Archive for March, 2011.
Senate : • HI-Sen : Charles Djou reiterated that he’d wait until fellow GOPer Linda Lingle decides whether to run, which he expects by this summer. (So does that mean until Sept. 21st?) Political gear from Dem MA-Sen campaign • MA-Sen : This is some… creative spin from the DSCC. Dems, both named and un-named, are saying that the failure of a Democratic challenger to emerge against Scott Brown is all part of a plan, one that involves attacking Brown (by various proxies, it would seem) while giving the Republicans no Dem to attack in response. This plan is so super-genious, it ought to continue right up until November 6th, 2012. • NV-Sen : The Lahontan Valley News, covering a Jeff-Jack dinner up north that Rep. Shelley Berkley just attended, says that the congresswoman ” confirmed she wants to run” for Senate—but those are their words, not hers. Please hold the microphone closer to the horse’s mouth! • VA-Sen : President Obama showered some praise on Tim Kaine at a couple of fundraisers in NYC on Tuesday night. Is this part of a lengthy marketing campaign, or an attempted kick in the pants? Gubernatorial : • CA-Gov : A lone unnamed source tells Phillip Matier and Andrew Ross of the SF Chronicle that newly-elected Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) is planning to run for governor… in 2014. That would mean he either expects the Hon. Gov Jerry Brown, who will be 76 by then, to not run again, or he thinks it would be a good idea to challenge Brown in a primary. Given that it’s Newsom we’re talking about, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s the latter. • WV-Gov : Rick Thompson has another ad out. I’m told that several other Dems are on the air, but I checked all of their YouTube accounts and found no other ads. House : • CA-36 : The League of Conservation Voters just came out for Debra Bowen, while Rep. Linda Sanchez threw her support behind Janice Hahn. • NY-26 : Dem Kathy Hochul is out with her first ad (NWOTSOTB), in which she touts her accomplishments as a politician… all of which seem to have to do with cars, in one way or another. • WI-07 : Sean Duffy is just a total asshole, but my heart really goes out to the guy who questioned him at a town hall. Said the questioner: I’m a builder. I haven’t been building too many things in the last couple years with the economy down. My wife is a teacher. I’m fortunate enough to take a bus driving job. Love it. Just love it. But it’s not very much money of course. It’s working for us. He drives a bus, and still considers himself lucky. Sean Duffy earns $174,000 a year as a member of Congress and complains that “I struggle to meet my bills.” He also declared that the benefits the builder/bus driver’s wife gets as a state employee are “gold-plated” and are better than those he gets as a federal employee. As Steve archly notes : “What, they don’t have an Office of the Attending Physician in Marinette or Eau Claire?” Other Races : • Suffolk Co. Lege : It’s some good news… for John McCain! It may also be further down into the weeds than we’ve ever gone at SSP. A Democrat, Sarah Anker, appears to have won a special election in a deeply Republican seat in the Suffolk County Legislature. Republicans are trying to claim that County Exec. Steve Levy’s very high-profile troubles with the law (see SSP Amazing Digest #325 ) weighed them down in this race… but Levy’s only been a Republican for less than a year! Remainders : • Farm Subsidies : An organization called the Environmental Working Group has a fascinating look at the 23 members of Congress (17 Republicans, 6 Democrats) who have received farm subsidies since 1995. Over the last fifteen years, this group of Republicans has pulled in over ten times as much ($5.3 million vs. $500K) than the Dems. Farm subsidies have been a campaign trail issue—they enrage teabaggers, who savaged the #1 recipient, TN-08 Rep. and agribusiness kingpin Stephen Fincher, in the GOP primary last year over the $3.4 million in federal largesse he’s received over the years. The piece also notes that Dems tried to protect rural members by preserving the status quo back in 2008, but that of course has completely failed. With most of those big-age pols now washed out to the hog lagoon, maybe, just maybe, official Democratic policy toward these awful subsidies will change. • Voter Suppression : The AP has a good roundup on the stepped-up Republican efforts to pass voter ID laws—despite the expense caused by these laws, and by the fact that pretty much no one nowhere has ever proven a single one of these overblown charges of “VOTER FRAUD!!!!!!!!111111111″. States on the list include Alabama, Arkansas, Kansas, Ohio, South Carolina, Tennessee, and Texas. Fortunately, in Democratic-controlled Arkansas, the idea died in the Senate after it passed the House. • Fundraising : Today is the first day of the rest of your life. It’s also the last day of the first fundraising quarter of the year, so time to start thinking about donations to your favorite Democrats. Redistricting Roundup : • DC : The District of Columbia doesn’t often appear in the digest, but this fits our style: The site Greater Greater Washington has a Google Maps-based game of sorts where you can redistrict the city’s wards. • Florida : Republican legislative leaders have forwarded on Florida’s redistricting ballot measures (passed last year) to the Dept. of Justice for pre-clearance—an application weirdo Gov. Rick Scott withdrew earlier this year. But Mike Haridopolos (oh, you know him) and Dean Cannon, his counterpart in the state House, drafted their request to the DoJ in a way deliberately designed to undermine the amendments. They claimed they would hurt minority voting rights, but I don’t really see how that’s possible, since the VRA would trump any state laws. Hopefully the DoJ will see through this charade and clear these amendments promptly. • Iowa : Start hitting refresh! Iowa’s first-draft federal map will come out this morning. • Louisiana : The state House voted to accept a new map on Tuesday, by a 70-28 margin. Most of the votes against were from black Democrats and also from Republicans from Jefferson Parish, which apparently loses a seat to Orleans Parish under this plan. • Maine : Maine state law says that redistricting must be done in 2013—which of course would be after the next round of Congressional elections. Two Mainers have filed a lawsuit challenging this practice on “one person, one vote” grounds, pointing out that every other state (except Montana, where federal redistricting isn’t an issue) redraws their maps as soon as they get new Census data in. • New York : Republican state Sen. Majority Leader Dean Skelos declared last night that redistricting reform is dead. He said the Senate would not take up legislation that would create an independent commission. • Pennsylvania : Everyone seems to expect that Dems Jason Altmire and Mark Critz will get thrown into a single district by Republicans. Politico examines what the contours of such a mashup might look like. • Texas : The Texas Tribune did a National Review-style poll of “insiders,” asking them what the state’s four new congressional districts will look like. 54% said they’ll be 3-1 Republican, while 37% said 2-2 Dem.
DK Elections Daily Digest: 3/31
The Huffington Post’s Alex Wagner appeared on ‘The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell’ Tuesday night to discuss Bill O’Reilly’s recent comments criticizing Sarah Palin . Regarding O’Reilly and Palin, Wagner explained, “they’ve historically had this kind of Henry Higgins, Eliza Doolittle relationship where you know they’ve had spats before over immigration, over her experience, over the BP oil spill. But the rhetoric seems to be ratcheting up and I think the hardballs are coming a little bit faster from other corners, Karl Rove, another example.” Wagner continued, “the establishment GOP understands that folks like Sarah Palin and Michele Bachmann pose a very real threat to the 2012 Presidential candidacies. And regardless of whether they actually run, if their rhetoric dominates the stage it is potentially detrimental for moderates like Mitt Romney who is, right now, the GOP’s greatest hope.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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HuffPost TV: HuffPost’s Alex Wagner Discusses Bill O’Reilly And Sarah Palin On ‘The Last Word With Lawrence O’Donnell’ (VIDEO)
The GOP’s Fab Four 2012ers: Mitt Romney (Jonathan Rinaldi), Newt Gingrich (Gage Skidmore), Sarah Palin (David Shankbone), and Mike Huckabee (David Ball) Excluding the biased and inaccurate Rasmussen polls, President Obama still enjoys a net positive approval rating , but as everybody knows, his numbers have come down to earth since the spring of 2009. What is less well-known is that over that same time period, his top Republican rivals have experienced a similar slide in their ratings. A new Public Policy Polling survey shows that since April, 2009, the GOP’s Fab Four—Mike Huckabee (-15), Mitt Romney (-17), Sarah Palin (-15), and Newt Gingrich (-23)—have averaged an 18 point drop in net favorable ratings. Moreover, each of them has a net negative favorable rating, unlike President Obama who has a net positive favorable rating. It’s easy to see why Newt Gingrich had the worst performance of the bunch (his attempts to explain affair with a staffer during impeachment hearings continue to astound ), but none of them did well. TPM’s Jon Terbush took a look at a composite of all polling since early 2010 and found the same trend—each of the Fab Four are significantly less popular now than they were at the beginning of the year. During that stretch President Obama’s numbers have held fairly steady. Bottom-line: President Obama may wish he still had his sky-high ratings of early 2009, but at least his numbers still put him in positive territory. His leading political rivals were never that strong to begin with, and their numbers are worse now than ever. No wonder Jim DeMint is talking about a new candidate entering the race. Who knows? Maybe the stars are aligning for Michele Bachmann, who apparently stole the show in Iowa this weekend. Wouldn’t that be fun?
GOP’s Fab Four 2012ers in polling slide
She’s got the Oscar, but whether Natalie Portman danced her way to the highest award in Hollywood is a question that, apparently, remains unanswered. Depending on who you ask. Fox Searchlight Films released a statement over the weekend declaring that Portman from did most of the dancing in psychological ballet thriller “Black Swan.” The statement comes in response to accusations by dance double Sarah Lane that scenes depicting Portman dancing in the film did not actually include Portman doing the dancing. âWe were fortunate to have Sarah there to cover the more complicated dance sequences and we have nothing but praise for the hard work she did. However, Natalie herself did most of the dancing featured in the final film,” the studio said. Read More… More on Movies
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Natalie Portman’s ‘Black Swan’ Ballet Dancing War Rages With Studio Response
Roger H. Goun /Wikimedia Commons Let’s be clear: I don’t like Sarah Palin. She is, as I have said before, hyper-partisan, painfully ignorant, pathologically dishonest, chronically unethical, intellectually unconscious, and jaw-droppingly stupid. And those are her better qualities. But that does not mean that sexist attacks on her are immune from criticism. Last week, on his show Real Time , Bill Maher called Sarah Palin a ” dumb twat .” This was, of course, his typically politically incorrect shorthand way of saying that Palin is, as many have said before, and justifiably so, an idiot. But his use of the word “twat” to describe her raised the ire of Lisa Bennett, Communications Director for the National Organization of Women, who released this statement in response: Listen, supposedly progressive men (ok, and women, too): Cut the crap! Stop degrading women with whom you disagree and/or don’t like by using female body terms or other gender-associated slurs. OK? Can you do that, please? If you think someone’s an idiot or a danger to the country, feel free to say so, but try to keep their sex out of it. Sexist insults have an impact on all women. This is not a new criticism. Many feminists believe that using words such as “twat” or “cunt” are gender-specific slurs that, intentionally or not, degrade women and women’s anatomy by using them as an insult. On her Facebook page , Palin appeared to agree with NOW, calling Maher’s comment “personal, vulgar, sexist venom.” But Palin also had a message for NOW. In an interview on—where else?—Fox News, Palin said, “By the way, I need NOW’s defense like a fish needs a bicycle. I don’t want them to defend me.” Certainly, NOW took no pleasure in defending Palin. In fact, in 2008, after John McCain picked Palin as his running mate, NOW took the unusual step of issuing an endorsement —for the Democratic ticket: Sen. John McCain’s choice of Alaska governor Sarah Palin as his running mate is a cynical effort to appeal to disappointed Hillary Clinton voters and get them to vote, ultimately, against their own self-interest. Gov. Palin may be the second woman vice-presidential candidate on a major party ticket, but she is not the right woman. Sadly, she is a woman who opposes women’s rights, just like John McCain. The fact that Palin is a mother of five who has a 4-month-old baby, a woman who is juggling work and family responsibilities, will speak to many women. But will Palin speak FOR women? Based on her record and her stated positions, the answer is clearly No. What was, not surprisingly, lost on Palin, was that NOW’s response to Bill Maher wasn’t really about defending Palin. In fact, since Palin’s rise to prominence in 2008, many feminists have defended her against what they perceive as sexist attacks. As Melissa McEwan at Shakespeare’s Sister explained immediately after Palin’s nomination, and continued in her ongoing series “Sarah Palin Sexism Watch” (which has more than two dozen posts): For the record, there is plenty about which to criticize Palin that has absolutely fuck-all to do with her sex. She’s anti-choice, against marriage equality, pro-death penalty, pro-guns, and loves Big Business. (In other words, she’s a Republican.) There’s no goddamned reason to criticize her for anything but her policies. And I’ll go ahead and put it right in the fucking inaugural post in this series: I will defend Sarah Palin against misogynist smears not because I like or support her, but because that’s how feminism works. And that, of course, is the point. The fight for women’s equality, and specifically, women’s fair treatment by the media, isn’t about any one woman. It certainly isn’t about Palin. It’s not even about Maher’s use of “dumb twat” to describe her. It’s about fighting to change an institutionalized power structure that disadvantages women. It’s about changing the cultural assumption that men are the baseline of normal, from which women are a deviation. In the debate over health care reform, Sen. John Kyl perfectly exemplified this assumption when he argued that health insurance should not have to cover maternity care because he doesn’t need it. Sen. Debbie Stabenow famously responded, “I think your mom probably did.” We have witnessed, countless times, the double standards applied to female politicians, who are asked whether they can effectively govern and raise a family, a question male politicians with children are never asked. The media obsessively analyzes how female politicians dress or style their hair or whether shedding a tear proves that women are, indeed, too emotional to lead. Male politicians are exempted from such analysis. And it is that double standard that feminists and advocacy groups, like NOW, fight to end, even when the target of such sexism is someone who does not share the goal of ending sexism. Palin is certainly comfortable denouncing sexism when it suits her . What she doesn’t do is stand up to sexism when it is directed at those with whom she disagrees. When the Minnesota GOP posted a video calling Democratic women ugly, Palin was silent. When a woman was assaulted at a Rand Paul rally last year, and her attacker claimed she deserved it and demanded an apology , Palin was silent. Palin also opposes virtually everything that improves women’s lives, from paycheck fairness legislation to women-dominated unions to reproductive health care to funding for teen mothers. (Yes, really .) In Palin’s response to Maher, and her rejection of NOW’s defense, she also said that she is “through whining about a liberal press that holds particularly conservative women to a different standard, because it doesn’t do any good to whine about it.” And Palin has certainly done plenty of whining about the liberal press and its treatment of women Sarah Palin. She’s previously attacked women’s advocacy groups, specifically NOW, for an alleged double standard. She even offered this advice: NOW could gain ground and credibility with everyday Americans, thus allowing their pro-women message to be heard by more than just their ardent supporters, if they made wiser decisions regarding which battles to pick. However, that was in the context of criticizing NOW for condemning CBS’s decision to air a “pro-life” ad during the 2010 Super Bowl. Having demonstrated its single standard of calling out sexism regardless of the target, Palin doesn’t want NOW to do any such thing. Before Palin discovered the joys of decrying sexism, she criticized Hillary Clinton for—that’s right—”whining” about sexism, insisting that it “doesn’t do us any good.” But Palin isn’t the arbiter of media sexism. That she has apparently returned to her original position that women ought not to complain about sexism does not mean that those women and advocacy groups who have always taken a stand against it should follow suit. Quite the opposite. Those who want to end sexism must take a stand and hold the media accountable for its treatment of women. All women. Even women who reject feminism, or use it as nothing more than a campaign slogan. Even women who fight against women’s interests. Even women who attack other women for “whining” about sexism. Even women who remain silent when attacks are directed at women with whom they disagree. Even women who criticize other women politicians and then misquote their Starbucks cup to say that women who don’t support other women are going to hell. That, of course, is why NOW released its criticism of Bill Maher. That, of course, is why feminists admonish the media for using gender-specific slurs and attacking Palin on the basis of her anatomy rather than her heinous political positions, her laughable gaffes, her made up vocabulary, or her pathetic crib notes. It is because of the very simple understanding that sexism, on the left or the right, harms all women. When we remain silent in the face of it, every woman suffers. And equality cannot be achieved only for some women. None of us are equal unless all of us are. That’s not something a woman who fights against women’s equality can be expected to understand, of course. And, to be clear, her positions deserve no defense. It isn’t necessary to support Palin’s politics. It isn’t even necessary to refrain from calling her an idiot. But sexist attacks on women have no place in our political discourse, regardless of who is attacked. We will not bring an end to sexism by selectively defending only those with whom we agree. And that means that even Sarah Palin, whose very politics is anathema to the cause of women’s equality, deserves defense against such attacks. Even if she doesn’t want it. Even if she doesn’t understand it. Let’s just call her dumb and leave the sexism to Sarah.
