Monday, April 30, 2012

Maloney Baloney

Yes, I am admittedly a huge AC360 fan. Even if I wasn't already, I would be now after seeing this great interview with Rep. Maloney.
If you have ever wanted to see a liberal feminist taken to task for random attacks and stupid associations, this is the clip for you.

My favorite part is when she attempts to accuse Big Oil of taking away women's reproductive rights, or something like that. I really can't tell at all what Big Oil has to do with anything.

All Politics are Local- the VA Governor Race and the Race for the White House Collide

Gov Mitt Romney and Gov. Bob McDonnell of Virginia (linked to source: Deseret News)

Meet Governor Bob McDonnell. He's on the imaginary short list for Gov. Romney's vice presidential sidekick.
He is a former state attorney general, head of the Republican Governors Association, and all around well-liked governor of a Swing State.  His record includes a budget surplus, a drop in unemployment, and conservative support for signing a bill that requires women to have an ultrasound before an abortion.
A recent CNN/ORC International poll showed 1% of registered voters would pick McDonnell for the position, a figure largely based on name recognition. Former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice nabbed the top spot, followed by former presidential candidate Rick Santorum, Sen. Marco Rubio of Florida and Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey.

VA Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli (picture courtesy Atty Gen website)

Meet Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli, Republican candidate for governor of Virginia. He won't endorse Mitt Romney.
Endorsements run both ways. You scratch my back, I scratch yours. You endorse the top dog, you often get to have your picture taken with the top dog to run in your campaign materials. So why won't he endorse the top dog?

Lt Governor of Virginia Bill Bolling (picture courtesy of Lt Gov official website)
Meet Lt. Governor Bill Bolling of VA. A man who wanted to run for governor last time around, but instead, politely stepped aside to allow his friend McDonnell to take that place. He politely settled for second-in-command. Within the party it has long been known that it is Bolling's turn to ascend to the governor's mansion. And all looked promising for that to happen, until Cuccinelli stepped in.
So what does this have to do with Cuccinelli not endorsing Romney?
Virginia does third year elections. The governor's spot isn't up for grabs until 2013. If McDonnell were to get tapped for the VP spot, and Romney/McDonnell were to win, Bolling would assume the governorship for one full year before the 2013 elections. And assuming people liked him, (and people probably would, since they like him quite well already), he would have an easy "re-"election ahead of him. And Cuccinelli would not have party support to run against him. (VA is a term limits state. McDonnell will not seek  re-election.)
Even if McDonnell does not get tapped for VP, considering his standing within the party, and the work he has put into Romney's race, he is likely on a short-list for a large number of appointments. In other words, Cuccinelli does not want to see Romney win because it could potentially hurt his chances to become the next governor.
In two weeks, on May 14, the VA State Legislature will meet in a special session to review Governor McDonnell's budget, and elect some judges. And when that happens, the second and third most influential conservative legislators in the state will be in a quiet, (yet very polite- too polite really) war with each other.
Bolling, by the way, is the chair of Romney's Virginia campaign.
In other words, all politics are local.

Thursday, April 26, 2012

Corporations Support CISPA, but Heritage Foundation and Obama Do Not

The Obama Administration announced Wednesday it would veto the controversial Cyber Intelligence Sharing and Protection Act (CISPA) bill, H.R. 3523, if it came to the President’s desk. The Administration cited concerns that the legislation would undermine personal security and civil liberties.
Sponsored by House Intelligence Committee chairman Rep. Mike Rogers and Ranking Member Dutch Ruppersberger, CISPA would broaden the intelligence community’s ability to share classified information about threats to the nation’s cyber security with private businesses or other non-governmental parties.
Supporters of the bill, which includes some of the largest publicly traded corporations in the United States, (and the soon-to-be-traded Facebook) claim that the bill would help businesses defend themselves against cyber attacks, and to share information with other businesses about the attacks. It would also make it easier for businesses to receive critical information faster from the government regarding or during an attack, and also limits the government’s ability to force a company to share private information.


