Thursday, February 16, 2012

Foster Friess Can't Be Serious About Using Asprin as Birth Control

In an interview with Andrea Mitchell on MSNBC Thursday, billionaire Santorum backer Foster Friess said that debates over the candidate's personal objections to contraception are overblown, adding that, in his day, "gals" used aspirin as birth control.
In a rather strange joke, Friess said: "This contraception thing, my gosh it's so inexpensive. Back in my day they used Bayer aspirin for contraceptives, the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." Friess is presumably saying all women who didn't want to become pregnant were abstinent and thus had no need for birth control.
MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell stuttered for a moment before saying, "Excuse me, I'm just trying to catch my breath from that."
Earlier in his comments, Friess dismissed the debate over Santorum's personal objections to birth control as a waste of time, saying that America has bigger problems to face. But his colorful comments suggest birth control will not be leaving the headlines any time soon.
Conservative reporter Matt Lewis wrote yesterday that Santorum's earlier comments about birth control will make trouble for Santorum's campaign, and suggested that the candidate might need to have a "contraception speech" to clarify his position. "It's not okay because it's a license to do things in the sexual realm that is counter to how things are supposed to be," Santorum said in October about contraception, though he has also said that he supports individuals' choice to use it.
Elspeth Reeve 2,275 Views2:10 PM ET
Rick Santorum backer Foster Friess shocked MSNBC's Andrea Mitchell into silence when he told her, "Back in my days, they used Bayer Aspirin for contraceptives -- the gals put it between their knees and it wasn't that costly." He was trying to minimize the fuss everyone is making over Santorum's opposition to birth control, but the remark has only made more of a ruckus.
There are a lot of words certain people would attach to Mr. Friess in response to that comment -- "sexist," "extremist," "teller of lame jokes." We would go with "liar," because we do not think that is the type of birth control that Mr. Friess used back in his day. Friess' website says he was captain of the basketball, track, golf and baseball teams. The captain of the basketball, track, golf, and baseball teams has never graduated a virgin in the history of high school.


Obama poised to win 2012 election with 303 electoral votes: The Signal Forecast

With fewer than nine months to go before Election Day, The Signal predicts that Barack Obama will win the presidential contest with 303 electoral votes to the Republican nominee's 235.
How do we know? We don't, of course. Campaigns and candidates evolve, and elections are dynamic events with more variables than can reasonably be distilled in an equation. But the data--based on a prediction engine created by Yahoo! scientists--suggest a second term is likely for the current president. This model does not use polls or prediction markets to directly gauge what voters are thinking. Instead, it forecasts the results of the Electoral College based on past elections, economic indicators, measures of state ideology, presidential approval ratings, incumbency, and a few other politically agnostic factors.
We'll dip into what the model says in a moment, but first a note about models in general: there are a lot of them, from complex equations generated by nerdy academics (like the team at The Signal) to funny coincidences like the Redskins Rule, which holds that the incumbent party keeps the White House if Washington's football team wins its last home game. (This is true in 17 of the last 18 elections!) Every year, some of these models are right and some are wrong, and the difference is often just luck. As a result, models get a bad rap as being very good at predicting the past and lousy at predicting the future.
But every election gives researchers more data to work with and a better idea of what works and what doesn't. Not all models are bogus just because many of them are. Our model combines powerful scientific algorithms with both real-time and historical data sources. We have examined the last 10 presidential elections and found that the Yahoo! model, which is the work of Yahoo Labs economists Patrick Hummel and David Rothschild, would have correctly predicted the winner in 88 percent of the 500 individual state elections.
The following chart shows our predictions for each state in the general election, based on this model.
Yahoo Signal election predictionsYahoo Signal election predictions
In addition to predicting winners, you'll see that the Yahoo! model predicts by how much each candidate will win each state. These estimates are, on average, under 3 percentage points off. (We exclude Washington, D.C., in the model and assume it will go for the Democratic candidate.)
The Yahoo! model assumes that the president's approval rating will stay the same between now and mid-June, that each of the 50 states will report personal income growth that is average for an election year, and that certain key indicators of state ideology will remain unchanged this year. Although the model currently predicts that Obama will win 303 electoral votes in November, please note that it predicts only probabilities of victory, and that many states are nearly toss-ups.
Because Mitt Romney has the lead in the delegate race for the Republican presidential nomination, for this table we assume that the Republican candidate's home state is Massachusetts and that the Republican candidate's home region is the East.
This may be a conservative estimate for Obama, because January's economic indicators suggest that the states are likely to experience greater-than-average income growth in the first quarter. We will update our predictions accordingly when the actual data from the current year is available.
A key finding of the model is that economic trends—whether things are getting better or worse than they were a month ago—are more meaningful than the level state of the economy. In other words, whether the unemployment rate is increasing or decreasing is more important than what the unemployment rate actually is.
Another lesson of this model is that, while campaigns and candidates matter, they don't matter all that much. Despite the varying quality and positions of the campaigns and candidates over the last 10 presidential elections, variables beyond their immediate control describe the outcome very well. A brilliant or lucky campaigner is at an advantage, but the net effect of politics and strategy, averaged over the past 40 years, is just the small variation that the Yahoo! model cannot predict.
In the following weeks, The Signal will have more posts that describe how the model was built and what its implications are. Rothschild is scheduled to give a talk on an academic paper that he and Hummel are writing on the Yahoo! model in May at the American Association for Public Opinion Research national convention.
David Rothschild is an economist at Yahoo Labs. He has a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation is in creating aggregated forecasts from individual-level information. Follow him on Twitter @DavMicRot and email him at
Chris Wilson is editor of The Signal. Follow him at @chriswilsondc.

