Oklahoma Republican Sen. Tom Coburn will seek to offset federal aid to victims of a massive tornado that blasted through Oklahoma City suburbs on Monday with cuts elsewhere in the budget.> more ... (0 comments)
But taking all of the criteria into account, as things stand now, there is only one candidate who otherwise fits the bill of the ideal [Supreme Court] nominee:
Kamala Harris (47), Attorney General of California [...]
I do not know a ton about Harris personally, but everyone knowledgeable with whom I’ve spoken has been very impressed. Having won statewide elected office in California, it is unlikely that she has significant skeletons in her closet. In 2015, she will be fifty years old. She is regarded as a liberal and death penalty opponent, but her background is almost entirely in law enforcement, and she has written and spoken in great detail about criminal justice policy. She opposed referenda that would legalize medical marijuana and driver’s licenses for illegal immigrants; she prosecuted parents of truant children. Like the President, she is biracial. She has also long been well known to the Administration, having been the first California elected official to endorse Barack Obama’s candidacy. (Her brother-in-law is Assistant Attorney General Tony West.)
He says that the timing would likely be pretty poor, that an opening would most likely occur during Harris’s campaign for re-election as AG or while positioning herself for a run for Governor. So who knows. But she’s definitely an impressive figure that I think would be confirmable. She’s light on judicial experience, but she’s qualified for the job and I like to see some diversity in background on the Court. Citizens United was the product of groupthink to a some degree, I think. Harris’s role in the recent mortgage settlement has definitely attracted quite a bit of attention, and it’ll be great for the state, we could seriously use the money (homeowners in particular will really be helped out by it, and they need it). She’d have a great roll-out, perhaps even better than Sotomayor’s since Harris is more accustomed to operating in the media limelight. Lot of positives there. And I don’t really think the death penalty has much juice in it left as a polarizing issue–her failed GOP opponent in 2010 went at that angle so ferociously, one could have worried he was going to load up a Baretta with hollowpoints and go up to SF to prove a point. But I could be wrong about that–where was birth control a month ago?
I’d definitely like to see another Californian on the Court. If freaking Arizona got two Justices for twentysomething years, why can’t we get two for a few years until Tony Kennedy infuriates both sides for the final time? Goldstein also mentions another Californian, Ninth Circuit nominee Jacqueline Nguyen, as a possibility. She is getting bumped up after being appointed to her district judge post by…Barack Obama. Pretty cool if he could push her all the way to the top, no?
A lavish New York penthouse with panoramic views of Central Park has become the most expensive apartment ever sold in the city. Russian fertiliser magnate Dmitry Rybolovlev – said to be the world’s 93rd richest man – spent $88m (£56m) buying the Central Park West pad. It is thought to be for his 22-year-old daughter, Ekaterina Rybolovleva. The 6,744 sq ft (627 sq m) apartment was sold by American Sandford Weill, a former head of banking giant Citigroup. The penthouse stands atop 15 Central Park West, a landmark building designed by architect Robert Stern.I’d definitely recommend clicking through–the floor plan is ridiculous, and this is what the interior looks like: I don’t know what 22 year old is going to want alone to live in something that enormous and isolated and imposing. At that age I was renting a room on the Central Coast that was about the size of a mid-range sedan, so I guess I can’t entirely get into that mindset, but still. This is more like Citizen Kane stuff, like where Charles Foster Kane lived before Xanadu. There are plenty of expensive lofts that a billionaire could give to his kid, but I guess none would quite “make the statement” that this one does, and get the guy a lot of ink for being so rich.
Wil Wheaton’s post is a good argument that most people are alright, and that it’s the moneygrubbing entertainment execs and a small number of people that are bad, at least when it comes to Chris Brown:
On Sunday, I was personally offended that Chris Brown performed at the Grammys. Violence against anyone is never okay, but the quiet acceptance of violence against women we see all over the world is especially reprehensible to me. Allowing someone who beat his girlfriend so severely she was hospitalized to perform on a national stage — and then framing it as some sort of comeback — didn’t sit well with me. Celebrities — especially pop music celebrities — are role models, even when it’s inconvenient for them, and what they do and how they treat people matters. So I posted a link on Twitter to the police report, just to remind people who they were celebrating.
