Tidbits from My eMail

— from the Morning Fix: Obama starts with edge on Fix Electoral College Map President Obama carries a significant, but far from determinative, edge over former Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney in the race for 270 electoral votes this fall, according to the first detailed analysis of the map conducted by the Fix.

Obama starts the general election with 15 states (plus the District of Columbia) and 196 electoral votes solidly for him while Romney begins with 21 states and 170 electoral votes solidly in his corner. (One of the states solidly for Romney is Indiana, where Obama won in 2008 but no one expects a repeat performance in 2012.)

Another three states — Pennsylvania (20 electoral votes), Michigan (16) and New Mexico (5) — lean toward Obama while Arizona (11) and Missouri (10) lean toward Romney.

Add up the states solidly for Obama and those leaning his way and you get 217 electoral votes. Add up the states solidly for Romney and those leaning his way and you get 191 electoral votes.

While Obama is closer to the prize than Romney, victory will likely come for either man from the nine swing states — Colorado, Florida, Iowa, Nevada, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Wisconsin and Virginia — that are considered genuine toss-ups in our first electoral college predictions.

Those nine states comprise 110 electoral votes; whichever candidate wins a majority of them will almost certainly win the presidency.

As with the overall map, Obama starts with an edge — if 2008 is any guide — in the Fix swing states. He carried every single one of them in 2008 and, even more striking, his average margin of victory across those nine states was 7.6 percent.

In order to increase his own margin for error in those nine swing states, Romney would need to put a major electoral vote treasure — Pennsylvania is the most obvious — more in play than it appears now. Win Pennsylvania’s 20 electoral votes, and all of a sudden Romney’s relatively narrow path opens up somewhat.

Still, in our baseline analysis of the 2012 electoral map, you’d rather be Obama than Romney.

Of course, the election isn’t for another 173 days. And things can — and will — change. That’s why every week, we’ll be updating our electoral map as states get more (and less competitive) thanks to ad buys, polls and candidate attention. So, if your favorite state isn’t where you think it should be, maybe it will be next week.

Stay tuned. And make sure to check out the amazing interactive graphic that allows you to slice and dice the electoral map and the U.S. electorate in every way you can possibly imagine — and in some you would have never imagined.

Romney repeats 100,000 jobs created claim:
Romney is back to saying that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.

During a radio interview Wednesday, Romney defended himself from attacks by Obama’s campaign and supporters by saying that Bain Capital created 100,000 jobs.

“And of course they don’t mention a couple of other things,” Romney said, according to ABC News. “One is we were able to create over 100,000 jobs, and secondly, on the president’s watch, about 100,000 jobs were lost in the auto industry and auto dealers and auto manufacturers. So you know, he’s hardly one to point a finger.”

Romney’s campaign has switched between claiming that Bain created 100,000 jobs and “thousands” of jobs, leaving reporters to wonder which is the official line from the campaign.

Ron Paul intrigue in Nevada:
Ron Paul supporters, who have taken over the Clark County (a.k.a. Las Vegas) Republican Party in Nevada, have voted to censure Republican National Committee Chairman Reince Priebus for supporting Romney.

Meanwhile, Jon Ralston reports that the RNC will set up a shadow party in Nevada to work around the Paul-dominated state party.

The two moves reflect the growing pains in the Republican Party as it attempts to deal with rolling Paul supporters in its regular mix.

The moves being made by those Paul supporters at the local and state level should not be underestimated. And especially if Nevada is any indication, they could cause plenty of headaches for the GOP establishment.



Health Insurance Companies Are Charging Women an Extra Billion Dollars Annually

By Thom Hartmann, The Thom Hartmann Program | Report

In today’s On the News segment: Health insurance companies are charging women in America an extra billion dollars annually, the backlash against Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan continues, the DOJ says Florida is discriminating against minority voters, and more.

Thom Hartmann here – on the news…

You need to know this. Mitt Romney – the richest man to ever run for President on a major party ticket – cleaned up last night in the Illinois Primary – beating Rick Santorum 47% to 35%. And, as could be expected, Romney’s huge cash advantage helped him win Illinois. He outspent Santorum 7-1 in the state, to pick up at least 41 new delegates to add to his growing lead. Still – if Romney hopes to reach the magic number of 1,144 delegates to secure the nomination before the Republican Convention – he’ll have to collect just less than half of all the remaining delegates. That’s a feat that could be difficult if Newt Gingrich – who placed an abysmal fourth in the Illinois Primary – drops out and hands his supporters off to Santorum. Then again – if multi-millionaire Karl Rove’s SuperPAC “American Crossroads” – which currently has $23.5 million in cash on hand – decides to pick Romney as its guy – then Mitt’s campaign might easily buy the Republican nomination without even getting out of breath.

