“Warm & Fuzzy” Mitt Romney just confuses America

This is the part where Mitt shakes the Etch-a-Sketch:

Mitt Romney said Sunday that he doesn’t foresee a problem appealing to women voters, touting the fact that his Massachusetts health care law helped many women in that state obtain access to health care.

“With regards to women’s health care, look, I’m the guy who was able to get health care for all of the women and men in my state,” the presumptive Republican presidential nominee told Chris Wallace on “Fox News Sunday.” “They’re [the Obama administration] just talking about it at the federal level, but we actually did something and did it without cutting Medicare and without raising taxes.”

Except that five months ago he said, “Of course you get rid of Obamacare, that’s the easy one, but there are others. Planned Parenthood, we’re going to get rid of that.” Like no one would remember.

Is Mitt Romney pro-women?

OFA ad: This isn’t the 1950s. Contraception is about a woman being able to decide.


Dawn: “I think Mitt Romney’s really out of touch with the average woman’s health issues…”
Alex: “This is not the 1950s. Contraception is so important to women…it’s about a woman being able to make decisions…”
Dawn “I don’t remember anyone as extreme as Romney.”
Mitt Romney: “I’ll cut off funding to Planned Parenthood.”
Alex: “I don’t think Mitt Romney can even understand the mindset of someone who has to go to Planned Parenthood.”
Mitt Romney: “Planned Parenthood. We’re going to get rid of that.”
Dawn: “I think Romney would definitely drag us back.”

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.30.2012

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

The Romney-Trump RACISTHON in Vegas last night…

Romney greeted by Trump’s plane in Las Vegas. (Photo credit AP) | TPM

Donald Trump steals limelight from Romney campaign — Romney was scheduled to raise as much as $2 million with Donald Trump at two events Tuesday evening, but his public schedule was designed to avoid highlighting his relationship with the controversial mogul, who continues to espouse disproven theories that Obama was not born in the United States. That was a challenge from the moment Romney landed at Las Vegas-McCarran International Airport. As Romney’s chartered plane taxied down the runway, a private plane emblazoned with Trump’s surname sat parked near the terminal. Romney’s staffers tried to move photographers and reporters into a position where they could not see Trump’s shining-black aircraft as Romney alighted from his plane. They were not successful, and the first images of Romney arriving in Las Vegas and quickly beamed around the nation showed Trump’s plane over his shoulder. – latimes.com

“Beginning?” “A LITTLE?!” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer tells Trump: ‘You’re beginning to sound a little ridiculous’ – During an argumentative interview on Tuesday [and just hours before the fundraiser Trump was throwing for Mitt Romney in Vegas], CNN’s Wolf Blitzer told real estate mogul Donald Trump that he was being “ridiculous” by continually questioning President Barack Obama’s birthplace. […]  After arguing about the long-form birth certificate last year, Blitzer told Donald he was “beginning to sound a little ridiculous.” “No, I think you are, Wolf,” Trump shot back. “Let me tell you something. I think you sound ridiculous.” Trump complained that he wanted to talk about China and OPEC, but Blitzer continued to press Trump on why he believed Obama was not a natural born citizen. –  Raw Story | image: Buzzfeed 

  • Trump also visited CNBC yesterday to talk about the President’s birth.
  • And Trump visited Fox News to talk about how birtherism would be ‘a great issue’ for Mitt Romney. He also boasted about the size of his Twitter earlier in the interview saying “my Twitter is very large.”
  • The Romney campaign tossed a little dog-whistle to the birthers yesterday too – The same day Romney planned to appear with noted birther Donald Trump at a Las Vegas fundraiser, the campaign released a copy of Mitt’s birth certificate.

So how’d the Romney-Trump RACISTHON in Vegas turn out last night? After a day consumed by coverage of Donald Trump’s birther crusade, the much-hyped Mitt Romney fundraiser at Trump International Hotel appears to have ended rather anti-climactically. [...] “This has really been a special day and a special evening,” Trump told attendees. “It’s been amazing the amount of money we have raised.” [...]  As Romney stood to Trump’s left, his face obscured by Trump’s shadow in the harsh lighting, Trump tore into China, and into Obama’s handling of relations with China. “They look at us. They laugh at us. They think we’re stupid. When he’s president they will no longer think we’re stupid,” Trump said of Romney. Trump also made a few interesting comments about U.S. war policy: “We have wars. We get nothing from them … We leave Iraq. What do we get out of it? They’re having a field day with the second largest oil reserves in the world. We get nothing.” In total, Trump spoke for only three and a half minutes. The campaign declined to say how much money was raised at the event. – Buzzfeed

GOP Groups Plan $1 BILLION Push for Romney (that’s billion, with a B) — “Republican super PACs and other outside groups shaped by a loose network of prominent conservatives — including Karl Rove, the Koch brothers and Tom Donohue of the U.S. Chamber of Commerce — plan to spend roughly $1 billion on November’s elections for the White House and control of Congress,” Politico reports. “That total includes previously undisclosed plans for newly aggressive spending by the Koch brothers, who are steering funding to build sophisticated, county-by-county operations in key states… Koch-related organizations plan to spend about $400 million ahead of the 2012 elections — twice what they had been expected to commit.” – Political Wire

  • Right-Wing Billionaires Behind Mitt Romney (and the GOP’s capitulation to Big Money) – In the primary season alone, Romney’s rich friends invested $52 million in his Super PAC, Restore Our Future – a number that’s expected to more than double in the coming months. This unprecedented infusion of money from America’s monied elites underscores the radical transformation of the Republican Party, which has made defending the interests of 0.0001 percent the basis of its entire platform. “Money buys power,” the Nobel Prize-winning economist Paul Krugman observed recently, “and the increasing wealth of a tiny minority has effectively bought the allegiance of one of our two major political parties.” In short, the political polarization and gridlock in Washington are a direct result of the GOP’s capitulation to Big Money. – Tim Dickinson | Rolling Stone
  • Mitt Romney is meeting with Sheldon Adelson — the billionaire casino magnate and big Newt-Gingrich supporting super-PAC donor — in Las Vegas on Tuesday, according to CBS News and CNN. …Adelson and his wife, Miriam, gave $20 million to Winning Our Future, the pro-Gingrich super PAC. — HuffPo

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————


President Obama chats in the Blue Room of the White House with author Toni Morrison, who received a Presidential Medal of Freedom yesterday.

Obama honors Bob Dylan, Toni Morrison, Madeleine Albright and more at Medal of Freedom ceremony — In a ceremony honoring 2012 recipients of the Medal of Freedom, President Obama on Tuesday said he was “extremely grateful” to be able to personally thank the honorees “for the great work they have done” in America and worldwide. – CBS News

Obama leads in Michigan, Colorado, and California.

