Monthly Archives: May 2012

40 Years Ago Today

This was one of the iconic photos of the Vietnam War.

Learn about what happened to Kim Phuc (the girl in the photo burning from napalm) here.

Spoiler Alert:

Republicans In NC Legislature Solve Global Warming Problem

North Carolina Republicans have come up with a novel strategy to combat a future threatened by a rise in sea levels, which scientists agree will continue to accelerate thanks to global warming: Pass a law pretending it won't happen:

The bill has not yet been introduced, but the language in the version being circulated would make the Division of Coastal Management the only state agency allowed to produce sea-level rise rates, and only at the request of the Coastal Resources Commission, and then only under the following conditions:

These rates shall only be determined using historical data, and these data shall be limited to the time period following the year 1900. Rates of sea-level rise may be extrapolated linearly to estimate future rates of rise but shall not include scenarios of accelerated rates of sea-level rise.

In other words, instead of taking into account global warming to predict higher seas, as expected by most scientists, the bill would have the state rely only on the historical record.

Brilliant.

Where Have You Gone, JPS?

Even though he retired from the bench, former Supreme Court Justice John Paul Stevens, 92, is still giving it good.  He's an outspoken critic of Citizens United, saying yesterday:

"If the First Amendment does not protect the right of a graduate of Harvard Law School to spend his own money to support the candidate of his choice simply because his Canadian citizenship deprives him of the right to participate in our elections, the fact that corporations may be owned or controlled by Canadians — indeed, in my judgment, the fact that corporations have no right to vote — should give Congress the power to exclude them from direct participation in the electoral process" 

The speech Stevens gave yesterday is a good read (PDF)

Two Republican-Appointed Judges Strike Down DOMA

BREAKING…. A three judge panel of The United States Court of Appeals for the First Circuit just handed down a decision declaring the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional. Notably, the panel included Judges Juan Torruella and Michael Boudin, both of whom are Republican appointees. Judge Boudin, who authored the opinion, is one of the most highly regarded judges in the country; he frequently sends his former law clerks to clerk for Supreme Court justices. 

Section 3 of DOMA, 1 U.S.C. § 7, defines "marriage" for purposes of federal law:

In determining the meaning of any Act of Congress, or of any ruling, regulation, or interpretation of the various administrative bureaus and agencies of the United States, the word "marriage" means only a legal union between one man and one woman as husband and wife, and the word "spouse" refers only to a person of the opposite sex who is a husband or a wife.

DOMA does not formally invalidate same-sex marriages instates that permit them, but its adverse consequences for such achoice are considerable.  Notably, it prevents same-sex marriedcouples from filing joint federal tax returns, which can lessen tax burdens, see 26 U.S.C. § 1(a)-(c), and prevents the survivingspouse of a same-sex marriage from collecting Social Security survivor benefits, e.g., 42 U.S.C. § 402(f), (i).  

It was this section that was struck down.  Here’s the money quote:

For 150 years, this desire to maintain tradition would alone have been justification enough for almost any statute. This judicial deference has a distinguished lineage, including suchfigures as Justice Holmes, the second Justice Harlan, and Judges Learned Hand and Henry Friendly. But Supreme Court decisions in the last fifty years call for closer scrutiny of government action touching upon minority group interests and of federal action in areas of traditional state concern.

To conclude, many Americans believe that marriage is the union of a man and a woman, and most Americans live in states where that is the law today. One virtue of federalism is that it permits this diversity of governance based on local choice, but this applies as well to the states that have chosen to legalize same-sex marriage. Under current Supreme Court authority, Congress’ denial of federal benefits to same-sex couples lawfully married in Massachusetts has not been adequately supported by any permissible federal interest

 

These judges are basically saying, "'Tradition' no longer serves as a leagl argument to discriminate against minorities."

Um, okay.  Did it ever?

Can Fox Get Any More Blatant?

This isn't a political ad produced by Romney or one of the pro-Romney pacs.

This 4 minute film was produced and shown on Fox News.  In fact, it starts off with a graphic that reads, “Fox & Friends Presents.”

 

“The ad presented on ‘Fox & Friends’ was virtually indistinguishable from the sort of campaign videos regularly produced by Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney’s campaign, the Republican National Committee or Fox News analyst Karl Rove’s American Crossroads,” Media Matters stated. “Those videos at least provide a disclaimer noting their affiliation with a campaign or other sort of political committee.”

A blogger on the conservative Web site Hot Air wrote of the video on Wednesday afternoon, “It makes a pretty powerful argument against another four years of Barack Obama, but that shouldn’t be the job of news-reporting organizations, even when we like the message.”

David Zurawik, a television critic for The Baltimore Sun, wrote, “Even I am shocked by how blatantly Fox is throwing off any pretense of being a journalistic entity with videos like this.”

Indeed.  Fox has started pulling the video from its websites. More at Media Matters.

 

Quote Of The Day

I love Tbogg:

For those who haven’t been following it (and why should you?) a group of B & C-list bloggers (a “bother of bloggers“) got together to wage bloggy jihad on Kimberlin and, in the process, have elevated him in the spookhouse of their minds into Professor Moriarty/Emmanuel Goldstein/ the ‘beast’ in Lord of the Flies/Lord Voldemort/the 12th Cylon or maybe just the dirty socialist who lives under their beds and is going to shove universal healthcare down their throats while they sleep. In short, he is an evil genius who  lives in an underwater lair and torments his victims with … restraining orders.

The real point, and there is one, of this ordeal is the linking together an assortment of disparate events and blaming them on Kimberlin based upon flimsy conjecture and then, by employing  strenuous 6-degrees-of-Kevin-Bacon-like association, extending that blame for everything bad that happens (the garbage disposal quit working?… curse you, Brett Kimberlin! empty milk carton in the fridge?… KIMBERLIN!) on the left.

Hell, Yes

 

The Romney-Trump Bromance

I'm not sure this is the best use of Obama ad dollars…

 

…but I think the question is relevant.  Why is Romney hanging with the Donald?  The answer, of course, is money, but surely even the Romney campaign must understand that whatever financial benefits Trump gives them is counterweighed by the "ugh" factor that comes from the moderates and independents, who see Trump as nothing more than a self-aggrandizing spotlight-hungry political moron.

Seriously, he was still talking birther crap last week.

Weekend Protest of Pastor Worley

CNN reports that between 1,500 and 2,000 showed up to protest the comments made by Pastor Worley two weeks ago from the pulpit of the Providence Road Baptist in Maiden, North Carolina.  By the way, the CNN article has my favorite quote of the day:

Some church members, who declined to give their names, said his words had been taken out of context. "He said he would feed them!" some church members told CNN, referring to the Worley's idea for rounding up gays.

Oh, well then.  I guess it's okay…. if you feed them.

WCNC has more.

How Brett Kimberlin Won “Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day” By Doing Nothing

Who is Brett Kimberlin, and why should you care?

Well, last Friday, several rightwing blogs tried to get people to care about who Brett Kimberlin is, with a lot of scare stories.  I won't try to summarize it all here.  You can google and come back.  But before you do, be forewarned: you will read a LOT of speculation, a LOT of spin, a LOT of innuendo.  You will read very few verifiable facts.

