Rebranding a freakshow when the freaks won’t cooperate

[The GOP's] greatest political strength today is their ability to dominate heavily white areas. — Ruy Teixeira | Think Progress

The Michele Bachmann sideshow is hurting the GOP — Due to a series of gaffes, she is again on the receiving end of criticism, including from Fox News powerhouse Bill O’Reilly. The congresswoman is also, as reported by The Daily Beast’s John Avlon, “embroiled in a litany of legal proceedings related to her rolling disaster of a presidential campaign — including an Office of Congressional Ethics investigation into campaign improprieties.” It’s almost as if Bachmann were a Democratic mole embedded in the Republican Party with the purpose of chasing away a wide range of voters. Her latest sound-bite-producing comment, this time on ObamaCare, begged for audio accompaniment of the Twilight Zone theme. Try to imagine it: “Let’s repeal this failure before it literally kills women, kills children, kills senior citizens. Let’s not do that. Let’s love people. Let’s care about people. Let’s repeal it now while we can.”

Suddenly conservative Christians have a problem with politicizing religion??!? — “It’s sad when clergy egregiously politicize worship,” Mark Tooley, president of the conservative Christian organization Institute on Religion and Democracy, wrote in one of several blogs and articles that have criticized the sermon. “Is this characterization of religious conservatives as racists, chauvinists and bigots really fair and accurate? And if political critique of religious conservatives were appropriate in an Easter sermon, couldn’t León offer a thoughtful analysis rather than snide smugness?”

NRA Still Undermining Weakened Gun Legislation — Last month the Senate Judiciary Committee approved a plan to increase penalties for straw purchases, or buying a gun for someone who can’t pass a background check. According to the Post, NRA lobbyists are pushing a revision that would make it much harder to prosecute gun traffickers: The NRA’s draft language would require law enforcement officials to prove that the straw purchaser had reason to believe the buyer was prohibited from obtaining guns or knew that the buyer intended to commit a crime, according to an analysis of the NRA proposal provided to The Washington Post by the Bloomberg-led mayors group.

Leaving the massive gun-show loophole in place, on purpose – Sen. Jeff Flake (R-Ariz.) said closing the gun-show loophole is “a bridge too far” for most Senate Republicans. He added that the “paperwork requirements alone would be significant.” The nation would like to reduce mass murders, but for some federal lawmakers, “paperwork requirements” have to take precedence? Similarly, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) was asked whether expanded background checks can survive in the Senate. “I don’t think so,” he said. “I don’t think it makes any sense. The current system is broken. Fix the current system.” …that might be possible if Senate Republicans weren’t also blocking ATF from functioning effectively…

  
  
gifset: sandandglass

The Republicans’ Diversity Deserts | Charles Blow — Too many House Republican districts are isolated in naturally homogeneous areas or gerrymandered ghettos, so elected officials there rarely hear — or see — the great and growing diversity of this country and the infusion of energy and ideas and art with which it enriches us. These districts produce representatives unaccountable to the confluence. And this will likely be the case for the next decade. [...] With the exception of a few districts, a map of the areas in this country with the fewest minorities looks strikingly similar to a map of the areas from which Congressional Republicans hail. In fact, although this is the most diverse Congress in history, not one of the blacks or Asians in the House is a Republican. Only about a sixth of the Hispanics are Republicans, and fewer than a third of the women are.

“My father had a ranch. We used to hire 50 to 60 wetbacks to pick tomatoes. You know, it takes two people to pick the same tomatoes now. It’s all done by machine.” — Republican Congressman Don Young from Alaska

Top Critique of GOP is Unwillingness to Compromise — A new Gallup Poll finds rank-and-file Republicans, independents, and Democrats voice the same primary criticism of the GOP: it is “too inflexible” or “unwilling to compromise.” When asked to say what they most dislike about the Republican Party, 26% of Republicans, 17% of independents, and 22% of Democrats offer this critique — leading all other mentions.

From the Department of Outreach — Representative Steve King (R-IA) and Senator Jim InHofe (R-OK) want to ban the federal government from translating documents into other languages. An attempt to codify English as our official language and violate the Voting Rights Act.

Exxon Mobil pipeline leaks ‘a few thousand’ barrels of crude oil in Arkansas — Exxon Mobil said that one of its pipelines leaked ‘a few thousand’ barrels of Canadian heavy crude oil near Mayflower, Ark., prompting the evacuation of 22 homes and reinforcing concerns many critics have raised about the Keystone XL pipeline that is awaiting State Department approval.

