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Dem to Obama: Push immigration or I’ll tell Latino voters to stay home

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 16:19
And the White House thinks the gays are bad? This is what hard-assed advocacy looks like. And so far, the Latinos are the only ones practicing it.A congressman from the president’s home state is threatening that he will urge Latino voters to stay home this November if the Democratic Party does not make a concerted effort to pass comprehensive immigration reform.

Rep. Luis Gutierrez (Ill.) is arguably President Barack Obama’s biggest Democratic critic in Congress. And he’s not fond of Obama’s top advisers at the White House, either.


The Congressional Hispanic Caucus (CHC) member has strongly criticized the administration’s policy on deportation and questioned its commitment to far-reaching reform.


Teabaggers are just embarrassed Republicans

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 15:50

Over at 538, Tom Schaller asks Perot movement expert Ron Rapoport of William & Mary to compare the tea partiers of 2010 with the Perotistas of the 1990s:

The Perot movement is inherently different. It was formed around a candidate during a presidential election campaign. This explains the support by Perot supporters for a third party which tea partiers at present lack. The major difference is that Perot movement was a total rejection of both parties, while the tea party movement is a total rejection of only one party--the Democrats.

Whereas only 5% of tea party supporters said that they usually or always voted Democratic, fully one-thrid of Perot supporters had voted for Walter Mondale in 1984 and slightly more had voted for Michael Dukakis in 1988.

In the New York Times survey, 54% of tea partiers rated the Republican Party favorably. Only 17% of Perot callers rated either party as “above average” or “outstanding” and 43% rated both parties as “below average,” or “poor” with 8% rating the Republicans as “above average” or “outstanding,” and 9% rating the Democrats as “outstanding” or “above average.” Sixty-nine percent rated the Republicans as “below average” or “poor,” with 64% saying the same about Democrats.

The level of favorability among tea partiers for George W. Bush is extraordinarily high—far more than in the population as a whole. Fifty-seven percent of tea party supporters rate Bush favorably, and only 27% rate him unfavorably (for the sample as a whole the corresponding percentages are reversed 27% favorable, 58% unfavorable. On the other hand Perot supporters rated both Geroge H. W. Bush and Bill Clinton unfavorably, Bush moreso than Clinton.

Rapoport's analysis underscores the extent to which tea partiers are really just embarrassed Republicans. Actually, putting it that way is a bit of an oversimplification. I should say: tea partiers are really just embarrassed Republicans -- unless they think that the Republican Party is too liberal for them. But there's nobody in the tea party movement who thinks that the GOP is too conservative. And there's nobody who is angry at GOPers but not Dems.

Tea party sponsors like Fox have eagerly pushed the claim that teabagging is a bipartisan thing to do, but there's no real evidence to support that myth. Instead, we've got a bunch of conservatives who think that the best response to the failure of their ideas is to rebrand conservativism as tea partyism instead of Republicanism.

They'd be better off rethinking their ideas.


Budget Without Reconciliation Instructions: Just Call It the “Joe Lieberman Empowerment Act of 2010″

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 15:30

Will Democrats Hand Him All the Power?

Chairman of the Senate Budget Committee Kent Conrad (D-ND) evidently won his battle and is hoping to begin budget markup on Wednesday or Thursday.  But there are no plans to include reconciliation instructions — which means every bill in the Senate for the next year will require 60 votes to pass.

Democrats in the House had been pushing to avoid a vote on the budget completely. I guess they assumed that if they simply ignored the country’s problems, everyone else would forget about them too:

Whether to craft a budget has been a point of controversy among congressional Democrats, many of whom will go before the voters in midterm elections this fall. Many lawmakers, particularly in the House, would prefer not to cast a vote either for the big deficits that are forecast for the coming years or for the painful policy alternatives that would be required to narrow the budget gap.

Inexplicably, Democratic leadership have no plans to include budget reconciliation instructions in the budget.  From The Hill:

Democratic leaders and the White House haven’t asked Senate Budget Committee Chairman Kent Conrad (D-N.D.) to include reconciliation instructions in his budget resolution draft, Conrad told reporters Monday.

Because the Democrats included student loan reform and health care in the budget reconciliation instruction last year, it allowed them to pass both with 50 Senate votes.  And since the budget reconciliation bill can’t be filibustered, it is a great tool that would allow Democrats to deal with a whole variety of potentially budget related issues over the course of the next year if Republican continue to their pattern of endless obstructionism.

