Saturday, November 13, 2010

A Prize For Third

Nancy Pelosi solves her Jim Clyburn/Steny Hoyer whip problem like an actual adult:  she created a position in the Democratic caucus for Clyburn.

House Democrats will begin the next Congress with a leadership team that looks much like the one they have now if a deal struck between Nancy Pelosi and Jim Clyburn last night sticks. The essence of the plan: Pelosi will become Minority Leader, current Majority Leader Steny Hoyer will become Minority Whip and Clyburn -- the current Majority Whip -- will take a new number three job in the minority. Current Caucus Chair John Larson can remain in the Democrats' number four job in the new Congress.

Clyburn will take a newly created position called "Assistant Leader," according to a letter Pelosi sent to Democratic members today. As Roll Call reports, it's "unclear" what exactly the new position entails, or "whether the job is different from the Assistant to the Speaker position currently held by Rep. Chris Van Hollen."

The deal brings to an end a fight between Hoyer and Clyburn for the Whip job that threatened to mar Pelosi's expected transition into the House Democrats' top job when the Republicans take over in January. The final round of the Hoyer-Clyburn struggle came late last night when Pelosi threw her support behind Clyburn for the number three job. 

It seems to be that Pelosi here, demonstrating actual leadership by coming to a compromise position,  would have solved the party's intransigent issues and the Dems would be united and to move forward behind the new-found respect for Pelosi.  Alas, these are Democrats:  only happy when they are miserable.

Rep. Heath Shuler (D-NC) is setting the stage for an official challenge to Nancy Peolsi's bid to lead the Democratic minority in the next Congress. Shuler, a moderate from the North Carolina mountains, will make his intentions official on the national stage this weekend, The Hill reports.

Shuler pitched himself as a moderate alternative to Pelosi as leader of the House caucus before she officially announced her run for Minority Leader in the next Congress.

Now, with most observers thinking Pelosi has the position locked up, Shuler appears ready to make good on his promise to take her on.

He "is scheduled to address his leadership plans during appearances on CNN's 'State of the Union' Sunday and MSNBC's "Morning Joe" program on Monday," The Hill's Mike O'Brien reports.

Pelosi's smart enough to deal with Shuler and the younger Blue Dogs who apparently aren't quite savvy enough to see they're being egged on by conservative concern trolls on purpose.  Congressional egos are notoriously tetchy things, as such the Village will have no problem pushing Shuler to cause as much damage as possible because it gives them a story to run with and it gives him attention.  Shuler on the other hand is going to find out just who his friends really are, and I'm betting he doesn't have nearly as many as he thinks he does.

Still, Shuler's attack can cause damage, so Pelosi's going to have to deal with him quickly.  We've got bigger, slimier fish to fry.

Extra Moose-Tard And Hold The Catch-Up

BooMan wades through Sarah Palin's latest Armchair Presidenting By Facebook Post so you don't have to.

People have struggled to define what the Tea Party stands for, but Sarah Palin has provided a manifesto for the incoming freshmen. She starts with the conceit that the results of the midterm elections have put the government back on the side of the people. But she quickly disabuses us of that belief. I will list Palin's priorities for you, so you don't have to read her entire screed.

1. Defund ObamaCare.
2. Eliminate earmarks.
3. Make it procedurally easier to cut taxes than to raise them.
4. Enforce zero-based budgeting.
5. Cancel all unstarted stimulus programs.
6. Return all non-discretionary spending to 2008 levels (she may have meant discretionary spending).
7. Extend all of Bush's tax cuts indefinitely.
8. Control the growth of Entitlement spending.
9. Control the borders, but decouple it from immigration reform.
10. Continue our efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan.
11. Get tough with Iran.
12. Sign free-trade agreements with South Korea and Colombia.
13. Oppose ratification of the START treaty.
14. Side with Netanyahu's position that all of Jerusalem is part of Israel, and that no building in East Jerusalem can be considered settlement expansion.
15. Keep Guantanamo prison open and deny all prisoners there access to the courts.
16. Return to Bush's freedom agenda.
17. If anyone in the press praises your actions, do a reappraisal because you've probably gone off-track. 

Now.  Does any of this even remotely sound like "Compromise with President Obama to achieve bipartisan support to move America forward" to you?

There's a reason it doesn't.  Sarah here has declared herself the de facto queen of the party, and I'm just wondering how long it's going to take before the rest of the GOP finally moves to toss her grifter ass off the island.  At some point, somebody is just going to say "You know?  There's no way anyone can take this woman seriously on Presidential policy when she quit her last chief executive job to go on a book tour and to snipe from Facebook."

And the second that happens, the GOP is going to detonate.  I can't wait.  The rest of the Presidential contender field isn't just going to let Sarah win, folks.  It's going to be brutal.

