May 11, 2013 at 9:37 am #87873
Good Morning. Enjoy your weekend with family and friends.May 11, 2013 at 9:38 am #87874
Good Morning, EveryoneMay 11, 2013 at 2:47 pm #87880May 11, 2013 at 2:48 pm #87881May 11, 2013 at 6:17 pm #87884
Yesterday at 5:12 PM
How Jason Richwine Passed Immigration Reform
By Jonathan Chait
The fallout from the Heritage Foundation’s immigration reform study has developed into a watershed moment for the prospects of passing a bill. The release of the study prompted a fierce backlash from proponents of reform, which compounded when Dylan Matthews reported that Jason Richwine, a co-author of the study, wrote a dissertation arguing, “No one knows whether Hispanics will ever reach IQ parity with whites, but the prediction that new Hispanic immigrants will have low-IQ children and grandchildren is difficult to argue against.”
Heritage has found itself in a public relations crisis, and announced Richwine was leaving the conservative think-tank. Right-wing blogger and anti-anti-racism activist Michelle Malkin called the treatment of Richwine a “crucifixion,” which seems perfectly appropriate. According to Heritage, the crucifixion was entirely voluntary (“he’s decided to resign from his position.”)
It seems to me that Richwine made a tragic error in his chosen field of study. Both the financial structure of the conservative think-tank world and the unique branding advantages of his last name should have pushed him into the safer field of denouncing the excessive tax burden on the well-to-do, the largest and safest sub-specialty within the conservative and libertarian think-tank and pseudo-think-tank world.
The practical fallout of the episode will play out in two ways. First, it has demonstrated that the balance of power within the party has shifted. The pro-business, libertarian wing of the GOP has held the whip hand for many years now. But its control always relied on setting the party’s agenda subtly, directing its political capital into anti-tax, anti-regulatory policies, and paying as little attention to social issues as possible.
Republican elites were hesitant to rile up social conservatives directly and explicitly. When the base revolted against immigration reform in 2007, the GOP elites had no responses but to cover their face and try to absorb the beating. In this instance, though, elites have actually struck back and inflicted real harm on the social conservatives. There will be a fight, but both sides now understand that it will have two sides, not merely endless placating of nativists.
Second, Richwine’s quote is exactly the sort of political nightmare Republicans hope to put behind them by passing some kind of reform. The party’s dilemma is that immigration represents a nagging, unresolved issue in American politics. Every time it is discussed, conservative Republicans remind Latinos why they hate Republicans. The shrewder Republicans grasp that passing immigration reform is not a sufficient condition for winning a respectable share of the Latino vote, but it is a necessary condition.
If the Gang of Eight bill fails, Richwine’s comments will continue to linger and recirculate in the Latino-American media until immigration reform finally passes. Republicans will never be able to convince Latinos they killed the bill for any reason other than racial animus. The need to put this behind them is growing desperate.May 11, 2013 at 7:09 pm #87885
Review: ‘Peeples’ a refreshing and warm romantic comedy
Writer-director Tina Gordon Chism makes a winning debut with a smart cast that includes Craig Robinson, Kerry Washington and Melvin Van Peebles.
By Mark Olsen, Los Angeles Times
May 9, 2013, 4:11 p.m.
Tyler Perry is credited as a producer on “Peeples,” but don’t let that scare you away. Written and directed by Tina Gordon Chism, “Peeples” is witty, charming and light, standing apart from the heavy-handed moralizing of so many of Perry’s own movies.
Its upbeat freshness is also distinctive from the bitter flavor of so many recent Hollywood rom-coms.
Chism finds new twists in a fairly standard premise: as Grace Peeples (Kerry Washington) is reluctant to introduce her boyfriend to her father. Her beau, Wade (Craig Robinson), is a children’s singer whose most popular song, “Speak It (Don’t Leak It),” encourages kids to use the bathroom. Her father (David Alan Grier) isn’t just judgmental, he actually is a federal judge.
The bulk of the story is set amid the upscale enclave of the Peeples family’s summer home, creating something of the casual bourgeois feel of a Nancy Meyers movie. S. Epatha Merkerson as Grace’s mother and Tyler James Williams as her teenage brother provide capable comedic support.
A sub-story involving Grace’s sister (Kali Hawk) and her reluctance to come out to the family is handled in a way that feels pleasantly nonjudgmental on all sides.
When Melvin Van Peebles walks on as Grandpa Peeples it is funny in many ways, as a pun on his own name, as a tweak of Perry-esque literalism, as well as a tip of the hat to an African American independent filmmaker of an earlier generation. Van Peebles brings the perfect amount of grumpy gravitas as he dresses down Grier’s character in just a few lines.
