Wednesday, April 28, 2010

Last Call

Over at Crooks & Liars, John Amato argues that a sports boycott of Arizona, starting with Major League Baseball, would be very effective.
Outrage is pouring out all across America over SB 1070. There's a ton of facebook groups popping up to help organize. The push is on to put pressure on MLB to stop supporting Arizona, their MLB franchise and now their Cactus League. Arizona has become host to 15 Major League teams that use the state for their spring training games before the start of the regular season. Cincinnati was the latest team to move their facilities over to the "police state." You may remember the departed Marge Schott, who owned the Reds was suspended from baseball for her racist epithets back in 1993.
The Cincinnati owner, the only female baseball owner, allegedly called two of her former players "million-dollar niggers" and also allegedly made disparaging remarks about Jews and Japanese.
Since almost 30% of MLB players are Latino, I'm trying to find out how many of those players are using work visas. I'm not attacking the players here, but if you were in America on a work visa to play baseball or any sport from another country and had to play in Arizona, wouldn't you be a bit unnerved? 
I certainly remember Marge Schott's remarks in 1993, coming soon after the Rodney King riots.  Boycotting MLB Spring training in Arizona next year I think is a bit far off the calendar to really be effective, but boycotting the Arizona Diamondbacks here and now seems like a smart move.  NFL preseason starts in August, the NBA Suns are in the playoffs now too although the Coyotes got knocked out in the first round in the NHL playoffs.

Seems to me the NBA and MLB can really make things miserable for Phoenix if they wanted to, and the NFL is the big dog in sports right now...they can REALLY cause a ruckus as the law will take effect about the same time August pre-season games get underway for the Cardinals.

Sounds like a good idea to me.

Epic Lamestream Media Pundit Moose Fail

Bob Cesca catches Moose Lady deep, deep in EPIC FAIL territory without a map.
"This is the problem with that lamestream media throughout our country, it's not just this issue but so many. One of the media outlets the other day just, ah, just was killin' me on this one, Sean, where they had a caption across their screen that said this Arizona law will make it -- it will make it illegal to be an illegal immigrant -- some bizarre type 'a headline like that where it was just this illustration that they just don't get it." Sarah Palin on the Hannity show last night
Uh, Sarah?
Come fail away, come fail away, come faaaaaaail away with me...

EPIC FAIL that is.  I mean we've got the Sarah Palin disses FOX angle, Sarah Palin dissing FOX while on FOX angle, and the Sarah Palin dissing FOX while on FOX while WORKING FOR FOX angle.

It's a fractal fail.  If you zoom in really close on any one smaller part of the fail, it resembles the entire larger fail in structure.

The Count Of Charlie Crist, Oh! Part 15

Florida papers are reporting that Charlie Crist has lined up his biggest donors to appear with him tomorrow in St. Pete to announce he's going to run as an independent.
So the word is out: Gov. Charlie Crist is telling key financial backers that he's running for the U.S. SenateCrist3 with no party affiliation. The announcement is scheduled for 5 p.m. in Straub Park in downtown St. Petersburg. They're expecting a small army of media, and it looks like Crist may have no Republican press staffers with him, and will rely on folks like local supporter Greg Truax and finance director Dane Eagle to deal with press inquiries.

His kick-off fundraiser is tentatively scheduled for Fisher Island off Miami Beach, where his wife owns a home.
Sadly, this means I have to retire this post name.  It was one of my better ones, too.  Three way race, here we come...

Unleash Joe Biden, Jobapalooza Edition

I missed this story last week, but it explains why Joe Biden should never, ever be considered for SecTreas or SecLabor.  I love the guy, but when it comes to economics he has no goddamn clue what he's talking about.
"All in all, we're going to be creating somewhere between 100,000 and 200,000 jobs next month, I predict," Biden was quoted as saying, while acknowledging he "got in trouble" for a job growth prediction in March.

"Even some in the White House said 'Hey, don't get ahead of yourself.' Well I'm here to tell you some time in the next couple of months we're going to be creating between 250,000 jobs a month and 500,000 jobs a month."
OK Joe?  Buddy?  Pal?  Just stop.  250,000 new jobs per month for the next few months would be great.  500,000 new jobs a month for the next few months would be supernaturally phenomenal to the point of Obama being the Greatest President of All Time.

There's just no way this is going to happen.  None.  I love you Joe, but this time you're overestimating things by about a factor of 3 or 4 here, and that's a pretty goddamn big hole you just dug your boss and your party.  Half a million jobs a month isn't happening.  Hell, 250,000 a month would be a mighty accomplishment.  Even at the height of the Clinton boom we never did that well, maybe just over 220,000 new jobs a month.

