Thursday, August 18, 2011

Last Call

Why yes Christine O' are indeed the national punchline to a very, very bad political joke.

Christine O'Donnell, former Delaware GOP Senate candidate, walked off the set of CNN's "Piers Morgan Tonight" Wednesday when asked about her views on sexual abstinence and gay marriage.

"I'm not talking about policies. I'm not running for office," O'Donnell said. "Ask Michele Bachmann what she thinks."

When Morgan asked her why she was being "weird" about answering questions on her own statements, as well as issues she addresses in her new book, "Troublemaker," O'Donnell fired back, saying she only wanted to talk about tea party principles outlined in her book.

"That's why I agreed to come on your show. That's what I want to talk about," O'Donnell said. "I'm not being weird. You're being a little rude."

Boy, as a politician if you can't even handle Piers Morgan's softball Larry King crap, there's no hope for you. What did you think Morgan was going to talk about, you goof?

And yet this woman almost ended up a United States Senator.  Note to rest of Village: this is how you should be treating Tea Party bobbleheads: like the national jokes they are.

No Dice On Kasich's SB5 Deal

Across the river in Ohio, the mobilization of the state's union voters against GOP Gov. John Kasich's union-busting Senate Bill 5 law is clearly scaring the crap out of him, because he wants to cut a deal to end the referendum efforts to overturn the legislation.

Gov. John Kasich and top Republican lawmakers said Wednesday they're offering to weaken a new law limiting collective bargaining in an attempt to keep a repeal effort off the November ballot.

Kasich's administration released a letter asking for a meeting Friday to discuss a compromise with 10 union leaders involved with We Are Ohio, the group pushing for a repeal of the law.

Wisely, the unions want Kasich to repeal the entire law or they will take it to the voters.

"We feel that they have the ability to come back and repeal the entire bill and that is what they should do," said Melissa Fazekas, spokesperson for "We Are Ohio".

Fazekas says for lawmakers to repeal the bill is the only thing that would keep it off the November ballot, and the meeting called by Kasich on Friday will be pointless unless he is willing to do so.

"We are glad that Gov. Kasich and other politicians that passed Senate Bill 5 are realizing it is a flawed bill," said Fazekas. "Just like the bill is flawed, this approach to a compromise is flawed as well."

Ohio Republicans don't want the bill repealed, and want even less to make a deal.

Republican Sen. Shannon Jones says the invitation to union leaders for a Friday meeting is not in fear that the bill won't pass in November.

"It's not about the outcome in November," said Jones. "We obviously believe in it, that is why we passed it and that is why we want our local communities to operate under it."

Yeah, right.  If SB 5 goes down in flames, Kasich will go from local embarrassment to national joke, along with Ohio's Republican party.  "Remember Senate Bill 5!" will be the battle cry well into 2012, either way.  Kasich wants this problem to go away and go away fast, because they only way Kasich wins is for the unions to give up the fight.

It appears that's not going to happen.

Village Idiots, Rumble "B" Edition

Politico's Ben Smith notes that Michele Bachmann's campaign staffers have had an unusually high incidence of physical confrontation with the press...but that's not the point.

In less than two months since entering the 2012 race, Bachmann’s campaign staff has become embroiled in at least five unusually hostile encounters with the traveling media marked by pushing, shoving and, in one instance, the allegation of a threat of violence to a reporter.

Some of it has unfolded in full public view: Bachmann aides’ tussles with the press have twice turned into news stories, once when veteran ABC News reporter Brian Ross was shoved and pushed by Bachmann staffers in South Carolina and on a second occasion when Bachmann’s husband and two staffers pushed CNN’s Don Lemon into a cart, producing a furious on-air complaint.

In another incident that did not make the air, a camera captured Fox News correspondent Steve Brown telling a bodyguard in Iowa, “Do not put your hands on me. Don’t ever do it again.”

A foreign reporter also alleged to POLITICO this week that an aide threatened to break his arm — an allegation the Bachmann campaign denied.

The point is not the violence, real or implied, but the fact that the notion of Beat The Press here is A) beneficial to Bachmann as Tea Party red meat ("the liberal media is the enemy and should be treated as such") and B) also beneficial to Villagers like Ben Smith ("we're kind of important, dammit!").  Stories like this are in fact mutually beneficial to both sides, so you can expect Bachmann's staff to continue to act like goons towards the press because the it makes the press into the story, and the press really, really loves that.

In other words, it's professional wrestling, only with suits.  All fake.  All for drama and numbers.  Ben Smith knows damn well this story will encourage Bachmann staffers to pick fights, and will also encourage Villagers to in turn pick fights with Bachmann.  Quite the incestuous relationship.

