Romney ignores reality, reads his version off teleprompters

Mr. Romney, who often stumbles when reading from prepared remarks, delivered his 25-minute speech with the help of two teleprompters.

On a day when the Dow and the Standard & Poor’s 500 ended their best first quarter in more than a decade, Mr. Romney crystallized his basic critique against Mr. Obama, should the economy continue to improve.

“President Obama did not cause the recession but he most certainly failed to lead the recovery,” Mr. Romney said. “All in all, President Obama prolonged the recession and slowed the recovery. President Obama’s economic strategy is a bust.”

He added, “This is a president who was not elected on the strength of a compelling record of accomplishment but by a compelling personality and story”

He’s probably going to get re-elected on his accomplishments.   No matter how much Romney tries to ignore them, he’s not going to be able to reverse them.  There’s really no way to bring Bin Laden back alive to scare us into electing a Wall Street guy to run Main Street.

Without abject fear and terror, there’s really no way to distract people from the actual Republican platform.

NYT: Romney Bypasses G.O.P. Rivals
http://mobile.nytimes.com/2012/03/31/us/politics/romney-bypasses-gop-rivals-in-speech.xml

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Solid Republican Rant on Global Warming that still misses the point

These are the Dog Days of March. Ham Weather reports 5,299 records in the last 7 days — some towns 20 to 35 degrees warmer than average; off-the-scale, freakishly warm. 17,360 records since March 1. Sixteen times more warm records than cold records since March 1. The scope, intensity and duration of this early heat wave are historic and unprecedented. And yes, climate change is probably a contributing factor. “Climate is what you expect, weather is what you get.” 129,404 weather records in one year, nationwide? You can’t point to any one weather extreme and say “that’s climate change”. But a warmer, wetter atmosphere loads the dice, increasing the potential for historic spikes in temperature and more frequent and bizarre weather extremes. You can’t prove that any one of Barry Bond’s 762 home runs was sparked by (alleged) steroid use. But it did increase his “base state”, raising the overall odds of hitting a home run. A warmer atmosphere holds more water vapor, more fuel for floods, while increased evaporation pushes other regions into drought.

Love the Bonds/steroids analogy.   However, later in the rant he calls for a political solution…of a third party that has the Democrat’s platform but a different name.  I’ve noticed this a lot about disaffected Republicans realizing their party is insane…they usually claims the Dems are too…and then outline a solution that mirrors the Dem solution (quick example…taking a balanced approach to dealing with the deficit….Dems agreed to cut some spending and raise some taxes, Republicans demanded the spending be cut and taxes be cut further).

All in all though he’s right about one thing…the reality of climate change is too obvious to ignore now, and the only ones who deny it now are paid very well for that opinion.

A Message From a Republican Meteorologist on Climate Change – The Huffington Post
http://www.huffingtonpost.com/mobileweb/paul-douglas/republican-climate-change_b_1374900.html

Actually, Mr. Russian President, “Red Dawn” came out in the early 80’s

“I always get very cautious when I see a country resort to phrasings such as ‘No. 1 enemy.’ It is very reminiscent of Hollywood in a certain period of history,” Medvedev said, through a translator, at the nuclear security summit in Seoul, South Korea. […]

“My other advice is to check their clocks from time to time,” Medvedev said Tuesday. “It is 2012, not the mid-1970s. No matter what party a candidate represents, he has to take the current state of affairs into account.”

But Red Dawn was set in Michigan, so maybe that’s where Romney completed his education on the current state of geo-political affairs.  He spent so much time ‘job creatin’ over the next 20 years at Bain he missed what happened next.

Medvedev: GOP Should ‘Check Their Clocks From Time To Time,’ It’s ‘Not The Mid-1970s’ | ThinkProgress
http://thinkprogress.org/security/2012/03/27/452725/medvedev-gop-clocks/?mobile=wp

Ricky Froth should listen to his Pope

The pope lamented the great inequalities in health care around the globe. While people in many parts of the world aren’t able to receive essential medications or even the most basic care, in industrialized countries there is a risk of “pharmacological, medical and surgical consumerism” that leads to “a cult of the body,” the pope said.

