Pat Robertson delivered a speech as part of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” where he described how God directed him to create CBN during a gathering of people at Cape Henry, where Christopher Newport’s ships made landfall in 1607. — rightwingwatch.org

THE LIBERAL MEDIA Sunday Show lineup: Five shows and only one woman was invited to represent over half of humanity, and CBS’ Face the Nation wisely chose Michele Bachmann for that job. And ABC This Week has a very special guest, one who very rarely makes tv appearances, so get your Tivo ready: John McCain! — TPM

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

CAMPAIGN KICKOFF: It’s still about hope, it’s still about change — “Over and over again, they’ll tell you that American’s down now, and they’ll tell you who to blame, and ask if you’re better off that you were before the worst crisis in our lifetime,” Obama said. “We’ve seen that play before, but you know what, the real question. The question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children is not just about how we’re doing today, but how we’ll be doing tomorrow.” Obama also drew a sharp contrast with Mitt Romney, arguing that he is a stooge of Republicans in Congress, bent on cutting taxes for the rich and cutting spending on everyone else. “Republicans in Congress have found a nominee who is willing to rubber stamp this agenda,” Obama said, trying to tie Romney to the most unpopular institution in America. Mocking Romney’s declaration that corporations are people last year, Obama said, “I don’t care how many different ways you try to explain it, corporations aren’t people. People are people!” — Buzzfeed

  • OBAMA SAID Romney called it “tragic” to end the war in Iraq and doesn’t want a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan. “After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own,” Obama said. On Medicare, Obama said he would “never” allow it to become a voucher program, and defended his health care overhaul. And he explicitly made the election in part a referendum on the rights of women — from health insurance to birth control. “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose or getting rid of Planned Parenthood or taking away affordable access to birth control,” he said. “I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons…We are not turning back the clock…We are moving forward!” — Obama Kicks Off Campaign With a Roar

JOE BIDEN endorses same-sex marriage — Biden made his remarks during an appearance on Meet the Press, telling host David Gregory that he is “absolute comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women.” He added, however, that “the President sets the policy.” Biden has backed equal rights for the LGBT community throughout his career, but this is the first time he has publicly acknowledged his support of full marriage rights. — ThinkProgress

BILL CLINTON robo-calls in opposition to NC Amendment One –


image: Daily Kos

Thursday morning’s 6 partially interesting things

1) The GOP “presidential” candidates

  • Rick Santorum’s Southern Strategy: It’s Me, Stupid. – Well, there’s no question about it now. Rick Santorum — and have I mentioned recently what a colossal dick he is? — loves Jesus, and Jesus loves him, and so do all the people who love Jesus, and whom Jesus loves, down in the deep old South, where once they thought all Catholics had cloven hooves, horns on their heads, and Notre Dame sweaters covering their black and evil Papist hearts. Eight out of every 10 Mississippians who voted in that state’s primary on Tuesday were white evangelical, or born-again, Christians. [...] For all the post-game analysis of whether or not Santorum is now clearly “the real conservative” alternative to Romney…The basic argument is not about being “the real conservative” per se; it’s about being “the real conservative” as “conservative” is defined by a shoeless, Bible-banging, anti-intellectual, woman-hating, sex-maddened Republican base. And, for the moment, that is Santorum in full.
  • What Mitt SHOULD say: The Liberation of Willard Romney: A Game Plan, by Charles P. Pierce – “Okay, so let me tell you about myself. I’m not one of you. I’m moderately pro-life. I believe that gay people are human, too, and that, maybe, there ought to be a way for them to get married. I am not what I have been pretending to be all these months. I am nowhere near as stupid and retrograde as you have to pretend to be in this primary, okay? Right now, bitches, you’ve got a gender gap that looks like the Gates of Hercules because Santorum — and have Pierce and I told you recently what a colossal dick that guy is? — is a sheet-sniffing, diaphragm-hunting male nun. You’re losing two generations of Hispanic voters because you keep lining up behind immigration laws that seem to have been drawn up in Nuremberg. How’s that going to work out for you in 2016, or 2012? You really want to be the party of angry white people in lawn chairs? I am the Massachusetts moderate, bitches, and I’ve got the money to make it work. [...] It’s not my fault that longtime Republican solutions have been recast in the fetid reaches of The Base’s hive-mind as creeping socialism. It’s not my fault you turned ignorant poo-flinging into a national strategy. …You want the entire campaign to be about either Gingrich’s grandiose daydreams, or about Rick Santorum’s pursuit of the unauthorized use of the penis? One guy wants to be Caesar Augustus and the other one wants to be Pius IX. Is that really what you want? …So, yeah, I’m not going to be what the Bible-bangers want. You know why? Because there aren’t enough of them to win the election, and I’m sick of throwing good money after bad trying to win the hearts and the not-entirely-functioning minds of a bunch of people who see Jesus in their cereal bowls every morning. They can come along if they want to, but I’m not doing this born-again shuck-and-jive for their amusement any more. Why? “Because I’m Mitt Romney, bitches, and I’m all you got left.” Sources have told the blog it is unlikely that the Romney campaign will adopt this strategy.
  • Ann Coulter doesn’t consider Sarah Palin to be some “dream candidate” for a GOP brokered convention – Coulter said that might be a weakness in the Republican Party as a whole — that certain individuals become celebrities and are allowed to profit off that status and yet still interfere in GOP politics, which Democrats have been able to avoid.“And just a more corporate problem is I think our party and particularly our movement, the conservative movement, does have more of a problem with con men and charlatans than the Democratic Party,” she said. “I mean, the incentives seem to be set up to allow people — as long as you have a band of a few million fanatical followers, you can make money. The Democrats have managed to figure out how not to do that.”

