The best part of this segment about rational, sane gun laws is Matthew Dowd, centrist extraordinaire, taking a stand firmly against the usual gun argument that the answer to mass shootings like Sandy Hook is to simply arm everyone, including teachers, doctors, preachers and Santa. Dowd made an apt analogy to schoolyard bullies that's quite clear:
When there's a kid in the school yard with a baseball bat, we don't give everybody else baseball bats and say go to deal with it and defend yourself. What we do is we take the baseball bat away from the bad kid or the bully and then we sit down and say what can we do to make sure this doesn't happen -- we've got to take the baseball bat away from the bully.
When Matthew Dowd is the sanest voice, aside from Katrina VandenHeuvel who is always sane, progress is being made.
Grover Norquist plays the Tea Party hand as usual, claiming that this is just lefties ginning up lefty arguments for purely political purposes, which is the typical argument being advanced by gun nuts. I would like to remind Grover that he had no objection to two wars being started or passage of the Patriot Act because of 9-11. Is there no greater and more clear example of using tragedy to advance policy?
That's how it works, Grover. Things happen. People respond. Policy is made in response, for better or for worse. It sounds lovely to try and minimize it by saying "oh, you're just using this tragedy to advance your long-held beliefs." But that's how it works. It's time to stop saying that's a bad thing.
As for Mayor Cory Booker, he is playing the middle against the ends here, as usual. Since he's declared his intention to run for the Senate, he has made the political calculus that "sticking to the pragmatic center" is his safest and best pathway to that office.
Props to Dowd for leaving the safe zone and saying the right thing. Booker could take a lesson from him.
I don't trust Cory Booker as far as I can throw him, so this Facebook post doesn't surprise me. See, Cory is an ambitious young man and a whore quite friendly with the for-profit schools industry and Wall Street, so it's very important that he justifies closing public schools. Wait, let's say Big Pharma's leaving New Jersey because no one's smart enough to work for them!
Attn Cory Booker fans:
We saw you on the DailyShow last night and the stuff you said about the state of New Jersey being desperately short of bio-medical researchers made us sick to our stomachs.
You have to know this is not true. How could you NOT know this is not true? It’s so easy to prove with cold hard numbers and statistics. The big pharmas are pulling out of New Jersey to go to Massachusetts because Massachusetts offered them almost half a Billion dollars in taxpayer money to relocate there. They are leaving thousands and thousands of us behind. That’s thousands and thousands of well-educated, technically proficient TAXPAYERS. That’s where the unemployment money is going, Cory. Those companies take the money that Massachusetts is offering, dump thousands and thousands of us on the state of New Jersey’s unemployment rolls and then relocate only a tiny fraction of their workforce to Massachusetts. What do they do with the rest of the tax incentives? Beats me but I’m sure the shareholders are happy.
The idea that you would actually believe a pharma lobbyist who tells you he can’t find good help anymore in NJ and now has to outsource and that you would voluntarily spread this misinformation without actually checking to see if what they’re telling you is true or not defies explanation. It makes no sense, Cory. It is UN-believable. You either know that you are willfully lying, compromised by people who you view as your true “peers” or you’re dumber than a box of rocks."
I know two of those people left behind, both of them more than qualified. I guess they're just stupid, though.
The thing that makes my teeth set on edge when I hear pundits and politicians talk about how everyone needs to sacrifice is that it is clearly evident that they have no frame of reference at all for how much sacrifice people on the lower end of the socio-economic scale already do on a daily basis. So I am completely in favor of all politicians and pundits to expand their understanding by taking the Food Stamp Challenge, living on the equivalent of SNAP benefits for a week, which in the case of this CNN producer is roughly $30/week.
So I applaud Newark Mayor (and future NJ Governor candidate) Cory Booker for taking on the Food Stamp Challenge. But moreover, I love that Booker also dared a Twitter detractor to put her money where her mouth (or typing) is and take it along with him:
The mayor — who interacts frequently with his Twitter followers — challenged one of his followers, @MWadeNC, to join him in the challenge of living on food stamps, after the tweeter, who bills herself as an “Army Veteran, Army Daughter, Army Wife … fighting against any and all forms of socialism/communism,” criticized Booker for quoting the Greek historian Plutarch on Sunday. “An imbalance between rich and poor is the oldest and most fatal ailment of all republics’ Plutarch ancient Greek historian (c. 46 -- 120 CE)” Booker tweeted. “We pay 4 HUGE back end govt programs: prisons, police, etc. If we invested in Schools, nutrition, etc we’d save $ & create wealth,” Booker tweeted to another follower another who charged that Booker wanted to “redistribute wealth,” to which @MWadeNC responded, “nutrition is not a responsibility of the government.” “We have a shared responsibility that kids go to school nutritionally ready 2 learn,” Booker answered, receiving a “why is there a family today that is ‘too poor to afford breakfast’? are they not already receiving food stamps?” tweet back from @MWadeNC The back and forth culminated with Booker offering @MWadeNC a challenge: “Lets you and I try to live on food stamps in New Jersey (high cost of living) and feed a family for a week or month. U game?” @MWadeNC accepted on Twitter “sure, Mayor, I’m game.”
