If box office success is any indication of the voting mood of the nation, the commercial success of 2016: Obama’s America, an anti-Obama vehicle by Dinesh D’Souza, is worth noting. The film, based loosely on D’Souza’s book The Roots of Obama’s Rage, is now the second-highest grossing political “documentary” of all time behind another election-year film, Michael Moore’s Fahrenheit 9/11.
'2016: Obama's America' trailer
Released as a seemingly small-market right-wing film, in just two months, 2016: Obama’s America has become the most successful conservative documentary ever. It’s raked raking in over $32 million — nowhere near Fahrenheit’s $119.1 million, but still an impressive gross.
In July, distributors premiered the film in Houston, not Los Angeles or New York. Randy Slaughter, president of Rocky Mountain Pictures, the film’s distributor, explained the unorthodox rollout to The New York Times, “We needed to find a place where we could get the most attention. You hunt where the ducks are.”
Homeless people line up in Franklin Park in downtown Washington to receive food and clothing from the congregation of Greater Saint John Church of Upper Marlboro, Md., Saturday, May 19, 2012. (AP Photo/J. Scott Applewhite)
A new census report shows that the middle class is still suffering the impact of the financial crisis that started four years ago this week. Although poverty rates remained steady from 2010 to 2011, the news wasn’t good. The number of people living in poverty — 46.2 million — is the highest ever recorded in the 53 years the Census Bureau has been tracking it.
Longtime culture war commander Phyllis Schlafly wrote an effusive op ed piece in The Washington Times on Monday, saying this year’s platform “may be the best one ever adopted.” As one Kansas delegate told New York Times reporter Adam Nagourney: “We are a very conservative party, and the platform reflects that.”
“…There is such a consensus within the party on opposition to abortion rights and same-sex marriage and on the importance of faith in public life, she suggested, that raising them this year has created neither surprise nor backlash.”
Still from Romney campaign's anti-Obama welfare ad
“Under Obama’s plan, you wouldn’t have to work and wouldn’t have to train for a job. They just send you your welfare check,” a Romney ad claims. The ad is a variation on a theme — The Washington Post’s Ezra Klein points out that if you click through the videos on Romney’s official website, you’ll find more ads about welfare than just about any other issue. “Of the 12 most recent ads posted, five are about welfare,” Klein writes. “That’s more than the number dedicated to health care (four) or introducing Paul Ryan (one) or the economy (one).”
Romney’s claim that the Obama administration has dropped the work requirements for welfare recipients has been thoroughly debunked, and that debunking hasbeen widelyreported. In fact, the administration “allows states to try different ways of meeting the work requirements of the federal law” in an effort to “make welfare-to-work efforts more successful, not end them,” according to Politifact, which gave the ad its lowest “pants on fire” rating.
Why then, do the ads keep running? Two Romney insiders offered some surprisingly candid insight into the question at a forum hosted by ABC News and Yahoo! News this morning.
A University of Phoenix billboard is shown in Chandler, Ariz. (AP Photo/Matt York)
The for-profit college industry is known to most Americans by its commercials and billboards promising potential students new skills, job training and exciting career paths. The reality is far more sinister, as Senator Tom Harkin’s new report, released last week, reveals.
“In this report, you will find overwhelming documentation of exorbitant tuition, aggressive recruiting practices, abysmal student outcomes, taxpayer dollars spent on marketing and pocketed as profit, and regulatory evasion and manipulation,” Mr. Harkin, an Iowa Democrat who is chairman of the Senate Health, Education, Labor and Pensions Committee, said in a statement… “These practices are not the exception — they are the norm. They are systemic throughout the industry, with very few individual exceptions.”
United States' men's 4 X 100-meter medley relay team from left, Brendan Hansen, Matthew Grevers, Michael Phelps and Nathan Adrian hold their gold medals at the Aquatics Centre in the Olympic Park during the 2012 Summer Olympics in London, Saturday, Aug. 4, 2012. (AP Photo/Matt Slocum)
As noted earlier, while the Olympics are supposed to be a celebration of goodwill and universal understanding, this year’s Games in London have drawn American politicians as bees to honey, all maneuvering for position in the hope that the allure of Olympic gold can be used to partisan advantage.
