Sunday, May 29, 2011

Last Call

To recap, Mitch Daniels is confident he could have beaten Obama, but he didn't want to put his family through the opposition research wringer.

“Yes, I think so,” Daniels said when asked whether he could have beaten Obama on ABC’s “This Week.” “I mean no one can know.”

Daniels said that his decision to not run was based on his family’s desire for privacy and security, which he said would inevitably have been lost in a campaign for the Republican presidential nomination.

“We've got young women, three of them that have been married not too long,” Daniels said. “They're looking forward to building lives, starting families and this was just a - a disruption that - that they were very, very leery of. And who wouldn't understand that?”

The interesting part is his fellow Republicans would of had the first crack at him and not Obama or the Dems.  Wonder what he's afraid he'll find?  It's an interesting story.  Gov. Daniels fooled everyone into thinking he was going to run when he singed a bill banning public funding for Planned Parenthood in his state of Indiana last month. Alas, he fooled me as well, bowing out of the race last weekend.

There's a story there, but I wonder honestly if it was his wife and three daughters who figured out their husband and father were willing to screw over thousands of Indiana women just to score points with the GOP.  Could it be possible that his young, relatively newly married daughters perhaps visited a Planned Parenthood clinic at some point for a low-cost basic checkup?  Could it be that his daughters or wife objected to their father signing the bill as a down payment to get into the big race in 2012?

Something sure as hell changed Mitch's mind in the space of a couple of weeks.  I'm curious as to what it was.

Heimdall Has A Ridiculous Spot Score Before He Touches The Dice

Saw several movies over the course of my vacation, so we'll start with Thor.

Thor, played by Australian actor Chris Hemsworth, is very very large. He's also a completely self-absorbed jagoff, but his dad being Odin (Anthony Hopkins, devouring entire cubic parsecs of screen when he's on it) means he gets to get away with it.  His emo-tastic brother Loki (Tom Hiddleston) really despises him, but Thor is too busy to hear this important plot point over the deafening sound of how completely awesome he is.  They all live in Asgard, which is like Mt. Olympus, only in space and with Heimdall (Edris Ilba), a really big dude with a Spot skill score and feats all blown on Spot score, who is relegated to doorman. (Thanks, Marvel.)

When Thor and his buddies are manipulated into declaring war on the Frost Giants in the realm next door, and breaking Odin's peace with their leader King Laufey, it ruins everyone's week and he is banished to Earth along with HIS MIGHTY HAMMER MJOLNIR until he Learns Something(tm).  He meets Dr. Jane Foster (Natalie Portman) and has wacky adventures involving drinking and fighting, which are apparently the top, bolded points on his resume'.

Meanwhile, the shock of just how much of a muscle-brained meathead his son is has put Odin into some sort of Asgardian Space Coma, and Loki takes over.  Thor then has to save Asgard and Earth and everything, completely predictable but actually amusing and fun due to the fact Chris Hemsworth is really, really perfect for Thor (even better than Robert Downey Jr. was as Tony Stark) and that Natalie Portman really does try hard to be an actress and not an arm accessory for the big guy.  Tolstoy this ain't, but as far as a matinee popcorn flick, it's a good time.

Do stay for the credits and the obligatory Nick Fury scene afterwards.

This Is Starting To Become A Trend

Dave Weigel's interview with freshman Republican Rep Joe Walsh of Illinois is very, very illuminating.

On MSNBC, after the State of the Union, asked whether there should be a social safety net:

"No. It's not in the Constitution."

On ABC News after voting for the House GOP's funding bill—the one about three times larger than the compromise that passed:

"Keep cutting, baby."

How come he's on TV more than any other freshman?

"I think it goes to this," he says. "A big freshman class comes to D.C., and here you've got one guy that said a lot of things during the campaign and he's doing everything he said. He's doing things that strike some people as unusual. Sleeps in the office. Turns down health benefits. Turns down pension benefits. Believes in term limits. Comes home all the time, holds more town halls than anybody. And then he's not at all afraid to talk about these things he believes in. So he's not afraid to go on MSNBC or CNN and get into a good jostling." He racks his brain for any more reasons he's on TV. "I mean, I'm a white male freshman congressman. There are a lot of those! I don't know."

If it seems like Joe Walsh is nothing more than a walking GOP talking point, that's his entire schtick.  That's why he's been on TV weekly at this point, because he feels part of his job as a Congressman is to go on TV and spout the party line:  Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security are welfare, and they're not promised to anyone.  I'm here to cut trillions from government.  Oh, but the real meat here is Walsh's opinion of the President.

If Walsh gets a few more lucky breaks, and he gets a district to campaign in next year, he'll have to confront another problem. President Obama will be on the ticket. Obama has never won less than a landslide in Illinois. He's always carried the Chicago suburbs. I ask Walsh why he thinks that's true.

"Look," he says, "I don't think this is complicated. He doesn't really have a history. I say all of this respectfully—he is the least well-known guy we have ever put in the presidency, and there's no one even close. He's probably got easily the lightest résumé of anybody we've elected."