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Why we must defend Sarah Palin
With President Obama’s approval rating hovering below the 50% mark, his reelection in 2012 is far from certain. However, a quick look at the Republicans exploring the possibility of running against him should give us all reason to be optimistic. Here they are, in alphabetical order: Michele Bachmann : Fact - challenged kook . Haley Barbour : Fat cat civil rights revisionist . John Bolton : Mustachioed menace . Herman Cain : African-American . Enough said. Mitch Daniels : Cheese-eating surrender monkey . Newt Gingrich : Unlikeable , amoral flip - flopper . Mike Huckabee : Culture warring colonialist . John Huntsman : Obama’s favorite Mormon . Fred Karper : Openly gay . Enough said. Sarah Palin™ : Jew for Jesus . Dr. Ron Paul or Dr. Rand Paul * : The gold standard of crazy . Tim Pawlenty : Action movie zero . Mitt Romney : Unnuanced pander bear . Rick Santorum : Google him. Donald Trump : Megalomaniacal birther . All in all, I’d say that Obama’s reelection is a pretty good bet .
Sunday Talk: Field of dreams
Wisconsin Republicans aren’t pulling on their boots and kicking ass. They’re wearing clown shoes. The blogosphere is aflame with the news that Wisconsin’s “budget repair” law eliminating collective bargaining rights for public employees has been published, in apparent disregard of a court order. In a stunning twist, Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation limiting collective bargaining for public workers was published Friday despite a judge’s hold on the measure, prompting a dispute over whether it takes effect Saturday. The measure was published to the Legislature’s website with a footnote that acknowledges the restraining order by a Dane County judge. But the posting says state law “requires the Legislative Reference Bureau to publish every act within 10 working days after its date of enactment.” But how stunning is this twist, exactly? Well, it is pretty stunning, but not for the reasons stated. In all likelihood, the apparent disregard for the court order will turn out to be less bold and unbending than child-like and laughable. Wisconsin Republicans aren’t pulling on their boots and kicking ass. They’re wearing clown shoes. Check it out: The restraining order was issued against Democratic Secretary of State Doug La Follette. But the bill was published by the reference bureau, which was not named in the restraining order. Laws normally take effect a day after they are published, and a top GOP lawmaker said that meant it will become law Saturday. But nonpartisan legislative officials from two agencies, including the one who published the bill, disagreed. “I think this is a ministerial act that forwards it to the secretary of state,” said Stephen Miller, director of the Legislative Reference Bureau. “I don’t think this act makes it become effective. My understanding is that the secretary of state has to publish it in the (official state) newspaper for it to become effective.” What this appears to say is that Wisconsin law requires a very specific kind of publication, in a very specific place, by a very specific person. That is, publication by the Secretary of State in the official state newspaper. “Publication” on the web site of the Legislative Reference Bureau simply doesn’t count. As summed up on the Wisconsin blog Illusory Tenant, the move by the state’s Republicans is constructively no different than visiting Kinko’s. I think that’s exactly right. What’s happening here is something I’d liken to when someone says Sarah Palin is a moron, or Andrew Breitbart is a racist and shouldn’t be on TV, and they reply that that’s a violation of their “right to free speech.” That is, they’ve read somewhere that they supposedly have such a right, and never bothered to learn that the Constitution guarantees individual rights as against the state, not every other individual or entity in the world. But the part that fits on a bumper sticker says “free speech,” so that’s that, as far as they’re concerned. Someone in Wisconsin read that the law had to be “published,” so as far as they’re concerned, any publication will do. Never mind what the law actually requires. Too hard and boring to figure out! According to reports , the intent of the judge’s order is pretty clear: “I do, therefore, restrain and enjoin the further implementation of 2011 Wisconsin Act 10,” Sumi said, according to a transcript. “The next step in implementation of that law would be the publication of that law by the secretary of state. He is restrained and enjoined from such publication until further order of this court.” The judge has enjoined “further implementation” of the act, including but not limited to its publication by the secretary of state. Interpreting that should be fairly straightforward. The judge meant for the law to remain in limbo, and preventing publication was just one method of enforcing that order. But as we all know, even a law that’s been properly passed, signed and published can still be invalid if the courts say so. The key issue here is that if the bill’s passage was procedurally defective because of open meeting requirements as this case contends, then even correct publication isn’t going to remedy the defect. It can only succeed in not adding another one. Unfortunately for Wisconsin’s clowns, they couldn’t even resist the temptation to add another mistake to their mess. So let me suggest that the proper reaction to this isn’t, “Oh my God! Outrage! They’re ignoring the law!” We should instead be laughing in their faces. Like the knee-jerk insistence that the First Amendment is violated every time someone says Breitbart is a jerk, this move evidences a child’s understanding of the law. It’s not that Republicans are screwing everybody by boldly pushing forward in disregard of the law. They’re not. They’re wearing clown shoes.
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Latest from Wisconsin Republicans: outrage or joke?
Tim Pawlenty had a plan. A modest plan. He’d been working very hard at courting all the various factions of the GOP base — capitalist technocrats, Tea Party hotheads, the conservative Christian set — and so far, so good. He was starting to feel like this was doable. You know, David Frum had said that he’d make an excellent default candidate, right? It was looking more and more like Palin and Huckabee weren’t going to run. He was way ahead of his doppelgangers: John Thune was long gone, Mitch Daniels on the fade. Newt Gingrich? Jeez, who knew what was up with that guy? And as for Mitt, TPaw knew that if things shook out the way he thought they might, he could spend a long, long while beating him up on RomneyCare. There was just one thing he wanted. He just wanted to announce that he was forming a presidential exploratory committee and for people to be excited about it. So, he had everything in place. A talented, solid staff to rely on. Some cool social media shizz on the Facebooks. A bad ass action movie thing for the YouTube. He was going to win the week, for sure. The name on everyone’s lips was sure to be Tim Pawlenty. It didn’t work out. In the first place: people kept paying attention to Libya, and Egypt. And then Michele Bachmann came along, dangling the sweet, sweet crazy-bait in front of a political press that was dying for the geek show to get underway. And the unkindest cut of all was that Haley Barbour — Haley Barbour! — got two soft-focus profiles from the New York Times and the Washington Post . Read More… More on Newt Gingrich
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The 2012 Speculatron Weekly Roundup
The ratio of Newt Gingrich’s marriages to Newt Gingrich’s opinions on military escalation in Libya is nearing 1:1. The 2010 Census indicates that 16 percent of the country can be unfairly stopped at an Arizona checkpoint. A potentially important person in Alaska wants to outlaw premarital sex, a blatant ploy to win the support of the 12 people who still have marital sex. And the Indian government tried to send America a signal by not officially recognizing Sarah Palin as a U.S. leader, even though America did that two-and-a-half years ago. This is HUFFPOST HILL for Thursday, March 24th, 2011 : FORMER ENSIGN AIDE INDICTED - The husband of Senator John Ensign’s former mistress has been indicted on seven counts of violating federal law. The Justice Department is claiming that Douglas Hampton violated congressional “revolving door” statutes by lobbying Ensign, his former boss. The indictment claims that Hampton, representing Allegiant Air and NV Energy, pressed Ensign’s Senate office to help his clients receive assistance from the Departments of Interior and Transportation . Cheer up, Doug: You’re no longer the only actor in this scandal who hasn’t been screwed repeatedly. [ USA Today ] Sorry, Doug. Read More… More on HuffPost Hill
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HUFFPOST HILL - Former Ensign Aide Indicted
Michelle Bachmann looking into the camera. (Larry Downing / Reuters) An unqualified victory for hilarity: Washington (CNN) – CNN has exclusively learned that Rep. Michele Bachmann will form a presidential exploratory committee. The Minnesota Republican plans to file papers for the committee in early June, with an announcement likely around that same time. Bachmann is roughly as quotable as Michael Steele, and as electable as Sarah Palin, so this ought to be entertaining. And yes, she’s serious about this: Meanwhile, CNN has also learned that Iowa Republican state Sen. Kent Sorenson has been hired to be Bachmann’s political director for the state - and that Bachmann aides hope to have a complete team together for Iowa by this weekend. … The three-term congresswoman hopes to also have political teams in place - very soon - in New Hampshire, home to the first-in-the-nation presidential primary, and South Carolina, host of the first presidential primary in the South. “I should have state directors in all those states within a week,” Bachmann Chief of Staff Andy Parrish said. A Bachmann candidacy, along with her special brand of lunacy, seems to be a bridge too far even for the Republican powers that be, so does she have any kind of shot at winning the nomination? In a tea-infused world where Sharron Angle and Christine O’Donnell can be U.S. Senate nominees, and where candy thief Paul LePage is governor of Maine, what do you think?
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Michele Bachmann to form Presidential exploratory committee in June, or even earlier
Donald Trump and Sarah Palin are GOP 2012’s biggest names (Joshua Roberts/Reuters) Byron Tau points out yet another example revealing the weakness of the GOP’s 2012 field: even though Tim Pawlenty has methodically planned his presidential campaign for more than a year and just formally announced his exploratory committee, Donald Trump has still managed to get more coverage from television networks over the past month. According to Nexis search of CNN, ABC, NBC, Fox, and CBS transcripts, Pawlenty has gotten mentioned on 72 broadcasts while Trump has made into 79. So when Republicans fret about their prospects for defeating President Obama, they’ve got something to worry about. Their two biggest names are reality TV shows stars who probably won’t end up joining the race. Meanwhile, real candidates like Pawlenty manage to inspire little more than yawns.