The Dollar Gets Hog Thai-ed

Thailand's PM is calling on Asian countries to start using China's Yuan instead of the US dollar as a regional reserve currency.

Prime Minister Abhisit Vejjajiva, fearful of the effects of the soaring baht due to massive capital inflows, has proposed the use of the Chinese yuan as a major regional trading currency.

Asia-Pacific leaders will have to discuss measures to deal with the fund inflows after the Group of 20 major economies failed to reach any tangible decisions, Mr Abhisit said yesterday.

"The G20 did not make any progress on the matter and it is difficult to get the United States and China to express their clear stances on the issue. But what we can do is try to cooperate in the region and reduce the impact from currency volatility," Mr Abhisit said before leaving for the Asian Games in China and an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (Apec) leaders' meeting in Yokohama, Japan, this weekend.

It may not look like much, but that's big, big news in the currency world.  As the dollar hovers near all time lows against Asian currencies like the Japanese Yen, it's clear Asia is taking the side of the Dragon in their own back yard -- China -- rather than the Eagle across the Pacific.

The prime minister expects the currency issue to be raised at the Apec meeting. "What Apec must push for are ways to promote regional cooperation so that the region can cushion the impacts of the fluctuations of currencies," Mr Abhisit said.

He added, however, that for the Chinese yuan to have a greater role in transactions in the region, China would have to relax its tight controls on the currency and its capital account.

At present, about 90% of trade in Asia is conducted in US dollars.

"I suggested that Asean could have an office dedicated to the handling of currency issues. It could join forces with the ADB in pushing the idea forward," Mr Abhisit said.

Experts expect currency issues to be highlighted at the Apec meeting.

The next level of the US-China currency war will involve which currency Asia wants to use regionally.  China relaxing controls to get a larger slice of the reserve currency clout that the US has seems like a really, really good deal for China, both short and long run.  And they know it.

On the other hand, the US is going to keep hurting from this.

Joe-Joe Left His Home In Mesa Arizona For Some Prison Yard Grass

Looks like everyone's favorite law and order Sheriff type has been possibly cooking the books.

To the tune of $80 million dollars.

A hidden computer database recently discovered in the course of a racial profiling investigation shows Arizona Sheriff Joe Arpaio misspent up to $80 million in funds intended for jail operations, according to Maricopa County supervisors and budget officials.

The hidden database contained payroll logs that detailed staff assignments and payments which were different than the staff assignments and payments reported in the official county-run database, they said.

"They've developed a system that basically tracks where they are working versus where they are being paid, and they did not update the official database, which led to the potential problems," Deputy County Manager Sandi Wilson told The Arizona Republic. "I think they deliberately hid this info from us."

A spokesman for the Sheriff's Office denied any intention of hiding information from the county and blamed the duplicate payrolls on a lack of compatible technology between the Sheriff's Office and county agencies. In September, Maricopa County officials reported that Arpaio's office misspent up to $80 million in funds over five years to pay his employees working in patrol, human-smuggling operations and investigative units. 
The voter-approved money was restricted by law to detention operations such as food, detention officers' salaries, and equipment.

"It appears that [the Maricopa County Sheriffs Office] violated the intent and explicit language of the voter approved jail tax when they used that money to fund activities not related to jail operations," a press release said. "Maricopa County will have to pay back the restricted funds to the detention fund. This is a misuse of public funds."
A good ol' boy County Sheriff for life who set himself up as king of Maricopa County, who made national news with his near military treatment of Latinos in Arizona, a man who treated criminals in his county as animals meant to be humiliated, and arguably one of the nastiest, bigoted, snake-mean people on Earth...and you're surprised he defrauded the taxpayers out of some 80 million dollars over the years to pay his anti-Latino goon squads, to hunt them down like vermin in order to "protect the people".

And now law-abiding Maricopa County taxpayers are on the hook for the money.  Twelve years worth of cooking the books.  Assholes like this are all the same.  They abuse their power whenever possible and take the money and run.  Con men to the last.

I hope this guy does a long stint in his own county jail.

With Maricopa County's new Latino Sheriff.

DADT Stupidity

CNN posted that Secretary of Defense Robert Gates has ordered an investigation into a leak to the Washington Post regarding DADT.

Because the leak is a concern, but they can't use those resources to confirm just how gays in the military pose a threat? This is small potatoes compared to Wikileaks, so why the urgency unless they never plan to repeal DADT and this is all a stage act meant to soothe the media? Surely they don't know something we don't, right?

This is a nugget of stupid so condensed it has collapsed in on itself, forming a black hole of stupidity from which no common sense can escape. Enough already.

He's So Good At His Job He Should Just Quit

This is the mind-boggling, bizarro world conclusion that Centrist Daleks Doug Schoen and Pat Caddell come up with: for Obama to be a great President, he must refuse to run in 2012.