Which leads me to the obvious question… if Brett Kimberlin is such a bad guy and such a serious threat, then why must the rightosphere rely so heavily on speculation and innuendo?

Now, to be sure, Brett Kimberlin has a past.  32 years ago, as a teenager, he set off a bomb at the Indianapolis Speedway.  Nobody was killed.  Brett served time.  

But now it's today. And I can't say with any certainty whether or not he is living a stellar life since then.  All I know is…. neither can anybody else.  

He apparently is involved with this organization, one of thousands of small "lefty" organizations trying to make the world a better place.  Nothing illegal or untoward about it.

And that's the problem.  There's very little BAD to say about Kimberlin, except for the hype.  Let's look at the bill of particulars as summarized by PJ Media, this morning: 

  • Brett Kimberlin is the convicted “Speedway Bomber” who terrorized Indiana in 1978. One of those injured by Kimberlin’s bombs later committed suicide.

  • He served 17 years of a 50 year sentence, passing the time becoming a jailhouse lawyer.

  • Upon release, Kimberlin started the non-profit Justice Through Music. It’s been funded by George Soros’ Tides Foundation since 2005.

  • Kimberlin’s other organization, Velvet Revolution, supports the Occupy movement.

  • He has filed over 100 lawsuits against individuals, left and right, who’ve written about him, or simply annoyed him; he “once sued a pornographer for selling him pornography that was not provocative enough.”

  • He attempts to get opponents fired and has, in one instance, succeeded.

  • Kimberlin or an associate allegedly filed a hoax police report that sent the SWAT team to the home of Los Angeles County Assistant District Attorney Patrick Frey (a.k.a. blogger “Patterico”).

  • Literally while I was typing this list, Erick Erickson of RedState was also being SWAT-ed — the victim of another spoofed “911″ call.

  • Most recently, his threats forced reporter R.S. McCain to relocate his family.

  • Let's unpack that.  The first two bullet points are true, but are related to past wrongs.  The second two bullet points have nothing to do with any kind of illegality, but are merely Kimberlin's politics (interesting that those even make the list — partisan much??).  The fifth bullet point is simply wrong — he didn't attempt to get Worthing fired; it happened as a result of Worthing deciding to mix it up with Kimberlin.  Worthing "blames" Kimberlin, but that's because Worthing simply lacks the honesty to blame himself for the consequences of his own actions (more on that below).

    The latter three bullet points finally deal with actual wrongdoing by Kimberlin in the present tense, but it's all speculation that Kimberlin is behind the wrongdoing (and there is some speculation as to whether the last thing actually happened at all.)

    And that's the kind of expose we got on Friday regarding Kimberlin.  A lot of… "well, he's bad, but the only thing we can nail him on concretely is how bad he was thirty-two years ago"

    Still, the rightwing blogosphere has a hard-on for getting Kimberlin.  He has been accused of using the court system to "harass bloggers".  Of course, what gets lost in the accusations, is that those bloggers actually are harassing him, and Kimberlin has been using the court system to try to get them to stop.  There is certainly nothing illegal about using the court system to get greivances addressed.  And while the First Amendment is (and should be) an obstacle to Kimberlin, Kimberlin actually has had some success in getting peace orders against his harassers.  So obviously, there are impartial judges who seem to side with Kimberlin.  Hard to call it "vexatious litigation" when you win.

    As noted above, most of the harshest attacks on Kimberlin on "Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin Day" had nothing to do with Kimberlin at all.  Some in the rightosphere claimed to be victims of "swatting" — a terrible tactic whereby the police receive a 911 call from someone who claims "I shot my wife" and gives an address.  The police send an armed team out to the address, and then, who knows what?  Of course, the original call is a hoax, and the hope is that the "victim" will end up getting killed by overzealous police.

    And it seems that somebody is doing that the rightwing bloggers.  That's condemnable, no doubt about it.

    Unfortunately, none of victims of "swatting" accuse Kimberlin of actually doing it, but assert that it is someone else — a Kimberlin "associate".  How do we know it is a "Kimberlin associate"?  We don't.  The blogs are guessing.

    So again — what's the current beef against Kimberlin exactly that isn't speculation?  

    The only blog that tries to nail Kimberlin with actual wrongdoing is "Allergic to Bull" by Aaron Worthing (nee Aaron Walker), with whom I have had many an online skuffle with.

    Obfuscating what happened behind a mind-numbing 22,000 word post (which he shamelessly promotes so heavily that it is hard not to see what Aaron's motives are), Aaron provides actual video of a courthouse altercation in which Aaron acts as the aggressor against Kimberlin.  You can see it here in the video — from 0:58 to about 1:10, there are (among others) two men in suits, and with each frame, one of them is moving toward the other; the other one is backing up; until at 1:10 when an iPad is grabbed from the retreating man-in-suit.

     

    The aggressive lawyer who grabs the iPad is Aaron Walker.  The retreating guy is Brett Kimberlin.  Basically, what you have here is video evidence that Walker assaulted Kimberlin (the grabbing of the iPad is, technically, an assault).

    It's why there were criminal charges against Walker, which lead to his being fired from his job.  For which… wait for it… he blames Kimberlin.  He assualts Kimberlin, his job finds out, fires him for getting mixed up with Kimberlin….. and he blames Kimberlin.  [I remember the days when conservatives were all about personal responsibility.  Good times, huh?]

    But that is the kind of thing you would have learned had you really paid attention to "Everybody Blog About Brett Kimberlin" Day in the rightwing blogosphere.  It was basically an attempt to "get" Kimberlin.  A lynching, if you will.   They CLAIM it is a pushback against Kimberlin's "intimidation", but when you look for evidence of that intimidation, it's pretty scant.  And even then, it's usually Kimberlin reacting to some blogger who, in effect, started it.

    And of course, Glenn Beck got into on the game on Friday, so that tells you the kind of legitimacy the whole endeavor had.  But none of the mainstream media, including Fox News, would touch it.  That speaks volumes.  They didn't touch it because it LOOKED like an internet lynching.

    And that's why Kimberlin "won the day".  He just let the rightosphere show its collective, mean, vindictive, bullying ass (like it did in the above video).  Once he has done that, all he has to do is walk the high ground.

    Now, I don't know Kimberlin.  I'm not on his side.  I do admit it is hard to look past what he did 32 years ago.

    And maybe he is just as bad as the rightosphere says he is.  But here's the thing: if the right-wing is seriously interested in removing a bad man from society, then it had better come up with something more concrete than innuendo, guilt-by-loose-association, and scare tactics.  Because Kimberlin's stance is: "Hey, I'm just a guy trying to get on with my life, and these rightwing blogs are constantly going after me".  That's what Kimberlin is saying — and whether he means it or not is irrelevant; by behaving in a manner that is exactly what Kimberlin says, the rightwing blogosphere is handing Kimberlin a victory.

    It's hard to look at what is happening and not think of the words a judge gave to a blogger (Seth Allen) who was determined to destroy Kimberlin online:

    But I will say to you, Mr. Allen, it’s, it might be the legal ruling, but morally, get off this guy’s back. Let him get on with his life. Let him get on with his business. He’s doing productive, positive things. You may not agree with what he’s doing, but he’s contributing to society in a positive way. Let him get away from his past. Thirty-two years is a long time. And even though you say you’re, you know, “propounding the truth,” what for? I mean, you made some points. They’re out there. That information was past. It’s, Mr. Kimberline should be allowed to get on with his life.