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Trumping Pawlenty: The Donald gets more media coverage than T-Paw
On Monday, we presented the views of Three foes of intervention in Libya, and one supporter with misgivings . Tonight, we present four friends. Lt. Gen Roméo Dallaire was force commander of the U.N. peacekeeping mission for Rwanda in 1994. He is now a senator in the Canadian Parliament and co-director of the Will to Intervene project at the Montreal Institute for Genocide and Human Rights Studies. Jeffrey Bernstein is project officer for genocide prevention to Lt. Gen Dallaire. He writes Now Let’s Hope It’s Not Too Late : By employing genocidal threats to “cleanse Libya house by house,” Col. Muammar al-Qaddafi forced the world community’s hand in taking strong action to protect the human rights of all Libyans. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) doctrine — which requires the U.N. Security Council to take action when a country fails to protect its citizens and was unanimously adopted by all countries of the U.N. General Assembly in 2005 — has clearly and unequivocally laid the problem of Libya at our feet. That Qaddafi committed crimes against humanity was never in question; indeed he was almost universally condemned for his maniacal acts and statements. So the real question is, why wasn’t R2P unanimously invoked by world leaders? The failure to invoke R2P early — while Gaddafi was calling protesters “cockroaches” and threatening mass, door-to-door atrocities, such as those I witnessed in Rwanda — represents a colossal missed opportunity to project the potential power of this still-developing norm. The arms embargo and targeted sanctions slapped on Qaddafi’s regime and cronies in late February, as well as the referral of the situation to the International Criminal Court, demonstrated the Security Council’s attention and resolve — timeliness that was absent during Rwanda and Darfur. But once it became clear these measures were insufficient to deter Qaddafi’s advance on the regime’s opponents and guarantee civilian protection, the implementation of the now-approved no-fly zone and other more coercive measures should have been seriously expedited. Furthermore, invoking R2P would have sent a critical signal to Libyans and other besieged populations the world community approves of their democratic efforts—and is willing to intervene, if necessary, when their human rights are so threatened. Sarah El Neweihi is an Egyptian American who will complete her MA in Near and Middle East Studies at the School of Oriental and African Studies in London next year. She has served as Middle East Intern for the American Friends Service Committee in Chicago. She writes, Why I Support Foreign Intervention in Libya : A large number of the anti-war activists whom I have stood side by side with at many a protest have shocked me with their statements condemning all foreign intervention in Libya and even shaming the rebels for asking for help. This hypocrisy confounds me. It was my understanding that leftist activists were supposed to support the people against those who oppress the people, and in this case, it is obvious that the only one oppressing the people of Libya is their dictator, Gaddafi. … When a brutal dictator makes repetitive threats to his people on the radio that his well- equipped forces will hunt those who oppose him “dar, dar” (house by house) and “zenga, zenga” (street by street), and actually starts to follow through on these threats, he leaves no choice to the international community but to try to stop him from massacring his own people. The same people who are now in effect defending Gaddafi on Facebook were huge supporters of the revolutions in Egypt and Tunisia. Was that only because they were able to do it on their own? So, we are willing to support the people with words but not with actions? … Bush’s hasty unilateral intervention in Iraq should not paralyze the world when international military intervention is needed to prevent war crimes or humanitarian atrocities. These interventions were justified and essential in the Balkans and the first Gulf war. Inaction can lead to more costly intervention later. After the first Gulf war, the world stood and watched as Saddam crushed the uprising by the Kurds and the Shia, and brutalized his nation for another decade. A strategic intervention at that time could have prevented the more costly war of 2003 and would not have been based on lies and U.S. interests. It should be said that I am usually first in line to criticize the flawed policies of the U.S. but to criticize an action just because it comes from the U.S. is irrational and immature. This was not a unilateral action, and Obama has said that the U.S. will reduce its role in upcoming days to ensure that the burden of the UN resolution is shared. Kenneth Roth is executive director of Human Rights Watch. He writes, The Security Council Has At Last Lived Up To Its Duty : Just when the “responsibility to protect” doctrine seemed to have become irretrievably tainted at the United Nations, the Security Council at last lived up to its duty to prevent mass atrocities. For the second time in three weeks, the council accomplished the politically impossible, first referring Libya to the International Criminal Court, then, yesterday, authorizing military force to protect civilians from Muammar al-Qaddafi’s wrath. What accounts for this remarkable turn of events? In part, it was the perfect villain: Qaddafi’s over-the-top threats to “show no mercy” to the people of Benghazi, along with his regional meddling and megalomaniac ideas, left him few friends or defenders. … The challenge now is not only to translate this remarkable Security Council consensus into effective protection for Libyans. It is to extend the human rights principles embraced for Libya to other people in need. The atrocities unfolding in the Ivory Coast demand just as much attention. Other people of the Middle East and North Africa are seeing their hopes for democracy quashed by authoritarian leaders. The people of Burma and Sri Lanka have endured massive war crimes with no justice. Can the Security Council respond to their plight as well? Can it begin to recognize that a leader’s atrocities against his own people are a global concern, not an internal affair? No one believes these steps will be easy, but the task before us is to translate the Security Council’s principled reaction to Libya into a broader doctrine of genuine protection for people facing mass atrocities. Terry Glavin is an adjunct professor of creative writing at the University of British Columbia and editor of Transmontanus Books. He writes, Left-wing ‘progressives’ deaf to Libyan democrats : It’s worth pointing out how people who fake solidarity in these ways would have responded to the Spanish republican appeal for intervention during the early goings of the last century’s great anti-fascist war: “They would sit back and let the Spanish Revolution be burned to the ground by the Falange forces, and they would sit there and watch, doing everything in their power to stop the ‘imperialist powers’ from ‘hi-jacking’ the Spanish Revolution. … “If I am taken to be uncritical of conservatives about this it’s just that I don’t have any particular expectation that conservatives will show leadership when it comes to what we used to call international solidarity. It’s why they’re called “conservatives,” so fair play to them. If I seem especially uncharitable to the “left” here it is because of certain standards. When it comes to a question so elementary as the duty to heed the appeals of brave young democrats who have risen up in arms against a mad tyrant and his mercenaries, one anticipates that a progressive left would be the least encumbered by narrowly conservative, status-quo and “realist” considerations. It shouldn’t be too much to expect that progressives in any such circumstance would be acutely mindful of what the revolutionaries were wanting, and would fight like hell to get it for them. No “progressive” position worthy of the name would counsel otherwise, least of all take the other side. This should apply whether the revolutionaries have risen up against an Islamist theocracy, a US-backed police state or a plum weird tyranny like the Libyan regime. It should apply where there is oil, and where there is no oil. • • • • • At Daily Kos on this date in 2007 : Kagro has condemned those GOP appropriations members for their no vote on the supplemental funding bill. For good reason, because the individual “support the troops” amendments that they opposed showed their hands and their willingness to put politics before the troops. We’ve seen far too many votes for funding this war that ignored the needs of the troops, that sent them to war with inadequate training, inadequate armor, and repeat deployments that are destroying the health, morale, and strength of our troops. But as the House leadership continues to whip for tomorrow’s supplemental vote, it’s becoming more and more clear that this is a vote of conscience for many
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Open thread for night owls: Four friends of intervention in Libya
What will our grandchildren think about today’s public officials who wanted to end government support for the “biased” public media media, the “trivial” arts, and the “frivolous” humanities? Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Paul Stoller: Budget Cutting, Politics and Visions of the Future
“Death panels” are back in the news and Congress is turning its attention to them once again. The problem is, lawmakers are looking in all the wrong places. The House Energy and Commerce Committee, now headed by Republicans, sent a letter to Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius last week demanding to know how a controversial provision that was excised from last year’s health reform bill wound up — briefly — in a government “rule” on physician reimbursement. The proposed provision would have allowed Medicare to pay doctors to counsel patients about their end-of-life medical wishes. That idea originally had bipartisan support, but when the provision was brought to Sarah Palin’s attention, she accused Democrats of wanting to create “death panels” that would decide when to pull the plug on granny and grandpa. Read More… More on Facebook
Wendell Potter: Death Panels: Fact and Fiction
If jaws weren’t already dropping at the idea of Sarah Palin kiting off to India to display her international political chops (where, according to a writer for the conservative Frum Forum , she flopped horrifically), they certainly were by the bomb she dropped when she got there (emphasis mine): Republicans would have been more successful in the 2008 presidential elections if she was at the top of the ticket, former Alaska Gov. Sarah Palin suggested Saturday. Speaking at the India Today Conclave in New Delhi, Palin was asked why the GOP ticket did not defeat then-Sen. Barack Obama (D). Palin said that Obama ran a strong campaign and effectively billed himself as a change candidate. Pressed by India Today editor Aroon Purie that she also represented change, Palin replied, “I wasn’t at the top of the ticket, remember?” Hey there, “change agent,” there’s still time! 2012 or bust, baby! The notion that Palin, whose “out of her depth” performance outside of scripted or crib-carded events in 2008 made her a national punchline, would have been a more effective vehicle for the GOP against Barack Obama’s presidential bid is laughable. But, heck, lest we forget: This is not a recent construction within Palin’s own mind. During the 2008 campaign, she got nabbed on video talking about what to expect in a “Palin McCain administration.” The story here is not that she made such a statement. It is that she believes it. She views herself as a legitimate political juggernaut. There are a lot of good reasons to believe that she won’t run for president. But that might be the sole reason, and a damn good one, why she might run. This might explain, furthermore, why the sharpest verbal jabs at Palin have come increasingly from the right. There is a simple bit of electoral math that has Republicans sleepless in the night. She can’t win a general election. But she could win a Republican primary. Therein lies the enormous peril for the GOP as they head into the 2012 White House sweepstakes. And it is why you can expect the Palin-bashing to be in greater evidence from the right rather than from the left.
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Sarah Palin’s 2008 campaign game-changer: Sarah Palin
ANGLE-TIME: The prayers of Nevada Democrats have been answered! Global events, both man-made and natural, have justifiably pushed the news from the electoral arena well off of the front page over the past week. That said, there is still no absence of headlines as we close the books on Winter and head into Spring. THE RACE FOR THE WHITE HOUSE NATIONAL: PPP does their now-traditional monthly presidential poll, and it appears to be same as it ever was in the battle between President Obama and the GOP. While the President still sports job approval ratings that are, at best, middling, he still has solid leads over the Republican opposition. The simple reason? While he is marginally popular, they are decisively less popular. While the President sits on a dead-even 47/47 split, he holds leads ranging from 5 points (Huckabee and Romney) to 18 points (Herman Cain). Other pollsters weighed in this week on the President’s job approval, and found roughly similar numbers. CNN found Obama in slightly positive territory (50/47), while ABC/WaPo were incrementally more affirmative for the President (51/45). Allstate’s collaborative effort with National Journal finds the President under 50%, but still in net positive territory (49/44). Meanwhile, the internet poll conducted by YouGov joins PPP with President Obama exactly at parity (45/45). Indeed, in an ironic twist that will no doubt make wingnut heads explode, the most pessimistic look at President Obama’s job approval came this week from…well… us . As David Nir noted Thursday, our own DailyKos/SEIU State of the Nation poll actually found the President slightly underwater (45/51) on the job approval front. THE STATES: We see a smattering of new data this week. As has been the trend thus far in 2011, it has been our friends at PPP out in front with the numbers. In the Buckeye State , Ohio voters are mirroring the nation. While their verdict on President Obama is split pretty evenly, they rather clearly prefer him over the GOP alternative. President Obama sports a 47/46 job approval split, but nonetheless holds leads ranging from 6-16 points over his GOP rivals. Mitt Romney comes closest (46-40), while Sarah Palin resumes her place as the least likely to succeed (Obama leads her 52-36). Meanwhile, down East in Maine , the President’s approval numbers have dipped to 51/44 (he won the state easily in 2008). But that doesn’t prevent him from having sizeable advantages over the field. Mitt Romney again comes the closest (49-41), while Sarah Palin gets absolutely boat-raced by the President among Maine voters (57-35). THE RACE FOR THE U.S. SENATE THE POLLS: Two new Senate polls came out this week, with mixed results for the Blue team. In Ohio, freshman Democrat Sherrod Brown appears to be the beneficiary of some serious buyer’s remorse for newly elected GOP Governor John Kasich, according to a new PPP poll. His numbers are in the crapper, and the undertow seems to be hurt the list of prospects eyeing the Senator. Brown has leads ranging from 15-19 points over the six-pack of potential GOP rivals which range from comedian Drew Carey (who has indicated he won’t run) to Congressman Steve LaTourette. Meanwhile, Republicans have to feel a little bit better about a Western New England College poll out of the Bay State. In that poll, Massachusetts freshman Sen. Scott Brown (R) also sports double digit edges over his potential opponents. WNEC touted Congressman Mike Capuano and Elizabeth Warren as Brown’s potential Democratic rivals, and gives the rookie Republican leads of 13-17 points. There was also one primary poll to peruse this week, in the open Senate seat in the Land of Enchantment. A new poll sponsored by Defenders of Wildlife by Tulchin Communications declares that sophomore Democratic Rep. Martin Heinrich is the early leader for the Democratic nomination. Word of caution, though: a tiny sample here (just over 200 respondents) means a cartoonishly high 6.7% margin of sampling error. ON THE CAMPAIGN TRAIL: Arizona: Normally, an endorsement in a race doesn’t mean much, especially from a freshman Senator. But when said freshman has made a pair of endorsements in other states, but has remained conspicuously silent in his own home state vis-a-vis a challenge to his senior mate in the Senate, it’s worth at least a smirking reference. Rookie Mike Lee has pointed his anointing figure towards Congressman Jeff Flake in Arizona, following his endorsement of Ted Cruz in Texas. Orrin Hatch, meanwhile, remains lonely and unendorsed by his home-state colleague. Maybe Lee jumped the gun, though–since a certain former half-term Governor from another state starting with the letter “A” is said to be moving into the neighborhood (run, Sarah, run!!). Connecticut: Lots of interesting news out of the Nutmeg State this week. Chris Murphy is consolidating support on the Democratic side–this week, he announced the support of all of his House colleagues (including Joe Courtney, who was contemplating a bid at one point). That Democratic field might be growing, however, as both state Rep. William Tong and former state treasurer Frank Borges are contemplating bids. One name not in the mix, it seems, is Paulite and first-class blowhard Peter Schiff , who is threatening to leave the state because of 0.2% income tax hike that he likened to…wait for it…rape! Indiana: Dee-licious! So, the big news out of the Hoosier State this week is that embattled veteran Senator Dick Lugar got the mother of all endorsements this week when second-term Governor (and 2012 Presidential prospect) “My Man” Mitch Daniels offered his enthusiastic thumbs-up. That’s not the great news, though. The great news is that it took approximately 4.9 seconds for the teabaggers to get worked up into a lather, offering threats to Daniels that his act of treachery would not go unnoticed in 2012. Whee!!! THE BATTLE FOR THE U.S. HOUSE No data here this week, unless you count Rasmussen’s weekly look at the Congressional generic ballot (and I prefer not to). But a few headlines here, as well. CA-03: Good news for Democrats–one of their most impressive prospects from an otherwise dreary 2010 cycle is angling for a rematch. Dr. Ami Bera, who lost 50-43 to Dan Lungren last year, is planning to make a second bid for Congress in 2012. CA-36: With Jane Harman now officially out of the House, California Governor Jerry Brown has set the dates for the election to replace her in this Dem-friendly district based in the suburbs along the coast to the southwest of Los Angeles. The all-party primary will roll on May 17th. If no one emerges with a simple majority (and, with over a dozen candidates in the field, a majority seems unlikely), the runoff will linger into July. The conditions of the new electoral laws generated by California’s Prop 14 mean that the runoff will be populated by the top two candidates regardless of party. With a trio of potentially viable Democrats, and a trio of active Republicans, I’d lay early money on a Dem vs. Dem runoff here. NV-02: Because once just wasn’t enough–apparently Democrats in the Silver State will have Sharron Angle to kick around for another cycle. With Dean Heller making his long-suspected bid for the U.S. Senate, Angle has decided to seek elective office again, this time with a House bid. A lot is going to depend upon redistricting here (Nevada is gaining a seat), and Angle is going to have a load of company in Heller’s old district. What’s more–Nevada political guru Jon Ralston says that he has seen some numbers in the district, and they aren’t pretty for Angle. As the field fills, however, Angle might benefit from a multi-candidate field. NY-26: I suppose this can be logged into the “better late than never” file, but nearly a month after Republicans picked their standard bearer in the May special election to replace disgraced former Republican Rep. Chris Lee, the Democrats have finally followed suit. They will officially nominate Erie County Clerk Kathy Hochul tomorrow evening, according to sources. Hochul had long been considered among the likeliest choices for Democrats, who will be underdogs in this red-leaning upstate district. THE BATTLE FOR WISCONSIN This received a lot of attention earlier this week, but it deserves another look as we close the week. As David Nir told us earlier in the week, a trio of GOP state Senators would currently be endangered by a proposed recall, as a result of their fealty to Governor Scott Walker in his efforts to bust unions in the state of Wisconsin. In gravest danger is Republican Dan Kapanke, who would fall 55-41 to a generic Democrat if the election were held today. Another of the embattled Republicans (Randy Hopper, who trails 49-44) is running extremely scared . He has taken to the airwaves with a defensive ad that takes some poetic license with the truth, according to WaPo’s Greg Sargent. And all that political pain may well be for naught, as a Dane County judge has issued a restraining order blocking the bill, which is being challenged for violation of the 24-hour rule under the state’s open meetings law.