Diahann Carroll as the family’s grandmother matriarch is an equally smart piece of casting.
Washington, long a reliable presence too often asked to do a lot with too little material, has been on a tremendous recent career upswing thanks to TV’s “Scandal” and “Django Unchained.” She handles the female lead here with her typical grace and ease. Robinson, best known for his role on “The Office,” makes for a convincing Everyman.
And a frisky scene involving an old schoolgirl uniform, knee socks and a ruler encapsulates both the exuberant playfulness of the movie as well as Washington and Robinson’s strong, natural chemistry.May 11, 2013 at 7:11 pm #87886
Scandal’ has become must-tweet TV
Critic’s notebook: The ABC drama ‘Scandal’ has become a social-media phenomenon and a test case for TV networks trying to navigate new media.
By Mary McNamara, Los Angeles Times Television Critic
May 11, 2013, 6:00 a.m.
ABC’s “Scandal” revolves around a beautiful, law-breaking Washington power-fixer with killer instincts and a matching wardrobe. She’s madly in love with the very flawed president of the United States, who, among other things, recently murdered a Supreme Court justice. And they’re the good guys.
This is the show that Twitter built.
Premiering midseason last year to tepid reviews (including mine) and low ratings, “Scandal,” ABC’s drama about crisis manager Olivia Pope (Kerry Washington) and her love affair with President Fitzgerald “Fitz” Grant (Tony Goldwyn), now approaches its second season finale as a bona fide hit — the show’s many and vocal fans call themselves “gladiators” because that is what Olivia calls her team. Some of this success springs from our eternal fascination with the dark side of D.C. and the simple delight many feel about a fast-paced drama starring a strong black female character.
But the essential ingredient is Shonda Rhimes. The creator of three successful shows, Rhimes has a sorcerer’s ability to combine suspense with sentiment, soap with cynicism.
More important, the woman can work social media.
She regularly sends her close to 350,000 followers mash-notes of fan appreciation (“Gladiators: Scandal would not have the opportunity to be on magazine covers without all of you watching. Thank you for making it happen!”), personal professional insight (“Here comes my favorite Olivia Pope line I have ever written ever. #youwantmeearnme”), and perhaps more important, a feeling of direct “I’m Watching With You” connection — “West Coast Gladiators: GET OFF TWITTER NOW! #spoilers #752.”
Many of the “Scandal” cast have followed Rhimes’ prolific example; it is not uncommon for one or several to tweet photos of them on set, tweeting.
The audience has responded in kind. Gladiators reject the DVR experience to watch “Scandal” in real time, creating an enormous digital version of college friends arranging their schedules around a beloved daytime drama. For its returning episode in March, “Scandal” drew 119,000 tweets, beating longtime Twitter favorite “American Idol” by almost 80,000. This season’s penultimate episode drew almost 9 million viewers and a series high in the coveted 18-49 demographic; needless to say, Twitter went wild.
The show is a new-media phenomenon, a flag bearer for Direct Courtship TV. Without Twitter to boost its profile and then its ratings, “Scandal” probably would have been canceled. Instead, it’s held up as an example of social media prowess by networks and branding experts of every stripe, and its success further stokes the belief that somehow Twitter can save us all.May 11, 2013 at 7:17 pm #87887
Rand Paul Says Hilary Clinton Should Never Hold High Office Again
It is no wonder, since Hilary Clinton trounces any of the top three Republican 2016 contenders -including Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) – that Rand Paul (and other Republicans) will do anything in their power to pre-empt any Clinton run in 2016.
Such fear has never before existed in Republican ranks. It is a fear difficult for thinking people to fully grasp; it is the stuff of pants-wetting nightmares. The prospect of two terms by our first black president followed by a term or two by our first woman president – all Democrats – is the stuff of apoplexy. I mean, think heads exploding. Not a cranky old white male in there anywhere.
Twelve to sixteen years of blacks and women? My God! It’s Sodom and Gomorrah inside the Beltway! There won’t be an America an angry white man could recognize. God won’t even have to waste a tantrum.
Unfortunately for Rand Paul in particular and the GOP as a whole, which has all along been its own worst enemy, that’s the future many are seeing.
So Rand Paul, who is a member of the Senate Foreign Relations and Homeland Security committees, took to the pages of the ever-GOP-friendly Washington Times yesterday to pen an op-ed piece extolling his own virtues and to condemn Clinton’s imagined malfeasance, writing,
When I took Hillary Rodham Clinton to task in January for the mishandling of security in Benghazi, Libya, I told her that if I had been president at the time, I would have relieved her of her post. Some politicians and pundits took offense at my line of questioning.
