Thursday, September 1, 2011

Last Call

From the "worst idea ever" department...

Eyebrows shot up all over the country Thursday following news that that the Republican Party in Pima County, AZ -- home to Tucson and Rep. Gabrielle Giffords' (D) district -- is raffling off a Glock similar to the one used to shoot Giffords in the head in January.

In Tucson, the condemnation of the plan was universal and bi-partisan.

"There's a woman who has a bullet in the brain and who everybody is wishing a full recovery," Brian Miller, the immediate past chair of the Pima County GOP told TPM. "I don't think that raffling off a firearm right now is probably the right way to go."

Miller says the people who took over the party -- and booted him from his position after he criticized local law enforcement for shooting a Marine in a controversial raid on his home in May -- are from the "my way or the highway" wing of the GOP who don't pay much thought to the political fallout from their actions.

While he said that raffling off a firearm to raise money is something he did himself when he ran (and lost) in the 2010 Republican primary in Gifford's district, it's not something he'd do now.

When even Arizona Republicans think it's a bad idea, it's a really, really horrific occurrence.  I mean, I'm not surprised that it happened in Giffords' own district, but it's not like Republicans view Democrats or liberals as worthy of basic respect, or even that they view Democrats and liberals as human.  But damn, this is ice cold even for Republicans.

Going From Green To Red On Obama Derangement Syndrome

It happens in business all the time, small and medium businesses shutter their doors every day in the country, but not all of them do so after being touted as a green job creator by President Obama a year earlier.

Solar start-up Solyndra LLC, succumbing to pressure from lower-cost Chinese rivals, said it has suspended operations and plans to file for bankruptcy, 15 months after President Barack Obama visited a company factory that was to be expanded with the help of a federal loan guarantee.

The Chapter 11 filing, expected next week, will make Solyndra the third U.S. solar company to seek bankruptcy protection in the last month. Former Wall Street high flyer Evergreen Solar Inc filed for Chapter 11 two weeks ago, followed four days later by SpectraWatt Inc, a private company that was backed by Intel Corp.

Representative Henry Waxman of the House Committee on Energy and Commerce said the bankruptcies "are unfortunate warnings that the United States is in danger of losing its leadership position in the clean energy economy of the future ... We should be doing everything possible to ensure the United States does not cede the renewable energy market to China and other countries."

Our usual friends on the right are cheering these lost solar jobs, because they don't really care how many people get hurt as long as they get ammunition to attack the President.   They scream about "half a billion dollars in crony capitalism" when oil companies are on the take for 80 times that amount of taxpayer largesse every single year, some $40 billion.  Republicans have no problem with "crony capitalism" when it comes to protecting big oil as the GOP killed the Democrats' effort to end actual crony capitalism.

But facts don't matter much, especially the fact that the US is a net exporter of solar technology, over $5 billion last year alone.  China's trying to lowball us on the market, and the Republicans are screaming themselves hoarse for the Chinese to win this fight, as today proves.  But hating on green energy and the President is all that matters to them.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Matt Taibbi on Apocalyptic Republicans running on the end of the world ticket:

I think we’re all worried about the future of this country – I know that serious concerns about another financial crash are not limited to Republicans or End-Timers – but my guess is that unless such a crash actually happens in the next year or so, this “End is Nigh” rhetoric is going to sink the Republicans next fall.

I know I've been saying Republicans want to destroy the country's economy to sink Obama, but it is really the situation that they have to deliver now on the apocalypse or lose huge in 2012?   I know it's a stupid question asking if Republicans are that ghoulish and immoral, but what say you guys?

Another Microsoft Blow

It's been a bad year for Microsoft.  It's actually been a bad few years.  The giant has become hated by many, and has had to compete against loyal Appleites and Linuxbies.  Open source is a mighty lure and cloud computing delivers a death blow to their monopoly.  Developers are the backbone that produces the miracles, and developers are flocking to the competition.  Some previous employees are also heading up projects, like the one below:

LAS VEGAS--VMware Chief Executive Officer Paul Maritz is racing to turn VMware's products into a platform for Web applications and services. To succeed, Maritz, who once served as the third-highest ranking executive at Microsoft, is pulling pages from his former employer's playbook to fight the battle.