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DK Elections: The week that was
Sarah Steelman Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/6-9, “usual Missouri Republican primary voters,” no trendlines): Sarah Steelman (R) : 31 Todd Akin (R) : 24 Ed Martin (R) : 9 Ann Wagner (R) : 2 Undecided/other : 34 Sarah Steelman (R) : 37 Ed Martin (R) : 18 Ann Wagner (R) : 11 Undecided/other : 34 (MoE: ±4.9%) I don’t have much to say here except that the primary vote share (either with or without Akin) almost perfectly correlates with how well known these candidates are - as in, a correlation of 1. Put another way, if you add each person’s “don’t know” share on the favorable/unfavorable question to their vote share on the horserace question, you get just about the same number for all candidates. This says to me that Ed Martin has a lot of work to do to get his name out there, and that Todd Akin (who has only just now ramped up to “considering” status) should not be scared off by Sarah Steelman’s early lead. And just for fun: Mike Huckabee (R) : 29 Newt Gingrich (R) : 19 Sarah Palin (R) : 14 Mitt Romney (R) : 13 Ron Paul (R) : 7 Mitch Daniels (R) : 4 Tim Pawlenty (R) : 3 Haley Barbour (R) : 2 Other/undecided : 10 (MoE: ±4.9%)
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MO-Sen: GOP primary poll has Steelman leading
NEW DELHI — U.S. politician Sarah Palin stressed the importance of America’s ties with India, saying they were based on the shared values of freedom and free-market capitalism, while sounding a warning note on China’s rise during a speech Saturday in New Delhi. The visit to India is a rare foreign venture for the ex-Alaska governor and reality TV star, who was John McCain’s running mate in his failed 2008 campaign for president. The trip, which also includes a stop in Israel, is raising speculation Palin wants to burnish her foreign policy credentials ahead of a possible 2012 presidential run. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin Warns Of China’s Rise While In India
This week on HuffPost Arts has been both inspiring and a bit of a downer. On one hand, a young girl overcame having no fingers on one hand to play the piano beautifully and blogger James Elkins wrote about the most beautiful painting in the world.On the other hand, Sarah Palin called the National Endowment of the Arts frivolous and the House voted to stop funding to NPR, putting the arts in a national state of emergency. Here are some highlights, in case you missed them. Read More… More on Japan
Highlights This Week: Palin, Protests and Porn
Next month, the Koch-funded Americans for Prosperity Foundation will host a forum for GOP presidential hopefuls in New Hampshire. So far, only Tim Pawlenty, Rick Santorum, and Herman Cain have confirmed their attendance, but National Journal reports Mitt Romney, Haley Barbour, Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee have also been invited. And then there’s this: Just as noteworthy are the contenders who didn’t make the cut at all, including Rep. Michele Bachmann, R-Minn., a tea party favorite. “We’re not trying to exclude Michele Bachmann by any stretch of the imagination,” Lewandowski said. “What we did is we looked at the criteria of individuals back in December [when the invitations were sent] who had at least some media coverage as a potential candidate. It’s fair to say that at that point, Michele Bachmann … hadn’t had any serious press about that.” So Michele Bachmann, who says she’ll decide whether she’s running this summer, hasn’t had any “serious press” but Herman Cain, who nobody has ever heard of, has? Hahahahaha. Sounds more like AFP is embarrassed by Michele Bachmann. And it’s hard to blame them.
No invite for Michele Bachmann to Koch-funded 2012 forum for GOPers
The political tide has turned substantially in Ohio thanks to the missteps of Governor John Kasich. Not only is senior Senator Sherrod Brown well ahead, but so is President Barack Obama - by margins ranging from 6 to 16 points over his four leading opponents. Public Policy Polling (3/10-13, Ohio voters): Barack Obama (D-inc) : 46 Mitt Romney (R) : 40 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 48 Mike Huckabee (R) : 41 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 50 Newt Gingrich (R) : 38 Barack Obama (D-inc) : 52 Sarah Palin (R) : 36 (MoE: ±4.1%) Critical to Obama’s rise in the polls is his status among independents: he leads all Republicans among independents except for Romney, whom he trails among independents by 2. Is Obama out of the woods in Ohio? Certainly not. His approval is a middling 47/46 (though this is the first time in six PPP surveys dating back to June of 2009 that he’s in positive territory), and among independents he’s underwater at 39% approval, 49% disapproval. Fortunately for him, the unpopularity of the four Republicans polled means he’s well ahead of them for the time being. It wouldn’t be impossible for a Republican to beat him in Ohio, but the GOP will have to find someone a whole lot more popular than their current frontrunners. Needless to say, if the Republicans don’t capture Ohio’s 18 electoral votes, it’s unlikely they’ll be able to win the presidency in 2012. It’s hard to see the GOP losing in Ohio and compensating by winning a more Democratic-leaning state like Michigan, Pennsylvania or Wisconsin.
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OH-Pres: Obama leads in Ohio
To question whether the government should fund these institutions is a legitimate issue. But to refer to the NEA and NEH as ‘frivolous’ institutions becomes a reflection on her wisdom and character. Read More… More on Financial Crisis
Raymond J. Learsy: Governor Palin Viewing the Abyss and the National Endowment for the Arts and Humanities
Unemployed LOSER vs. Unemployed WINNER (Traceywood/Denis Makarenko/Dreamstime.com) Hahahahahahahahaha: We’ve found a lot of brutal poll numbers for Sarah Palin so far in 2011: down in South Dakota, down in South Carolina, down in Arizona, only up by 1 point in Texas, only up by 1 point in Nebraska to name a few. But this has to be the worst- independent voters say they would support Charlie Sheen over Palin for President by a 41/36 margin. Seriously. Despite her deficit with independents Palin does lead Sheen 49-29 overall. We also tested Barack Obama against Sheen and the President leads 57-24. The poll was conducted by Public Policy Polling between March 10th and March 13th.
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The Biggest Loser: Sarah Palin trails Charlie Sheen among independents
Public Policy Polling (D) 3/3-6/11; 400 likely Republican primary voters, 4.9% margin of eror Mode: Automated phone Read More… More on Pollster
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MO-2012 Primary: 29% Huckabee, 19% Gingrich, 14% Palin, 13% Romney (PPP 3/3-6)
Former Alaska governor Sarah Palin will travel to Israel following a stop in India, where she arrived on Wednesday, ABC News reports . According to AFP, Palin is expected to arrive in the Middle Eastern country on Sunday with her husband Todd. She will reportedly meet with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu next Tuesday. Politico reports : Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin Israel Trip To Include Meeting With Benjamin Netanyahu
The pair hit it off. Mansour helped Palin with research on her score-settling bestseller, and a few months later, Palin offered Mansour a job with SarahPAC, Palin’s political operation. She would write speeches and help Palin craft messages that would bypass the traditional media (the “lamestream media” in Palinspeak) and target Palin’s Facebook fans and Twitter followers, which now number 2.7 million and 428,000, respectively. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Rebecca Mansour, Sarah Palin Adviser, Plays Key Role Behind The Scenes
After two years of offering hesitant, qualified praise for Sarah Palin and her place in the GOP movement, conservatives are starting the process of putting daylight between themselves and their post-modern populist Prometheus . But Daniel Larison, writing in his blog at the American Conservative , says, hold up now, no one gets to walk away clean from this : It’s true that Palin relies on shallow talking points, but where do these come from? They come from the institutions and leaders of the movement that is supposedly so concerned with ideas. Palin is uninterested in ideas, and she has flourished in the conservative media for years. She does rely on shallow talking points, and legions of conservative pundits have repeatedly defended her against charges that she is ignorant and incurious. Everything about her public persona since she received the VP nomination has been built up around tapping into resentment, grievance, and identity politics, all of which are in one way or another antithetical to critical thinking and substantive discussion of policy, and for a while most of her new detractors said nothing or gushed about how wonderful she was. “Now that Palin may represent a political threat to Republican chances of regaining the White House,” Larison says, “they are suddenly very concerned about her impact on the quality of conservative argument. Their concern would be interesting if it weren’t so belated and narrowly focused on Palin.” Read More… More on Newt Gingrich
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Late Returns: Pushing Away From Palin
On Wednesday, March 16 at 7:30 p.m. composer Sarah Kirkland Snider partners with vocalist/composer Shara Worden of the art rock band My Brightest Diamond and the ensemble yMusic in what is arguably the quintessential concert of the Ecstatic Music Festival at Merkin Hall in New York City. In addition to excerpts from Snider’s song cycle Penelope –about a soldier coming home from war with no memory of the wife to whom he returns–yMusic will perform an additional song-set penned by Snider along with music by Worden. Through the technological convenience of e-mail, I asked Sarah Kirkland Snider and yMusic violinist Rob Moose about working with Shara Worden, and the significance of the festival. Daniel J. Kushner: Penelope seems to have resonated with critics specifically for the way it skillfully blends and toggles between elements of classical music and indie rock. Is that critique too facile or reductive? What would you have listeners take away from the song cycle? Read More… More on Music
Daniel J. Kushner: Ecstatic Music Festival Interview #5: Sarah Kirkland Snider and Rob Moose
Sarah Palin would rather be Rush Limbaugh’s friend than George Will’s (Mario Anzuoni/Reuters) Yesterday, conservative elites pummeled Sarah Palin , basically telling her to STFU. They claim to be offended that her political brand is focused on identity instead of ideas, though given the GOP’s long history of cultural warfare and exploitation of racial resentment, their claims rang hollow . And now, perhaps unsurprisingly, Rush Limbaugh has sprung to Sarah Palin’s defense: Look, I could understand not wanting her to be the nominee, I can understand thinking there’s somebody better, but this? There’s an all-out assault on her by our guys that puzzles me — and now this latest to say that she’s Al Sharpton? Our version of Al Sharpton in Alaska? So you guys gotta help me out out there. Somebody’s gonna have to explain this to me because it makes no sense. You know, I’m totally immersed in logic and common sense, and some of this doesn’t register that way for me. I don’t get it. … I think the simple explanation here is, if you want to be an accredited intellectual, one of the tests is, do you hate Sarah Palin? Do you think she represents a pox? Is she a danger to whatever? If you do, then you will pass the test and you are, therefore, an accredited intellectual. As Andrew Sullivan points out , in the context of today’s GOP, Sarah Palin would rather have Rush Limbaugh on her side than George Will. She’d make that choice any day of the week. Of course, when it comes down to actual policy, there’s virtually no difference between George Will, Rush Limbaugh, and Sarah Palin, but for these guys, this really is about identity politics—and within the Republican Party, it’s Sarah Palin who is winning the identity battle. Assuming Sarah Palin seeks the Republican nomination, there’s really only one thing that can stop her from winning it, and that’s if Republican primary voters base their decision on her electability. But the conservative elites are attacking Palin not so much on electability but on substance, and on substance, Sarah Palin is a perfect fit for most of the Republican base. And to the extent that Sarah Palin’s conservative critics want to shift the debate from her electability, the net result will be to strengthen her prospects of winning the nomination. So let’s hope they keep it up, because she’s utterly unelectable.