Alaska Lawmaker Tells Exxon Valdez Spill Not Its Fault – Alaska is set to give oil companies, including ExxonMobil, a massive tax cut. The bill, which passed the Senate 11-9 and is endorsed by Republican Gov. Sean Parnell, is being debated by the House of Representatives. The plan raises the base tax rate that companies pay no matter the price of oil, and also gives them a $5 credit for every barrel they produce. The plan would cost the state anywhere from $3 billion to $9.5 billion over the next six years. As if that weren’t enough, Republicans in the state House want to make the tax cut even larger. And as they debated doing so, Rep. Kurt Olson (R) told a company representative that Exxon shouldn’t be blamed for the second-worst oil spill in U.S. history, the Exxon Valdez spill in 1989…

Loaded for Bear(shit): Consultants Cash In on Palin — Sarah Palin attempted to relaunch her political career this week with a new video which railed against “the big consultants, the big money men, and the big bad media.” …Seen through the lens of the invaluable Center for Responsive Politics, Palin’s PAC spent $5.1 million in the last election cycle (more than it raised in that time period, raising some questions about Palin’s claims of fiscal responsibility). But the real news comes when you look at how donors’ money was actually doled out: just $298,500 to candidates. The bulk of the rest of it, more than $4.8 million, went to—you guessed it—consultants.

  
The Daily Show | March 27th 2013

“If your boss suddenly decided he had a moral objection to your health insurance plan covering cholesterol medication—and had the power to act on his objection—it would be outrageous invasion of your privacy and the doctor-patient relationship. It’s the kind of thing that no politician would ever want to see happen, unless that politician were a Republican, and instead of needing cholesterol medication, you needed birth control coverage.” — Jed Lewison

Elevating the religious beliefs of some people over the civil rights of all – As in every state, residents of Kentucky already enjoy religious liberty under the First Amendment, but conservatives in the state legislature decided to craft a proposal that would empower Kentuckians with “sincerely held” religious beliefs to disregard state laws and regulations. In effect, if a law conflicted with the tenets of your faith as you interpret them, your conscience would trump your obligation to follow the law…

Tennessee Republicans pushing to cut welfare benefits if kids’ report cards don’t measure up — Tennessee has among the lowest average monthly benefits for a recipient of Temporary Assistance for Needy Families in the country. But not content with that, the state legislature is pushing a plan to cut benefits for families of kids who don’t do well enough in school. [...] Now those kids are essentially asked to bear the burden of maintaining their families’ cash incomes, or putting additional burdens on their parents. The math a kid living on TANF is concerned with is likely this: How many hours ago did I have my last meal? How many days overdue is the rent or the electric bill? And, if this bill passes: What score do I need on this next test to keep my family’s income from being slashed?

Fuck Mike Huckabee and Bryan Fischer: it’s always the sinners who know sin best

Mike Huckabee: Newtown Shooting No Surprise, We’ve ‘Systematically Removed God’ From Schools — “We don’t have a crime problem, a gun problem or even a violence problem. What we have is a sin problem,” Huckabee said on Fox News. “And since we’ve ordered God out of our schools, and communities, the military and public conversations, you know we really shouldn’t act so surprised … when all hell breaks loose.”

Charles JohnsonBryan Fischer echoes this theme, saying God could have protected the children in Newtown, but “God is not going to go where he’s not wanted,” because God is a “gentleman.”

I’ll tell you what’s a true sin: believing God is a petty, vindictive bastard just like you. And a society that encourages more guns, less mental health care, and even more spending cuts out of our country’s social safety net, just so the wealthiest among us can keep their tax breaks.

Republican Jesus Sunday School


image: progressivefriends

Is your religious liberty being threatened? 10 easy questions

The Reverend Emily C. Heath has come up with an excellent ‘quiz’ for American fundamentalists, rightwing bloggers, and Fox “News” anchors and hosts: How to Determine If Your Religious Liberty Is Being Threatened in Just 10 Quick Questions

Quick Questions.” Just pick “A” or “B” for each question.

1. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to go to a religious service of my own choosing.
B) Others are allowed to go to religious services of their own choosing.

2. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to marry the person I love legally, even though my religious community blesses my marriage.
B) Some states refuse to enforce my own particular religious beliefs on marriage on those two guys in line down at the courthouse.

3. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am being forced to use birth control.
B) I am unable to force others to not use birth control.

4. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to pray privately.
B) I am not allowed to force others to pray the prayers of my faith publicly.

5. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) Being a member of my faith means that I can be bullied without legal recourse.
B) I am no longer allowed to use my faith to bully gay kids with impunity.

6. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to purchase, read or possess religious books or material.
B) Others are allowed to have access books, movies and websites that I do not like.

7. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) My religious group is not allowed equal protection under the establishment clause.
B) My religious group is not allowed to use public funds, buildings and resources as we would like, for whatever purposes we might like.

8. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) Another religious group has been declared the official faith of my country.
B) My own religious group is not given status as the official faith of my country.

9. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) My religious community is not allowed to build a house of worship in my community.
B) A religious community I do not like wants to build a house of worship in my community.

10. My religious liberty is at risk because:

A) I am not allowed to teach my children the creation stories of our faith at home.
B) Public school science classes are teaching science.

