Alexander Burns of Politico: "... the voters of 2012 ... appear to be wandering, confused and Forrest Gump-like through the experience of a presidential campaign. It isn’t just unclear which party’s vision they’d rather embrace; it’s entirely questionable whether the great mass of voters has even the most basic grasp of the details – or for that matter, the most elementary factual components – of the national political debate." ...
... Ta-Nehisi Coates of The Atlantic finds the Alexandra Pelosi video above offensive because the gist of it is to laugh at, not with, the voters. ...
... Dave Weigel of Slate disagrees: "There’s no shame, no journalistic crime, in finding the ignorance and pointing it out."
Sam Stein of the Huffington Post: "Top officials in President Barack Obama's administration pushed back Tuesday on a report that they would still support a debt-reduction deal nearly reached this past August with House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio)."
Adam Sorensen of Time calls the 17-minute Obama campaign documentary "Gloom You Can Believe In." Video of the film is embedded in his post.
John Sides of the Monkey Cage: the conventional wisdom notwithstanding, a recent study shows that Americans may not be self-segregating in neighborhoods of like-minded political persuasions.
Public Policy Polling: "Democratic challenger Elizabeth Warren leads Republican Scott Brown by 5 points, 46-41, a new poll from Public Policy Polling finds. Warren has increased her lead from 46-44 the last time PPP polled Massachusettes in September 2011." CW: a couple of polls in the last few weeks have showed Brown ahead of Warren, so this is a good thing.
In a few days, I will lay down my official responsibilities in this office -- to take up once more the only title in our democracy superior to that of president, the title of citizen. -- Then-President Jimmy Carter, farewell address ...
... Emily Yoffe of Slate: "Politicians like Newt Gingrich who cling to their old titles are pretentious, incorrect, and un-American."
Adam Liptak of the New York Times reports on new, strong evidence that William Rehnquist lied -- twice -- during his confirmation hearings for Justice & Chief Justice of the Supreme Court to cover his own opposition to Brown v. Board of Education, and in the process, smeared a former Justice.
Brian Ross, et al., of ABC News: "More than a year after 29 people were trapped in a fire at a garment factory in Bangladesh used by well-known American clothing brands, an ABC News investigation found the retailers right back in business at the factory. And labor groups say dangerous conditions such as locked gates and shoddy wiring persist.... In advance of the ABC News report, the company that produces the Tommy Hilfiger line announced it would be the first company whose clothes were being made during the deadly blaze to demand changes -- committing to spend more than $1 million to enforce a set of safety reforms demanded by labor rights groups."
Right Wing World
... From Americans United for Change.
Following is some analysis & commentary on the Republican House's proposed budget. Also, be sure to see the comments in yesterday's Commentariat. Our contributors really hit the essentials.
... Ezra Klein: "Here’s the basic outline of House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s 2013 budget in one sentence: Ryan’s budget funds trillions of dollars in tax cuts, defense spending and deficit reduction by cutting deeply into health-care programs and income supports for the poor." ...
... Edwin Park of the Center on Budget & Policy Priorities: "House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan’s new budget again proposes to radically restructure Medicaid by converting it into a block grant and to slash federal funding by about one-fifth over the next decade (as well as to repeal health reform’s Medicaid expansion). All told, it would add tens of millions of Americans to the ranks of the uninsured and underinsured." ...
... Igor Volsky & Travis Waldron of Think Progress list the five worst things about Ryan's budget. ...
... Steve Benen: "... some of the more offensive elements of the plan -- forcing seniors to pay more for health care; cutting coverage for the elderly and disabled; eliminating coverage for 30 million Americans; giving a big tax cut to the wealthy; cutting the safety net while increasing Pentagon spending -- and it's worth appreciating the fact that the American mainstream doesn't support any of this.... Last April, just four House Republicans voted against the Ryan plan. This year, I suspect that number will go up, not down." ...
... AND this from Benen, another post worth reading in its entirety: "I realize there's nothing I can say to convince the political establishment to stop treating Paul Ryan like a Very Serious Person and start treating him like an Ayn Rand-loving con man, but his budget plan is a bad joke."
... Ed Kilgore of the Washington Monthly: "... if you want to know how Ryan’s proposal is likely to affect you without looking at a lot of charts or believing a lot of phony assurances, just ask yourself: are you part of a demographic or economic category that tends to vote Republican? You’ll probably do okay, and you’ll do much better the wealthier and/or the more dependent you are on robust defense spending. Otherwise, look out!"
Public Policy Polling: "Callista Gingrich is actually pretty unpopular, with an 18/44 favorability rating. But it's at least better than her husband's 28/61."