This is the Village's idea of "adversarial press" and I don't believe it for a second.

Unanswered Questions

What is behind the media coverage of recent hacking?  Is it a new buzzword, or is there a sudden outbreak in security lapses?

Could it be that this is a test to feel out how efficent our control methods are?  Is it a display of power to prepare for demands?  Are they a bunch of teenagers who live on Hot Pockets and VH1?  Is this just a competition between rivals for bragging rights?  Are they Robin Hoods or just hoods?  I have no idea.

What I do know is they are coming out at a terrible time for cloud development.  At a time when open source and sharing is the evolution of our connection, we have a real threat from a new type of outlaws.  Some will be merciful, some only play for sport, and some will destroy any time they have a chance.  The problem is they are holding us back.  Our games, our hobbies, our favorite shops can be hacked and stolen.   Companies aren't usually forthcoming about the real damage, and this mistrust is keeping the true potential of unlimited connection at its minimum.

Groups like Anonymous could have a public forum if they wanted one.  They choose not to communicate.  Yet I somehow don't think they are the pure bad guys they are made out to be, which could be naive on my part.  There seems to be a meaning beyond scoring skillz points and publicly spanking our trusted security methods.  Whatever they are doing, they are making a lot of people mighty nervous and bringing out a huge law enforcement reaction, which tells me they are on the right track.  But track to what?  I guess that's the question I would have answered above all others.

The Exception To The Rule...

... this One Freaking Time, I have to admit that I agree that Big Tobacco has a solid point.  And the legal upper hand, as well as the ethical high ground.  I don't talk about it a lot on this blog, so let me be clear in saying I despise smoking, and was addicted as hell for over a decade.  I fought hard for my freedom.  However, if it is a legal activity / substance, this is beyond stupid.  The warnings are fair, though it has already been shown there were a mild deterrent at best.  Graphic pictures aren't going to stop people from smoking. It's going to make a great business opportunity for cigarette cases.

Nobody would ever dare print pictures of people killed by drunk drivers on every case of beer.  This isn't about defending tobacco, it's about boundaries for legal activities that while distasteful to some, are still completely legal.

COLUMBIA, S.C. — Four of the five largest U.S. tobacco companies sued the federal government Tuesday over new graphic cigarette labels that include the sewn-up corpse of a smoker and a picture of diseased lungs, saying the warnings violate their free speech rights and will cost millions of dollars to print.
The companies, led by R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co., Lorillard Tobacco Co., said the warnings no longer simply convey facts to allow people to make a decision whether to smoke. They instead force them to put government anti-smoking advocacy more prominently on their packs than their own brands, the companies say. They want a judge to stop the labels.
"Never before in the United States have producers of a lawful product been required to use their own packaging and advertising to convey an emotionally-charged government message urging adult consumers to shun their products," the companies wrote in the lawsuit filed in federal court in Washington, D.C.

Moving Forward At Your Own Perry-il, Part 4

For the love of the Flying Spaghetti Monster there, Rick Perry...can you take a break from the Perpetual Gaffe Machine to give me time to catch my breath?  Perry's views on global climate change are just as thick-headed as the rest of the anti-science GOP:

And it’s all one contrived phony mess that is falling apart under its own weight. Al Gore is a prophet all right, a false prophet of a secular carbon cult, and now even moderate Democrats aren’t buying it.

Perry went on later this week to suggest that climate scientists were all taking money to falsify their data in a massive, international conspiracy:

You may have a point there, because I do believe that the issue of global warming has been politicized. I think there are a substantial number of scientists who have manipulated data so that they will have dollars rolling into their projects. And I think we are seeing almost weekly or even daily scientists are coming forward and questioning the original idea that man-made global warming is what is causing the climate to change. Yes our climate’s changed, they’ve been changing ever since the earth was born. But I do not buy into a group of scientists who have in some cases found to be manipulating this information.
And the cost to the country and the world of implementing these anti-carbon programs is in the billions if not trillions of dollars at the end of the day. And I don’t think, from my perspective, that I want America to be engaged in spending that much money still on a scientific theory that has not been proven, and from my perspective, is being put more and more into question.

You know, despite not having any proof of any of this nonsense, this is a guy running for President on a platform of Science Is Lying To You For Money.   Yes, in Rick Perry's Texas, climate change is imaginary and everything is fine.

The historic Texas drought that has parched most of the state throughout the summer has caused $5.2 billion in losses to agriculture, making it the most destructive drought in the state's history, agriculture officials said on Wednesday.

They called the damage estimate "conservative," but it still surpassed by more than $1 billion the losses reported in a 2006 drought that had set state records at $4.1 billion.

