Monday, November 30, 2009

Last Call

John Cole has the best angle on the Chelsea Clinton engagement story tonight:
Chelsea Clinton, the 29-year old daughter of former President Bill Clinton and Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton, has become engaged to her longtime boyfriend, investment banker Marc Mezvinsky.
Mezvinsky is a son of former Pennsylvania Rep. Marjorie Margolies-Mezvinsky and former Iowa Rep. Ed Mezvinsky, longtime friends of the Clintons. Ed Mezvinsky was released from federal prison last year after pleading guilty in 2002 to charges of bank and wire fraud.
The couple became friends as teenagers in Washington and both attended Stanford University. They now live in New York, where Mezvinsky works at Goldman Sachs and Clinton is attending graduate school at Columbia University’s School of Public Health.
Ahh Goldman there anything you can't do?

Seriously, you have a guy with a father convicted of bank fraud, and it doesn't even begin to disqualify the son from working at a financial firm like GS.  Only in America.

A Done Deal

Obama has "signed the orders" sending more troops into Afghanistan.
President Obama has issued his order to send more troops to Afghanistan, communicating his decision to military leaders late Sunday afternoon during a meeting in the Oval Office, and will spend Monday speaking with foreign leaders to share with them the broad outlines of his new strategy, the White House said.

“The commander-in-chief has issued the orders,” White House Press Secretary Robert Gibbs told reporters at the White House at the outset of what will be a two-day effort to sell the new strategy to the American people, Congress and American allies.

Mr. Gibbs did not provide a precise figure for the new level of forces, although senior advisers to the president have said Mr. Obama intends to commit roughly 30,000 more troops. After weeks of intense deliberation, Mr. Obama plans to share his strategy with the American people Tuesday evening in a speech at the United States Military Academy at West Point.

Mr. Gibbs said the president would discuss in the speech how he intends to pay for the plan, and will make clear that he has an exit strategy. “This is not an open-ended commitment,” the press secretary said.
The GOP will never support Obama on Afghanistan no matter what he does.  Democrats will only support a withdrawal.  Trying to split the difference will mean nobody accepts the plan, and nobody will.

Congress is not going to keep giving Obama a blank check on this.  And Republicans are already saying that Obama needs to scrap his entire domestic agenda to pay for victory in Afghanistan.

We need to get out, not send more troops in. Enjoy your war, Mr. President.  It's all yours now.

Criminal Intent

Make no mistake:  there's a portion of the GOP that sees nothing wrong with criminalizing homosexuality to the point of making it a capital offense.
We already noted the religious right-wing's support of making Uganda a home base for homophobia, but now comes word that America's own Christian politicos are backing President Yoweri Museveni's campaign to make gay sex punishable by death.
As Jeff Sharlot, author of the expose The Family, tells it, the bill's biggest supporter is a member of The Family. David Bahati, the lawmaker pushing for aggravated homosexuality crimes, "appears to be a core member of The Family. He works, he organizes their Ugandan National Prayer Breakfast and oversees a African sort of student leadership program designed to create future leaders for Africa, into which The Family has poured millions of dollars working through a very convoluted chain of linkages passing the money over to Uganda."

Moreover, says Sharlot, "we discovered that David Bahati, the man behind this legislation, is really deeply, deeply involved in The Family's work in Uganda, that the ethics minister of Uganda, Museveni's kind of right-hand man, a guy named Nsaba Buturo, is also helping to organize The Family's National Prayer Breakfast. And here's a guy who has been the main force for this Anti-Homosexuality Act in Uganda's executive office and has been very vocal about what he's doing, in a rather extreme and hateful way. But these guys are not so much under the influence of The Family. They are, in Uganda, The Family."
Our good friends in The Family are back.

Punishable by death.  Don't think for a second it can't happen here.

Cause And Huckeffect Part 2

CNN has two stories on Mike Huckabee today:

Huckabee Responds To Washington Shootings

Huckabee Unsure About Another Presidential Bid

If you don't think both of those stories are intimately related, you're fooling yourself.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

The Village really, really, really wants to see Dick Cheney vs. Sarah Palin in 2012.  They are salivating over the fight.

They are salivating even more over Cheney/Palin (or Palin/Cheney) as the GOP's dream ticket.  They are practically giddy about it.  Please, by all means, assure another four years of Obama.  (Maybe the media really is in the tank for Obama.)