2) The 21st Century Republican (tea)Party / American Theocracy

  • Is this what the wingnuts call the DOE’s liberal indoctrination? Iowa students shocked as high school assembly descends into homophobic rant – At first students at Dunkerton High School, Iowa, seemed grateful for this musical break from the norm – albeit with Christian-themed lyrics denouncing the evils of drugs, alcohol and violence. But things took a turn for the worse when the event veered into an impassioned and unfocused rant against homosexuality, abortion and sex before marriage. After his band Junkyard Prophet left the stage, drummer and preacher Bradlee Dean took the microphone, separating the crowd into boys, girls and teachers. Mr Dean is the president of the ministry You Can Run But You Cannot Hide International, which is listed by civil rights organisation the Southern Poverty Law Center as an active anti-gay hate group. [...] Students found themselves faced with graphic images of aborted foetuses, while girls were instructed to obey their husbands.Parent Jennifer Littlefield told the LaCrosse Tribune: ‘They told my daughter, the girls, that they were going to have mud on their wedding dresses if they weren’t virgins.’ || Just like Jesus!! 
  • Because nothing happens timely in the GOP-led House anymore: Senate passes highway bill, but rough road ahead – House Speaker John Boehner (R) of Ohio has said he will take up the Senate bill “or something like it” this month, unless Republicans can come to terms on their own version. Rifts in GOP ranks have scuttled two other bills – one a five-year plan and the other an 18-month offering. [...]Should the bill pass as something similar to the current Senate version, it will have a number of improvements that will boost business, say many policy observers. The bill consolidates federal transportation programs from roughly 100 down to a third as many. It speeds up the delivery of projects by cutting back on regulations. It offers more flexibility to states to partner with the private sector on infrastructure projects like privately funded roads.

3) President Obama / Democrats

  • Notice how many Republican primaries have required photo IDs? Pennsylvania Democrats say ‘misguided’ voter ID law wastes $11 million – The law requires voters in the state to present a photo ID when they cast ballots in federal, state and local elections. The Pennsylvania Budget and Policy Center estimated the legislation would cost $11 million. In order to withstand legal challenges, the state must provide photo IDs for free, notify and educate voters about the new voting restrictions, hire more election staff, and purchase additional photo ID equipment. “Republicans should have spent their time working on legislation to create jobs instead of engaging in a political power grab,” Burn added. “Despite the Republicans’ attempts to silence voters, Democrats will ensure that every voter in Pennsylvania will have their voices heard in 2012 and beyond.” Republican Gov. Tom Corbett has said he would sign the bill into law.
  • Obama Wins The Crucial British Vote At State Dinner – Cameron, in town to promote the renewed “special relationship” between Britain and and the United States, expounded on Obama’s “strength,” “moral authority” and “wisdom,” and compared him to President Theodore Roosevelt. “He’s found a new voice for America with the Arab people,” Cameron said. The Prime Minister also spotlighted Obama’s leadership in the killing of Osama Bin Laden, a key component of the president’s reelection message. “The president says what he will do and he sticks to it. I’ll never forget that phone call on Libya when he told me exactly what role America would play in Libya and he delivered his side of the bargain to the letter… Let us all agree that the world is better off without bin Laden but the world is better off without Gadhafi too.”
  • Obama hails ‘indispensable’ U.S. alliance with Britain – But both men were forced to dwell on the terrible human costs of war, with sharp questions looming about the justification for more combat in Afghanistan and the possibility of new Middle East combat over Iran’s nuclear program. Obama and Cameron conspicuously used a joint press conference to try to convince weary American and British voters that recent sacrifices in Afghanistan had wrought “real progress” towards a future secure state. The US leader went on the record for the first time to back NATO’s planned transfer to a support role in 2013 before a full withdrawal the next year, though said there would be no sudden unscheduled drawdowns in coming months.

4) “Shock Blob” Rush Limbaugh

  • imageLimbaugh: Judging Miss America proves I’m not anti-woman – “I have affectionately referred to the NOW gang as the NAGs, the National Organization of Gals, for over 15 years,” Limbaugh said on Wednesday. “And the head NOW-gang babe was asked what she thinks about that yesterday on television after 15 years. Outraged! They are outraged!” “Now, how can I be anti-woman?” he asked. “I even judged the Miss America pageant.” After the pageant, former Miss America-turned-Fox News host Gretchen Carlson asked Limbaugh how he responded to critics who said that someone with his track record had no business judging women in a beauty pageant. “I’m a huge supporter of women!” the radio host declared. “What I’m not is a supporter of liberalism. Feminism is what I oppose and feminism has led women astray. I love women. I don’t know where this gets started.” “I love the women’s movement — especially when walking behind it.”
  • When Rush Limbaugh turned the tide – In this video unearthed by James Carter, the women of the 1994 Republican freshman class then met at the Heritage Foundation and made a special presentation of gratitude to another hero of theirs, Rush Limbaugh. Congresswoman Barbara Cubin of Wyoming told Limbaugh: “Talk radio, with you in the lead, is what turned the tide, Rush, and we know that. You were the voice that everyone else could follow.” The lawmakers promised there wasn’t a “feminazi amongst us.” They gave Limbaugh a placque reading “Rush was right” and a copy of Gingrich’s Contract with America. Accepting their applause, Limbaugh told them, “Thank you all very much. This my kind of ‘Year of the Woman.'”
  • Rush Limbaugh’s woes not ending any time soon – Rush Limbaugh’s problems have staying power. So says the traditional media—in this case, ABC News. Their evidence is Premiere Network’s decision to pull all of its barter ads, the ads they provide to affiliates in exchange for airing the program, for two weeks.Premiere is obviously hoping the scandal just blows over and they can get that revenue back. But with Limbaugh rolling out ever-more crackpot theories and complaints about how he was set up to spend three hours a day for three solid days calling Sandra Fluke a “slut” and “prostitute,” that might not happen. National advertisers maybe aren’t going to want to be associated with a vulgar misogynist who also happens to be a crackpot conspiracy theorist. There’s also the little problem of how much the non-ditto head population (i.e., the majority) hates him. The PPP poll for Daily Kos found that 58 percent of the populate has a negative view of him, and 70 percent find his remarks about Fluke inappropriate, and an earlier Harris poll found him America’s least favorite political pundit.