Team Obama shifting focus to Romney’s record as Massachusetts governor – The Obama campaign is opening a new front in its war against GOP rival Mitt Romney, ABC News has learned, with planned attacks to begin this week on Romney’s record as governor of Massachusetts and the campaign promises Democrats say he left unfulfilled. Team Obama will point to Romney’s rhetoric on job creation, size of government, education, deficits and taxes during the 2002 gubernatorial campaign and draw parallels with his presidential stump speeches of 2012. The goal is to illustrate that Romney has made the same promises before with unimpressive results, officials say. [...] During a Boston debate, Romney said, “I have experience in the private sector building and creating thousands of good jobs, and I want to bring that skill for you here in Massachusetts” – a theme he regularly reprises today. But the Obama campaign notes, citing a report from the independent fact-checker Politifact, Massachusetts was 47th out of 50 states in job creation under Romney. In manufacturing jobs, Democrats point out, Romney presided over a net loss of 40,000 jobs, a drop of 12 percent according to Labor Department data. — ABC News


image: nomoretexasgovernorsforpresident:

Obama Deputy Campaign Manager Stephanie Cutter released a statement charging Romney with a “complete lack of moral leadership:”  Mitt Romney’s continued embrace of Donald Trump and refusal to condemn his disgraceful conspiracy theories demonstrates his complete lack of moral leadership. Now he’s even standing by silently as Trump assails John McCain’s courage in standing up to the most extreme and hateful voices in the Republican Party—all in order to raise money for himself. If Mitt Romney lacks the backbone to stand up to a charlatan like Donald Trump because he’s so concerned about lining his campaign’s pockets, what does that say about the kind of President he would be? Raw Story

Romney is out of touch and wrong for women — When women hear about Mitt Romney’s plans for women’s health — in his own words — they are appalled. Mitt Romney is out of touch and harmful for women’s health in America. Planned Parenthood Action Fund will be making sure voters know exactly where Mitt Romney stands and will be mobilizing our more than 6 million strong network to fight for women’s health come November. Tell him you’re watching, take the pledge: http://womenarewatching.org

Meet The 91-Year-Old WWII Veteran Targeted By Florida’s Voter Purge Three weeks ago, Bill received a letter from Broward County Florida stating “[Y]ou are not a U.S. Citizen” and therefore, ineligible to vote. He was given the option of requesting “a hearing with the Supervisor of Elections, for the purpose of providing proof that you are a United States citizens” or forfeit his right to vote. This decorated World War II veteran is just one of hundreds of fully eligible U.S. citizens being targeted by Governor Scott’s massive voter purge just prior to this year’s election, according to data obtained from Florida election officials by ThinkProgress. The purge list, according to an analysis by the Miami Herald, targets mostly Democrats and Hispanics. Voting rights groups in Florida have asked the Justice Department to investigate, alleging that Scott’s voter purge violates federal law. – Think Progress

  • Rick Scott Will Now Purge Florida Further into Madness – You may recall the 2000 presidential election. Huge and loud? Lots of ill-feeling and incivility abroad in the land? Produced someone who finally got James Buchanan into a photo finish for Worst President Ever? It became a big honking deal at least in part because the Florida Secretary of State, Katherine Harris (R-Max Factor), contracted with an Atlanta company to “purge” the state’s voter rolls of convicted felons and, coincidentally, of anyone with a name that was similar to that of a convicted felon. [...] This time, of course, it’s Governor Rick “Bat Boy” Scott doing all this, and not a presidential candidate’s little brother, and it’s about illegal immigrants and not about convicted felons, and one Secretary of State already has resigned. In related news, Republicans continue their assault on the 1965 Voting Rights Act, which, as we can plainly see by the governor’s actions in Florida, is a superannuated relic of a bygone era. – Charles P. Pierce

Budgeting lies“I actually lay out a plan to get us to a balanced budget within eight years.” Mitt Romney to Mark Halperin  Uh. No. Greg Sargent: The nonpartisan Tax Policy Center has taken a close look at this question. It has determined that relative to current policy — that is, if you keep the Bush tax cuts in place, as Romney wants to do — Romney’s tax cutting plans would increase the deficit by nearly $5 trillion over 10 years. That’s on top of keeping the Bush tax cuts for the rich. Romney has promised to close various loopholes to pay for his tax cuts, but he hasn’t specified which ones. Until he does, the Tax Policy Center concludes, his plan would cost $5 trillion — which would be added, yes, to the deficit. […] Bottom line: relative to current policy, Obama’s plan would reduce the deficit by bringing in $180 billion or more in revenues a year, or approximately $2 trillion over 10 years; Romeny’s plan would increase the deficit by nearly $500 billion a year — $5 trillion over ten years. The Tax Policy Center’s Roberton Williams summed it up perfectly in a quote to me: “The bottom line is that whatever baseline you use, until Romney makes good on his promise to pay for his tax cuts, he would increase the deficit far more than Obama would.” – Bob Cesca

Morning Bunker Report: Wednesday 5.23.2012

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

Mitt Romney: Not a Job Creator

If you call yourself a fiscal  conservative, there’s NO WAY you can support Republicans: what Obama spending bindge? – Of all the falsehoods told about President Barack Obama, the biggest whopper is the one about his reckless spending spree. As would-be president Mitt Romney tells it: “I will lead us out of this debt and spending inferno.” Almost everyone believes that Obama has presided over a massive increase in federal spending, an “inferno” of spending that threatens our jobs, our businesses and our children’s future. Even Democrats seem to think it’s true. But it didn’t happen. Although there was a big stimulus bill under Obama, federal spending is rising at the slowest pace since Dwight Eisenhower brought the Korean War to an end in the 1950s. – Rex Nutting – MarketWatch

Starve the Beast: believe nothing the GOP tells you — Today’s conservatives oppose tax increases so strenuously that many were willing to default on the nation’s debt last summer rather than raise taxes by a single penny. They overwhelmingly believe in a nonsensical theory called “starve the beast,” which asserts that tax cuts automatically reduce spending and tax increases never reduce the deficit because they invariably lead to spending increases. The Clinton and Bush 43 administrations are almost perfect tests of starve-the-beast theory; the former raised taxes in 1993, while the latter signed into law seven different major tax cuts… If there were any truth whatsoever to starving the beast, we should have seen a rise in spending during the Clinton years and a fall in spending during the Bush years. In fact, we had exactly the opposite results. [...] contrary to Republican dogma, tax increases did not kill jobs during the Clinton administration. In fact, 23 million jobs were created, compared with one-fourth that number under Mr. Bush. The key reason for this is that real G.D.P. grew twice as fast during the Clinton years as it did during the Bush years: 3.9 percent per year on average compared with 2 percent. – Bruce Bartlett – NYTimes.com | image: destroythegop