Reconciliation could be used for many purposes, including (but are not limited to):

For example, “too big to fail” could probably be dealt with using reconciliation to create a new graduated tax on financial institutions based on size, market share, and/or leverage to make “too big to fail” unprofitable.

With Republicans claiming to have the votes they need to filibuster even debate on finance regulation, Democrats would be foolish to not leave themselves the option of using reconciliation for some form of finance regulations.  If they include none, they won’t even have the threat of reconciliation to hold over them as a tool to break up obstruction.

Reconciliation instructions could be included by the House, too.  If they don’t, it will be a powerful affirmative statement by Congressional Democrats to their base that they have zero intention of trying to deliver on any of their many policy promise unless it is something Republicans want to do. It also makes a mockery of the notion that Democrats are actually angry with Republican obstructionism and abuse of the filibuster, because when they had the chance to get rid of the 60 vote barrier on important issues they didn’t use it.

Given the many potential uses for reconciliation, progressives should all pay very close attention to exactly what instructions — if any — are included in the budget.  The earlier the effective date and broader the scope, the better.  A potential reconciliation bill remains the only hope of any meaningful changes this year.  Without reconciliation instructions, it will take the support of Ben Nelson, Joe Lieberman and at least one Republican for anything to pass the Senate for the next year.

Nice Work, If You Can Get it

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 15:10

Though their timing could be better.

As if to put the icing on the cake, the investment bank Goldman Sachs is set to shell out another $5 billion in bonuses to employees.

What's more, the bonuses are expected to cover the employees' work for just the first three months of the year, according to the UK Sunday Times.

According to the report, bankers will receive remuneration of about $170,000 per person for the firm's 32,500 employees. Some traders are set to receive millions.

Five billion in three months, in a down economy and with fraud charges looming overhead, it pays--really pays--to stick it out with the crooks, apparently. Even better than working for an insurance company, since their obscene pay mostly goes to CEOs.

Although, to be fair to the Goldman Sachs folks, some of them are really going to need that money to pay their lawyers.


Lehman Brothers in the Spotlight Today on the Hill

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 15:02

Today, starting at 11 pm, the House Financial Services Committee will begin hearings on the collapse of Lehman Brothers and its role in the financial crisis. The hearing will be broadcast live on C-SPAN 3.

Expected to testify: a who’s who of the world of financial regulation. Former chief executive of Lehman Brothers, Dick Fuld, Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, Securities and Exchange Commission Chair Mary Schapiro, and Federal Reserve Chairman Ben Bernanke are all expected to testify before the committee.

Fuld has already stated in written testimony that he was unaware of the questionable accounting practices that enabled Lehman Brothers to hide their level of indebtedness from the public.

FDL will be monitoring the hearing and will report on and/or begin liveblogging the hearing if something of note happens.

VIDEO: Tax Day Teabaggers

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 15:00
Our friends Chase and Erick were at the Tax Day Teabagger protest, camera in hand.


Obama Heckled by LGBT Rights Advocates at California Event

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 14:31

photo: Jason Pier via Flickr

So I didn’t get near the Obama fundraiser in LA last night, though I certainly put in a good effort. I seem to have gotten on the road too late and toward Exposition Park much too late to do anything about it. So I missed a very perturbed Barack Obama endure heckling from the LGBT community. I had heard that some pro-gay rights advocates would be in the audience at the fundraiser for the DNC and Sen. Barbara Boxer, but I didn’t know they’d take it as far as they did. But they were loud and unrelenting, and it clearly got to Obama. The video is here. And a partial transcript, which doesn’t really do it justice:

THE PRESIDENT: — you know, California has been a leader in promoting hybrids and cleaner burning fuels, and appropriately, you have in Barbara Boxer a subcompact senator with a seemingly inexhaustible supply of energy. (Applause.) She’s passionate about fighting for jobs, jobs with good wages, jobs with good benefits. She’s passionate about fighting for California’s families. She is –

AUDIENCE MEMBER: Repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell!”

THE PRESIDENT: We are going to do that. Hey, hold on a second, hold on a second. We are going to do that.

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT: Here we go. All right — guys, guys, all right. I agree, I agree, I agree. (Applause.) Now –

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

THE PRESIDENT: No, no, no, no, listen. What the young man was talking about was we need to — we need to repeal “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” which I agree with and which we have begun to do. (Applause.) But let me say this: When you’ve got an ally like Barbara Boxer and you’ve got an ally like me who are standing for the same thing, then you don’t know exactly why you’ve got to holler, because we already hear you, all right? (Applause.) I mean, it would have made more sense to holler that at the people who oppose it. (Applause.) [...]