5) GOP’s War on Women

  • What’s wrong with the Republican Party? ONLY 3 In 10 Republicans Want Limbaugh Fired – Thirty percent of Republicans think that Rush Limbaugh should be off the air following his sexist attack on Sandra Fluke, according to a new Bloomberg poll. Just yesterday, ThinkProgress reported that only 29 percent of likely voters believe Limbaugh’s apology was sincere. According to today’s poll, “men are split over whether the radio host should be let go from his job — 49 percent say so, while 47 percent disagree. Fifty-six percent of women support the move compared with 39 percent who don’t.” Since Limbaugh’s tirade just two weeks ago, 140 companies pulled their ads from Limbaugh’s show.
  • imageDid Anyone In Conservative Media Actually Read Or Listen To Sandra Fluke’s Testimony? – Conservative media figures, led by Rush Limbaugh, have continually distorted and exaggerated the content of Sandra Fluke’s testimony before Democratic members of Congress. They have gone so far afield of Fluke’s actual testimony that it often appears as if they never actually watched or read it. Here are some of the conservative claims about Fluke’s testimony, along with what she actually said.
  • Romney vows end to Planned Parenthood funding –  As the former governor sees it, the way to improve the deficit is to cut taxes, increase military spending, and block access to contraception, family planning services, pap smears, cancer screenings, and tests for sexually-transmitted diseases. … It’s also worth noting that Republican support for Planned Parenthood was the norm for nearly a half-century. Barry Goldwater and George H.W. Bush championed the health organization; Reagan never balked at PP funding in the budget; and none of this was considered controversial in the slightest. There’s no clearer example of the GOP’s shift to the extreme than its newfound disgust for Planned Parenthood. But the point I keep coming back to is Romney himself having supported the health organization, including having attended a Planned Parenthood fundraiser. Overnight, the DNC put together this video, going on the offensive over the issue.

6) Misc

  • How Congress Helps Republicans, But Not Democrats, Weather Bad Economies (Charts) – Republicans like to portray Democrats as big spenders. But the truth is more complicated. Democratic Congresses were pliant under Reagan and the first Bush, and thus federal spending (particularly military spending under Reagan) grew dramatically. For Bush 41, this trend didn’t hold when he needed it and he lost his re-election bid amid a weak economy. Working with a Republican Congress, George W. Bush too presided over a major increase in federal spending. This, along with the large tax cuts he passed in 2001 and 2003, exploded federal deficits, but also likely helped him through the economic hard times at the beginning of his first term. Clinton and Obama, who both lost control of the federal purse strings to an intransigent opposing party halfway through their first terms, were comparatively hamstrung. Politically, this proved to be a much bigger problem for Obama than it was for Clinton — Obama, after all, inherited a historic financial and economic crisis. But Obama’s economy is finally picking up on its own, and just in time. This Congress isn’t about to give him a hand…
  • Poll: Americans Favor Diplomacy Over Israeli Attack On Iran – But only one in four Americans favor Israel launching a military strike against Iran’s nuclear program, according to a new University of Maryland poll. Seven out of 10 respondents believe the U.S. and other world leaders should continue to pursue negotiations with Iran. President Obama called for continued diplomacy in a joint press conference with British Prime Minister David Cameron on Wednesday. Cameron agreed. Only one in five respondents believe a strike against Iran would delay its ability to develop a nuclear weapon for more than five years, according to the poll. And about half of Americans polled believe the conflict would go on for years.

  • George Clooney draws a crowd at the Senate – Clooney, a dedicated human rights advocate, was in Sudan last week to view the destruction caused by the Sudan military’s bombing in the border area. At the hearing, Clooney—sporting a salt-and-pepper beard— urged the committee to go after the regime’s bank accounts and his project to use satellites to track military movements and attacks and shine a spotlight on them. He’s being joined on the panel by veteran Africa expert John Prendergast of the Enough Project. A source said the line outside the hearing room could best be described as “orderly but enthusiastic.” || Note: look at the sheer happiness on the faces of the ladies behind him! haha.

Wednesday morning’s 6 marginally interesting things

1) Rick Santorum

  • Santorum wins in Mississippi and Alabama – Former senator Rick Santorum (Pa.) pulled out narrow wins in the Alabama and Mississippi presidential primaries Tuesday, bolstering his claim to being the conservative alternative to Republican front-runner Mitt Romney. “We did it again,” Santorum told cheering supporters in Lafayette, La.; that state will hold its primary March 24. “Who would have thought . . . that ordinary folks from across this country can defy the odds day in and day out?”