Mitt Romney in 2002: I’m gonna get more money from the Federal Government

Priorities for a Man of God: Cardinal Timothy Dolan defended the lawsuits that 43 Catholic-affiliated organizations, including the University of Notre Dame, have filed against the Obama administration’s contraception regulation to expand coverage at no additional cost to employees. [...] By calling the accommodations “strangling,” Dolan ignores how the administration has already addressed their concerns about religious liberty while also ensuring that women can still receive accessible, affordable contraception. Most Catholics disagree with Dolan’s and church leaders’ continuing opposition to the contraception rule, but Dolan would rather pick a fight than work toward finding a reasonable solution. – ThinkProgress

  • It seems that some people would rather not extend the statute of limitations for the crime of sexually abusing children. What kind of monster — no, wait… Cardinal Timothy Dolan has made defeating statute of limitations reform one of his top legislative priorities.Charles P. Pierce

BREAKING NEWS IN WINGNUTTIA: A Zombie Breitbart blogger has launched a new conspiracy: the photo of Obama throwing a football is FAKE!LGF

“If I thought that call was coming, I would disconnect the phone.” – Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels (R) on potentially being picked as Mitt Romney’s running mate. – Yahoo News

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

Biden: “We will not go back to the ’50s in social policy” — Vice President Biden worked to tie Mitt Romney to former President George W. Bush and the obsolete policies of a bygone era in a speech on Tuesday at a New Hampshire college. “We will not do it their way again. We intend to move forward,” Biden said in Keene, N.H. “We intend to build a middle class. We mean it.” [...] “We will not go back to the ’50s in social policy, to the Cold War in our foreign policy and to the policies of the last administration on our economic policy,” Biden said, almost shouting as he ripped into the presumptive GOP nominee. [...] arguing that Romney’s record at private-equity firm Bain Capital is fair game because Romney himself has made his business experience Exhibit A in his case for why he’s the best candidate to turn the economy around…. “Your job as president is to promote the common good. That doesn’t mean the private-equity guys are bad. They’re not,” Biden said. “But that no more qualifies you to be president than to be a plumber.” – The Hill | image: thestoutorialist

Sen. Ben Cardin (D-MD) warned that unless Americans can undo the Supreme Court’s decision in the Citizens United case, the most narrow special interests will end up running the country. “The super PACs, to me, are stealth funds that com into a state,” Cardin said. “You don’t know when they’re coming in and we’re all concerned about it. We know that corporate America is financing most of this.” “This is the special interests,” he continued. “This is the people representing some of the most narrow special interests in this country. The Supreme Court, in Citizens United, opened this up. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t happen. We should have a regulated fund. We already have too much money going into the campaigns now.” – Raw Story

Opposition to gay marriage hits new low – A new Washington Post-ABC News poll finds 53% of Americans say gay marriage should be legal, “hitting a high mark in support while showing a dramatic turnaround from just six years ago, when just 36% thought it should be legal.” Meanwhile, 39% percent, a new low, say gay marriage should be illegal. – Political Wire

Poll: 51 percent say U.S. should withdraw all troops from Europe – Rasmussen has a new poll out today finding that a slim majority of American “likely voters” think the United States should withdrawal all American troops from Europe: A new Rasmussen Reports national telephone survey shows that 51% of Likely U.S. Voters now believe the United States should remove all its troops from Western Europe and let the Europeans defend themselves. Only 29% disagree, but another 20% are undecided. Part of President Obama’s plan to cut nearly $500 billion in military spending over the next decade (DOD’s budget will still grow over that same period) includes cutting two Army brigades in Europe. – ThinkProgress

Americans think birth control is okay: Nearly every American — including 82 percent of American Catholics — thinks birth control, and the people who use it, are all right by them. – Roll Call

Reminder to Fox “News” — Martin Luther King Jr. praised Planned Parenthood: Fox is hyping comments by former RNC chairman Michael Steele in which he criticized the NAACP for “signing up with an organization like Planned Parenthood,” which he said had worked in the past to “eliminate and limit” African Americans and other minorities. Guest hosting for Bill O’Reilly, Fox News contributor Laura Ingraham aired Steele’s comments, which were made earlier today on Ingraham’s radio show. Steele’s comments were also touted by Fox Nation.  Unmentioned by Ingraham and Fox Nation, however, is that fact that Martin Luther King Jr. accepted an award from Planned Parenthood and praised the organization for its dedication to family planning. — MMFA

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

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


image: alliancewithnone

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

via: Buzzfeed

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

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

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

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

Read it all…

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

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

Jessica Valenti at The Nation agrees with Rosen,

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

I said this to a commenter yesterday,

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

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

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

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

Morning Bunker Report: Thursday 4.5.2012

THE SHORT BUS: YOUR 2012 REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY 

“Nobody thinks Romney’s going to win. Let’s just be honest. Can we just say this for everybody at home? Let me just say this for everybody at home. The Republican establishment — I’ve yet to meet a single person in the Republican establishment that thinks Mitt Romney is going to win the general election this year. They won’t say it on TV because they’ve got to go on TV and they don’t want people writing them nasty emails.” – Joe Scarborough, Morning Joe (via)

Here’s Some Advice for Mitt Romney – Matthew Dowd — Let go of the bitter fight with Rick Santorum and understand the key strategic imperative is to unite the party. Being bigger than Santorum will show how confident you are and how generous you can be. Don’t run any more negative ads against Santorum; let it be OK for him to win his home state and possibly save face. Tell your staff to quit attacking him and his campaign. Choose either to be all positive about yourself or to only contrast yourself with Obama. This will show how smart your campaign is and how able you are to adapt to a new moment. It is Easter, by the way, and as many folks of faith celebrate a new beginning and the power of compassion. Adopt this same sentiment. [image: politicaldirtylaundry]

Santorum struggles to stay relevant as Romney and Obama begin face-off  – Romney has already launched the first of what is expected to be a barrage of attack adverts targeting Santorum’s record as a US senator from the state for 12 years. Romney has accused him of betraying conservative values by voting to raise the national debt and of being compromised by years in Congress. [...] Romney commanded the most support among strong backers of the Tea Party movement and ran a close second to Santorum among voters who identified themselves as very conservative or as evangelical Christians. In early contests, such as South Carolina, Romney did badly with those groups. After Tuesday’s losses, Santorum pledged to defy pressure from “the Republican establishment and aristocracy” to drop out of the race and said he would keep going through the primaries in May. “Who’s ready to charge out of the locker room in Pennsylvania for a strong second half?” he said. But if Santorum loses the race in Pennsylvania, the pressure to step aside and allow the Republican party to concentrate on its campaign against Obama will intensify.

Rick Santorum Trails Mitt Romney In Pennsylvania, Poll Says – The notion that Santorum has a shot at the Republican nomination even with a victory in Pennsylvania was already a bit far-fetched. A loss there would likely convince even the most passionate backer that the gig is up. But the practical effect of poll numbers like these is greater then just providing a window into where the race currently stands. Santorum has a lot — personally and professionally — riding on his performance in Pennsylvania. And it’s not unreasonable to see him feeling intense pressure to bow out of the contest out of concern that he’d suffer an embarrassing loss.