American Women are screwed. Putting aside the Republican’s war on women for a moment – a new report from the National Women’s Law Center reveals that health insurance companies are charging women in America an extra billion dollars annually, and it’s just good old fashioned gender discrimination. The report finds that the practice of for-profit health insurers charging women more than men for identical coverage is widespread – and states are doing little to stop the rip-off. In the states that don’t ban health insurance gender discrimination, 92% of the best-selling plans charge women more than men. President Obama’s Affordable Care Act would ban this practice nationally – saving women a billion dollars a year. Unfortunately for women – Republicans are working as hard as they can to repeal Obamacare.

In the best of the rest of the news…

The backlash against Paul Ryan’s radical budget plan continues. A number of faith leaders have come forward to blast Ryan’s extremist vision for America, which takes health insurance away from 48 million Americans to pay for a $3 trillion tax cut for the richest 1%. Bishop Gene Robinson said about the budget plan, “The Ryan budget robs the poor, the marginalized, and the vulnerable of the safety net so integral to their survival. By any measure of civility and regard for one’s neighbor, it’s an immoral disaster.” Ryan’s plan also hands Medicare to for-profit health insurance CEOs, and makes massive cuts to Social Security, setting the stage to hand Social Security’s $2.6 trillion trust fund over to Wall Street. No wonder Wall Street billionaires have reportedly been seen wearing “Paul Ryan for VP” pins.

The Department of Justice says Florida is discriminating against minority voters. Last year, Florida passed a new that clamps down on people helping others to register to vote, and also cuts back on early voting. But the Civil Rights division of the Justice Department is now filing a challenge to the new law in court, claiming that Florida failed to prove that these election law changes will not, “deny or abridge the right to vote on the basis of race, color, or membership in a language minority group.” States with a history of rical discrimination – like Florida – must have any changes to their election laws approved by the Justice Department. Time – and the courts – will tell if Governor Rick Scott’s plan to keep minority voters away from the polls this year works.

Who’s going to foot the bill for climate change? According to a new study out of the Stockholm Environment Institute – increasing greenhouse gases will cost over $2 trillion a year in damage to our planet’s oceans by the end of the century. With warmer oceans comes greater acidification – which wipes out fisheries and coral reefs. Plus, rising sea levels and stronger storms do costly damage to coastlines. Nonetheless – we’re giving tens of billions of dollars in taxpayer subsidies to transnational oil corporations to accelerate climate change – rather than making them pay for the damage they’re causing. This is not only irresponsible – it’s outright dangerous – and means that future generations of Americans will have to cope with a much harsher planet.

Speaking of climate change – the war on science heads to Tennessee. This week – the Tennessee state legislature passed a bill requiring public schools to teach that there’s a “controversy” over evolution and global warming. As the law states, “The teaching of biological evolution, the chemical origins of life, global warming, and human cloning, can cause controversy,” thus school systems must, “present the science curriculum as it addresses scientific controversies.” Critics are blasting the legislation – calling it a “monkey bill” that will lead to creationism being taught in classrooms. Something tells me the big oil lobby is behind this too – hoping that a new generation of Americans denying global warming will keep their fossil fuel profits flowing for another generation.

Meanwhile, in the Middle East, while leaders in Israel and Iran beat the drum to war – the people living in those nations are calling for peace. Recognizing that they’re the ones who will suffer the most from a war, individual citizens in Iran and Israel are taking to Facebook to reach out to each other, in hopes of finding solidarity and mutual respect. The campaign started when an Israeli couple created the Facebook group “Israelis Heart Iran.” Then, a group of Iranians responded with their own “Iranians Love Israel.” The two groups have garnered thousands of followers and responses since going online.

And finally, Ron Paul – the only candidate in the Republican race for President who has not won a state – is coming out against Secret Service protection. All major candidates for President are entitled to Secret Service protection within 120 days of a general election – but Paul is calling that a “form of welfare.” That’s no big surprise since Ron Paul also thinks federal aid to college students, health insurance assistance to poor people, free public roads, and cops and firefighters are welfare too. But Ron Paul shouldn’t worry too much. Considering he’s only running for President to get his son, Rand, a job in Romney’s cabinet – Paul likely won’t be considered a “major candidate” anyway.

And that’s the way it is today – Wednesday, March 21st, 2012. I’m Thom Hartmann – on the news.

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