2) Mitt Romney

  • Romney Blows Another Chance To Seal The Deal - It’s clear your candidate didn’t have a great night when you have to go on CNN and remind viewers not to forget about the American Samoa caucuses. And Eric Fehrnstrom — the senior Mitt Romney aide who found himself in that precarious position Tuesday night — would probably admit: this was not a great night for his candidate. Despite early attempts to temper expectations for Romney’s performance in Alabama and Mississippi, tight polls and the candidate’s own election-eve bravado created the illusion of an open door — another chance to seal the deal with a big, hard-fought win.
  • Mitt Romney Said He Was Going to Win Alabama – Making it worse, his advisor Eric Fehrnstrom told CNN tonight: “I don’t think anybody expected Mitt to win Alabama or Mississippi. As Mitt said, this was an away game for him, and I think that’s absolutely true.”
  • Romney: Forever Awkward / Tone deaf – Mornin’, y’all,” said Mitt Romney recently to a Mississippi crowd. He started his day off right, he said, with “a biscuit and some cheesy grits.” That would be cheese grits, but never mind. Would Romney greet an audience at a Jewish Community Center with: “Oy vey, did I ever enjoy my loxies and bagels this morning!”? Or African Americans with: “Yo, dawg, wassup?” Actually, yes, he might. Forever tattooed in the memory is the image of Romney approaching an African American baby at a 2008 Martin Luther King Jr. Day parade. Pointing to the baby’s necklace, he said: “What’s happening? You got some bling-bling here!”

3) Your 21st Century Republican Party / American Theocracy

  • McConnell: I’m Filibustering Seventeen Judges Because Reid Made Republicans ‘Look Bad’ – McCONNELL: It is highly unlikely any of these district judges are not going to be confirmed. We’ve done a number of them this year. We’ve done seven this year. District judges are almost never defeated. This is just a very transparent attempt to try to slam dunk the minority and make them look like they are obstructing things they aren’t obstructing. We object to that. We don’t think that meets the standard of civility that should be expected in the Senate. And, so, any effort to make the minority look bad or attempt to slam dunk them that is sort of manufactured as this is is gonna, of course, be greeted with resistance.
  • PA Passes The Most Anti-Democratic, Anti-Environmental Law in The Country - Pennsylvania, where the Declaration of Independence and U.S. Constitution were signed and where the U.S. coal, oil and nuclear industries began, has adopted what may be the most anti-democratic, anti-environmental law in the country, giving gas companies the right to drill anywhere, overturn local zoning laws, seize private property and muzzle physicians from disclosing specific health impacts from drilling fluids on patients. The draconian new law, known as Act 13, revises the state’s oil and gas statutes, to allow oil companies to drill for natural gas using the controversial process known as hydraulic fracturing or fracking, where large volumes of water and toxic chemicals are pumped into vertical wells with lateral bores to shatter the rock and release the hydrocarbons. The law strips rights from communities and individuals while imposing new statewide drilling rules.
  • Romney Promises To ‘Get Rid Of’ Planned Parenthood’s Funding – ”The test is pretty simple. Is the program so critical, it’s worth borrowing money from china to pay for it?” Romney said of federal programs. “And on that basis of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that. The subsidy for Amtrack, I’d eliminate that. The National Endowment for the Arts, the National Endowment for the Humanities.”Planned Parenthood Action Fund’s Dawn Laguens responds: When Mitt Romney says he wants to ‘get rid’ of Planned Parenthood, he means getting rid of the preventive health care that three million people a year rely on for cancer screenings, birth control, and other preventive care. This is dangerous and out of step with what most Americans want. Mitt Romney simply can’t be trusted when it comes to women’s health. He supports so-called “personhood laws, opposes making birth control affordable and accessible, and wants to undermine women’s health care… [RSRomney attended a fundraiser for Planned Parenthood in 1994 and his wife donated to the group from their joint checking account.

4) Womenfolk (make me a sandwich!)

  • Another Religious Freedom® Law Will Allow Employers to Fire Women for Using Whore Pills - A proposed new law in Arizona would give employers the power to request that women being prescribed birth control pills provide proof that they’re using it for non-sexual reasons. And because Arizona’s an at-will employment state, that means that bosses critical of their female employees’ sex lives could fire them as a result. [...] Yesterday, a Senate Judiciary Committee endorsed Republican Debbie Lesko‘s HB2625 by a vote of 6-2, which would allow an employer to request proof that a woman using insurance to buy birth control was being prescribed the birth control for reasons other than not wanting to get pregnant. It’s all about freedom, she said, echoing everyone who thinks there’s nothing ironic about claiming that a country that’s “free” allows people’s bosses to dictate what medical care is available to them through insurance. [...] Further, Lesko states, with a straight face, that this bill is necessary because “we live in America; we don’t live in the Soviet Union.” [image: WWJD]
  • Obama team hits Romney for ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood comment “Planned Parenthood is a vital health care provider for millions of American women, giving them affordable access to life-saving services like mammograms and cervical cancer screenings,” she added. “Even more offensive is that he would justify on fiscal grounds the elimination of Planned Parenthood, which represents 0.01% of the federal budget, even as he proposes a $5 trillion tax plan that would give massive tax breaks to millionaires and billionaires. Whether it’s his support for the Blunt amendment, which would allow any employer to drop coverage for health care services like contraception because of personal beliefs, or these extreme comments today, it’s clear that American women cannot trust Mitt Romney to stand up for them.”
  • imageFLASHBACK: Limbaugh To “Feminazi[s]“: Love Your Body, “Because Nobody Else Does” – Rush Limbaugh is a pioneer in American misogyny: He popularized the use of the slur “feminazi” against women who seek to be treated equally in our society. Although he originally claimed that the word referred to “a specific type of feminist” and that there were “not many of them,” Limbaugh has routinely used it to attack feminists, abortion-rights advocates, and progressive women alike. In October 2008, he dragged out the slur to attack the National Organization for Women (NOW) for promoting “Love Your Body Day.” In a press release on its website, NOW said the day marked “another year in our campaign to educate and encourage women and girls to say ‘no’ to negative stereotypes and ‘yes’ to awareness, health, and a positive body image.”