AUDIENCE MEMBER: It’s time for equality for all Americans!

THE PRESIDENT: I’m sorry, do you want to come up here? (Applause.) You know, the — all right, because can I just say, once again, Barbara and I are supportive of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” so I don’t know why you’re hollering.

Now, the problems that we have here put a further strain on folks in this state, forcing painful choices about where to spend and where to save. And the challenges folks have been facing here –

AUDIENCE MEMBER: (Inaudible.)

AUDIENCE: Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can! Yes, we can!

THE PRESIDENT: Barbara — I just — everybody, I just wanted to confirm — I just wanted to confirm — I just checked with Barbara, so if anybody else is thinking about starting a chant, Barbara didn’t even vote for “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” in the first place, so you know she’s going to be in favor of repealing “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.” (Applause.)

As John Aravosis said last night, this has been an ongoing public relations disaster for this White House. The strains with the gay community started last year, and they basically haven’t stopped, despite the bone or two thrown the way of the LGBT community. The President insisted that he supports repealing DADT and has “begun to do that,” but everyone can plainly see that the Pentagon’s one-year study has blocked progress, and by 2011, the majorities needed for passage simply won’t be there. For months since the President announced at the State of the Union that he would get DADT repealed this year, the White House strategy has been non-existent. Congressmen like Barney Frank have asked for answers and received none. The President can run but he cannot hide on this issue.

GetEQUAL, the group who basically put together this protest, represents a segment of the gay community which is simply fed up with broken promises. They have basically been radicalized, and this won’t stop. I think Aravosis is right to call it “ongoing civil disobedience.”

Muslims Can't Be Foster Parents

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 14:30

At least according to this private fostering agency in Maryland:

In July, Crudup — a practicing Muslim — contacted Contemporary Family Services, a private company authorized by the state to place foster children with families. She cleared an initial screening process and completed 50 hours of training classes for prospective parents. But after a home visit, her application was denied.

The main reason: She doesn't allow pork in her house.

Eugene Volokh has the rejection letter from CFS:

Dear Mr. Moore and Ms. Crudup,

Thank you for your interest in becoming licensed treatment foster parents with Contemporary Family Services, Inc. Unfortunately, at this time, we are unable to approve your home for licensure.

We are denying your application because of concerns raised by statements made during the home study interview, specifically your explicit request to prohibit pork products within your home environment. Although we respect your personal/religious views and practices, this agency must above all ensure that the religious, cultural and personal rights of each foster child placed in our case are upheld. Your statement indicates that there could potentially be a discrepancy between your expectations and the needs and personal views of a child placed in your care.

Should you wish to appeal this denial decision, you must submit a written request for an appeal, which must be received within 45 days of this notice, to:

[Name and address omitted –EV]

Sincerely,

[Name omitted –EV]

The ACLU of Maryland is now intervening [PDF] on behalf of the couple who wants to provide a loving home to children in need.

The oddity of this conclusion – combined with the lack of evidentiary support for it in the report and the nature of some of the questions Ms. Crudup was asked during her home interview – indicate that anti-Muslim bias played a role in CFS’ decision to deny her application in explicit violation of the Baltimore City Code.

An anti-Muslim bias? Ya think? Just because this agency is more interested in protecting a child's right to eat bacon than to actually be raised in a caring family? Nah.


Civil rights legend Dorothy Height died this morning

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 13:51
An American heroine died today in DC:Dorothy I. Height, 98, a founding matriarch of the American civil rights movement whose crusade for racial justice and gender equality spanned more than six decades, died early Tuesday morning of natural causes, a spokesperson for the National Council of Negro Women said.

Ms. Height was among the coalition of African American leaders who pushed civil rights to the center of the American political stage after World War II, and she was a key figure in the struggles for school desegregation, voting rights, employment opportunities and public accommodations in the 1950s and 1960s.Height and her colleagues changed the course of history. What an amazing legacy.


Cheers and Jeers: Tuesday

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 13:47

From the GREAT STATE OF MAINE...

On the next edition of Miscami Medical...