Polls now favor Santorum, the ninth flip of the nomination

By David Rothschild | The SignalTue, Feb 14, 2012

Rick Santorum has slipped ahead of the Mitt Romney in the polls, marking an ignominious milestone in the Republican nomination: Since last summer, when Romney was at the top of the early polls, the lead has switched nine times. In order, it's gone to Rick Perry, Romney, Herman Cain, Romney, Gingrich, Romney, Gingrich, Romney, and Santorum, who now leads the Real Clear Politics' aggregated trend with 30.2 percent to Romney's 28.6 percent. Notice a pattern?
The Signal continues to predict that Romney will win the nomination. According to the prediction markets, he has a 72.8 percent likelihood to win the nomination, followed by Santorum at a non-negligible 17.8 percent. That's a far more vulnerable position for the former Massachusetts governor than he found himself in a few weeks ago, but it's still an uphill battle for Santorum. On the following chart, the vertical line represents when the first polls closed on Tuesday, February 7, when Santorum won three primary states (two for delegates and one beauty contest).
Likelihood of Republican Nomination for President_Feb14
Sources: Betfair and Intrade
Santorum has also but he has overtaken Romney in recent polls in Michigan. On the strength of recent polls by American Research Group and PPP--two polling organizations which use questionable methodologies--the New York Time's Nate Silver has Santorum 75 percent likely to carry the state where Romney was born, his father served as governor, and he carried easily in 2008.
We are a little more cautious with Santorum; The markets suggest he is 55.7 percent likely to carry Michigan to Romney's 44.7 percent. These numbers have certainly moved in Santorum's favor over the last few days, but not nearly as much as in those models that rely completely on polling.
The reason that our numbers differ from the polling numbers is because we are looking forward, where the polls attempt to take a snapshot of the world today. Romney has serious advantages over Santorum as the Michigan primary and the rest of the GOP nominating contests progress. Romney has much more money and organization than Santorum. And the polls so far have reliably returned to Romney after every flirtation (or re-flirtation) with another candidate, with the regularity of a dippy bird.
Follow along on PredictWise for the real-time likelihood of the upcoming republican primaries, the Republican nomination, and the presidential election.
David Rothschild is an economist at Yahoo! Research. He has a Ph.D. in applied economics from the Wharton School of Business at the University of Pennsylvania. His dissertation is in creating aggregated forecasts from individual-level information. Follow him on Twitter @DavMicRot and email him at

Nigerian underwear bomber gets life sentence

Umar Abdumutallab, the man who tried to blow up an airplane on Christmas day two years ago, has been sentenced in a federal courtroom in Detroit. NBC's Pete Williams reports.
DETROIT -- Nigerian Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab, who tried to blow up a Detroit-bound international flight with and underwear bomb on Christmas Day 2009 on behalf of al-Qaida, was sentenced to life in prison without parole Thursday.
The hearing before federal Judge Nancy Edmunds was an open platform for Abdulmutallab and passengers and crew of Northwest Airlines Flight 253 who wanted to speak.

Abdulmutallab, 25, the son of a wealthy Nigerian banker, pleaded guilty in October and admitted he was on a suicide mission for al-Qaida when he tried to detonate explosive chemicals hidden in his underwear minutes before the plane landed at Detroit Metropolitan Airport.

Umar Farouk Abdulmutallabterrorists

In his court statement Thursday, according to NBC station WDIV of Detroit, Abdulmutallab praised Allah and ranted that his life and the life of Muslims has changed. He said al-Qaida leader Osama bin Laden and other
the government says were killed are   alive.
He called his sentencing hearing a day of victory and claimed U.S. attorneys on his case intentionally misquoted him and mishandled his case "to achieve their Hebrew goals." He said the Jews need to be "ripped out of Palestine … the capital of the Muslim world."
Assistant U.S. Attorney Cathleen Corken played an FBI video to demonstrate the destructive force of explosives similar to those Abdulmutallab carried. A brief but intense flame was seen in slow motion when the explosives were detonated in an outdoor field on a sheet of aluminum sitting on two wooden sawhorses.
RAW VIDEO: The Justice Department has released video of FBI tests showing the potential explosive force equivalent to the underwear bomb device Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab attempted to detonate aboard Northwest Airlines Flight 253 on Christmas Day 2009.

Edmunds, in sentencing Abdulmutallab to multiple life sentences, said, “The defendant has never expressed doubt or regret or remorse about his mission,” The Detroit Free Press reported. “To the contrary, he sees that mission as divinely inspired and a continuing mission.”
As Edmunds said the sentence was "just punishment" for what he had done, Abdulmutallab sat quietly with his hands folded under his chin and did not show any reaction.
Inside the courtroom: Updates from NBC station WDIV
The government said Abdulmutallab first performed a ritual in the airplane lavatory — brushing his teeth and perfuming himself — and returned to his seat. The device didn't work as planned, but still produced flame, smoke and panic in the cabin.
In a defiant speech as he pleaded guilty in October, Abdulmutallab said he was carrying a "blessed weapon" to avenge Muslims who have been killed or poorly treated around the world. He admitted he was inspired by Anwar al-Awlaki, a radical American-born cleric and leading al-Qaida figure in Yemen who was killed by a U.S. drone strike last fall.
"The Quran obliges every able Muslim to participate in jihad and fight in the way of Allah those who fight you, and kill them wherever you find them ... an eye for an eye, a tooth for a tooth," Abdulmutallab said.
Anthony Chambers, an attorney appointed to assist Abdulmutallab, had urged Edmunds to declare that a mandatory life sentence is unconstitutional, claiming it is a cruel punishment in a case where no one but Abdulmutallab was physically hurt. His groin was badly burned.
The government said that is not the threshold.
"Unsuccessful terrorist attacks still engender fear in the broader public, which, after all, is one of their main objectives," prosecutors said in a court filing Wednesday. "In addition, the enormous cost of the augmented security measures adopted as a direct result of defendant's unsuccessful terrorist attack are borne by the American public at large in both increased cost, inconvenience and wasted time at airports."
Among four passengers and a crew member who testified, WDIV reported, was Kurt Haskell, a lawyer who was traveling with his wife, Lori. Haskell, reiterating charges in his blog, said the government conspired with Abdulmutallab to carry a defective bomb onto the plane to give the government a reason to install full-body scanners at airports.
The Associated Press reported that passenger Shama Chopra, 56, of Montreal, also plans to speak in court. She ran unsuccessfully for the Canadian Parliament in 2011, a race she couldn't have imagined joining years ago.
"I don't have to feel weak," Chopra said Wednesday. "I don't have to be scared of anything. God has given me a second chance to live."
The Associated Press contributed to this report.

ABC News via Getty Images
This handout government image provided by ABC news shows the underwear with the explosive worn by alleged bomber Umar Farouk Abdulmutallab in his failed attempt to down a Northwest Airlines flight over Detroit on Dec. 28, 2009.

Why the GOP looks to federal workers to pay

Updated 3:35 pm ET
When congressional Republicans try to figure out how to avert cuts in defense spending, or offset the cost of an extension of unemployment insurance, it is often federal workers they look to for the money.
A dispute over making federal employees pay a bigger share of their pensions was one snarl that delayed the bipartisan accord announced Wednesday night on a bill to extend the payroll tax cut, continue unemployment benefits for long-term jobless people, and avert a 27 percent cut in payments to doctors serving Medicare patients.