5) President / Democratic Party

  • Obama files trade case against China, warns Beijing on ‘skirting the rules’ - China produces at least 90 percent of “rare earths,” and U.S. officials charge that it imposes export restrictions that unfairly raise the prices paid by non-Chinese firms that need those raw materials, making these less competitive on global markets. “We want our companies building those products right here in America. But to do that, American manufacturers need to have access to rare earth materials which China supplies. Now, if China would simply let the market work on its own, we’d have no objections. But their policies currently are preventing that from happening,” Obama said, stressing that the high-tech manufacturing at stake is “too important for us to stand by and do nothing.” The decision struck another blow at China at a time when U.S. lawmakers and other critics of Beijing accuse the rising economic giant of unfair competition that costs U.S. jobs, notably in manufacturing.
  • AFL-CIO ‘enthusiastically’ endorses Obama for reelection – Leaders of the influential AFL-CIO labor federation announced Tuesday it voted “proudly and enthusiastically” to endorse President Obama’s reelection effort. “We feel that he’s put forth bold initiatives and put people back to work, put revenues back in the country, put out a vision that expresses opportunity and fairness,” said Gerald W. McEntee, president of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees. “We think he’s a good man.” The council spoke to Obama by telephone during its closed-door session, in which the president sounded “very engaged, very knowledgeable,” according to McEntee, who serves as chair of the AFL-CIO’s political education committee. The vote, among the AFL-CIO’s 57 member executive council, was unanimous.
  • Texas Democrats Look To Secure Alternative Federal Funding For Planned Parenthood In The State – Democratic lawmakers are trying to find alternative ways to keep Planned Parenthood clinics in Texas afloat just one day before the state officially bans the organization from receiving funding through the joint state-federal Women’s Health Program. Tomorrow, a new rule goes into effect stopping any clinic affiliated with an abortion provider from receiving WHP funds, and federal officials have said they will cut off funding to the state program if Texas bans Planned Parenthood from WHP. If the program stops, 130,000 women will lose their access to affordable health care.
  • Obama considers quicker exit from Afghanistan after Kandahar massacre – The president had those words for reporters from the White House this week, and echoed those sentiments again on Monday to KDKA in Pittsburgh. “It’s important for us to make sure that we get out in a responsible way, so that we don’t end up having to go back in,” said Obama. [...] But one day into the aftermath of the Sunday slaying of 16 civilians, the White House says they are looking for a faster way out of Afghanistan, even after already moving up the withdrawal date once in 2012. Prior to the latest episode, the US was expected to send 22,000 troops back to the States by September, leaving around 68,000 to stay until America formally forfeits in 2014. As for those remaining troops, though, Washington is now deciding if they should see an end to their tour as earlier as expected. [image: White House’s Flickr Stream]

6) Misc

  • Taking a time-out from trying to legislate women’s choices, Catholic Church Puts Legal Pressure on Survivors’ Network – Turning the tables on an advocacy group that has long supported victims of pedophile priests, lawyers for the Roman Catholic Church and priests accused of sexual abuse in two Missouri cases have gone to court to compel the group to disclose more than two decades of e-mails that could include correspondence with victims, lawyers, whistle-blowers, witnesses, the police, prosecutors and journalists. [...] “If there is one group that the higher-ups, the bishops, would like to see silenced,” said Marci A. Hamilton, a law professor at Yeshiva University and an advocate for victims of clergy sex crimes, “it definitely would be SNAP. And that’s what they’re going after. They’re trying to find a way to silence SNAP.” [...] William Donohue, president of the Catholic League for Religious and Civil Rights, a church advocacy group in New York, said targeting the network was justified because “SNAP is a menace to the Catholic Church.”
  • Bill Donohue: It’s ‘a Lot Less Expensive’ To Fight Victims Of Pedophile Priests – Donohue was one of the most vocal defenders of the Catholic Church during the height of the church’s pedophile scandal in the early 2000s, and more egregiously, he remains one of the only people to publicly attack the victims and their supporters. During a radio interview in 2009, Donohue downplayed the charges being leveled by victims because “almost everybody who was abused wasn’t raped.” He also dismissed complaints of priests kissing and engaging in “inappropriate sexual talk” to minors as a non-issue, saying that he “think[s] a lot of these people are gold diggers looking to get money from the Catholic Church.”
  • Celebrated war criminal / profiteer and beloved chickenhawk DICK Cheney says CANADA is ‘too dangerous’ for visit – Cheney was set to appear at an event in Toronto on April 24, but canceled on grounds that the risk of trouble from protesters was too great. Cheney’s last Canadian appearance in September of 2011 erupted in violence as protesters swarmed the entrance of the private Vancouver club where the former Bush administration official and Iraq War architect was speaking. The protesters rained down verbal abuse on attendees and, in once instance, choked a security guard. Vice President Cheney was trapped inside the venue for more than seven hours as police in riot gear attempted to disperse the crowd and quell to the resulting melee.
  • Americans hate regulations in the abstract, but love them in the particular – The overwhelming majority of Americans believe that government regulations of the food industry, car safety, workplace safety, prescription drugs, and even environmental protection should either be strengthened or be preserved as they are, with only a small fraction believing they should be reduced. [...] Americans also tend to favor more regulation when asked about specific industries: a plurality believe that the health insurance, energy, banks and big corporations are underregulated.