Rush Limbaugh takes Sarah Palin’s side in feud with conservative elites
Air Trump’s tail number begins with the code for Bermuda registry (David Moir/Reuters) Ben Smith notes a hilarious detail about Donald Trump’s personal aircraft: The tail number begins “VP-B,” a code indicating Bermuda registration — which may be useful for tax and regulatory purposes, but probably isn’t a great vehicle for an American candidate. Okay, Ben’s probably right: this is yet another piece of evidence that Donald Trump is no more serious about running for President than Sarah Palin was about serving a full term as governor. Still, to be fair and balanced about it, here’s three possible reasons this could be great news for Donald Trump if he chooses to run: 1. The plane’s Bermuda registration shows that Trump has personal experience using overseas tax shelters—experience that should help him connect with certain elements of the GOP’s base. 2. It can provide a distraction from Ron Paul’s FEC complaint about Trump’s potentially improper usage of the plane to conduct campaign business. 3. Last, but certainly not least, it gives Donald Trump real-world foreign policy experience, something that virtually none of the GOP field can claim. Maybe Trump can use his plane’s Bermuda registry as foreign policy experience (Tom Schmucker/Dreamstime.com)
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Plane trouble: Donald Trump’s jet registered in Bermuda
As I listened to Jen Hirsh’s newly released album, I heard the influences of Natalie Merchant and a sprinkle of Sarah McLachlan, with some Sufjan Stevens and a splash of Bob Dylan. Read More… More on Music
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Laura Cococcia: The Soulful Pop Songstress: Interview With Jen Hirsh
Conservatives fear Palin (Politico front page) Blaring across Politico’s front page atop a picture of Sarah Palin: ‘She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition’ The quote comes from this piece by Jonathan Martin and Jim VandeHei about how conservative elites fear a Sarah Palin candidacy: Palin’s politics of grievance and group identity, according to these critics, is a betrayal of conservative principles. For decades, it was a standard line of the right that liberals cynically promoted victimhood to achieve their goals, and that they practiced the politics of identity—race, sex and class—over ideas. Among those taking aim at Palin in recent interviews with POLITICO are George F. Will, the elder statesman of conservative columnists; Peter Wehner, a top strategist in George W. Bush’s White House, and Heather Mac Donald, a leading voice with the right-leaning Manhattan Institute. Matt Labash, a longtime writer for the Weekly Standard, said that because of Palin’s frequent appeals to victimhood and group grievance, “She’s becoming Al Sharpton, Alaska edition.” Obviously, it’s hilarious to see conservative elites freak out about Sarah Palin. I mean, for all her talk about how liberals want to shut her up, it’s actually the elites in her own party that would like her to keep quiet. Most Democrats would pay her filing if she chooses to run for president. Conservative elites didn’t complain about the southern strategy or when Helms played the victim card vs. Gantt. (”Hands” ad from Helms’ 1990 campaign.) But the really funny thing is that the conservative elites who are freaking out about Palin always playing the victim card are they very same people who came up with the southern strategy and who have reliably used cultural politics in election after election. I don’t recall any conservative outrage over the Jesse Helms ” hands ad ,” yet that was an even more severe form of identity politics than anything Sarah Palin has ever done. Don’t get me wrong. I’m not defending Sarah Palin. She’s an utter joke, a total embarrassment to the GOP. But she’s been a joke all along, ever since John McCain picked her as his running mate. And all the people now complaining about her on the right actually voted for her to become vice president of the United States. Now they are trying to claim a principled reason for opposing her, but the truth is the only reason they don’t like her is because they think she’s politically toxic. They are right, but there’s nothing principled about it at all.
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Conservative elites to Palin: Shut up
Ben Smith at Politico reports the “no duh” story of the century: Aides to John McCain initially added Sarah Palin to his “short list” of potential running mates because McCain wanted a woman on the list, according to his campaign manager. Of course John McCain’s despicably cynical “let’s put a chick on the ticket” move to appeal to dismayed Clinton supporters was plainly transparent from day one. And that was before the world discovered, 2.3 seconds after the announcement of her selection, what a disastrous choice she really was. Still, it’s amusing to have this confirmed by one of the seemingly endless McCain aides who apparently never tire of letting it be known how little they all thought of Palin. The only question now, of course, is whether Palin go all Mama Grizzly on McCain and his former aides for valuing her anatomy more than her, er, “résumé.”
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Shocker: Sarah Palin made VP short list because of gender
Bill O’Reilly–who caused controversy with his frequent interruptions of President Obama during their Super Bowl interview –used his Friday show to explain why he interjects so persistently when he’s talking to guests. “The truth is that TV interviewers who want to get answers must–must–interrupt their guests,” he said. O’Reilly played clips of Fox News colleague Chris Wallace interrupting Senator Durbin and of himself interrupting Sarah Palin. He then brought on Wallace to discuss why the two of them jumped in. Read More… More on Video
Bill O’Reilly Explains Why He Interrupts So Much (VIDEO)
Calvin Coolidge (Wikimedia Commons) To those that remember him at all, President Calvin Coolidge probably is best known for having uttered two memorable lines. The first being: The business of America is business. Of course, political perceptions and political realities often diverging and rarely to meet, Coolidge never actually said that. It does, however, capture the essence of his political ideology. The actual quote was this : After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of opinion that the great majority of people will always find these are moving impulses of our life. Coolidge became president upon the sudden death of his predecessor, President Warren Harding, who had presided over what until then had been one of the most corrupt administrations in U.S. history. Coolidge was neoliberal before neoliberal was cool. He eviscerated regulation of industry by appointing regulators who did not regulate. He cut taxes and federal spending. He believed government should have no role in addressing social problems. He believed the federal government should not be responsible for flood control, and after the devastating 1927 Mississippi River flood refused even to visit the region. If it all sounds familiar, it should. As Jed Lewison noted on Monday, Jeff Zeleny of the New York Times just wrote a puff piece on Republican Hairpiece Mitt Romney, whose entire government experience was a single term in the Massachusetts statehouse: “I like President Obama,” Mr. Romney said, “but he doesn’t have a clue how jobs are created.” And never mind that the main failure of the Obama stimulus package was that it was too small, rather than too large, and that it was mainly the Republicans who prevented it from being more effective. And never mind that despite that fact the Obama stimulus package is credited with having saved millions of jobs and averted a depression , while Romney’s own experience gives him both a clue and a track record at destroying jobs. For even as the Times titled Zeleny’s piece “To Quiet Critics, Romney Puts 2012 Focus on Jobs,” Jed pointed out the reality that Romney the businessman made his personal fortune by firing thousands of employees while bankrupting five businesses. But this is about much more than the Lesser Romney, and there was something else about Zeleny’s article that typified modern political dialogue, and typified what is so wrong with it: The message is well suited to Mr. Romney’s background as a successful executive and former governor, as well as the man who rescued the 2002 Winter Games from financial trouble. But it may also be his best opportunity to try to steer around criticism over the health care plan he created in Massachusetts, which to many Republicans looks distressingly similar to the federal law signed last year by Mr. Obama. Zeleny doesn’t mention that Romney’s entire experience in government was that single term as governor. Realizing he probably wouldn’t be elected to a second, and that the defeat likely would destroy his presidential ambitions, Romney retired rather than fight for his job. Which, by the standards of modern Republican presidential aspirants , makes him intrepid and tenacious. But Romney always has been singularly about ambition rather than principle . Zeleny also doesn’t mention that Romney’s success as an executive came at the expense of thousands of employees. But Zeleny’s focus on Romney the executive, and his focus on Romney’s reputation as financial savior of the Olympics, gets to the real heart of the problem: There is a pervasive and wildly mistaken presumption among many in the traditional media and the professional political class that being successful at business qualifies one to be a political leader. After all, the chief business of the American people is business. They are profoundly concerned with producing, buying, selling, investing and prospering in the world. I am strongly of opinion that the great majority of people will always find these are moving impulses of our life. The problem with Coolidge’s framing is that most Americans would disagree. According to a November Gallup poll , Americans rate the honesty and ethical standards of business executives below those of nurses, military officers, druggists and pharmacists, grade school teachers, medical doctors, police officers, clergy, day care providers, judges, auto mechanics, nursing home operators, and even bankers, TV reporters, newspaper reporters, local officeholders, and the much-maligned practioners of law. Perusing that list, what is most apparent is that those deemed most honest and ethical are mostly underpaid, and mostly concerned with caring for and nurturing and protecting one another, including most often strangers. But even more to the point, it’s a fair guess that most Americans are most profoundly concerned with, and find their most moving impulses devoted to, the people they love. It’s a fair guess that most Americans identify themselves most by their human relationships and their most passionate hobbies rather than the ways they make money. As are most people around the world, most Americans are, first and foremost, caring and compassionate. That our government is so far adrift from representing such humane values speaks to why so many Americans feel so alienated from it. That so many in government and the media, and at least one of our two political parties, are so wholly invested in using government as but a means of manipulating and consolidating wealth speaks to why so many are so cynical about it. Being good at business does not qualify one to serve in government. Wanting to make the world a better place for as many people as possible does. Many on the political right talk about values, but mostly as a means of dividing people along demographic lines. But these are the real values that count: caring about the public good; caring about strangers; caring about the world. Businesses are in business to make money. They are not in business to be nice. There are many responsible business leaders, but many of the world’s largest and most successful industries depend on exploiting workers, despoiling the environment, manipulating and otherwise taking advantage of consumers, and squeezing out every possible penny of profit. The public good is to be damned. Most businesses, and particularly most of the largest and most successful businesses, consciously and deliberately damn the public good utterly without conscience. That is why the public good needs defending from them. That is why capitalism itself best thrives when protected from its own exigent excesses. Government is the vehicle. Modern democratic and republican forms of government were invented to protect people from despotism, to defend human rights, and to give the public good access to political power. Those that would put businesses in charge of government have it exactly backward. Those that deem business executives by that experience qualified to lead government have it exactly backward. George W. Bush was this nation’s first MBA president, and the result was the worst-ever terrorist attack on U.S. soil, two disastrously failed wars, a series of human rights violations that likely qualify as war crimes, a great American city drowned due to incompetence and indifference, the worst economic collapse since the Great Depression, and ignoring completely the impending environmental catastrophe that is climate change. But Bush’s buddies in the fossil fuels and defense contracting industries did make lots and lots and lots of money. The other famous quote from Calvin Coolidge came while he was vacationing in South Dakota. Always terse, he unexpectedly announced that he wouldn’t seek a second full term in office: I do not choose to run for President… His Republican Party chose in his stead his Commerce Secretary, whom Coolidge neither liked nor trusted, but who had helped implement Coolidge’s economic ideology. Stepping aside at that point proved a smart decision by Coolidge. His presidency had enjoyed a false economic boom, but his policies contributed to that boom’s implosion, which began less than a year after he left office. Had he sought and been elected to another term as president, he would not be mostly forgotten, and most remembered for but a few quick quotes. Instead, his name rather than his successor’s would be synonymous with devastating poverty. We now likely would remember Coolidgevilles rather than Hoovervilles.
