Danny Vinik, The New Republic: Republicans like to promise things they can't deliver, like huge tax cuts that pay for themselves or health reform plans that don't disrupt the existing system. And that's made life difficult for Democrats trying to propose initiatives that, in order to accomplish real goals, come with real costs. But lately Republican delusions about policy have hobbled somebody else: Members of their own party trying to show that, yes, the GOP can govern responsibly. read more
A Spring, Texas, area homeowner shot a teen boy dead after finding him in his daughter's bedroom late at night. Johran McCormick, 17, was killed by the 16-year-old girl's father early Thursday morning. When the father found and confronted the teen, his daughter originally told him she didn't know the boy even though she had snuck him into the house, police said. After calling 911, the dad and McCormick argued and the father told police that McCormick dropped his hands as if to grab something, so he opened fire.
On Bill Bennett's radio show Wednesday, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) referred to men "in our inner cities" as avoiding work, a remark some on the left blasted as being racially coded. Ryan criticized a "tailspin of culture, in our inner cities in particular, of men not working and just generations of men not even thinking about working or learning the value and the culture of work." Writer Jamelle Bouie of the Daily Beast responded, "Ryan's target isn't 'the poor' -- a broad category that includes a large swath of Americans -- as much as it's the 'inner city poor,' which for most people, translates to the black poor."
Charles Pierce on Sarah Palin's CPAC speech: "She is the living representation of the infantilization of American politics, a poisonous Grimm Sister telling toxic fairy tales to audiences drunk on fear, and hate and nonsense. She respects no standards but her own. She is in perpetual tantrum, railing against her betters, which is practically everyone, and volunteering for the job of avatar to the country?s reckless vandal of a political Id. It was the address of a malignant child delivered to an audience of malignant children." read more
The ice cream moguls Ben Cohen and Jerry Greenfield have launched the Stamp Stampede campaign to amend the Constitution to ban corporate personhood and establish that money is not speech. As part of their campaign to get money out of politics, they are encouraging people to stamp bills with messages, which can be purchased at their site. The site states, "We're over 33 percent of the way to an amendment. 16 states have voted for it. 150 Members of Congress support it." read more
Fox News host Stuart Varney is outraged that state governments are continuing to help the poor feed themselves, even after Congress agreed to cut spending on food stamps. The farm bill passed Jan. 29 cuts about $800 million from the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP), but officials in Connecticut, New York, and Pennsylvania have made changes to state programs to tie food-stamp eligibility to home-heating assistance to allow more low-income families to be eligible for aid. "This completely negates, almost entirely negates the cuts that Congress imposed," Varney said Tuesday on Fox & Friends. "It shows you, once you've got a program, you can never get rid of it and it's very difficult to cut. Now what's really going on here is the government's buying votes."
Another battle in Tesla Motors' nationwide war with car dealers seems imminent. The latest state to oppose Tesla's direct-sales model is New Jersey, which the company says is on the verge of passing rules that would push its direct-sales model out of the Garden State. A proposed rule change expected to be approved at a meeting of the New Jersey Motor Vehicle Commission at 2 p.m. today in Trenton would require all new-car dealers to provide a franchise agreement in order to receive a license from the state. However, since Tesla is both the manufacturer and distributor of its vehicles, that would be impossible: The company could not produce a franchise agreement with itself. read more
Julie Boonstra says in an Americans for Prosperity anti-Obamacare ad that she was diagnosed with leukemia five years ago and her health care plan was canceled when Obamacare went into effect. "Now, the out-of-pocket costs are so high, it's unaffordable," she said. This claim is false. Before her plan was canceled, Boonstra was paying a $1,100 monthly premium. That's $13,200 a year, without adding out-of-pocket expenses like co-pays and prescription drugs. But under her new plan, the Blue Cross Premier Gold, Boonstra's premiums are down to $571 a month and out-of-pocket costs are capped at $5,100. That's a maximum annual expense of $11,952 a year. According to the Detroit News, Boonstra said it "can't be true" that her new coverage is cheaper than her old. "I personally do not believe that," she said.
An attempt to fight racism at a community college may have backfired. A group of employees at South Puget Sound Community College sent out an invitation to all 300 staffers for a "happy hour" to "build support and community" for people of color. The invite made it clear white people were not invited: "If you want to create space for white folks to meet and work on racism, white supremacy, and white privilege to better our campus community and yourselves, please feel free to do just that." The group apologized the next day and cancelled the event. "It was obviously a mistake," said SPSCC's Dean of College Relations, Kellie Purce Braseth. read more
Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton leads New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and other Republican presidential contenders in Iowa by double digits, according to a new poll. Forty-eight percent of Iowan voters support Clinton compared to 35 percent for Christie, according to a Quinnipiac University poll released Thursday. She also leads Kentucky Sen. Rand Paul 49 percent to 39 percent, Texas Sen. Ted Cruz 51 percent to 35 percent and former Florida Gov. Jeb Bush 51 percent to 37 percent.