Yes, you’re such a hero Rand. Our loins tingle at the sight of you. The world trembles in awe at your approach.
The GOP problem – and this is Rand Paul’s problem too – is that the GOP cannot see what the problem is: that as long as they act like they have been acting, they are not going to win the presidency back. Period.May 11, 2013 at 7:34 pm #87888
Budget request denied, Sebelius turns to health executives to finance Obamacare
By Sarah Kliff, Published: May 10, 2013 at 4:12 pmE-mail reporter
Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius has gone, hat in hand, to health industry officials, asking them to make large financial donations to help with the effort to implement President Obama’s landmark health-care law, two people familiar with the outreach said.
Her unusual fundraising push comes after Congress repeatedly rejected the Obama administration’s requests for additional funds to set up the Affordable Care Act, leaving HHS to implement the president’s signature legislative accomplishment on what officials have described as a shoestring budget.
Over the past three months, Sebelius has made multiple phone calls to health industry executives, community organizations and church groups and asked that they contribute whatever they can to nonprofit groups that are working to enroll uninsured Americans and increase awareness of the law, according to an HHS official and an industry person familiar with the secretary’s activities. Both spoke on the condition of anonymity to talk openly about private discussions.
An HHS spokesperson said Sebelius was within the bounds of her authority in asking for help.
But Republicans charged that Sebelius’s outreach was improper because it pressured private companies and other groups to support the Affordable Care Act. The latest controversy has emerged as the law faces a string of challenges from GOP lawmakers in Washington and skepticism from many state officials across the country.
“To solicit funds from health-care executives to help pay for the implementation of the President’s $2.6 trillion health spending law is absurd,” Sen. Orrin G. Hatch (R-Utah) said in a statement. “I will be seeking more information from the Administration about these actions to help better understand whether there are conflicts of interest and if it violated federal law.”
Federal regulations do not allow department officials to fundraise in their professional capacity. They do, however, allow Cabinet members to solicit donations as private citizens “if you do not solicit funds from a subordinate or from someone who has or seeks business with the Department, and you do not use your official title,” according to Justice Department regulations.May 11, 2013 at 7:36 pm #87889
May 09, 2013 9:30 AM
Small Donors May Make Politics Even Worse
By Ezra Klein
Can small money overwhelm big money? Faced with a hostile Supreme Court and a gridlocked Congress offering little chance of passing legislation, today’s campaign-finance reformers sure hope so.
The notion is alluring. Online fundraising has made it easy to collect large sums in small increments from thousands, hundreds of thousands or even millions of people. Soon, proponents hope, politicians won’t have to go to lobbyists and corporate bundlers; the Internet will simply disrupt campaign finance as it has upended so much else.
Freed from corporate money, which always wants something in return, politicians could instead rely on citizen money, which merely wants good government. And if by some happy political accident campaign-finance legislation eventually becomes possible, it need only reinforce the democratizing tendencies of the Internet, perhaps by creating a federal matching system for small donors.
So goes the theory, anyway. Add some transparency rules to identify the anonymous (and seemingly unlimited) flood of cash from independent groups facilitated by the Supreme Court’s Citizens United decision and its sister rulings from lower courts, and all of a sudden you’ve got a pretty good campaign-finance system.
This week, U.S. Senator Chris Murphy, a freshman Democrat from Connecticut, spoke at a Yale University conference on money, power and inequality. He described the pathetic spectacle of elected representatives spending hours each day in warrens at their political party’s headquarters, acting more like telemarketers than statesmen. “If it looks bad from the outside it feels even worse from the inside,” he said.
He argued that American politics now selects people willing to devote themselves to that soul-crushing task for hours each day. “Comfortable asking total strangers for money” is not, I think, a character trait most Americans admire. Now it’s a prerequisite for running for office — and thus it distorts who actually ends up holding office.
But Murphy was also a realist about the prospects of small donors fixing what ails the system.
“We have to admit that everybody who is giving is giving for a reason,” Murphy said. “Some of them are your friends and family and they care about you. But most of the time they care about an issue, whether they’re a corporation or an individual. We draw these arbitrary lines, but corporations want things from the government, and so do individuals.”
That’s the secret of small money. We tend to assume “small donors” hail from that mythical, much-beloved class of people known as “ordinary Americans.” They’re not. Even if tens of millions of Americans are donating, hundreds of millions of other Americans aren’t. The tiny minority that donates is different from the vast majority that doesn’t: They’re much, much more ideologically polarized.
What individual donors tend to want, Murphy said, is partisanship. “When I send out a fundraising e-mail talking about how bad Republicans are, I raise three times as much as when I send out an e-mail talking about how good I am. People are motivated to give based on their fear of the other side rather than on their belief in their side.”
