Saturday, April 17, 2010

How Does That Work, Exactly?

A volcanic eruption in Iceland is God telling us we shouldn't have passed health care reform.

No really, that's the latest from El Rushbo.

Anyone who takes this nutbar seriously deserves nothing but cruel, cruel mockery.  The man is certifiably insane.
"You know, a couple of days after the health care bill had been signed into law Obama ran around all over the country saying, 'Hey, you know, I’m looking around. The earth hadn’t opened up. There’s no Armageddon out there. The birds are still chirping.' I think the earth has opened up. God may have replied," he said on his radio show Friday.
Hey God?  Honestly?  Rush Limbaugh says he's speaking for you these days.  I know the whole "works in mysterious ways" thing but...really?

A Poll Arising Debate, Part 3

As a follow up to this week's CBS/NY Times poll on Tea Party supporters (which itself sparked a hell of a debate here) NY Times columnist Charles Blow reports on his experience at a Dallas Tea Party rally as an African-American.
I had specifically come to this rally because it was supposed to be especially diverse. And, on the stage at least, it was. The speakers included a black doctor who bashed Democrats for crying racism, a Hispanic immigrant who said that she had never received a single government entitlement and a Vietnamese immigrant who said that the Tea Party leader was God. It felt like a bizarre spoof of a 1980s Benetton ad.

The juxtaposition was striking: an abundance of diversity on the stage and a dearth of it in the crowd, with the exception of a few minorities like the young black man who carried a sign that read “Quit calling me a racist.”

They saved the best for last, however: Alfonzo “Zo” Rachel. According to his Web site, Zo, who is black and performs skits as “Zo-bama,” allowed drugs to cost him “his graduation.” Before ripping into the president for unconstitutional behavior, he cautioned, “I don’t have the education that our president has, so if I misinterpret some things in the founding documents I kind of have an excuse.” That was the understatement of the evening.

I found the imagery surreal and a bit sad: the minorities trying desperately to prove that they were “one of the good ones”; the organizers trying desperately to resolve any racial guilt among the crowd. The message was clear: How could we be intolerant if these multicolored faces feel the same way we do?
That phrase, "one of the good ones."   To help some of you understand what Blow means by that (and some of you already do) he means "a member of a minority group that does not foster negative stereotypes that people have about minorities."  Conservative, Democratic party-bashing, Obama-disliking, Republican-voting African-Americans, for example.

I've been there myself in both educational and work environments, as well as social ones.  It's a very curious feeling, going into a place where you don't look like much of anyone else who is there and then you forget that you don't.  And so does everyone else.

Until you're reminded of it by a stark realization, by what someone says or does.  It's shocking.  Just a little bit different from everyone else...and the people there sometime slip and say something about minorities...and forget you're in earshot.  Sometimes they look over sheepishly when that happens.  Other times they go right on through the point and keep going down that road.

It's always kind of strange when it happens. But it does happen.  And you're reminded that people don't consider you "one of those people."  You're "one of the good ones" instead.

I've been there.  I know what Blow means.  It's there, just under the surface.  And it always will be.

Because like it or not, the more the Tea Party tries to prove that they're not a radical fringe group, the more they show everyone that they are.

Knuckle Up Like A Woman

18-year old Japanese pitcher Eri Yoshida has been signed by the Chico Outlaws of the independent Golden Baseball League (the GBL has teams in the western US, Calgary and Edmonton) and throws a hell of a knuckleball like her major league hero, Tim Wakefield.

And yes, I said her hero.
Female pitcher Eri Yoshida says she hopes to follow in the footsteps of her hero Tim Wakefield of the Boston Red Sox when she heads to the minor leagues next month.

The 18-year-old Yoshida is a knuckleballer who told a news conference Tuesday she learned her pitching style as a young girl by watching video of Wakefield.

She also recently got a few tips from the 43-year-old All-Star at the Red Sox spring training facility at Fort Myers, Fla.

"I want to practice knuckle pitching more, and I want to become a stable knuckleball player like Wakefield," Yoshida said.

