Thursday, June 2, 2011

Last Call

Mitt Romney announced his candidacy for President today.  Nobody really seemed to care.  Money quote:

"This president's first answer to every problem is to take power from you, your local government and your state so so-called experts in Washington can make decisions for you," Romney said. "And with each of those decisions, we lose more of our freedom."

Says the guy who is running on a party platform that the government must make all decisions about a woman's reproductive system.

Good luck with that.

Proving A Negative

The hard-right think tank American Enterprise Institute argues that Herman Cain's mere existence absolves the Tea Party, conservatives, and Republicans from all charges of racism.

"The [tea party] movement is, in the mind of many in the Democratic Party and liberal organizations, rooted in a fundamentally racist view of America and of the president," wrote AEI scholar Lazar Berman in an article posted to the institute's online journal "Then why is Herman Cain, a conservative black businessman and radio host from Georgia, generating such excitement among the very people maligned as angry white racists?"

A staunch conservative who has wholly embraced the tea party's rhetoric and agenda, Cain was tied for second in a poll of Iowa Republican voters Wednesday. He came 5th among Republican primary voters in a national Gallup poll last week. Six weeks ago he received just 1 percent support in the same survey.

"[T]he Left loves to hurl the racist label at those who stand in the way of their policies and candidates," Berman wrote, adding that Cain proves the "grassroots anti-Obama movement is about ideas and the future of the country, not race."

"Racism is by no means dead in America," Berman concedes, but "the idea one must be racist to oppose Obama’s policies is cheap and intellectually feeble."

Oh I agree, you don't have to be a racist to be a Tea Party conservative Republican, nor are all of them racist.  But saying Herman Cain proves anything about the Tea Party is an equally "cheap and intellectually feeble" argument, one just as stupid and silly as saying all those who voted for Obama are anti-white racists.

But as I've explained before, racism is just a means to an end here, as the much bigger effort by the GOP is to paint Obama as "the other".  The racism argument is a canard, an easy way to muddy the waters with "both sides do it" false equivalence and straw men while the right continues to attack Obama from a number of "he's just not like us" angles.

Anti-Obama otherists have wrapped themselves in the flag of American exceptionalism, contending that Obama is different because he doesn't believe that the United States is special and superior to other nations. Last summer, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who at the time was mulling a bid for the GOP's 2012 presidential nomination, told Politico that Obama's "worldview is dramatically different than any president, Republican or Democrat, we've had… He grew up more as a globalist than an American. To deny American exceptionalism is in essence to deny the heart and soul of this nation." (In March, Huckabee, à la Gingrich, claimed, wrongly, that Obama had grown up in Kenya and had thus absorbed an anti-colonialist sentiment that prompted him to have a "very different view" of the British than "the average American.") In November, former GOP Sen. Rick Santorum, another 2012 wannabe, told College Republicans at American University, "America is exceptional, and Americans are concerned that there are a group of people in Washington who don't believe that any more."

Cain is only useful to the right precisely because he is racial cover for them, and last time I checked that's racism, pure and simple.  Doesn't take a think tank to come up with this.

You Have To Believe It's Getting Better, Getting Better All The Time

Maddowblog writer and producer Jamil Smith notes the San Francisco Giants have become the latest sports franchise to join the It Gets Better project and argues that the walls of homophobia may finally be coming down in the world of pro sports:

Yesterday, the San Francisco Giants, winners of last season's World Series, became the first American pro sports team to release a video for the project. It features pitcher Barry Zito and several of his teammates speaking out on the common themes of the project: highlighting homophobia and bullying, and declaring them unacceptable.

One Giants fan commenting on the YouTube was particularly appreciative:
I've been a Giants fan since my sister taught me the game when I was 8 (and I've been gay since forever). I cannot begin to describe how much this means to me, and will mean to scores of young gay sports fans.
Some could snark and say that the Giants are not exactly going out on a limb, that "of course a team from San Francisco would put out the anti-gay video." That snark may have substance, but this is part of an emerging, and encouraging pattern in pro sports.

Last month, the president of the NBA's Phoenix Suns revealed that he is gay. So did a popular sports radio host and a former starter for the Villanova men's basketball team. Add on top of that the serious fines levied against two NBA stars for using homophobic slurs on the court, and you see that the culture -- even one as admittedly paleolithic as the locker room -- is starting to change.

It's a slow change, but long overdue.  Arguably sports has led the way as far as social changes and tolerance:  Joe Frasier, Jackie Robinson, Martina Navratilova, Wilt Chamberlain, but when it comes to gay men in team sports, that door has been welded shut for a very, very long time.

Perhaps that will change sooner than we think.

No Dealing On The Debt Ceiling, Part 13

House Republicans are increasingly convinced that they've won the debt ceiling battle and are confident that they will get their trillions in spending cuts, and that President Obama and the Democrats have no choice but to cave.

“Of course, it’s dangerous,” a House Republican close to Boehner said of the politics of a government default. “But it’s dangerous for everybody, especially the president. At the end of the day, [Obama] will have to give in.”

“Who has egg on their face if there is a sovereign debt crisis, House Republicans or the president?” asked another senior GOP lawmaker.

With a potential debt default by the U.S. government just two months off, and a continued standoff between the White House and GOP congressional leaders on how to move forward in boosting that limit, Republican lawmakers say publicly and privately that they believe Obama will be the one who has to cave.

Boehner and his top lieutenants — Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) — are demanding that Obama put forth a comprehensive proposal to reduce the government’s $1.5 trillion deficit, and they are refusing to move on a debt-limit boost until the president does so.

Orange Julius figures he'll have a deal by Fourth of July, and that deal will include Medicare cuts, completely disarming the Democrats on the issue and assuring that the donks will walk right into the jet engine intake.