According to OpenSecrets.org, the three top fundraisers in the House of Representatives in the 2012 election were Speaker John Boehner — makes sense, the guy runs the place — followed by former Representative Allen West and Representative Michele Bachmann.
Oy.May 11, 2013 at 7:42 pm #87890
May 09, 2013 11:20 AM
Clive Crook Doesn’t Understand Paul Krugman or Liberals Generally
By Ryan Cooper
There has been something of a flame war going between Clive Crook and Paul Krugman of late over fiscal stimulus, economics, and the tone of Krugman’s writing. It’s a bit silly, but it raises some interesting points I’d like to extract. Let me replay some of the history, for reasons that will become clear.
After the first round, Crook took exception to Krugman’s intemperate tone, and made the quite specific claim that Krugman was using the 2009 stimulus for partisan ends:
Along with small-government extremists on the Republican side, Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms. For many Democrats, the top priority in the fiscal-policy discussion was not, in fact, to make the stimulus bigger but to reverse the Bush high-income tax cuts and to make sure that the composition of the stimulus, whatever its size, as far as possible favored higher spending over lower taxes.
Brad DeLong pointed out that this is, in fact, not the case, citing chapter and verse. He finds no Krugman posts in 2009 arguing that the high-income Bush tax cuts should be reversed. Where is your evidence? asks DeLong.
Today, Crook is back, and his response is a textbook example of moving the goalposts. He conveniently forgets the stimulus debate, around which all his previous claims were centered, and digs up a Krugman column from December 2010, almost two years later. It’s about the budget debate at the time, and Krugman argues that since Republicans were holding the Bush tax cuts for the middle class hostage for the ones for the rich, Democrats should refuse to negotiate. Indeed, this is a pretty partisan column which downplays the effect of tax-side austerity. But it is essentially a point about negotiation strategy—faced with an extremist and absolutist Republican party, Krugman argues, the Democrats would do well to demonstrate their willingness to play hardball.
In any case, this is small bore stuff. What is unquestionably clear is that Crook’s earlier claim that “Krugman and his admirers were at the forefront in casting discussion of the stimulus in left vs. right terms” is completely bogus, and he clearly knows it.May 11, 2013 at 8:13 pm #87891
May 10, 2013 5:44 PM
Meanwhile, Down in Georgia….
By Ed Kilgore
The latest twist in the early-developing and ever-fascinating 2014 Georgia Senate race is that U.S. Rep. Tom Price has taken himself out of the running.
Price had been the smart-money favorite to challenge the dominant personality in the race, his House colleague Paul Broun. That’s partly because Price represents a primary-vote-heavy North Metro Atlanta district, and partly because his voting record and general positioning are much like Broun’s, without so much Crazy.
But Price’s withdrawal creates a heaven-sent opportunity for another well-known potential GOP candidate, who is now rumored to be in the wings: former Secretary of State Karen Handel. Not only does Handel share Price’s metro Atlanta base, but her brief tour of ideological martyrdom as vice president of the Komen Foundation (which ended in 2012 when she was forced from the job after massive protests against the split with Planned Parenthood she engineered) has removed the blemish that probably cost her the 2010 Georgia gubernatorial nomination, the suspicion that she was not 100% antichoice (she opposed an effort to radically limit IV fertilization clinics in the state).
A Handel/Broun runoff, which looks like a decent bet at this stage, would be wild and wooly sho nuff.
But thanks to developments on the Democratic side, Handel’s likely entry sets up another interesting possibility as well.
Earlier this week U.S. Representative John Barrow announced he would not be running for the Senate in 2014, reportedly because he could not be guaranteed a cleared field for the Democratic nomination. That means the field probably would be cleared for another much-mentioned potential candidate, Michelle Nunn, a nationally renowned civic entrepreneur with a might handy last name (her father is former Sen. Sam Nunn, still a Georgia political legend).
I should disclose that during and after my work for Sam Nunn, I got to know Michelle, for whom I have a very high regard. She’s very smart, very savvy, and has a lot of charm and depth. But aside from what she represents in a Georgia Democratic Party desperate for new blood, you have to think ahead to a possible Nunn-Handel general election, in a state that has been very slow to elect women to Congress (none are currently in the 16-man Congressional Delegation, which returned to its traditional all-male composition when Cynthia McKinney lost a primary in 2006).May 11, 2013 at 8:15 pm #87892
May 10, 2013 01:58 PM
Who’s Getting Rich off Student Loans? College Endowments
by Daniel LuzerMay 11, 2013 at 8:26 pm #87893May 11, 2013 at 8:53 pm #87894
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