Jamelle Bouie

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If and when we develop a male birth control pill, I predict that contraception will become a moot issue within a decade of its commercial debut. In one of the few bits of good news from North Korea, Kim Jong Eun has agreed to halt nuclear tests in exchange for 240,000 metric tons of food aid. New Jersey Governor Chris Christie tears into the NYPD for a spying program that targeted Muslims. A must-watch for anyone who loves the DC animated universe:

Why Ohio Matters for Mitt Romney

This week, Michigan was the “must win” state for Mitt Romney. Next week—according to the world of punditry— it’s Ohio , where Romney has to win over a similar electorate—downscale, blue-collar workers—without the help of name recognition or family ties. There, his tendency to remind voters of his massive wealth ( in the worst way possible ), could prove fatal. But what would actually happen if Romney lost Ohio? He wouldn’t lose the nomination; even with the setbacks of the last month, the fact remains that Romney is advantaged by overwhelming resources and the support of GOP leaders. Moreover, he’s up against an opponent—Rick Santorum—whose popularity with the base of the Republican Party hasn’t been enough to make up for his lack of cash and poor public performances. It’s much easier to beat a candidate who can’t help but disparage college, rail against birth control, and attack the religious beliefs of millions of Americans. The most obvious consequence of a loss in Ohio is that the...

This Station is Non-Operational

Mitt Romney may have won the Michigan primary, but he tied Rick Santorum for delegates. Waldo Jaquith notes one other reason for why the Virginia ultrasound bill failed—proponents were afraid to say “vagina.” Apparently, there is a 1 in 8 chance of a catastrophic solar megastorm by 2020. This isn’t a good thing. GIRL SCOUT COOKIE CHOCOLATE BARS ! A new Gorillaz music video! Featuring James Murphy (of LCD Soundsystem) and a (rapping) Andre 3000. What’s not to like?

You Can Eat Whatever You Want

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Mark Bittman is apparently a fan of Republican state senator Ronda Storms, who wants to prevent food stamp recipients from buying junk food: When she introduced a bill to prevent people in Florida from spending food stamps on unhealthy items like candy, chips and soda, she broke ranks: few of her party have taken on Big Food. […] Yet she makes sense. “It’s just bad public policy to allow unfettered access to all kinds of food,” she told me over the phone. “Why should we cut all of these programs and continue to pay for people to use food stamps to buy potato chips, Oreos and Mountain Dew? The goal is to feed good food to hungry people.” Bittman goes on to make the argument against added sugar, and describe the nutritional worthlessness of foods that contain it. But that’s not the issue. Whether or not certain foods contain bad things is secondary to the question of whether we should direct the spending habits of people who receive government assistance. I’m not sure that we should...

Santorum Finds Fertile Ground in Tennessee

(AP Photo/Paul Sancya)
According to the most recent survey by Middle Tennessee State University, Rick Santorum is leading the pack among Republican voters in the Volunteer State. 40 percent of voters say that they favor the former Pennsylvania senator, compared to the 19 percent who prefer Romney. Another 13 percent back former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, while Ron Paul takes 11 percent. Because Tennessee’s 58 delegates are handed out proportionally , however, Santorum will have to win big in order to close his 80-delegate gap with Romney. Of course, as we saw with Santorum’s lead in Michigan, this advantage could disappear within the next week if Romney decides to contest the election with a barrage of negative advertisements. As it stands, however, the focus is on Ohio—by and large, the political world has determined that the Buckeye State is make-or-break for the former Massachusetts governor. Like Romney and his win in Arizona last night, Tennessee will matter a lot if Santorum wins Ohio, and recede to...

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A columnist at The Daily Caller writes that people receiving food stamps should be forced to shop at goverment-owned stores selling poor goods so that they feel the “humiliation and pain in receiving government assistance.” Also, they should lose the right to vote. Oh, and he says they are “slaves to the government and should be reminded of that fact.” Oy. Are we looking at another year of GOP women? David Bernstein investigates . I plan to buy each one of these Wire -inspired wind-up toys . You have no idea how many times I’ve been interrogated about my background by strangers. Apparently, dark skin and a nondiscernable accent means that you must be foreign. Probably African. The new Avengers trailer has plot! I could give you a quick summary of what I think the story might be, but that’s a little too nerdy:

The Single Worst Thing That Could Happen to Liberalism

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Greg Sargent outlines one “nightmare” scenario should Republicans win the White House and take the Senate: If Republicans regain the Senate, will they seek to reform the filibuster, sweeping away an obstacle that bedeviled Dems and making it far easier for them to enact their own agenda with a simple Senate majority? […] “Here is a once in a lifetime chance to implement real revolutionary change, and once we do it it will be years before it can be undone by a Democratic president,” [Norm] Ornstein says, characterizing likely GOP thinking. “If you believe that Americans will love deregulation and budget cuts once they get them, you’re going to take the big long term hit to get the short term gain.” There’s no question that Republicans would use a narrow Senate majority to end the filibuster in the event of a Republican presidency; the current GOP has never had much use for rules or norms that don’t advance their priorities. The filibuster was perfect for blocking Obama and obstructing...

It's All About Newt

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
(AP Photo/Evan Vucci) Republican presidential candidate, former House Speaker Newt Gingrich, accompanied by his wife Callista, speaks at Peachtree Academy, Wednesday, Feb. 29, 2012, in Covington, Ga. F or all the Sturm und Drang of the last few weeks, Mitt Romney will begin March in the same way that he began February—as the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination. Rick Santorum is at his heels as the latest avatar of the conservative movement, Ron Paul is the libertarian gadfly of the race, and Newt Gingrich has receded to the background as a virtual non-factor. Except that he isn’t. Unlike Paul, who pulls from the younger ranks of GOP voters, Gingrich draws his remaining strength from the same Tea Party voters who delivered a strong showing for Santorum in Michigan and might give him a win in Ohio next week. The exit polls suggest as much. Gingrich fared best among groups Santorum won: voters who never attended college, union members, households with union members,...

