Republican complaints aren’t even valid

I could mean all of their complaints, but I have a specific one in mind:

The White House on Thursday dismissed as “kinda ridiculous” complaints that President Barack Obama has been billing taxpayers for criss-crossing the country, giving speeches in states that could be critical to his reelection campaign…

The press secretary also hit out at critics who have noted that Obama’s message at political events is largely indistinguishable from his official events.”The suggestion that there is something wrong with the fact that the president says the same thing about what his vision is, and what his policies are, and what his beliefs are in front of official audiences, non political audiences, as he does in front of audiences who are his supporters, I think is kinda ridiculous,” Carney said.

How dare someone be consistent. This is American politics, god damn it.

Polls: President Obama making gains amongst women

Who can say this was unexpected?

Female voters in battleground states are rallying around President Obama in droves, according to a new USA Today/Gallup poll released Monday, suggesting a gender gap could pose one of the Republicans’ biggest challenges in this fall’s general election race.

Obama led Mitt Romney by 18 percentage points among female registered voters in the nation’s top 12 swing states. The gender gap between Obama and Rick Santorum was 15 points. USA Today reports that this is the “first significant lead” the president has held in these key voting states.

I think the only surprising thing about this is that it isn’t always like this.

And the Republicans lose the rhetoric battle

I have written in the past about when I know I’ve beat someone in a debate. The best sign comes when that person starts stealing my rhetoric in a way which is not intended to quote or mock:

It’s sort of like when something embarrassing happens to a kid in grade school who in turn tries and do something more embarrassing to someone else. Or, equally, when a kid drops his ice cream on the ground, so he goes and knocks his brothers’ ice cream down too. Something negative happened to a person and that person wants to reflect that negative thing onto someone else in order to make himself feel better.

I had this in mind when I heard that the Republican National Committee released an ad contending that President Obama had a “War on Women”. Take a look:

It’s no secret that the Republicans have been facing a lot of criticism for their actions towards women in recent months. The result has been for people to popularly say the GOP is waging a “war on women”. Now the RNC is responding by simply declaring that Obama is the one who is waging a “war on women”. It’s almost hilarious.

I don’t expect very much from Republicans, but this ad is especially uncreative. It doesn’t say anything new. It isn’t well made. And worst of all, it’s just stealing the rhetoric from the other side. The RNC dropped its ice cream and now it wants to slap everyone else’s cones to the ground too.

The President to Betty White

I often speak of how much I loathe oldness. It’s just awful. So it’s a good thing Betty White has nothing to do with it. She turned 90 yesterday.

Government widens definition of rape

I was a little worried when I read the headline that the government is widening its definition of rape. As I wrote last month, the CDC already has a definition that includes acts which, although horrible, are not rape. Such inaccurate definitions dilute what it means to be raped. I can’t imagine doing anything much worse than that. Fortunately, the government is not going homeopathic on the term:

Until now, the FBI’s standard counted only forcible vaginal penetration of a woman as “rape.” The new definition expands rape to include oral and anal sex acts against women as well as men. It also says if a victim cannot give consent for any reason, the crime is a rape even if force is not used.

That includes any victim who cannot consent due to alcohol or drug use, who is under the age of consent, or who is mentally or physically incapable of consent.

Who knew that men weren’t included? Or anal and oral penetration? In fact, forced penetration with objects has not been included until now. All of these exclusions have always been a part of my definition of rape, as I have specifically said in the past. I had no idea, though, just how much I was only talking about my definition.

None of this is going to affect how crimes are prosecuted since states have their own definitions, but this will impact the accuracy of reporting:

“This major policy change will lead to more accurate reporting and far more comprehensive understanding of this devastating crime,” said Valerie Jarrett, a senior adviser to President Barack Obama.

“Without an accurate understanding of the magnitude of the problem, how can we effectively solve it? Definitions matter because people matter,” she added.