I’d say about 98% of the repsponses I got were from people who thanked me for speaking up, but the remaining 2% were pretty awful: vulgar, barely-literate, blaming the victim, blinded by celebrity, convinced that it’s something I should just get over and forget about, and — incomprehensibly — self-identified as devout Christians.
While I didn’t take their anger and heartfelt wishes that someone “beat my ass” personally (it genuinely made me sad for them and their families), it has brought into sharp focus something I didn’t even realize I’ve been taking for granted: I’m really lucky that the overwhelming majority of people I interact with — many of whom I will never meet in person — are kind and awesome to me.
I’m honestly shocked by this saga, and I’m actually sort of bitter that America remained interested enough in this guy so that he didn’t just go away. He’s basically been soaking in self-pity ever since beating up his girlfriend, has clearly learned nothing, and now gets to wax triumphant. It really makes me sick to watch, and I’m more philosophical about the public’s sad interest in notoriety than most.
I readily admit that I’m a judger. I don’t like it because it makes it much more difficult to get along with people, to form relationships, and ultimately to live life. Having to negotiate all these preconceptions all the time is frankly exhausting. I feel as though I’ve gotten a bit better at this over the years, but the conservative evangelical upbringing I had has left some strong traces on how I view other people that will be there until I die. Knowing this is helpful because I can try to compensate, but it operates below an intellectual level and it’s sort of instinctual. I always have to remind myself that I don’t know nearly as much as I think I do, and that a lot of the impressions I have are inevitably skewed. I think there’s real wisdom in the “judge not” idea, and as a Christian I do what I can to follow it. At the very least, I’m able to reverse judgments easily.
But while I don’t know exactly what’s in Chris Brown’s heart, I really have no reservation in saying that he is a monster according to everything we know about him, and basically if you like the guy to the extent that you think what he did was no big deal, then you’re a monster too. Nobody is beyond redemption, but if human virtue is distributed along a straight bell curve, which I do basically believe, there always have to be a few people on the extreme left side of that. I don’t profess to know everything inside this man’s soul, but I don’t know everything that was in Hitler’s soul either, or Jefferson Davis’s, or O.J. Simpson’s either. Some people just can’t hide what they are, and I do believe Brown is one such. After a certain point, it’s almost crazy not to just accept the overwhelming reality of the thing, I think. And I really don’t want to hear about how his art somehow makes up for his failings as a person any more than I wanted to hear it about Roman Polanski. The question is whether someone doing awful things drags down their art–it doesn’t–but the reverse formulation is ludicrous. And the argument itself doesn’t work here: at least Polanski managed to make a couple of really distinctive and successful films, instead of cookie-cutter autotuned pop that you could hear from a hundred other comparable people (and better from them too).
The Fix suggests Newt Gingrich may be the most unpopular person in American politics right now. A CNN/Opinion Research poll finds 63% of all Americans viewed Gingrich unfavorably, compared to just 25% who saw him in a positive light. And a new CBS News/New York Times poll shows a similar split: 54% view Gingrich unfavorably, compared to 16% who say they feel positively predisposed towards him.It’s certainly a singular distinction during a period of high unpopularity of politicians in general. But Gingrich has been just an exceptionally trying figure this cycle, and it’s good to know that it’s not going unnoticed. Call me a starry-eyed idealist, but I believe that, if he tries really hard, Mitt Romney can beat Newt on this too.
I really never thought I’d see the day when the Republican Fake Outrage Machine would try to score political points by slamming Democrats for tweets they find offensive to gay people. I mean, aren’t they the ones who are always bitching about playing the race card and the gender card? Remember all the fooferaw over Sarah Palin saying that criticism of her was sexist?
Read it and weep at the irony:
Republicans are calling for an apology from President Barack Obama’s campaign manager over a tweet they argue is offensive to the gay community.
On Wednesday, Jim Messina sought to call attention to an article by Washington Post columnist Dana Milbank, in which Milbank argued that Republicans will alienate gay voters by opposing gay marriage and giving the cold shoulder to a gay judge Obama had nominated.
“Line of the day from WAPO’s Dana Milbank: ‘The appletini? It may be the only thing Republicans have left to offer gay people,’” Messina tweeted.