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The business of the government
In a profile of the man who was responsible for vetting a running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential campaign, the former manager of the political operation is mentioned suggesting how Sarah Palin landed on the then-candidate’s “short list,” Ben Smith reports . In the story featured in the latest edition of the Washingtonian on attorney A.B. Culvahouse, which is currently unavailable online, the one-time campaign manager for McCain suggests Palin made the cut because of her gender. According to an excerpt of the story relayed by Smith, McCain had requested that at least one woman be included on the list of possible contenders. “As the clock was running out, [campaign manager Rick] Davis says McCain asked to have at least one woman on the short list. His advisers went back to the long list and plucked out Palin’s name,” the magazine reported. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Former McCain Campaign Chief: Sarah Palin Made ‘Short List’ Because Of Gender
The man who was responsible for vetting a running mate for Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.) during the 2008 presidential campaign addresses how Sarah Palin landed on his “short list” in the latest edition of the Washingtonian , Ben Smith reports . In the publication’s profile of attorney A.B. Culvahouse, which is currently unavailable online, the former vice presidential vetter suggests Palin made the cut because of her gender. According to an excerpt of the story relayed by Smith, McCain had requested that at least one woman be included on the list of possible contenders. “As the clock was running out, [campaign manager Rick] Davis says McCain asked to have at least one woman on the short list. His advisers went back to the long list and plucked out Palin’s name,” the magazine reported. Read More… More on John McCain
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A.B. Culvahouse: Sarah Palin Made John McCain’s ‘Short List’ Because Of Gender
Sarah Palin (Photo: David Shankbone) and Mike Huckabee (Photo: David Ball) One way or another, this is all about making money (my emphasis): RNC Chairman Reince Priebus convened a meeting Monday with representatives from nearly every potential Republican presidential candidate to discuss efforts to rebuild the committee, the primary calendar and the debate schedule. The two-hour sit down, held at party headquarters, marked the first gathering of GOP campaigns that soon will be taking aim at one another. Officials from candidates all-but-declared like Tim Pawlenty and Mitt Romney were there but so were aides to Mike Huckabee and Sarah Palin , neither of which have begun taking steps toward presidential runs. Notably not there: anyone representing Mitch Daniels (a Daniels adviser indicated that they were focused on the increasingly messy Indiana legislative session). Who knows whether or not Huckabee or Palin will end up getting in the race, but at a minimum, they need to pretend like they might, otherwise their relevance as political celebrities—and the paychecks that come with it—will shrivel like a prune. It’s also possible that one or both of them are seriously planning on running, but haven’t taken any serious public steps towards doing so because they don’t want to cut off the gravy train from Fox. Either way, their top priority is clearly personal profit, and it’s hard to see how that would play well over the course of a primary campaign.
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Palin, Huckabee send aides to RNC meeting on 2012 campaign
Sarah Palin, perhaps the most closely watched of all potential 2012 Republican presidential candidates, is viewed in an unfavorable light by 60 percent of those questioned in a new Bloomberg News poll. Read More… More on Sarah Palin 2012
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Sarah Palin’s Popularity Slips: Poll
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger The negative impacts of climate change are coming on more quickly than anyone expected. According to a new NASA study, ocean waters are creeping steadily upwards, at rates faster than predicted, Maureen Nandini Mitra reports at Earth Island Journal : “That ice sheets will dominate future sea level rise is not surprising - they hold a lot more ice mass than mountain glaciers,” Eirc Rignot, the report’s lead author said in a statement emailed by NASA yesterday. “What is surprising is this increased contribution by the ice sheets is already happening.” This is just the latest warning sign that climate change is happening and that its negative effects will occur more quickly than anyone has prepared for. This will happen despite Republicans’ insistence that there is no hard scientific proof of climate change, and that “just because you might be in the minority doesn’t always mean you’re wrong,” as Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-VA) put it this week at a House subcommittee hearing on climate science. Dealing with it This problem is not going to go away. The economist and blogger Tyler Cowen wrote this week that left-wing economists have a “reluctance to admit how hard the climate change problem will be to solve, for fear of wrecking any emerging political consensus on taking action.” In response, Mother Jones’ Kevin Drum comments , “Actually, liberals spend a ton of time talking about how hard climate change is. Still, there’s something to this. As hard as we say it is, it’s probably even harder than that.” How hard? On Democracy Now! , Naomi Klein argued this week that progressive environmental groups have been pussy-footing around the scope of the issue entirely. She said: What I see is that the green groups, a lot of the big green groups, are also in a kind of denial, because they want to pretend that this isn’t about politics and economics, and say, “Well, you can just change your light bulb. And no, it won’t really disrupt. You can have green capitalism.” And they’re not really wrestling with the fact that this is about economic growth. This is about an economic model that needs constant and infinite growth on a finite planet. So we really are talking about some deep transformations of our economy if we’re going to deal with climate change. And we need to talk about it. That’s a tall order for green groups, however, when they’re having a hard time convincing conservatives that climate change even exists. As Klein says, refusing to believe in climate change has become one way that conservatives define themselves, politically, and the pull of ideological identification outweighs any rational attitude toward the science in question. The example of agriculture In many cases, solutions to the problems of climate change are clear. Only habit and political intransigence keep them from being put into action. Agriculture is a great example of this tangle. Industrial farming pollutes earth, water, and air, while sustainable methods of farming promote global health. What’s more, they create as much, if not more, product than industrial farming techniques. This week the United Nations confirmed these benefits in a report on “eco-farming,” what Americans generally call sustainable agriculture. Inter Press Service reports : “An urgent transformation to ‘eco-farming’ is the only way to end hunger and face the challenges of climate change and rural poverty,” said Olivier De Schutter, U.N. Special Rapporteur on the right to food. … Yields went up 214 percent in 44 projects in 20 countries in sub-Saharan Africa using agro-ecological farming techniques over a period of 3 to 10 years… far more than any GM [genetically modified] crop has ever done. Despite this sort of success, the argument that agribusiness is necessary to feed the world is still running rampant. At Grist, Tom Philpott has been picking apart a series of articles from The Economist that explains, as Philpott puts it “how industrial agriculture is the true and only way to feed the 9 billion people who will inhabit the world by 2050.” But as Philpott notes, sustainable farming can feed the global population and is better for the planet as well. The United Nations, he writes, has: found that ‘ecological agriculture’ could ‘assist farmers in adapting to climate change’ by making farm fields more resilient to stress. So why isn’t eco-agriculture catching on? The report cites a bevy of obstacles, none of them technological: “[L]ack of policy support at local, national, regional and international levels, resource and capacity constraints, and a lack of awareness and inadequate information, training and research on ecological agriculture at all levels.” Obvious solutions Indeed, it can be incredible how simple solutions to seemingly intractable problems can be. For instance, IPS reports , yet another UN report has found one solution to mitigating global hunger: Push back against gender inequality. IPS’s Alan Bojanic and Gustavo Anriquez write: The UN agency’s report estimates that if women had the same access to agricultural assets, inputs, and services as men they could increase yields on their farms, and this increase could raise total agricultural output in developing countries by roughly 2.5 to 4 percent. Moreover, such a growth in agricultural production could in turn bring 100 to 150 million people out of hunger - that is about 12 to 17 percent of the 925 million undernourished people that exist in the world according to FAO’s latest estimates. Dealing with the problems of climate change might be harder than liberals often admit. But some of the simplest solutions haven’t even been tried yet. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium . It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter . And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit , The Pulse , and The Diaspora . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Read More… More on NASA
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The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: Conservatives and Liberals Remain In Denial About Climate Change
TPM: During an appearance Thursday night on Sean Hannity’s TV show, Sarah Palin had a warning about the protests going on against the bill just signed by Gov. Scott Walker’s (R-WI) to curtail public employee unions — saying that unions should “tone down the rhetoric” against the bill, because it will result in people getting hurt. Have a look for yourself: HANNITY: As states come to grips with these budget deficits … as soon as cuts start being made, we see there the violent rhetoric, the threats, this reaction. Do you think we’re going to see a lot more of this? In other words, is this the beginning of things to come? PALIN: Well, these union bosses that are acting like thugs, as they are leading some of their good union members down a road that will ultimately result in, unfortunately, somebody getting hurt, if you believe the death threats that are being received by those who just happen to support amending some collective bargaining privileges of state unions. Well, it is these union bosses’ responsibility to turn down the rhetoric and start getting truth out there so that nobody gets hurt. Everyone’s going to have to dial it down. Except for the surveyors, of course. After all, their surveyor’s symbols are not only non-threatening, but downright patriotic. I’m glad cooler heads will prevail here. Johnny Hardhat is taking Good Old Fashioned American Values hostage, and the only sane way to stop this is for everyone to put on their best crazy, fuzzy bathrobe and Bump-It TM and make a level-headed appeal for calm, starting with describing what’s happening as a mere “amending” of collective bargaining “privileges.” Privileges. You like that one? I just think it’s really sad that working people in this country can’t speak out for their rights without having to stigmata attached to it by out-of-state, blamestream pontificators. That’s the right word, isn’t it? Stigmata? I hope I’m not misusing the term here. As always, the full-length of her appearance is chock full of stumbling from verbal crutch to verbal crutch, with total nonsense sandwiched in-between. But I thought this bit was just especially childish and hypocritical. Just wanted to share that with you.
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Palin frets that someone else’s rhetoric may lead to violence
In the wake of recent news that HBO Films has cast Julianne Moore to play Sarah Palin in their upcoming on-screen adaptation of the political tell-all “Game Change,” the former Alaska governor claimed Thursday that she plans to simply “grit my teeth and bear” the movie. Fox News’ Sean Hannity recently asked Palin how she felt about the upcoming film which, if true to the book , is likely to paint her in an unfavorable light. “I think I’ll just grit my teeth and bear whatever comes what may with that movie,” Palin said. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
Sarah Palin: ‘Game Change’ Movie Will Make Me ‘Grit My Teeth And Bear’ It (VIDEO)
I have this fear that if Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Sharon Angle ever got together in the same room, it would create a Black Hole, and the universe would be sucked into the vortex vacuum. The only thing left behind would be a cup of tea and three lumps of sugar. It almost happened this past week, but fortunately what they each said took place on different stages, and the world was spared. Sometimes, I wonder if Sarah Palin, Michele Bachmann and Sharon Angle even listen to what they say. Or care. Rather, it often just seems that they feel compelled to simply blurt out anything for the sheer sake of being heard. Indeed, it doesn’t even matter if these thoughts contradict even the previous sentence, since retention is not a goal. Just saying words. Especially if the words are critical. If it’s critical about Barack Obama - Yahtzee! (While I know this sounds like hyperbole, consider Ms. Palin’s response when asked what Supreme Court decisions she disagreed with: “There’s, of course — in the great history of America rulings, there have been rulings, that’s never going to be absolute consensus by every American. And there are those issues, again, like Roe v. Wade where I believe are best held on a state level and addressed there. So, you know, going through the history of America, there would be, there would be others but…” Okay, honestly, you couldn’t analyze that even if you were Sigmund Freud.) Read More…
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Robert J. Elisberg: Speak Loudly and Carry a Big Shtick
Yeah, it made me yawn, too (Jinfeng Zhang/Dreamstime.com) James O’Keefe has lost his groove. Forget about the fact that the guy who he attacked in his latest video is leaving the organization he hoped to smear (for reasons unrelated to the video), the video is boring as hell. I gave up watching it after five minutes. What a snooze! O’Keefe needs to bring the pimp back, and while he’s at it, he should try to have a sense of humor (think Koch/Walker or Palin/Sarkozy ). But the difference between those videos ( Koch/Walker and Palin/Sarkozy ) isn’t just that they are funny while O’Keefe’s latest one is not, it’s also that they target individuals who have the power of a public office. O’Keefe and his copycats are trying to attack organizations through ad hominen attacks of individuals. They are trying to argue that organization X (I won’t do O’Keefe the favor of naming his target) has a bad apple, so therefore organization X is rotten. Even if it did have a bad apple, there’s no necessary logical reason to believe it proves organization X is rotten. As for whether or not there is a bad apple in organization X, is anyone really surprised that somebody said there’s racism in the tea party? (And is anybody disputing that obvious fact ?) And is anybody surprised that a guy responsible for fundraising buttered up potential donors? Bottom-line: when the O’Keefes of the world go after organizations with these kinds of tactics, it’s because they don’t want to deal with the merits of their actual argument. They are just going for something sensational and emotional to score political points. They are no more newsworthy than a press release.
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James O’Keefe releases new video in mission to bore America to death
Public Policy Polling (PDF) (3/3-6, Missouri voters, Dec. 2010 in parens): Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 45 (45) Sarah Steelman (R) : 42 (44) Undecided : 14 (12) Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 45 Todd Akin (R) : 44 Undecided : 11 Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 46 Ed Martin (R) : 40 Undecided : 14 Claire McCaskill (D-inc) : 45 Ann Wagner (R) : 36 Undecided : 19 (MoE: ±4%) Tom Jensen takes the words right out of my mouth: Less noteworthy than the difference between McCaskill’s single point lead against Akin and her nine point advantage against Wagner is that McCaskill’s support shows no variation from 45-46% across the four match ups. The Republicans get varying levels of support pretty much directly in line with their name recognition: 44% know Akin, 44% know Steelman, 34% know Martin, and only 26% know Wagner. The GOP field is largely anonymous at this point. McCaskill’s leads, even as small as they are, shouldn’t be particularly reassuring for her. There are at least twice as many undecided Republicans as Democrats in each match up, suggesting that once the GOP candidates become better known they will probably catch up to her pretty quickly. One thing to note, though, is that the gathering field for the GOP represents something of a B-team, especially with Akin unlikely to get in. And while the group as a whole, as Tom notes, is mostly unknown, they all have negative favorables among those who do know them, except for Steelman, who doesn’t fare much better with a flat even 22-22. I think a Steelman-Martin primary could be extremely toxic, and something McCaskill has to be rooting for. If there’s a silver lining here, it’s that PPP has a 38D, 37R, 25I sample. That’s a lot less Dem than the 40D-34R that the 2008 exit polls had it as, but a little better than the than the 39R-37D 2006 exit polls .
