Friday, February 24, 2012

Last Call

First Lady Michelle Obama was in town yesterday for some fundraising and to visit the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

First Lady Michelle Obama made a quick trip to Cincinnati on Thursday, preaching her husband’s record to the choir and stopping briefly at the National Underground Railroad Freedom Center.

She collected some big money - about 300 people paid anywhere from $250 to $10,000 to hear her speak and to meet her.

She delivered a vigorous defense of her husband’s administration to the crowd at the downtown Westin hotel, saying President Obama’s work “is not done.”

“If any family in this country is struggling,” the First Lady said, “we can not be satisfied with our own families’ good fortune.”

It's good to know Mrs. Obama is a resource that her husband can count on.  Our side needs all the help it can get.

“Who do we want to be?’’ she asked. “Will we be a country where success is limited to a few at the top? This country is strongest when we are all better off.”

Her husband came to office three years ago, she said, to bring about change; and said change “does not come easy.”

It was her first visit to Cincinnati since Sept. 2008, when her husband was running for president. Then, she spoke at a National Baptist Convention at the Duke Energy Center.

The GOP of course showed their respect.

Her comments drew criticism from Christopher Maloney, spokesman for the Ohio Republican Party.
“The time has come and gone for empty rhetoric and broken promises. Ohioans simply cannot afford another four years of job loss, higher taxes and increased debt under Barack Obama,” he said.

The First Lady praised the passage of health care reform legislation that she said has already “saved millions of seniors in this country an average of $600 a year for prescription drugs.”

“Now, there are some folks talking about repealing that reform,’’ she said. “Are we going to let that happen? Are we going to allow children to be denied health care coverage who have cancer or other serious diseases? We can’t do that.”

Shot back Maloney: “The ‘folks’ Mrs. Obama dismisses represent 2.3 million Ohioans and a majority of voters in all 88 Ohio counties who demanded the repeal of Obamacare’s job-killing mandate in November.”

He's referring to the very badly worded Issue 3 on last year's Ohio ballot, which was all about nullifying mandates, which of course is completely meaningless given the Supreme Court's century-plus precedents on the Commerce Clause since the Civil War.

Doesn't matter when the President is a ni-(CLANG)!

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Steve M. has something of a point on Romney going all in on the winger right:

What this really reminds me of is a moment in a totalitarian regime when then the purges and rehabilitations seem to defy all logic, when the longtime loyalist with a few minor blemishes on his record becomes an unperson, while a former unperson becomes the chief inquisitor just because the regime has developed a new appreciation for his viciousness and willingness to apply the screws. But that's not a reassuring moment in the history of such a regime, is it? 

Or as people keep telling me, Romney could run on a platform of throwing liberals off cliffs, and he'd get 42% of the vote, bare minimum.

Then again, counting Santorum out as President is equally silly:

Over the past several weeks, Republicans have watched squeamishly as presidential contender Rick Santorum has waded into multiple controversies that risk alienating half the 2012 electorate: women.

But in fact, Santorum has grown more popular among women while talking about his opposition to abortion, his disapproval of birth control and his view that the federal government shouldn’t pay for prenatal screenings. A new Washington Post-ABC News poll shows not only that Santorum is doing better among GOP women than he was a few weeks ago, but also that he is less unpopular — and also less well known — among Democratic and independent women than his Republican rivals Mitt Romney and Newt Gingrich.

Santorum's going after the base.  And if you're still a female Republican voter in 2012, you've already bought the notion that women should submit to men when it comes to sex anyway.  Of course they like him more now.  Candidate Santorum would get 42% of the vote in November, too.  All he has to do is get 9% more and the game's over for a big, huge chunk of America.

Don't take an Obama win for granted against these idiots.  They'll get 50 million votes just for being in the R column.  The Santorum folks are trying to run as Conservative Good Ol' Boy Dubya against Elitist Mitt (and Obama).  And they'll have unlimited millions to sell it.

Make The Gas Face For Those Little White Lies

One of the nation's biggest oil lobbyists in January warned the President that he could make life very uncomfortable for his re-election chances if he didn't approve the Keystone XL pipeline.

The oil industry's top lobbyist warned the Obama administration Wednesday to approve the Keystone XL oil pipeline or face "huge political consequences" in an election year.

Jack Gerard, president of the American Petroleum Institute, said it would be a "huge mistake" for President Barack Obama to reject the 1,700-mile, Canada-to-Texas pipeline. Obama faces a Feb. 21 deadline to decide whether the $7 billion pipeline is in the national interest.

"Clearly, the Keystone XL pipeline is in the national interest," Gerard said at the trade association's annual "State of American Energy" event. "A determination to decide anything less than that I believe will have huge political consequences."

Jump to six weeks later:

Soaring gasoline prices are threatening to undercut President Barack Obama’s re-election prospects and offering Republicans an easy target. With prices pushing $4 a gallon and threatening to go even higher, Obama sought Thursday to confront rising public anxiety and strike back at his GOP critics.

Obama said dismissively that all the Republicans can talk about is more drilling — “a bumper sticker … a strategy to get politicians through an election” — when the nation’s energy challenges demand much more. In a speech in Miami, he promoted the expansion of domestic oil and gas exploration but also the development of new forms of energy.

For all the political claims, economists say there’s not much a president of either party can do about gasoline prices. Certainly not in the short term. But it’s clear that people are concerned — a new Associated Press-GfK poll says seven in 10 find the issue deeply important — so it’s sure to be a political issue through the summer.

You do the math.  I'm thinking Big Oil already has, and they're liking the numbers they see.  The Republicans and the Village certainly aren't above concern trolling President Obama, either.  Remember, he's "bad for business" when he doesn't give corporations a zero tax rate and all the steak fajitas they can eat on Tuesdays.