Tuesday morning’s 6 questionably interesting things

1) YOUR 21ST CENTURY REPUBLICAN PARTY:

  • Lindsey Graham on Afghanistan Civilian Massacre: ‘These Things Happen’ – “No, I believe, one, this is tragic and will be investigated, and that soldier will be held accountable for his actions under the military justice system. Unfortunately, these things happen in war. You had an Israeli soldier kill worshippers by the Dome of the Rock mosque. You just have to push through these things.” Yeah, I’m sure if an Afghan national walked into a shopping mall and slaughtered 16 Americans — including 9 children — Graham’s response would be, “Well, sh*t happens. Onward.”
  • Mississippi and Alabama: is this where brain cells go to die? – In Mississippi only 12% of voters think Obama’s a Christian to 52% who think he’s a Muslim and 36% who are not sure. In Alabama just 14% think Obama’s a Christian to 45% who think he’s a Muslim and 41% who aren’t sure. [...] In Mississippi …only 54% of voters think [interracial marriage] should be legal, while 29% believe it should be illegal. [...] Finally there’s considerable skepticism about evolution among GOP voters in both Alabama and Mississippi. In Alabama only 26% of voters believe in it, while 60% do not. In Mississippi just 22% believe in it, while 66% do not.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher correspondent, Alexandra Pelosi interviews Mississippi residents.
  • Why the former half-term governor matters – In a new video released by the Obama team, viewers are reminded of comments Palin made on the air last week. If you missed the clip, Palin’s scathing criticism of the president was blisteringly stupid, even for her, with the argument that the president is “bringing us back … to days before the Civil War.” Yes, Palin seriously expected Fox News viewers to believe the nation’s first African-American president wants to roll back the clock 150 years, to the days when slavery was legal. [...] I wouldn’t be too surprised if Republican leaders and the Romney campaign ask Palin to take a much lower profile in the coming months. Whether Palin honors the request is another matter. WATCH:


2) MITT ROMNEY

  • Romney will not enroll in Medicare – According to BuzzFeed, Romney, who has advocated for the wealthiest Americans to take lower public insurance benefits, announced through his campaign that he would not be apart of the entitlement program. The former Massachusetts governor and his team have repeatedly stated inaccurate information on Medicare throughout the course of the campaign, including claiming Medicare is going “bankrupt” and accusing President Obama of cutting benefits for seniors through the Affordable Care Act. Romney wants to raise the Medicare’s eligibility age up from 65 by one month per year and eventually tie the age to life expectancy.
  • Mitt Romney May Not Need Medicare, But Seniors Do

  • Romney Rules Out Santorum as Veep – Mitt Romney told Fox News that he would not pick Rick Santorum as his running mate because he’s not conservative enough. Said Romney: “Well, that would preclude, of course, Rick Santorum. Because, I mean, look at his record. I find it interesting that he continues to describe himself as the real conservative. This is the guy who voted against right-to-work. This is the guy who voted to fund Planned Parenthood. This is the person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times? … Rick Santorum is not a person who is an economic conservative to my right.” [image: phroyd]

3) RICK SANTORUM:

  • Santorum’s war on teleprompters – “See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter. Because all you’re doing is reading someone else’s words to people. You’re voting for someone who is going to be the leader of our government. It’s important for you to understand who that person is in their own words, see them, look them in the eye…hear what’s (in their) heart. You’re choosing a leader. A leader isn’t just about what’s written on a piece of paper.” || [MB]: Video of Rick Santorum using a teleprompter last month. [TP]: Santorum’s campaign, like those of almost every other politician, employs speechwriters to help draft his public remarks. So he is likely often “reading someone else’s words.”
  • Santorum co-chair: Romney should ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ – At a press conference on Monday, Rev. O’Neal Dozier, who is an honorary chairman of Santorum’s Florida campaign, said that he was speaking out to “foster and maintain good race relations here in America.” “The Mormon religion is prejudiced against blacks, Jews and native Americans,” Dozier insisted, adding that Romney’s nomination would widen the racial divide because “the Republican Party would be viewed as a racist political party.” “Romney’s nomination would cause the erroneous view that has long existed in the minds of black people that the Republican Party is prejudiced to become a reality. Why? Because Romney will become the face and the leader of the Republican Party.”
  • Santorum: Endangered Species Act puts ‘critters above people’ – “I know that from personal experience in Pennsylvania, and look at the Central Valley of California. There are so many places that we put critters above people. It’s a radical ideology that says we are here to serve the Earth instead of man having dominion over the Earth to serve him and to be a good steward of that Earth. …I accept the fact that the president’s a Christian. I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth like things that are not scientifically proven like the politicization of the whole global warming debate.”
  • “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is,” says Rick Santorum.