When Reality TV and the Virginia Governor Race Collide

First, and foremost, let's get one thing straight. I am very interested in serious Virginia state politics. And will soon seriously begin to bring up some of the state political issues on this blog.
And what I am about to say, I say seriously. But it must be mocked in the process.
 White House party crasher, and now-estranged husband of a "Real Housewife" and tabloid fodder, Tareq Salahi, wants to run for Governor of Virginia. And he says he has "huge support."
In his own words,"As a Virginia native for the last 42 years, I am troubled to see how our current political figure heads continue to waste tax payer dollars during these difficult economic times! I'm a big believer in limited government, keeping taxes, regulation and litigation low." Oh and apparently he's a Republican.
He's off to a bad start though. According to CNN, on his application to run for office he put the wrong date down for the November 5, 2013 election. His application says November 6. Or maybe he just has bad handwriting?
As of late Wednesday morning, the State Board of Elections in Virginia has not yet received a declaration of candidacy from Salahi, a board spokesman confirmed.
The candidate form is generally not filed until January 1, 2013, at the earliest, Justin Riemer, the spokesman, noted. (Source: CNN)
Just like the presidential candidates, petitions for office must be signed by 10,000 registered voters in the state with a minimum of 400 from each of Virginia's 11 congressional districts.
Now, just to be fair, before I get to the mocking part, let's take a quick look at his credentials. Is he just after more fame? Or does he have a shot in politics?
First, don't be fooled by his "Real Housewives of DC" fame. He's not "DC" in the least. He lives way the heck out of DC, in Virginia wine country, in an area you cannot call DC suburbs. So no, he's not DC by nature, not that that qualifies you for anything either.
He served on the Virginia Tourism Board from 2006-2009, when then-Gov. Tim Kaine asked him to resign after the White House incident.
Before that he served on the all-powerful Virginia Winery Board, except that it isn't all that powerful or well-known in the state at all. His business background includes his family's vineyards. But rumor has it he and his wife drove the business into the ground, and the vineyard is now in bankruptcy. So yes, please, let's give this guy the password to the state's finances!
Maybe he'll be tough on crime? After all, he was very quick call for help when he thought his wife had been kidnapped. Except she had really just run off with Journey guitarist Neal Schon. But this is the state that did elect John Warner, husband of Liz Taylor, multiple times. So that may not rule him out to have a crazy, drama queen, sort of wife. And you never know, maybe soon-to-be Ex Mrs. Salahi will be the next Elizabeth Taylor. Or maybe this will save their marriage when she comes running back for the fame and prestige of being a candidate's wife.
But really, I think it might be his name that will make it tough to take him seriously. Does anyone actually know how to pronounce it? Tark? Tair-eck? Tark-ick? Sah-la-hee? Suh-lay-hee? Maybe I should have watched more Real Housewives of DC when it was still on.
Enjoy more mockery courtesy of the AC360 Ridiculist.


They're All Team Romney (Sort of)

And you thought we were done hearing from these guys.

Even when he drops out of a race, he has to do it his way. The former Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich will soon be the former Republican presidential candidate- when he drops out next week.
Exactly what is the point in announcing that you will drop out in a week? How is that different from dropping out now?
When you are Newt, these things just happen. He claims it is because they are working out the details of his endorsement of Mitt Romney. Again, what is the point in announcing you are working out your endorsement, when obviously you will be endorsing?
Oh Newt, we might actually miss some of your antics. Or not.
In the meantime, someone who did not have to announce a week in advance that he would be endorsing Romney, former Republican presidential candidate and Texas Gov. Rick Perry is no longer Team Gingrich (now that Gingrich will be Team Romney (eventually)).
Here’s the full Perry statement:
“Mitt Romney has earned the Republican presidential nomination through hard-work, a strong organization, and disciplined message of restoring America after nearly four years of failed job-killing policies from President Obama and his administration. So today I join the many conservative Republicans across the nation in endorsing Mitt Romney for President and pledge to him, my constituents and the Republican Party that I will continue to work hard to help defeat President Obama. American jobs, economic stability and national security depend on electing a new president. Mitt’s vision and record of private sector success will put America back on the path of job creation, economic opportunity and limited government.”
He could have just said, "He beat the rest of us, and this is what good Republicans do who ever want to have a political future in the party," and that would have sufficed. 
Speaking of which, former Utah Governor and former Republican presidential candidate Jon Huntsman, Jr., apparently doesn't want a career in the GOP. 
In a recent speech to the Harvard Kennedy School he said, "The party is not in a good place right now, given its recent rhetoric on immigration." (Source: The Crimson) Comments like that don't go over well when a few folks are still annoyed over a comment he made in March to MSNBC. "I think we’re going to have problems politically until we get some sort of third party movement or some voice out there that can put forth new ideas. We might not win, but we can certainly influence the debate."
Silly me for thinking that a nominee emerging from the pack would mean we wouldn't have to hear from the other guys anymore. I guess everyone had to get one last word in!

Monday, April 23, 2012

Family Roots

Last week Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a democrat, said,
“[Romney’s] family came from a polygamy commune in Mexico, but then he’d have to talk about his family coming from a polygamy commune in Mexico, given the gender discrepancy. [....Women are] not great fans of polygamy, 86 percent were not great fans of polygamy. I am not alleging by any stretch that Romney is a polygamist and approves of [the] polygamy lifestyle, but his father was born into [a] polygamy commune in Mexico.”

What he said tonight on Anderson Cooper 360
AC: You raised a lot of eyebrows in a comment to the Daily Beast saying that Romney's family comes from a polygamist commune in Mexico. Is that fair game? Is that fair to talk about?
BS (hey, it isn't my fault those are his initials): People took it way off base. I didn't say anything about any religion. I just said, as you mentioned earlier, that the Mormon religion hasn't accepted polygamy in 120 years. Mitt Romney, and his family, that I know of, doesn't accept polygamy today. The concern is that he took far right turns during the primary, including with immigration. And his opponents criticized him... (he then goes off on self-deportation).
AC: But in this interview you mention 6 or 7 times that his family was born into a polygamy commune in Mexico, repeatedly mentioning that. It was Romney's great-grandfather that practiced polygamy in the 1800s. Is that fair to raise that? Because Democrats were outraged when people brought up Obama's grandfather.
BS: People are taking this far away from what I was discussing. Romney currently has a problem with Latino voters. It is ironic that his father comes from Mexico. He should embrace his roots.
AC: But you were saying he had a woman problem because he doesn't want to talk about Mexico because of polygamy connection.
BS: He has both a gender gap and he has a Latino gap. Probably bigger than anyone who has run for president in recent years. The point is, now how can he reach to the middle?