Scoring key: Continue reading

The plummeting “Christian” values of Republicans

“Twenty-five years ago, 62 percent of Republicans and 79 percent of Democrats said the government should take care of people who can’t take care of themselves. Today, 75 percent of Democrats agree with that statement, but the percentage of Republicans who agree has plummeted to 40 percent.” — A new Pew study shows that politics — even more than race or gender — is now the greatest divider in the United States.

So essentially the author is saying that to divide themselves further from Democrats, Republicans have changed what they believe in. Wonder what they’ll be like in 25 more years.

“Pastor” Curtis Knapp: The government should kill gays

It seems that fundamentalist “Christians” don’t spend nearly enough time with the New Testament portion of the Bible — that part with Jesus Christ and the whole ‘new deal’ forgiveness, hopey-changey thing:

[Pastor Curtis Knapp] of New Hope Baptist Church in Seneca, Kansas says President Barack Obama has gone too far in supporting same sex marriage and it’s time for the U.S. government to begin killing gay men and lesbians. [...] Knapp read from Leviticus 20: “If there is a man who lies with a male as those who lie with a woman, both of them have committed a detestable act; they shall surely be put to death. They should be put to death,” Knapp declared. “‘Oh, so you’re saying we should go out and start killing them, no?’ — I’m saying the government should. They won’t, but they should.”  

Whatever. Guess what else Leviticus says (25) — and it’s notcorporations are people too’:

Oh, what’s that? We should take care of those less fortunate than us? THAT kind of charitable thinking actually IS backed up by Jesus the Socialist, unlike what Pastor AntiChrist quoted above. So in other words, it would be easier for a camel to fit through the eye of a needle than for the GOP and their “tax cuts for the wealthy / austerity for the rest of us” thinking and corporate masters to enter Heaven.

Religious fail.

Here is the best, most honest symbol for the Republican Party you’ll ever see

via: donnaclt

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 5.3.2012

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

PROTECTING THE CAUCASIAN RACE: Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of Republican North Carolina state legislator Peter Brunstetter told poll workers that her husband authored the state’s anti-same sex marriage law Amendment One to “protect the Caucasian race” and save the U.S. Constitution from “activist judges,” according to Chad Nance’s reporting for Yes! magazine. [...] Nance quickly recruited a friend as a witness and recorded an interview with Brunstetter at the scene. In it, she reluctantly confirmed that she had made references to the “Caucasian” race and reiterated her remarks that “we” created this country and its Constitution and that Amendment One is necessary in their defense. Brustetter “insisted there was nothing racial about her remarks, but could not explain why she used the term ‘Caucasian.’” — Raw Story

IT’S REMARKABLE, this shitcanning of Richard Grenell as foreign-policy spokescritter for the Romneybot 2.0. Remarkable still for its being handled with such notable dispatch. First, you hire on the former mouthpiece for authoritarian nutbag John Bolton to establish further your neo-conservative foreign-policy gravitas. It turns out the guy is openly gay, so bonus! …Then, of course, the guy turns out to be just as crackers as his former boss — Bad-mouthing the lovely Callista Gingrich? Calumnizing kindly Doc Maddow? My seconds will call on yours, sir! — and, because he’s gay, the megachurches scramble the flying monkeys into the air and, within two weeks, Grenell is as fired as an Ampad worker. — Charles P. Pierce

WHAT’S THE OPPOSITE OF PROGRESS? Mitt Romney shared a straightforward summary of his guiding economic principle at a campaign stop earlier today: Kicking off his Virginia campaign, Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday he’ll do “the opposite” of what President Barack Obama has done to help the economy. His wife, Ann, chipped in by appealing to women voters in a key region of a state both candidates will fight over until November’s election. “What I would do? People ask me, ‘What would you to get the economy going’? and I say, ‘well look at what the president’s done, and do the opposite,'” Romney told a group gathered at a warehouse in Northern Virginia. I’m not sure if Romney’s really thought this one through. Or maybe he has, and he assumes voters won’t think this one through. Four years ago, the economy is shrinking; now it’s growing. Four years ago, the economy was hemorrhaging jobs; now it’s gaining jobs. Four years ago, the unemployment rate was going up; now it’s going down. Four years ago, the stock market was crashing; now it’s reaching new heights. Four years ago, the deficit was getting bigger; now it’s getting smaller. Four years ago, the American auto industry was on the verge of collapse; now it’s thriving. Is Romney sure he wants to look at the Obama administration’s policies and do the opposite? — Maddow Blog – Romney vows to do ‘the opposite’

OVERSEAS LOCATIONS of Mitt Romney’s finances  — Mitt Romney has invested his money around the world, from the Cayman Islands to Ireland to Australia. We don’t know if he’s using these accounts to avoid paying his fair share in taxes, but we do know that in 2010, Romney’s tax rate was a startlingly low 13.9%. This means Romney pays a lower tax rate than many teachers, firefighters, police officers, and other middle-class Americans—even a lower rate than most other millionaires. — BarackObama.com