4) F&%KING RUSH LIMBAUGH

  • exodusWhat hath Rush wrought? – Limbaugh has become so toxic, major advertisers want to avoid him and other shock jocks who might be as offensive as he is. As John Avlon noted over the weekend, “Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it.” [T]he irony is that the same market forces that right-wing talk-radio hosts champion are helping to seal their fate. Advertisers are abandoning the shows because they no longer want to be associated with the hyperpartisan — and occasionally hateful — rhetoric. They are finally drawing a line because consumers are starting to take a stand. [...] When big money starts shifting, it is a sign of a deeper tide that is difficult to undo, even if you are an industry icon like Rush Limbaugh. It is a sign that the times are changing. The free market at work.
  • Corporate America Turns Its Back On Rush Limbaugh – Watching advertisers flee Limbaugh at an alarming rate last week, Beck must have felt a sense of déjà vu regarding the cavalcade of television sponsors who abandoned him after he insulted the president as a “racist.” (Not to mention a socialist -Marxist -Nazi.) It was an advertising exodus that eventually cost Beck his job at Fox News. Like Beck before him, Limbaugh has announced the mass migration is no big deal. Yet like Beck before him, Limbaugh last week learned the overdue lesson that there are real-world consequences for trafficking in hate speech. The talk titan learned there are free-market penalties, such as when companies like Carbonite and AOL walked away from their existing ad commitment to Limbaugh’s show. [...] Imagine how painful the sting must feel for Limbaugh who practically worships at the alter of big business, to know corporate America, via the beloved free marketplace, has spoken so loudly and so clearly about Limbaugh’s creepy, misogynistic taunts of Sandra Fluke.



  • BREAKING: Rush Limbaugh Syndicator Suspends National Ads For Two Weeks – Radio-Info.com reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates in exchange for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates. But without explanation, Premiere has supended these national advertisements for two weeks. Radio-Info.com calls the move “unusual.” The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.

5) WOMEN:

  • N.C. County Kills Family-Planning Funds – The commissioners didn’t think it was right to use taxpayer money to pay for women who want to have sex for non-procreative purposes. From the Star-News: Chairman Ted Davis said he thought it was a sad day when “taxpayers are asked to pay money for contraceptives” for women having sex without planning responsibly. “If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” Davis said. The New Hanover County decision comes amid a growing debate about contraception and family planning in North Carolina and nationally. Last year, North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature became one of a handful to try and ban state funding for Planned Parenthood.
  • Democrats leading GOP by 25 points among women – A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent. The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not. Of those who said contraception should be included in insurance coverage at no cost, 79 percent agreed that religious institutions should not be exempted from the mandate. Overall, 3 percent more voters sided with Obama administration’s policy requiring religious institutions to include birth control in their insurance plans than those who did not. As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008.

6) MISC

  • South Korean and Russian scientists join to clone woolly mammoth – The South Korean foundation said it would transfer technology to the Russian university, which has already been involved in joint research with Japanese scientists to bring a mammoth back to life. “The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells,” another Sooam researcher, Hwang In-Sung, told AFP. His colleagues would join Russian scientists in trying to find well-preserved tissue with an undamaged gene. By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s somatic cells, embryos with mammoth DNA could be produced and planted into elephant wombs for delivery, he said. Sooam will use an Indian elephant for its somatic cell nucleus transfer. The somatic cells are body cells, such as those of internal organs, skin, bones and blood. “This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals,” Hwang In-Sung said.
  • The Winter That Wasn’t, Part II – This year’s non-winter means an early explosion in bug infestations such as ants, termites, and Lyme disease carrying ticks. But worse than that, it may have wreaked havoc upon the honeybees.
  • CDC Seasonal Flu update – Nine states reported widespread influenza activity (an increase from six states last week). Regional influenza activity was reported by 21 states (an increase from 18 states last week). Twelve states reported local influenza activity (a decrease from 13 states last week). Eight states (a decrease from 12 states last week), the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity. The U.S. Virgin Islands reported no influenza activity.

10 interesting things: TGIF

1) Alabama Republican Senator says low teacher pay is mandated by God – A Republican State Senator from Alabama claimed this week that keeping teacher salaries low is actually an order from the Christian deity figure, imparted in ancient texts written by Jewish tribesmen thousands of years ago. Speaking at a prayer breakfast recently, Alabama state Senator Shadrack McGill praised giving pay raises to politicians, saying that it helps to prevent bribery.

2) Senate approves bill banning insider trading by lawmakers, 96-3 - The Senate voted 96 to 3 Thursday to prohibit members of Congress from using non-public information for personal financial gain but beat back a slew of amendments to further limit congressional perks.

3) Susan G. Komen’s Founder Is Major GOP Donor, Ex-Bush Ambassador – Brinker is also a major Republican donor, and has given more than $175,000 to Republican candidates and the Republican National Committee since 1990, according to donor data compiled by the Center for Responsive Politics. Her late husband, Norman Brinker, was the chairman of Brinker International Restaurants, which owns the chains Chili’s, Maggiano’s, and Macaroni Grill. Norman Brinker gave more than $440,000 to Republicans between 1990 and his death in 2009.