Pete Marovich / Getty Images
Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., proposed to come up with the money to fend off cuts to the defense department by hiring only two workers for every three who leave federal employment.

For months, Republicans have been pushing bills to reduce the federal workforce through attrition. Republicans point out that since 2007 the federal workforce has grown by 14 percent, even as the recession decimated private sector jobs.
Earlier this month when Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz. and a phalanx of other pro-military Republican senators warned of automatic spending cuts looming at the end of the year, they proposed to come up with the money to fend off those cuts by hiring only two workers for every three who leave federal employment.

Related: House speaker says payroll tax bill won't add jobs

McCain and his allies also wanted to maintain the freeze on cost-of-living wage increases for federal employees until mid-2014. The House voted last month to keep the cost-of-living pay freeze for this year and next year. Even with the freeze, federal workers still do get pay increases based on performance and length of service.
Why do Republicans look to federal workers as the money source?
One obvious reason is Republicans’ aversion to tax increases – and their knowledge that the real struggle over taxes will begin only after Election Day, when a lame-duck Congress and President Obama will get down to haggling over the income tax rates and tax credits that expire on Dec. 31.
But Republicans also turn to federal workers for the money because they point out that they’re better compensated than workers with comparable skills and experience in the private sector, according to an analysis released last month by the Congressional Budget Office.
The CBO said that overall, the federal government paid 16 percent more in total compensation than it would have if compensation had been comparable with that in private sector firms.
The biggest difference is not in pay, but in benefits: “On average for workers at all levels of education, the cost of hourly benefits was 48 percent higher for federal civilian employees than for private-sector employees with certain similar observable characteristics,” the CBO said.
And the thing that federal workers have that most private-sector workers do not -- the defined-benefit pension plan – was a bone of contention in the bargaining over the payroll tax package.
In the end, instead of increasing the amount all federal workers must pay for their pension benefit, the accord makes only new federal employees pay more.
With Maryland having 137,000 executive branch workers, House Budget Committee ranking member Rep. Chris Van Hollen and Senate Finance Committee member Sen. Ben Cardin, both of Maryland, fought hard to limit the damage to those workers in the deal that was announced Wednesday night.
Cardin said Wednesday before the agreement was clinched, that those putting together the deal “are asking… that a large part of the offsets that help working families that are out of work be paid for by other middle-income working families” -- by federal employees. “To me that’s not fair,” Cardin said.
In a joint statement Thursday, Cardin and Van Hollen said that altough they were happy the final deal didn't affect current federal workers, "we still strongly oppose the provision that raises $15 billion to help offset the cost of this package from future workers."
They argued that it was "inherently unfair" that the money to offset the cost of extending unemployment insurance came from "additional sacrifice from other middle-class families rather than the very wealthiest Americans who can afford to pay more but continue to pay less."
The battle over federal workers here on Capitol Hill is another front in the long-running GOP struggle against public-sector unions that played out in Wisconsin last year where Republican Gov. Scott Walker fought to have public-sector workers pay more of their pension and health insurance costs and signed a law curbing their right to collective bargaining.

Obama touts manufacturing at Wisconsin plant


Saul Loeb / AFP - Getty Images
President Barack Obama speaks with employee Eric Hammerer as he tours the manufacturing facility at Master Lock, maker of security locks, prior to speaking on the economy in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, February 15, 2012.

By The Associated Press President Barack Obama called Wednesday for tax cuts for American manufacturers and higher taxes for companies that move overseas, pressing what he hopes will be a winning campaign issue.
Appearing at a Milwaukee padlock plant, Obama said the U.S. must do everything it can to make it more attractive for American businesses to stay put and grow here home, "and the place to start is our tax code."
The president visited Master Lock, a manufacturer that has brought jobs back to the United States. Reprising ideas from his State of the Union address, he asked Congress to approve tax system changes right away, including a minimum tax on multinational companies, so that American firms can't skirt taxes by moving jobs and profits overseas. He also pushed for tax breaks for businesses that move into communities that have been hurt by factories leaving town.
"Don't wait. Do it now. Get it done," Obama shouted, his jacket removed and shirtsleeves rolled up, as he stood in front of a pile of stacked orange metal boxes, including one stamped "Made in the USA."

Recommended: How much support would Romney have given to automakers?

Obama, who is en route to a three-day West Coast fundraising swing, said he decided to visit Master Lock "because this company has been making the most of a huge opportunity that exists right now to bring jobs and manufacturing back to America." And he called on other businesses to follow its lead and take advantage of rising costs overseas and growing productivity at home.
Master Lock brought back 100 jobs to the U.S. from China in response to higher labor and logistical costs in Asia.
Pointing to a rebound in manufacturing and pushing U.S. businesses to extend it, the president said: "Ask what you can do to bring jobs back to your country, and your country will do everything we can to help you succeed."
The president made his economic pitch as Congress was poised to advance a key component of the jobs agenda he unveiled last September. Lawmakers from both parties were praising an emerging deal Wednesday on extending a payroll tax cut through the end of the year and renewing jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed. They hoped to send the measure to Obama within days.
The extension would be a win for Obama, who has said the cut in the Social Security payroll tax — amounting to about $40 per paycheck for the average worker — is vital to keeping the economy on the right path.
"I'm glad to see that Congress is making progress," Obama said. "It will make a real difference in the lives of millions of people and as soon as Congress sends an extension of this tax cut and unemployment insurance to my desk, I will sign it right away."
Obama has repeatedly talked up the nation's manufacturing base as an engine of growth and a sign of a recovering economy. He has urged companies to promote "insourcing," promising new tax incentives for businesses that bring jobs to the U.S. instead of shipping them overseas and eliminating tax breaks for companies that outsource jobs.
The manufacturing sector was hard-hit for more than a decade. Manufacturers shed 5.8 million jobs from 1999 to 2009 as many companies shifted jobs overseas to take advantage of lower costs and many plants were modernized and automated, allowing firms to do more with fewer workers.
But the sector has shown more vitality in recent months, bolstering Obama's case. Manufacturers added 50,000 jobs in January, the most in a year, and added 237,000 jobs in 2011, the largest annual boost since 1997. Of the 3.2 million jobs added by the economy since February 2010, about 400,000 are in manufacturing.
Obama carried Wisconsin by 14 points in 2008 but is expected to face a more difficult challenge this year after Republicans captured nearly every statewide office two years ago and the president's standing declined in parts of the Midwest. Obama's visit coincided with the one-year anniversary of the first widespread protests against proposals from Republican Gov. Scott Walker to effectively end collective bargaining rights for most public workers.
Walker, who greeted Obama at the airport, had been scheduled to join him for the event at Master Lock but decided at the last minute not to attend. Walker's spokesman, Cullen Werwie, said the governor was recovering from the flu and had to cancel his plans to go to the event.
The governor has been targeted for a recall election that could come in the spring or summer and has sought to define the outcome as a bellwether of how Obama will fare in Wisconsin next fall. Walker has said a win would deliver a "devastating blow" to Obama's re-election campaign.
But despite the political undertones Obama got a friendly tarmac welcome Wednesday from Walker, who presented him with a Milwaukee Brewers' jersey that bore the number 1 and Obama's name.
The two smiled and shook hands and Walker took a diplomatic tone in comments to a pool reporter at the airport: "Today's the president's day. I'm appreciative he's in Wisconsin, appreciative he's focused on manufacturing. We'll leave politics for another day."
The scene stood in stark contrast to Obama's tarmac moment with Arizona's Republican governor, Jan. Brewer, last month.
Most of Obama's trip will be devoted to fundraising. The president is holding eight fundraisers for his re-election campaign in the Los Angeles area, San Francisco and Seattle.
After departing Milwaukee, Obama was to attend two fundraisers in Los Angeles. The first is an outdoor fundraising reception at the home of soap opera producer Bradley Bell and his wife, Colleen, featuring a performance by the rock band the Foo Fighters. The campaign expects 1,000 supporters to attend, with tickets starting at $250.
Obama is also attending a dinner at Bell's home co-hosted by actor Will Ferrell and his wife, Viveca Paulin. Eighty people are expected to attend the dinner, with tickets costing $35,800. The fundraising will benefit the Obama Victory Fund, a joint fundraising committee for Obama's campaign and the Democratic National Committee.