The Method To Rasmussen's Madness

Now, I give Rasmussen a hard time, I think their Presidential approval number polls are heavily skewed against Obama.  The fact they are so far off from the majority of other polls has begun to bother them somewhat (not to mention being constantly called out on it) but as TPMDC's Eric Kleefield points out, even Rasmussen's curious as to why.
Rasmussen has released a new set of polls illustrating how the exact questioning of a poll can subtly affect the answers -- and perhaps explaining why their own daily survey puts President Obama's approval lower than nearly everyone else.
Respondents were asked their approval of Obama using Rasmussen's usual format: Do they strongly approve, somewhat approval, somewhat disapprove, or strongly disapprove? The answer here is 47% approval, with 28% strongly approving, to 52% disapproval, including 41% who strongly disapprove.

However, Rasmussen got a different result when they asked the question as a simple "approve" or "disapprove." Obama then enters positive territory at 50% approval, 46% disapproval -- in line with a lot of other polls, such as the Gallup survey.
Now that's quite curious...but as I keep mentioning, Rasmussen's Presidential Approval Index ignores everyone who doesn't have a strong opinion either way.  It's completely the strongly approve versus the strongly disapprove, and that has had Obama deeply in the negatives for basically all of his Presidency so far.
I've called this discrepancy the ODI -- the Obama Derangement Index.  I've been tracking it since late July, and this set of Rasmussen polls shows what I've been saying for months now:  Rasmussen goes out of its way to make Obama look bad.

Indeed, 50% to 46% gives Obama a +4 in Rasmussen's book, but using their method, he's at -13.  There's something lousy going on there.

Placing A Premium On Savings

Ezra Klein looks at the latest CBO numbers on the Senate health care reform plan.

The CBO's analysis broke the health-care system into three parts: individual, small group and large group. The small- and large-group markets account for 159 million Americans, and have very little change in premiums. But what change they see is in the right direction: Health-care reform is expected to reduce premiums in the large group market by about 1.5 percent, and in the small group market by about 0.5 percent.

The individual market is where the big changes happen. In 2016, which is the year CBO examines, this market is expected to serve 32 million Americans. And in this market, average premiums are expected to rise by 10 to 12 percent. What's important, however, is why.
The bottom line is that premiums will go up on individual users, but the coverage will be much better, and then the subsidies will make that coverage significantly less expensive for people.

(More after the jump...)

Ross Douthat Is Still Wrong

I'd have more respect for Ross Douthat if he wouldn't disprove his own theories within his own column. To whit:
Do downturns create Democrats? The Great Depression certainly did: The generation that came of age in the 1930s has cleaved to the Democratic Party like no population before or since. And it makes intuitive sense that experiencing a recession at a formative age could inspire lifelong sympathy for the party of the welfare state and lifelong suspicion toward the party of free markets.
OK, makes sense so far.
In a recent paper, “Growing Up In a Recession,” Paola Giuliano, an assistant professor of economics at U.C.L.A., and Antonio Spilimbergo, an economist at the International Monetary Fund, offer statistics to back this intuition up. Looking at over 40 years of survey data, the authors report that Americans who experienced “macroeconomic shocks” between the ages of 18 and 25 were more worried about poverty and inequality across their voting lives, and more skeptical about the wisdom of the market.

These findings track with the results of the 2008 election, when a cratering economy helped Barack Obama win an extraordinary landslide among young and first-time voters. And they provide grist for the liberal hope that the rising generation will prove as enduringly Democratic as that of their Depression-era grandparents, with George W. Bush playing Herbert Hoover to Obama’s F.D.R.
Right, and I sense a "but" coming.
But the study shouldn’t make liberals too cocky. The authors find that growing up in a recession can encourage conservative instincts as well. Downturns make young voters distrustful of unfettered capitalism, yes. But they also make them less confident in the federal government.
This finding may explain why recent recessions have actually ended up pushing America rightward. The stagflation of the 1970s, for instance, and the hapless liberal response, helped usher in Ronald Reagan’s revolution. (The cohort that grew up with Reagan is the most staunchly Republican in modern history.) The slump of the early 1990s bolstered Bill Clinton’s first presidential campaign — but it also gave a boost to the fiscally conservative populism of Ross Perot, and then to the Republican wave of 1994.
Note that phrase, "hapless liberal response."  This is the real cause of the Republican waves of 1980 and 1994.  When liberals show that the Federal government can do some things better than the free market, you get people who trust the government.  When liberals foul up that response, as they did in 1979 and 1992-1993, you get a Republican backlash.  The Republican response to recessions hasn't changed since the days of Herbert Hoover:  cut spending in a recession.  1982 was rather ugly economically, and 1994's Clintonian triangulation led to the dot-com bust of 2000, leading to the Bush economy, leading to where we are now.