Charities Working to Prevent and Cure Breast Cancer – At Charity Navigator we’ve done the work for you. We’ve reviewed the financial health of over 20 of the largest charities working to fight and prevent breast cancer in America. Although these charities have been very successful at generating support, together raising nearly $1.7 billion annually in contributions, the disparity in their financial health is enormous. (via WWJD)

4) With tax break, corporate rate is lowest in decades - U.S. companies are booking higher profits than ever. But the number crunchers in Washington are puzzling over a phenomenon that has just come into view: Corporate tax receipts as a share of profits are at their lowest level in at least 40 years. Total corporate federal taxes paid fell to 12.1% of profits earned from activities within the U.S. in fiscal 2011, which ended Sept. 30, according to the Congressional Budget Office. That’s the lowest level since at least 1972.

image5)  Pope Is No Tea Partier: Benedict Backs Guaranteed Health Care For All – As newly empowered Republicans prepare a congressional agenda topped by a promise to repeal health care reform, Pope Benedict XVI has strongly reiterated Catholic teaching that universal health care is an “inalienable right” that must be guaranteed by every nation and society. (via: peachsss)

6) Senate Republicans call for two-year pay freeze extension - Senate Republicans on Thursday introduced a bill that would freeze federal pay for another two years and reduce the size of the government by 5 percent through attrition. The legislation is designed to stave off cuts to the Defense Department budget if sequestration takes effect in 2013, and is the latest attempt by lawmakers to reduce federal compensation and shrink the government workforce in the name of deficit reduction.

 7) GOP senators unveil bill to spare Pentagon from automatic defense cuts – The White House and Democrats swiftly rejected the piecemeal approach, arguing that President Barack Obama and congressional Republicans backed the long-term, deficit-cutting plan last August and can’t suddenly abandon it when faced with the dire consequences. [...] The failure of the so-called supercommittee to come up with at least $1.2 trillion in cuts last November will trigger another round of cuts in January 2013 in defense and domestic spending, with the Pentagon facing an additional $492 billion reduction over a decade.

8) Anti-Gay Group Tells JCPenney To Fire New Spokeswoman Ellen DeGeneres – Conservative group OneMillionMoms.com, an offshoot of the American Family Association, doesn’t like that JCPenney has hired Ellen DeGeneres as their new spokeswoman. Not because of her dance moves or jokes on her talk show, but because she’s gay.

9) A quarter of Mitt Romney’s campaign funds come from 41 people – Mitt Romney is just an ordinary man of the people running for president as a voice for the middle class, and if you look at his campaign filings, you’ll see that very clearly: A quarter of the money amassed by Romney’s campaign and an allied super PAC has come from just 41 people, each of whom has given more than $100,000, according to a Washington Post analysis of disclosure data. Nearly a dozen of the donors have contributed $1 million or more.

10) Three times as many voters consider a Trump endorsement negatively – An endorsement by Donald Trump would draw a mixed reaction among Republican and Republican-leaning voters: 20% say they would be less likely to support a candidate backed by Trump, 13% more likely and 64% say it would make no difference. Among all voters, however, more than three times as many would view a Trump endorsement negatively than positively (28% vs. 8%). That is little changed from 2007.

See reactions to the endorsement: Continue reading

Meanwhile, in Alabama

Residents walk around through the debris of their neighborhood after a severe storm ripped through the Trussville, Ala., area in the early hours of Monday, Jan. 23, 2012. Jefferson County sheriff’s spokesman Randy Christian said the storm produced a possible tornado that moved across northern Jefferson County around 3:30 a.m., causing damage in Oak Grove, Graysville, Fultondale, Center Point, Clay and Trussville. — NYDailyNews | Photo: Butch Dill


America’s Poverty Belt

From the Atlantic:

Nationally, 13.8 percent of Americans live in poverty, according to the latest estimates from the U.S. Census. But the geographic pattern varies significantly across states and regions.

The map above, from a Census special briefing report [PDF] released today, maps poverty by state. Immediately apparent is a broad “Poverty Belt” – states where more than three in ten people live in high poverty areas – stretching from West Virginia through Kentucky, Tennessee, Alabama, Mississippi, Arkansas, Louisiana, Oklahoma, New Mexico and Texas.

via: azspot

Interestingly enough, the Poverty Belt overlaps the Bible Belt:

American Bible Belt

The Bible Belt of America:

A Bible Belt is an area which Christian Evangelical Protestantism is a pervasive or dominant part of the culture. In particular, in the United States, it is the region where the Southern Baptist Convention denomination is strongest. It includes the southern states of the Midwest and the entirety of the South.Wikipedia

What’s the correlation between poverty and Christian Evangelism / Fundamentalism in this area of the U.S.? Illegal immigration, religion, politics, unemployment, God’s will… all of the above?

 

Fishing crew reports tar balls in net

KEY WEST — About 12 miles north of Dry Tortugas, the crew on the Mattie Fay hauled up their shrimp catch and got oil.

Tar balls were tangled in their nets with the shrimp. There was tar on the shrimp, tar on their boots, tar on their gloves.

“We just come on in after that,” said Brian Williams, 30, a member of the Mattie Fay crew. “We didn’t drag no more. Once we saw that, we pretty much wrote it off.”

There’s no way to know if the oil the Mattie Fay ran into came from the Deepwater Horizon blowout a few hundred miles away, but the boat’s captain isn’t taking a chance. At a time of year when the Mattie Fay is usually shrimping off the coasts of Mississippi, Alabama and Louisiana, they’re shipping home to Jacksonville on Florida’s east coast. (cont)

[Naples News]