    Indeed.  And if the right doesn't want to look like a lynch mob, it shouldn't act like one.  Because historically, lynch mobs are usually on the wrong side of things.

    And the truth is…. three days after the event, nothing has changed.  One or two rightwing blogs (including Aaron Worthing's) look likely to move to an all-Kimberlin-all-the-time format, meaning of course, that they will just blather on into the void.

    UPDATE:  As if to prove the point of my post, Aaron Worthing was arrested at his court hearing against Kimberlin.  I'm not surprised.

    UPDATE #2:  This is making the rounds of the Internet.  It's unclear why AW was arrested.  It may be because of contempt of court, i.e., because he wants to be able to continue to blog about Kimberlin, and the judge is of the position that activity like that is in violation of the Final Peace Order.

    Kimberlin-v-Walker-Peace-Order-May-29-2012-768x1024

    It almost doesn't matter, though.  My point is that Brett Kimberlin was handed a victory again today.

    UPDATE #3:  Now it appears that Aaron was arrested because of the assault I mentioned above — where he tried to take the iPad.  That is what is being reported here.

    UPDATE #4:  Aaron is out of jail and we're starting to get a clearer idea of what happened.  Apparently, it wasn't the iPad.  It was violation of a temporary peace order.  Good details and summaries here and here. The judge took the view that Aaron's blogging "incited" others to harass Kimberlin, doing (in effect) what Aaron could not do directly.  Setting aside whether or not Aaron did violate the peace order, the court's action yesterday raises a whole host of troubling First Amendment issues.  Of course, the right wing illiterate are simply reducing it to "Blogger jailed for blogging", which is so simplistic that it amounts to a lie.  That said, Aaron should be victorious on appeal, provided of course that he doesn't let his emotions get the best of him.

    Obama And Gay Marriage

    You know, I thought that when Obama came out for gay marriage a few weeks back, he did it to get the issue out of the way (and perhaps, in part, because Biden opened the door and put the issue front-and-center).  I thought he would come out for it, and then move on.

    But he's actually running on it as a campaign issue.  Released by the campaign itself, Glee star Jane Lynch narrates this documentary about LGBT rights in America. The video features a candid interview with President Obama, who speaks about the repeal of Don't Ask Don't Tell, why he supports marriage equality, and what's at stake for the LGBT community in this election.

     

    Smart.

    RELATED: New polling out on Florida, Ohio, and Virginia shows Obama ahead of Romney in all three swing states.

    Romney Promises To Increase Unemployment Rate

    "I can tell you that over a period of four years, by virtue of the policies that we'd put in place, we'd get the unemployment rate down to 6%, and perhaps a little lower," the presumptive GOP nominee said in a TIME interview published Wednesday.

    One problem with that…. based on the current rate of growth, the jobless rate is expected to fall to around 7% by the end of 2015, and 5.5% by the end of 2017, according to reports by the bipartisan Congressional Budget Office. 

    So if it is 6% by 2018, it will be half a percentage higher than without Romney.

    Bain Capital Experience

    It took him a while, but Obama is on message.  His point?  It's that the role of a President bears no resemblance to the role of a business leader, particularly a private equity or leveraged buyout specialist. One should have a concern on how to create jobs and the other has what amounts to a fiduciary duty to create profit. And those simply aren’t always compatible.

    I don't know where it comes from, but over the last 20 years, we keep hearing the axiom that government "should be run like a business".  You would think that would have died, given that the only president with an MBA is George Bush Jr., and look how well that ended up.

    But Obama needs keep hammering this point — working for Bain doesn't translate into presidential skills.  Reagan budget director David Stockman made this point better and more succinctly when he went off the reservation on Fox Business Channel:

     

    Stockman: I don’t think Mitt Romney can legitimately say that he learned anything about how to create jobs in the LBO (leveraged buyout) business. The LBO business is about how to strip cash out of old, long-in-the-tooth companies and how to make short-term profits for…

    (CROSSTALK)

    Q: But he had so many new jobs created for all the jobs that were lost, it was a net gain, no?

    Stockman: I don’t think so. All the jobs that he talks about came from Staples. That was a very early venture stage deal, that they got out of long before it got to its current size.

    Fortunately, the polls now show, correctly, that most people believe Mitt Romney was concerned about profits at Bain Capital, not jobs.

    The Response To Pastor Worley

    Much to North Carolina's shame, another NC pastor has shown his ass.  Earlier this month, Sean Harris, the pastor of Berean Baptist Church in Fayetteville, gained controversy after telling parents they should punch gay-appearing children.

    But he backtracked.

    And now comes Pastor Charles L. Worley of Providence Road Baptist Church — located at 3283 Providence Mill Rd, Maiden, NC 28650.  He is seen here from a service posted to the church's website dated May 13, 2012 calling for the concentration and ultimate death of "queers and homosexuals."

     

    Repulsive.

    But there's been mobilization for a response.  People are coming together to donate to LGBT groups…. in Pator Worley's name:

    Not only will it be a wonderful opposing response to Pastor Worley, but it does several other wickedly beautiful things.One, it helps fund organizations who are actively working against this kind of exclusion and bullying. Two, it puts Pastor Worley on their mailing lists!!! And, three, it can really show Pastor Worley and others what creative, non-violent resistance looks like – and that's biblical.

    So, in addition to sending in a donation to your favorite LGBT advocacy group in his honor, I'm asking you to do one more thing: download the postcard you find at the end of this post and fill it out. It is addressed to Pastor Worley and says, "A donation has been made to __________ in your name. Thank you for helping advance the fight for equal rights for our LGBT brothers and sisters." Just fill in the blank and mail it to the right Reverend. In a few days, he'll also start receiving all the wonderful educational material from each organization to whom he has “donated.”

    When you make a donation in his name be sure to include the address of his church: 
    Providence Road Baptist Church 
    Attn: Pastor Worley
    3283 Providence Mill Rd.
    Maiden, NC 28650

    AND (thanks to some blog readers) here's his email include in the donation information:preacherworley@charter.net.
    AND (again thanks to readers) here's his phone number if you need it to fill out your application/donation: (828) 428-2518. BUT seriously, please only use it for filling out forms. Do not call him. 

    And, for your convenience, my friends on Facebook have helped assemble this list of worthy organizations. Whether it is $5 or $500, you donation can make a difference.

    And don't forget to send Pastor Worley this note to let him know about your donation!

     

    You Thought “Birtherism” Was A Dead Issue?

    No, it ain't

    Arizona Secretary of State Ken Bennett® told KFYI he’s not entirely convinced President Obama was really born in the United States and suggested he could be knocked off the state’s presidential ballot.

    Said Bennett: “I’m not a birther. I believe the president was born in Hawaii—or at least I hope he was. But my responsibility as secretary of state is to make sure the ballots in Arizona are correct and that those people whose names are on the ballot have met the qualifications for the office they are seeking.”

     

    Mona Cheron Wants To Clean Up Rhetoric?

    Conservative columnist Mona Cheron is an idiot.  Or a liar.  Or both.  