Planned Parenthood Bomber: ‘They’re Killing Babies There’ – Francis Grady, who’s accused of firebombing a Wisconsin Planned Parenthood clinic on Sunday night, appeared in court today and settled the question of whether or not he’s an anti-choice fanatic: he is. A Grand Chute man accused of setting a fire at a Planned Parenthood clinic made his first appearance Wednesday in U.S. District Court in Green Bay. Francis Grady, 50, told U.S. Magistrate Judge Sickel he planned to plead guilty, but Sickel ignored the statement and scheduled Grady for an April 19 preliminary hearing. At one point, Grady interrupted him to ask, “Do you even care at all about the 1,000 babies that died screaming?”

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS

At UAW legislative conference, Obama defends auto bailout – “I placed my bet on the American worker and I’ll make that bet any day of the week,” the president declared to the UAW delegates. He praised the union, saying it was a major factor in making American history, including enabling the country to “defeat fascism” in World War II and the creation thereafter of the middle class itself. He also slammed the Republicans for their concentration on so-called “value” issues. “I keep hearing these same folks talk about values all the time,” he said. “You want to talk about values? Hard work – that’s a value. Looking out for one another, that’s a value. The idea that we’re all in it together and I am my brother’s keeper and sister’s keeper that’s a value. “They’re out there talking about you like you’re some kind of special interest that needs to be beaten down,” Obama declared. “They are wrong. That’s the philosophy that got us into this mess. We can’t afford to go back to it. Not now.” [image: moveon]

What Detroit’s Resurgence Says About The Auto Bailout – Mitt Romney attacked the Volt the same day the big three released their new numbers. “I’m not sure America was ready for the Chevy Volt,” he said. “I mean, I hope it does well, I don’t want to disparage any product coming out of Detroit. But I think instead of having politicians tell us what kind of cars we ought to make, we ought to let the people who are trying to understand the market make that decision.” Romney also continues to struggle with his original position on the bailout — outlined in a memorable 2008 New York Times op-ed, “Let Detroit Go Bankrupt.” “If by chance people don’t remember that editorial, we’re going to remind them of it,” said Don LaForest, chairman of the UAW’s bargaining committee at the Detroit Hamtramck plant, where the Volt is made. Rattner believes it’s a safe bet that the bailout will become a major campaign issue. “That the auto bailout has had a very positive impact on the country is the message you’ve seen the White House use and they should continue to use it,” Rattner told TPM. “There were some pretty amazingly incorrect predictions made by people who were against the bailout. They should step back and rethink their hypotheses.”

WE ARE LIKELY TO HEAR A LOT MORE ABOUT SOCIAL DARWINISM in the months ahead. It was the conservative creed during the late 19th century – legitimizing a politics in which the lackeys of robber barons deposited sacks of money on legislators’ desks, and justifying an economy in which sweat shops were common, urban slums festered, and a significant portion of America was impoverished. – Robert Reich: The Choice in 2012: Social Darwinism or a Decent Society

Clinton: Unilateral Israeli Attack On Iran Now ‘Is Not In Anyone’s Interest’ – REENA NINAN: How successful has the U.S. been in getting and preventing Israel from taking unilateral action against Iran? CLINTON: Well we’ve worked very hard with Israel on all levels from the military, intelligence, strategic, diplomatic level to make sure we were sharing information, that we knew what each other was assessing. And it’s our very strong belief, as President Obama conveyed to the Israelis, that it is not in anyone’s interest for them to take unilateral action. It is in everyone’s interest for us to seriously pursue at this time the diplomatic path.

Mitt Romney: poised to be the GOP’s top shithead

Mitt Romney poised for Tuesday sweep – If Mitt Romney is able to win with these kinds of margins—big double-digits in Romney-friendly states, high single-digits to low double-digits in states where Rick Santorum originally had a chance—there’s no question that he’ll win enough delegates to hit the magic number while primaries are still ongoing. So I guess Republicans have the shortest memory in the world. After spending three years yelling about President Obama, health care reform, and high taxes … they are about to nominate the guy who invented Obamacare and who raised taxes while governor of Massachusetts. Of course, he denies all that, and apparently Republicans are willing to believe him. But things are going to get interesting when Romney tries to move into Etch-A-Sketch mode, trying to erase the things he said during the Republican primary in order to appeal to swing voters. And assuming tomorrow goes as PPP’s polling suggest it will, that day is coming soon.

 Wisconsin, Where the Romney Pushback Begins – So, suddenly, with women running away from the Republican party and its putative nominee as though he’s gone radioactive, we get a story that tells us that the White House “fears” the power of “rock star” Ann Romney, the woman with several Cadillacs? As near as I can tell from that Politico story, the main sources of Ann Romney’s “power” are that she’s Mitt’s only first wife, and that he’s a little bit less of an animatronic foof when she’s around. She’s his “link” to “the base” simply because they’ve stayed married to each other. [...] The work of humanizing the Romneybot — recreating him as a “moderate,” so that we can actually have the horse-race that people want so badly come the fall — is going to continue and accelerate. His campaign has been stunningly adequate throughout, just about up to the task of spending a quintillion quatloos to crush a field of lightweights and rodeo clowns. He’s outspending Santorum 55-to-one in Wisconsin and has built up a virtual monopoly on television advertising, and his lead is still only in single digits. And he’s being stunningly adequate in a state that is in a merry chaos of superheated politics. For the first time since Fighting Bob LaFollette was in there swinging, Wisconsin is the red-hot core of American politics.

Animatronic foof!! That’s exactly why I read Charles P. Pierce, who in my mind is a national treasure. #WIN

Here are some things the Romneybot has done / said recently, all of which TeamRomney will now attempt to either “soften” for moderate voters (the majority of folks who aren’t likely to think Jesus would have voted for more tax cuts for the wealthy), or will just straight up amend, change, or lie about in the future. We need to keep score:

Mitt Romney’s top 5 assaults to women’s health

1. He’s going to ‘get rid of’ Planned Parenthood.

2. Romney supports the Blunt Ammendment which would allow employers to deny health insurance coverage on the basis of moral objections.

3. Romney is fighting a covert battle against contraception, even if he is doing his best not to call it that.

4. Romney failed to condemn Rush Limbaugh’s characterization of Sandra Fluke as a “slut.”

5. Romney supports restricting access to abortions. He has called Roe v. Wade “one of the darkest moments in Supreme Court history.”

