Visual source: Newseum
Michael Crowley at TIME looks at the Marco Rubio chatter:
Now that Mitt Romney has, in an important psychological sense, clinched the Republican nomination, the conversation is turning to the question of his running mate. And everyone seems to agree that Florida Senator Marco Rubio is a compelling option: young, telegenic, Hispanic and from a critical swing state. There’s just one problem–Rubio insists he doesn’t want to be vice president.
It’s true that, at times, he has offered something less than a completely airtight, LBJ-style “will not accept” statement. But in October he called the prospect “off the table” and said yes when asked if he was “ruling that out.” Just yesterday, he declared, “I’m not going to be Vice President.” To my ears this is a solid notch more negative than the typical coyness of someone who covets the number-two slot but doesn’t want to appear overeager. By contrast, Ohio Senator Rob Portman, another likely veep candidate, declined a similar chance to rule out the prospect to Politico recently, although he too downplayed his interest.
also looks at potential Mitt Romney running mates and starts off with the Rubio possibility as well:
Playing second fiddle to Mitt Romney won’t be easy, but somebody has to be his running mate. Let’s handicap the field:
●Florida Sen. Marco Rubio: The choice who offers the biggest potential reward — for the biggest risk.The telegenic young Cuban American could potentially shore up three of the Romney campaign’s weaknesses: He is an unambiguous conservative, elected with Tea Party backing, who would temper Romney’s “Massachusetts moderate” image among the disgruntled GOP base. Rubio’s groundbreaking candidacy could lure back some of the Hispanic voters driven away by Republican policies. And he happens to come from a huge swing state that Romney has to win to have a chance at the White House.
But Rubio would be a roll of the dice. How would he perform under the microscopic scrutiny that any candidate for national office must endure? Pitted against Vice President Biden in a debate, would he seem callow and uninformed? Rubio could brighten Romney’s prospects, but there’s also a chance he could dim them considerably.
writes in The New York Times
about conservative attacks against the Fed:
A few days ago, Alan Greenspan, the former chairman of the Federal Reserve, spoke out in defense of his successor. Attacks on Ben Bernanke by Republicans, he told The Financial Times, are “wholly inappropriate and destructive.” He’s right about that — which makes this one of the very few things the ex-maestro has gotten right in the past few years. [...]
the real reason the attacks on Mr. Bernanke from the right are so destructive is that they’re an effort to bully the Fed into doing exactly the wrong thing. The attackers want the Fed to slam on the brakes when it should be stepping on the gas; they want the Fed to choke off recovery when it should be doing much more to accelerate recovery. Fundamentally, the right wants the Fed to obsess over inflation, when the truth is that we’d be better off if the Fed paid less attention to inflation and more attention to unemployment. Indeed, a bit more inflation would be a good thing, not a bad thing. [..]
True, Mr. Bernanke likes to insist that he and his colleagues aren’t affected by politics. But that claim is hard to square with the Fed’s actions, or rather lack of action. As many observers have noted, the Fed’s own forecasts indicate that while things have been looking up a bit lately, it still expects low inflation and high unemployment for years to come. Given that prospect, more of the “quantitative easing” that is now the main tool of Fed policy should be a no-brainer. Yet the recently released minutes from a March 13 meeting show a Fed inclined to do nothing unless things take a turn for the worse.
At The Los Angeles Times
, Bill McKibben
writes about fossil fuel subsidies:
Start this way: You subsidize something you want to encourage, something that might not happen if you didn't support it financially. Take education. We build schools, pay teachers and give government loans and grants to college kids. Families too have embraced education subsidies, with tuition often being the last big subsidy we give the children we've raised. The theory is: Young people don't know enough yet. We need to give them a hand and a chance when it comes to further learning, so they'll be a help to society in the future. From that analogy, here are five rules that should be applied to the fossil-fuel industry.
Don't subsidize those who already have plenty of cash on hand.
No one would propose a government program of low-interest loans to send the richest kids in the country to college. We assume that the wealthy will pay full freight. Similarly, we should assume that the fossil-fuel business, the most profitable industry on Earth, should pay its way. What possible reason is there for giving, say, Exxon a tax break? Year after year the company sets records for money-making. Last year it managed to rake in a mere $41 billion in profit, just failing to break its own 2008 all-time mark of $45 billion.
looks at ALEC and the wave of Republican legislation it's helped to enact across the country:
Pressure has been brought to bear on a number of large corporations that help fund ALEC’s work, which allegedly promotes “pro-business” legislation in state legislatures across the nation. The ALEC staff drafts model bills that conservative, mostly Republican, lawmakers push in the individual states. Two of these companies, Coca-Cola and Pepsi, have resigned in the wake of the Trayvon Martin case.
The work of ALEC goes far beyond “pro-business” legislation like right-to-work laws and efforts to break public employees’ unions. Other model legislation that the group has advanced include bills targeting illegal immigrants and those that would limit voter participation by requiring photo identification cards.
A report on National Public Radio yesterday noted that House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, was once a proud ALEC member. In remarks to the organization in 2009, he said: “Not only does [ALEC] bring like-minded legislators together, but the private sector engagement and partnership in ALEC is really what I think makes it the organization that it is.”
Those who remember the right-wing demonization of ACORN, the citizen’s action group with which President Obama had ties in Chicago, may find it interesting that the goals of that group included much of what ALEC crusades against. ACORN advocated for low- and moderate-income families by focusing on neighborhood safety, affordable health care, increased democratic participation through voter registration, affordable housing and other issues.
at The Hartford Courant
has some advice for those of you attending family gatherings this weekend:
One thing to remember when it comes to celebrating the holidays together: Heaven makes you family, but a new generation of selective serotonin reintake inhibitors, known as SSRIs, can make you friends.
I'd like to offer five suggestions for ways to make time with your extended family easier to manage:
1. Keep your mouth full at all times. That's right. Stuff your cheeks like a chipmunk. The more food you shovel into your craw, the less possibility there is of saying something inflammatory. [...]
5. Remember that you will never change anybody's mind about the following topics: politics, contraception, foreign vs. domestic automobiles, country music, global warming, cats vs. dogs, boxing, evolution, high-protein diets, texting, unions, Julia Roberts, religion, Jay Leno vs. Conan O'Brien vs. David Letterman, jeggings, public education, ghosts and primogeniture.
The best parts of any holiday are the serendipitous moments of laughter and connection not caught on video but recorded, indestructible, in our hearts.
If that's not working, there's usually cake; remember suggestion No. 1.