“The care of man, his transcendent dignity and his inalienable rights” are issues that should concern Christians, the pope said.

Because an individual’s health is a “precious asset” to society as well as to himself, governments and other agencies should seek to protect it by “dedicating the equipment, resources and energy so that the greatest number of people can have access.”

We don’t believe this in the U.S. because back when God wrote the Constitution he felt that one of our inalienable rights (for some of us) included being slaves.  When the rest of the industrialized world was working out how to cover everyone post WWII, the U.S. was having a big debate about whether or not the sons and daughters of former slaves actually had civil rights (like God said everyone did 180 years previous).

Now we have folks claiming it is ‘religious freedom’ to deny health coverage…and the same source of info is actually saying everyone should be covered.

How weird is that?

Pope Calls Health Care An ‘Inalienable Right,’ Urges World Governments To Provide Universal Coverage | ThinkProgress
http://thinkprogress.org/politics/2010/11/19/131348/pope-universal-healthcare/?mobile=nc

Fourth Place Candidate who has yet to win a single state, plans to use shadowy backroom deals to stay relevant

“Our people are in the right places. They’re doing the things to become delegates,” [Ron] Paul said on CNN’s “Piers Morgan Tonight,” adding that it was too soon in the process to “write anybody off.”

While the Texas congressman has yet to win a contest in the GOP primary, he has so far picked up 71 delegates, according to CNN’s latest estimate. The number puts Paul in a distant fourth place in the delegate count, as front-runner Mitt Romney has 569, Rick Santorum comes in second with 262 and Newt Gingrich has 136 delegates.

I’m pretty sure the right thing to do was to get people to vote for you…not try to work the system behind the scenes. 
—-
Paul: Don’t Count Me Out | FOX8.com – Cleveland news & weather from WJW Television FOX 8
http://fox8.com/2012/03/27/paul-dont-count-me-out/

After all, it ain’t “by, for, and of the corporations”

The Federal Trade Commission is calling for legislation that would give citizens access to the information that commercial data brokers store about them.

The proposal is an unusually tough one from an agency that prefers to coax companies into adopting voluntary principles. A month ago, Obama administration officials outlined a proposed “Consumer Privacy Bill of Rights” and urged technology companies, consumer groups and others to jointly craft new protections.

In a privacy report released this week, the FTC is urging the adopting of a law that would let consumers access and dispute personal data held by information brokers.

The report comes as the business of background checks is booming. An investigation by The Associated Press last year found that data brokers often store incorrect or outdated information, including criminal records.

It looks like I’m not the only one who thinks it’s absurd a citizen has to pay to find out how the corporations rank them, and why.  As I’ve said before, we have full access to this info and should get a cut any time our information is sold, either personally or in bulk.

FTC seeks laws to reveal what data brokers hold
http://www.sfgate.com/cgi-bin/article.cgi?f=/n/a/2012/03/27/national/a065001D14.DTL

The Silly Season of Political Paranoia (and a dose of something else)

It seems as if a certain political sentiment has fully metastasized into the form it will take for the next 7 months.  It goes something like this…as Krugman notes on point..

And it’s not just gas prices, of course. In fact, the conspiracy theories are proliferating so fast it’s hard to keep up. Thus, large numbers of Republicans — and we’re talking about important political figures, not random supporters — firmly believe that global warming is a gigantic hoax perpetrated by a global conspiracy involving thousands of scientists, not one of whom has broken the code of omertà. Meanwhile, others are attributing the recent improvement in economic news to a dastardly plot to withhold stimulus funds, releasing them just before the 2012 election. And let’s not even get into health reform.

Why is this happening? At least part of the answer must lie in the way right-wing media create an alternate reality. For example, did you hear about how the cost of Obamacare just doubled? It didn’t, but millions of Fox-viewers and Rush-listeners believe that it did. Naturally, people who constantly hear about the evil that liberals do are ready and willing to believe that everything bad is the result of a dastardly liberal plot. And these are the people who vote in Republican primaries.

But what about the broader electorate?