Republicans are jumping on the tweet in order to garner much needed support from the gay community in preparation for the 2012 elections. As The Hill reports, Eric Schwanzheim, executive director of the conservative Gay Leadership Network issued a statement in response to Messina’s tweet:
The fact that the campaign manager of President Obama’s reelection campaign thinks it’s appropriate to disseminate insulting jokes about the gay community is a perfect example of the kind of empty rhetoric that characterizes this White House’s so-called outreach to gay Americans. We demand that Mr. Messina immediately apologize and we ask that President Obama disavow his campaign manager’s ridiculous statement.
Messina has drawn attacks from other Republican leaders as well, who did not appreciate his quoting of Milbank’s column. The Republican National Committee’s political director, Rick Wiley, also took the opportunity to berate Messina, calling the tweet “ridiculous.”
Messina responded to the attacks Wednesday afternoon. “Tweeting someone else’s words caused a stir, but the GOP is on the wrong side of every gay voter priority,” he tweeted. His tweet included a link to an Obama strategy memo titled, “Republicans Seal Their Fate with Gay Voters in 2012.”
The appletini remark made by Milbank and quoted by Messina actually had its origins in a speech by Sen. John McCain (R-Ariz.), however. During a Senate hearing Tuesday, Republicans attempted to block the confirmation of Jonathan Smithberg, who would be the first gay judge to serve on the 11th Circuit Court of Appeals. Led by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who delayed the confirmation, Republican senators who had the opportunity to override Paul’s filibuster chose not to. Instead, McCain, took to the Senate floor to highlight important details about the state of Arizona.
“The cranberry juice in your cosmo this month almost certainly came from Arizona,” McCain said, according to Milbank. “It’s also believed that the appletini has its origin in Arizona.”
The GOP has had a strained relationship with the gay community over the years and is seeking to show gay voters that it does care about them, despite opposition by Republicans on key issues such as gay marriage.
Ok, so of course I’m just kidding. That quote is from a real article but I just replaced references to “Latino” with “gay”. For extra fun, imagine using the word “African-American”.
Isn’t it amazing how Republicans only seem to care about minority issues when they’re trying to drive political wedges and not when it comes to, oh I don’t know, trying to actually solve minority issues in our country?
Alyssa Rosenberg takes on every liberal’s favorite fictional president:
Besides trashing Social Security, the Bartlet Administration had few bold ideas. What was the Bartlet plan to ensure universal access to health care? Or the Bartlet plan to combat global warming? What did President Bartlet do to close the education gap between poor and rich children? Or to ensure that every child who does succeed in high school will be able to pay for college? If anything, his education policy was as much a betrayal as his Social Security debacle. Although the first term Bartlet White House had ambitious plans for education reform, the second term Bartlet wound up supporting school vouchers.
After nearly an entire term in the White House, Bartlet’s economic record was so dismal that it is a miracle he was reelected. Consider his attempt to literally defend this record before God (who he also calls a “feckless thug”): “3.8 million new jobs, that wasn’t good? Bailed out Mexico. Increased foreign trade. 30 million new acres of land for conservation. Put Mendoza on the bench. We’re not fighting a war.”
3.8 million jobs sure sounds like a lot, but at the time Bartlet made this speech, it added up to just over 90,000 jobs during each month of his presidency — far less than the country needs just to keep up with population growth. This kind of stagnant growth could be excused if President Bartlet, like President Obama, presided over our emergence from an historic recession, but the Bartlet Administration experienced no similar economic calamity.
Bartlet does deserve credit for appointing Justice Mendoza, but the Mendoza appointment is overshadowed by his egregious decision to appoint Justice Christopher Mulready. Mulready’s appointment came about as part of a compromise to ensure that Senate Republicans would also confirm a chief justice whose very personal experience with Roe v. Wade would otherwise make her unconfirmable. While there is certainly symbolic value to having a chief justice who once had an abortion, such symbolism will come as cold comfort to the millions of American families impacted every time Mulready joins his fellow conservative jurists engaged in a systematic campaign to rewrite the law to leave workers and consumers powerless against the wealthy and the well-connected.