"Comin' through! Clear a path!"
  "Whadda we got?"
"Mystery. We found him hemorrhaging, so we bailed him out with a transfusion in the ambulance. He was doing a lot better but when we started asking questions about what was goin' on inside he went into convulsions and kept trying to push us away..."
  "Strap him down and sedate him!"
"What's his name?"
  "G. Sachs."
"Well, Mr. Sachs, you're lucky to be alive. Let's get those clothes off and take a look..."

[Snip snip snip snip snip...]

"Dear G..."
  "What the f..."
"Jesus C...
  "Son of a b..."
"I'm gonna puke!"
  "Do it outside, dammit, you'll contaminate everything!"
"Oh, like that monstrosity isn’t contaminating the room already? It's probably contaminated the whole town by now! Maybe the country!"

  "Calm down, dammit! Who is this guy's primary doc?"
"I checked his file. He had a whole team of 'em. They gave him a clean bill 'o health for years even though they'd been warned he had an STD that could spread like wildfire."
  "You mean a..."
"Yes. A Securities Transmitted Disease."

"I've never seen a patient this shade of green before. The extremities, the organs, the hair..."
  "And looka this: his genitalia are basketball-sized orbs filled with the shattered dreams of the people he screwed."
"What kind of narcissistic monster do you have to be to give yourself an STD and then spread it around without any regard for the consequences? That's a special kind of dumb lyin' on that table. A real special kind of dumb. We've got to get this under control!"

  "Can you save him doctor?"
"Me? No. This is too big for me. It's too big for you. It's too big for all of us, don’t you see??!! It's gonna take...a fraudectomy."

 "Dear god, man! Are you nuts? Fraudectomies haven’t been tried for years."
"I know. But we only have one chance to get this right, dammit, or STDs like this will keep infecting the world until we're reduced to roving bands of thugs with dead eyes and empty wallets mindlessly swiping non-existent credit cards in the air and muttering, 'They said there was no downside... They said there was no downside... They said there was no downside.'"
 "I say this as a doctor and as a friend: I hope you know what you're doing, Frank."
"So do I, Dave. So do I. Now someone get me an open line. I've got a call to make to the SEC."
 "SEC?"
"Slimeball Extraction Clinic."

To be continued?

Cheers and Jeers starts in There's Moreville... [Swoosh!!] RIGHTNOW! [Gong!!]


Republicans in SEC vote against Goldman lawsuit

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 12:41
Why does the GOP hate America? Bloomberg:The U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission split 3-2 along party lines to approve an enforcement case against Goldman Sachs Group Inc., according to two people with knowledge of the vote.

SEC Chairman Mary Schapiro sided with Democrats Luis Aguilar and Elisse Walter to approve the case filed on April 16, said the people, who declined to be identified because the vote wasn’t public. Republican commissioners Kathleen Casey and Troy Paredes voted against suing, the people said yesterday.


Tuesday Morning Open Thread

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 11:56
Good morning.

The President returns from California today. Last night, at a fundraiser for Barbara Boxer, Obama was repeatedly interrupted by protesters from GetEQUAL who were demanding action on the repeal of Don't Ask, Don't Tell. The President say he didn't know why they were "hollering" since he wants to repeal that law. In fact, he promised to repeal it "this year" in the State of the Union.

Seems that Obama should really have a meeting with his top staffers about this. He should ask them what the plan is to get it done. What's the strategy? Just yesterday, the head of the leading organization working on DADT wrote to the President expressing concerns that administration officials were on Capitol Hill saying they don't want repeal this year. And, despite weeks of publicly airing concerns, Barney Frank still hasn't heard from the White House. Again, Obama committed to getting DADT repealed "this year" in the State of the Union. This wasn't just some campaign pledge that we're supposed to just forget about. This is about men and women who want to put their lives on the line to defend the rest of us. And, time is running out to get it done this year.

This week, the U.S. House is going to vote on the legislation to give DC voting representation in Congress. The trade off is that the NRA gets its legislation to weaken DC's voting laws. This will be the second legislative victory for the NRA during this session of Congress. They already won on the bill to let people carry guns in national parks, which was attached to the credit card reform bill. The NRA is a key player in the right-wing/GOP coalition. Trying to think of a progressive group that has had two big wins during the Obama presidency and while Democrats have large majorities in both the House and Senate....

Never a dull moment...


Early Morning Swim: Keith Olbermann and Markos Moulitsas Dismantle Sarah Palin’s Revisionist History

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 11:45

The Quitter’s makin’ stuff up again.