When the economy messes up, we're told by Democrats that more regulation is needed, and that the government needs to play a role.  Republicans say we need to double down on less regulation and let companies keep on making profit.  A good 15 years of the latter since 1994 hasn't exactly worked, folks.

The Golden State Of Debt

California's about to tackle an $11.1 billion water bond for the state, but a closer look and some back-of-the-envelope calculations by the Sacramento Bee's Dan Walters show that the state's debt is pushing the $600 billion mark.
The latest annual pension report from the state controller covers 2006, when the unfunded liability was $64 billion. But since then, state and local pension funds have lost at least $150 billion on investments, so a reasonable estimate of today's unfunded liability is $200-plus billion. A state commission, meanwhile, says the state-local liability for retiree health care is about $100 billion.
No one keeps complete data on local government general obligation debt, but it appears to be roughly the same as the state's, perhaps $50 billion, plus several billion dollars in debt incurred by local redevelopment agencies.

There are tens of billions in specialized state debt, such as veteran home loan bonds, "securitization" of tobacco lawsuit proceeds, and budget deficit bonds.

The interest that must be paid on all that state and local debt is probably an additional $100 billion, so we're already talking about well over $500 billion.

Then there are the off-the-books debts incurred to paper over years of state budget deficits, such as speeding up tax collections that will have to be refunded later, postponing periodic payments to schools, making promises to schools about levels of future financing, borrowing money from special funds and taking local government funds that must be repaid later.

The state's unemployment insurance fund, meanwhile, is about $7 billion in the red, and that deficit is expected to more than double in the next year and quadruple by the end of 2011. The state has been borrowing from the federal government, but sooner or later it will have to repay the feds, probably by taxing employers.

Conservatively, then, California is probably more than $600 billion in debt. Perhaps we shouldn't sweat another $11.1 billion. Or perhaps it will be the straw that breaks our back.
Six.  Hundred.  Billion.  Just for the state of California.

The question is how are we going to bail out one-seventh of the country, and when?  The how, well who knows.  The when?  Well I'm thinking it's sooner rather than later.  Here's the trillion dollar question:  how much in the unfunded obligations are America's other 49 states pushing?  As long as real estate prices were going up, it wasn't a problem:  states would just borrow based on increased property tax numbers.  Now?

Well, now we're all about to get an ugly lesson.  And keep in mind California's trapped:  they can't raise taxes a single dime, so either they have to borrow more or cut everything they can.  The GOP wants to basically do the same to the rest of the country, to boot.  Ahnold's muffed it, folks.

California's problems are really just beginning.


Sully gets it on Afghanistan.
As Obama appears to be intensifying the lost war in Afghanistan, with the same benchmark rubric that meant next-to-nothing in the end in Iraq, he does not seem to understand that he will either have to withdraw US troops from Iraq as it slides into new chaos, or he will have to keep the troops there for ever, as the neocons always intended. Or he will have to finance and run two hot wars simultaneously. If he ramps up Afghanistan and delays Iraq withdrawal, he will lose his base. If he does the full metal neocon as he is being urged to, he should not be deluded in believing the GOP will in any way support him. They will oppose him every step of every initiative. They will call him incompetent if Afghanistan deteriorates, they will call him a terrorist-lover if he withdraws, they will call him a traitor if he does not do everything they want, and they will eventually turn on him and demand withdrawal, just as they did in the Balkans with Clinton. Obama's middle way, I fear, is deeper and deeper into a trap, and the abandonment of a historic opportunity to get out.

I pray I'm wrong. Maybe Iraq will teeter away from a second implosion. Maybe the Af-Pak strategy is credible in a way Iraq's surge never was. We have yet to hear the president's explanation and we would do well to ponder his proposal as thoroughly as he has.

But I fear Bush's wars will destroy Obama as they destroyed Bush. Because they are unwinnable; and because the US is bankrupt; and because neither Iraq nor Afghanistan will ever be normal functioning societies in our lifetimes.
When he's right, the man is dead right.

It's time to go home.