    Let's look at her recent article in National Review entitled: 

    To Bigotry No Sanction 
    Let’s clean up the rhetoric around same-sex marriage.

    Yes, Mona.  Let's.

    She begins:

    Now that President Obama has “evolved” on the matter of same-sex marriage to the position favored by “enlightened” Americans, this would seem to be a good time for some rhetorical hygiene.

    Rhetorical hygiene?  Maybe we can start with your use of "scare quotes", particularly around the word "enlightened"?

    There are modest and civil proponents of same-sex marriage. But the tone of many advocates has been shrill to the point of frothing. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, put the National Organization for Marriage and the Family Research Council on its 2010 list of “hate groups” because of their opposition to gay marriage.

    Except…. that's not true.  Even Maggie Gallagher called you out on that lie.  How bad a point are you making when your first example in support of that point is completely and totally untrue?  Care to give more examples of how "shrill" same-sex marriage advocates are?

    A religion professor at a midwestern state university explained Catholic opposition to same-sex marriage and found himself denounced for “hate speech” and fired from his teaching position (he was later reinstated).

    Actually, the professor stated that homosexuality violates natural moral law.  He wasn't talking about same sex marriage.  That was two years ago, and it was at a public university.  But whatever.  At least what Mona writes has a grain of truth, although this really doesn't support her premise that same-sex marriage advocates are "shrill".  We'll call this one a foul ball — strike two.

    The Hastings Law School denied funding and recognition to a chapter of the Christian Legal Society because it required its members to conform their sexual behavior to traditional Christian teachings.

    Actually, Hastings Law School (part of the University of California system) required of the Christian Legal Society what it requires of all student body groups — the groups can't discriminate.  The CLS wanted to keep the homos out of its group — which is fine — but the Universirty of California doesn't have to FUND them.  And who said this?  What frothy-mouthed shrill people?  The majority of the United States Supreme Court, that's who.

    So that's strike three, Mona.  But we'll put the ball on the tee and let you swing again, just like the other "special" kids.

    Representative John Lewis (D., Ga.) called the Defense of Marriage Act “a stain on our democracy.”

    Oh, no he di-int.  Now that's shrill.

    Except… not so much.

    Give it up, Mona.

    Bully Romney At Bain Capital

    The new Obama ad hits Romney hard, but with a deft touch.  Gentle music plays throughout as former workers as GST Steel, an enterprise looted by Romney while he was at Bain Capital, talk about the impact his business tactics had on their lives and livelihood.  The Romney people will try to claim the ad (and others like it) are anti-business, but I don't think that holds up.  It shows that the people behind the business, who make the businesses, are real.

     

    Mitt And The Bully Pulpit

    Been a busy week, but I must chime in to say that if Mitt Romney thought he could have a relaxing week, or a week where he wasn't on the defensive, he just got pwned.

    It was masterful.  Biden comes out for gay rights, NC loses a same-sex marriage amendment, Obama comes out for gay rights, and then…. BOOM!  We learn that Mitt liked to bully gay kids in high school.

    Ouch.

    I'm sure the Obama administration knew that WaPo story was coming out and coordinated everything (well, not the NC vote, although that was predicitable).

    "Oh, that's SOOOO political!" cries the right.

    Why, yes.  Yes, it is.  It's a political campaign.

    Intended or not, I think the bigger news is that this really does make Romney look a prick.  One of the snobby elistist high school kids, with a heightened sense of entitlement.  So what does he do?  He holds down a long-haired fellow student and cuts off that kid's long hair.  Har-de-har-har.

    Another "prank"?  Walking a blind teacher into a wall.  Funny stuff.

    Seriously, Romney was a prick.  And let's not call these pranks.  These were exercises in meanness.  This was BULLYING.

    And the fact that he doesn't have specific memories of them?  That's what bothers me the most.  It's kind of hard to accept a sincere apology or transformation when he doesn't even know what he is apologizing for.

    Jackass.

    Actually, the Romney response was pretty bad. He first said he didn't remember these incidents. But his subsequent answers suggest pretty clearly that's not true. How are you sure you didn't think the victim of the attack was gay if you don't remember the attack in the first place? That doesn't make any sense. 

    My own sense is that the story is mainly damaging to the extent that Romney does not seem at all credible denying any memory of it — and that dishonesty jibes with the general attitude that these are youthful pranks.

    You Can’t Unring A Wedding Bell

    Note: I wrote this on Monday morning, May 7, convinced of a loss.  Probably 15 points, right?  Doesn't matter.  This I know to be true; that's why I wrote it.

    As of this morning, there are an estimated 150,000 married same-sex couples in the United States.

    They are not "civil-union"ed.  They are not in a "domestic partnership".  They are "married" in the legal, personal, and moral sense of the word.  Maybe God doesn't think they are "married", but nobody gets to vote on what God believes anyway.  The point is that these couple are definitionally married.

    Think about that.  These are not abstract numbers — these are actually couples, actually married.  They exist.  They breathe.  They move about, go to work, go home, raise families.  They are families.

    Overseas, there are hundreds of thousands more married couples who are also same-sex.

    And there will be many more hundreds of thousands — millions even — of married same-sex couples, in the years to come.   That's a fact, and no election outcome can change that.  

    Re-define "marriage"?  You think Amendment One was about re-defining marriage?  Pssst.  That ship has sailed, Jack, and you just need to go to the nearest online dictionary to see for yourself.

    We need to remind ourselves of a basic truth: you can't ban something that already exists in some form, outside your jurisdiction.  Wedding bells will continue to ring for gay couples.  Sure, as a state, we can refuse to recognize those bells, but that is all that North Carolina has done.  It has put its head in the proverbial sand.  It hasn't made anything go away, and done very little to stave off the inevitable. 

    So ask yourself:  How long can North Carolina, or any state, hold out while other states and other countries keep on marrying people of the same sex… and those people move… and then raise children of their own… and those children move?  Ten years?  A generation?

    You see, there is a natural arc of progress.  We don't see it sometimes, with the 24 hour news cycle, the 4 year election cycle, or the decade-to-decade cycle.  But there is a natural arc of progress, and mankind moves forward.  Fifty years ago – in my lifetime – Ann Dunham and Barack Obama, Sr. could not have been married in this state, or most states in the Union.  Today, their son is the President of the United States, and 15% of all new marriages are interracial.  It may take longer than we wish, but we should never forget that the direction we move is always forward toward equality and freedom, toward the promises that our forefathers guaranteed us.

    Those who wish to shape society in accord with their faith and moral compass — I'm talking primarily about the religious right as well as the religiously self-righteous… they never win in the long run.  The history of their own religions are filled with their own dogmatic and controlling failures.  God's soldiers return to the fold, cowed, while their church leaders issue a reformation (although by then, most of the religious followers know better).

    Even prominent social conservatives (save Maggie Gallagher) realize that the day is coming and the same-sex marriage fight is one they will ultimately lose.

    So rather than mourn today's political loss, let us pause and mark this time in history, and reflect on the interesting times we live in.  Our grandchildren and their children will scarcely believe that our generation could be so wantonly and overtly bigoted against the relationships of same-sex couples — and yes, that is to our collective shame.  

    But for those of us who voted "No", and who can see the arc of history spread out beyond our own mortality, let us smile at the knowledge that ultimately, love and justice wins.  It always has.  Ultimately.  Because that IS God.