INTERJECTION- why the heck is a Democrat governor from Montana even talking about the ways a GOP candidate should appeal to the middle, and complaining that he took "right turns?" Ironic that most Republicans cite Romney being too middle and moderate for their taste. Again, I ask, why is this guy offering advice?!

Ralph Reed then joined the conversation, really taking Schweitzer to task for bringing up religion, and called the dog and grandparent issues in the campaign silly. Cooper again brought in some tough questions, and Schweitzer responded by getting very defensive, and called Reed "cowboy," and continued to claim he wasn't making religious references. To which Reed said if comments like that keep up it would come off as a whisper campaign by the Obama side.

What do you think? You obviously know what I think.

Also worth pointing out, while CNN/AC360 may have come down tough on Gov Schweitzer, they also did a several minute piece from Mexico, talking to Romney's distant cousins, who have never even met him. And really dug in on polygamy roots and Mormon colonies. 

And the Ridiculist was awesome. The Family Research Council saying the "break up" of Mike and Ike candy is the divorce of a gay marriage? We are talking about candy, right? Two faceless pieces of candy are now in a gay marriage? Talking about taking something too far.

Friday, April 20, 2012

Mitt Romney to Speak at Falwell's Liberty University

Just because it looks like Mitt Romney has the nomination all sewed up, doesn't mean all Republicans or evangelicals are lining up behind him. And just because Mike Huckabee and Pastor Jeffress have endorsed him doesn't mean everyone is over and passed the Mormon issues.
Former Governor Romney has been asked to speak at the convocation for Liberty University in Lynchburg, Virginia (swing state!) on May 12. LU was founded by Reverend Jerry Falwell, Senior in the 1970s. The current chancellor of the university is Jerry Falwell, Jr. This is a university known for extremely conservative values, religious activity, and well, quite frankly, not liking Mormons. It boasts it is the largest Christian university in the world.
In the Virginia primaries there were 95 counties, and 39 independent cities. Ron Paul only won in 12 locations, and Lynchburg was one of them. (Reminder- only Paul and Romney were on the VA ballot.)
Romney's speech to the university will be one of the largest of his campaign, other than the convention. The audience size will be approximately 50,000 graduates and guests.
Falwell said in a statement university officials were “delighted that Governor Romney will join us to celebrate Commencement with Liberty’s 2012 graduates.”
Liberty has a long history of getting involved in politics. Governor Rick Perry and Rep. Michele Bachmann spoke there in 2011, and other politicians have made the rounds there too- including President Reagan, President George H.W. Bush, Newt Gingrich, and Mike Huckabee.
President Obama once spoke in Lynchburg as well, but at a local high school, and not the [extremely conservative] university.
Speaking at LU is a strong indicator that Romney is courting the more conservative sects of the Republican Party (and not the more moderate members), and that he is reaching out even more to the evangelicals. But not all Liberty and Lynchburg residents are happy about it. Students are announcing intentions to boycott their graduations, or to show up at the services with signs for other [former] candidates. Their gripes (heard on the local tv news yesterday) ranged from religious differences, to the fact that the school's straw poll in the fall, and the primaries, showed support for other candidates.
Virginia is a key battleground or swing state in the national elections. It has 13 electoral votes, and a history of splitting support between Republican and Democrat. The more urban and suburban areas of Northern Virginia (outside of Washington, DC), and the military regions of Norfolk and Virginia Beach, tend to not fall in line with the rest of the much more conservative state.

Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Mitt and the Veep

Just me and my 2 cents on the VP-stakes

Now that we know it will be Mitt Romney on the November ballot, let's start talking about vice presidential options.
Over the weekend I had an interesting chat with some well-informed and educated family members about who we each thought might be possible VPs. I was very surprised that the men all picked white men. I am personally of the belief it will be anyone but a white male. The ticket has to be more interesting than that. The media already holds a grudge against Romney for being a well-educated, upper class, white male. (Although I've yet to figure out how being in the largest majority demographic in the country is such a bad thing.) I think Romney will get the rank and file Republicans, but it is the independent moderates that don't know where to go yet. It is that demographic in the middle that will be swayed by a "competitive," "attractive," or "historic" VP ticket. And that ticket probably won't include a white male.

So the contenders (as generally suggested by the media and armchair pundits)-

Chris Christie, Governor of New Jersey
Pros- Unique brand of charisma, smart, somewhat crass style provides enjoyable/needed contrast to clean cut Romney.
Cons-  Also from northeast, doesn't bring in a needed demographic, possibly too crass, also a white guy, he has stated his obesity may be an issue.