Though deep in the weeds of technical infrastructure, VMware's lead in virtualization puts it in a position to create a new platform for cloud computing. Its software sits between a computer's hardware and its operating system. VMware wants to take advantage of that layer of technology it's providing to build a new foundation for computer programming.

But just as Windows couldn't have thrived on its own, neither will VMware's platform. So Maritz added a developer piece to VMware's business two years ago, paying $420 million to acquire SpringSource, which makes enterprise and Web application development tools. And he moved to bolster the company's developer evangelism business, hiring his one-time Microsoft lieutenant Tod Nielsen, as chief operating officer in 2009. Nielsen, who ran developer relations for Microsoft in the late 1990s, now has the task of recruiting developers to build applications for VMware's platform.

The idea is to give developers tools they can use to build Web-based applications without having to deal with the mundane plumbing. And it launched Cloud Foundry as an open-source effort in order to appeal to developers.

To build up that muscle, Nielsen brought in another old Microsoft hand, Mark Lucovsky, who the Microsoft brass once thought so highly of that they named him one of the company's 16 Distinguished Engineers. He also gained some notoriety later, declaring in a sworn legal document that Microsoft Chief Executive Officer Steve Ballmer threw a chair and cursed then-Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt when Lucovsky said he was leaving the company for a job at Google.

Microsoft is bleeding out. They are trying to remain competitive, but their bloat and arrogance may have made them wait too long. Many times, they gouged the consumer and thumbed their noses at the competition. They made mighty enemies, and in their time of need the support looks mighty thin.

That's why Microsoft has been playing hardball with VMware. Microsoft bundles its virtual machine inside its server software, a move that's helped cut into VMware's market lead. And it's spending money on marketing to lure customers away, launching a clever ad campaign this week that mocks VMware's pricing, featuring a 1970s era sales executive from VMlimited, complete with Fu Manchu mustache, selling virtualization technology from the back of his tricked out van.

Even now they don't get it. In the end, it isn't all about the buck, it's about the freedom. Microsoft is throwing their weight for one final huzzah, but in the end freedom and choice is going to win. For how long, it's hard to say, but growth and evolution demanded the longstanding monopoly fall. They will always be around, but in a much smaller capacity. Good riddance, says this particular geek.

85 Witnesses Surely Can't Be Wrong

CNN's version starts with a dad who gets into an argument with his girlfriend, and ends up smacking his son and throwing him off a moving tour boat in a busy area.  The child was a mediocre swimmer and was in danger from the water, the boat traffic and his own father.  The father jumped in after his son, but of course he wouldn't have to do that if he hadn't thrown him into danger in the first place.

(CNN) -- A father accused of smacking his crying 7-year-old and throwing the child off a moving boat says he did nothing wrong.

Briles told CNN affiliate KTLA "we were having fun, it was a harbor cruise!" He said he did not hit his son and he "did nothing except jump in the water with my kid."

"But luckily, three boats saw the kid and converged on him, and plucked him from the water," Amormino said.

"The father did jump in (after his son), but the crowd on the boat became angry when he was hitting the kid and became more angry when he threw him overboard," Amormino said. There were 85 people on the tour boat.
The article didn't have any comments from specific witnesses, but I can't imagine they would be quiet after this, so my assumption is that there was a turd floating in the ocean today, and a poor little boy suffered and was saved.

We're Not In Kansas Anymore, Folks, Part 3

As expected, a federal judge has struck down the Kansas law barring all funding for Planned Parenthood clinics in the state.

U.S. District Judge Thomas Marten ruled that the funding should be provided to Planned Parenthood on a quarterly basis, not the monthly allocation sought by the state.

Planned Parenthood had threatened to close its Hays, Kan., clinic on Friday unless it learned by then that its federal family planning funds would start flowing again.

Earlier this year, the Kansas Legislature stripped Planned Parenthood of about $330,000 in the 2011-12 budget and redirected that money primarily to public health departments.