I hope that @MWadeNC follows through and learns a little about what it's like for so many in America. When one in five children in the wealthiest nation in the world goes to bed hungry, we no longer need refer to it as a "redistribution" problem, but one of an inhumane system.
Day One of the Democratic National Convention started right out of the gate at a gallop, which is great unless you've got blisters on your feet and are schlepping around a tripod and camera along with the backpack. It's definitely an exercise in endurance, but I was faithful to the end, even hanging around waiting for the promised phantom hotel shuttle until somewhere around 2:30 AM. I had plenty of company, though. Lots of cops, bus drivers and cab drivers.
Hmmm...because I'm still riding high from the power, effectiveness and raw emotion of the speeches on the first night of the Democratic convention, I'm just going to give Politico the benefit of the doubt that this was just a careless error in the rush to get content up fast.
We in the blogosphere get that. I've mistakenly labeled members of the House of Representatives as senators in posts. I've misspelled names occasionally. It happens. Things move fast and some times, you have to race to get the scoop.
Because I really, really would hate to think that the outfit that Rachel Maddow astutely called "effectively the Romney campaign newsletter" had a hard time distinguishing between Massachusetts Governor Deval Patrick and Newark Mayor Cory Booker for some other reason.
I love this Bain debate. It is exactly the kind of debate about the nature of business and job creation we need to be having in this campaign. The Republicans, along with pro-Wall Street Democrats, are squealing like stuck pigs about the Obama campaign “attacking free enterprise” because they want to change the subject fast. They are saying to themselves: please, let’s talk about anything else. Deficits would be their first choice, but anything would be preferable. Maybe we’ll see them start talking about contraceptives and how people shouldn’t have sex again just to change the subject. Because this debate goes straight to the heart of what kind of economy we should be trying to build in this country.
This is isn’t about being for or against free enterprise. This is about how the economy should work better for everyone in it, not just the top 1 percent. The Republicans -- and Democrats like Cory Booker and Harold Ford, who both have raised millions of dollars in Wall Street money (including money from Bain) for their campaigns -- say that it is great when financial corporations like Bain make money by loading up the companies they buy with debt, taking all the tax write-offs the law allows, and then walking away with tons of money whatever happens to the original company. In fact, the companies Bain bought frequently went bankrupt, and Bain usually profited when those companies did go belly-up because of tax write-offs and sucking the companies’ assets dry. But in this line of reasoning, it’s all good, because capitalism should be unrestrained and some people got very rich.
What Obama and other Democrats are arguing is that our government should be on the side of the businesses that create not just wealth for a few at the top, but jobs and incomes for a lot of people. That is why Obama made the incredibly gutsy move to save the American auto industry, a policy that saved 1.45 million jobs in the short run, and kept desperately needed manufacturing jobs in this country for years to come. It is why Obama has made big investments in the budget for Small Business Administration jobs. It is why investments have been made in clean energy jobs of the future. It is why the U.S. Department of Agriculture has emphasized rural economic development and small business development in areas where jobs and incomes are desperately needed.
Democratic policies are in fact far more pro-business than policies like the Romney-Ryan budget, which independent studies estimate would cost the nation more than 4 million jobs in the next two years. That’s a lot of business customers who no longer have money to spend.
The Republican attack machine (helped by Democrats like Booker and Ford who have been feeding at the Wall Street trough for their entire careers) wants to intimidate the Obama campaign by making the claim that any attack on greedy business practices like the ones Romney perfected at Bain is an attack on all business and the market. It’s the same kind of argument Republicans make when they complain about class warfare politics when Democrats suggest that millionaires ought to pay a little more in taxes. It is an utterly soulless, amoral argument. But this is a fight Democrats can and will win if we make our case, because I think most people understand that there are ethical and unethical business practices. And they get that there is a difference between making money by manipulating the tax code and squeezing all the value out of businesses before throwing them away, and making money by making and selling good products that people want to buy. Biden laid this case out beautifully in a speech in Youngstown:
Well, Mayor Booker had a chance to make it right on Maddow last night, and he failed miserably. Starting with,
BOOKER: My outrage, and really my frustration, was about the cynical, negative campaigning, the manipulating of the truth.
Really, Mayor? Because the Obama campaign's claims about Bain are true. So what was "cynical" and "manipulative" about it?
And then it got worse.
BOOKER: For anybody that knows me, and that really knows my career, I've been an Independent Democrat for a long time, standing up on issues. And actually have been comfortable to say I disagree with the president...
God, this guy is totally clueless.
Let me give you some free advice, Mayor. Following in Joe Lieberman's footsteps is not a good career move in Democratic politics.
Mitt Romney's time at Bain Capital is one of the few quantifiable ways voters can see how he intends to approach employment issues and corporations, and the Obama campaign has done a terrific job of pointing out the "vulture capitalist" Romney so desperately tries to hide. In fact, they launched a new website this week highlighting the swath of devastation Romney left behind. It gives details about the different companies they stripped of all assets in order to maximize profit to investors.