    Amendment One Poised to Win

    No change in polling over the weekend.  It's likely to win only because people don't understand it, according to PPP:

    Our final marriage amendment poll finds it leading by a 55-39 margin, little change from a week ago when it was ahead 55-41. The final yes percentage will likely be somewhere in the 57-59% range depending on how the undecideds break. Opponents of the amendment had an uphill battle in convincing voters that it was anything other than a referendum on gay marriage, even though it does go a lot further than that. 57% of voters in the state think gay marriage should be illegal (to only 34% who think it should be legal) and it's not a coincidence that number correlates so closely with the 55% planning to support the amendment. 

    In some sense North Carolinians are voting against their own beliefs. 53% of voters in the state support either gay marriage or civil unions, yet a majority also support the amendment that would ban both. The reason for that disconnect is even with just 24 hours until election day only 46% of voters realize the proposal bans both gay marriage and civil unions. Those informed voters oppose the amendment by a 61-37 margin but there may not be enough time left to get the rest of the electorate up to speed.

    Emphasis mine.

    North Carolina Is Now Birther Central

    ThinkProgress:

    North Carolina is apparently ground zero of the latest resurgence of the birther movement, as a number of Republican candidates in the state are expressing doubts about President Obama’s birthplace.

    ThinkProgress has previously noted that Richard Hudson, running for a congressional seat in the state’s 8th district, said Obama is “hiding something on his citizenship,” while the Charlotte Observer rescinded its endorsement of Jim Pendergraph, running in the 9th district, after he expressed his own doubts about Obama’s birth certificate.

    Now, the Observer reports that Dr. John Whitley, one of Hudson’s opponents in tomorrow’s GOP primary, has also gone birther. He declared Obama’s birth certificate a “poorly reproduced forgery” after comparing it to the Hawaiian birth certificate of one of his campaign workers. “There is a tremendous amount of smoke here,” Whitley said. “In fact, it’s called a smoke screen.”

    Meanwhile, Ilario Pantano, running the 7th district, also has “real questions” about Obama’s birthplace. “The way I see this is whether he was born on the moon or Nicaragua or Honolulu, the bottom line is he has to be defeated in November,” Pantano said.

    In Which I Get A Nice Review

    Standout performances bring about laughs in 'A Funny Thing'

    By: LYNN FELDER | Special correspondent 
    Published: May 06, 2012

    MeandgraytKen Ashford and Gray Smith have proved themselves to be two of the funniest men in town in "A Funny Thing Happened on the Way to the Forum," which opened Friday at Twin City Stage.

    Appearing in nearly every scene, Ashford carries the show with his energetic and amiable portrayal of the Roman slave Pseudolus, who plots, schemes, connives and risks life and limb to help his young master, Hero (Charlie Klutzz), woo his lady love, Philia (Gracey Falk).

    If Hero wins Philia, then Pseudolus will win his freedom, the thing he wants most in the world, as illustrated in his wonderful song, "Free," a humorous and haunting duet with Klutzz.

    Klutzz has a warm tenor and, despite a floppy pompadour wig, which is intentionally and effectively funny, Klutzz looks and sounds like the perfect romantic hero.

    Ashford has a pleasant singing voice, flawless comic timing and wonderful expressions that he uses to show an ever-changing array of feelings without ever going over the top — well, except maybe in his death scene. The latter is a tour-de-force of zaniness in which he quotes from a madcap array of literary and pop-culture sources as he careens about the stage.

    Smith, on the other hand, defines "over the top." After all, his character, the chief slave, is named Hysterium. Smith uses his rubbery face and antic vitality to enliven every scene he is in.

    In addition to these standouts, the ensemble cast is solid and includes an excellent belly dancer, Tintinabula, danced by Angela Brady. Falk is, indeed, lovely as Philia, the virgin courtesan who wins Hero's heart.

    The orchestra, under the direction of Margaret Gallagher, plays well enough but seems a bit restrained. Director Mark Pirolo keeps things crisp, and his colorful sets frame the action nicely, holding up to the slamming doors, slashing swords and pratfalls.

    If you're looking for a belly laugh or two or three, "A Funny Thing" more than lives up to the promise of its name.

    State Senator’s Wife: Amendment One Is Needed Because The Caucasion Race Is Diminishing

    Holy crap!

    I won't say much because the "state senator" works in the same law firm as me, but the gist is that the senator's wife…. oh, hell.  Roll it, Think Progress:

    The wife of a prominent North Carolina state senatorand supporter of Amendment 1 — a proposed ballot initiative that would outlaw same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in the state — claimed earlier this week that her husband advocated for the measure to protect the “Caucasian” race.

    Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of North Carolina state Sen. Peter Brunstetter, made the remarks “outside the early voting site at the Forsyth County Government Center in downtown Winston-Salem” while speaking to voters, Chad Nance, a Winston-Salem freelance journalist, reports. Nance heard about Jodie’s comments from an African-American poll worker who allegedly overheard Brunstetter say, “The reason my husband wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.”

    Asked to clarify her statement, Brunstetter reluctantly confirmed that she did in fact use the phrase “Caucasian”:

    BRUNSTETTER: [P]eople who founded the United states wrote a Constitution and it has been what has preserved this society. And we were just talking about lots of different things which the gentleman was turning around.

    NANCE: You didn’t tell that one lady that it was to preserve the Caucasian race, because they were becoming a minority? That’s what an old lady down the block told us.

    BRUNSTETTER: No, no.

    NANCE: You didn’t say that? She’s lying?

    BRUNSTETTER: No. It’s just that same sex marriages are not having children. […]

    NANCE: You didn’t say anything about Caucasians?

    BRUNSTETTER: I probably said the word.

    NANCE: In reference to….? You didn’t tell her anything about Caucasians? …

    BRUNSTETTER: Right now I am a little confused myself because there has been confusion here today about this amendment, where it is very simple. The opponents are saying things that are not true and so there has been a lot of conversation going back and forth…. Right now I have some heat stroke going on. I’m not quite sure now. Because there has been lots of confusion.

    NANCE: So you did or did not say anything about Caucasians?

    BRUNSTETTER: If I did it wasn’t anything race related.

    Watch it:

     

    Responding to his wife’s comments, Sen. Brunstetter told ThinkProgress, “I know my wife does not think like that,” but admitted that “She got very flustered (she is not a political person) and then someone came up to her and started shooting questions at her. She noticed later that there was someone video taping without her knowledge.”

    “My wife is one of the sweetest, most genuine people you will ever meet,” he added. “Her convictions on the marriage amendment are spiritual in nature, not racial. The individual in question had been quite abusive and intimidating. The Amendment is not racially motivated, is quite simple and straightforward and, in fact, is widely supported in many areas of the African American community.”

    Jodie told the Winston-Salem Journal, “I seriously don’t remember.” “There was quite a bit of conversation … the reasons for the amendment is for there to be marriage between a man and a woman and it does not matter what race.”

    Amendment 1, which goes to a vote on May 8, has already divided the African American community between leaders who argue that the Bible prohibits homosexual behavior and those who maintain that religious interpretations should not influence civil laws. The comments by Mrs. Brunstetter will likely interject more racial division into the debate.