Now before you think any of this (or the many, many other examples) are hyperbolic statements about what is passing for “policy discussion” among the dedicated Republican primary voters…here’s an update on what they think is going on…

Seriously…that’s an official Santorum ad.  Wild stuff….BTW…DID YOU NOTICE HOW CRAZY THIS IS?

About :40 seconds in…with the Iranian Boogeyman on the screen…they cut in a shot of the President of the United Stated.

Headshot of Obama interspersed into video of Iranian President

That’s how craaaazy these folks are.  Don’t believe me yet?  Here’s another one, of a thousand, of other examples.

And one that more directly affects real people…

On Monday, the Republican dominated Tennessee Senate passed an anti-evolution bill by a vote of 24-8. The bill, known as HB 368, is sponsored by Republican Senator Bo Watson and “provides guidelines for teachers answering students’ questions about evolution, global warming and other scientific subjects,” according to Knox News,  ”The measure also guarantees that teachers will not be subject to discipline for engaging students in discussion of questions they raise, though Watson said the idea is to provide guidelines so that teachers will bring the discussion back to the subjects authorized for teaching in the curriculum approved by the state Board of Education.” The bill basically encourages teachers to present scientific weaknesses of “controversial” topics.

[full story]

It’s come to the point of people just flat out not believing what is happening….which while not completely abnormal in political season…has gotten so bad that basic math has become partisan politics.

Thus making rational cost benefit analysis of said policies (while factually true) completely irrelevant.

Beginning in January 2011, the payroll tax withheld from employee paychecks was temporarily reduced to 4.2 percentage points from 6.2 percentage points. The cut was scheduled to expire at the end of 2011, but Congress has continued it through the end of 2012.

My calculationslast year, based on the proposed cut of 3.1 percentage points, suggested that the payroll tax cut “could raise employment by at least a million, albeit the duration of job creation is related to how long the tax cut lasts.”

On a seasonally adjusted basis, payroll employment was 130.2 million at the end of 2010, just before the payroll tax cuts took effect. As of last month, payroll employment was up 2 percent, or 2.5 million, to 132.7 million.

[full story]

And dealing with a growing and more well understood problem that much more difficult…

One of the main changes is the inclusion of more data from the Arctic region, which has experienced one of the greatest levels of warming.

The amendments do not change the long-term trend, but the data now lists 2010, rather than 1998, as the warmest year on record.

The update is reported in the published in the Journal of Geophysical Research.

[full story]

And leading to some absolutely tragic decision making abilities…

It seems that this old lady believed many of the deliberate lies which were being put forward by the Fox News anchor, lies directed at President Obama and at his health care policy. She appears to have thought that if she had accepted medical care, following her fall, her medical information and her money would have been sent to Islamic extremists. This is of course completely false, but a reasonable deduction from the lies told by Fox News.

[full story]

Which happens while the system keeps chuggin’ along…

National income gained overall in 2010, but all of the gains were among the top 10 percent. Even within those 15.6 million households, the gains were extraordinarily concentrated among the super-rich, the top one percent of the top one percent.

[full story]

And paying the low inegrity-bright smile types to say whatever it takes to keep it coming…

In February, Common Cause wrote to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, asking for an explanation about an apparently unreported $1,350 gift from the American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) in 2009. Cantor’s office immediately responded, claiming our inquiry was without foundation, but last week his office quietly amended his financial disclosures to include the gift from ALEC.

At that time, I wrote about Cantor’s failure to disclose:

‘ALEC, the so-called “free market, small government” lobby group underwritten by some of the nation’s largest corporations, reported in its tax filings for 2008 and 2009, making “cash grants” to the recipients of several annual awards. Common Cause has identified 22 legislators who received ALEC awards in those two years, including Rep. Cantor, who ALEC records indicate received $1,350 in 2009 as part of their Thomas Jefferson Freedom Award.’