Is America a Christian nation?

Sarah Palin said on Friday that it’s “mind-boggling” to suggest otherwise.

But two groups dedicated to the separation of church and state are now speaking out against her, arguing that she is misreading the founders’ intent.

It’s incredibly hypocritical that Sarah Palin, who disapproves of government involvement in just about anything, now suddenly wants the government to help people be religious,” Barry Lynn, the executive director of Americans United for Separation of Church and State, told ABC News. “It is wildly inconsistent with her views on limited government to get the government involved in matters of faith.”

[...]

“While the founders’ views on religion varied from person to person, there is no doubt that they believed strongly that religion had no place in government,” said Paul Fidalgo, the communications manager for the Secular Coalition for America. “John Adams signed the Treaty of Tripoli which stated in no uncertain terms that ‘the Government of the United States of America is not, in any sense, founded on the Christian religion.’

Our Constitution established a secular government and has no mention of Jesus, Christianity, or a god of any kind, despite the false message spread by figures such as Sarah Palin who claim that America was founded as a Christian nation,” Fidalgo continued.

I’m guessing the Quitter thinks John Adams is just a fancy elitist northeastern beer.

UK to ban Uganda MP if anti gay legislation passes

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 10:31
He better be blocked from any travel, anywhere, if not arrested for inciting hatred. The Guardian:The British government will ban a Ugandan MP from travelling to the UK if he is successful in passing a law that would impose the death penalty in Uganda for being gay.

Civil servants in the Foreign Office, the Department for International Development and the Borders Agency are drawing up plans to block the visa of born-again Christian MP David Bahati if he does not drop legislation that would see consenting adults who have gay sex imprisoned for life and impose the death penalty on those with HIV – which will be called "aggravated homosexuality".

The bill also proposes the death penalty for those having gay sex with anyone under the age of 18, with someone disabled or what the legislation describes as "serial offenders".


More Grifter Files

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 08:30

A fool and their money are repeatedly parted per Sandra Fish at Politics Daily.

Although her SarahPAC took in $400,000 in the first quarter and had more than $900,000 in the bank, it gave only $7,500 to candidates between January and the end of March, plus an additional $2,000 to two other PACs. None went to Republicans in the races she targeted.

In other “purely unrelated” news, the Palins have added an additional floor to Chez Moose so as to get a better view of Russia and Wasilla area meth-labs.

But there were some expenses:

More than $42,000 went to travel, including more than $7,300 to de-ice private planes. Destinations for Team Palin included New Orleans, Cincinnati, Dallas, Phoenix, Nashville, Salt Lake City and Minneapolis.

So nearly as much de-icing her private jet, as donated to her surely blessed candidates.

Fair value for donors no doubt. Plus Todd’s snow-machine has really been awesomely-modified.

(pic from here — I’d suggest not reading the captions)

Late Late Night FDL: Big Dharma

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 05:00

Featuring marijuana related videos by Kevin O’Grady and Toby Keith.

Wikipedia on Dharma: According to the various Indian religions, such as Hinduism, Buddhism, Jainism, and Sikhism, beings that live in accordance with Dharma proceed more quickly toward dharma yukam, moksha or nirvana (personal liberation). [My bold added.]

What’s on your mind tonight?

Open Thread and Diary Rescue

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 04:15

This evening's Rescue Rangers are Louisiana 1976, aloha and mahola, HoosierDeb, dopper0189, ybruti, and jlms_qkw with shayera editing.

jotter with High Impact Diaries: April 18, 2010.

virgomusic has Top Comments - Visual Music Edition.

Enjoy and please promote your own favorite diaries in this open thread.


Polling and Political Wrap-Up, 4/19/10

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 03:30

The week kicks off with some above average polling news for Dems in a couple of key races (including one, of all places, from the House of Ras). Add a dash of other campaign news, and you have the Monday edition of the Wrap.

THE U.S. SENATE

IN-Sen: Endorsements Fly In Final Weeks of GOP Primary
Some of the folks that pass for luminaries in the national GOP have picked their horses in next month's Senate primary in Indiana. If you are a Paul-ite, then your man is apparently former Congressman John Hostettler, who earned the endorsement of the Texas Congressman and two-time Presidential aspirant. Meanwhile, if you are a Focus on the Family type, then James Dobson would like you to know that former Senator Dan Coats is his preference. While Dobson no longer heads the evangelical political group, he still holds some serious sway with that crowd. Not to be outdone, state Senator Marlin Stutzman got into the endorsement game as well, touting an endorsement from former American Conservatives Union president David Keene.