    For ThinkProgress’ full coverage of Amendment 1, click here.

    The local news is covering this:

     

    Meanwhile, we have a pastor urging his congregation to beat their gay kids into submission:

    "So your little son starts to act a little girlish when he is four years old and instead of squashing that like a cockroach and saying, “Man up, son, get that dress off you and get outside and dig a ditch, because that is what boys do,” you get out the camera and you start taking pictures of Johnny acting like a female and then you upload it to YouTube and everybody laughs about it and the next thing you know, this dude, this kid is acting out childhood fantasies that should have been squashed.

    Can I make it any clearer? Dads, the second you see your son dropping the limp wrist, you walk over there and crack that wrist. Man up. Give him a good punch. Ok? You are not going to act like that. You were made by God to be a male and you are going to be a male. And when your daughter starts acting to Butch you reign her in. And you say, “Oh, no, sweetheart. You can play sports. Play them to the glory of God. But sometimes you are going to act like a girl and walk like a girl and talk like a girl and smell like a girl and that means you are going to be beautiful. You are going to be attractive. You are going to dress yourself up.”

    You say, “Can I take charge like that as a parent?” Yeah, you can. You are authorized. I just gave you a special dispensation this morning to do that."

    The pastor now regrets his words, saying he was making a joke.  But it wasn't.  You can tell.  When you say a joke, you give the "punchline" and move on.  You don't reiterate it several times. Listen to the audio

     

    Opposite Man

    Mitt Romney shared a straightforward summary of his guiding economic principle at a campaign stop earlier today.

    Kicking off his Virginia campaign, Republican Mitt Romney said Wednesday he'll do "the opposite" of what President Barack Obama has done to help the economy. His wife, Ann, chipped in by appealing to women voters in a key region of a state both candidates will fight over until November's election.

    "What I would do? People ask me, 'What would you to get the economy going'? and I say, 'well look at what the president's done, and do the opposite,'" Romney told a group gathered at a warehouse in Northern Virginia.

    Ummmm… what would the opposite of this look like?

    Imagesizer

    Joe Zimmerman’s MySpace Page

    See the whole thing here.  Here's his profile (with my emphasis):

    About me:

    Moved out of Manassas VA (d.c. suburb) about 4 years ago, alot of people say they hate it but i cant ever say i hate home. Miss my boys from back home, no one is gonna have your back like your boys who grew up with you and are as scared of your momma as you are! You know who you are, the same ones that would come ova and have my pops tie your tie before every school dance and interview. I know alot of yall hatin cause im out and aint ever goin back, i used to look at people like me the same way. Can you really hate on someone for improving thier life? I love the fact that I can still go back home and crash on my boys couch as if i had never left, I can hit my boy up to handle a lil somethin with my sister and he's at my house with his boys on bikes before i hang up with her! They do a year and dont ever open thier mouth to get my ass pinched. My cousins the cruzado's damn i love yall, shirley and frank DONT PLAY! I gotta be honest I miss that. I dont miss driving around scared to hit mexicans walkin on the side of the street, soft ass wanna be thugs messin with peoples cars when they aint around (what are you provin, that you can dent a car when no ones watchin) dont make you a man in my book. Workin 96 hours to get a decent pay check, gettin knifes pulled on you by every mexican you run into! Im down here now opened my own insurance agency, small but its mine. I put my grandma's name on it so that she could see its hers too, who knows here i would be with out her. MY VA SHOUTOUTS!!!!! Of course my two brothers Mauricio (in japan w/ marines and Barret (if i cant see you, you cant see me!), jade(thank god donovan takes after you), ashley (keep that bot inline), anthony(love you nephew), luis (thought you would be more chill after the marines), krista (you know your wrong for not commin to see me yet!), nikky( so damn sexy!), tony(this kid is a p.i.m.p), nick(phatest rides for sure), walter (we need to go fisin again),shirley("im wrkin y did you call and wake me up"), frank the tank (thanks aint enough cuz), karen (I miss ya),kristy(i really miss you!),Lauren (i can never pay you back for being such a good freind to my family),lisa(damn i hate growin up, but at least we did it together), michelle( you know i still love ya), sharon(Too much fun in jax), MY FL SHOUTOUTS Mike who(my brother from another mother), Lauren(ms. L Boogey), christine(miss ya lil sis), Wesley(y ya have to go and do that!!!), cortez(i dont want you in my house anymore), L-wood(Dont get married again lil bro),T( jamacian beef patty have two ingredients, beef and patty!!), Al(I got your chris farley), jhonny(dont break my knee caps), ricky(only comes ova to use hair gel), HAHAHAHA!!!!!!!! Bet ya thought i forgot about you….. Just savin the best for last, I love you Gracie, but you already knew that, I know you gave up alot to be near me, but you gotta admit you gained alot too, Only person thats always, ALWAYS been there for me, I love ya, oh yea, my lil sista hits like a grown MOTHER FUCKIN MAN!!!!

    Who I'd like to meet:

    Friends, let me be specific…. Tru friends

    Also this "blog" entry dated Aug 20, 2005:

    Good news???? Bout Damn time!!!!!!!

    2 felonies dropped to 1 misdemeanor!!!!!!!!!!! The man knows he was wrong but still got this hump, Thanks to everyone friends and fam, G baby you know your my rock!

     

    As You Might Suspect, Amendment One Proponents Are Funded By Religious Right And Anit-Gay Groups

    Jeremy Hooper points out that almost all of the top donors supporting North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment One, which limits what relationships the state can recognize, are from radically conservative religiously-affiliated groups. It’s true that opponents of the measure have raised twice as much money, but it’s telling that they have raised four times as much money from individual donors. Over 70 percent of Vote FOR Marriage NC’s campaign fundraising has comes from Religious Right institutional support. By contrast, about 62 percent of Protect All NC Families’ fundraising has come from individual donors.

    Joe Jervis notes that Phil Drake, the third’s most generous donor, owns a conservative Christian radio station and bookstore. AMDG Medical is not a religious organization, but it is known to have Catholic ties in its other giving. And the National Organization for Marriage is religious in everything but name, run almost entirely by Catholic Right figures with daily blog posts defending against “attacks” on Christianity. The American Family Association makes no effort to downplay its radically conservative, anti-LGBT religious mission.

     

    Amendment One Polls

    The latest poll from PPP shows no movement from one week ago, meaning that FOR Amendment One is ahead of AGAINST Amendment One by 14 points:

    Opposition is rising slightly with Republicans, independents, and African Americans, from 17% to 21% with the GOP, from 43% to 46% with independents, and from 39% to 43% with black voters.  Democrats on the whole are opposed by a 54-42 spread.  Reports of strong youth turnout in parts of the state could be a good sign for opponents; voters under the age of 30 oppose the amendment by 26 points, while the elder age brackets all support it by spreads of nine to 24 points—though that is down from margins of 16 to 32 points last week.

    The good news for the amendment’s opponents is that more voters are now aware of the amendment’s consequences, and if all voters were informed of those consequences, the amendment would fail by a 38-46 margin, the same as last week.  A 40% plurality now knows that the amendment would ban both same-sex marriage and civil unions, versus 36% in the previous survey.  Those who know what the amendment would do are against it by 22 points, but they are outweighed by the strong support from the uneducated.