Bobby Jindal, Governor of Louisiana
Pros- Not a white guy, from the much needed South.
Cons- Louisiana politicians have a cloud of corruption about them, but then, so do Chicago politicians and Obama got elected anyway. He only delivers 8 electoral votes, which is practically nothing. Not enough name recognition. 

Marco Rubio, Senator from Florida
Pros- Hispanic, well-liked, very conservative, 29 electorates, battleground state. Tea party loves him.
Cons- Tea party loves him. He's needed in the Senate. He's made it clear he's not interested. While he is Catholic now, he had Mormon ties as a child, and evangelicals will not be uniting behind a Catholic-Mormon anytime ever. 

Bob McDonnell, Governor of Virginia
Pros- Very well-liked within the party, big on jobs and the economy, delivers Virginia and its 13 electorates and a swing state.
Cons- White guy, lack of name recognition outside of party insiders and home state. Lots of other white guy, Republican, governors just like him. Romney is already big on jobs and economy. He needs someone who brings more to the table.

John Thune, Senator from South Dakota
Pros- Another Republican elected something from somewhere.
Cons- Just another white guy Republican from somewhere (JAWGRFS). No real name recognition. 3 electoral votes? Total joke.

Tim Pawlenty, former Governor of Minnesota
Pros- Tea Party loves him, conservative, from a "blue state," decent name recognition thanks to the Tea Party, has "paid his dues," so to speak.
Cons- Boring! And yet again, JAWGRFS.

Paul Ryan, Senator from Wisconsin
Pros- Currently has good name recognition thanks to his current budget bill. Popular in the party and out of the party.
Cons- Must I say it again? JAWGRFS, but at least his somewhere is a swing state. Again, he's big and popular on the same things Romney is already big on.

Nikki Haley, Governor of South Carolina
Pros- Female, non-Caucasian, South, conservative, good name recognition.
Cons- She didn't deliver SC for Romney in the primaries, in spite of her major endorsement. Already a red state, not many electoral votes. 

Mike Huckabee, former Governor of Arkansas, tv host
Pros- Huge name recognition, conservative, brings the evangelical vote.
Cons- JAWGFS, serious bad blood between him and Romney in last election.

Susana Martinez, Governor of New Mexico
Pros- Female, non-Caucasian.
Cons- no name recognition. In fact, I know nothing to say about her.

Rick Santorum, former Senator of Pennsylvania, recent competition
Don't make me go there. It is always possible, but highly unlikely. Although he does deliver something besides jobs and economy I guess.

Newt Gingrich, former Speaker of the House, current competition
You have to be kidding me, right?

If it were up to me, I'd pick Nikki Haley in a heartbeat. She's pretty, well-spoken, conservative, and a double threat minority. She's qualified and she's interesting. She brings something to the ticket. 

Who do I expect it will be? No clue.

Thursday, April 12, 2012

"His wife has actually never worked a day in her life."

We Love Ann Romney Photo Credit: Me, I took it.

Hilary Rosen, a Democratic National Committee political consultant, former Huffington Post editor, spin doctor, and overall liberal woman, was playing the part of talking head last night on CNN's AC360, when she was talking about the so-called, "War on Women," (which she says is a Republican term, not a Democrat term. I beg to differ. I say it is a media term, created by people like her for shock value.) and Romney's supposed problem with women voters, and the economy, when she said, “His wife has actually never worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we — why we worry about their future.”

Hear it in context for yourself-

Just two hours later, Ann Romney and the Romney camp launched a new Twitter account for Ann Romney (@AnnDRomney). Her maiden tweet-

Less than an hour later, the Romney's son Josh came to his mother's defense as well.

Shortly after that, Obama campaign manager Jim Messina tweeted: “I could not disagree with Hilary Rosen any more strongly. Her comments were wrong and family should be off limits. She should apologize.”David Axelrod, Obama’s top strategist, tweeted: “Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen’s comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.”
And Stephanie Cutter, Obama’s deputy campaign manager, tweeted: “Families must be off limits on campaigns, and i personally believe stay at home moms work harder than most of us do.”
This all happened after 10 pm Wednesday night. To say it is the topic of the morning is an understatement.
Rosen, as of 10 am, has not yet apologized. But she did get pretty defensive online. Both she and Romney are making the rounds on talk shows this morning.
Via Twitter, Rosen said, (in this order)
9:55 pm: When I said Ann Romney never worked I meant she never had to care for her kids AND earn a paycheck like MOST American women!
9:59 pm: Mitt Romney is running for President, not Ann. He hired only 10%women at Bain; now makes up false concern for women's economic struggle.
10:09 pm: I've nothing against . I just don't want Mitt using her as an expert on women struggling $ to support their family. She isn't.
10:11 pm My point is that he should stop saying that she is his guide to women's economic problems. She doesn't have any. ?
10:16 pm When Mitt says he listens to her about women's economic problems, it is fair to wonder why?
(10:18 pm- Ann Romney's tweet)
10:35 pm Bring it on!": i go away for 45 minutes and suddenly has become a campaign story despite not working for any campaign"
10:56 pm I am raising children too. But most young American women HAVE to BOTH earn a living AND raise children. You know that don't u?
10:58 pm Please know, I admire you. But your husband shouldn't say you are his expert on women and the economy.
11:05 pm oh and welcome to Twitter. You will find it a very exhilarating and often unforgiving place!

