The Republic of T.

Black. Gay. Father. Vegetarian. Buddhist. Liberal.

Digest for January 31st

Here are some of the people writing about some of the stuff I wish I had time to write about, for January 31st from 15:10 to 15:53:

  • Immobility Nation – OtherWords

    America is becoming "a country where a shrinking number of people do really well, while a growing number of Americans barely get by," President Barack Obama declared during his State of the Union address.
    The numbers back him up. Executive compensation and the poverty rate are both at or near all-time highs.
    Surprisingly, it was Republican presidential candidate Rick Santorum who first made economic mobility an issue in the 2012 elections. Three months ago, he pointed out that children born to poor families rarely grow up to become rich, or even middle class.


  • Newt’s Fatal Flaw

    If Newt Gingrich ends up losing Florida tomorrow—as polls now agree he will—and ultimately loses the GOP nomination, you could hear the most important reason in just a few words he uttered in a Tampa suburb on Sunday. The former House speaker stepped out of a church service at the delightfully named Exciting Idlewild Baptist Church and opened fire on Mitt Romney as a “pro-abortion, pro gun-control, pro-tax increase moderate from Massachusetts” who had “carpet-bombed” his way to a lead in the Florida polls. That wasn’t the problematic part. It was this: "I have had a long record as a very hard-hitting Reagan conservative, and the idea that that record would be deliberately falsified by a Massachusetts moderate using money from Wall Street … is really about as big an outrage as I've had in my career.” Gingrich’s only chance to take the nomination is as the leader of a movement—loosely defined, the Tea Party movement—and he spoke to its anti-elitist streak powerfully in his dramatic victory in South Carolina. But you can’t lead a movement when everything you say eventually comes back to you, above all else. It can’t be my outrage; it has to be our outrage. But instead of effectively casting the Romney campaign as the enemy of all anti-establishment conservatives—as Sarah Palin and Herman Cain tried to do for him over the weekend—Gingrich seems incapable of putting the brakes on his megalomania. From Bachmann to Perry, Cain to Santorum to Gingrich, the story of this entire GOP contest has been that Tea Party Republicans have the numbers, but they have not had a candidate. 


  • Establishment Republicans have only themselves to blame – The Washington Post


  • The Ugly Words of Newt Gingrich | Consortiumnews

    Most people probably think that scientists working on embryonic stem-cell research are committed to finding new treatments to help fellow human beings suffering from Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s, paraplegia and other terrible ailments – but not former House Speaker Newt Gingrich.

    To the Republican presidential hopeful, these researchers are engaged in what amounts to “the use of science to desensitive society over the killing of babies.” Just stop there for a minute. In Gingrich’s world, these researchers are using “science to desensitive society over the killing of babies.”

    That comment on Saturday at a Baptist church in Winter Park, Florida, got the applause that he apparently was hoping for and maybe some votes from Christian fundamentalists who object to the experimental use of embryos, even ones destined for destruction at fertility clinics. However, in doing so, Gingrich put on display, again, his casual use of ugly language to demean fellow Americans.


  • Newt Gingrich Says College Students Should Have Jobs, But Did He? – The Huffington Post

    Presidential candidate Newt Gingrich says college students are being coddled, but his own educational record doesn't exactly elicit images of a person who had to struggle to make ends meet while earning a degree.

    …But as the Post notes, Gingrich himself took a different path during college, according to a 1995 Vanity Fair article.
    According to the report, Gingrich leaned on family members for money and said he didn't want to get a job while in school.


  • Robert Reich (The Biggest Risk to the Economy in 2012, and What’s the Economy For Anyway?)

    Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner, speaking at the World Economic Forum in Davos a few days ago, said the “critical risks” facing the American economy this year were a worsening of Europe’s chronic sovereign debt crisis and a rise in tensions with Iran that could stoke global oil prices.

    What about jobs and wages here at home?


  • Is Capitalism on Trial? Or Just Big Business? Or Just Mitt Romney? – The Huffington Post

    "I'm so scared of this anti-Wall Street effort. I'm frightened to death," Frank Luntz, an influential GOP pollster and strategist, warned the Republican Governors Association at a meeting in Florida last month, referring to the Occupy movement. "They're having an impact on what the American people think of capitalism."
    Perhaps Luntz had already discovered this startling finding, buried in a recent Pew Research Center survey: roughly the same number of 18-to-29-year-old Americans have positive views of socialism as of capitalism. In a survey conducted in early December last year, 49 percent had a positive view of socialism, while 47 percent had a positive view of capitalism. Similarly, only 43 percent had a negative view of socialism, compared with 47 percent who had a negative view of capitalism.


  • Politicians’ Failures of Generosity | Common Dreams

    It’s intriguing to me that wealthy politicians, even knowing that the public will scrutinize their charitable contributions, are so strangely stingy. At a time when so many are hurting, it would be so simple to be generous, even for the most self-serving of reasons. Given the rhetoric around “class warfare” and “envy” on the one hand and “sharing the burden” and “fairness” on the other, it’s almost bizarre that these high net worth politicians give so little proportional to their income.


  • Eugene Robinson: The GOP’s Anti-Gingrich Campaign – Truthdig

    MIAMI—When the empire strikes back, it hits hard. The Republican establishment is deploying every weapon and every soldier—even Bob Dole—in an increasingly desperate attempt to pulverize the Newt Gingrich rebellion. Eventually, the shock-and-awe campaign may work.

    But then what? In the establishment’s best-case scenario, the party is left with Mitt Romney, a candidate whose core message, as far as I can tell, seems to be: “Yes, I made a ton of money. You got a problem with that?”


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