More details at Think Progress

Side note:


via: lycanpedia

One of NOM’s Top Secret Donors Revealed: Mitt Romney – We often talk about how hard NOM works to hide their donors – even if it means circumventing the law – but now, we’ve learned the identity of one of their high-profile financial supporters: Mitt Romney. Financial documents obtained by HRC reveal that Mitt Romney donated $10,000 to the National Organization for Marriage in 2008 – essentially funding NOM’s strategy of using racial division and unfounded scare tactics to attack LGBT equality, at the same time that NOM was fighting for Prop 8 in Californiavia: sarahlee310

Tax Cuts in GOP Budget Would Give Millionaires $265,000 on Top of Bush Tax Cuts; Would Cut Top Rate to Lowest Level Since Hoover Administration – “I’m very supportive of the Ryan budget plan. It’s a bold and exciting effort on [Ryan’s] part and on the part of the Republicans.”Mitt Romney [source]

Ad War Update – Romney’s online ad strategy is to tell people what they want to hear, literally: In the past campaign speeches often tried to include one line or two to satisfy each type of voter. But increasingly campaigns are figuring out exactly what people like you would need to hear to vote for them, and then giving exactly that message to people exactly like you. Another group of people will hear another message directed explicitly at their concerns.

Mitt Romney Keeps Lying – Mitt Romney is not only lying more often as the primary draws to close, he’s also telling bigger lies. “We know that under Barack Obama, 800,000 jobs have been lost. We know that under Barack Obama, 2.3 million homes have been foreclosed upon. We know that under this president, chronic unemployment is the worst it’s been in American history.” No, it is not the worst it’s been in American history. I expect the general election will be filled with one lie after another, because there is no credible way for Romney and the Republicans to attack the president without lying…

Romney (and the rest of the GOP) can’t ever make a point without acting like they’re in a junior high lunch room:  Our president doesn’t have the same feelings about American exceptionalism that we do,” Romney told a conservative crowd. Obama rebuffs Romney on ‘exceptional’ America – “It’s still primary season for the Republican Party,” [Obama] said, but then took aim at Romney’s central argument. “It’s worth noting that I first arrived on the national stage with a speech at the Democratic Convention that was entirely about American exceptionalism and that my entire career has been a testimony to American exceptionalism. But, you know, I will cut folks some slack for now because they’re still trying to get their nomination.”

The Republican War on Women: 3 things for Monday morning

TEA TERROR:

  • From a ‘Pro-life’ domestic terrorist cell in Wisconsin: Planned Parenthood Firebombed in Wisconsin – On Sunday April 1, 2012 at 7:41 P.M. the Grand Chute Fire Department responded to Plannned Parenthood, 3800 N. Gíllett St for a fire alarm. While investigating the cause for the alarm, firefighters found evidence of foul play and requested assistance from the Grand Chute Police Department. An unknown person placed a small homemade explosive device on an outside window sill to the buílding. The device later exploded, causing damage to the building. A small fire broke out at the time ofthe explosion, but it quickly burned itself out prior to the arrival of the fire department. The Grand Chute Police Department is investigating this incident. It is believed the incident took place around 7:30 P.M. If anyone has about this incident, please contact the Grand Chute Department at 920-832-1575.

LEAST SURPRISING (yet still extraordinary) thing of the day: 

  • POLL: Women Voters Abandon GOP In Key Battleground States – President Obama has emerged with an impressive lead in swing states around the country — thanks to women voters abandoning the GOP in droves, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll showing President Obama leading among women voters in the top dozen battleground states by a whopping 18 points — greater than the 12-point gender gap he won with in 2008. [...] Both Democrats and Republicans point to the battles over contraception coverage as a reason for the shift. Republican strategist Sara Taylor Fagen, a former political adviser to President George W. Bush, told USA Today that “The focus on contraception has not been a good one for us … and Republicans have unfairly taken on water on this issue.”Obama campaign manager Jim Messina likewise pointed to the GOP’s hang-up on social issues. Most notably, Romney endorsed the Blunt Amendment, which would have allowed employers to deny coverage of contraception, among other services, on moral or religious grounds. A poll commissioned earlier this month by EMILY’s List, the PAC dedicated to electing pro-choice, Democratic women, found that 48 percent of voters — including 53 percent among Independents and 40 percent among Republicans — would be less likely to vote for a candidate who supported the amendment.

GOP WAR ON THE TROOPS (AND WOMEN)!

  • Rep. Joe Walsh Is A Big Time A-Hole – Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) is running for re-election against military veteran Tammy Duckworth, who lost her legs and part of an arm in the war. Here’s Walsh blowing off both her service and her injuries in the line: “What else has she done? Female, wounded veteran … ehhh… She is nothing more than a handpicked Washington bureaucrat. David Axelrod, Rahm Emanuel just picked her up and dropped her into this district.”  

What else has she done? Does he mean FOR OUR COUNTRY? Or WTF does he mean exactly? For Republican politicians, and maybe a majority of their base, “Support the Troops” has never carried more importance than a yellow magnetic car ribbon slapped on the back of a car. How else do you explain TAX CUTS for the wealthy during TWO WARS they started? And now we are confronted with the most recent, disgusting example of utter disdain for a woman veteran who lost both legs and an arm in service to our country by  Teaparty favorite Joe Walsh, a ‘man’ who has never served in the U.S. military himself, like so many of the great Chickenhawk Leaders in the GOP.

Walsh is known, however, for not paying his child support. So if he loses this election, it’s likely he’ll be given an AM radio show or a Fox “News” gig, where he’ll be able to continue disrespecting women and veterans, specifically for that segment of our country which live for that kind of slop.

image: unitewomenma

03/18: Sunday morning’s more or less interesting things

1) PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS 

  • President Obama repeats call to end subsidies for Big Oil - “… at a time when big oil companies are making more money than ever before, we’re still giving them $4 billion of your tax dollars in subsidies every year. Your member of Congress should be fighting for you. Not for big financial firms. Not for big oil companies. In the next few weeks, I expect Congress to vote on ending these subsidies. And when they do, we’re going to put every single Member of Congress on record: They can either stand up for oil companies, or they can stand up for the American people. They can either place their bets on a fossil fuel from the last century, or they can place their bets on America’s future. So make your voice heard. Send your representative an email. Give them a call. Tell them to stand with you.” 
  • Medicare fight is not over yet – Rep. Steve Israel - This Republican Congress of Chronic Chaos is dusting off last year’s same failed playbook — where seniors would lose their Medicare while Republicans give more tax breaks to millionaires and Big Oil companies. I have one response: Bring it on. Tone-deaf House Republicans are preparing a budget that will — again — protect millionaires over Medicare. As with their last budget, House Republicans are giving Americans a window into their souls. And the American people don’t like what they’re seeing: Republicans’ relentless, reckless promise to protect the ultrawealthy at the expense of the middle class and seniors. Republicans might stand for those failed priorities, but middle-class families and seniors won’t. Medicare is a sacred bond with seniors that cannot be broken.