Why Are Men Dominating the Debate About Birth Control for Women?

Why Are Men Dominating the Debate About Birth Control for Women?
Republican politicians are treading into murky (read: sexist) waters in the contraception debate. Earlier today, in protest of House Oversight Committee Chairman Rep. Darrell Issa's refusal to allow women onto a panel of witnesses at the hearing on the White House mandate to require employers and insurers to provide contraception coverage, Reps. Carolyn Maloney (D-NY) and Eleanor Holmes Norton (D-DC) walked out, garnering a significant amount of media attention and setting off an ensuing furor among women and men. Why no women? Issa said, “the hearing is not about reproductive rights and contraception but instead about the Administration’s actions as they relate to freedom of religion and conscience."

Currently under the Obama plan, in cases where religious groups are involved contraception coverage will be offered to women by their employers’ insurance companies directly, so that religious employers who oppose contraception don't have to be involved with that nasty business. What Issa means is that the hearing is about whether requiring insurers to cover birth control violates the religious freedom of people who don't believe that birth control should, essentially, exist. The people on his panel, then, were men. Religious men. (Two women appeared on a second panel at the hearing. Both spoke against contraception.)

But back to Issa's statement: How do you take "reproductive rights and contraception" out of a conversation about birth control? You can't. You might try to ignore those parts of the conversation because you want to get a specific answer, for a specific purpose. And allowing women on a panel to talk about how and why they need birth control -- and how and why they need insurers to pay for it -- detracts from that mission.

In tackier, more sensational headlines, Rick Santorum pal Foster Friess announced on MSNBC today that back in the old days the "gals" used to just put some Bayer Aspirin between their knees as a handy (and cheap!) contraception method. In addition to winning "most moronic statement of the day," Friess went on to further belittle the issue of birth control, insinuating that all this focus on stupid lady crap when there are more important issues at stake (like wars), is the marking of a randy, sex-obsessed culture:
Here we have millions of our fellow Americans unemployed, we have jihadist camps being set up in Latin America, which Rick has been warning about, and people seem to be so preoccupied with sex. I think it says something about our culture. We maybe need a massive therapy session so we can concentrate on what the real issues are.
Rush Limbaugh comes down on this side, with a bit more of a conspiracy angle, saying Democrats "ginned up" the contraception debate to divide the GOP and distract from the real issues.

RELATED: Even Republicans Want Employers to Cover Birth Control

But what are the real issues? Sex, and everything related to it -- you could argue that very little is not related to sex in some way -- surely, is one of them. Surely Friess knows that. (We dare say his words have the confessional mark of "methinks the man doth protest too much.")
Friess, Limbaugh, and Issa, each in different ways, are trying to desexualize and downplay the importance of an issue that is, at its core, about not only sex but also men and women, power, religion, socioeconomics, relationships, healthcare, equal rights, and, not to speak too broadly, but pretty much our entire global future. We'll throw Issa a bone: Fine, this particular hearing is also about freedom of religion and conscience -- things that women have opinions on just as much as men do, just like men should care about birth control just as much as women do. But, two facts: Men don't actually get pregnant, and we have nothing to gain from a one-sided conversation about an issue that impacts us all. It's doubly insulting when women, who have been dealing with birth control on their own for years, are left out of the conversation or added as an afterthought. Come on, politicians. We're all grown ups here. If you feel the need to giggle behind your hand when someone mentions sex, you should excuse yourself from the table. Didn't we all take health class back in high school? (As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi said today, “What else do you need to know about the subject? I may, I may at some point be moved to explain biology to my colleagues.”)
The simple answer of why men are dominating the conversation on birth control is that, regardless of strides made, men continue to largely dominate the conversation in politics. The more complicated answer is that the men who are dominating the conversation on birth control -- and you can count Mitt Romney, Rick Santorum, and Florida Senator Marco Rubio among those who've come out against the White House contraception plan -- are deeply afraid of losing the conservative vote, and, it seems, conservatives continue to be deeply afraid of women having free and equal control over their own bodies and all that follows from that. Like having sex. Creating fewer unwanted children. And women taking care of themselves. What a sin.
Image via Shutterstock by Mathom.