    As part of the overall 22-point shift, Democrats move 21 points, Republicans 24 points, and independents 16 points against the amendment when told it would ban both marriage and civil unions for gay couples.

    The reason this message has an impact is that 55% of these primary voters want same-sex couples to at least have the same legal rights as married heterosexual couples, if not full marriage equality.  That includes 67% of Democrats, 60% of independents, and even 35% of Republicans.

    “Voters who understand what the amendment does are opposed to it,” said Dean Debnam, President of Public Policy Polling. “But there’s a lot of education left to be done in this final week of the campaign.”

    PPP surveyed 982 likely North Carolina primary voters from April 27th to 29th. The margin of error for the survey is +/-3.1%.  This poll was not paid for or authorized by any campaign or political organization.

     

    Two Weeks

    That's how long Richard Grenell lasted as a spokesman in Romnbey's campaign.  Oh, Richard Grenell is gay, and is departure comes after two weeks of dogging by right-wing hater groups, including Bryan Fischer of the American Familiy Association, who writes today:

    The Grenell resignation represents a huge win for the forces defending the family in America, since it will be a long time before the governor appoints another homosexual activist to a prominent position in his campaign. 

    Yay, Team Romney!  See, you CAN'T move to the center!  Bwaaaa-haaa-haaa-haaa!

    Stephen King Goes Cujo On The 1 Percenters

    Well, he's a pretty rich guy himself.  Still, he has some thoughts on other rich people and taxes and he minces no words.  An excerpt:

    I’ve known rich people, and why not, since I’m one of them? The majority would rather douse their dicks with lighter fluid, strike a match, and dance around singing “Disco Inferno” than pay one more cent in taxes to Uncle Sugar. It’s true that some rich folks put at least some of their tax savings into charitable contributions. My wife and I give away roughly $4 million a year to libraries, local fire departments that need updated lifesaving equipment (Jaws of Life tools are always a popular request), schools, and a scattering of organizations that underwrite the arts. Warren Buffett does the same; so does Bill Gates; so does Steven Spielberg; so do the Koch brothers; so did the late Steve Jobs. All fine as far as it goes, but it doesn’t go far enough.

    What charitable 1 percenters can’t do is assume responsibility—America’s national responsibilities: the care of its sick and its poor, the education of its young, the repair of its failing infrastructure, the repayment of its staggering war debts. Charity from the rich can’t fix global warming or lower the price of gasoline by one single red penny. That kind of salvation does not come from Mark Zuckerberg or Steve Ballmer saying, “OK, I’ll write a $2 million bonus check to the IRS.” That annoying responsibility stuff comes from three words that are anathema to the Tea Partiers: United American citizenry.

    […]

    The Koch brothers are right-wing creepazoids, but they’re giving right-wing creepazoids. Here’s an example: 68 million fine American dollars to Deerfield Academy. Which is great for Deerfield Academy. But it won’t do squat for cleaning up the oil spill in the Gulf of Mexico, where food fish are now showing up with black lesions. It won’t pay for stronger regulations to keep BP (or some other bunch of dipshit oil drillers) from doing it again. It won’t repair the levees surrounding New Orleans. It won’t improve education in Mississippi or Alabama. But what the hell—them li’l crackers ain’t never going to go to Deerfield Academy anyway. Fuck ’em if they can’t take a joke.

    Yikes.

    Amendment One Sign Wars

    Like California's Proposition 8, the Amendment One measure in North Carolina would amend the state constitution to define marriage as being between one man and one woman — but it would also ban gay civil unions and domestic partnerships.

    On my way in to work, I count the number of AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE signs on peoples' lawns, compared to the number of FOR AMENDMENT ONE signs.  My journey (for those familiar with Winston-Salem) is along Robin Hood Road.

    Last week, there were virtually no FOR AMENDMENT ONE signs, and around 12 AGAINST AMENDMENT ONE signs… including 3 in front of churches/religious institutions.  Pretty sweet.

    This week, there was a change.  About 11 AMENDMENT ONE signs and 3 FOR AMENDMENT ONE.  Most notably however, a huge AGAINST banner (in front of the Unitarian Church) was gone.  Instead, there was a spray-painted sheet where the banner once was.  Placed there by the church, it reads: "Why steal our banner?" [UPDATE:  The banner is now replaced, I'm told by a UU attendee]

    It's sad but true.  That's the mentality of bigots.  Stealing of property means nothing to them in their quest for keeping up (irony alert) moral values.

    Here's another example of NC bigotry, on full display for all….

     

    ter·ror·ism /ˈterəˌrizəm/ Noun: The use of violence and intimidation in the pursuit of political aims.

    How is this not terrorism?

    And it gets worse.  Who (besides the redneck above) is doing the sign stealing?  Apparently, families are.

    The impact of signs was brought home to me again recently. I got a call one evening about 10 days ago from a friend of mine from church who said that he had witnessed someone stealing "Vote Against Amendment One" signs on Morganton Road.

    Stealing political yard signs is nothing new. I was a volunteer for the Obama campaign in 2008, and our signs were either prized possessions or prime targets, depending on one's perspective. People were stealing them left and right.

    Likewise, a local resident who feels strongly about this issue bought and distributed 250 of the Carolina blue "Vote Against" signs. By last Friday, all but 26 of them were missing. It speaks to the worst of human nature. But sadly, it's to be expected.

    Still, there's something a little different about these signs because they're not about candidates. The effects of the amendment they address will have a much more direct impact on people's lives, gay and straight, than the election of any one particular candidate. As I drove down Morganton Road the morning after my friend called and the familiar signs were gone, I was filled with an anxiety that I never felt when candidate signs went missing.

    The stealing of the signs sends a very inhospitable message in an area that depends in large part upon its hospitality. It makes us look narrow-minded, backward and mean-spirited.

    Serious action by the local authorities might go a long way toward countering that perception.

    Last Sunday, another friend of mine at church explained what it meant to him, personally, as a gay man. It says to gay people that they don't deserve equal protection under the law and that they are unworthy of the 1,300 rights and protections afforded to heterosexual couples when they marry.

    It says that gay people are not welcome here and that as long as the people stealing the signs draw breath, he would always be a second-class citizen in their eyes.

    The most disturbing part of what the friend who called me witnessed was that the people he saw stealing the signs were not alone. They had two younger people, presumably their children, with them.

    They were in effect teaching their children, by example, that not only was it acceptable to discriminate against people who are different from you, but it is equally acceptable to commit petty larceny to deny them their First Amendment rights. It is an example so gravely misguided as to border on child abuse.

    Emphasis mine.

    Think about this…. they are concerned about protecting the family… so they teach their kids to STEAL?

    Running On Bin Laden’s Death

    The Republicans have a problem with President Obama taking credit for Osama bin Laden's death.  And it is not hard to see why.  Mitt Romney didn't want us going into Pakistan to catch bin Laden, which is in fact where we got him. Good thing Mitt Romney didn't win the presidency in 2008 or Osama bin Laden still might be alive.

    Interestingly, Republicans had no problem with George Bush taking credit for capturing Saddam, and on September 11 no less. From USA Today on September 11 (no less) of 2004:

    In a harsh new attack on rival John Kerry, President Bush said Friday that if the Democratic presidential candidate "had his way," Saddam Hussein's regime would be running Iraq and threatening the safety of other nations.