Yes, despite the largest opposition research effort in political history, first by Hillary Clinton, then by the Republicans, an opposition research effort that laid to bare everyone he had ever talked to as "proof" he was a terrorist sympathizer and secret Kenyan communist, his life dissected literally from birth to the present moment, he's the "least well known guy we have ever put in the presidency."

That's patently false, of course.  But why does Joe Walsh keep this facade that Obama is an unknown running?  He has to to justify his next theory.

Walsh leans forward and taps me on the knee with a bumper sticker.

"Why was he elected? Again, it comes back to who he was. He was black, he was historic. And there's nothing racist about this. It is what it is. If he had been a dynamic, white, state senator elected to Congress he wouldn't have gotten in the game this fast. This is what made him different. That, combined with the fact that your profession"—another friendly tap of the bumper sticker—"not you, but your profession, was just absolutely compliant. They made up their minds early that they were in love with him. They were in love with him because they thought he was a good liberal guy and they were in love with him because he pushed that magical button: a black man who was articulate, liberal, the whole white guilt, all of that."

The only reason Barack Obama got elected was because of massive white liberal guilt and massive anti-white racism in America.  Everyone who voted for him must be a racist, because we know  "nothing about him. "  His election was 100% the product of massive racism plied upon the American public by the evil liberal media.  Do you see why Walsh needs the "mystery man" theory on the President now?

It's jarring to hear a congressman say that, but there are a lot of people who agree with him. Walsh has a gift for saying out loud things that many Republicans believe but won't say, and he says them because he's worried. He'd been hoping Mitch Daniels got into the race. He wanted someone who offered voters the complete opposite of what they'd gotten from Obama.

"I pity the candidate running against him, because it will continue," he says. "That profession will protect him, and they will crucify whoever the Republican nominee is."

No wonder Joe Walsh is on TV all the time.  And if this sounds familiar, it's exactly what Shelby Steele said in the Wall Street Journal not more than a few days ago.  And yes, Republicans are now officially playing the race card against Obama in 2012.

Practical News

CNN has a great article on their front page about stray dogs.  It gives good advice about how to approach, befriend, and take care of a stray dog.  Many well-meaning folks have made common mistakes while doing this, and nobody benefits.

As for your stray, many vets offer discounted services. Consider getting a rabies vaccination, too. If you want to get it spayed or neutered, there are low-cost options available. Check the ASPCA website for programs that offer free or discounted programs in your area.
Once you get a clean bill of health, it is OK to gradually introduce the new animal to your pets. Kids should never be left unattended around animals, especially when you don't know the pet's history. Use extreme caution when allowing children to interact with the stray dog.

With the storms and more abandoned pets than ever, this is only one of many practical tips to help reunite a pet with their owner, or do your best to help a lost animal.  For those folks who would like to help but aren't sure where to begin, this is the article for you.

This Week's WTH: Shake Rattle And Roll Edition

Rob Wolfe over at Randomly Walking caught my eye with this post:

The Associated Press: 7 experts to be tried over 2009 Italy quake: "ROME (AP) — Seven scientists and other experts were indicted on manslaughter charges Wednesday for allegedly failing to sufficiently warn residents before a devastating earthquake that killed more than 300 people in central Italy in 2009."

What the hell?  It's hard to imagine the thought process behind that, as sources more esteemed than the scientists bluntly state that it is impossible to predict earthquakes.  While I understand the grief in the wake of such a tragedy, blaming scientists is not the answer, nor is it encouraging the science that they believe can help predict earthquakes.  Who would risk that type of liability?


Greek Fire, Part 29

Keep a careful eye on Greece tomorrow.  If this translated Der Spiegel article is correct, then the IMF, the ECB, and the EU Commission on Financial Affairs is going to announce Monday that Greece has effectively failed to meet its end of the bailout bargain, and the Greek Fire will indeed consume Europe.  In other words, its looking like Greece will have no choice but to default on its bailout debt and be cut off by the EU, turning the Euro into a smoking crater. Reuters UK has more info:

Greece has missed all fiscal targets agreed under its bailout plan, a mission from an international inspection team found, putting further funding for Athens at risk, according to a German magazine.

"The troika asserts in its report to be presented next week that Greece had missed all its agreed fiscal targets," weekly Spiegel magazine reported in a prerelease.

The International Monetary Fund, the European Commission and the European Central Bank -- known as the troika -- currently have a team in Greece assessing how sustainable the country's debts are.

The mission will be holding meetings next week before an expected finalisation of the report.

"The deficit in the public budget was higher than expected," the magazine said, referring to the report's findings.

"The reason is that the Greek government still spends more than agreed in the aid programme. On top of that tax income is still lower than demanded."

The IMF has already said it cannot release its part of a 12 billion euro (10.4 billion pound) aid tranche to Greece next month if fiscal conditions underpinning the bailout are not met and the European Commission's top economic official was quoted as saying the EU was setting the same conditions.

"We Europeans have the same conditions as the IMF," EU Economic Affairs Commissioner Olli Rehn was quoted as saying in the same prerelease for Monday's Spiegel magazine.

"We will decide on the next tranche after the troika's report. The situation is very serious," Rehn added.

Monday's going to be ugly in Europe.  Very, very ugly.   PS...this proves that austerity isn't the answer.  But the GOP wants trillions in spending cuts anyway...
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