Let's point out, just for fun, that Rosen defended her point of view five times before Romney even joined Twitter. This isn't an Ann v. Hilary war. This is conservative mothers v. Rosen war.

This isn't the first time we've seen Democrats accuse Republican, family-first, women of not having "real jobs." In 2004, Teresa Heinz Kerry, the incredibly wealthy heiress and wife of Senator and presidential wannabe John Kerry, said of Laura Bush, "... has actually never worked a day in her life, ... She's never really dealt with the kinds of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school and how do we -- why we worry about their future."
(Great irony in the fact that Teresa Heinz Kerry was born with a silver spoon in her mouth, while Laura Bush was a school teacher in the projects, and was anything but a wealthy child.)
But back to Rosen and Romney.
The backlash on Twitter has been fascinating. There are several interesting hashtags circulating to promote stay at home mothers, Ann Romney, and more. Some of my favorites have been #MomsDoWork, #WarOnAnnRomney, #WeLoveAnnRomney, and #Rosengate.
The support for Rosen has been fairly weak on Twitter. A quick search on her name shows very few people backing her up. Most "retweets" of her comments were by Romney supporters who added on insults to Rosen.
CNN tends to have a policy of not throwing their own under the bus. They are running a blog piece on it, but haven't distanced themselves or anything from her comments. Before anyone goes crying liberal foul, that has always been the CNN style. They just stay quiet, and don't flail their people publicly. Fox News, on the other hand, will have Ann Romney appearing live in just 15 minutes. That network is having a field day with the comments.
Rosen is a highly paid DNC consultant, bringing in over $200,000 for her work there. She was the chair and CEO of the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) as well, a job with a fairly substantial paycheck. She was also the director of the Human Rights Campaign. She and her former partner, Elizabeth Birch, have twins together.
Is anyone surprised at all that a fairly wealthy, pro-LGBT activist, and Democratic consultant, has a problem with Ann Romney's idyllic life? After all, Ann Romney is everything Rosen sees as the enemy- pretty, straight women, raising successful, conservative, rich sons!
At the end of all this, I think the GOP needs to send Rosen a thank you card. She just did what they have struggled all along to do- unite conservatives behind Romney!

Wednesday, April 11, 2012

Race, Religion, and Other Hate Crimes

It has happened. It is all but a but a done deal that Mitt Romney will take the GOP nomination. Which means we can finally discus the potential ramifications of a Romney v. Obama showdown. Let's dispel the need for political correctness here, and just say it all outright. Both candidates come with a built-in, loyal, fan base that will vote for them regardless of political ideas. One gets the Mormons, the other gets blacks*.
Religion and Race- two of the most divisive subjects in the country. And we are headed right into it. It is hard to find a person who doesn't have at least a little bias on at least one of the subjects. And not to stereotype too much here, but we all know that there are competing passions on these two subjects. The more pro affirmative action a person is, the less likely they are to be accepting of all religions, and sadly, vice versa. Thankfully, most people are not too passionate (which only angers the passionate people that more people don't care).
Hate crimes encompass race, religion, sexual orientation, disability, social status/class, ethnicity/nationality, age, sex/gender, and political affiliation. And we are headed to a presidential race that will trigger about half of those passions. That scares me. I don't want to see this country come to blows over which brand of hate is more acceptable. But I fear that is where we are headed.
Just this week we have seen the Trayvon Martin situation front and center in the news, while Lawrence O'Donnell spewed bigoted comments about Mormons.The country is already divided so deeply on the Trayvon Martin case that it seems impossible that George Zimmerman could ever get an impartial jury. And the media so inaccurately portrays Mormons every day that the Mormon church has actually started a list of articles that get it right.
What has been at times one of the more dull campaigns thus far on topic material, (do I need to remind you things got so desperate we turned to moon colonies?), now may become downright explosive.
The "war over women" has already begun, with both Obama and Romney needing to court the women vote. According to a Washington Post/ABC News poll, Romney lags  well behind Obama with women voters. 57% of women prefer Obama, compared with 38% for Romney.
The passions that ignite hate crimes are all about to move to the national forefront. Let's not forget gay marriage will be on the table as well. In fact, of the hate crimes list, the only subjects I don't see becoming a major or divisive issue will be disability and age. Ethnicity/nationality will come up with immigration, and social status/class will be part of the economy arguments.
It isn't going to get pretty. It is going to get downright ugly.  

*I am not a fan of the term African-Americans, because it is assumes that all blacks are Africans, and does not take into account those of Caribbean descent, who yes, are also of African descent, but have a very different heritage. Some of my dearest friends are of Caribbean descent. So please do not think I am being racist by saying blacks, and understand I use it to include more heritages. The term minorities doesn't apply here either, because not all minorities are as loyal to the non-Caucasian president. I truly do not mean to offend with my choice of words.