“POLITICS IS WEIRD. And creepy. And now I know lacks even the loosest attachment to anything like reality.” — Shep Smith reacts to Mitt Romney reacting to Newt Gingrich quitting:

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

CENK UYGUR accused former Defense Secretary Donald Rumsfeld of hypocrisy for brushing off President Barack Obama’s decision to strike Osama bin Laden’s compound. Tuesday night on Fox News, Rumsfeld denied that sending a SEAL team into Pakistan to kill or capture bin Laden was a “tough decision.” “To not make that decision, it seems to me, would just be dumbfounding,” he said. “I can’t imagine any President not making that decision.” Cenk, however, noted that Rumsfeld himself had called off a major raid targeting bin Laden. “There was a U.S. general near Tora Bora with about five thousand troops and he asked Donald Rumsfeld — specifically him — for permission to pursue bin Laden,” Cenk said, describing a Senate report. “Rumsfeld said ‘no.’ This is not a matter in dispute. It is an absolute certifiable fact.” — Raw Story

OBAMA LIED! Except — wait, hang on, anyone who reads Dreams From My Father starts with this disclaimer. “For the sake of compression, some of the characters that appear are composites of people I’ve known, and some events appear out of precise chronology. With the exception of my family and a handful of public figures, the names of most characters have been changed for the sake of their privacy.” This has been known for years. Obama’s memoir has stymied reporters because characters who might have some insights appear in composite form. The most famous of them, up to now, was a guy named “Ray,” who gets all of Dreams’s “angry black dude” lines. Is it kosher for a future president to write like this and then be cagey about who was who? Interesting discussion! But in 2012, you can’t “admit” something you told book-buyers in 1995. — Obama Girlfriend Trutherism

  • DEEP THOUGHT: Pretty sure “so old girlfriends don’t dish on me in national magazines” is reason enough to not want to be president. — Duncan Black
  • LESS DEEP THOUGHT: Pretty sure “so national magazines can’t find your old girlfriends” is reason enough to make them composite characters in your memoirs. — Me

Young Barack Obama in Love: A Girlfriend’s Secret Diary — When Barack Obama met Genevieve Cook in 1983 at a Christmas party in New York’s East Village, it was the start of his most serious romance yet. But as the 22-year-old Columbia grad began to shape his future, he was also struggling with his identity: American or international? Black or white? Drawing on conversations with both Cook and the president, David Maraniss, in an adaptation from his new Obama biography, has the untold story of the couple’s time together. — Adapted from Barack Obama: The Story, by David Maraniss, to be published this month by Simon & Schuster; © 2012 by the author.

JON STEWART: CONSERVATIVE CHRISTIANS hate Barack Obama more than they love Jesus — reporting on the conservative Christian belief that Mormonism is heretical.

The Conservative Crusaders of America

Accurate! Take a quick look at what the conservative ‘Christian’ base actually supports with their vote, election after election, just because GOP candidates / politicians promise to get involved in other people’s personal lives and to publicly and politically vilify entire groups of people who are not white, Christian, and conservative:

Report: Lawmakers Opposing Volcker Rule Receive Four Times As Much From Financial Sector As Those Supporting It

Members of Congress who submitted comments advocating the weakening of the already watered-down Volcker Rule — which is meant to rein in banks’ risky trading — have received more than four times as much in campaign contributions from the financial sector as members who demanded stricter regulations, a report released today by Public Citizen reveals:

Those seeking to weaken the rule have received $66.7 million from the financial services industry since the 2010 election cycle compared to only $1.9 million in contributions received by those asking for a more robust rule. Those seeking to weaken the rule have received an average of $388,010 from the industry, more than four times as much as the average of $96,897 received by those asking for a stronger rule.

Continue…

Harry Reid: Rising Gas Prices Are Giving Big Oil Billions Of Dollars

During debate on a bill to eliminate $2.4 billion in big oil tax breaks, U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) stated the obvious: rising gasoline prices mean billions in profit for big oil companies. “Domestic oil production has increased every year during the Obama administration. Meanwhile, the American dependence on foreign oil has decreased ever year. Yet prices at the pump have continued to rise. Here’s why. For every price the price at the pump goes up, the major oil companies, there’s five of them, make an additional $200 million a quarter,” he said, citing the Center for American Progress. “Let’s say that again: For every penny that you pay extra at the gas pump, these five oil companies make $200 million. It doesn’t take a lot of math to understand gas prices have increased 62 cents this year. Take 200 million times 62, you’ve got a huge amount of billions of dollars.” $12.4 billion, in fact.

BUT THE FURINNERS! THE HOMOSEXUALS! THE LEFTISTS! Teaparty favorite Rand Paul to the rescue:

Sen. Rand Paul: When Big Oil Screws Americans At The Gas Pump, ‘You Should Want To Encourage Them’

GOP senators like Rand Paul (R-KY) and Jon Kyl (R-AZ) have used their time on the Senate floor today to push error-riddled arguments coming straight from their oil industry donors.

