Army: US Soldier Was Killed Saving Afghan Girl – Dennis Weichel was run over while moving her to safety, say officials

(NEWSER) – A 29-year-old soldier from Rhode Island was fatally run over in Afghanistan as he saved a young Afghan girl, say the US Army and state National Guard. As CNN recounts the story, Dennis Weichel’s convoy had to stop because kids were in the road. Weichel left his vehicle to shoo them away, but one young girl remained collecting shell casings in the road. As a 16-ton armored vehicle bore down on her, Weichel moved her to safety but was himself run over, says CNN.

Rhode Island’s WPRO has a slightly different take on the particulars of the accident, but the gist is the same: Weichel was killed trying to move the girl to safety. “He would have done it for anybody,” says Staff Sgt. Ronald Corbett. “That was the way he was. He would give you the shirt off his back if you needed it. He was that type of guy.” And as the Army no doubt hopes people will notice, not this type of guy.

via Army: US Soldier Was Killed Saving Afghan Girl – Dennis Weichel was run over while moving her to safety, say officials.

From Train Wreck to Plane Wreck

After another round of Supreme Court questions, Jeffrey Toobin told CNN the fate of President Obama’s health care law looks even worse.

Said Toobin: “This still looks like a train wreck for the Obama Administration, and it may also be a plane wreck. This entire law is now in serious trouble. It also seems that the individual mandate is doomed. I mean, Anthony Kennedy spent much of this morning talking about if we strike down the individual mandate, how should we handle the rest of the law? Now, it is less clear that they are going to strike down the whole law. There does seem to be some controversy in the court about that. Certainly there are some members of the court, Antonin Scalia, Justice Alito, who want to strike down the entire law, but it seemed almost a foregone conclusion today that they were going to strike down the individual mandate, and the only question is does the whole law go out the window with it?”

He added: “Well, it’s hard to imagine how things could be going much worse for the Obama Administration.”

via From Train Wreck to Plane Wreck.

Perhaps if it struck down, it would allow President Obama to push for a single-payer system. Wishful thinking I’m sure, but these days, who knows?

Obama Holds Large Lead Over Romney

A new CNN/Opinion Research poll finds President Obama with a double-digit lead over Mitt Romney, 54% to 43%.

Said pollster Keating Holland: “President Obama currently wins majority support among groups that have been problematic for him in the past, including men, older voters, and suburbanites. He has a solid lead among independents as well.”

Obama’s approval rating has also inched over the 50% mark for the first time since last May, when the polls were still registering the after effects of the death of Osama bin Laden.

via Obama Holds Large Lead Over Romney.

Romney Tells “Humorous” Story About Closing a Factory

In advance of the GOP primary next week, Mitt Romney tried to prove his Wisconsin connections by relating a “humorous” story about his father shutting down a factory, the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel reports.

Said Romney: “One of most humorous I think relates to my father. You may remember my father, George Romney, was president of an automobile company called American Motors… They had a factory in Michigan, and they had a factory in Kenosha, Wisconsin, and another one in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. And as the president of the company he decided to close the factory in Michigan and move all the production to Wisconsin. Now later he decided to run for governor of Michigan and so you can imagine that having closed the factory and moved all the production to Wisconsin was a very sensitive issue to him, for his campaign.”

Romney recalled a parade in which a school band marching with his father’s campaign only knew the Wisconsin fight song, not the Michigan song.

He continued, while laughing: “So every time they would start playing ‘On, Wisconsin, On, Wisconsin,’ my dad’s political people would jump up and down and try to get them to stop, because they didn’t want people in Michigan to be reminded that my dad had moved production to Wisconsin.”

via Romney Tells “Humorous” Story About Closing a Factory.

Congressman escorted from House after wearing hoodie in Trayvon Martin tribute (video)

In a dramatic moment on the House floor this morning, Illinois Rep. Bobby Rush (D-IL) was asked to leave the chamber after taking off his suit jacket and revealing that he was wearing a hoodie during a speech in tribute to Trayvon Martin. 

Rush, who donned the hood and put on sunglasses in support of Martin, the Florida teenager who was gunned down last month in a racially-tinged incident, was escorted out of the House chamber after repeated requests by the presiding officer to leave. Wearing a hood or hat while the House is in session is against House rules.

“Racial profiling has to stop Mr. Speaker,” Rush said while taking off his suit jacket, “Just because someone wears a hoodie does not make them a hoodlum.”

via First Read – Congressman escorted from House after wearing hoodie in Trayvon Martin tribute.