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MO-Sen: Still a very tight race for Claire McCaskill (D)
Sarah Palin alluded to a suggestion made in the aftermath of the 2008 presidential campaign that she didn’t know Africa was a continent — and not a country — in an interview with the BBC published online on Monday. “Rumors like I didn’t know Africa was a continent, that’s still out there, that’s a lie,” she told the U.K.-based outlet when asked about criticism of her intellectuality. The former Alaska governor reportedly seemed “tense” when she was confronted with the matter. On the heels of Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) loss to President Barack Obama in the 2008 race, intriguing details about the internal operations of the pair’s campaign began to trickle out. HuffPost’s Nick Graham reported at the time: Read More… More on Video
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Sarah Palin: Africa Is A Continent, Rumors I Don’t Know That Are ‘Lies’
More and more, 2012 speculators are backing away from the notion that the 2012 campaign will feature a robust battle between the popular faces on the three-headed frontrunner that is Mitt Romney, Sarah Palin and Mike Huckabee. None have officially declared, but you can be all but certain that Romney’s in. Huckabee occasionally grouses when the press starts to fail to take him seriously, but he’s done very little groundwork in Iowa , and the specter of his inability to adequately fund a race continues to crop up again and again. Sarah Palin is still mostly inside her social media bunker reacting to events, though she will be jetting off to India soon . Perhaps most significant are the moves that Fox News made in suspending the contributor contracts of Rick Santorum and Newt Gingrich, but not those of Palin and Huckabee . Over at TPM, Benjy Sarlin runs down what a race without Palin or Huck would mean for Romney : Read More… More on 2012
Late Returns: Two Down From The Front-Running Trio?
Sarah Vowell’s new book, “Unfamiliar Fishes,” is taking an unconventional approach to the book trailer. Here’s the history of Hawaii illustrated by plate lunches. Any other book trailers you love? Let us know. Read More… More on Video
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Sarah Vowell Book Trailer: The History Of Hawaii Illustrated In Plate Lunches (VIDEO)
In a trio of recent swing state polls, we see President Obama faring worse against Generic Republican than he does against actual Republicans. Fortunately for him, of course, no matter what happens in the GOP primary, he does indeed get to run against a flesh-and-blood opponent - and against those, he’s doing pretty well so far. Let’s begin in Pennsylvania: Muhlenberg College for the Morning Call (2/9-28, registered voters, no trendlines): Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 37 Generic Republican : 33 Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 43 Mitt Romney (R) : 36 Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 44 Mike Huckabee (R) : 34 Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 53 Sarah Palin (R) : 25 (MoE: ±5.5%) The four-point spread when paired against a generic foe, coupled with mediocre re-elect numbers (40% say yes, while 45% disagree), would seem to be a source of concern for Team Obama and the Democrats. But Obama’s numbers against real-life candidates are quite a bit better. Mitt Romney can take solace in the fact that his margin is slightly narrower than what John McCain achieved in 2008, and Obama is still only in the mid-40s. Still, Obama comes out on top in all three potential matchups. Other polling in key tossup states has echoed this theme. Consider PPP’s latest poll out of the political hotbed of Wisconsin: Public Policy Polling (2/24-27, Wisconsin voters, December 2010 in parentheses): Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 48 (46) Mitt Romney (R) : 38 (42) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 48 (47) Mike Huckabee (R) : 41 (41) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 51 (50) Newt Gingrich (R) : 39 (41) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 54 (52) Sarah Palin (R) : 35 (38) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 49 Paul Ryan (R) : 40 (MoE: ±3.5%) Here we have the benefit of trendlines, which show Obama doing marginally better than he did around ten weeks ago. We also have the benefit of seeing the favorabilities of his opponents. While President Obama’s job approval in the state is soft (49/45), his opponents are (with the exception of native son Paul Ryan, who seems unlikely to make a bid) all underwater with net negative favorabilities. The same holds true in Virginia, where the numbers are pretty similar: Public Policy Polling (2/24-27, Virginia voters, November 2010 in parentheses): Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 48 (48) Mitt Romney (R) : 42 (43) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 51 (49) Mike Huckabee (R) : 43 (44) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 51 (52) Newt Gingrich (R) : 39 (41) Barack Obama (D-Inc) : 54 (51) Sarah Palin (R) : 35 (40) (MoE: ±3.5%) Taken together, these three recent data points paint a consistent picture. While President Obama’s political mojo has not been entirely resuscitated, he is the undisputed beneficiary of a GOP field that is known, yet unloved. Worth noting: the larger pool of respondents in the Muhlenberg poll split evenly between Republican and Democratic identification. This is a pretty sizeable departure from 2008 , when Democrats enjoyed a seven-point voter ID edge. Even in a disastrous climate in 2010 , the Democrats enjoyed a three-point voter ID edge. Furthermore, both PPP polls had samples which showed 2008 vote preferences that were actually closer than President Obama’s margins of victory three years ago. Therefore, none of these three polls can reasonably be dismissed as the result of wishful thinking regarding the makeup of the 2012 electorate.
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Early polls give Obama the edge in key battleground states
Early yesterday morning, around 1:00 AM, I had finished work for the day on my current “project” (top secret for now — sorry, no spoiler alerts!). Someone had sent me a link to a discussion Bill O’Reilly had had with Sarah Palin a few hours earlier about my belief that the money the 21st Century rich have absconded with really isn’t theirs — and that a vast chunk of it should be taken away from them. They were referring to comments I had made earlier in the week on a small cable show called GRITtv ( Part 1 and Part 2 ). I honestly didn’t know this was going to air that night (I had been asked to stop by and say a few words of support for a nurses union video), but I spoke from my heart about the millions of our fellow Americans who have had their homes and jobs stolen from them by a criminal class of millionaires and billionaires. It was the morning after the Oscars, at which the winner of Best Documentary for “Inside Job” stood at the microphone and declared, “I must start by pointing out that three years after our horrific financial crisis caused by financial fraud, not a single financial executive has gone to jail. And that’s wrong.” And he was applauded for saying this. (When did they stop booing Oscar speeches? Damn!) So GRITtv ran my comments — and all week the right wingopoly has been upset over what I said: That the money that the rich have stolen (or not paid taxes on) belongs to the American people. Drudge/Limbaugh/Beck and even Donald Trump went nuts, calling me names and suggesting I move to Cuba. Read More… More on Wisconsin Protests
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Michael Moore: How I Got to Madison, Wisconsin
Sarah Palin said President Barack Obama lacks experience in the public and private sectors in discussing his role in ongoing debate over unions, collective bargaining and the recent protests in Wisconsin. During an appearance on “America’s Nightly Scoreboard” on Fox Business on Friday night, she said, “See because our president is so inexperienced in the private sector and in government and in actually running anything and making any kind of budget that inexperience has really made manifest in some of the statements he makes.” Palin went on to take issue with the president’s handling of the economy and said he should be “engaging in free-market principles that work” such as reducing taxes. The Fox News contributor added, “His naive and destructive and terrifying anti-oil agenda is going to bring our nation to our knees and his agenda must be stopped.” Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Sarah Palin: Obama ‘Inexperienced’ In Private Sector & Government (VIDEO)
Palin, Bachmann and Huckabee unflaggingly demonstrate wholesale ignorance of American history and world affairs. Is there no political price to pay for incompetence? Read More… More on Michele Bachmann
Paul Stoller: Politics in a Culture of Ignorance
Sure, they said they cared about creating jobs. But that was while they were running to take back their country from secret Muslim Kenyan socialists who want to kill your grandma and make your kids eat vegetables. Now that they’re in control, jobs have taken a back seat to the issues that matters most in America: denying health care to low-income women. And they’ll shut down the whole damn government to do it. Via the Minnesota Independent : In a webinar with anti-abortion rights activists Tuesday evening, Rep. Michele Bachmann said that she voted against the continuing resolution aimed at avoiding a government shutdown because it didn’t defund Planned Parenthood and “Obamacare.” She called abortion the “watershed issue of our time” and said she’s prepared to fight “eyeball-to-eyeball” to defund Planned Parenthood in the next continuing resolution in two weeks. The “Defunding Planned Parenthood: Urgent Nationwide Webcast,” observed by the Minnesota Independent, was hosted by anti-abortion rights group the Susan B. Anthony List. “Abortion is the watershed issue of our time,” Bachmann said. “We shouldn’t have one red cent go for Planned Parenthood,” calling it an opportunity abortion rights opponents have not had before. Not only is denying health care to low-income women the “watershed issue of our time,” according to Bachmann, but it’s also the “point where you draw the line in the sand and you have a hill where you die on.” And then, after you die on that hill, you have both “an eyeball-to-eyeball fight” and a “knock down, drag down fight.” That’s a lot of fighting. And a lot of metaphors. And, in accordance with the Bachmann Rule (a closely related cousin of the Palin Rule) that every time she opens her mouth, she says something crazy and/or wrong, she also claimed that she opposed the continuing resolution to keep the government running because it does not defund “Obamacare,” which uses taxpayer money to pay for abortions “for the first time in history.” Factcheck.org and Politifact.com have already debunked that tired old lie that the Affordable Care Act pays for abortions; it doesn’t. But Bachmann is also wrong that taxpayer dollars have never been used to pay for abortions. See, once upon a time, Medicaid (funded with taxpayer dollars) did pay for abortions. They weren’t just for wealthy women who could afford to pay private family doctors or hop jets out of the country. Low-income women were entitled to the procedure too. But Rep. Henry Hyde put a stop to that with the heinous Hyde Amendment that says low-income women can go fuck themselves. His dream was to tell all women to go fuck themselves, but he figured starting with low-income women was a good first step, because no one cares about them anyway. Three decades later, with the Hyde Amendment renewed every single year and the current Democratic president “comfortable reiterating that status quo” , turns out Hyde was right. But dumb-as-dirt Bachmann can’t even get her own side’s propaganda right. So instead of trying to find a way to keep the government from shutting down, and instead of doing the one thing she and her party promised to do—create jobs—Bachmann and the rest of the nuts are going to draw lines in the sand on hills where they’ll die eyeball-to-eyeball to deny low-income women access to cancer screening and STD testing and treatment and contraception because carrying out Henry Hyde’s dream to tell women to go fuck themselves is much more important than creating jobs. Ah, the culture of life.