Paul argued Big Oil deserves even more favors from government, because they’re doing such a good job extracting wealth from American families:

Instead of punishing them, you should want to encourage them. I would think you would want to say to the oil companies, “What obstacles are there to you making more money?” And hiring more people. Instead they say, “No, we must punish them. We must tax them more to make things fair.” This whole thing about fairness is so misguided and gotten out of hand.

[...] Republicans have received 88 percent of donations from the oil industry’s coffers. In the Senate, Republicans have taken over $13.8 million from oil, compared to the Democrats’ $3.3 million, meaning Senate Republicans have taken four times the amount in Big Oil contributions as Democrats. Kyl is the No. 29 largest recipient in the Senate from oil and gas in career contributions with over $330,000 and Paul has received over $106,000 from oil. 

America’s Conservative Crusaders are fighting to make America a third-world theocracy, while the wealthiest one percent are laughing all the way to the (Swiss) bank.

And these people vote every time there’s an election, even if you don’t.

Wednesday morning’s 4 marginally interesting things

1) ROMNEY THE RICH RUSSIAN ADVERSARY

Mitt Romney’s 4-car fantasy home — At Mitt Romney’s proposed California beach house, the cars will have their own separate elevator. There’s also a planned outdoor shower and a 3,600-square foot basement — a room with more floor space than the existing home’s entire living quarters. A project this ambitious comes with another feature you don’t always find with the typical fixer-upper: its own lobbyist, hired by Romney to push the plan through the approval process. […] But it may not help Romney — whose wealth has caused him trouble connecting with average folks — to be seen building a split-level, four-vehicle garage that comes with a “car lift” to transport automobiles between floors, according to 2008 schematic plans for the renovation obtained by POLITICO that are on file with the city of San Diego.

  • Car Elevators In Action — Mitt Romney is getting one, and they’re kind of awesome.
  • Mitt Romney: Silly voters, elevators are for cars, not people!His appreciation of elevators in his capacity as a private citizen didn’t show up, however, when he was Governor of Massachusetts. In particular, Romney — like many Republicans — was hostile to requirements for elevators imposed by the Americans Disabilities Act (ADA). [...] On June 26, 2006 Romney vetoed an improvement project with the price tag of $40,000 with his line item veto. The project would have allocated the money to Woburn Development Authority for improvements to an elevator to meet the standards set in the ADA. The whole state of Massachusetts couldn’t come up with $40,000 to refurbish an elevator so that people with disabilities could use it. By contrast, when Mitt Romney wanted to convince the city of La Jolla, California that his beachfront mansion needed its own private car elevator, he spent $21,000 just on the lobbyist he hired to help make that happen.
  • Mitt Romney’s Many Homes – Republican Presidential frontrunner Mitt Romney drew more attention today for ill-timed plans to triple the size of his La Jolla, Calif. home and add a car elevator. It’s not his only property, however, and here’s a look at his other lodging.

Not Ready to Lead — Mitt Romney thinks the president doesn’t need to be an expert on foreign policy; he’ll just call his lawyers to figure out what to do.


LOL ROMNEY: Making Friends All Over the Place — Russian President Dmitry Medvedev tweaked Mitt Romney for his characterization of Russia as the “No. 1 geopolitical foe” of the United States, saying the comments did not reflect the current relationship between the two countries. “It is very reminiscent of Hollywood and also of a certain phase in Russian-U.S. relations,” Medvedev said at the end of the nuclear security summit in South Korea Tuesday. […] Medvedev urged Romney to take the current climate into account if he hopes to win the presidential election. “My first advice is to listen to reason when they formulate their positions. Reason never harmed a presidential candidate,” Medvedev said. “My other advice is to check their watches from time to time: it is 2012, not the mid-1970s.”

2) ‘COLOSSAL DICK’ SANTORUM  

Santorum loses lead at home to Romney — Santorum, who represented the state in Congress for 16 years until he was defeated in a Senate election in 2006, saw his lead over Romney evaporate from 29 points to 2 points in the past month, according to the Franklin and Marshall College poll conducted from Lancaster, Pennsylvania. Pennsylvania’s primary election takes place on April 24, along with liberal northeastern states like New York and Connecticut which Romney is favored to win. If Santorum loses or scrapes by with a narrow win in Pennsylvania, he will come under pressure from senior Republicans to pull out of the race.

Santorum, Gingrich open to VP slot — Rick Santorum sat down with radical TV preacher Pat Robertson’s Christian Broadcasting Network, which asked the former senator if he would consider an invitation to join Mitt Romney’s Republican ticket. “Of course,” Santorum said… Also yesterday, Newt Gingrich was asked on Fox News about a possible V.P. nomination. Though the former Speaker said an invitation is unlikely, he added, “I wouldn’t say no.” At least on the surface, Santorum and Gingrich scoff at the very idea of ending their presidential bids, and in public, continue to tell voters that they remain viable candidates. But when they both sit down for televised interviews, and both signal a willingness to accept roles on the ticket, Santorum and Gingrich are signaling a level of resignation and defeat neither has made up until now. As one GOP strategist told TPM, “Rick Santorum saying he would be open to being Romney’s vice president undermines the logic of his delegate campaign. To win his delegate race, he has to demonize Romney. He has now cut that path off.”