Talking half a million is just irresponsible and stupid.  Even for Joe Biden.  My God I hope he's right, but...this is just wishful thinking.

Financial Reform Fighter III: Third Strike

And today's revote failed 56-42.  Ben Nelson?  Still an idiot.  There's lots of happy talk about a deal still coming however.  Several Republicans keep acting like one's just around the corner and the Dems are talking about making the Republicans stay all night to keep filibustering the bill.

This apparently is Harry Reid's Plan C.  I hope it's more effective than Plans A and B have been, because right now the Republicans sure aren't acting like there ever going to stop filibustering the bill.


I don't buy the happy talk for a second.

[UPDATE] TPM is reporting there's now a deal according to GOP Sen. Richard Shelby.  Perhaps Plan C really did work...but what's the price?  The bailout fund, the derivatives rules, both, or something more?  Who caved here, the GOP or the Dems?

I'd like to know.

[UPDATE 2] Greg Sargent is reporting that the GOP apparently really did fold.
So what happened here? As the GOP aide candidly told me earlier today, Shelby’s negotiations were about buying time to win as many concessions as possible, and if it looked as if Dems were not going to concede any more, the GOP would have little choice but to allow debate and hope to win more concessions on the floor. That’s what appears to have happened.
I'm sure ads like this had something to do with it too.

I am pleasantly surprised.

[UPDATE 3] And the GOP has completely collapsed, going from filibuster to a unanimous consent motion that means there's not even a need for a vote.   Harry Reid, Chris Dodd and crew actually did it, and won completely.

Of course, now the real battle begins and the GOP can in fact filibuster the bill again to stop a final bill from being voted on, but frankly I'm very glad to be wrong here.

Zandar's Thought Of The Day

It no longer ceases to amaze me that Republicans on one hand will scream about health care reform and say the "government getting between you and your doctor" is unforgiveable and worthy of an armed revolution and how horrible that is, and then pass a law that actually does that whole government/doctor thing...but you know, only for women, because that doesn't count as fascism or whatever.
The Oklahoma Legislature voted Tuesday to override the governor’s vetoes of two abortion measures, one of which requires women to undergo an ultrasound and listen to a detailed description of the fetus before getting an abortion.

Though other states have passed similar measures requiring women to have ultrasounds, Oklahoma’s law goes further, mandating that a doctor or technician set up the monitor so the woman can see it and describe the heart, limbs and organs of the fetus. No exceptions are made for rape and incest victims.

A second measure passed into law on Tuesday prevents women who have had a disabled baby from suing a doctor for withholding information about birth defects while the child was in the womb. 
How nice.  The state mandates giving you a lecture before getting an abortion because anyone who chooses to do so must be too stupid to know the forces at play, especially the woman making the decision.  How noble of Oklahoma to inform these errant, mindless second-class citizens with their faulty girl brains of the argument against having this procedure done.

Better yet, how nice of Oklahoma to make it safe for doctors to lie to women about birth defects in the womb.  After all, preggo brains don't work right with their estrogen and their hormones and whatever, so decisions for them must be made by rock-ribbed Oklahoma men.  We'll just make it legal to withhold the information from them...they might want to choose to have an abortion, after all.  You can't trust anyone with a vagina, after all.  Not in our free society.

It's a good thing we have Oklahoma leading the way against medical fascism like Obamacare, too.  Can't have government making health care decisions for people, that's just wrong.  Making decisions for women on the other hand, well...who said women were people in Oklahoma?

The Down-Home Dauphin Deals The Drama

GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham says he'll pick up his climate change ball and go home and filibuster his own bill unless the Democrats drop immigration reform completely.  Brian Beutler:
When Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid decided that he would bump climate-and-energy legislation behind immigration reform as his next priority, Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) was apoplectic. Graham, along with Sens. John Kerry (D-MA), and Joe Lieberman (I-CT), had spent months drafting a climate/energy bill, and was prepared to introduce it Monday, when, enraged by Reid's plan, he backed out.

Earlier today, Reid appeared to reverse course, saying climate/energy would be the next logical issue to address, followed only afterward by immigration reform. So everything's groovy, right?

Far from it. Tonight, Graham told me that he will filibuster his own climate change bill, unless Reid drops all plans to turn to immigration this Congress.

"Immigration was interjected before we rolled out the [climate and energy] bill not because anybody's serious about passing it, but because Harry has got a political problem with the Hispanic community," Graham told me tonight. "It makes the heavy lift of energy and climate impossible and everybody knows that."
That's funny.  Seems to me that the people that made the heavy lift impossible by forcing immigration into the national spotlight are Arizona Republicans who passed the country's most draconian immigration law.  In fact, if there's anything both sides in the Arizona debate agree on, it's the need for a federal response.  Even Graham himself wanted one.