Obama's Real Problem

Steve at NMMNB flags this Politico story of the seven big GOP talking points against Obama.  What Steve notes however is what the Politico story is missing:
I'm struck by what's not on the list, which includes many of the old favorites: "He thinks he’s playing with Monopoly money"; "Too much Leonard Nimoy"; "That’s the Chicago Way"; "He’s a pushover"; "He sees America as another pleasant country on the U.N. roll call, somewhere between Albania and Zimbabwe"; "President Pelosi"; and "He’s in love with the man in the mirror." Most of these are old right and centrist chestnuts -- he's too free-spending, his people are thugs ("Chicago Way"), he's a wimp ("pushover") -- and yes, Harris does note that the latter two seem a tad contradictory, but liberal and Democrats are always accused of being both supervillains capable of destroying Western civilization with a few lawyerly subterfuges and wussy girly-men who should leave politics and stick to flower-arranging and poodle-walking. ("President Pelosi" is probably the only puzzler, but it's a variant on "pushover" -- i.e., that Nurse Ratched Nancy wears the pants in the Obama-era Democratic Party, and is accomplishing more than Obama himself).

So what's missing here? What anti-Obama narrative does Harris skip? Well, it's the one that says Obama cares more about Wall Street than Main Street. It's the one that says he's utterly dropped the ball on the economic recovery with regard to the needs of ordinary citizens.
Which is odd.  Why does Politico miss such low-hanging fruit?
I suppose Harris could also be thinking of the suffering of the unemployed and the underwater -- but the fact that he can't even get himself to mention those people tells you that this is a pure right and right-centrist critique. No populism, please -- we're the Village! The real worry with regard to Obama's deliberateness is Afghanistan, dammit -- he's not a steely-eyed rocket man! That's what we need! That's what America wants!

Actually, America wants us to get the hell out of Afghanistan, but never mind. What America wants is a steely-eyed scourge of the rich and friend to the afflicted. But that's not a narrative Obama has to fear because it's coming only from members of the Great Unwashed -- and not the ones reading from scripts written by Dick Armey. Who cares about those people?
Who cares, indeed?  We know Republicans don't give a damn about people being out of work:  "real Americans" can simply get a job.  If you can't, well, you must be a Democrat.  Chalk that up to Village Stupidity.

The problem is it's looking more and more like Obama doesn't care either.  And that's the real problem in 2010.

Voices From The Wilderness

Steve Benen pores over the latest WaPo poll on the Republican Party.
What's tricky about all of this is trying to get a sense of direction. Rank-and-file Republicans aren't happy, but it's not altogether clear what they're looking for, either.
In 2005, 76% of Republicans were satisfied with the direction set by the party's leadership; now that number is 49%. About a third believes GOP leaders do not stand up for the party's "core values."

The next question, of course, is what Republican leaders should do in response, and that's where the poll offers few clues. It's one thing to learn that the party is off-track; it's another to know what to do about it.
It's not like there's a clamoring for an even more right-wing party -- 58% of Republicans want to see the party work with Democrats, and 69% said they approve of GOP candidates who take moderate positions on some issues.

There's also no real sense of what the party's priorities ought to be. About a third of Republicans believe the GOP should spend more time opposing gay marriage, but nearly as many believe the party should do the opposite. About a third of Republicans want to see more focus on abortion, and nearly as many prefer less. GOP voters expressed concern about taxes, spending, and the economy, but that's pretty much what the party leadership focuses on already.
They only thing they seem to agree on is that Obama is the source of all evil in the known universe.  The problem is they have no idea how to oppose him without slipping into the "Obamahitler" rhetoric without any positive changes to offer the public.  However, 58% of Republicans want the party to work with Democrats?  If that's true, the Party of No plan is failing miserably.  If that's even ten points within being true, the Republicans are in real trouble with their monolithic opposition to everything in Congress.
How interesting.

The Too Big To Fail Global 30

Global regulators have identified the 30 banks that are systemic risks to the entire global financial system should they fail, and five are in North America:
Compiled under the guidance of the Financial Stability Board (FSB), an international body of regulators and central bankers, the list is part of an effort to pre-empt the spread of systemic risks in the event of a future financial crisis.

Those featuring in the list will also be asked to write so-called "living wills" that outline plans to wind up banks in the aftermath of a crisis.

The FSB was established in the summer of 2009 to address the dangers posed by systemically-important, cross-border financial institutions through better supervision and co-ordination.

The list in full, as cited by the FT:

North American banks: Goldman Sachs , JP Morgan Chase , Morgan Stanley , Bank of America-Merrill Lynch , Royal Bank of Canada.

UK banks: HSBC , Barclays , Royal Bank of Scotland , Standard Chartered .

Continental European banks: UBS, Credit Suisse, Societe Generale, BNP Paribas, Santander, BBVA, Unicredit, Banca Intesa, Deutsche Bank, ING.