3) THE OTHER TWO

Gingrich, Strapped for Cash, Lays Off Third of Staff — Gingrich, insists that he is still a viable candidate despite a third-place rank in the delegate count. He has hinged his entire strategy on hoping Mitt Romney is incapable of securing the 1,144 delegates needed to become the nominee, resulting in a contested GOP convention this summer. Earlier Tuesday in Annapolis, Md., Gingrich told reporters “the money is very tight obviously” and suggested his communications staff would soon announce a series of layoffs. Gingrich significantly cut back the number of scheduled campaign events he holds. Currently on his schedule, he only has one event a day for the next three days.

We call this one “Ron Paul with Sad Meat.”More where that came from.Where is Ron Paul? — Two things Ron Paul isn’t doing: He’s not winning — he has yet to place first in a primary or a caucus, either this cycle or last. And he isn’t making a lot of appearances on the campaign trail — over the past week, he has held only three campaign events, while his rivals’ events have numbered in the dozens. Four things Paul is doing: He’s appearing on late-night TV; he’s having a town hall at the University of Maryland in College Park on Wednesday; he’s holding what his campaign describes as a “giant” rally on Thursday at the University of Wisconsin in Madison; and he’s airing TV ads criticizing his rivals over last week’s Etch a Sketch incident. [image: ccindecision]

4) TEABAGISTAN

Arizona lawmakers push to take over federal land – Another “sagebrush rebellion” is spreading through legislatures in Arizona and other Western states with a series of formal demands that the federal government hand over title to tens of millions of acres of forests, ranges and other public lands. […] Legal experts say the movement is based on a misreading of federal law and the U.S. Constitution and will almost certainly fail to survive court challenges…”In an era of apparent fiscal responsibility, why would the state seek billions of dollars of liability and management responsibility to assume ownership over the (25 million) acres or so of parks, forests and public lands in Arizona?” said Matt Skroch, executive director of the Arizona Wilderness Coalition. “It is ill-conceived, it is irresponsible and it makes absolutely no sense.”

‘Obamacare’ and the Right’s Own Private Universe — It is a small miracle of mass communication that complete and total bullshit is so quickly and easily converted into incontrovertible fact out of which can be created a world of public events completely real, but completely divorced from what the rest of us recognize as reality. Take poor Sandra Fluke. It is now an article of faith on the Right that she asked all of us to pay for “her” birth control. “Real women pay for their own birth control,” the crowd on the steps chanted today, and there were more than a couple of signs warning her not to expect “our” money to pay for her obviously overindulgent sexytime. Of course, Fluke did nothing of the sort. … Also, today, folks told me that Obamacare “finances abortions.” (It doesn’t.) I heard that it will mandate “euthanasia.” (It won’t.) Even the death panels got a workout again. We have half the country living in its own universe of belief, with its own history, its own politics, and its own physical laws. It’s like running elections against the anti-gravity party. It is not healthy for any of us. [image: phroyd]

Worst Persons in the WorldThe Daily Caller released a series of Trayvon Martin’s tweets yesterday, and once again the far-right is attacking and attempting to discredit an innocent child — and this time, the child happens to be dead. So classy, these people. Limbaugh and Beck attacked Malia Obama, Malkin stalked Graeme Frost and others — there are literally dozens of examples of the Fox News / AM radio crowd attacking children and noncombatants like Sandra Fluke. Why? Because they’re bullies and scavengers who can only prey upon easy targets.

Divide and Conquer For Jesus — Stay classy, homophobes: The leading opponents of same-sex marriage [National Organization for Marriage - NOM] planned to defeat campaigns for gay marriage by “fanning the hostility” between black voters from gay voters and by casting President Obama as a radical foe of marriage, according to confidential documents made public in a Maine court today.

Tuesday morning’s 5 moderately interesting things

1) MITT ROMNEY – the GOP’s unofficially official presidential candidate

Mittmentum from here on out — Next month’s contests will take place almost totally in the Northeast — a region where Romney is thus far undefeated. In addition, a few of those states award their delegates on a winner-take-all basis — something only two states have done so far — allowing Romney to expand his delegate lead more quickly than he has to this point. He leads by about 300 delegates overall… Santorum may get a little momentum off his win — as the media continue to question Romney’s appeal to conservatives — but Louisiana is one of the last states that will put a magnifying glass on that problem.

Romney Disses Santorum: “I’m Not Going To Worry Too Much About What Rick Is Saying These Days — Mitt Romney brushed off Rick Santorum’s criticism of his ability to oppose President Barack Obama’s health care law, saying he doesn’t listen to Rick Santorum much anymore. “I’m not going to worry too much about what Rick is saying these days,” Romney said on CNN’s The Situation Room, telling Wolf Blitzer that Santorum is getting more outspoken on the campaign trail as he falls behind. “When you fall further and further behind, you get a little more animated,” he added.