House speaker says payroll tax bill won't add jobs


Sen. Kay Bailey Hutchison, R-Texas, discusses the payroll tax deal saying she is unhappy with the current compromise and is unsure whether or not she will support it.
A compromise bill extending a payroll tax cut and jobless benefits for the long-term unemployed should be enacted, but it's not going to help the economy very much, House Speaker John Boehner said Thursday.
Boehner, R-Ohio, made the remarks hours after bipartisan congressional bargainers announced agreement on legislation extending those provisions through 2012 and heading off a steep cut in reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients. The bill would assure a continued tax cut for 160 million workers and jobless benefits for several million others, delivering top election-year priorities to President Barack Obama and edging a white-hot political battle a big step closer to resolution.
Boehner told reporters the accord is "a fair agreement and one that I support."
Bargainers completed the bill's final details Thursday afternoon, resolving technical questions about savings the bill would pluck from federal workers' pensions and government sales of portions of the broadcast spectrum.
One top negotiator, Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said leaders were anticipating pushing the legislation through Congress on Friday.
In a jab at Obama, Boehner minimized the impact the measure would have. Last fall, Obama proposed extending the payroll tax cut and added jobless benefits through this year as major pillars of his program for creating jobs.
"Let's be honest, this is an economic relief package, not a bill that is going to grow the economy and create jobs," Boehner said.
Boehner's comment underscored the GOP's desire to limit Obama's ability to declare victory over the legislation. The fight over the payroll tax cut and jobless benefits has been waged since late last year and has taken a political toll on Republicans.
Both proposals initially ran into GOP resistance, some of which lingers. But Republicans have largely concluded it would be damaging to oppose the package, particularly in this presidential and congressional election year.
That contrasted with their attitude in December, when House Republicans refused to back a bipartisan Senate bill providing a two-month extension of the tax cuts and jobless benefits while bargainers completed a yearlong deal. Within days, they retreated under barrages of criticism from Republicans and conservatives around the country.
Illustrating their reluctance to be seen as blocking a middle-class tax cut, House Republicans removed the major hurdle to the legislation earlier this week when they agreed that the payroll tax cut — comprising about two-thirds of the measure's cost — would not have to be paid for with spending cuts.
The House's top Democrat, Rep. Nancy Pelosi, said Democrats are mostly satisfied with the compromise and said it should be pushed through Congress quickly.
"I don't think the American people can wait another day," Pelosi, D-Calif., told reporters.
Pelosi said that while Democrats were hoping parts of the roughly $150 billion measure could be paid for with savings from winding down wars in Iraq and Afghanistan, "I don't see a scenario where our members would vote against it."
The two lead negotiators, Rep. David Camp, R-Mich., and Sen. Max Baucus, D-Mont., said shortly after midnight that they had reached agreement and that only technical issues and the drafting of legislative language remained.
The bargainers spent Wednesday trying to extinguish last-minute brushfires.
Chief among the late disputes was a proposal to save around $15 billion — about half the $30 billion cost of the bill's extended jobless benefits — by requiring federal workers to contribute an additional 1.5 percent of their pay to their pensions.
Democrats, including Sen. Ben Cardin and others from Maryland, home to many government employees, resisted that plan, holding up a final handshake among congressional bargainers. The provision was ultimately changed to target the boost only at newly hired federal workers, requiring them to contribute 2.3 percent of their salaries toward defined benefit pensions.
There was little controversy over the main thrust of the bill.
A 2-percentage-point cut in the 6.2 percent Social Security payroll tax, which is deducted from workers' paychecks, would run through 2012. For a family earning $50,000 a year, the cut saves $1,000 annually.
Extra unemployment benefits for people out of work the longest would be extended for the same period, and a 27 percent slash in federal reimbursements for physicians who treat Medicare patients would be averted.
Unless Congress acts, the tax cut and added jobless benefits would expire, and doctors' Medicare payments would be reduced, all on March 1.
In a GOP win, the bill would phase down the current maximum 99 weeks of jobless coverage to 73 weeks in the hardest-hit states by autumn, though in most states, people would get no more than 63 weeks.
Besides increasing new federal workers' pension contributions, more savings were supposed to come from government sales of parts of the broadcast spectrum to wireless companies. The spectrum auction was supposed to raise about $15 billion — even after $7 billion would be spent for a new communications network for emergency workers.
The government's main welfare program would be continued through this year. Republicans won a provision barring welfare recipients from using their electronic cards to withdraw cash from teller machines in liquor stores, strip clubs and casinos.
The $20 billion price tag for preventing the cut in doctors' Medicare reimbursements would be covered partly by trimming a fund Obama's health care overhaul created to help prevent obesity and smoking. There would also be reductions in Medicaid payments to hospitals that treat high numbers of uninsured patients.
Dropped from the final compromise were proposals to renew expiring business tax cuts; a GOP plan to require unemployment recipients to work toward high school equivalency diplomas; and another Republican provision, aimed at illegal immigrants, requiring low-income people to have Social Security numbers before they can get checks from the Internal Revenue Service for the children's tax credit.

Can Mitt Romney win the GOP nomination if he loses Michigan?

Long thought to be a shoo-in for the critical Feb. 28 primary, Michigan's native son is, instead, trailing Rick Santorum by double digits in the polls
Mitt Romney trails Rick Santorum in polls for the Feb. 28 GOP primary in Michigan, despite the fact that Mitt was born and raised in the Wolverine State.
                         Mitt Romney trails Rick Santorum in polls for the Feb. 28 GOP primary in Michigan, despite the fact that Mitt was born and raised in the Wolverine State. Photo: Justin Sullivan/Getty ImagesSEE ALL 77 PHOTOS
Best Opinion: Amer. Spectator, City Pulse, NY Times
If new polls are any indication, Republican Mitt Romney is headed for a humiliating loss in Michigan's Feb. 28 presidential primary. Democratic pollster PPP, for one, has Romney trailing Rick Santorum by 15 points. Santorum has beaten Romney in every Midwestern contest so far (Iowa, Minnesota, and Missouri), and Michigan still hasn't forgiven Romney for opposing Obama's bailout of GM and Chrysler, both now profitable, in a notorious 2009 op-ed titled "Let Detroit Go Bankrupt." Faced with the prospect of losing in a state where he was born and raised — a state, moreover, where his father was a popular three-term governor — Romney has reserved $1.3 million worth of TV airtime for campaign ads. Would losing Michigan sink his campaign?
Romney can't survive a Wolverine State upset: Losing Michigan would likely "put a dagger through the heart of Romney's campaign," says Aaron Goldstein at The American Spectator. It's not just that his father was a popular governor, or that he "convincingly won the state's 2008 primary." Electability is Romney's trump card, and "if Romney can't beat Rick Santorum in Michigan, then how could he expect to beat President Obama" in that critical general-election state — or in any other Rust Belt state, for that matter?
"Could Mitt lose Michigan?"
C'mon. Michigan won't sink Mitt: Romney won't lose in his birth state, says Kyle Melinn in the Lansing City Pulse. He has two weeks to bury Santorum under a heap of TV ads, just as he did with Newt Gingrich in Florida, where Mitt's attacks turned "a seemingly close election into a double-digit blowout." But even if Romney does lose Michigan, it's unlikely that "the resulting national embarrassment" would last more than a week. Mitt is expected to rule Super Tuesday on March 6, when "Santorum isn't even on the ballot in Tennessee or Virginia."
"Santorum can still hope for delegates"
Win or lose, Romney has to improve his ground game: If you look at all eligible Michigan voters, Romney actually beats Santorum, says Nate Silver at The New York Times. But the polls are weighted toward likely voters, and Santorum has all the enthusiasm on his side. Romney needs to use his deep pockets to "build the best turnout operation," bringing more Mitt-friendly Michiganders to the voting booth. If he can't do that, "it becomes harder to see how he finds the building blocks for a national majority."
"Down in Michigan polls, Romney needs to find his base"