Presidents may not be able to do much about gasoline prices, but oil companies sure as hell can.

It's Time To Protect The Kids, Dammit

As punishment for eating a "forbidden" candy bar, a 9-year-old girl was forced to run in her back yard.  For three hours.  And then she dropped, and started having seizures.  She later died from dehydration.  Three hours.  I'm surprised she was even able to keep going for that long.  It makes sense to me that she was so scared she thought she was running for her life.  Which, of course, makes her death all the more depressing.

The 12-year-old who was found naked and eating from a garbage can was kept naked so she wouldn't get out of the car.  Her mother forced her to stay there while she worked as an aide at a local school.  I imagine she couldn't get her daughter enrolled without an address.  The little girl was wandering, naked and eating some bread she had found.  She was basically caged like an animal, and so hungry she wandered out naked in February.

Those are the main two from this week.  As the sane ones, we need to keep our eyes open.  Someone did the right thing and called 911, and that poor naked child is clothed and eating real meals.  Nobody saved the first girl, and she died at the hands of two people who should have loved her more than anyone (or anything) else.  Because I am constantly scanning small news sources, I am so weary of articles about kids, yet I am compelled to read them.  We're not in a place to promise kids happy ever after.  We should  be able to promise our willingness to help when we can and make that call when we must.  We should be able to let them expect a place to sleep and food to eat.  If we can't give them anything else, it's meeting those most basic needs so they can survive to conquer.

It's About Darned Time: Toasty Warm Edition

Finally.  It only took one genius to make my favorite snack perfect every time.  Many thanks to CNET for knowing what is important!

The inaccuracy that is intrinsic to everyday cooking is no cause for alarm. At least when it comes to toast. The Breville Premium Plastic Toaster combines old-school styling with a couple of modern features. The toaster includes a monitoring process in the form of a "lift and look" feature that allows for midcycle adjustments. Perhaps more engaging is the inclusion of a button that speaks the language of the eater; there can be no mistake about the utility of a button labeled "A Bit More."
Much like steak changes significantly when subjected to prolonged cooking, toast is sensitive to varying degrees of doneness. There is no formula for such; we just know how we like it. Sometimes, despite all the precision equipment that populates the kitchen, all we really need to know is when something just isn't quite done yet.
How many burned thumbs have I endured from checking my toast?  How many burned pieces have I endured from sending it back down and getting sidetracked?  

Seriously, I love it when something we take for granted gets a simple but awesome facelift.  This wasn't incredibly hard to do, someone just had to finally get around to it.  I love kitchen gadgets, and this will be on my counter within a month.

The Bon is pleased.

Red State Of Insanity

Seven Republican attorneys general are joining together to sue the Obama administration over birth control coverage rules, citing Frist Amendment violations and asking a Nebraska District Judge to throw out the provision.

The lawsuit was filed by attorneys general from Nebraska, Florida, Michigan, Ohio, Oklahoma, South Carolina and Texas. Three Nebraska-based groups — Catholic Social Services, Pius X Catholic High School and the Catholic Mutual Relief Society of America — are also plaintiffs in the lawsuit.

Nebraska Attorney General Jon Bruning, a Republican who is running for U.S. Senate, said the administration's regulation "forces of millions of Americans to choose between following religious convictions and complying with federal law.

"We will not stand idly by while out constitutionally guaranteed liberties are discarded by an administration that has sworn to uphold them," he said.

That of course is a smokescreen.  This is the real reason.

The lawsuit alleges that the rule will effectively force religious employers and organizations to drop health insurance coverage, which will raise enrollment in state Medicaid programs and increase patient numbers at state-subsidized hospitals and medical centers.

And as noted, Jon Bruning is leading the charge here in Nebraska...oh and running for Senate.  Surprise!

Of course, the GOP goal here is to win a decision here where the federal government can no longer compel states to participate in federal programs:  the Affordable Care Act, but also Medicare, Medicaid, and Social Security, based on moral and religious objections.  At the very least it means state legislatures could simply walk away from the last 80 years, or hold referendums to do the same.

Now given a series of state votes on ending programs, and given all the tens of millions the rich could pour into campaign ads, do you feel your state could win a vote to keep Social Security or Medicare, or Medicaid?

I live in Kentucky.


Mitt Fails At Math

Mitt Romney's new tax plan is, in a word, horrendous.  James Kwak deconstructs it over at The Atlantic:

According to yesterday's bullet points, Romney wants to cut all tax rates by 20 percent, meaning that the top income tax rate, which is currently scheduled to rise from 35 percent (George W. Bush, 2001) to 39.6 percent (Bill Clinton, 1993), would instead fall to 28 percent.

There are several things about this plan that are either loony or deeply misleading. One is the claim that it would "address the debt crisis" because it will be paid for by $500 billion in spending cuts by 2016. But the only proposals mentioned would (a) repeal the Affordable Care Act (increasing deficits, since the ACA has been scored as deficit-reducing); (b) convert Medicaid to a block grant (no deficit impact); (c) increase government efficiency (yawn); and (d) cut Social Security and Medicare benefits for "younger generations" (no impact until well after 2016). In other words, it's a complete fantasy.

There's a shocker.  Mitt's latest plan is not only Laffer-lympics taken to the nth degree, the number don't add up because, well, they can't.

The bottom line is that if, like Mitt Romney, you want to cut tax rates by 20 percent, eliminate the estate tax, and eliminate the AMT, it is arithmetically impossible for the top 1% to pay anything close to their current effective tax rate. 

So yes, Mitt literally fails at math.  And this will benefit him with Republican primary voters, because let's face it, they don't want to believe in facts anyway.


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