Chris Christie Gets A Second Chance with Jewish Voters After Big Stumble

I know the governor is big boned, but he seems to have had more than a few stumbles than is normal. And he hasn’t even announced that he’s running for the Presidency. Sure, Jewish voters, and I am one of them, have a special interest in the survival of Israel. That is a sentiment that is shared by most Americans as well. No presidential candidate, even Rand Paul, will speak ill of Israel. That he needs to apologize is where the problem for him is. I believe that the governor has a lot of baggage and we’ve only seen just the tip of the iceberg. Too many apologies makes an apologist something the Republicans hate. AVB

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NEW YORK (AP) — Chris Christie is getting a second chance to impress Jewish leaders after a recent stumble that upset some of the GOP’s most powerful donors.

The New Jersey governor and potential 2016 presidential candidate gives the keynote address Sunday at the Champions of Jewish Values International awards gala in New York. Also expected to attend are Gov. Rick Perry of Texas, U.S. Sen. Cory Booker of New Jersey and major political donor Sheldon Adelson.

Christie was forced to apologize to Adelson after addressing the Republican Jewish Coalition in Las Vegas just seven weeks ago.

At the time, Christie, a Catholic, said he was overwhelmed by displays of religious tolerance during a recent trip to Jerusalem.

“I took a helicopter ride from occupied territories across … and just felt, personally, how extraordinary that was to understand the military risk that Israel faces every day,” he said.

The comment about “occupied territories” drew sharp criticism from some in the audience. The Israeli government and by extension most of Israel’s supporters in the U.S. don’t consider the West Bank and East Jerusalem to be occupied territory.

After the speech, Christie met privately with Adelson to explain that he misspoke.

With a net worth estimated at nearly $40 billion, Adelson may be the Republican Party’s most influential donor. He is known for his devotion to Israel, in addition to an aggressive American foreign policy.

Adelson donated more than $90 million to Republican candidates and their allies in the 2012 election.

I hope we can agree or agree to disagree, in any case, let’s keep it all civil

UPDATE: Now FCC trying to change Internet access without a public hearing, here’s what you do to make your opinion known

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UPDATE
Now the FCC Chairman is trying to make these changes without a public hearing. Please sign the following petition asking that there be public hearings for a regulation that will change the way the Internet is used:
Click here to sign the petition
Yesterday, the Federal Communications Commission voted to consider adopting rules that would end Net Neutrality and give the 1% a fast lane on the internet. They will listen to public opinion, so please find my petition or contact the FCC or do something to prevent this change that will end the Internet as we know it.

Send the Chairman of the FCC a note telling him that you wish Net Neutrality to remain as it is. If this vote changes net neutrality you will see great increases in the cost of using the Internet. Once again the rich getting richer. Here is his address, and make sure to put your name and address in the email. Send in an email it is your right: tom.wheeler@fcc.gov

I hope we can agree or agree to disagree, in any case, let’s keep it all civil

Christie: Bridgegate Won’t Impact Political Future

This is what is commonly referred to as wishful thinking. Yes the bridge closures were not that important in the grand scheme of things, but it is a glimpse into how this governor governs and how he would run our country. Doing this and acting like it is nothing is not brash and like one of the people were rather, it seems cold and Imperial. AVB

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Gov. Chris Christie believes the scandal over the George Washington Bridge lane closures will have no impact on his political career, saying that the Bridgegate matter will be a “footnote” by the time the 2016 campaign begins.

I hope we can agree or agree to disagree, in any case, let’s keep it all civil

Karl Rove: Hillary may have brain damage

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As Jon Stewart on The Comedy Central Daily Show said tonight “It’s #brainghazi”,  AVB.

By Emily Smith
May 12, 2014 | 9:06pm

Karl Rove stunned a conference when he suggested Hillary Clinton may have brain damage.
Onstage with Robert Gibbs and CBS correspondent and “Spies Against Armageddon” co-author Dan Raviv, Rove said Republicans should keep the Benghazi issue alive.
He said if Clinton runs for president, voters must be told what happened when she suffered a fall in December 2012.
The official diagnosis was a blood clot. Rove told the conference near LA Thursday, “Thirty days in the hospital? And when she reappears, she’s wearing glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury? We need to know what’s up with that.”
Rove repeated the claim a number of times to the audience. Clinton’s rep said, “Please assure Dr. Rove she’s 100 percent.”
Despite Rove’s claims, then-Secretary of State Clinton was discharged from New York Presbyterian Hospital after spending three days undergoing treatment for a potentially life-threatening blood clot.

She was seen walking out of the Manhattan hospital for another series of tests but returned to the hospital shortly thereafter. She needed more tests related to her condition, the AP reported, citing unnamed officials.

Clinton, weakened by a stomach virus, fell in her Washington, DC, home in December 2012 and sustained a concussion. Her doctors said a blood clot had formed behind her right ear in the space between her brain and skull.
A spokesperson for Clinton added, “Karl Rove has deceived the country for years, but there are no words for this level of lying.”
As for her health, “She is 100 percent. Period.”