There are some things here that need to be addressed. For one thing, the show did have President Bartlet implement cap-and-trade way back in the second season, which apparently was completely successful, cost hardly anything, and ended the conversation on the subject for all time. This is admittedly ludicrous, I support cap-and-trade but it would obviously involve some costs to implement. But, regardless, the subject was at least addressed. Bartlet’s Administration also worked to make all college expenses tax-deductible in the fourth season. The Mulready appointment was, I think, a poor decision by the fictitious president (or, more accurately, his staff), but it was made clear in the episode that the Court was mostly composed of moderates in the West Wing universe, so that the maneuver was mostly intended to keep the balance on the Court. Universal healthcare was never really broached because Republicans in control of Congress would never have approved, though the early-2000s satisficing equivalent, the Patient’s Bill Of Rights, was pursued and enacted. So far as I can tell, though, her complaint about the jobs arithmetic is entirely valid.
I think there are essentially two things that need to be addressed here. The first is that many of the things that Alyssa finds most objectionable occurred after Aaron Sorkin had been dismissed from running the show, and was replaced by John Wells, who altered the tone of the show to something much closer to his prior show, the paramedic melodrama Third Watch, and had much less of an interest in tackling issues. The drop in quality is evident practically from the first Sorkin-less episode (seriously, watch it and tell me it’s not, from the stupid dialogue to the irrational character dynamics to a resolution that can only be described in Latin terms), and Wells increased the amount of disaster episodes and ramped up more conventional methods of suspense than what Sorkin and Schlamme typically went for. He even changed the soundrack, a television musical sabotage even worse than what occurred on Star Trek: The Next Generation. To be sure, the show hardly abandoned its subject matter, but many of the most perplexing and cynical decisions made by Bartlet’s White House occurred during the first two seasons after Sorkin’s departure (like screwing over unions, going easy on the oil companies, and appointing a reactionary Mississippian as Attorney General, the latter of which is at least redeemed by Dylan Baker’s presence). I have heard that John Wells is a Republican, so it would make some sense that he’d insert his own politics into the show in much the same way that Sorkin did, and this would explain the schizophrenia neatly. In any event, there’s only so much continuity between the two eras of West Wing, and the show only became good again once the show minimized the actual West Wing material and becoming about something else altogether (i.e. the election).
The other main point is that, while the show aired almost entirely in the 2000s, nearly all the subject-matter experts who worked on the show cut their teeth during the Clinton White House in the 1990s. The show clearly envisioned Bartlet as a Ted Kennedy figure with fewer discipline problems and more of a common touch, but the people who worked on the show managed to implant their own point of view onto the fictitious White House. Bartlet never pushes universal healthcare because Clinton vets like Dee Dee Myers were scarred by the experience in real life and figured the issue was dead. The show explored issues like tobacco regulation that were dicey in the 1990s but were passe even by 2000, and in general The West Wing stayed inside a circa 1995 equilibrium well into the 2000s. The most accurate criticism of Bartlet as a character would be that he had a Ted Kennedy-like political philosophy, compassion and boldness, but a Bill Clinton-like reliance on incrementalism. This was a tension the show tried to justify by having him face an opposition Congress in his first term, despite the fact that the past three new presidents all dealt with Congresses of their own party after being elected. In a lot of ways, Sorkin left the show at the right time, as his unfortunate forays into terror-related plots simply didn’t mesh with the universe he had already set up, and the battles of the 1990s had begun to seem quaint rather than vital. I realize this probably wouldn’t have gone over well (or maybe it might have!), but I am convinced that the West Wing universe ought to have gone through 9/11 along with the real one. This would at least have provided a handy way of disposing of the “Bartlet has MS” plot than the anticlimactic fizzle the show eventually resorted to, could have provided an sturdy concept for the show’s often-aimless third season (remember Bartlet going into therapy?), and it would have made the show’s ongoing importance much more direct.
WASHINGTON—Claiming something “just seemed off” with the combination of candidates currently seeking the Republican Party’s nomination for president, voters asked Tuesday if they could see once more what the GOP field would look like with Jon Huntsman and Rick Perry back in the race. “Could you just show me Huntsman next to Santorum again, and maybe Perry in there, too, trailing just a bit behind Romney? Not too close, though,” said Cleveland-based voter Alan Sanders, squinting as he contemplated the grouping of presidential hopefuls. “No, that’s still not quite right. What if we try Pawlenty, Paul, Bachmann, and Gingrich—in that order. Ugh, never mind, that just looks weird. Maybe take Romney out and put Herman Cain back in? That might work.” At press time, the nation’s Republican voters were asking to see Sarah Palin in there, too, just for fun
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