Japanese banks: Mizuho, Sumitomo Mitsui, Nomura, Mitsubishi UFJ.

Insurers: AXA, Aegon, Allianz, Aviva, Zurich and Swiss Re.
Lot of banks, and six insurers.  These are basically the world financial institutions that can never, ever be allowed to fail.  Ever.

Every reason then that these 30 banks and insurers should immediately be the first ones broken up so that they are no longer a systemic risk should they fail.

But that of course makes too much sense.  Too Big To Fail has just gone global.

Double G Versus Evan F'ckin Bayh

In today's must-read, Glenn Greenwald rips Evan F'ckin Bayh a new one over Bayh's bloodthirsty war hawk stance on Iran and Afghanistan, and yes, virtually every other stance Bayh has taken in his career as a "Democratic" Senator.
It's impossible to find a more perfectly representative face for the rotted Washington establishment than Evan Bayh.  He is the pure expression of virtually every attribute that makes the Beltway so dysfunctional, deceitful and corrupt.
Bayh wants to send other people into every proposed war he can find and keep them there forever ever without ever bearing any of the costs himself -- not in military service for him or his family nor even in higher taxes to pay for his glorious wars.  Sacrifice is for everyone other than Evan Bayh and his friends.  He runs around praising himself as a "deficit hawk" while recklessly supporting wars and indefinite occupations that the country can't afford and which drive us further into debt.  He feigns concern over the "deficit" only when it comes time to deny ordinary Americans benefits which he and his family already possess in abundance.  He is a loyal servant to the insurance and health care industries over his own constituents -- as his wife sits on the Boards of numerous health care giants, who, right when Bayh became a Senator, began paying her millions of dollars in cash and stock.  And this Sermonizer of Personal Responsibility is the ultimate by-product of nepotism, following faithfully and effortlessly in the footsteps of his Daddy-Senator, whose seat he now occupies.  The fact that he's a Democrat -- and was Obama's close-second choice for Vice President -- just underscores how bipartisan these afflictions are.

When the sad and destructive history of the U.S. over the last decade is written, the coddled, nepotistic, self-serving face of Evan Bayh should be prominently included.  It embodies virtually every cause.
Now, I've long had my problems with Evan F'ckin Bayh, he's earned the StupidiTag several times over with his Republican Lite/John McCain act.  Indeed, Bayh was floated as Obama's Veep, which I said at the time would have been a disaster.

In a way it's almost nice to see Bayh has been nothing but repeated problems over the last year for Obama.  At the same time, Bayh has been a de facto Republican for years and has already negatively affected legislation in the Senate.  For all intents and purposes Bayh should have an R after his name.

Unfortunately there's just no serious challenge to Bayh in the primary, for all the reasons Glenn listed.  We're stuck with the guy...or a potential worse Republican senator.  There's a reason why the GOP isn't trying too particularly hard to unseat Bayh.  What I want to know is why Indiana progressives aren't trying.

The Loan Arranger Rides Again

Cynthia Kouril at FDL goes over the Obama administration's mortgage loan modification program, and finds out that -- surprise! -- the banks took the money and ran.  Is anyone surprised after finding out the program was run by Timmy and Treasury?
Talk about burying the lede. The NYTimes has run a story which purports to be about the plans by the Treasury Department to pressure banks to do more to renegotiate delinquent mortgages. It has all sorts of blather from Treasury about using “embarrassment” as tool to get banks to do what they were given $75 Billion dollars to do under the federal Making Home Affordable Program.

The real story though, does not come out until the very bottom of the article. The real story is the continuing fraud being perpetrated on both the Government and consumers by the banks and other “mortgage servicers.” Predatory lending has an ugly tail end.
Some lawyers who defend homeowners against foreclosure assert that mortgage companies are merely stalling, using trial loan modifications as an opportunity to extract a few more dollars from borrowers who would otherwise make no payments.
“I don’t think they ever intended to do permanent loan modifications,” said Margery Golant, a Florida lawyer who previously worked for a major mortgage company, Ocwen Financial. “It’s a shell game that they’re playing.”
According to the Times, this federal bailout was intended to save 4 million homes from foreclosure, yet there are only approximately 650,000 homes in the program to date. A previous report showed that ONLY 2,000 of the then 500,000 in process had their loan modifications made permanent.
That's right.  2,000 mortgage loans out of a program to help 4 million.  That's .05% for those of you keeping score at home.
(More after the jump...)