Tuesday, April 10, 2012

Santorum says sayonara

Santorum dropped out.
I'm traveling today, not speechless.
More on this when I'm back home and have LOTS of time to talk about it!

Monday, April 9, 2012

Saturday, April 7, 2012

Soda Pop and Politics

After reading multiple contradictory articles and blog posts regarding Pepsi and Coke withdrawing support of the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC), I decided to do my own fact-checking and research.
The articles in question-
When consumers push soda companies out of politics (CNN)
Kraft Foods, Coca Cola to discontinue membership in conservative ALEC group (
Stand Your Ground Against Coca-Cola (facebook group)

The Facts:
Pepsi withdrew its membership from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in January. (Source)
CocaCola renounced its membership from ALEC this week. (Source)
Kraft Foods is allowing its ALEC membership to expire. (Source)
There is no statement anywhere to be found about ALEC, or any of the associated issues, on the CocaCola corporate website, or the PepsiCo website.
ALEC said the following regarding the Trayvon Martin death, and the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida. (SOURCE: ALEC)
Trayvon Martin’s death was a great tragedy that brings sadness to all of us. Our hearts go out to his family, friends, and community.
It is a great shame that some are using this tragedy to further their political ends. Indeed, Paul Krugman describes advancing his political goals as the “silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing.” That is as callous as it is cruel, and it is also incorrect. Florida’s “Stand Your Ground” law was the basis for the American Legislative Exchange Council’s model legislation, not the other way around. Moreover, it is unclear whether that law could apply to this case at all. “Stand Your Ground” or the “Castle Doctrine” is designed to protect people who defend themselves from imminent death and great bodily harm. It does not allow you to pursue another person. It does not allow you to seek confrontation. It does not allow you to attack someone who does not pose an imminent threat. What it does is allow you to defend yourself and your family from immediate and real danger.
In the end, we will always respect people who disagree with us in matters of policy, but it is simply wrong to try to score political points by taking advantage of a great tragedy like Trayvon Martin’s death.
Paul Krugman is a Nobel Prize winner, NY Times op-ed columnist, and economics professor. He is a self-proclaimed liberal, and was the chief economic adviser to Pres. Reagan.
Here is what Krugman said about ALEC in his NY Times column, entitled Lobbyists, Guns and Money, on  March 25, 2012.
Florida’s now-infamous Stand Your Ground law, which lets you shoot someone you consider threatening without facing arrest, let alone prosecution, sounds crazy — and it is. And it’s tempting to dismiss this law as the work of ignorant yahoos. But similar laws have been pushed across the nation, not by ignorant yahoos but by big corporations.
Specifically, language virtually identical to Florida’s law is featured in a template supplied to legislators in other states by the American Legislative Exchange Council, a corporate-backed organization that has managed to keep a low profile even as it exerts vast influence (only recently, thanks to yeoman work by the Center for Media and Democracy, has a clear picture of ALEC’s activities emerged). And if there is any silver lining to Trayvon Martin’s killing, it is that it might finally place a spotlight on what ALEC is doing to our society — and our democracy.
The article then ceases to discuss anything about Trayvon Martin, and goes on to cover how ALEC's mission is to push privatization and to"pursue standard conservative goals: union-busting, undermining environmental protection, tax breaks for corporations and the wealthy." He goes on to say, "In short, ALEC isn’t so much about promoting free markets as it is about expanding crony capitalism."