Carl Hiaasen in the National Memo: "Among its dubious achievements this year, the Florida legislature passed a law authorizing random drug tests for state workers. Guess who's exempt? Lawmakers themselves. So now the clerk down at the DMV gets to pee in a cup -- but not the knuckleheads in Tallahassee who control $70 billion in public funds. Whom do you think is more dangerous to the future of Florida?" CW: this is a fabulous column by a superb writer, which I comment to you to read for the fun of it.
Robert Gehrke of the Salt Lake City Tribune: "Utah Gov. Gary Herbert [R] signed legislation Tuesday requiring women to wait 72 hours before receiving an abortion, giving the state the longest waiting period in the country.... Marina Lowe, an attorney with the Utah chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, which urged the governor to veto the bill, said the new Utah law raises serious constitutional questions."
New York Times: "Outrage over the fatal shooting of Trayvon Martin, 17, in central Florida continued to grow across the country, with more than a thousand people rallying Wednesday night in New York City and civil rights leaders planning more demonstrations in other cities in the coming days. In Sanford, Fla., on Wednesday night, the city commission passed a vote of “no confidence” in Police Chief Bill Lee Jr."
New York Times: "The JOBS bill, which would make it easier for small companies to raise money from investors, is now scheduled for a vote on Thursday, after the Senate considers two Democratic amendments to tighten proposed rules on how companies raise financing online and to strengthen other provisions that were approved by the House."
New York Times: "Criminal defendants have a constitutional right to effective lawyers during plea negotiations, the Supreme Court ruled on Wednesday in a pair of 5-to-4 decisions that vastly expanded judges’ supervision of the criminal justice system. The decisions mean that what used to be informal and unregulated deal making is now subject to new constraints when bad legal advice leads defendants to reject favorable plea offers." ...
... New York Times: "By a 5-to-4 vote that split along ideological lines, the Supreme Court on Tuesday ruled that state workers may not sue their employers for money for violating a part of the federal Family and Medical Leave Act. The decision prompted the term’s first dissent read from the bench, by Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who said the justices in the majority had made it harder for women 'to live balanced lives, at home and in gainful employment.'”
New York Daily News: "Cops rousted about 300 Occupy Wall Street protesters camped out in Union Square Park early Wednesday. One person was arrested. The demonstrators moved into the camp on Saturday, continuing the protest against economic inequality that started this summer in Zuccotti Park."
New York Times: "Mitt Romney swept to victory in the Illinois Republican primary on Tuesday, using the full force of his campaign and an argument that he has the best chance of defeating President Obama to overcome doubts among the more conservative voters at the heart of his party." ...
... The Chicago Tribune's complete election coverage of the Illinois primaries. Most notable, besides Romney's big win: "Iraq War veteran Tammy Duckworth won the Democratic primary tonight in the 8th Congressional District. Duckworth had 66 percent of the vote to 34 percent for Raja Krishnamoorthi, a former deputy state treasurer with about 60 percent of the vote in.... Duckworth will challenge Republican Rep. Joe Walsh, the conservative firebrand.... Walsh is seeking re-election on mostly new turf in northwest Cook and northeast DuPage counties."
ABC News: "The Florida police department handling the fatal shooting of an unarmed black teen by a self-appointed neighborhood watch leader admitted to ABC News tonight that investigators missed a possible racist remark by the shooter as he spoke to police dispatchers moments before the killing.... On a tape of one of Zimmerman's 911 calls the night of the shooting, he is heard saying under his breath what sounds like 'f**ing coons.' Seconds later he confronted Martin and after a brief scuffle shot him dead.... It's the latest in a series of possible police missteps uncovered by ABC News."
Washington Post: "The Senate will move ahead later this week with the House version of a congressional ethics package, including a formal ban against insider trading on Capitol Hill, but jettisoning tough provisions that had won bipartisan approval in the Senate.Senate Majority Leader Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), in a Tuesday afternoon floor speech, announced that he would not compel a conference committee to hash out the differences between the two chambers’ approaches to the STOCK Act, setting up likely final passage of the legislation by early next week."
New York Times: "Hundreds of elite police officers surrounded a multifamily residence in Toulouse early on Wednesday and were negotiating with a 24-year-old man suspected in the killings this week of three young children and a rabbi at a nearby Jewish school, French officials said." The Guardian has a good liveblog of the unfolding story.
New York Times: "The Supreme Court unanimously ruled on Tuesday that medical tests that rely on correlations between drug dosages and treatment are not eligible for patent protection."
Reuters: "Little Rock, Arkansas renamed its airport to honor two of its most famous citizens -- former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the airport commission said on Tuesday."