Paul supporters show their love in the form of a money bomb

Ron Paul supporters showed the Republican presidential nominee some love in the form of $1.2 million dollars in donations since Valentine’s Day, Paul’s campaign announced on Wednesday.
The amount equals the donations that Rick Santorum received after his victories in Missouri, Minnesota and Colorado, the Hill reported.
Throughout the nomination process, donations to Paul’s campaign have come from short-term fundraisers and Paul’s grassroots network.
Paul said that the donations are needed to “keep spreading the word about liberty, reaching millions more voters, and securing the delegate spots key to winning the Republican nomination.”
The campaign is hoping that the additional funds will help keep Paul active in the race.
In addition to the need for money, Paul is also in the need of a primary win — he is currently in fourth place in the race with 19 delegates, behind candidates Newt Gingrich’s 32, Santorum’s 72 and frontrunner Mitt Romney’s 123.

CNN cancels GOP debate after Romney and Paul drop out

By Dylan Stableford | The Ticket3 hrs ago
Republican candidates at CNN's first debate of the 2012 campaign. (AP/CNN)

CNN has canceled a Republican presidential primary debate scheduled for March 1 in Atlanta after Mitt Romney and Ron Paul said Thursday they would not participate.
"Mitt Romney and Ron Paul told the Georgia Republican Party, Ohio Republican Party and CNN Thursday that they will not participate in the March 1 Republican presidential primary debate," CNN said in a statement. "Without full participation of all four candidates, CNN will not move forward with the Super Tuesday debate. However, next week, CNN and the Arizona Republican Party will host all four leading contenders for the GOP nomination. That debate will be held in Mesa, Arizona on February 22 and will be moderated by CNN's John King."
"With eight other states voting on March 6," Andrea Saul, spokeswoman for Romney, told the National Journal. "We will be campaigning in other parts of the country and unable to schedule the CNN Georgia debate. We have participated in 20 debates, including eight from CNN."
The Paul campaign also declined the invitation. Newt Gingrich was the only candidate that had been confirmed for the March 1 debate.
According to ABC News, Rick Santorum's campaign had not confirmed his participation.

Will Catholic Bishops and the Religious Right Save Obama?

Joe Conason's column is released once a week.

What is most striking about the showdown over contraceptive freedom is not the political victory that President Obama earned by standing up for women's reproductive rights, although his Republican adversaries are certainly helping him to make the most of it. Those adversaries don't seem to realize they have fallen into a trap, whether the White House set them up intentionally or not.
While the Catholic bishops and their allies on the religious right insist that this is an argument over the First Amendment, their true, longstanding purpose now stands revealed to the public. They would begin by imposing their dogma on every woman unlucky enough to work for an employer who shares it — an agenda that is deeply unpopular even among the Catholic faithful, let alone the rest of the American electorate. Then they would impose it on everyone, as the theorists of the religious right suggest every time they deny the separation of church and state.
The bishops have nothing to lose except their flock, whose respect for the hierarchy has plunged anyway over its resistance to reform and its failure to punish abuses far graver and more sinful than contraception. If they had to stand for election, not many of them would be left standing. And if they had to face a referendum on this current matter, they would lose resoundingly to the president, according to the latest survey data.
In a poll taken last Friday for the Coalition to Protect Women's Health Care, Public Policy Polling found that 57 percent of Catholic voters endorse the Obama "compromise" that would ensure continued prescription birth control for women working in religious institutions, without requiring those institutions to pay directly for that coverage. Only 29 percent sided with the bishops, the religious right and the Republicans , while 5 percent actually think the religious institutions should pay for contraceptive coverage regardless of their doctrine. The cross-tabs of the PPP poll show that Latino Catholics, Catholic independent voters and Catholic women support the Obama solution by wide margins. (The most recent poll by Fox News Channel shows the same overwhelming approval for the president's position among the general public, with 61 percent of voters on his side versus only 34 percent against.)
Those statistics are no threat to the bishops, of course, but represent a profound problem for the Republican leaders and candidates who have signed up for this male geriatric crusade against modernity. Mitt Romney, for instance, seems to believe that by stoking evangelical paranoia about a supposed "war on religion" by Obama, he will subdue evangelical paranoia about his Mormonism (which, by the way, expressly permits birth control). His pandering commenced when he announced his 2012 candidacy, but grew still more intense this week when he accused the president of perpetrating an "assault" on religion.
Such tactics are unlikely to placate the prejudices arrayed against Romney — and even if they did, he will pay a very high price next fall for joining the angriest and most extreme culture warriors on this issue. Congressional Republicans will be courting the same danger if, as promised, they propose legislation that would overturn the Obama compromise and deprive women working for religious institutions of equal rights to contraceptive services.
The president should hold fast. He has proved that it is possible to uphold the principle of full access to birth control, which has been the pro-family social policy of the American majority for half a century, while respecting the religious convictions of all Americans. The wild ranting of his enemies is only helping him now — and may yet ruin them in November.
Joe Conason is the editor in chief of To find out more about Joe Conason, visit the Creators Syndicate website at