Yoshida, Japan's first female professional baseball player, has signed with the Chico Outlaws of the Golden Baseball League and will report for spring training in early May.

She will be the first female to pitch for a pro team in the United States since Ila Borders retired more than 10 years ago, the Outlaws said.

The 5-foot Yoshida said she was stunned by the height of American players, but stressed she is ready to play in the United States.

"I want to bring myself to concentrate only on the catcher's mitt without worrying about the height of players," she said. "I'll do my best."
More power to her.  Power and speed aren't the keys to an unhittable knuckler, finesse and skill are. So yes, I'm looking forward to seeing Yoshida completely flummox hitters twice her size.  I hope she goes far.  I'm still convinced we'll see female pitchers in the American League someday soon.

Healthy Skepticism

Yesterday commenters asked why I was so skeptical about financial reform legislation getting passed.  The White House threatened to veto any bill that didn't have derivatives regulation in it, while the Senate GOP vowed to filibuster the entire bill.

Why am I skeptical?  Because less than 12 hours later, Obama has blinked first.
In the face of stiff GOP opposition, Obama administration officials want Senate Democrats to purge a $50 billion fund for dismantling "too big to fail" banks from legislation that aims to protect against a new financial crisis. Republicans contend the provision would simply continue government bailouts of Wall Street.
A $50 billion taxpayer funded pool?  If that's the case, the Republicans have a point.  But it's not funded by the taxpayers:
One senior Treasury official said Friday that the fund for dismantling giant failing banks, which would be financed by large financial institutions themselves, is unnecessary. He said the costs of dismantling the firms could be recouped from the industry after a liquidation.

If the chairman of the Senate Banking Committee, Christopher Dodd, D-Conn., complies, that would remove one component of the bill that Republicans have persistently used to rally opposition. But it was unclear whether that step alone would yield any Republican votes.
Of course it won't.  There's no reason for Obama to give in on this to please the Republicans, they will continue to threaten to filibuster any legislation Obama tries to pass on anything (I thought we made this clear.)  But the banks don't want to pay the $50 billion into the fund, so the Frank Luntz talking point is suddenly a convenient excuse for the White House to ask the Dems not to be so hard on the banks and drop that particular requirement.

Gosh, it's almost like Obama's folding to the banks on this matter.  As the Republicans keep telling us about health care insurance mandates (well, they did last year when they still supported the idea completely) if people have "skin in the game" they're more likely to make smarter decisions.  Same with the bank bailout fund, which is why it's a good idea to create it.  The banks, not the taxpayers, would be fronting the money.

But no.  Now Obama is buying the GOP's idiotic talking point and asking for the Dems in Congress to take it out all of a sudden.

And people ask why I'm skeptical about real reform.  He's playing us again.  Mistermix at Balloon Juice has the right of it:
If you want to see why Senate Republicans are acting like sociopaths by putting financial reform at risk, just take a look at the Cook or Rothenberg House ratings. Rothenberg, for example, moved 44 seats toward the Republicans on Friday.

These moves are mainly driven by the release of first quarter fundraising numbers on April 15, which showed that Republicans are out-raising Democrats in key House races. Democrats won a lot of tough seats in the last election. Those incumbents need a lot of money to defend those seats, both for media buys and get-out-the-vote. In some key races, that’s not happening.

The audience for tea party rhetoric, and for Mitch McConnell’s endless filibusters, is Republican donors. If those people are convinced that the yahoo base will turn out in force, and that the rest of Obama’s agenda can be stopped, they’ll give big. Republican donors know that Republican control of the House, coupled with a constant filibuster in the Senate, will mean endless votes on HCR repeal, passage of watered-down financial “reform”, and little else.
And Obama is already caving in to please the bankers and to get financial reform off the front pages in order to keep it from being a fundraising opportunity for the Republicans.  He doesn't want a drawn out fight on financial reform, a Supreme Court nominee, immigration reform, or anything.  He's running scared from any sort of fight now.

And in the end that's going to be a disaster for the Dems.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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