2) YOUR 2012 GOP PRIMARY

  • Rick Santorum: If I win the Illinois primary, I win the nomination - “This is a primary, and turnout is everything. You do your job, you do your job, then this is the pledge,” Santorum said. “If we’re able to come out of Illinois with a huge or surprise win, I guarantee you, I guarantee you that we will win this nomination.” Illinois has largely been predicted to favor Mitt Romney for Tuesday’s primary. The vote is expected to be driven by Chicago and its surrounding suburbs, pegged as unfavorable territory for the former Pennsylvania senator’s brand of conservatism. But in areas like Effingham, hours south of the Windy City, Santorum hopes to fire up a Republican base that is often overshadowed by its Democratic counterparts to the north.

  • Ahead of Ill. primary, Romney blasts Obama on gas prices, defends his own wealth -  Romney accused three administration officials—Energy Secretary Steven Chu, Interior Secretary Ken Salazar and Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Lisa Jackson— of working to push up energy prices. He said they should either resign their offices or be fired by the president. [...] He ended the event with a defense of his business success, which has helped him amass a huge personal fortune. “I am not in this race to make money,” he said to rising cheers from the audience. “I’ve already made enough… I’m not embarrassed about being successful, but I’m embarrassed for people who think there’s something wrong with that.”

3) YOUR 21st CENTURY REPUBLICAN (TEA)PARTY 

  • Why Conservatives Are Still Crazy After All These Years - But are right-wingers scarier now than in the past? They certainly seem stranger and fiercer. I’d argue, however, that they’ve been this crazy for a long time. Over the last sixty years or so, I see far more continuities than discontinuities in what the rightward twenty or thirty percent of Americans believe about the world. The crazy things they believed and wanted were obscured by their lack of power, but they were always there – if you knew where to look. What’s changed is that loony conservatives are now the Republican mainstream, the dominant force in the GOP. [...] conservatism continues to thrive. That’s because power begets power: Democrats can be counted on to compromise with conservative nuttiness, and the media can be counted on to normalize it. And it’s because there will always be millions of Americans who are terrified of social progress and of dispossession from whatever slight purchase on psychological security they’ve been able to maintain in a frightening world. And because there will always be powerful economic actors for whom exploiting such fear, uncertainty and doubt pays (and pays, and pays).
  • San Diego Tea Party activist Michael Kobulnicky. Screenshot via Vimeo.Tea party leader suspected of sexual assault - San Diego tea party spokesperson Michael Kobulincky was placed into custody and accused of abduction and sexual assault on a 56-year-old woman in February. Authorities say the woman was pulled into a car and assaulted before she was dropped off. Surveillance cameras and a picture released to the public led to Kobulincky being identified as a suspect. The San Diego Tea Party released a statement, citing that Kobulincky has been relieved of his spokesperson’s role and has been inactive since January. He is facing a myriad of felony charges, including kidnapping, sexual assault and sex with a foreign object.

4) REPUBLICAN WAR ON WOMEN

  • Breaking: “First Degree Homicide Of The Unborn Child Bill” Passes CO House On Second Reading -  Horrible news for women’s rights from the state House tonight. From State Rep Daniel Kagan (D): “…we were unable to prevent the Republican majority in the House from passing on second reading the First Degree Homicide of the Unborn Child bill. Under some circumstances, it makes both termination of pregnancy and the use of the morning after pill a homicide. It also confers personhood on a newly fertilized egg.” Kos readers may believe this bill will be stopped in the Senate. Tea Party legislators have been successful in passing 135 bills nationwide to limit women’s reproductive rights this year. To assume it cannot happen in Colorado is a dangerous assumption…
  • Violence Against Women Act Divides Senate - But Senator Charles E. Grassley of Iowa, the senior Republican on the Judiciary Committee, found multiple reasons to oppose the bill when it came up for a formal consideration last month. The legislation “creates so many new programs for underserved populations that it risks losing the focus on helping victims, period,” Mr. Grassley said when the committee took up the measure. After his alternative version was voted down on party lines, the original passed without a Republican vote. Senator Dianne Feinstein, Democrat of California, one of two women on the judiciary panel, said the partisan opposition came as a “real surprise,” but she put it into a broader picture. “This is part of a larger effort, candidly, to cut back on rights and services to women,” she said. “We’ve seen it go from discussions on Roe v. Wade, to partial birth abortion, to contraception, to preventive services for women. This seems to be one more thing.” [image: leftish]

5) PROTECTING THE WEALTH OF THE ONE PERCENT: GOP WAR ON THE 99%

  • Yet another income redistribution scheme. Notice the GOP never recommends more revenue with a tax increase to the one percent? Medicare bill would hike costs to federal workers - Four Republican senators have introduced legislation designed to improve Medicare, but with federal employees paying a price. Under the Congressional Health Care for Seniors Act, Medicare recipients would enroll in the Federal Employees Health Benefit Program (FEHBP). Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ken.), the main sponsor of the bill, said it would save taxpayers $1 trillion over 10 years. He acknowledged, however, that the legislation would result in higher premiums for federal employees… An organization that represents older Americans on Medicare and federal employees does have arguments against the legislation. “This is a kill-two-birds-with-one-stone kind of proposal that would both bring down Medicare as we know it and threaten the stability of the FEHBP,” said Joseph A. Beaudoin, president of the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association.
  • A Senate Republican plan to replace Medicare - For years, Republicans have insisted that they would not end Medicare as we know it and that any changes to the program would not affect those in or near retirement. In the span of 20 minutes Thursday, they jettisoned both promises. [...] But DeMint and his colleagues think the time to end Medicare is now — with a cold-turkey conversion to a private program, effective in 2014. … Paul says his plan would cut funding of Medicare by $1 trillion over 10 years and reduce Medicare’s liabilities by $16 trillion. It would do that by enrolling Medicare recipients in the health plan now used by federal workers. The government would pay 75 percent of the insurance premium on average but 30 percent or less for those who earned more than $100,000 a year. The eligibility age would gradually be raised to 70 from 65. If seniors can’t afford their share of the premium, they can apply for Medicaid, the health program for the poor. || The GOP has always been against Medicare — remember THIS?
  • Ryan Budget to Include Firewall of Defense Sequester - President Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta have stated they want defense spending to be part of a larger budget deal on taxes and spending. The sequester mandates that both defense and discretionary spending will take a hit beginning next January. Defense spending would account for $600 billion of all mandated cuts over 10 years. Some Republicans not wanting to flirt with national security have said they want to keep defense out of the negotiations surrounding the sequester, which are expected to last until after the November elections. Panetta has stated any further cuts could be “devastating,” but has insisted Congress should negotiate on taxes and spending in a comprehensive way without pulling defense. [...] But by firewalling defense from further cuts, House Republicans would need to pay for those expected cuts another way. At a House Budget Committee hearing, Chairman Paul Ryan, R-Wis., told Panetta he felt entitlement spending should be on the table. [chart: MotherJones « click for larger image]