Obama sends export agency reform bill to Congress

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Barack Obama urged lawmakers on Thursday to grant him the power to reform and consolidate federal agencies, sending a bill to Congress that would help him fend off election-year charges by Republicans that he favors big government.
The law would reinstate a power last wielded by President Ronald Reagan, a hero to the Republican Party, as Obama campaigns for re-election in the November 6 election.
The White House said last month it would start by using the authority, if granted, to close the Commerce Department and shift a number of export-focused agencies, including the Office of the U.S. Trade Representative, into a new agency.
"We cannot allow redundant bureaucracy and unnecessary red tape to stand in the way of creating good jobs here at home," Obama said in a statement to announce that the Consolidating and Reforming Government Act of 2012 had been sent to Capitol Hill.
Republicans, campaigning to deny him a second White House term, portray the president as a tax-and-spend liberal responsible for a bloated government. But they said they were ready to work with him on this issue, if he would do their legislative proposals the same courtesy.
"We're happy to take a look at it, just as we hope the president will take a look at the nearly 30 jobs bills the House has already passed," said Brendan Buck, spokesman for House of Representatives Speaker John Boehner, the top Republican in Congress.
(Reporting By Alister Bull; Editing by Peter Cooney)

The State Department Holds FY2013 Budget Briefing

State Dept. Budget Briefing

Washington, DC
Monday, February 13, 2012
State Department officials brief reporters on their department goals as spelled out in President Obama's proposed FY2013 budget.
Following the release of the President's proposed FY2013 budget, State Department officials held a briefing on aspects of the department's budget. Thomas Nides, the Deputy Secretary of State, and Rajiv Shah, the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) Administrator, spoke. Deputy Secretary of State Nides serves as Chief Operating Officer of the Department and assistant to Secretary of State Clinton. USAID Administrator Shah is the 16th Administrator of the USAID and leads the efforts of more than 8,000 professionals in 80 missions around the world.
Updated: Wednesday at 7:47am (ET)

DoD Holds Briefings on FY2013 Budget Proposal

Washington, DC
Monday, February 13, 2012
Coinciding with President Obama's release of next fiscal year's budget, the Defense Department is set to hold four press briefings Monday afternoon addressing different aspects of their slice of the budget.
At 2pm ET, Under Secretary of Defense (Comptroller) Robert Hale and Lt. Gen. Larry O. Spencer will brief press from the Pentagon. The Defense Department plans to cut $487 billion from the budget over the next 10 years. Hale will discuss the overall budget and how cuts will affect military readiness.
Then, at 3:15pm ET, Army Budget Director Maj Gen. Phillip McGee and Deputy Director Barbara Bonessa will hold their press briefing. Officials will lay out specifics on trimming the budget and programs that will be cut. The Army is expected to cut about 80,000 soldiers and reduce the number of combat brigades from 45 to as few as 32 as part of wide-ranging changes to the army’s force structure to cut costs.
Navy Deputy Assistant Secretary for Budget Rear Adm. Joseph Mulloy holds a briefing at 4pm ET. He will discuss specific programs that will be cut to help trim the Defense Department budget.
And at 4:45pm ET, Deputy Assistant Secretary of the Air Force for Budget Maj. Gen. Edward Bolton and Deputy Marilyn Thomas hold the day's final Defense Department briefing. They will talk about the Defense Department’s new FY 2013 budget request, its affect on the Air Force and how it will maintain readiness and capabilities with budget reductions. The U.S. Air Force is proposing to cut 123 fighters and 133 airlifters to help cut costs.
The President's 2012 Fiscal Year budget proposal requested $670.9 billion for the Defense Department, which was about $37.3 billion less than the previous year's request.

Video Playlist

Treasury Department's 2013 Budget Request(House)

Feb 16,2012

House Committee Budget
Secretary Geithner testified on the Treasury Department's fiscal year 2013 budget request.

Treasury Department's 2013 Budget Request(Senate)

Feb 14, 2012
Senate Committee Finance
Secretary Geithner testified on the Treasury Department's fiscal year 2013 budget request. He said President Obama's $3.8 trillion package will reduce deficits significantly over time and put the nation back on a sustainable budget path.The proposal includes raising revenues, one of which is a tax hike on the top two percent of wage earners. Republican committee members argued the increase will only hurt small businesses who are the main job creators.

Health and Human Services 2013 budget.(Senate)

Feb 15, 2012
Senate Committee Finance
Secretary Sebelius testified about the fiscal year 2013 Health and Human Services budget.

President Obama's 2013 Budget Request (Senate)

Senate Committee Budget
Feb 14, 2012
Jeffrey Zients testified on President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.

Fiscal Year 2013 Budget Request

Feb 13, 2012
Office of Management and Budget
Obama administration officials spoke to reporters about the fiscal year 2013 budget proposal. Live coverage of this program was interrupted for a pro forma House session.

President Obama's 2013 Budget Request (House)

Feb 15, 2012
House Committee Budget
Jeffrey Zients testified on President Obama's fiscal year 2013 budget proposal.

New defense cuts threaten bases, shipyards



J. Scott Applewhite / AP
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, right, accompanied by Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey, testifies on Tuesday before the Senate Armed Services Committee.
At a time when President Barack Obama is proposing more than $120 billion in new and enhanced tax incentives for companies to manufacture in America, not overseas, one part of the nation’s industrial base -- a sector where foreigners aren't allowed to fully compete -- is under siege.
Smaller defense budgets proposed by Obama and Defense Secretary Leon Panetta will cancel some made-in-America ships, airplanes and unmanned aerial vehicles and slow down the purchase of others.
The Obama budget also threatens to shut manufacturing and repair facilities, such as the 212-year old Portsmouth Naval Shipyard, which sits on an island between Maine and New Hampshire.
Obama’s budget blueprint calls for defense outlays to drop by 5 percent over the next two years, and fall from 19 percent of federal spending this year to 13 percent by 2022.
In a four-hour hearing before the Senate Armed Services Committee Tuesday, Panetta defended his call for fewer ships, unmanned aerial vehicles, and other hardware.
And he made the case for his proposal for two more rounds of the base realignment and closure (BRAC) process that would close bases and shipyards across America.
But he faced concerns and criticism from both Republicans and Democrats on the committee -- about the threat to blue-collar manufacturing and repair jobs as well to national security.
Sen. John McCain, R- Ariz., told Panetta that “perhaps most disturbing of all” was the fact that at a time when U.S. strategy is increasingly focusing on East Asia and the Pacific, “this budget would reduce shipbuilding by 28 percent.”
Sen. Roger Wicker, R- Miss., whose state is home to the Ingalls shipyard in Pascagoula, pointed to the 8.3 percent unemployment rate and noted that Obama’s budget proposal has various job creation ideas -- such as transportation infrastructure -- in it.

The Grio's Perry Bacon, Former White House Communications Director Anita Dunn, and the Huffington Post's Jon Ward discuss the latest political news, including the GOP candidates' public comments about the President's budget.