But that's before he became a hated RINO in the eyes of the Tea Party.  Now he has bridges to burn, and the time for the rope-a-dope strategy is over.  He's hitting back hard.
Graham has said for days that he's dropped out of climate/energy talks, but pressed tonight, he said that he will filibuster his own bill if Reid tries to bring it up without tabling immigration altogether.

"If they can do this without me, go ahead.... I am not going to be part of an energy-climate process that has no hope of success," Graham said. "I am not going to let that happen with my vote."
The petulant Party of No wants it their way or no way at all.  Given their own chance at immigration reform, the Republicans failed miserably.  But they'll be damned if they let the Democrats pass the bill they tried to in 2006.  The Democrats proved they can get things done with health care reform.  The Republicans aren't going to make that same mistake again now that they have 41 votes in the Senate.  The tyranny of the majority continues, and Dauphin Graham here is letting the peasants know they can eat cake.

Nothing will pass.  The GOP will block everything, financial reform, cap and trade, immigration reform, everything.  They will not give Obama another victory, period.  And they figure the American people will aid and abet them come November.  It's scorched earth as far as the Republicans are concerned.  They figure things can't get worse for them, they're out of power.

Things certainly can get worse for us, however.

Your Papers, Please, Phoenix and Flagstaff, Part 6

Eugene Robinson with the column du jour on Arizona, Police State:
Arizona's draconian new immigration law is an abomination -- racist, arbitrary, oppressive, mean-spirited, unjust. About the only hopeful thing that can be said is that the legislation, which Republican Gov. Jan Brewer signed Friday, goes so outrageously far that it may well be unconstitutional.

Brewer, who caved to xenophobic pressures that previous governors had the backbone to resist, should be ashamed of herself. The law requires police to question anyone they "reasonably suspect" of being an undocumented immigrant -- a mandate for racial profiling on a massive scale. Legal immigrants will be required to carry papers proving that they have a right to be in the United States. Those without documentation can be charged with the crime of trespassing and jailed for up to six months.

Activists for Latino and immigrant rights -- and supporters of sane governance -- held weekend rallies denouncing the new law and vowing to do everything they can to overturn it. But where was the Tea Party crowd? Isn't the whole premise of the Tea Party movement that overreaching government poses a grave threat to individual freedom? It seems to me that a law allowing individuals to be detained and interrogated on a whim -- and requiring legal residents to carry identification documents, as in a police state -- would send the Tea Partyers into apoplexy. Or is there some kind of exception if the people whose freedoms are being taken away happen to have brown skin and might speak Spanish?
Absolutely.  This law violates every argument the Tea Party has brought up against Obama:  it's more government, it's intrusive on a personal scale, it's reactionary, it's unconstitutional, it's fascist, it's an increase in spending, and it's immoral.

In fact, any Tea Party member who doesn't come out fully against this measure is a hypocrite of the worst sort.  The fact that the Tea Party supports this measure just proves basically everything I've been saying about them from the beginning:  they're a bunch of loudmouthed bigots who are so angry that the rest of America is passing them by that they are furious.  It's just raw anger that's developed into full-blown racism and bigotry and hatred.

This law is everything you feared in the Democrats doing and everything you've accused Barack Obama of doing.  And you sit there silently or worse, applaud the measure?  At best you're Marco Rubio, who today said there were concerns about the law bu stopped short of supporting or condemning it.  At worst, you're Byron York, who says:
The bottom line is, it's a good law, sensibly written and rigorously focused -- no matter what the critics say.
The bottom line is folks like Byron York have no problem when Republicans enshrine unconstitutional bigotry into law, and then call Obama a fascist.

Kentucky Refried Chickens

With a generous thanks to Yellow Dog for the tip this morning the in the comments, indeed Kentucky is considering its own version of Arizona's repugnant immigration law.
Lawmakers who have supported previous attempts to crack down on illegal immigration at the state level say the Kentucky General Assembly isn't likely to approve a law that allows local police to detain people they suspect are in the country illegally.

But they say recent developments should cause Kentucky to consider more carefully other legislative proposals aimed at the illegal immigration issue. "I've filed a number of bills to try to alleviate (the illegal immigration) problem in Kentucky and we've never got much traction on it," said state Rep. Stan Lee, R-Lexington.

Members of the Lexington-based group Kentuckians for Immigration Reform and Enforcement, which supports the Arizona law, say Kentucky lawmakers should first pass a measure that would penalize business owners if they don't verify the immigration status of their employees, said president Douglas Roy.