6) MISC

  • Mossad ‘agrees with U.S.’ on Iran nuclear goals - Israel’s intelligence service Mossad agrees with US assessments there is no hard evidence that Iran has decided to build a nuclear bomb, even though Israeli leaders have talked about Tehran’s plans to acquire nuclear weapons, The New York Times reported. “Their people ask very hard questions, but Mossad does not disagree with the US on the weapons program,” the newspaper quoted an unnamed former senior US intelligence official as saying. “There is not a lot of dispute between the US and Israeli intelligence communities on the facts,” the former official said. The Times reported last month that the latest assessments by US spy agencies are broadly consistent with a 2007 intelligence finding that concluded that Iran had abandoned its nuclear weapons program.
  •          
  • BUT THERE’S NO SUCH THING AS GLOBAL CLIMATE CHANGE! Record highs set Wednesday. Open circles indicate records were tied, circles with an x indicate records were broken. (National Climatic Data Center) Temperatures more characteristic of June have broken hundreds of temperature records over the last several days and promise to continue into the next week in many areas. In some places, temperatures have been an eye-popping 30-40 degrees above normal, nearing or surpassing the warmest temperatures ever recorded so early in the season. Since Sunday, an amazing 943 new record highs have been broken or tied across the U.S. compared to just 9 record lows On Wednesday alone, an incredible 400 new record highs were were broken (307) or tied (93). Record heat spanned from Florida to Montana.  [...] The backdrop for these warm weather records is an atmosphere that’s bulking up. Levels of carbon dioxide and methane (two key greenhouse gases) are higher than they’ve been in at least 800,000 years, and global temperatures over the last decade are unsurpassed in the modern climate record. All 11 years of the 21st century rank among the 13 warmest globally since 1880 according to NOAA. 

Saturday morning’s 6 subjectively interesting things

1) The President / Democrats

  • WHITE HOUSE: COLLEGES MUST COVER BIRTH CONTROL FOR STUDENTS - The Health and Human Services Department said student health plans will be treated like employees’ plans, meaning they will have to comply with new requirements under healthcare reform — including the requirement to provide contraception without charging a copay. The contraception mandate has sparked intense criticism from some religious groups and Republican lawmakers. They say it violates employers’ religious freedoms by forcing them to provide a service they find immoral. Religious universities will treat their student plans the same as their employees’ plans, administration officials said Friday. That means they will not have to directly offer contraception in their plans, but students and workers will be able to get birth control from their insurance companies without a copay.
  • A REAL CONSERVATIVE’S TAKE ON OBAMA - The British Tories have not gone insane like the GOP. And it’s an open secret that Cameron would be extremely confortable with an Obama re-election. But I was struck by the prime minister’s remarks the other night and since they’re now being attacked from thefar right, it’s worth reprinting them: “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: strength, moral authority, and wisdom…” [...] Just because Americans need amnesia to forget what this country did to its own moral authority under Bush and Cheney does not mean that America’s allies have. They saw the damage it did to all of us defending civilization against barbarism, only to discover that some of that barbarism was emanating from the White House itself.
  • OBAMA’S JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION RATE IS AT LEAST 30 JUDGES BEHIND BUSH’S - In the wake of this week’s deal where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to stop obstructing 14 of President Obama’s judicial nominees and allow them to be confirmed by early May, Al Kamen runs the numbers on how President Obama’s confirmation rate compares to the rate of confirmations under Presidents Bush and Clinton… [...] If the Senate does, in fact, approve them all, Obama’s number of confirmed judges will stand at 172. To put that in perspective, by the end of May in their respective first terms, George W. Bush had 175 judges approved, and Bill Clinton had 183.

2) Your 2012 GOP primary

  • A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ‘ENTHUSIASM GAP’ - Republicans are less enthusiastic about having Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum as their potential presidential nominee than they were four years ago about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., according to a Gallup survey released on Thursday. For conservatives, the lackluster numbers are a worrying sign that the party’s already bitter primary fight has sapped voter enthusiasm and left the GOP weakened for the fall battle with President Obama. Gallup reported that just 35 percent of Republicans surveyed said they would vote enthusiastically for front-runner Romney if he becomes the party’s standard-bearer. Similarly, 34 percent said they would enthusiastically support Santorum, his main challenger for the nomination and the preferred choice of the most-conservative Republicans. That represents a precipitous drop in excitement from 2008, the poll found. In a survey released in early February of that year, 47 percent of Republicans were enthusiastic about the prospect of backing McCain, a 12-point difference from Romney’s numbers today.
  • Limbaugh’s chemically enhanced dittoheads will NEVER go for this: SANTORUM PROMISES BROAD WAR ON PORN - The Daily Caller flags a little-discussed position paper on Rick Santorum’s campaign website—his pledge to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography. Santorum avers that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography.” He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that “pandemic,” by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers. [The photo was snapped by a passenger on an Atlantis all-gay cruise in Puerto Rico. - via: Buzzfeed / JMG]
  • ROMNEY SAYS FOX NEWS IS “PRETTY FAIR AND BALANCED” AND NOT “SHILLING FOR ANYONE” - Mitt Romney on Thursday dismissed former senator Rick Santorum’s charge that Fox News Channel is “shilling” for the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign.“I don’t think you’re shilling for anyone, to tell you the truth,” Romney said on the “Kilmeade and Friends” radio show. “Each one of the people I meet has their own opinions. My guess is different ones of the commentators have different people they think have a better shot but you don’t hear that from the network or from the individual commentators. So look, you are free to express your own views but I think it’s as you say, pretty fair and balanced.”
  • ROMNEY’S FOX NEWS BLITZ - Mitt Romney has been up and down on the trail — and that’s also true of his ubiquity on Fox News. Recently, he’s been a near-constant presence. Romney’s tour of the Fox News empire this week is the most time Romney’s done on a Fox News set in a week since Jan. 1. In the week alone, Romney has appeared on Fox News six times, and he’s scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday this weekend. The tone of the interviews has ranged from a bit uncomfortable to downright chummy. [...] America Live host Megyn Kelly on Wednesday asked why Romney is making so many wealth-related gaffes, citing his references to football and NASCAR team owners. Romney still hasn’t found a solid answer to this critique, though there’s been a general “he’s rich, get over it” push from his surrogates lately. But Romney’s answer to Kelly showed a continued inability to explain his wealth in a way that would endear him to the middle-class voters he is courting. “Guess what? I’ve made a lot of money,” Romney said. “I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.”
  • “GOD’S WILL?” SARAH PALIN’S SECRET PLOT TO CAPTURE THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2012 - Pay close attention: Palin’s rhetoric between now and Tampa will continue to be critical of both Romney and Obama; it will continue to push for a contested primary; and it will continue to signal Palin’s willingness to accept the nomination of a brokered convention. Palin knows that Romney will never pack her star power with the base — and that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich will either. In the aftermath of Santorum’s sweep of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, a brokered GOP convention is a very real possibility. The Republican Party has become a fractured mosaic of fringe constituencies — from Tea Partiers to evangelical anti-abortion activists, from libertarians who support Ron Paul to white supremacists who despise the fact that there is a black man in the White House. It is an unruly lot. The days of a GOP elite framing the presidential selection process are over. Charisma trumps experience; celebrity trumps substance; and, perhaps most disturbingly, anger trumps reason. Mama grizzlies, especially those who have been wounded, don’t go down easy. [Remember what Ann Coulter said a few days ago about this...]