2) ‘BADASS’ SANTORUM — now with improved Macho!

Rick Santorum Would Love to Be Veep of the ‘Worst Republican In Country’ (VIDEO) – Well this is awkward. The good Christian bitches at CBN asked Rick Santorum if he would accept a veep pick from worst Republican in the country Mitt Romney, and instead of pretending there was a chance of beating our Mittens, or cussing him out for asking the question, Rick Santorum said yes!

Rick Santorum Attacked John McCain For His Temper In 2008 Romney Robocall — Republican Presidential candidate Rick Santorum’s temper has been the news this morning for attacking a New York Times reporter who questioned characterization of Mitt Romney as the “worst Republican” to run. Santorum snapped at to the reporter saying “quit distorting my words It’s bullshit.” [...] The text of the call: “Hello, this is Senator Rick Santorum calling to let you know I am supporting Mitt Romney and urging you to support him next Tuesday… As a conservative I don’t agree with McCain on many issues and I don’t think he has the temperament and leadership ability to move the country in the right direction. Please join me and other conservative in voting for Mitt Romney this Tuesday.” [image: drunkonstevphen]

Santorum is so BUTCH — A defiant Rick Santorum on Monday defended his weekend attacks on both Mitt Romney over health care and on a New York Times reporter, saying, “If you haven’t cursed out a New York Times reporter during the course of a campaign, you’re not really a real Republican. I just said OK, I’ve had enough of this you-know-what,” Santorum said on “Fox & Friends,” referring to why on Sunday he accused reporter Jeff Zeleny of “bulls——”. “And so that’s what I did and you know, look, we’re out there slugging away … and we’re mixing it up.”

3) THOSE OTHER TWO

Gingrich begins charging $50 for pics at events — In a sign that his campaign is in need of fresh funds, Newt Gingrich on Monday began charging $50 to have a photograph taken with him following a campaign speech to Republican County groups here in the northernmost part of the state. It was the first time the former House speaker has charged those attending one of his public speaking events to pose for a photograph with him. Lately, a member of his campaign staff has been snapping photographs of any interested attendee and later posting them online at the campaign’s website, newt.org. On Monday night, those paying for a photograph were also told they could find their photos on Gingrich’s website, after they had filled out a form providing their credit card information.

Hello, Karma! “Lamestream Media” no longer cares about Newt Gingrich — Newt Gingrich has lost his last embedded print reporters, reporters on the trail confirm. The last two print reporters covering Gingrich full-time on the trail — from POLITICO and the Atlanta Journal Constitution — pulled out on Friday. The Associated Press pulled its embed after Tuesday’s Illinois primary. These and other print outlets will continue to cover Gingrich on occasion, but the sustained traveling press has been reduced to the television networks, which will remain. On the bright side, he’s still faring better than Ron Paul.

Piers Morgan asks Ron Paul why he is still in the race — He noted that Paul had obtained only 71 delegates, far behind former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney and former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum. But Paul fired back, saying it was “way too soon” for Morgan “to write anybody off.” “What if Mitt Romney isn’t the best person? Why should we just throw in the towel?” [Paul] continued.

4) AMERICA’S RELIGION PROBLEM

According to Pat Robertson, homosexuality is “related to demonic possession.” Yes, this really is how the religious right thinks. [LGF]

Romney’s cousin: Mormonism is a ‘fraud’ — “There’s compelling evidence that the Mormon Church leaders knowingly and willfully misrepresent the historical truth of their origins and of the church for the purpose of deceiving their members into a state of mind that renders them exploitable,” he explained. [...] But Harvard Kennedy School Prof. Robert Putnam told BBC that the former Massachusetts governor’s religion is not often questioned in the U.S. because Americans value freedom of religion. “It’s not something you’re supposed to talk about,” Putnam said. “Whenever the issue of Romney’s Mormonism has come to the surface, there’s been lots of condemnation across the political spectrum for raising the issue of his religion.” “I’m not saying it’s not relevant, but it’s not talked about in polite company.”

The Religious Frenzy of a Court You Can’t Believe InWhat exactly are these people praying for? Are they praying for a return to the way things were? For the denial of health insurance due to whatever the whimsical opinions of corporate bureaucrats determine to be a pre-existing condition? For the right to be thrown into an overpriced, endlessly gouging “marketplace” the moment when you turn 25, and you’re burdened anyway with usurious student loans? Are they praying that the law be upheld? That the central place the insurance industry holds the way we do health care in this country be guaranteed in what looks like perpetuity, with the government’s power behind it? (This is where the conservative argument falls into incoherence. Conservatives are opposed to the mandate because of, well, Liberty (!), but they never pursue that argument to the point where they might discomfit the insurance companies because of, well, The Market (!). This latter, of course, is why conservatives supported a mandate as a market-based solution in the first place.)