"We're not experiencing the level of violence that Arizona is seeing," Roy said. ''But we will if we don't do anything."

The renewed interest in illegal immigration is a worrisome development for immigrant advocates, who have successfully turned back previous attempts to enforce immigration laws at the state level.

Officials with the Kentucky Coalition for Immigrant and Refugee Rights issued a statement this week condemning the Arizona law as racial profiling and urging Congress to pass comprehensive immigration reform to prevent other states from following suit.

The group is also calling for federal intervention to keep the Arizona law from being enacted.

"We condemn the law and the fervor that went into passing it," said Rachel Newton, an immigration attorney and a board member for the coalition.

Newton said she was concerned about the law's effect on Kentucky.

"Fear makes way and ignorance makes way for these kinds of proposals to gain traction," she said.
Gee, you think?  Let's be honest here, no matter which state you're in, on the border with Mexico or not, Republicans are going to be scaring the other 49 states in the country with the notion that the Great Brown Horde is coming for their jobs, their women, and their lives.  (Well, maybe not so much Hawaii, make that 48 states.  Yes Alaska, I'm looking at you still.)

Kentucky will be experiencing the "level of violence" that Arizona is unless we do...what, exactly?  Seal the border with Ohio with the Kentucky Colonels?  Put angry Teabaggers on the Brent Spence Bridge?  It's fearmongering that simply hasn't been thought through (it's fearmongering after all) and it's nothing but reactionary stupidity.

Then again, these are Kentucky Republicans we're talking about here.  Luckily, Democratic Gov. Steve Beshear is highly unlikely to sign any foolishness like that into law.  Of course, the next time a Republican is in charge of Frankfort...

But hey, it's not like racial fearmongering is new in a state like Kentucky, folks.

Greek Fire, Part 12

With Germany refusing to eat Der Schissesammich on Greece's bailout, the game's finally up on pretending Greek Fire isn't an existential threat to the Euro.  Yesterday Greek debt was downgraded to junk status and that has now all but forced the EU's hand to act now before the Greek Fire burns the Euro to ashes.
Europe’s worsening debt crisis is intensifying pressure on policy makers to widen a bailout package beyond Greece after a cut in the nation’s rating to junk drove up borrowing costs from Italy to Portugal and Ireland.

As German Chancellor Angela Merkel delays approval of a 45 billion-euro ($59 billion) Greek rescue, the crisis is spreading. Portugal’s benchmark stock index yesterday fell the most since the aftermath of Lehman Brothers Holdings Inc.’s collapse, while the extra yield that investors demand to hold Italian and Irish debt over bunds remained near yesterday’s 10-month high.

The danger for European officials is that the fiscal turmoil which started six months ago with fudged Greek budget data will spin out of their control. As Greece waits for its euro-region partners to disburse funds, the European Union has announced no concrete plans to help other nations should aid be needed. The euro yesterday weakened to the lowest in a year.

“Policy makers need to get ahead of the curve,” Eric Fine, who manages Van’s Eck’s G-175 Strategies emerging-market hedge fund. “This is no longer a problem about Greece or Portugal, but about the euro system.”

Governments will hold a summit by around May 10 to discuss Greece, EU President Herman Van Rompuy said today in Tokyo. 
May 10 may frankly be too late.  I've been saying in this series of posts that Greece's debt problem and Europe's refusal to fix it was going to break something, and that something looks like the Euro itself.  Now the Greek Fire is indeed spreading.  The Dow took a 200 plus point hit yesterday, the Nikkei lost 2.5% and Europe is struggling with a day deep in the red this morning as well.  Tyler Durden tells us what's next as the Greek Fire spreads:
The CDS market, as always, is prophetic to the dot: after main deriskers in the past two weeks were Spain, Portugal and France, so far the spread blow out in these markets has materialized like a Swiss watch. Which is why Ambrose Evans-Pritchard better be looking at this week's DTCC data, because the credit market is flashing a bright red warning light over his favorite bankrupt country - the UK (incidentally, the week's largest net derisker, just after Goldman Sachs). Second in order of sovereign implosion - Ireland. The British Isles, at least according to CDS traders who time after time prove they have far more sense than their equity equivalents, are about to become a hotbed of credit activity, and not in a good way. The other countries that fill out the top 10 deriskers in the prior week: Brazil, Germany (yeah, failed auctions do that), Argentina (yeah, persistent threat of default does that too), Mexico (yeah, living next to a money printing terrorist does that), Ukraine, Korea, Belgium and China. 
And as things get worse in the Eurozone, that will affect the res of the world, including the US.  After all, we're not in any shape to bail out Europe either.  This one's only going to get worse, folks.  Batten down the hatches.  Greek Fire just keeps on burning.


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