NY-Sen: Gillibrand Leads Declared GOPers by Nearly 2-to-1
If you are a GOP partisan, you choose the following headline the most recent incarnation of the Siena Poll: "Gillibrand Under 50% Against GOP Field." The problem for the GOP? Their guys are all below 30%, with the sole exception of George Pataki, who announced last week that he is a no-go. Former Congressman Joe DioGuardi comes the closest, but still trails Senator Kirsten Gillibrand by nineteen points (46-27). David Malpass (46-24) and Bruce Blakeman (46-26) do marginally worse. In a Pataki-less GOP primary, undecided is the big winner, as a majority of GOP voters don't have a favorite. Of those who do, however, DioGuardi has a huge lead, with 24% of the vote (both Malpass and Blakeman are stuck in single digits).

NC-Sen: Union Schism Adds to Intrigue In Tight Democratic Primary
Given the essential role that organized labor plays in Democratic politics, this kind of a story is pretty darned intriguing. Today, the Charlotte local of the Teamsters Union endorsed a different candidate than the statewide Teamsters Union, backing Elaine Marshall. The state union had endorsed Cal Cunningham. The Charlotte local seemed ill at ease about some conflicting comments from Cunningham regarding card check. The state union, meanwhile, showed no such apprehension, and made clear on Monday that they are standing with Cunningham. Cunningham and Marshall have emerged as the lead pack (along with attorney Kenneth Lewis) in next month's Democratic primary to take on vulnerable GOP incumbent Richard Burr.

THE U.S. HOUSE

FL-10: Dean of Florida Delegation Potentially Vulnerable?
A poll taken earlier this month by Anzalone-Liszt Research seems to hint that longtime GOP incumbent Bill Young might be vulnerable to a Democratic challenge this year. The poll has Young leading Democrat Charlie Justice by a 49-34 margin, but the polling memo points out that Justice does particularly well among the relatively small amount of voters who actually know him. (hat tip: DC's Political Report)

NY-24: Arcuri Holds 2010 Cards Close to Vest
This could easily wind up being much ado about nothing, but it is worth noting that, over the weekend, when pressed on the issue, two-term Democratic Rep. Michael Arcuri would not make a flat declaration that he was running for re-election later this year. Arcuri's vote against the HIR bill royally ticked off the base, and there was even a lot of talk about the Working Families Party (a key element in close NY elections, as DavidNYC noted last month) might field an alternative candidate. Arcuri finds himself in a "no man's land" of his own making, with base Democrats dismayed about a vote that earned him absolutely zero respite from GOP attacks. The GOP is running the same candidate (Richard Hanna) who came fairly close to knocking Arcuri off in 2008.

PA-12: Dem Nominee Makes Clear Conserva-Dem Bonafides In New Ad
Someday, Democrats in marginal districts will learn that "me, too" is not a winning strategy. Yet such is the clear strategy of Mark Critz, the appointed Democratic nominee in next month's special election to replace Democrat John Murtha in this swing district in southwestern Pennsylvania. In a new ad, he states that "I opposed the health care bill. And I’m pro-life, and pro-gun." Which, one presumes, is the same stance as Republican nominee Tim Burns. One can only presume the percentage of Democrats who will stay home and do laundry on May 18th just went up to some extent.

THE GUBERNATORIAL RACES

FL-Gov: Last Week's Q Poll Also Had Close Guv's Race
Last week's polling by Quinnipiac got a lot of attention, because it had Marco Rubio up on Kendrick Meek by just four points. The same poll had numbers on the gubernatorial election, and had an equally (and surprisingly) close result. The Q Poll had longtime GOP frontrunner Bill McCollum up just four points (40-36) on Democrat Alex Sink. The poll did not test GOP newcomer Rick Scott, who entered the race after the polling window closed.

MA-Gov: GOP Candidate Runs Third, According to New Poll
A new poll of the three-way gubernatorial battle in the Bay State, released over the weekend by Western New England College, becomes among the first to show newly-minted Republican nominee Charlie Baker as the third-place candidate in the race. Incumbent Democrat Deval Patrick, still the beneficiary of split opposition, leads the field with just 34% of the vote. Former Democrat-turned-Independent Tim Cahill now runs second, with 29% of the vote. Narrowly behind Cahill is Baker, who has 27% of the vote. In other Mass-Gov news, we now are assured that Baker will be the GOP nominee, after he crushed Christy Mihos in the state GOP convention, garnering 89% of the convention vote.