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Michele Bachmann: Shut down government until Planned Parenthood is defunded
by Sarah Laskow, Media Consortium blogger Environmental activist Tim DeChristopher was convicted yesterday of two felony counts. DeChristopher was on trial for bidding on more than 22,000 acres of public land that he could not pay for: his two crimes are making false representations to the government and interfering with the land auction. DeChristopher made the $1.79 million bid in order to “do something to try to resist the climate crisis,” he told Tina Gerhardt, in an interview published by AlterNet . But, as Kate Sheppard explains at Mother Jones , the judge threw out “the defense that his actions were necessary to prevent environmental damage on this land and, more broadly, the exacerbataion of climate change.” “They’re hoping to make an example out of me.” DeChristoper now faces the possibility of a $75,000 fine and 10 years in prison. In an interview with YES! Magazine ’s Brooke Jarvis , before the trial started, DeChristopher said he had faced the possibility that he would be found guilty. “There is still the possibility of acquittal, but I think the most likely scenario is probably that I will be convicted,” he told Jarvis. “The prosecution has been very clear that they’re hoping to make an example out of me, to convince other people not to fight the status quo.” Wild lands What is the status quo? Bureau of Land Management land, like the parcel DeChristopher bid on, is owned by the government, which often leases out the rights to develop the natural resources, like gas and oil, to private companies. Up until 2003, the Department of the Interior had the option of setting aside some of its lands for preservation, pending final Congressional approval. But during the Bush administration, the DOI gave up that option and only considered uses like recreation or development for its holdings. Back in December, the current Interior Secretary, Ken Salazar, reversed that policy, again putting on the table the option of using public lands for conservation purposes. But as I write at TAPPED , Republicans are throwing a hissy fit about the change. Truth or consequence? The Republicans’ argument goes something like: Using public lands for conservation will deprive Americans of jobs and hurt the bottom lines of states with large tracts of public lands. What they don’t discuss is the potential damage that drilling for, say, natural gas could cause. The Mulch has been writing about the dangers of hydrofracking for awhile now, but over the past week The New York Times began weighing in on the issue with a long series on the dangers of hydrofracking . The Times ‘ series brings even more evidence of hydrofracking’s dangers to light–in particular, about the radioactive waste materials being dumped into rivers where water quality is rarely monitored. As Christopher Mims reports at Grist , the series has already prompted calls for new testing from people like John Hanger, the former head of Pennsylvania’s environmental protection department, which has not been among the staunchest opponents of new drilling protects. According to Mims, Hanger has written that: The Pennsylvania Department of Environmental Protection should order today all public water systems in Pennsylvania to test immediately for radium or radioactive pollutants and report as soon as good testing allows the results to the public. Only testing of the drinking water for these pollutants can resolve the issue raised by the NYT. Or, as Mims puts it, “No one has any idea if the radioactive material in the wastewater from fracking is appearing downstream, in drinking water supplies, in quantities in excess of EPA recommendations.” Tar and feather ‘em Fracking is not the only environmentally destructive practice that the energy industry is increasingly relying on. Earth Island Journal has two pieces looking into the tar sands industry in Canada. Jason Mark’s piece is a great introduction to the history of the tar sands and takes a sharp look into the impact development has had on the community and the environment. And Ron Johnson details the U.S.’s connection to the destruction: The federal government is considering approving a pipeline that would allow the oil from the tar sands to travel to Texas refineries. Johnson writes: Green groups warn that the pipelines will keep North America and emerging economies hooked on oil from the Alberta tar sands for years to come. By greasing the crude’s path to market, the projects will encourage further reckless expansion of the tar sands. That would delay the transition to a renewable energy economy, while further degrading Canada’s boreal forests and spewing even more CO 2 into the atmosphere. A new regime The decision to approve the pipeline lies with the executive branch. But all of Washington isn’t a particularly friendly place to green groups and their causes these days. For example, as Care2’s Beth Buczynski reports , the newly empowered House Republicans have done away with one of the smallest green programs the Democrats put into place, an initiative to compost waste from House cafeterias. They’ve justified the cut by saying it was “too expensive,” but as Buczynski writes, “Spending must be dramatically reduced, yes, but also strategically. It’s interesting (and disheartening) to see which programs the new GOP House has targeted first.” It’s a small thing, but it shows how committed Republicans are to the status quo: They’re not even willing to mulch their leftover salad. This post features links to the best independent, progressive reporting about the environment by members of The Media Consortium . It is free to reprint. Visit the Mulch for a complete list of articles on environmental issues, or follow us on Twitter . And for the best progressive reporting on critical economy, health care and immigration issues, check out The Audit , The Pulse , and The Diaspora . This is a project of The Media Consortium, a network of leading independent media outlets. Read More… More on Climate Change
The Media Consortium: Weekly Mulch: Activist Tim DeChristopher Convicted of Two Felonies
Mike Huckabee on Fox News Sunday, February 27, 2011 I guess Mike Huckabee has discovered that being a mean and nasty bastard doesn’t play well if you’re trying to run for president. Yesterday, he went all Dan Quayle on Natalie Portman, slamming her as if she were Murphy Brown for having a child out of wedlock. And now he’s trying to pretend it never happened. Huckabee’s attack on Portman was so wildly off-base that even he realizes he crossed way, way over the line. So now he’s trying to walk it back by denying he ever said it in the first place. “Contrary to what the Hollywood media reported, I did not ’slam’ or ‘attack’ Natalie Portman,” Huckabee said, “nor did I criticize the hardworking single mothers in our country. My comments were about the statistical reality that most single moms are very poor, under-educated, can’t get a job, and if it weren’t for government assistance, their kids would be starving to death.” But as Greg Sargent points out, Huckabee did slam Portman : But he did, in fact, single out Natalie Portman as an example and cause of the “glamorizing” problem. He said: “One of the things that’s troubling is that people see a Natalie Portman or some other Hollywood starlet who boasts of, ‘Hey look, you know, we’re having children, we’re not married, but we’re having these children, and they’re doing just fine.’” Clearly, Huckabee was saying that celebrities who make the personal choice to be single mothers — people like Portman — are partly responsible for glorifying and glamorizing their choices. Huckabee is now claiming that “society” is responsible for this. But he did previously blame Portman and others like her for it, particularly when he claimed they “boast” about their choices. Obviously, Huckabee did attack Portman, indefensibly so. And even though the premise of his attack was entirely false—Portman actually plans to wed her partner—the inaccuracy of his attack is besides the point. It’s the kind of attack that never should have been made in the first place. If Portman weren’t a Obama-supporting member of the ‘Hollywood elite’ (bonus points: she’s Jewish), Huckabee never would have gone after her. He’s never said anything similar about Bristol Palin, nor should he have. But beyond the hypocrisy, with unemployment at nine percent, what the hell is Huckabee doing talking about Natalie Portman’s pregnancy anyway? Short answer: He was doing the same thing he was doing when he went gay - bashing and dog - whistling to birthers. In other words, playing to his lunatic base. Huckabee built his brand on being an affable conservative, but in less than two weeks he’s managed to expose himself as a dishonest and vicious asshole. And that’s one egg he’s not going to be able to unscramble.
Mike Huckabee tries to unscramble the egg, denies attacking Natalie Portman
If Newt Gingrich wasn’t already having an awful week, the latest Daily Kos/PPP poll offers even more bad news for him: Of the major GOP contenders for the presidency, Newt is by far the least-liked candidate among Democrats. Yes, that’s right: Dems profess to like Newt even less than Sarah Palin. By now, you are probably quite familiar with Newt’s recent travails. To recap briefly, on Tuesday morning, a senior aide informed the media that Newt would soon announce the formation of a presidential exploratory committee. Later that same day, a different adviser contradicted the first, saying no, there was no such committee in the works - not exactly the picture of a well-run campaign. Then on Thursday, Newt himself made a big speech, in which he had a chance to set things aright. So what did he do? He unveiled… a website , and one with a weird name, too (that’s already been spoofed ). That’s it. A website. But even if Newt does emerge from this weird state of limbo and actually run for office, Newt has a serious problem with crossover appeal - or lack thereof. In our most recent State of the Nation poll, we asked all voters (not just Republicans) who they’d like to see as the GOP’s presidential nominee. Here are the results, broken down by party identification: The other major would-be candidates - Mike Huckabee, Mitt Romney & Sarah Palin - all get double digits across the board. (And Ron Paul gets pretty consistent marks just below that tier as well.) But check out those Newt numbers: 19% of Republicans prefer him as their nominee (tying him for first with Huck), but only 5% of Dems do. That’s a pretty rough spread. Now maybe Palin’s numbers are inflated - some Democrats might be acting deviously strategic, saying (in a reverse Bre’r Rabbit) that they want, they really want, Sarah Palin to be the Republican nominee. (After all, that’s how I would have answered!) But maybe we have it all wrong and maybe we should really be rootin’ for Newton - and note also that he fares pretty poorly with independents, too. Dems and indies may remember Newt well, and not fondly, from his notorious heyday in the 1990s. With another possible government shutdown looming, that could mean even more unwelcome flashbacks for voters who still recall the shutdown Gingrich fomented when he was Speaker of the House. As this Daily Kos poll shows, all of these memories are going to be a big obstacle for Gingrich to overcome if he does somehow capture the Republican nod - and that could be a very good thing for Barack Obama and Team Blue.
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State of the Nation poll: The unlovable Newt Gingrich
The National Rifle Association has experienced a sizable jump in female membership over the past few years, a trend that some of the group’s leaders are suggesting is a result of what they’re calling the “Palin effect.” According to a report from the Daily Mail , the NRA has seen a growth of around 20 percent in its female ranks. Diane Danielson, an instructor for NRA’s Women On Target program, told the Daily Mail that the so-called “Palin effect” had helped draw 10,000 new women a year to the firearms programs and bring hunting into the mainstream scope of women’s activities. Read More… More on Video
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‘Palin Effect’? NRA Credits Ex-Governor’s Rise For Growing Female Membership (VIDEO)
The only thing more insufferable than a high profile idiot is a high profile idiot with raging narcissism. That’s Sarah Palin. We can’t know for sure whether or not she recognizes how unserious and unintelligent she is, but, in Palin, we can plainly see a reality show celebridoof who seems to believe that national office doesn’t require the widely accepted prerequisite of “knowing things” — especially things that squarely relate to the national office she has sought in the past and the one she will likely seek this year. Only people with clinical personality issues, well beyond the reasonably normal purview of ego, believe they can achieve the most prestigious elected offices in the United States without, at the very least, knowing basic information about the universe of those jobs. Ego isn’t new to politics. In fact, it’s almost as necessary as intellectual heft and leadership experience. Anyone who believes they possess the rare potential to be elected by an entire nation to the office of the presidency requires ego beyond that of, you know, everyone. The self-affirmational refrain “I can be the president” is an exceptional thing, so completely exceptional that only a handful of people out of 300 million dare to run for president every four years. Read More… More on Republicans
Bob Cesca: Sarah Palin’s Narcissism Feeds Her Constitutional Incompetence
Observation is the core of the scientific process, and we have a great way to start good science habits in your kids. Each March, Kidspace Museum in Pasadena hosts Caterpillar Adoption Days. Read More… More on Natalie Portman
Sarah Bowman: What’s Up for March From Kids Off the Couch
After news broke on Wednesday that Fox News was suspending former U.S. Senator Rick Santorum as a contributor to the network, it didn’t take long before the potential presidential contender spoke out on the matter. Appearing on CNN’s “John King USA” the same day, Santorum said the decision to sever ties came after never being asked by anyone at Fox News about his plans for 2012. According to the network, former Arkansas governor Mike Huckabee and former Alaska governor Sarah Palin , who both contribute to the network and are believed to be mulling presidential campaigns, have not been suspended in their roles. Read More… More on Elections 2012
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Rick Santorum: Fox News Suspension Came Without Network Asking About My 2012 Plans
Snort : The daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has signed with William Morrow to publish “Not Afraid of Life,” to come out this summer. Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced Tuesday that the memoir would provide “an inside look at her life.” … Plainspoken and disarmingly down to earth, Bristol offers new insight and understanding of who she is and what she values most. Really, Bristol? You need a whole book to do that? I’m pretty sure I can sum it up in a paragraph: She got knocked up in high school and now spends her days getting paid to pretend to be a virgin while performing ” scandalous ” dances on national TV ” out here in [her] underwear “, who suffers from the apparently hereditary delusion that she might have to run for political office even though she can’t be bothered to vote because the nation desperately needs her unique insight and experience as a knocked-up teen turned reality TV star turned Googler economics policy adviser to her mother . See? No need to waste time writing hiring a ghostwriter to share what few details of your life haven’t already been sold to celebrity magazines when you obviously have more important things to do, like ganging up on your mother’s critics on Facebook with your spelling-challenged, potty-mouthed, gay-bashing kid sister. On the other hand, maybe you should keep cashing in while you still can, ’cause I’m pretty sure I can see your 16th minute from my house.
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Bristol Palin’s life story coming soon to a bookstore near you
Former Minnesota Governor Tim Pawlenty appears to be slowly testing the waters for a possible bid to be the Republican presidential nominee in 2012. The possible contender is out with a new web video that seeks to appeal to members of the Tea Party movement. The Washington Post notes that the release of the clip could be an attempt to cozy up to the conservative coalition of activists ahead of other potential contenders like Sarah Palin, Newt Gingrich and Michele Bachmann. Real Clear Politics reports : Read More… More on Tea Party
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Tim Pawlenty Touts Tea Party Cred In New Web Video (VIDEO)
Before there was Michele Bachmann, Sarah Palin, Scott Walker or any of the other current radical conservatives seeking the national spotlight and perhaps the Republican nomination for president, there was Newt Gingrich. The recent boomlet around a potential presidential bid by the aging right wing revolutionary feels like a strange hybrid of the unique quirkiness that has always been part of Gingrich with nostalgia for the 1990s. Next thing you know, we’ll be talking about impeaching a Democratic president and shutting down the government. Maybe the 1990s really are back. Ironically, in the mid-1990s, when Gingrich was at the height of his power after engineering a Republican takeover of the House or Representatives for the first time in four decades, the idea of a Gingrich presidency was implausible. He was too radical, too conservative and even a little too quirky to be a serious candidate for the White House. In 1996, the one presidential campaign between the time he became speaker and the time his political career ended, although only temporarily, in scandal, Gingrich’s name was not even seriously floated for his party’s nomination for president. As the 2012 election approaches, however, Gingrich is potentially a major candidate for his party’s nomination for president. Whether or not he gets the nomination, Gingrich could play an interesting, and possibly important, role in the nominating process. Although he was an important figure in the party more than 20 years ago, well before people like Bachmann, Palin, Boehner, Mike Huckabee or others were important in the party, Gingrich lacks the stature and temperament to be a true elder statesman. He is more like the quirky uncle who moved back to town and now finds himself at your house a few nights a week for dinner where he holds forth with long, occasionally interesting and often bizarre speeches about how the world works. Accordingly, Gingrich’s candidacy will likely generate the most notable, and not infrequently, strange ideas of the upcoming election season. Read More… More on Sarah Palin
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Lincoln Mitchell: Back to the Nineties with Newt
Recently, Sarah Palin made the statement that there are people who want to shut her up but they can’t stop her from talking, and she’s going to keep talking. “I will continue to speak out. They are not going to shut me up,” she proclaimed to Sean Hannity, adding, “they can’t make us sit down and shut up, and if they were ever to succeed in doing that, then our republic would be destroyed.” Count me among those who wildly enthusiastically Sarah Palin’s intention to keep talking. Read More…
Robert J. Elisberg: In Defense of Sarah Palin
NEW YORK — It’s official: Bristol Palin has a book deal. The daughter of former Alaska governor Sarah Palin has signed with William Morrow to publish “Not Afraid of Life,” to come out this summer. Morrow, an imprint of HarperCollins, announced Tuesday that the memoir would provide “an inside look at her life.” Read More… More on Bristol Palin
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Bristol Palin Book Deal Materializes To Publish ‘Not Afraid Of Life’