No, really.   Behold their Centrist Dalek logic.

We do not come to this conclusion lightly. But it is clear, we believe, that the president has largely lost the consent of the governed. The midterm elections were effectively a referendum on the Obama presidency. And even if it was not an endorsement of a Republican vision for America, the drubbing the Democrats took was certainly a vote of no confidence in Obama and his party. The president has almost no credibility left with Republicans and little with independents.

The best way for him to address both our national challenges and the serious threats to his credibility and stature is to make clear that, for the next two years, he will focus exclusively on the problems we face as Americans, rather than the politics of the moment - or of the 2012 campaign.

Quite simply, given our political divisions and economic problems, governing and campaigning have become incompatible. Obama can and should dispense with the pollsters, the advisers, the consultants and the strategists who dissect all decisions and judgments in terms of their impact on the president's political prospects.

Obama himself once said to Diane Sawyer: "I'd rather be a really good one-term president than a mediocre two-term president." He now has the chance to deliver on that idea.

In the 2008 presidential campaign, Obama spoke repeatedly of his desire to end the red-state-blue-state divisions in America and to change the way Washington works. This was a central reason he was elected; such aspirations struck a deep chord with the polarized electorate.

Obama can restore the promise of the election by forging a government of national unity, welcoming business leaders, Republicans and independents into the fold. But if he is to bring Democrats and Republicans together, the president cannot be seen as an advocate of a particular party, but as somebody who stands above politics, seeking to forge consensus. And yes, the United States will need nothing short of consensus if we are to reduce the deficit and get spending under control, to name but one issue. 

I really wish Prop 19 had passed in California, because these two could have made an absolute fortune in cultivating and selling whatever primo weed these two clowns were smoking when they came up with the theory that Obama announcing he wouldn't run would magically make the Republicans compromise.  The visions of mythological beasts that accompanied this revelatory nonsense would give Hieronymous Bosch night terrors.

Let me explain to you what would happen if Obama said "I'm not running again in 2012."

It would be the same thing that would happen if Obama did run in 2012, which is that the Republicans will do everything they can to dismantle every law and executive order he passed, still insist he is a danger to the country, still insist that he gives them 100% of what they want right now and will attack him anyway.  There will be no grand magical compromise.  There will be no national unity.  The Republicans will get what they want, every single piece of legislation they introduce from January 2011 on, or they will attempt to destroy the country through petulant refusal to govern the country, and they will still blame Obama for it.

Of course the last paragraph there is the key to what these two knuckleheads really mean:

And yes, the United States will need nothing short of consensus if we are to reduce the deficit and get spending under control, to name but one issue. 

Because loosely translated from Centrist Dalek, it means "Obama needs to capitulate completely to the Tea Party-controlled Republicans and ignore his base, and dismantle the last 80 years of social programs so that we can finish the transfer of the remaining 18% of the country's wealth to the richest 20% of Americans because 82% is just unacceptable."

Triangulate nothing.  Only full and complete surrender as a stating point is acceptable to these two, and the completion of America as a banana republic in status as well as in name.

If Obama surrenders the country now, it will be much appreciated by our new lords.  Slimy little Vichy bastards, these two.  But this is of course serious thinking, followed by "Of course the Catfood Commission's recommendations are a good starting point towards a national unity government..."

These men are souless, even for Centrist Daleks.  Oh, and the Centrists called Reaganism dead after 1982 midterms too just like Clinton was "irrelevant" after 1994.  Villagers:  still clueless after all these years.

Hacking Sour Grapes Into Mooseberry Whine

The hacker who got into Sarah Palin's Yahoo email account will do a year and a day of time, but in a halfway house instead of prison. Lucky him. Most people who were following the case expected little to no jail time and a minimal fine. Guess we know what happens when you pick on the wrong person.

David Kernell guessed Palin's security question and answer and was able to change her Yahoo email password, leading to charges of obstructing justice, identity theft, unlawful access to a computer, and was acquitted of wire fraud. Kernell was 20 at the time of the crime. His defense that her emails would be public because of the duties as governor gave the courts pause, but in the end he lost. Whether it is because he dared repost material on a known hacker site or just picked a BullyMoose is a topic of hot debate in hacker chats and boards.

Palin's only statement thus far is that she is "thankful that the jury thoroughly and carefully weighed the evidence and issued a just verdict." Indeed. I hope she picks a better password, because she will now find herself on a mighty short list of targets. If she doesn't know what black hat is, she will soon enough.

And seriously, use at least a single freaking number in your "secret" answer, 'kay? This public message is brought to you by your favorite neighborhood geek. Let's put her in charge of national secrets, and see what happens!

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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