Romney: No Insurance for Preexisting Conditions – Greg Sargent bashes frontrunner for ‘nonsensical’ Tonight Show talk

(NEWSER) – If you’re uninsured and have a pre-existing condition, Mitt Romney doesn’t think you should be able to get health insurance. Romney told Jay Leno as much last night, in a clip pointed out by Greg Sargent of the Washington Post. If “they show up, and they say, I want insurance, because I’ve got a heart disease, it’s like, ‘Hey guys, we can’t play the game like that. You’ve got to get insurance when you’re well,'” Romney said.

Otherwise, Romney said, everyone would wait until they were sick to get covered. Of course, that’s exactly why the individual mandate exists, Sargent observes, and that’s why Romney instituted it in Massachusetts. But thanks to primary politics “he’s forced to give a nonsensical answer to the core policy and moral question that’s left behind if we do away with Obamacare: What should the federal government do about those who can’t get insurance coverage?” Romney’s answer, “for all practical purposes, is: Nothing.”

via Romney: No Insurance for Preexisting Conditions – Greg Sargent bashes frontrunner for ‘nonsensical’ Tonight Show talk.

Romney and his conservative competitors are morally bankrupt savages.

‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2 for Dummies – The Daily Beast

In its first season, Game of Thrones—based on George R.R. Martin’s behemoth A Song of Ice and Fire series and adapted by executive producers David Benioff and D.B. Weiss—became a beast as rare as dragons: a critical and ratings success that also fused together genre roots and mainstream appeal.

Season 2 of Game of Thrones is just a few days away, returning to HBO on Sunday at 9 p.m. for another 10-episode run of betrayal, bloodshed, and, er, scenes intended for a mature audience. But if you haven’t read the books, the world that the show inhabits can be a forbidding place without the maps, family trees, and lineages contained within the novels’ vast appendices. And Season 2 furthers the in-world jargon significantly, while introducing a slew of new concepts and places. What is the difference between the Drowned God and the Lord of Light? Who is the Red Woman? And what is the deal with the White Raven?

We delve into the first four episodes of Game of Thrones Season 2, Martin’s second novel (A Clash of Kings), and beyond to bring you up to speed. A note on spoilers: I spoil many details of Season 1 below. But I do not spoil specifics from Season 2, unless you count knowing settings and themes and characters as spoilers. In which case, spoiler alerts!

via ‘Game of Thrones’ Season 2 for Dummies – The Daily Beast.

Romney Wont Detail Cuts Until After the Election

Mitt Romney tells the Weekly Standard that hed eliminate some federal agencies if hes elected president, but he wont say which ones.Said Romney: “One of the things I found in a short campaign against Ted Kennedy was that when I said, for instance, that I wanted to eliminate the Department of Education, that was used to suggest I dont care about education. So I think its important for me to point out that I anticipate that there will be departments and agencies that will either be eliminated or combined with other agencies… but Im not going to give you a list right now.”Jonathan Chait summarizes: “One of the things I have found in previous elections is that announcing my plans makes people want to vote against me!”

via Romney Wont Detail Cuts Until After the Election.

Paul Ryan’s Gift to Obama | The Nation

As George Zornick reported last week, House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s budget for the coming fiscal year would have a devastating impact on the poor, elderly and disabled. By turning Medicare into a private voucher system and Medicaid into a block grant program, along with cuts to food stamps, it paints a frightening picture of what would happen if Republicans sweep the next election. Ryan’s plan enjoys enough support to pass in the House. In the Senate, which Republicans are likely to take over because Democrats have so many more seats up for re-election, it would only need a simple majority since budget bills can avoid being filibustered.

And that is why Ryan’s budget helps President Obama. If Mitt Romney, the likely Republican presidential nominee, replaced Obama in the White House, along with a Republican Congress, the Ryan plan would become law. Romney has been a supporter of Ryan’s draconian budgets in the past and he remains so today.

But this places Romney in a bit of a pickle. He must carry older voters by a wide margin to offset Obama’s strength among young voters. He knows what, which is why he disingenuously attacks Obama for cutting Medicare spending as part of the Affordable Care Act. (While that’s technically true, Obama was simply removing wasteful subsidies to private insurers through the Medicare Advantage program. No senior’s coverage was adversely affected. Meanwhile, Romeny supports undoing Medicare altogether.)

Meddling with Medicare and Social Security is very unpopular among seniors, even conservative ones. That’s why the Affordable Care Act faced such strong, and often incoherent, opposition from some older voters, epitomized by the infamous phrase “get your government hands off my Medicare!”

via Paul Ryan’s Gift to Obama | The Nation.