Tuesday, October 13, 2009

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

Olympia Snowe is the new Max Baucus.

Max Baucus is the new Harry Reid.

Harry Reid is the new Tom Daschle.

[UPDATE 7:17 PM] And the Winger reaction to Snowe's yes vote is one for the ages.

Epic Hire Better Tech Support Fail

The GOP. Can't run a web site, sure as hell can't run the government.
Just how embarrassing has the launch been for the Republican National Committee's new website? This afternoon, RNC Chairman Michael Steele told Fox News it isn't even a website.

"It's not even really a web site," Steele said. "It's a new platform for us."

To those that have been mocking the site by saying just that, he said it's "a beta site."

"So we're working out a lot of the kinks and the bugs. So the Democrats can have some fun," he said.

Oh, they're not the only ones. Marc Ambinder put together a very compelling top-10 list with the reasons why the RNC's relaunch "is fizzlin'."

Oh, and they managed to post the admin instruction page on the site at one point, because whoever's running the website coudln't fix a plate of waffles.
By the afternoon, the site had crashed altogether. Blue State Digital's Joe Rospars said, "You know your web program is in trouble when your site can't even handle the traffic bump from people making fun of your web program."
Nice. More competence from the guys that brought you the Bush administration...


Quote Of The Week

Sadly, No!'s Brad on Michael Steele:
It occurs to me that if he’s going to remake the Republican Party in a hip-hop image, Steele needs a hip-hop name. My nomination: Filibusta Rhymes.
That is priceless.

Rush Rolls The Bones

Sure, El Rushbo will deign to sit down and take time out of his busy schedule of calling Obama a fascist, racist, nepotistic Nazi to have a nice talk with the President.
Rush Limbaugh says he'd gladly sit down for a conversation with President Obama if the controversial talk-radio host ever scored an invite to the White House.

"Absolutely," Limbaugh, among the president's fiercest critics, told NBC when asked if he'd be willing to speak with Obama. "I'd be honest with him. The President of the United States is the President of the United States. I want this country to succeed, and if he invited me up there to chat, I would owe him up the dignity of being honest."

Sure he'll be honest, and I mean that. I'm sure he'll honestly call the President all these horrible things to his face, frankly. And of course the more the White House resists, the more Rush wins. And should the White House actually be silly enough to do this, Rush wins.

Well played, actually.

[UPDATE 7:13 PM] On the other hand, Rush loses at NFL ownership.

Snowe Job, Part 3

The Hill is reporting that the GOP will exact revenge on Maine Republican Sen. Olympia Snowe should she back the Baucus Bill.
A Senate Democrat on the Commerce, Science and Transportation Committee said Republicans on the panel are threatening to vote against Snowe, who is in line for the senior GOP post that is about to come open.

“Wake up,” the Democrat told a reporter last week when questioned if the Republicans would retaliate against Snowe for crossing party lines.

Snowe, a potential swing vote on the Senate Finance Committee, could give Democrats a major boost Tuesday when that panel holds a final vote on Chairman Max Baucus’s (D-Mont.) bill. She could also support the bill in the coming weeks on the Senate floor.

“A vote for healthcare would be something that would weigh on our minds when it came time to vote,” said a Republican on Commerce, who said Snowe would otherwise be assured of the ranking member post if not for the healthcare debate.

Every other GOP member of Finance is expected to vote against the healthcare bill.
In other words, Snowe votes yes, her "friends" on the GOP will kick her to the curb. You can't blame them for playing hardball like that. The Republicans have gotten themselves into a position where if health care reform passes, they're goners for a generation. They know this. Collectively, they're dead if they vote for it as the base will vehemently attack anyone who jumps ship like Snowe might. Individually, they're dead if they vote against it, because they will get the blame from general election voters for voting against health care reform.

So how will Snowe go? Is this article to raise sympathy for her or ire against her?

[UPDATE 11:55 AM] Then again as Aimai observes at NMMNB...
Take a lesson from the Democrats, why don't you? We even let Lieberman play with us and he's stabbed us in the back so many times we look like Swiss Cheese. And its working! We have a majority and we get everything we want...?
Then again, sometimes the Dems need to play hardball too.

[UPDATE 2 3:14 PM] Olympia Snowe has voted yes. Noam Schieber at TNR smells Snowe shoveling.
On the other hand, now that Snowe has voted for the bill in committee, she can basically dictate the terms of the final bill. (Anyone wondering about the havoc she might wreak need only look at the stimulus.) That's because, if you alienate her during the forthcoming negotiations, her defection from the final bill would be disastrous. Just imagine the atmospherics of Olympia Snowe getting up on the Senate floor and saying she was so serious about passing health care reform she voted for it in committee, but that she can no longer support the bill because it's moved too far to the left.
I'd have to agree. Trojan horse time for all.

[UPDATE 3 3:28 PM] On the other hand, Jon Cohn says Olympia Snowe's vote is now vital because Joe F'ckin Lieberman is about to try to screw the entire process over.

The Gold Rush Of Ought Nine

Gold has hit another record intraday high as the dollar continues to weaken.
Spot gold was bid at $1,062.70 an ounce at 0834 GMT against $1,055.25 late in New York on Monday.

Options-related activity also played a role in the euro's moves on Tuesday, with the currency's recent rebound to test September's high of $1.4842 fizzling out ahead of reported large options barriers and expiries at $1.4850.

Early trading in Europe was quiet and confined to narrow ranges, something which may change with the German ZEW investor sentiment survey at 0900 GMT and the latest batch of U.S. third quarter earnings when U.S. markets open.