NY-Gov: It's Still Cuomo By A Mile, According to Siena Poll
Andrew Cuomo is still a runaway favorite to be the next Governor of New York, according to the latest edition of the Siena Poll. Cuomo's closest race against recent party switcher Steve Levy, but Cuomo still blasts him by thirty-five points (58-23). Against Rick Lazio (61-24) and Carl Paladino (64-19), Cuomo fares even better. In the pending primary election, it is still Rick Lazio up front, and by double digits. Bear in mind, though, that there is still a ton of undecided voters (Lazio leads Levy 29-15, with Paladino at 13%).

THE RAS-A-PALOOZA

The Monday edition of the Ras-a-Palooza is usually the smallest one (after all, the prolific pollster rarely posts new stuff on Saturday night or Sunday). This is no exception, although they do post somewhat of a "Stop the Presses" headline out of the Lone Star State: where Rick White is close to getting knocked off by Democrat Bill White. Meanwhile, in their only other poll released today, they hold form in Indiana, where Republicans are up big (!).

IN-Sen: Dan Coats (R) 54%, Brad Ellsworth (D) 33%
IN-Sen: John Hostettler (R) 50%, Brad Ellsworth (D) 33%
IN-Sen: Marlin Stutzman (R) 41%, Brad Ellsworth (D) 36%
TX-Gov: Gov. Rick Perry (R) 48%, Bill White (D) 44%


The "Epistemic Closing" of the Conservative Mind

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 03:00

One of the more striking features of the contemporary conservative movement is the extent to which it has been moving toward epistemic closure. Reality is defined by a multimedia array of interconnected and cross promoting conservative blogs, radio programs, magazines, and of course, Fox News. Whatever conflicts with that reality can be dismissed out of hand because it comes from the liberal media, and is therefore ipso facto not to be trusted. (How do you know they’re liberal? Well, they disagree with the conservative media!) This epistemic closure can be a source of solidarity and energy, but it also renders the conservative media ecosystem fragile.

Julian Sanchez
Frum, Cocktail Parties, and the Threat of Doubt
March 26, 2010


Late Night: This Is News?

Tue, 04/20/2010 - 03:00

(photo: seng1011)

Tonight’s topic is: Not News.

Our lives are filled to the brim; we have literally hundreds if not thousands of pieces of media throw up at us every single day. We don’t have a single moment to spare to figure out what to pay attention to. It’s mind-boggling. So, here, tonight, right on our stage, Aunt Toby is going to give you The Guide to the Un-News using today’s headlines (sort of like “The Guide to the Recently Deceased” only the bodies involved probably stink more).

Very simple:  Any story with a headline that contains the words:

Boob, boob job, or breast implants. In today’s stories, we’ve got Sharon Osborne removing hers to give to Ozzie; Kate Hudson supposedly ‘premiering’ hers; Terry Hatcher exposing hers and claiming hers are still real; Amy Winehouse having been taken to the hospital because of the pain caused by hers. And so on. This is not news.

“Caul fat”. I should not have to explain this.

“(name of dead president) combined with the phrase ‘overdue library books” (I’m not making this up).

“Iceland Volcano Eruption Disrupting (making a mess of, interrupting, your choice) European travel.” This is not news. The fact that the ships of the Royal Navy have been dispatched to go pick up stuck UK travelers? THAT’s news.

“Christina Hendricks” and “name of men’s magazine” combined with ‘unrecognizable”. Not news.

“Jennifer Lopez” combined with any phrase related to ‘acting’ or “actress”. This is not news. Kosher bacon – yes. News? No.

“CitiGroup” combined with ‘billions” and “earnings”. Not news. You can also substitute any other large financial institution or insurance conglomerate and even with the permutation of adding ‘bonuses’ to this, it’s still NOT NEWS. If the headline said, “AIG gives back every dollar of taxpayer money,” THAT’s news.

“Pope” and “asleep” – yesterday, someone got pix of Bennie and the Jets fast asleep during Mass while he was in Malta. Considering some other issues where he seems to have been asleep at the switch, this is NOT NEWS.

OK – folks – everyone ready to hit their favorite media site? What ‘Not News” item struck your eye?