"This drought will have a lasting impact on Texas agriculture," said Travis Miller, an agronomist with Texas A&M University's Texas AgriLife Extension Service, which released the numbers. "The most remarkable thing is the extent and the severity of the drought combined."

The losses include more than $2 billion in livestock, $1.8 billion to cotton, and more than $1 billion to other crops, including hay, corn, wheat, and sorghum, Miller said.

He said more than 90 percent of the state is listed by the U.S. Drought Monitor as being in either "extreme" or "exceptional" drought, the two worst categories as measured by the monitor.

But the worst and costliest drought in Texas history this year, not to mention droughts reported in 2002, 2003, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2009, and 2010 in the state?  All lies, totally not data supporting the notion that the Earth's climate is changing.  It's all made up, the $5.2 billion in agricultural losses this year are a "phony contrived mess."  Scientists are evil bastards who lie for money, unlike Republican politicians.

Geek-O-Rama: Firefox 6 Release

As promised, Mozilla has upped the speed on release candidates and is already up to Firefox 6, just three months after releasing version 5.  Good news is it's definitely faster.  Bad news is it's still behind IE 9 and especially Chrome 13.  Rebecca Greenfield at Atlantic Wire has the review:

New Firefox looks mostly like old Firefox, but when you take it for a spin it has one big important update reports Lifehacker's David Galloway. "The new version uses the same user interface as Firefox 5, but is reported to run 20% faster." But in speed benchmark tests run by Laptop Mag's Dan Howley, any speed improvements in Firefox 6 over its predecessor were not measurable and it ran slower than Chrome and IE 9. Howley concluded the upgrade "amounted to small but nice touches."

Those include small add-ons that some users won't even notice, like highlighting the domain name of your current web page, making it easier to identify you're current location--this is particularly helpful for web browser super users, explains Howley. "That’s especially nice when you have multiple tabs open and want a quick and easy way to identify which website you are on, without scrolling through all of the page’s content." It also has a special permissions preferences section--a quick one-stop page for passwords, popups and locations and increased support for HTML5.

For those who surf on the go, the mobile update is a bit more exciting argues Endgadget's Christopher Trout. "On the Android side, version 6 makes much bigger promises, like a 'fresh visual style in Chrome Gingerbread,' enhanced image scaling, and, perhaps most importantly, it's 'faster and uses less memory.'" But with all the best changes reserved for cell phone users and not many fun user upgrades, you might want to stick with your current browser of choice.

Having kicked it around for a while now, I can say it's certainly faster than version 5 and the domain highlighting is nice, but this feels far more like it should be called Firefox 4.2 more than anything, and it really shows.

Still not worth considering it over Chrome 13, but it's catching up with IE9.

Anonymous Hit Jobs Are Us

LA Times reporter Jim Oliphant wins this year's Best Use Of Anonymous Democrat To Attack President Obama award, hands down.

After pledging to send a job-creation package to Congress next month and daring Republicans to block it, President Obama offered few specifics Tuesday about the form the plan might take as he stuck to a broad outline of how to improve the economy.

On the second day of Obama's three-day bus tour of the upper Midwest, the president worked off the blueprint he had used the day before, offering proposals such as extending a payroll tax cut, spending money to repair roads and bridges, and ratifying pending trade agreements.

Okay, with you so far.

And he continued to hammer away at Republicans in Congress, suggesting they stand in the way of economic growth, even as some Democrats expressed discomfort with what they saw as a potentially divisive stance.

Wait, what?  Democrats have been screaming for President Obama to use the bully pulpit and push jobs.  The American voter wants jobs.  People are the most worried right now about one thing:  jobs.  How is pushing a jobs bill a divisive stance?  What Democrats are against this?

But one Senate Democrat, who requested anonymity to speak candidly about the White House, was troubled by the president's gambit.

Voters are tired of the partisan back-and-forth and it would be a mistake for Obama to present Congress with a large-scale, high-stakes jobs bill and challenge them to pass it, the senator said. A more sensible approach would be for Obama to roll out a series of smaller proposals, the senator said, adding that the public "has very little patience for anything that looks like you're beating up on the other side."

Wait, all this "Democrats divided" stuff is about ONE LOUSY ANONYMOUS SENATOR?   You have to be kidding.

To recap, when a Republican Senator bucks their party, they do it openly and are considered brave mavericks.  When a Democrat does it, it's a cautionary tale to reign in Angry Black President, and they have to do it anonymously out of fear of White House retribution, or something.

It's very hard for President Obama to fight for anything with the knife in his back at that particular depth and difficult to reach location, not to mention the Village press holding it in there with two hands, you know?


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