“It makes no sense to me -- at a time when there is an effort to create more jobs with other spending -- to cut defense spending, which gives us the ‘two-fer’ of protecting the country and protecting the industrial base, which is a whole lot of Americans working to provide us with the infrastructure we need,” Wicker said. “It is a fact, is it not, that this budget will have an adverse effect on our industrial base?”
Panetta replied, “We’ve taken a lot of steps to try to protect against that happening, because we absolutely have to protect our industrial base and those industries that support the defense budget. We can’t afford to lose any more and, for that reason, we design an approach that will keep them in business …”
But keep them in business with fewer manufacturing jobs, Wicker noted.
“There will be, I understand that, and that does have some impact,” Panetta admitted.
Later in the hearing, pressed by Sen. Susan Collins, R-Maine, Panetta said he would make sure that “we keep our industrial base busy, serving our needs.”
“Once that industrial base is gone, you never get it back and once those trained workers go into other fields you’ve lost them forever,” Collins told Panetta. “And that would greatly weaken our capabilities.”
Armed Services Committee members such as Sen. Joe Lieberman, I –Conn., are also opposing delays in building the Virginia-class submarine, which is built in Connecticut and repaired in New Hampshire.
As for closing excess bases and shipyards, Panetta said, “I don’t know of any other way” to cut infrastructure and get the savings needed “without going through that kind of process.”
When Panetta served as a House member from California in 1991, he saw BRAC first hand when the BRAC commission closed Ft. Ord near Monterey, costing more than 16,000 jobs.

President Barack Obama's newly-proposed 2013 budget, has been criticized by Republicans as a political document in an election year – calling it "dead on arrival." Economist Greg Ip takes a closer look at Obama's plan
“I’ve been through the process; frankly I don’t wish the process on anybody,” he told Sen. Jeanne Shaheen, D- N.H., who was defending the Portsmouth Naval Shipyard.
“Twenty five percent of my local economy was hit by virtue of a BRAC closure,” Panetta told her. But he said the community did use the closing as an opportunity to develop a college campus.
“I see very little support for the president’s proposal on BRAC,” Collins said, in an interview during a break in the hearing.
“If you look at the GAO reports on the last BRAC round, it has turned out to cost the government money, rather than saving money -- at least for the first five years. So I think there’s a great deal of skepticism both about the savings that would be produced and also whether there really is excess capacity.”
She said she did not think Congress would vote to launch another BRAC round. Portsmouth was on the hit list in 2005, but the BRAC commission overrode the Pentagon recommendation that it be closed. “Tony Principi, the BRAC chairman at the time, described Portsmouth Naval Shipyard as ‘the gold standard in naval yards.’”
The economic impact of closing the shipyard would huge in southern Maine, Collins said: “It’s a major employer in York County and beyond York County. Half the workers are from New Hampshire -- it affects both states”
In bipartisan accord was her Democratic neighbor, Shaheen who said after hearing, “The number one priority is national security. The Portsmouth Naval shipyard was created … because of national security – but there are a lot of good jobs there. To look at the equation without factoring that in, along with costs, would be shortsighted.”
One dissenter on the committee was Sen. Lindsey Graham, R- S.C., who said he did not consider defense manufacturing as “a job creator for America.” He also said he does think it’s necessary to consider another BRAC round -- “as hard as that is for my colleagues.”

Defense is over half of the discretionary spending in the budget. I understand big ships are pretty vulnerable to anyone with a motorboat and a missile, or an airplane etc. They are handy to get large numbers of troops to foreign countries - but there are probably other viable options options that are at least as quick and cheaper.
Building expensive, outdated behemoths just to create jobs doesn't seem like a very good idea to me. If we sink our economy to produce expensive toys today, we won't have any power tomorrow.
  • 95 votes
#1 - Tue Feb 14, 2012 4:54 PM EST

All these politicians care about is making it look like they give a hoot about the people who put them in office. Most of them own stocks in the companies that are pillaging the government at every turn. Everyone knows that the whole acquisition system for DOD is a complete disaster and ends up costing tax payers more and more each year. Notice of course that all but one of the negative comments come from republicans that have facilities on the chopping block. This is all part of the pork barrel spending that everyone complains about yet, when it comes to something like this, the President is an a$$. Perhaps if Congress gave the President line item veto authority, there could be a more direct approach at killing these BS pork barrel projects that every member of Congress wants in the budget. Just as many posts have stated: it seems that the 97% has been forced to make cuts over the past couple years in order to live within their means and just to put food on the table and a roof over their heads. But, this isn't the case with the government. So, we can do one of two things make budget cuts or raise taxes, otherwise the deficit will continue to rise. So, as most of the American public has been forced to cut out about every enjoyment in life that they had in order to survive it's time for others that have been making huge profits to pick up their fair share of the burden. Congress needs to overhaul taxes and place more of a burden on the top 3%, who have been living high on the hog at the expense of the other 97%. Then, they need to look at tax reform for businesses. If they choose to build there products overseas and then bring them to the US I say put a tariff on them. This includes tariffs on all the call center jobs that companies like AT&T have shifted overseas. If businesses aren't going to choose to bring jobs back to America, then make it less lucrative for them and better for the rest of us. 50% of this nation lives in poverty and the lowest economic class, there is no reason why those who live in their million dollar homes and go out and spend $500 on a meal at a restaurant, shouldn't have to pull their weight. I believe in the security of our nation otherwise, I wouldn't have spent 21 years in uniform but, perhaps instead of playing police for the world and having bases all over the place that cost billions of dollars a year to run with foreign workers maybe we need to bring our troops back to the US, place them all around the nation providing better security within our borders and let the government spend money running bases that employ Americans, who will pay US taxes. Hell, we still don't have a budget for the fiscal year that began October 1st, does anyone really think that the current Congress can come to any compromise? I say vote them all out and let's look at a fresh start.

william whittemore-3007421
Yeah, Tompon is out of touch a little bit and has no idea what he is talking about. All you have to do is do a little past history research to find out that after every war the government cut back on the military and defense spending. Guess what happened when we got caught up in another war? We were caught with our pants down and lacking the resources to fight the modern battlefield. The Navy has to be stronger than the other services. It cost a lot of money to send troops and equipment from point A to point B. Also, our adversaries aren't waiting for us to catch up with them in the technology department. The Navy punches a hell of a lot of firepower whether you know it or not. Especially the submarines.
  • 15 votes
#1.16 - Tue Feb 14, 2012 6:09 PM EST