Oil is heading to $75 a barrel and rising, and other commodities are heading up too.

The world is starting to bet against the dollar, and big time.

Why We Need Federal Hate Crimes Legislation To Include Sexual Orientation

Because of cases like this.
A man brutally beaten in New York City was targeted because he is openly gay, the New York Police Department said Monday.

Two men shouting "anti-gay remarks" viciously beat Jack Price, 49, as he left a 24-hour deli on College Point Boulevard in Queens early Friday morning, police said. No further details where available about the attack.

Price is being treated at New York Hospital Medical Center of Queens, where "he is in fair condition and his vital signs are stable," said hospital spokeswoman Camela Morrissey.

Police arrested Daniel Aleman, 26, and charged him with assault and aggravated assault as a hate crime.

"When someone is attacked for being who they are, and for being proud of who they are, there is no other explanation for that attack than hatred and bigotry," said New York City Council Speaker Christine Quinn, the first openly gay speaker of the city council.

At some point you do have to decide to do the right thing. The House has done this, and the Senate needs to follow suit and get a bill to the President's desk.

Yes, New York is operating under state laws right now that go above the current federal ones. That shoudn't be the case. The bottom line after all the obfuscation about states' rights and the expansion of federal government and freedom of expression is that there are states out there that do not want to make assaults like this based on a person's sexual orientation a hate crime, and their congressional delegations certainly don't want it to count as a federal offense either because they don't see attacking someone based on who they love as a crime to begin with.

At some point at the federal level, this needs to be corrected. The legislation is on its way, thankfully.

[UPDATE 8:52 AM] Because after all, we still have a pernicious and overt racism problem in this country and we certainly as hell have an even worse homophobia problem in this country as well.

The Larger Picture

BooMan takes the progressive critics of Obama to task after yesterday's John Harwood-fueled meltdown.
The truth of the matter is, right or wrong, the progressive blogosphere has been a more severe and on point critic of the Obama administration than any teabagger. And, in many ways, that is to the community's credit. We don't embrace the cheerleader's role and that gives us more credibility. When the president screws up, we're willing to call him on it. But, Jesus Christ, do you expect the administration to lie down and say, 'Thank you, sir, may I have another'?

If you berate them for not closing Guantanamo fast enough, not ending Don't Ask, Don't Tell fast enough, not evacuating Iraq fast enough, not passing a health care bill fast enough, and so on...do you not expect one their number to at some point push back and point out that making these kind of changes takes time and is a bit difficult?

And, where the hell do you get off taking it personally? Aren't you the ones accusing them of being whores to the insurance industry and Wall Street and the military-industrial complex? Do you think they are going to find that criticism generous and well-intended?

Criticism is fine. But the sense of entitlement involved here is staggering. Ooh, some big, bad White House adviser defended the administration against one more heated attack. My feelings are hurt. Guess what? You should get over it.

I think the White House is willing to listen to criticism from their allies. From you? Not so much.

I agree. Warranted criticism of Obama is necessary and I've done more than my fair share myself. But I'll also be the first to tell you that a Republican administration would be worse in every conceivable metric or criteria. Holding Obama's feet to the fire is one thing. Deciding that the teabaggers are right and Obama really is an empty suit who has done nothing for America is not only ridiculous, but wrong as well. And no, why do you expect the White House to not stand up for itself against the left just as the left has stood up to Obama? That's how democracy is supposed to work.

A River Runs Through It

California's legendary water issues may finally be getting solved, but the solution may be worse than the problem.
The negotiations are focused on repairing the state’s fragile water ecosystem, unleashing new water supplies and increasing water conservation throughout the state. More specifically, negotiators hope to seal a deal that would make equal the goals of restoring the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta — a collection of channels, natural habitats and islands at the confluence of the Sacramento and San Joaquin Rivers that is a major source of the state’s drinking water — and increasing the supply of water to residents, businesses and farms.

State officials say the restoration of the delta, as envisioned in the negotiations, would be the largest environmental restoration project in the United States, surpassing the effort under way in the Florida Everglades.

But the battle over how to distribute California’s water is generations old — it was Mark Twain who was believed to have said, “Whiskey is for drinking; water is for fighting over” — and when it comes to water legislation, close to done never means done. In the delta alone, myriad efforts have sought to change how water flows and to whom, including a package of five policy and bond bills that never made it to a vote in the Democratic-controlled Legislature this year.

Yet many factors have made the need to fix California’s water system problems all the more pressing.

The drought has led to water restrictions and increased prices for water around the state. And along with the drought, a federal order last year forcing water authorities to curtail the use of large pumps in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta to help preserve dying smelt has reduced water flows to agriculture and resulted in dust-bowl-like conditions for many of the state’s farms. In 2008, over 100,000 acres of the 4.7 million acres in the Central Valley were left unplanted, and experts expect that number to grow this year.

In addition, environmental problems in the Sacramento River have resulted in a collapse of the Chinook salmon population, closing salmon season off the coast of California and much of Oregon for two years in a row.

Among the bills in the making is one that would issue roughly $9 billion in bonds, including $3 billion to build at least one dam. Some of the money would also be used to help restore the delta ecosystem and fortify levies to withstand natural disasters like floods and earthquakes. The bonds would require voter approval.
The bottom line: fixing California's water infrastructure is going to take billions that California doesn't have, and voters aren't going to give them. The misery will only continue as these bond measures fail and the state will have to make more cuts in services.

And the wildfires and mudslides, California's two major weather seasons, will continue as a result.


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