    The newest wrinkle is that Sen. Kerry has now decided we are spending too much money in Iraq even though he criticized us earlier for not spending enough," Bush said. "One thing about Sen. Kerry's position is clear … if he had his way, Saddam Hussein would still be in power and would still be a threat to our security and to the world."

    What surprises me most about this little squabble is the GOP playbook on it.  The more they complain about Obama "using" bin Laden's death for political gain, the more they remind everybody that Obama got bin Laden.  This is one of those stories that the GOP needs to let die as soon as possible.  Yet, they keep on stirring it.  Pretty stupid.

    2012 Tony Nominations

    Best Play 

     

    Clybourne Park
    Author: Bruce Norris

    Other Desert Cities
    Author: Jon Robin Baitz

    Peter and the Starcatcher
    Author: Rick Elice

    Venus in Fur
    Author: David Ives

    Best Musical
    Leap of Faith
    Newsies
    Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Once

    Best Revival of a Play
    Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
    Master Class
    Wit

    Best Revival of a Musical
    Evita
    Follies
    The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Jesus Christ Superstar

    Best Book of a Musical

    Lysistrata Jones
    Douglas Carter Beane

    Newsies
    Harvey Fierstein

    Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Joe DiPietro

    Once
    Enda Walsh

    Best Original Score (Music and/or Lyrics) Written for the Theatre

    Bonnie & Clyde
    Music: Frank Wildhorn
    Lyrics: Don Black

    Newsies
    Music: Alan Menken
    Lyrics: Jack Feldman

    One Man, Two Guvnors
    Music & Lyrics: Grant Olding

    Peter and the Starcatcher
    Music: Wayne Barker
    Lyrics: Rick Elice

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Play
    James Corden, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Philip Seymour Hoffman, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    James Earl Jones, Gore Vidal’s The Best Man
    Frank Langella, Man and Boy
    John Lithgow, The Columnist

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Play
    Nina Arianda, Venus in Fur
    Tracie Bennett, End of the Rainbow
    Stockard Channing, Other Desert Cities
    Linda Lavin, The Lyons
    Cynthia Nixon, Wit

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Danny Burstein, Follies
    Jeremy Jordan, Newsies
    Steve Kazee, Once
    Norm Lewis, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Ron Raines, Follies

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Musical
    Jan Maxwell, Follies
    Audra McDonald, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Cristin Milioti, Once
    Kelli O’Hara, Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Laura Osnes, Bonnie & Clyde

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Play
    Christian Borle, Peter and the Starcatcher
    Michael Cumpsty, End of the Rainbow
    Tom Edden, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Andrew Garfield, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Jeremy Shamos, Clybourne Park

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Play
    Linda Emond, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Spencer Kayden, Don’t Dress for Dinner
    Celia Keenan-Bolger, Peter and the Starcatcher
    Judith Light, Other Desert Cities
    Condola Rashad, Stick Fly

    Best Performance by an Actor in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Phillip Boykin, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Michael Cerveris, Evita
    David Alan Grier, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Michael McGrath, Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Josh Young, Jesus Christ Superstar

    Best Performance by an Actress in a Featured Role in a Musical
    Elizabeth A. Davis, Once
    Jayne Houdyshell, Follies
    Judy Kaye, Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Jessie Mueller, On A Clear Day You Can See Forever
    Da’Vine Joy Randolph, Ghost the Musical

    Best Scenic Design of a Play
    John Lee Beatty, Other Desert Cities
    Daniel Ostling, Clybourne Park
    Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Donyale Werle, Peter and the Starcatcher

    Best Scenic Design of a Musical
    Bob Crowley, Once
    Rob Howell and Jon Driscoll, Ghost the Musical
    Tobin Ost and Sven Ortel, Newsies
    George Tsypin, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark

    Best Costume Design of a Play
    William Ivey Long, Don’t Dress for Dinner
    Paul Tazewell, A Streetcar Named Desire
    Mark Thompson, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Paloma Young, Peter and the Starcatcher

    Best Costume Design of a Musical
    Gregg Barnes, Follies
    ESosa, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Eiko Ishioka, Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark
    Martin Pakledinaz, Nice Work If You Can Get It

    Best Lighting Design of a Play
    Jeff Croiter, Peter and the Starcatcher
    Peter Kaczorowski, The Road to Mecca
    Brian MacDevitt, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Kenneth Posner, Other Desert Cities

    Best Lighting Design of a Musical
    Christopher Akerlind, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Natasha Katz, Follies
    Natasha Katz, Once
    Hugh Vanstone, Ghost the Musical

    Best Sound Design of a Play
    Paul Arditti, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Scott Lehrer, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Gareth Owen, End of the Rainbow
    Darron L. West, Peter and the Starcatcher

    Best Sound Design of a Musical
    Acme Sound Partners, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Clive Goodwin, Once
    Kai Harada, Follies
    Brian Ronan, Nice Work If You Can Get It

    Best Choreography
    Rob Ashford, Evita
    Christopher Gattelli, Newsies
    Steven Hoggett, Once
    Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It

    Best Direction of a Play
    Nicholas Hytner, One Man, Two Guvnors
    Pam MacKinnon, Clybourne Park
    Mike Nichols, Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman
    Roger Rees and Alex Timbers, Peter and the Starcatcher

    Best Direction of a Musical
    Jeff Calhoun, Newsies
    Kathleen Marshall, Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Diane Paulus, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    John Tiffany, Once

    Best Orchestrations
    William David Brohn and Christopher Jahnke, The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess
    Bill Elliott, Nice Work If You Can Get It
    Martin Lowe, Once
    Danny Troob, Newsies

    * * *
    Recipients of Awards and Honors in Non-competitive Categories

    Special Tony Award for Lifetime Achievement in the Theatre
    Emanuel Azenberg

    Regional Theatre Award
    The Shakespeare Theatre Company, Washington, D.C.

    Isabelle Stevenson Award
    Bernadette Peters

    Special Tony Award
    Actors’ Equity Association
    Hugh Jackman

    Tony Honor for Excellence in the Theatre
    Freddie Gershon
    Artie Siccardi
    TDF Open Doors

    * * *

    Tony Nominations by Production
    Once - 11
    The Gershwins’ Porgy and Bess - 10
    Nice Work If You Can Get It - 10
    Peter and the Starcatcher - 9
    Follies– 8
    Newsies - 8
    Arthur Miller’s Death of a Salesman - 7
    One Man, Two Guvnors - 7
    Other Desert Cities - 5
    Clybourne Park - 4
    End of the Rainbow - 3
    Evita - 3
    Ghost the Musical - 3
    Bonnie & Clyde - 2
    Don’t Dress for Dinner - 2
    Gore Vidal’s The Best Man - 2
    Jesus Christ Superstar - 2
    Spider-Man Turn Off The Dark - 2
    Venus in Fur - 2
    Wit - 2
    The Columnist - 1
    Leap of Faith - 1
    The Lyons - 1
    Lysistrata Jones - 1
    Man and Boy - 1
    Master Class - 1
    On A Clear Day You Can See Forever - 1
    The Road to Mecca - 1
    Stick Fly - 1
    A Streetcar Named Desire - 1