If you are confused about why three major corporations would withdraw support from a non-profit that helps promote tax breaks for corporations and capitalism, it comes together in Krugman's closing statement.
...we seem to be turning into a country where crony capitalism doesn’t just waste taxpayer money but warps criminal justice, in which growing incarceration reflects not the need to protect law-abiding citizens but the profits corporations can reap from a larger prison population.
Now, ALEC isn’t single-handedly responsible for the corporatization of our political life; its influence is as much a symptom as a cause. But shining a light on ALEC and its supporters — a roster that includes many companies, from AT&T and Coca-Cola to UPS, that have so far managed to avoid being publicly associated with the hard-right agenda — is one good way to highlight what’s going on. And that kind of knowledge is what we need to start taking our country back.
The Florida "Stand Your Ground" bill was signed into law on April 26, 2005 by Gov. Jeb Bush. 
In August 2005, ALEC’s “Criminal Justice Task Force” reviewed and adopted the Florida “Castle Doctrine” bill as an ALEC model bill.
In September 2005, that bill was adopted by ALEC’s National Board of Directors as a "model bill."
That "model bill" has since been taken to many state legislatures for consideration.
By following links backwards from article to article, to figure out who is citing what, and where this all began, to go from long time memberships in ALEC, to Krugman's (false) claims, to Trayvon Martin, I finally found what appears to be the source. This all seems to have started with a suggested boycott by the group "Color of Change."
From their site-
Today, ColorOfChange members are making calls to Coca-Cola to demand that the company stop funding the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). ALEC has pushed voter ID laws that disenfranchise large numbers of Black voters. Along with the NRA, ALEC also pushed a bill based on Florida's "Shoot First" law – which has shielded Trayvon Martin's killer from justice – into two dozen states across the country.
So somehow what began with a suggested boycott over Voter ID laws (we'll get to those actual laws and ALEC in a moment), turns into corporations supposedly being afraid of appearing to support the defense of George Zimmerman. NOTE- nowhere, have I found any statements by the companies to suggest that is the case. I have only found opinion columnists and bloggers suggesting it.
Here is the ONLY statement I have found by Coke on ALEC at all-
"The Coca-Cola Company has elected to discontinue its membership with the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC). Our involvement with ALEC was focused on efforts to oppose discriminatory food and beverage taxes, not on issues that have no direct bearing on our business. We have a long-standing policy of only taking positions on issues that impact our Company and industry."
That statement was made to the Washington Examiner's "Secrets" column
So what is so bad about the Voter ID laws?
First and foremost, yes, ALEC model bills were introduced in several states. No denying that.
The Voter ID laws were created to prevent voter impersonation fraud. They require such things as photographic identification in order to vote. Opponents of such bills claim these laws make it harder for young people, people of color, low-income people, the disabled, and older Americans to vote.
I'll break with my non-biased fact giving here, and flat out admit, I just don't get it. Seriously? Your problem is that states passed a law requiring that you have to prove who you are before voting? Is that really so difficult to do? Are there really that many people out there who are incapable of proving identification that it requires a boycott? I have a dozen different ways of proving who I am sitting on my dresser right now. I really struggle to understand how this is a major problem. I am so confused over it that I really do open the lines of communication on this one. Please, someone explain to me how this is a problem for people?
As for everyone out there who has a problem with ALEC and model bills, I highly encourage you to get MORE involved in the legislative process. Because this is exactly how all forms of legislative government works. Legislators, whether they be US Senators, state representatives, or US Congressmen, do not sit down with a pen and paper and write a new law up from scratch. Incredibly experienced representatives from corporations, lawyers, former lawmakers, and yes, even citizens, sit down with highly skilled lawyers (because they are the ones who know what a law looks and sounds like, and how to write them, hence the name LAW-yers), usually in the offices of a non-profit organization just like ALEC, and write these things together. That organization then takes the bill to the legislators. The staffs and committees of the legislators then take out their red pens and make changes, submit it to committee, it gets approved, goes to the hopper, and eventually becomes a bill. I'm sorry that when Schoolhouse Rock made their little song about it, that they didn't include the part about lobbyists being the ones who actually write the laws first.

Now that I have gotten all biased and opinionated, I'd like to conclude with this-
There is nothing more capitalist, consumerism based, and patriotic than the boycott of a corporation. When a company is forced to change behaviors because of the demands of the people, it is a great and wonderful thing.
It is rather ironic that in this case the boycott is being called for a corporation being a part of the democratic system.
Nothing is more powerful than a well-informed, well-educated public. And for that reason it is important to always dig deeper and understand the root of a problem, and what is really happening. CocaCola has in no way, shape, or form gotten involved in the Trayvon Martin case. According to the company, they were also never involved in anything regarding criminal justice and ALEC. ALEC had nothing to do with the passing of the "Stand Your Ground" law in Florida. But yes, ALEC did have an influential hand in the passing of Voter ID laws in several states.
But let's keep one thing in mind here- the most important thing- ALEC didn't pass the laws. The legislatures did. The legislatures made up by representatives voted in by citizens. (now, one more piece of irony- they were voted in by people who at that time obviously were not yet required to prove their identities!) If your problem is with a law - CALL YOUR LEGISLATORS! That is what makes the biggest difference.
Boycotts are great, and people making demands of corporations are great. But the real power comes from the ability to vote, and control your own government. Why stop drinking Coke when you can control a government instead?

Sign the Petition Against Lawrence O'Donnell

On April 3rd 2012, Lawrence O’Donnell crossed the line. In a piece supposedly about difficulties Mitt Romney will face in a general election, he spewed outright lies about the LDS Church, and dove head first into slander.
As one of the 14 million people slandered and offended by his bigotry, I encourage you to sign the petition to MSNBC for remedial action against O'Donnell. The fact that this was even allowed to be said, so completely full of lies, is shameful!


Things that make you go "hmm..."

"Now don't be putting words in my mouth!"

Former Senator Rick Santorum is laying low over the holiday weekend. His campaign has made no major media buys or announced any upcoming events.
So naturally we, the opinionated outsiders, must speculate.
Has he run out of money? (Probably not.)
Is he throwing in the towel? (Don't get your hopes up!)
Not wasting money on media buys over a religious holy weekend? (Always a possibility.)

Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Hat Trick Romney! So now what?