Also this week, Joe Biden gave a speech where he was on fire -- as on fire as I've ever heard him -- about the differences between the middle class and the 1 percent and why Romney's Bain Capital profit model was guaranteed to benefit only the rich while further destroying the middle class and leaving them farther behind. It was a speech for the ages. It also had Republicans on the run, scurrying to counter the message in the Wall Street Journal and wherever else they could spread the word.
So this morning on Meet the Press Mayor Cory Booker just managed to undo all of that work with a few measured sentences. Start at about 5:31 of the video clip embedded above and watch until you hear Booker tell the panel that he's "uncomfortable" with the attacks on private equity. Via TPM:
Appearing on NBC’s “Meet The Press” on Sunday, Newark Mayor and Obama bundler Cory Booker said he was “uncomfortable” with the Obama campaign’s attacks on Mitt Romney’s career with Bain Capital.
“It’s a distraction from the real issues,” Booker said, of both attacks on Bain and Rev. Jeremiah Wright. “It’s either gonna be a small campaign about this crap, or it’s gonna be a big campaign about the issues the American public cares about.”
“I’m not about to sit here and indict private equity,” Booker added. “If you look at the totality of Bain Capital’s record, they’ve done a lot to support businesses — to grow businesses. And this to me, I’m very uncomfortable.”
Well, Mayor Booker. Thank you so much for that false equivalence. The Bain Capital issues strike right at the heart of what this campaign is about. Are we a country of financialists or a country of opportunity and growth for the middle class? Is the goal to maximize profit at the expense of workers or is the goal to simply strip the value from companies in order to reward the private equity investors.
To be clear, there is absolutely no equivalence between the bogus Reverend Wright revival and Romney's actions while at Bain Capital.
If Romney can't be criticized for his vulture capitalism and we can't "indict" private equity then what does he think this campaign should be about? The deficit? Some abstract notions of "jobs" and "the economy" without any reference to the fact that it was the financial sector and "private equity" that caused this situation in the first place? Sounds perfect. For Wall Street.
Sadly, this is exactly the kind of concern trolling that will make the Village declare that the Democrats are hitting below the belt by criticizing Bain Capital and the Dems will fall in line. Indeed, the fact that it's Cory Booker who's saying it today indicates that it's the Democrats themselves saying "stop us before we hurt the Masters of the Universe's feelings again."
Yes, this. Exactly this. Already the RNC has popped out with their version of "even Democrats agree with us" on this issue, thanks to the careless remarks of Mayor Booker, and even though he attempted a halfhearted walkback via Twitter, he did a terrific job of stepping on the success of last week's campaign messaging.
Please, politicians. Stop being so darn polite on these shows. Stop assuming that people like David Gregory will actually try to insert facts into factless discussions. Bain Capital and Romney's conduct while there is absolutely relevant to this election and no one should think otherwise.
NEW YORK (Reuters) - New Jersey Governor Chris Christie announced a pilot program on Thursday that would allow private companies to run public schools in some of the state's chronically underperforming school districts.
The public-private partnership would authorize school management organizations to operate five schools, and would target some of the 100,000 New Jersey students now enrolled in 200 chronically failing schools, the governor's office said.
The state's teachers union, which has clashed with the Republican governor over cuts to school aid and other issues, said the plan was part of Christie's "ongoing effort to privatize public education in New Jersey."
[...] Christie has appointed as his acting education commissioner Christopher Cerf, the former president of Edison Schools Inc., the country's largest private-sector manager of public schools. The company is now called EdisonLearning.
Billionaire Rupert Murdoch owns Fox News, which promotes both a "corporate education reform" agenda and politicians like Governor Chris Christie to carry that agenda out. Murdoch recently hired Joel Klein, former NYC Schools Chancellor and toady to billionaire Mayor Michael Bloomberg, to run Wireless Generation, Murdoch's venture into the education business.
Klein is the former boss of Christopher Cerf, currently Acting Commissioner of Education under Chris Christie. Cerf's last edu-business venture before accepting the position was as founder of Global Education Advisors, which "consulted" with the Newark schools on a plan to vastly increase the numbers of charter schools in the city.
The $500,000 for the report came from the Broad Foundation, funded by billionaire Eli Broad. The foundation also funded Cerf's training as an education administrator.
Cerf contributed to the campaign of Newark's Mayor, Cory Booker, who has been intimately and illegally involved in the "reform" of Newark's schools. Cerf was most recently seen at Booker's State of the City address. Booker is also working closely with Chris Christie and their good buddy, billionaire Mark Zuckerberg, who freely admits he is "investing" in Booker.
Charter schools in NJ are also being heavily promoted by Derrell "The Freman" Bradford. Bradford was recently appointed to an "Educator Effectiveness Task Force" by the Christie Administration, despite his embarrassing lack of education experience or credentials. That task force issued a report that flew directly in the face of all serious research on teacher evaluations.