Soft Bigotry, Meet Low Expectations

(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert)
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, greets supporters at his election watch party after winning the Michigan primary in Novi, Mich., Tuesday, Feb. 28, 2012. T he only way Michigan could not have hurt Mitt Romney's bid for the GOP nomination was if he surpassed expectations and won big. An eight- or nine-point margin would have shown that Romney wasn't as weak as he looked; as with his win in Florida, in which the former Massachusetts governor won by 14.5 percentage points, it would have assured GOP leaders that despite weeks of bad news and worse performance, Romney can still turn himself around. Last night, Romney won Michigan with 41 percent of the vote to Rick Santorum’s 38 percent—a narrow win, but a larger margin of victory than polls had predicted. This was a godsend for the former Massachusetts governor. Thanks to the three-point margin, Romney will avoid what would have been a hellish week of terrible media...

This Station is Non-Operational

Americans aren’t so sure that they want to repeal the Affordable Care Act. One of the things I look forward to about the return of Game of Thrones is the smart commentary that will come with it. Mitt Romney’s intensely antagonistic position on immigration is going to be a huge self-inflicted wound in the general election. Comic books are best read on paper, but if digital comics are your thing—and you own an Apple device— this is pretty cool . What if The Phantom Menace were good?

Obama Smash!

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On paper, President Obama’s speech to the United Auto Workers this morning isn’t any different than the speech he gave in Osawatomie, Kansas at the beginning of the year, or the one he gave announcing the American Jobs Act last fall. Boiled down, each is a populist call to reject tax cuts for the wealthy, and push for greater fairness and mobility in the economy. Where today’s speech stands apart is in the actual presentation; this stands as one of the most aggressive speeches Obama has delivered, with a barrage of attacks on the Republican Party and its presidential candidates. The president ripped into Mitt Romney’s position on the automobile bailout calling him out for his opposition—“Some even said we should 'let Detroit go bankrupt.'”—and then ridiculing him for his refusal to accept its success. He inveighed against the GOP’s hostility to labor unions, calling it “a load of you-know-what,” and used the auto-bailouts as a departure point for his larger argument: that this is an...

GOP Leaders Desperate to Rip the Party in Two

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(Recuerdos de Pandora/Flickr) Mother Jones ’ Andy Kroll reports that top Republicans continue to “whisper” about a campaign to draft a new candidate into the presidential race should Mitt Romney falter in Michigan: On CNN Tuesday morning, Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.), chair of the House homeland security committee, hinted at a whisper campaign among “top Republicans” who want a GOP favorite such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie or Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.) to enter the race if Romney loses the Michigan or Arizona primaries or struggles on Super Tuesday, when ten states controlling 437 delegates hold GOP primaries on March 6. “I think there’s going to be more of an interest, more of an emphasis on having someone ready if on Super Tuesday… Mitt Romney does not manage to break loose, and to have that candidate ready to come in,” King said. He added, “Again, I have no inside knowledge. Just whispering and mumbling here among top Republicans who are concerned that Governor Romney has not been...

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I’m reasonably sure that this wouldn’t have happened to a white parent moving their kid into a better school district. This is the weirdest thing I’ve read in a long time. After reading an excerpt from this book at The Washington Post , I’m very excited to read it when it comes out. And now for a little shameless self-promotion: I baked a really awesome batch of cookies last week, and the recipe is up on my recipe blog. You should check it out. Another trailer for Avatar: The Legend of Korra. Also, if you haven’t watched the original series, you should do it, immediately:

What Goes Around...

During his first run for the Republican presidential nomination, Mitt Romney claimed that his vote for Paul Tsongas in the 1992 Democratic primary was an attempt to benefit the GOP: “In Massachusetts, if you register as an independent, you can vote in either the Republican or Democratic primary,” said Romney, who until he made an unsuccessful run for Senate in 1994 had spent his adult life as a registered independent. “When there was no real contest in the Republican primary, I’d vote in the Democrat primary, vote for the person who I thought would be the weakest opponent for the Republican.” In his fight for the Michigan primary, Rick Santorum has adopted a similar strategy— asking Michigan Democrats to vote for him, and tip the scale against Romney. Naturally, Romney isn’t too happy about this: “Sen. Santorum did something today which I think is deceptive and a dirty trick,” Romney said on Fox News. […] As for the Santorum campaign’s robo calls, however, Romney said his rival’s...

Romney Just Don't Understand

(Jamelle Bouie/The American Prospect)
(AP Photo/Gerald Herbert) Republican presidential candidate, former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney speaks at a campaign rally at the Royal Oak Theater in Royal Oak, Mich., Monday, Feb. 27, 2012. Mitt Romney makes his final pitch to Michigan: “Sen. Santorum has shown himself to be an economic lightweight,” Romney said. “And I don’t think people want to nominate an economic lightweight to go up against the president, who also is an economic lightweight and has it made it hard for America to get working again.” This is a perfect summation of Mitt Romney’s problem in the Republican presidential primary. There’s no doubt that Romney has a better handle on economic issues than Rick Santorum, just as there was never any doubt that the former Massachusetts governor was more competent than his previous competitors. But Republican voters aren’t looking for a consultant-in-chief; they want someone who can communicate their values. On a good day, Romney can fake it well, and if this were a less...

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