Mitt Romney waves to supporters in Wisconsin. Linked to source:

Mitt Romney made a clean sweep last night and won in Maryland, DC, and Wisconsin for a grand total of ---

Romney 654
Santorum 270
Gingrich 137
Paul 71

So now what?
Will his challengers go quietly into the night?
Of course not.
Next up we have Pennsylvania, Rick Santorum's sort of stomping grounds. He was their Senator and Congressman for several terms, but really he lives in Virginia, and he was born in VA as well. It is also the state the soundly kicked his butt and didn't re-elect him in 2006.  But nonetheless, he ain't dropping out of this race until he's gone back to PA. In his "concession" speech last night he said we're at "half-time" in this race. If by half-time he means he now has less than half of the delegates Romney has, I guess that makes some sense.
So other than being Santorum's home state, what does Pennsylvania have to offer?
72 proportional delegates.
The primary is on April 24 along with Connecticut (28 proportional), Delaware (17 winner takes all), New York (95 proportional), and Rhode Island (19 proportional). Obviously, Pennsylvania isn't even the most profitable state that day, with NY on the calendar as well. The only reason it is a big deal is because it is Santorum's "home."
The PA polls are all over the place, thanks to super old data in them, but they do consistently show Santorum ahead.
click image to enlarge

This second screen shot might be one of my favorite Santorum quotes ever. He's really showing his colors lately that when he doesn't like something someone says or does, he insults them. "...Democratic hack... has probably singularly gotten more polls wrong..."  And what was the hack's big offense? He only shows Santorum leading by 2 points. Heaven forbid. It's almost as if Santorum was winning in every single state, and the front runner, and suddenly somebody dared to say he has some competition.
Meanwhile, talking about really old data, check out the Real Clear Politics offerings for New York-
Click image to enlarge. Screen grab from Real Clear Politics.
Yes, that would be data from nearly a full year ago in the mix. And the most recent data is from February. So yeah, that's not too helpful either. And things aren't much more useful for CT and DE polling either.

Tuesday, April 3, 2012

A KISS for Romney

Just when you thought the endorsements couldn't get any stranger-

Gene Simmons has endorsed Romney.

Monday, April 2, 2012

On Wisconsin, On Wisconsin!

Tuesday will bring us the Wisconsin winner-take-all primary. The cheese heads have 42 delegates to offer the winner. Maryland (37 proportional) and DC (19 winner take all) will also hold primaries, but so far, no one seems to have noticed.

Things are looking pretty good for Romney in Wisconsin. He's holding on to a fairly stable lead there. He is also leading in MD and DC. If Romney can walk away with all 42 + 19 on Tuesday, and let's just say half of Maryland, for a grand total of 79 (we'll round up), and we'll be generous and give Santorum 17, that would bring the totals to---

Romney- 645
Santorum - 280
Gingrich - 140

That would put Romney well more than half way to the 1,140 needed to take the nomination. And puts Santorum just shy of half way to the half way point of getting the necessary delegates. 
Santorum still thinks he has enough friends in Pennsylvania to win there. Pennsylvania's primary is in 3 more weeks, and has 72 proportional delegates. If by some miracle he takes a clean sweep of the state, and gets all 72 delegates for himself, for a grand total of 355, he would only be 785 delegates short of the nomination. (Or in other words, he still wouldn't be close to winning.) 
Last week Gingrich laid off his staff and admitted he has no hope. But he also reminded everyone just how "grandiose" he can be by comparing himself to the University of Kansas men's basketball team, which squeaked past Ohio State on Saturday night to set up Monday's NCAA tournament championship showdown with top-seeded Kentucky.
After tomorrow, we the people and the media, get a nice little three week break. April 24 will bring us Pennsylvania, New York, Connecticut, Delaware and Rhode Island.

Sunday, April 1, 2012

Who's the Fool Now?

All day I have been looking for the perfect April Fools prank to pull on my visiting mother. Alas, I have found none. Which is probably for the best since the closest I came to pulling a prank on her was telling her today was April 3 (her wedding anniversary), when she asked what day it is. And when I tried to correct her and tell her it is April Fools, she didn't hear me.
CNN may have inadvertently fooled me though. For a few hours their story titles said, "Ryan: I really misspoke." followed by "Romney gets punk'd." For a second I thought it was going to say Paul Ryan punk'd Romney with his endorsement. But no, that wasn't it at all. And sadly, I didn't think to do a screen grab while I had the chance, and now it is gone.
But at least someone did get to play the April Fool today, and that was Romney. While stumping in Wisconsin, his staff pulled a pretty good one on him. They set up an event room identical to the room where the candidate was to meet with voters later in the day, complete with signage, drapes, etc. They even managed to pull off canned applause. 
Two Romney surrogates were in on the joke. Rep. Paul Ryan and Sen. Ron Johnson played their parts well, doing the intro, and walking out with Romney, per the usual campaign custom. The staff even played Kid Rock's "Born Free." Romney had no reason to suspect anything. 
The key detail may also be that the staff warned him that in spite of his good numbers in Wisconsin, the event had a poor turnout, and the room wouldn't be packed.
So Romney walks out to loud applause, and a wailing guitar, and the room is empty.
"I go in there, and it's completely empty. There's nobody there!" Romney giggled, as he later recounted the prank to his audience at the real event. "I thought, oh boy, this is going to look really bad on the evening news, let me tell ya."
The only thing the campaign didn't pull off? No press cameras to catch the priceless moment. 
"They turned me into the April Fool this morning! This is known as forgive, but remember. I tell ya, we're going to remember this." Romney laughed later.