Politico's analysis aside, there should be absolute outrage from everyone that the Republicans are willing to trigger another recession just to win in 2012, but our "liberal media" is assuring we're too busy worrying about Anthony Weiner's weiner rather than the screwing our country is about to get.

Bend over, folks.  Once again the country's economic future depends solely on the Democrats not caving.

[UPDATENancy Pelosi and House Dems say they are standing firm and will not give in.  Frankly, I'm not worried about House Democrats caving...I'm worried about Senate Dems doing so.

Minty Fresh: Hello, Old Friends

I had just one day to appreciate this in Ubuntu before I made the move to Mint: Chromium Apps. Chromium is a great Chrome alternative, and this access to the market has taken it from great to incredible. My Blogger, Google Docs, favorite games and even access to RetroMUD can all be had from within my browser.

Evolution is available, and even works better than it did with Ubuntu.  This alternate to Microsoft Outlook has all the great tools and seems to integrate with other programs seamlessly.  My calendar and contacts are accessed by my computer at all times, so it's extremely easy to move that information into use by another system.  All my old friends were waiting for me; Empathy, Banshee, Chromium and Kjots were set up within minutes.

The move has been completely painless, and I have yet to find a single sacrifice by having done so.  My opinion is high and continues to climb.

A 74-Year-Old Hottie Is The Epitome Of Discipline

Yes, you read that right.  A 74-year-old woman is the oldest competing female bodybuilder and looks the part.  I find it interesting that she isn't the type I am used to seeing, where ropes of muscle and veins the size of highlighters overburden a medium-sized frame.  In fact, Ernestine Shepherd is toned and beautiful, and every bit a lady.  Just don't call her an old lady, or she may break you into little pieces.

Not only does Ernestine work out to extremes, she puts as much effort into encouraging others as she does pushing herself to the limit.  She is both warm and tough, and knows full well that being outperformed by a woman of her age is just the shove that some need to get motivated.

I just thought this was cool, and a nice break from ugly news and disaster.  Somewhere out there, we can know there is a butt-kicking grandma looking out for us.

The GOP Medicare Replacement Plan Is Going Down In Flames

Republicans are really in the soup on their Couponcare plan, and all major groups of voters are now opposed to the GOP plan, including Republicans and conservatives.

The poll indicates that 58 percent of the public opposes the Republican plan on Medicare, with 35 percent saying they support the proposal. The survey's Wednesday release comes as the president met with House Republicans to discuss, among other things, Medicare reform.

The House Republican 2012 budget, authored by Rep. Paul Ryan of Wisconsin, passed the chamber in April without a single Democratic vote and included a proposal to overhaul Medicare. Under the plan, the government would no longer directly pay medical costs for those 55 and younger, but instead would offer subsidies for seniors to use to get private health insurance coverage.

"Half of those we questioned say that the country would be worse off under the GOP Medicare proposals and 56 percent think that GOP plan would be bad for the elderly," says CNN Polling Director Keating Holland. "Opposition is highest among senior citizens, at 74 percent, suggesting that seniors are most worried about changes to Medicare even if those changes are presented as ones that would not affect existing Medicare recipients."

"A majority of all demographic groups don't favor the GOP Medicare proposals," Holland adds. "That includes conservatives - 54 percent of them don't like the plan. As a result, rank-and-file Republicans are split right down the middle, with 48 percent favoring the GOP plan and 50 percent opposed."

The poll is another sign that the House Republicans’ Medicare proposal could be politically damaging to the party. Last week the Democrats won a special election to fill a vacant House seat in New York's 26th congressional district, which the GOP held for over a generation. The Ryan Medicare plan became a major issue in the race, with both the Democratic and Republican candidates, the party committees and outside organizations spending millions of dollars to run ads that focused on Medicare.

Let me repeat that:  A majority of Republicans and conservatives and a massive majority of seniors oppose the Republican plan to replace Medicare with a voucher system.  C'mon, Democrats.  You are literally being handed the 2012 elections on a silver platter.

Follow through on this.

University Of Hard Knocks, Part 2

With the housing market in shambles, 9% unemployment becoming the new normal and the American consumer reeling, the next big debt bubble looks to be the student loan industry in the country.

Young people between the ages of 16 and 24 face an unemployment rate nearly twice that of the rest of the population, according to data from the Economic Policy Institute. 2010's 18.4 percent rate for youth was the worst in the 60 years that economists have collected such data. ColorLines notes that in 2010, 8.4 percent of white college graduates were unemployed, 13.8 percent of Latino graduates, and a dismal 19 percent of black graduates.

Those bright, shiny new degrees simply aren't worth the paper they're printed on all too often. The cost of a college degree is up some 3,400 percent since 1972, but as we all know too well, household incomes haven't increased by anything close to that number -- not for the bottom 99 percent of us, anyway.

Pell Grants for students have shrunk drastically in relation to the ballooning cost of a four-year college, and Paul Ryan wants to cut them even more, pushing some 1.4 million students into loans, more of which come each year from private lenders with little to no accountability.

The problem is simple.  College costs have gone up by more than 30 times in the last 40 years, wages haven't.  Yet, employed college graduates make nearly a million dollars more over the course of their working years than non-college graduates.  That's a big gap between haves and have-nots.  On the other hand, unemployed college graduates are facing tens, if not hundreds of thousands of dollars in debt.

And let's not forget a lot of college debt is held by private finance players and big banks.  There's a reason why they are more than happy to sacrifice this generation of college grads to the unemployment line to avoid any inflation whatsoever, because in an inflation economy, the creditor loses.  In a deflation economy however, the creditor makes out like a bandit.  And with wages falling across the board, it's turning into a real nightmare.

Something's got to give, and when it does, it's going to be brutal.


Related Posts with Thumbnails