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Clay Aiken Opponent Crisco Dead

Keith Crisco, the Democratic candidate locked in a too-close-to-call election for a North Carolina House seat against former American Idol contestant Clay Aiken, died suddenly on Monday, NBC News confirms.
For full article

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Jim Parsons On ‘The Normal Heart’ And His Own Coming Out Experience

This is history that I actually lived through. I was asked by a reporter for The Miami Herald why I had started White Party Week and why I had become an activist for AIDS victims.  I paused for a few seconds and replied, I am selfish, at 44 and I have been to more funerals than  my mother who was 75 had been to. I really never wanted to go back to another one of those funerals of my young friends cut down and their youth. AVB

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Michelangelo Signorile
05/09/14 12:34 PM ET
Jim Parsons, co-starring in “The Normal Heart,” the powerful, emotionally wrenching HBO film adaptation of Larry Kramer’s searing play about the very first few years of the AIDS epidemic (debuting May 25), talked about that day in 2012 when he matter-of-factly came out as gay in The New York Times — and the rest of the world treated it much less than matter-of-factly, the interview sparking lots of commentary about the new trend in celebrities coming out quietly.

The star of the CBS hit comedy “The Big Bang Theory” explained that he was “thrilled” that a reporter had finally just brought it up, since it was something he’d not really hidden from public view.

“I was 33, 34 when I first started doing ‘Big Bang,’” he explained in an interview with me on SiriusXM Progress. It was his breakout role, having done pilot after pilot for years and not seeing any of the projects take off.

“I was four years into my relationship that I’m in now,” he continued. “What happened was that we were very fortunate with the show, and we started getting invited to awards shows and stuff. I had to deal with it very quickly — I mean, there was no option. I was going to take Todd. And so I had to deal with it.”

But nothing ever came up. Todd went with Parsons to show after show, opening after opening. No one ever asked anything about him or their relationship. Perhaps it’s the double standard in the Hollywood press, in which reporters ask every detail of heterosexual stars’ love lives but steer clear of asking questions of those rumored to be gay, assuming they don’t want the question asked, queasy about the subject and believing that it would be inappropriate.
‘This went on for years,” Parsons explained, “until I was sitting there with [The New York Times’] Patrick Healy — and I just love this — he just [asked a question, beginning with], ‘As a gay man…’ and I was kind of thrilled. He finally just took the information that I’d presented in front of him, and everyone, and just talked about it. My recollection was hearing the question pretty calmly. That was where I found the peace about it, actually. If it’s going to be talked about that’s exactly how it should be talked about. Just something else to mention.”

Healy asked the question in the context of what it meant to Parsons, as a gay man, to have taken a role in the 2011 Broadway revival of “The Normal Heart,” the Tony Award-winning drama based largely on Larry Kramer’s own life as an AIDS activist in the early years of the epidemic. The character of Ned Weeks, based on Kramer, is played stunningly and meticulously by Mark Ruffalo in the film. Parsons played Tommy Boatwright in the play as well as in the film. His character is based on the late AIDS activist and dear friend of Kramer’s, Rodger McFarlane, the first executive director of Gay Men’s Health Crisis. It’s a role with a lot of heart, which Parson understands well, and in many ways, Boatwright is the glue that, for a while, holds the other characters together. Parsons discussed the experience of having played the role in both the play and the film, directed by Ryan Murphy of “Glee” and “American Horror Story” fame, who also is openly gay.

“It’s always tricky when you take material from one genre and throw it into another genre,” Parsons said.”This has transferred seamlessly. It’s different than the theatrical production. It’s more fleshed out. There are scenes added. There are characters added. It’s certainly more realistic. The production we did on Broadway was, in many ways, physically not realistic at all. On set, we had a chair, we had a gurney, we had a carton of milk to throw and break. Other than that, it was very — there was something almost ethereal in the staging. It enhanced the dialogue and the characters — very very real and gave them gravity. In this case it’s a movie, and everything’s taken care of. You’re never in an unrealistic set. So, for whatever reason, it transferred beautifully from one genre to the other, and maybe because of that my time with the production on Broadway really felt to me like an accidental chance to do a lot of homework and background that I never would have a chance to do otherwise. I was able to know it so well that I was able to respond to the new people in new roles and the new director, Ryan.”
Parsons explained that the role connected with his own childhood and with gay history in a way that moved him.

“I was about 10, 11, 12 when all of this stuff was going down that ’Normal Heart’ is really about [in the early 80s], that period of time,” he said. “I found it frightening. I did grow up very much with the banner over ‘casual sex is a death sentence.’ So I didn’t miss that boat completely.”

He related to the character of Tommy Boatwright because Boatwright was roughly the same age Parsons was when the AIDS epidemic broke out — 10 or 11 — when the Stonewall riots happened in 1969, kicking off the modern, sexually-liberated gay movement.

“I always really liked that, that I had a relationship to the topic at hand in this play that Tommy had to Stonewall, that we all had to fight for our sexual liberation and now you’re just telling us to cool it,” he said. “I started consciously making the connection of what level of importance doing this part has to me as a gay man.”