But the prize for the furthest stretch jointly goes to conservative activist Grover Norquist and Senator Marco Rubio of Florida.
Generation X, the Millennials, even the Baby Boomers – all have been in the running for the dubious distinction of being the first generation to fare worse economically than their parents.
The good news is that no generation can yet make that claim. A study released Monday by The Pew Charitable Trusts shows that the vast majority of Americans are doing better than their parents were at the same age — in fact, 84 percent have higher household incomes than the families in which they grew up.
The bad news is that, especially in poorer families, higher incomes haven’t necessarily meant more accumulated wealth. Only half of Americans are wealthier than their parents were at their age (wealth = assets – debt). And as for the American promise of social and economic mobility — among people raised in the bottom fifth of the income ladder, 43 percent remain stuck there, and only 4 percent ever make it to the top.
A new poll out today measures early reaction to the Supreme Court’s Affordable Care Act decision announced last Thursday. According to the poll conducted by the Kaiser Family Foundation (KFF), Americans’ views on the court’s decision are divided, with 47 percent in favor of the resolution, 43 percent against and 10 percent unsure. For those prognosticating that the decision marks some sort of turning point in public reaction to the health care law (or the presidential election), the numbers don’t really bear that out.
Many observers have wondered in recent days whether the Supreme Court’s ruling would change overall views on the long-contested law itself, or alternately if the decision would galvanize the intensity of one political party more than the other. This early snapshot of opinion suggests that, at least in the first days after the court ruling, the overall shape of public opinion on the ACA hasn’t changed, with the public still split at 41 percent favorable, 41 percent unfavorable, and 18 percent undecided. The partisan divide that lies beneath is also unchanged.
The good news: If you’re willing to take a chance and want to speculate in oceanfront real estate, now may be the time to buy up property – in Kentucky.
Over the weekend, The Miami Herald reported that denying climate change makes it no less real: “A conference on climate change sponsored by Florida Atlantic University made it clear that ignoring the threat has done nothing to slow it down — particularly in South Florida, which has more people and property at risk by rising sea levels than any place in the country…”
“Under current projections, the Atlantic Ocean would swallow much of the Florida Keys in 100 years. Miami-Dade, in turn, would eventually replace them as a chain of islands on the highest parts of the coastal limestone ridge, bordered by the ocean on one side and an Everglades turned into a salt water bay on the other…
Overall, according to a ‘Surging Seas’ report produced earlier this year by Climate Central, Florida easily ranks as the most vulnerable state to sea-level rise, with some 2.4 million people, 1.3 million homes and 107 cities at risk from a four-foot rise, according to the report. Louisiana, by comparison, has 65 cities below the four-foot mark.”
Waves crash against the cliffs of Big Sur, Calif. A new report says erosion could cause coastal cliffs to retreat more than 100 feet by 2100. (AP Photo/Anja Schlein, FILE)
Likewise, on the other side of the country, according to The Los Angeles Times, “Sea levels along the California coast are expected to rise up to 1 foot in 20 years, 2 feet by 2050 and as much as 5 1/2 feet by the end of the century, climbing slightly more than the global average and increasing the risk of flooding and storm damage, a new study says…” MORE
House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, is seen on a television screen on the floor of the New York Stock Exchange. (AP Photo/Richard Drew)
What with huge campaign investments, er, contributions from the financial industry and the recent smooch fest between JPMorgan Chase CEO Jamie Dimon and the Senate Banking Committee, the romance between Capitol Hill and Wall Street seems never to have flourished so brightly. Now, in two fascinating, exhaustive and ultimately infuriating articles, The Washington Post has conducted an analysis of congressional financial transactions and, yes, love is in the air. The Postreporters didn’t turn up evidence of insider trading but did discover that “lawmakers routinely make trades that raise questions about whether members of Congress have an investing advantage over members of the public.”