Cantor responded within hours, saying no cash changed hands, but that he received a bust of Thomas Jefferson from ALEC, pictured above. But, under House Ethics Rules this type of award can only be received by a Member of Congress if it is disclosed, which Cantor did not do. This appears to be a clear ethics violation, and we have asked the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate. Prompted by Common Cause, Cantor has now very quietly amended his 2009 Financial Disclosure Report to include the ALEC gift. He also amended his 2010 report to include another bust given to him by the Associated Builders and Contractors trade group. We had no idea about this second award, but now we do.

[full story]

Even as another does the math, and realizes that we simply cannot go on like this…

However, Dodd–Frank does not eradi- cate TBTF. Indeed, it is our view at the Dallas Fed that it may actually perpetuate an already dangerous trend of increasing banking industry concentration. More than half of banking industry assets are on the books of just five institutions. The top 10 banks now account for 61 percent of commercial banking assets, substantially more than the 26 percent of only 20 years ago; their combined assets equate to half of our nation’s GDP. Further, as Rosenblum argues in his essay, there are signs that Dodd– Frank’s complexity and opaqueness may evenbe working against the economic recovery. In addition to remaining a lingering threat to financial stability, these megabanks signifi- cantly hamper the Federal Reserve’s ability to properly conduct monetary policy.

They were a primary culprit in magnifying the financial crisis, and their presence continues to play an impor- tant role in prolonging our economic malaise.There are good reasons why this recovery has remained frustratingly slow compared with periods following previous recessions, and I believe it has very little to do with the Federal Reserve. Since the onset of the Great Recession, we have undertaken a number of initiatives— some orthodox, some not—to revive and kick-start the economy. As I like to say, we’ve filled the tank with plenty of cheap, high-octane gasoline. But as any mechanic can tell you, it takes more than just gas to propel a car.

It is imperative that we end TBTF. In my view, downsizing the behemoths over time into institutions that can be prudently managed and regulated across borders is the appropriate policy response. Only thencantheprocessof “creativedestruction”— which America has perfected and practiced with such effectiveness that it led our country to unprecedented economic achievement— work its wonders in the financial sector, just as it does elsewhere in our economy. Only then will we have a financial system fit and proper for serving as the lubricant for an economy as dynamic as that of the United States.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/dallas-fed-calls-for-breakup-of-big-banks-2012-3#ixzz1qF2hXi7T

And so the desktop is clear…to watch the world for another couple weeks.

Both Sides are the Same : Trayvon Martin Edition

As a consistent watcher of the political process and the chaos that surrounds it in the world’s most powerful country, I’m often faced with a particular type of disaffected participant in the process.  There are a good number of folks who will consistently consider themselves above the process, noting that both sides and bad…and largely the same.

The thing about this latest tragedy is that it is, in fact, just the latest tragedy.  It’s not the first, probably won’t be the last, but was in a very sad sense…just the next.

There’s an easy way to feel the outrage from this moment, if in reading the details you don’t get the gist of why it’s such a big deal.  The most popular current movie in the theatres, The Hunger Games, includes a scene that has striking similarities.  In that movie, the overall cultural specifics are quite different in the large sense, but in the most basic sense the feelings are the same…a young child dies, killed by someone motivated by fear, parts of the crowd cheer…and the sick, twisted injustice of it all sparks a riot.

In the real world there hasn’t been a riot, not this latest time.  Sure, there have been in the past, as the rage explodes.  That didn’t work as well to change things as the more peaceful means, voting and demonstrating, dreaming and sharing, understanding and demanding to be understood.  Integrating and adapting while holding firm to the notion of self that makes Americans American.  We’ve made such great progress is so many areas, yet here we stand once again…wondering…why did this happen…what can we do so thing never happens again.

And so our leaders speak…

And those that wish to replace them…

Gingrich shot back at the comments, saying they needlessly involved race in a politically divisive manner.

“What the president said, in a sense, is disgraceful,” Gingrich toldconservative talker Sean Hannity. “It’s not a question of who that young man  looked like. Any young American of any ethnic background should be safe,  period. We should all be horrified no matter what the ethnic  background.”

Gingrich added that the president should have emphasized in his remarks that the shooting in Florida united all Americans.

“Is the president suggesting that if it had been a white who had been  shot, that would be OK because it didn’t look like him? That’s just  nonsense dividing this country up,” Gingrich said.