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

2016 GOP conundrum: Court the middle or rouse the base?

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This problem will be much more prevalent on the Republican side, but the Democrats will have to court their base as well. Fortunately for Democratic candidates their base is not crazy. AVB

JAKE MILLER  /CBS NEWS
May 11, 2014 5:26 PM EDT

As the Republican Party’s slate of potential 2016 presidential candidates begin positioning themselves for a run, they’re confronting a question that has bedeviled the GOP in recent national elections: Do they rouse the base to score big in the primary, or do they look ahead to the general election and speak to swing voters?

Their answers, thus far, are all over the map.

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2016 presidential election: Who are the frontrunners?
Some, like Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., are throwing nothing but red meat. In an interview broadcast Sunday on ABC, Rubio talked tough about the attack Benghazi, saying nobody in President Obama’s administration has been held accountable. He said Hillary Clinton would get a failing grade on her record as secretary of state, and he rejected the “notion” that human activity is causing climate change.
He also downplayed his work on immigration reform, an issue that opened a rift between him and the conservative base after he voted for a comprehensive reform bill last June. He said he still believes the system needs to be overhauled but added that it’s “not at the forefront” of the issues facing America today.

Gov. Bobby Jindal, R-La., was similarly preaching to the faithful this weekend with a commencement speech on Saturday at Liberty University, an evangelical Christian college.

Jindal warned the graduates that religious liberty was under attack from an increasingly secular American culture, and that conservative Christians must be prepared to stand tall for their beliefs. He singled out the requirement for insurance companies to provide contraceptive coverage under Obamacare as a particularly egregious example of the government’s “silent war” on religion.

Some candidates, though, struck a more balanced tone, reaching out to the middle with one hand as they fanned enthusiasm among the base with the other. Former Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., had harsh words for the Obama administration on Benghazi and Obamacare during an interview Sunday on CNN, but he also said Republicans need to do a better job of projecting compassion on economic issues.

Santorum, who sought the GOP nomination in 2012, said the GOP’s opposition to raising the minimum wage hurt their standing among blue collar voters and suggested his party needs an “image makeover.”

“I’m looking for candidates who connect with average voters, someone who has a heart and understanding for the difficult times that those voters are going through,” he said.

Other Republicans, particularly those with an already-strong reputation among conservative activists, have been more willing to break from the party line and emphasize issues that could appeal to crossover voters.

Sen. Rand Paul, R-Ky., for example, is a favorite of the tea party who has also said Republicans need to do a better job of winning converts. He’s emphasized his opposition to government surveillance to court young voters, and he’s reached out to minorities by preaching criminal justice reform.

And on Friday, in perhaps his highest-profile break with his party yet, Paul said the GOP-led push for voter ID laws is “offending” people the party needs to win over. Civil rights organizations have said the laws are disproportionately targeting urban and minority voters that traditionally lean toward Democrats.

“Everybody’s gone completely crazy on this voter ID thing,” Paul told the New York Times. “I think it’s wrong for Republicans to go too crazy on this issue because it’s offending people.”

Whoever ends up with the GOP nod can be sure the Democrats won’t cede their 8-year hold on the White House without a fight. During a fundraising speech in South Carolina on Friday, Vice President Joe Biden riled up the crowd with a fiery dose of populism, several people in the room told CNN.

“He gave a stem-winding, almost revival-type speech today,” one attendee said. “I have never seen him this good. He was on fire.”

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Hillary Clinton: Still “thinking” about 2016 presidential bid
Another said Biden “talked about how the system was rigged against the middle class,” delivering a message that would fit nicely into any stump speech.
And Hillary Clinton — the woman on everyone’s mind, Democrat and Republican alike — made a splash this weekend with the first excerpt from her hotly-anticipated upcoming memoir, which was obtained by Vogue Magazine.

The excerpt, published on Mother’s Day, offered no talk of politics or 2016, but it did showcase a more intimate look at Clinton’s experience as a mother, daughter, and soon-to-be grandmother.

© 2014 CBS Interactive Inc. All Rights Reserved.

Copyright © 2014 CBS Interactive Inc.

All rights reserved.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Americans with health insurance up sharply

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The percentage of U.S. adults aged 18 to 64 who report having self-funded health insurance or Medicaid continued to mount in April following an increase in the first quarter 2014. The rates are sharply higher than in 2013.
Read more at GALLUP.com.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil

Elections not stopping Obama pollution rules

I think the Democrats are wrong in thinking that the voters are going to be against new pollution control rules. The consequences of pollution becoming very clear to me everyday man. Our climate is changing and it’s going to only get worse and the voters are aware of it, painfully aware. The Democrats should be writing on white horses coming to save the day and our planet and not hide from a good cause. AVB

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WASHINGTON (AP) — Within weeks, President Barack Obama’s administration is set to unveil unprecedented emissions limits on power plants across the U.S., much to the dismay of many Democratic candidates who are running for election in energy-producing states. Fearful of a political backlash, they wish their fellow Democrat in the White House would hold off until after the voting.

I hope we can agree or agree not to agree any to case let’s keep it all civil