Religious Right Prays for the Supreme Court to Overturn Health Care Reform — With the Supreme Court hearing arguments on the constitutionality of the health care reform law this week, conservative groups are reviving the apocalyptic rhetoric they developed when the law was passed. Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber discussed the case on today’s Faith & Freedom, where Staver said that if the court did not overturn the law it would set “an incredibly bad precedent that allows huge power grabs, not just in this medical insurance issue but in every place else.” Jay Sekulow of the American Center for Law and Justice emailed members that the law is an “atrocity.” […] The Christian Defense Coalition plans to “encircle” the Supreme Court to pray “that the President’s Health Care legislation is declared unconstitutional.”

5) CLASS WAR: GOP / ONE PERCENT VS. 99%

Trump’s Sons Under Investigation for African Hunting Trip – Donald Trump Jr., who stars on ” The Celebrity Apprentice” alongside his dad, and his brother Eric sparked outrage among animal lovers on Twitter earlier this month after photos surfaced of the two posing with animals they killed during a 2011 safari trip in Africa. Trump Jr. later defended their actions in part by tweeting, “I’m a hunter, for that I make no apologies.” …Trump Jr. may be a hunter, but TMZ.com reports the independent Zimbabwe Conservation Task Force says the South African safari company the sons used was not registered in Zimbabwe. The task force says Trump Jr. and his brother killed an elephant, a buffalo and a crocodile, among other animals. In one of the leaked pictures, Trump Jr., is seen holding a knife and the cut-off tail of an elephant. [image: Salon]

More tax cuts for T-Mobile! T-Mobile To Lay Off Thousands Of Workers After Taking Millions In Taxpayer Subsidies For Job Creation — About 3,300 employees work at those centers, and the company is planning to lay off at least 1,900 of them, while offering transfers to some (though it doesn’t yet know how many). Adding insult to injury, four of the centers that T-Mobile is closing received taxpayer subsidies worth millions of dollars, according to Good Jobs First: – Frisco, TX: $3.7 million – Brownsville, TX: $5.3 million – Lenexa, KS: $3.9 million – Redmond, OR: $1.3 million These subsidies took several forms, including sales tax exemptions, salary supplements for workers, and job training money. “T-Mobile USA’s decision to close seven call centers, employing 3,300 workers, is a bad one. It harms workers and communities, and in several locations, abuses taxpayers who provided funds to the company in exchange for employment and economic development,” said the Communication Workers of America. || And how big will the CEO bonuses be this year at T-Mobile? HUGE, would be my guess. 

SEIU Campaigning for Retirement Security — SEIU also issued a fact sheet that takes on a number of the right-wing myths that are being spread in an attempt to build support for cutting public pensions. The key points: Seven out of 10 public employee pensions are less than $30,000 a year, making them anything but lavish. Taxpayers pay little to no part of these pensions, which are funded by employee contributions and investment returns. Public pensions have survived for 70 years with no problem and only had any problems because of the financial crash, most of them are starting to return to their earlier strength. Public employees have shown a strong willingness to negotiate to improve pension systems and to work with governments to make through during tough economic times. Massive cuts to public employee pensions will not benefit the economy much or solve state budget crisis, but will be massively destructive to working families. There is no correlation between states that have underfunded pensions and the level of unionization among state workers — unions are not driving the problems we see with pension funding. || RELATEDThe Rachel Maddow Show: SEIU the Next Target for the Right Wing Smear Machine [larger image here]

The conservative Christians who don’t want to act all weak and Christ-like

Self-proclaimed conservative Christians acting un-Christian… now there’s something you don’t see RARELY anymore.

Fmr. Bush Strategist: Conservative Christians Passing Un-Christian Gun Laws | Crooks & Liars

Matthew Dowd, President George W. Bush’s former chief strategist, on Sunday observed that the same conservative legislatures and governors who are championing so-called Christian values like prayer in schools are also pushing for dangerous gun laws that are counter to Christian teachings.

[...] “In Florida, the law says if you raise a claim of self defense after killing someone in public, you can’t even be arrested,” he added. “It’s why prosecutors and police hated this law. It sabotaged our justice system. All this discussion we’ve heard — What did Zimmerman do? What did Trayvon do? — Juries are supposed to figure that out. The Florida law destroys that American system.

There is such irony about this,” Dowd agreed. “Most of the states that have passed this including Florida and the ‘Stand Your Ground’ laws and the expanded gun-ownership laws where you can carry a concealed weapon are also the same states and the same legislatures and the same governors who sort of pushed for prayer in the school.”

Dowd continued: “To me, there is such and irony here, that we want to be a Christian nation and we want to act in a Christian manner, but oh, by the way, we don’t believe in the turn your other cheek and we don’t believe in love your enemy. We believe in loading citizens and basically giving them an opportunity to shoot people.”

Example of conservative Christians’ sense of “humor” –