The Kroog Versus The Jobless Numbers

Paul Krugman is once again prescribing a jobs program for our sick economy, stat.
How is a jobs program different from a second stimulus? It’s a matter of priorities. The 2009 Obama stimulus bill was focused on restoring economic growth. It was, in effect, based on the belief that if you build G.D.P., the jobs will come. That strategy might have worked if the stimulus had been big enough — but it wasn’t. And as a matter of political reality, it’s hard to see how the administration could pass a second stimulus big enough to make up for the original shortfall.

So our best hope now is for a somewhat cheaper program that generates more jobs for the buck. Such a program should shy away from measures, like general tax cuts, that at best lead only indirectly to job creation, with many possible disconnects along the way. Instead, it should consist of measures that more or less directly save or add jobs.

One such measure would be another round of aid to beleaguered state and local governments, which have seen their tax receipts plunge and which, unlike the federal government, can’t borrow to cover a temporary shortfall. More aid would help avoid both a drastic worsening of public services (especially education) and the elimination of hundreds of thousands of jobs.

Meanwhile, the federal government could provide jobs by ... providing jobs. It’s time for at least a small-scale version of the New Deal’s Works Progress Administration, one that would offer relatively low-paying (but much better than nothing) public-service employment. There would be accusations that the government was creating make-work jobs, but the W.P.A. left many solid achievements in its wake. And the key point is that direct public employment can create a lot of jobs at relatively low cost. In a proposal to be released today, the Economic Policy Institute, a progressive think tank, argues that spending $40 billion a year for three years on public-service employment would create a million jobs, which sounds about right.

Finally, we can offer businesses direct incentives for employment. It’s probably too late for a job-conserving program, like the highly successful subsidy Germany offered to employers who maintained their work forces. But employers could be encouraged to add workers as the economy expands. The Economic Policy Institute proposes a tax credit for employers who increase their payrolls, which is certainly worth trying.

All of this would cost money, probably several hundred billion dollars, and raise the budget deficit in the short run. But this has to be weighed against the high cost of inaction in the face of a social and economic emergency.
(More after the jump...)

Cause And Huckeffect

Early this morning four Seattle-area police officers were shot and killed.  The suspect wanted in that killing is a man named Maurice Clemmons.  The shooting itself is unforgivable and of course my heart goes out to the families of these brave officers who were killed in the line of duty.

Maurice Clemmons was released from prison nine years ago, granted clemency for a 60-year sentence at age 18 for burglary and property theft.  He had served 18 of those 60 years.  The governor who granted that clemency?

Mike Huckabee of Arkansas.
"This is the day I've been dreading for a long time," Larry Jegley, prosecuting attorney for Arkansas' Pulaski County said tonight when informed that Clemmons was being sought for questioning in connection with the killings.
Clemmons' criminal history includes at least five felony convictions in Arkansas and at least eight felony charges in Washington. The record also stands out for the number of times he has been released from custody despite questions about the danger he posed.

Huckabee, who ran for the Republican presidential nomination last year, issued a statement tonight calling the slaying of the police officers "a horrible and tragic event."

If Clemmons is found responsible, "it will be the result of a series of failures in the criminal justice system in both Arkansas and Washington State," Huckabee said.

He added that Clemmons' release from prison had been reviewed and approved by the Arkansas parole board.

Clemmons had been in jail in Pierce County for the past several months on a pending charge of second-degree rape of a child. He was released from custody just six days ago, even though was staring at seven additional felony charges in Washington state.
Now, clearly, Huckabee's not the guy to blame here, not totally.  But Clemons was released for serving a 35-year sentence before that, was released, committed another pair of armed robberies and went to jail for 10 more years.  He walked again a few years ago.  While Yggy and Scott Lemieux have a point that 60 years is a lot for a robbery where nobody was hurt, this guy did have a rap sheet as long as my arm and kept getting released after committing more crimes.  On the other hand, Maha has a point about the religious angles that have motivated former pastor Huckabee's other clemencies.

Needless to say, the Wingers have vehemently turned on Huckabee this morning.  Not that they particularly liked him to begin with.  The words "Dukakis" and "Willie Horton" keep getting thrown around, as do the words "Wayne Dumond".

Police have surrounded Clemmons's house as of 7:30 AM EST.

[UPDATE 8:05 AM]   Repors of gunfire and explosions at the Clemmons home.  Also, TBogg reminds us that those who aren't blaming Huckabee for this one are blaming those damn liberals (It's Seattle, after all.)


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