3) The drug-addicted, morally-challenged ‘shock blob’ known as Rush Limbaugh

  • WESTBORO RELEASES ‘YOU MIGHT BE A SLUT’ AD FOR LIMBAUGH’S SHOW - A church in Topeka, Kansas famous for its “God Hates Fags” protests is hoping to take their message to millions of dittoheads across the U.S. The Westboro Baptist Church on Friday released two advertisements that they hope to air on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, which is experiencing an exodus of advertisers after he called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” because she spoke in favor of religious institutions providing contraception coverage. The first spot was a parody of comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” routine. “If you wear a dress that is strapless with a brassiere that isn’t, you might be a slut,” an announcer says. “If you are an anchor bimbo for Fox News and your name is Kelly or Julie, you might be a slut.” [...] Premiere Networks has already said it would reject the ads as soon as it receives them on Friday. “If they turn these things down, how are they really any different than the people who are turning their nose up at Rush Limbaugh?” Drain asked. “We are making a moral statement with our advertising just like he was making a moral statement with his airtime.”
  • (AUDIO) RUSH SUGGESTS GOP IS NOT ANTI-WOMAN BECAUSE REPUBLICANS “TAKE WOMEN TO DINNER. THEY BUY WOMEN DIAMONDS.” - [The following commentary on this via: Wonkette]: Honestly, who can even be mad at this dumb fuck any more? It is like being mad at an incredibly stupid, fat, drug-addicted, offensive head of lettuce. Why even bother? Fine, Rush, give us some whore diamonds, for our whoring, whore whore whore. Yeah, we get it kiddo, we’re whores. No, no, you got us, we’re super offended, we promise! No really, really, we are! Run along now sweetie, there’s some cookies on the counter. Remember, Jesus loves you, and good job.

4) Republican War on Women

  • Living in a red state is hazardous to your health if you’re a woman: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ARIZONA? - To recap: Arizona senate committees have approved bills to allow doctors to withhold information from pregnant women if they suspect it will lead to an abortion, to allow employers to demand proof that your contraception is for non-reproductive purposes, and now a bill to cut state funding from family planning services entirely. [...] If HB2800 is signed into law, Arizona will also lose Medicaid matching funds for family planning services in the same manner as Texas. And maybe that’s the idea. What other conclusion is there?
  • KANSAS, TOO: COUNTY TURNS DOWN FUNDING FOR BIRTH CONTROL - After yesterday’s post about county commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina, voting to reject state money for family planning, Amber Pickman wrote to tell us about a similar move in Miami County, Kansas. The Miami County Commission voted 3-2 last week to exclude about $9,000 in funding aimed at covering contraceptives from the county’s state grant applications. The Louisburg Herald covered the fallout: The decision didn’t sit well with Kelly Fritz, who volunteers at the health department and spoke with Miami County commissioners last August when they first considered eliminating the distribution of contraceptives from the family planning program. During that August meeting, Fritz said Miami County’s program serves 151 women, 116 of whom do not have insurance. She also said that statistics show that 85 percent of women who are regularly sexually active will become pregnant within one year without family planning services, and she estimated that 98 of the 116 women without insurance would become pregnant if the services were no longer provided…“It’s like we’re going backwards,” Fritz said. “I can’t believe the rights we had are being taken away from our children’s generation.”
  • OUT OF FAVOR IN WASHINGTON, BLUNT-STYLE BILLS CATCH FIRE IN THE STATES - Over the last few weeks, Republicans have quietly backed away from the controversial Blunt Amendment and other legislative efforts to allow employers to deny contraception coverage to women. “I think Republicans know that it hasn’t served them well,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told TPM at the time. Apparently, state-level Republicans didn’t get the memo. Several state legislatures were inspired rather than dissuaded by the contraception debate in Washington, and are considering their own versions of the Blunt Amendment — keeping alive an issue national Republicans thought they were putting to bed. Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho and Georgia have taken up bills to expand exemptions for contraception coverage. Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Idaho and Wyoming lawmakers are moving symbolic resolutions condemning the administration’s contraception coverage rule. Lawmakers working on the state bills, like their counterparts in Congress, insist that the measures are about protecting religious liberty, not women’s access to health care. But a new poll from Bloomberg shows that a majority of voters don’t see it that way…

5) The Republican War on everyone / everything else in the world

  • ANTI-OBAMA RACISM IS REAL - A photograph of a bumper sticker that features racist, anti-Obama language has gone viral on Facebook and other social networks. The sticker reads “Don’t Re-Nig In 2012,” in large white type, above smaller text that reads: “Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!” The offensive design appears to have originated at a site called Stumpy’s Stickers, where it can be purchased. The site sells variations on the same idea, including another “Don’t Re-Nig” design featuring a caricature of a black man’s face with a missing tooth, a picture of a chimp that reads “Obama 2012,” and another with a drawing of several Ku Klux Klan members that reads “The Original Boys In The Hood.”
  • OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMES OUT AGAINST NORTH CAROLINA’S MARRIAGE AMENDMENT - Today, President Obama’s re-election campaign came out in opposition to Amendment One, which would ban all same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in North Carolina. According to Cameron French, Obama’s North Carolina spokesman: FRENCH: While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.
  • DONALD TRUMP: WINDMILLS ARE ‘DISGUSTING’ - President Barack Obama characterized clean energy cynics in the GOP presidential field as would-be members of the Flat Earth Society. Birther and Romney-endorser Donald Trump cast himself with the Flat Earth candidates yesterday, with his latest tirade against clean energy. Trump told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: Wind is destroying the environment in many, many places. People are going crazy over the horrible, noisy, disgusting windmills. And they are horrible and a horrible intrusion, ruining communities, and solar is weak and has not been effective and is very, very expensive.

6) Misc

  • SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT GEOMAGNETIC STORMS ARE MAKING YOU SICK - Geomagnetic storms aren’t just beautiful to look at — these disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field could also be messing with your mind and body. There’s a ton of evidence suggesting that geomagnetic storms can cause everything from depression to cardiac problems — and may even be influencing the stock market. A new paper suggests there’s a lot more evidence for this connection than anybody realizes. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, argues that there’s a large, disparate, and controversial body of scientific literature that links geomagnetic storms to a number of animal behaviors, including cardiovascular, psychiatric and behavioral changes in humans. And author Dr. James Close has the enormous literature review to back up his claims… [via: the-star-stuff]

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.