[full story]

And another…

The admitted shooter, George Zimmerman, 28, has claimed self-defense and invoked Florida’s’ “Stand Your Ground” law. The law gives people wide latitude to use deadly force instead of retreating during a fight, and explains why Zimmerman has not been arrested.

Said Santorum: “Stand your ground is not doing what this man did.”

But when asked if the Justice Department should investigate, Santorum said that should be left to local and state authorities.

[full story]

And the legit one…

After a rally in Shreveport, Louisiana on Friday, Romney called the murder a “terrible tragedy” that was “unnecessary, uncalled for, and inexplicable at this point.”

He added that it was “entirely appropriate” for the district attorney to be looking into the matter, and to have called a grand jury investigation in the pursuit of justice.

“Our hearts go out to his family, his loved ones, his friends,” Romney said. “This shouldn’t have happened.” He declined to comment on whether or not he felt the Justice Department should get involved.

Earlier in the day, the Romney campaign released a statement on the matter:  “What happened to Trayvon Martin is a tragedy,” Romney said in the statement. “There needs to be a thorough investigation that reassures the public that justice is carried out with impartiality and integrity.” Romney ignored a question on the Martin story three days ago.

[full story]

Romney will eventually settle on a position, after he figures out what everyone wants it to be.  Then he’ll always have had that view.

And of course, the douchebags needed to weigh in to…for surely an article of clothing was to blame (which actually *concealed* the boy’s race, making it an obvious non-factor).

BRIAN KILMEADE KILMEADE (co-host): Let’s talk about the Trayvon Martin case and what’s going on in Florida right now.

GERALDO RIVERA: I believe that George Zimmerman, the overzealous neighborhood watch captain should be investigated to the fullest extent of the law and if he is criminally liable, he should be prosecuted. But I am urging the parents of black and Latino youngsters particularly to not let their children go out wearing hoodies. I think the hoodie is as much responsible for Trayvon Martin’s death as George Zimmerman was.

JULIET HUDDY (guest-host): What do you mean?

RIVERA: When you, when you see a kid walking — Juliet — when you see a kid walking down the street, particularly a dark skinned kid like my son Cruz, who I constantly yelled at when he was going out wearing a damn hoodie or those pants around his ankles. Take that hood off, people look at you and they — what do they think? What’s the instant identification, what’s the instant association?

Here are a “million” instant associations…

« Prev        Next »

A Million Hoodies March Protests Death Of Trayvon Martin

And of course the old stand-by…the ad hominem…

Conservative commentator Glenn Beck has sparked public outrage after his website, TheBlaze.com, ran a story about the Trayvon Martin case, suggesting that the slain teen was a dangerous criminal.

In the controversial editorial posted on TheBlaze.com, Mytheos Holt criticizes Rev. Al Sharpton for rallying with thousands of supporters who are seeking justice for the Martin family, insisting that the 17-year-old may have had a criminal record.

“This is pure B.S I want to see the kids police record even if something is expunged,” Holt wrote in an article on The Blaze website.

And so it goes…

Why Republicans can’t do Math

Vinod Menon, a co-author and professor of child psychiatry, neurology and neuroscience at Stanford said, “Children who said they had math anxiety had greater responses in the areas of the brain implicated in processing negative emotions like fear, particularly the amygdala. We also saw reduced activity in areas normally associated with mathematical problem solving.”

Children with high math anxiety were accompanied by decreased activity in several brain regions associated with working memory and numerical reasoning. Analysis of brain connections showed that, in children with high math anxiety, the increased activity in the fear center influenced a reduced function in numerical information-processing regions of the brain.

Previous research has already found that those with a more conservative mindset tend to have over active fear centers in their brain.  This tendency to use raw emotion rather than higher cognition to process information makes doing what many  to be simple math very difficult.  

This explains why conservatives don’t get climate science as well ad the obvious repercussions of tax.policy.

Kids with Math Anxiety Show Different Brain Functions | Z6Mag
http://z6mag.com/health/kids-with-math-anxiety-show-different-brain-functions-166853.html