Planned Parenthood sued, and on Aug. 1, Marten temporarily blocked Kansas from enforcing the new budget provision. However, the state had not released the money.

Planned Parenthood also said that without the funding, its Wichita clinic would discontinue a federal sliding fee schedule, which discounts services for patients based on their income.

The state had asked the judge whether it would suffice to pay Planned Parenthood monthly while the case is on appeal. Planned Parenthood wanted to be paid quarterly.

Judge Marten apparently disagrees with Kansas, and good for him.  Perhaps if Kansas Republicans hadn't flat out said the goal was to put Planned Parenthood out of business, they might not have run afoul of the judicial.

A River Runs Through, Well, Pretty Much Everything At This Point

Major flooding continues to cause serious problems in New England this week as thousands remain isolated and cut off due to roads and bridges being washed out from Irene.

Emergency provisions had to be airlifted on Tuesday to dozens of communities stranded by floodwaters as torrential weekend rains dumped by the massive storm system washed away roads and sent rivers cascading over their banks.

Although the much-hyped direct-hit on New York failed to translate into major damage or casualties in America's most populous city, heavy rain in places like the Catskill Mountains proved a ticking disaster time-bomb.

Three days after the storm's passage, marooned families were still waiting anxiously for the national guard and firefighters to bring food and water to towns swamped by the floodwaters.

In other places, rescuers have been ferrying thousands of people -- including the elderly, children and babies -- to safety in rubber motorboats.

The main highway to Wilmington, Vermont was clogged with mud and Irene had turned other roads into deathtrap chasms after dumping two months worth of rain (8.3 inches, 21 centimeters) in less than a day.

"The problem is inaccessibility," emergency operations supervisor Dave Miller told AFP as teams struggled to pull trucks out of the sludge and remove fallen trees that had perilously dragged down power lines.

The drastic situation was mirrored in parts of New Jersey and upstate New York, where schools and community centers turned into makeshift Red Cross emergency shelters were nearing full capacity.

Irene has caused billions of dollars of damage and it's going to take a long time before things get back to normal in New England and the Catskills.  But remember, if it was up to Republicans like Ron Paul and Eric Cantor, states, counties, and communities would be on their own when disasters like this hit.  Survival of the richest and all, folks.  When it comes to American exceptionalism, it's Republicans who say "No we can't!"

Being The Bigger Man

President Obama has decided "Hey, if your clown car debate next Wednesday means that much to Orange Julius, I'll move my speech to next Thursday."

"The President is focused on the urgent need to create jobs and grow our economy, so he welcomes the opportunity to address a Joint Session of Congress on Thursday, September 8th and challenge our nation's leaders to start focusing 100% of their attention on doing whatever they can to help the American people," White House spokesman Jay Carney said in a statement.

The larger point still stands:

Boehner's rejection of Obama letter asking for a joint session of Congress next Wednesday marked the first time in history that a House Speaker publicly turned down the President's request. A senior Democratic aide had called Boehner's rejection of Obama's request "childish."

To recap, until President Obama came along, no President had ever been publicly turned down tor a request to speak to a joint session of Congress.  Indeed, GOP Sen. Jim DeMint was all set to block the Senate resolution to allow President Obama to speak next Wednesday.  No President has ever been threatened with such action.  No President has ever been shown such contempt and disrespect by the opposition party in Congress.  Never before now in America's history.

But Republicans insist they are mainstream in view, justified through precedent, and completely within normal operating boundaries.  And if you believe that, you're overlooking the other major first that President Obama represents, too.  You'd better believe that has everything to do with his treatment at the hands of the Republican party.

However, the President just takes the disrespect and soldiers on.  This nonsense is now occurring on a near-weekly basis, and yet he continues to govern the country as the President of all Americans. ..even the ones who view him with contempt and hatred born of ignorance and prejudice.  How he continues to handle such outright vitriol is a testament to his true character.

Not only that, but politically he looks like the adult, and the Republicans look like the petty, ignorant fools that they are.  Here's hoping Americans tune in next week just to spite the GOP.


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