Now we just need organizations like the CDC to get on board. Reporting molestation and other terrible non-rape crimes as rape undermines the life-shaking experiences of those who actually have been raped, whether orally or anally or vaginally or with a foreign object. This change is a good thing.

Jobs, Obama, and Bush

Here are two charts concerning job losses and gains. The first represents the time shortly before President Obama took office until roughly today:

And this next one represents the recession faced by Bush, plus a comparable period of following years as compared to the previous chart:

via Paul Krugman

I hope he holds his ground

The President has threatened a veto if Republicans unnecessarily attach a decision on an oil pipeline to a bill concerning a payroll tax. Of course, the Republican controlled house said ‘fuck it’ and just went ahead and did what it wanted anyway. It probably won’t get to the President because it will die in the Senate, but I hope he holds his ground if it does find its way to his desk. It isn’t that I don’t think the pipeline should be put in place – it should – I just don’t think it should be attached to a tax bill. Moreover, this is a great opportunity to show that the Republicans don’t give two-shits about tax cuts. They merely care about tax cuts for their donors ‘job creators’. (Where are all those jobs, by the way? In fact, where have they ever been? Bueller? Bueller?) Since this tax cut is for the middle class, and because it will spur at the very least some activity since 70% of the economy is driven by the consumer (gasp! alert the papers! we must let the Republicans have this information for the first time in their lives!) and this puts more money in the hands of the consumer, the Republicans aren’t interested.

Thought of the day

Dead or dying because of President Obama: bin Laden, al-Awlaki, Gadhafi, the war in Iraq.

Dead or dying because of Republicans: the economy, hope, change.

This is really shitty

At a recent Republican debate, Rick Santorum fielded a question via video by a gay soldier, Stephen Hill. Hill asked what the Republican candidates intended to do in reference to the excellent repeal of DADT. Here’s the video:

Rick Mix of Lube Santorum has been on a crusade through most of his lack-luster campaign to get the conservative social vote, so the awful things he said in that video aren’t a surprise. For instance, when he says sex should not be involved in the military, he’s implying that being gay means doing nothing but having crazy, crazy butt sex anywhere and everywhere. We all know that’s what he means because the Christian right actually thinks that’s what it’s all about. And I know I often say what a fan of rhetoric I am, but just because what someone says is effective – it is in this case because he’s appealing directly to the misconceptions and ignorance of his audience – that doesn’t mean it isn’t really shitty.

In better political news, President Obama took on the Republican answers at the debate as well as the boos the soldier received from the audience:

“We don’t believe in standing silent when that happens,” Obama said in the keynote address at the annual convention of the Human Rights Campaign, the largest U.S. gay lobby group…

“You want to be commander in chief?” he asked. “You can start by standing up for the men and woman in uniform” and support them even when it is not politically convenient.

To be fair, Obama is obviously waiting until after the 2012 elections to come out in favor of gay marriage – we all know he will – and that is political convenience, but I can’t imagine him standing for an audience that boos a service member. For that matter, I don’t know as Dubya would have stood for it. Of course, except for perhaps Huntsman, this is a notably crazy crop of Republicans this year so maybe I shouldn’t hold them to very high standards.

Dubya declines Obama invitation

Dubya doesn’t want to visit Ground Zero with President Obama:

A spokesman for George W. Bush says the former president has declined an invitation from President Barack Obama to attend an observance at New York’s ground zero.

Obama plans to visit the site of the destroyed World Trade Center towers Thursday in the aftermath of a Navy SEALs raid that killed Osama bin Laden. The al-Qaida attack, which killed about 3,000 people, occurred in the early months of Bush’s presidency in 2001.

The spokesman, David Sherzer, says the former president appreciated the offer to attend but has chosen to remain out of the spotlight during his post-presidency.

You know why he really declined? Because he was dumb and said things like this:

I don’t know where bin Laden is. I have no idea and really don’t care. It’s not that important. It’s not our priority. (March 13, 2002)

Makes it difficult to take credit.

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