Monday, September 24, 2012

Headlines - Monday September 24

I am starting to enjoy this election far more than I ever thought possible. I don't want to get complacent, but boy this thing is unfolding about as well as I could have ever imagined. Watching various Republicans take pains to distance themselves from their standard bearer -- from George Allen to Tommy Thompson to Linda McMahon to Scott Brown -- is a real pleasure. Watching campaign co-chair Tim Pawlenty leave the campaign for a lobbying job just 45 days before the election is mind boggling. And we have a guy on our side who knows how to close -- who sees the bleeding brow of his opponent and can snap a quick jab right on target.

I do wish I had a completely comfortable sense of the polls -- if Nate Silver is perplexed, it goes without saying that so am I. But I get the sense that the Gallup and Rasmussen surveys really are going to be shown to be deeply flawed in this cycle and that their methodological weaknesses will have understated the likely Democratic vote in the election.

The bad thing is that even if the election goes well and Obama pulls off a victory of the same magnitude in 2008, the Dems keep the Senate -- and it includes stalwarts like Elizabeth Warren and Tammy Baldwin -- and make gains in the House, I think there is zero chance of any moderation among conservatives. The bad results are all going to be laid at the feet of Mitt Romney, who will achieve a special pariah status within his party that will be somewhere beyond that achieved by the likes of Michael Dukakis or George W. Bush. As a result, I think Republicans will continue to double down on extreme right wing ideology for at least several more election cycles -- especially if they get rewarded again in the off years in 2014.

I think the polling should be a little clearer by the end of next week. And then I think the debate on October 3rd will be the last event of consequence in the campaign. If that leaves the situation unmoved, everything else will be anticlimax, including the purported advertising blitz that the right is supposed to unleash in Rocktober -- I think it will be too much too late.
Ted Koppel: Fox News 'Bad for America' 
Germany's Catholic bishops have declared that they will no longer perform sacraments or burial services for those that opt-out of paying church taxes. Germans who officially declare themselves members of major denominations pay an additional 8% of their annual tax bill which is then granted to their church. The Vatican has approved the new decree.
Alarmed by a wave of dissenting Catholics quitting the faith, the bishops issued a decree on Thursday declaring such defection "a serious lapse" and listed a wide range of church activities from which they must be excluded. The annual total of church leavers, usually around 120,000, rocketed to 181,193 two years ago as revelations about decades of sexual abuse of children by priests shamed the hierarchy and prompted an apology from German-born Pope Benedict. "This decree makes clear that one cannot partly leave the Church," a statement from the bishops conference said. "It is not possible to separate the spiritual community of the Church from the institutional Church." Church taxes brought in about 5 billion euros ($6.5 billion) for the Roman Catholic Church and 4.3 billion euros for the Protestant churches in 2010, according to official statistics."

In addition to being denied the sacraments, those that refuse to pay church tax can no longer be named as godparents and must request special permission to be married in the Catholic Church.

If Romney is trying to have a "I have a big penis" moment in order to win over the many Republicans who don't like him or trust him (like the NASCAR voters who now prefer Obama), he's failing to see how dangerous the war talk really is. By promoting another expensive war it only shows how ill prepared he is to lead. Romney's pro-war talk is not productive for any reason.
President Barack Obama hit back hard in a "60 Minutes" interview broadcast Sunday at Mitt Romney's criticisms of his handling of Syria and Iran, saying that if the Republican standard-bearer "is suggesting that we should start another war, he should say so."

Obama also brushed aside talk that Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has been pressuring him to take a harder line on Iran's suspicious nuclear program — source of some of Romney's sharpest campaign-trail criticisms.

"When it comes to our national security decisions-- any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out any noise that's out there," the president said.
Romney on 60 Minutes last night:
(PELLEY) Now you made, on your investments, personally, about $20 million last year. And you paid 14% in federal taxes. That's the capital gains rate. Is that fair to the guy who makes $50,000 and paid a higher rate than you did?

(ROMNEY) It is a low rate. And one of the reasons why the capital gains tax rate is lower is because capital has already been taxed once at the corporate level, as high as 35%.

( PELLEY) So you think it is fair.

(ROMNEY) Yeah, I-- I think it's the right way to encourage economic growth-- to get people to invest, to start businesses, to put people to work.

Mitt said this last night on 60 minutes:
Well, we do provide care for people who don't have insurance," he said in an interview with Scott Pelley of CBS's "60 Minutes" that aired Sunday night. "If someone has a heart attack, they don't sit in their apartment and die. We pick them up in an ambulance, and take them to the hospital, and give them care. And different states have different ways of providing for that care."

There's nothing new here. Other than demanding an immediate repeal of Obamacare, this is the sum total of the current Republican position on health care. Mitt showed that he's in touch with the poors by saying "apartment" instead of "house", but otherwise it's been the same line since Bush's first term.

We had an election four years ago where the winning candidate promised healthcare reform, he and his party delivered something far from perfect but a hell of a lot better than what we have now, and this is the Republican response. Strip away the flat-out lies like death panels, the false outrage at the massive loss of freedom caused by the mandate and the right-to-life hyperventilation about contraception, and this is what's left. Go to a fucking emergency room if you're dying.

Also, too: Romney has less money than Obama and he's not going to be raising a lot more from the maxed-out rich people who fund his campaign.


I'm sure this is going to give Dan Senor and the idiots at the Weekly Standard an aneurysm, but tell me how this is the wrong position for the President of the United States to take:

Obama, interviewed for Sunday's edition of "60 Minutes" on broadcaster CBS, said he understands and agrees with Netanyahu's insistence that Iran not be allowed to obtain nuclear weapons as this would threaten both countries, the world in general, and kick off an arms race.

But Obama added: "When it comes to our national security decisions—any pressure that I feel is simply to do what's right for the American people. And I am going to block out—any noise that's out there."

What a crazy position for an American President to take- to actually focus on American security concerns and American foreign policy goals. It's almost like Obama understands we are not an Israeli client state.

Call me an anti-Semite, but I guess I just have no problem with my President looking out for US foreign policy goals. Crazy, that.


Last week Chick-fil-A announced that they would no longer donate money to groups fighting marriage equality. (I wrote about it here.)

Welp, turns out there's a huge loophole in their new policy.

Rather than directly donate money to bigoted assholes itself, Chick-fil-A is asking supporters to bypass Chick-fil-A and send money to bigoted assholes in support of Chick-fil-A. If it sounds confusing, it's not really.

See, Chick-fil-A is organizing a 200 mile bicycle race, 2012 WinShape Ride for the Family. The minimum fee for entering the race is a cool 3500 bucks. Chick-fil-A is asking entrants to send checks not to its own foundation, the WinShape Foundation, but to the Marriage and Family Foundation at 5200 Buffington Road in Atlanta, Georgia. And in case you're wondering whether or not the Atlanta address for the Marriage and Family Foundation is the same address as the one listed Chick-fil-A headquarters, it totally is.

[read-full post at ABLC]


Science works bitches!  -J-

Photo: (M) Let's be honest...


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