Monday, September 12, 2011

Last Call

As long as the Tea Party continues to pay no price with voters for their nutbar rhetoric, they will keep using it.  Case in point locally: the Cincinnati Tea Party group COAST got hammered this weekend for comparing streetcar project spending to -- you guessed it -- 9/11.   When they are made to pay a price, it's amazing how quickly they start acting like human beings again. 

A local anti-tax group member has apologized for an "indelicate tweet" comparing Cincinnati's streetcar project and 9/11.

Early Sunday, the Coalition Opposed to Additional Spending and Taxes tweeted "3% of FDNY died 10 yrs ago by terrorism. Today Cincinnati lost 17.5% of fire companies by brownouts to pay for a streetcar. Which is worse?"

That set off a flurry of outraged comments online, while COAST defended its comment throughout the day.

But late Monday morning, treasurer Mark Miller told News 5's John London that, "Invoking 9/11 was over the top. It was wrong. I shouldn't have done it. I apologize."
Miller said the controversy was overshadowing the point of his statement, that Cincinnati citizens are at risk. Miller said he was not making fun of 9/11.

But remember, these COAST assholes were fine with defending their tweet for more than 24 hours until it was clear public opinion was against them.

Oh, and if you're opposed to taxes, you don't get to complain about vital government services being underfunded.  Just saying.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Republicans on President Obama's jobs legislation, unveiled today:

“Obama is on the ropes; why do we appear ready to hand him a win?” said one senior House Republican aide who requested anonymity to discuss the matter freely.

Can we officially stop pretending that Republicans give a damn about America or jobs or the economy or anything else other than making sure President Obama loses?

If you are unemployed, Republicans do not care about you.  If the bridges are falling down in your state, Republicans don't care about it.  If you are worried about the economy, or your mortgage is underwater, or you get sick and don't have insurance, the Republican Party does not give a good god damn about any of that.

All they care about is beating Obama.

Fixing unemployment right now is handing a victory to the President, not helping Americans.  They would rather unemployment went up then do anything to help the millions out of work because it might be good for the man they despise to the point of sabotaging the economy in order to win.

That's it.  Republicans 2012: Keeping millions out of a job to cost one man in the White House his.  They are monsters, period.

A Weiner May Be The Republicans In NY-9

The latest poll numbers this weekend for tomorrow's special election in New York to replace Anthony Weiner aren't looking good for the Democrat, NY State Assemblyman David Weprin, in his race against Republican Bob Turner.  The wild card is Socialist Workers Party candidate Christopher Hoeppner, who is taking 4% of the vote...and Weprin is losing in a true blue Dem district by six in the latest PPP poll.

To determine just how upset NY-09 voters are with government at the moment, PPP asked a series of questions about Congress, the President and direction of the country. President Obama logged only a 31 percent approval rating in the district versus 56 percent disapproval, and Congressional Republicans registered the same approval with 51 percent against. When PPP asked which of those two choices respondents had more faith in to lead the country at the moment, voters in this Democratic district picked the GOP by a slim margin, 44 percent to President Obama’s 42. That frustration with Obama translates into success for Turner within the poll: 23 percent of those who voted for the President in 2008 said they will vote for Turner on Tuesday.

The new poll also confirms what a Siena survey said last week, that Weprin is getting crushed among independent voters and is losing a healthy number of Democrats. In fact, the PPP numbers show him only holding on to 58 percent of his own party, along with only 26 percent of independents, which is actually smaller than the amount of Dems who say they will go for Turner, 29. Turner also gets the support of 83 percent of Republicans and 58 percent of independents.

Weprin still maintains a positive favorability rating, which is not to say his campaign has been perfect, but it further emphasizes the drag that national issues are putting on the Democrat. “If Dems lose this race blaming it on Weprin is an excuse and ignores the bigger issues,” PPP Pollster Tom Jensen tweeted before the release of the numbers. He also pointed to a finding that “37% in NY-9 say Israel ‘very important’ to their votes. They support Turner over Weprin 71-22.” Siena pollster Stan Greenberg was asked about the “Israel effect” on Friday but brushed aside the issue, saying “I don’t see it at all.” 

If the "throw the bums out" effect is favoring the Republicans right now in a district that hasn't had a GOP Representative in nearly 90 years, then something's clearly wrong with the electorate and with Dems specifically.  Dems are clearly not getting behind Weprin, but that 31% approval rating in the district is a bad, bad sign.

We'll see how tomorrow's vote turns out, after all Democrats won a number of special elections in 2009 and 2010 only to lose 63 House seats last November, but this is all kinds of bad if Weprin goes down.

New Feature: StupidiChat!

Coming very soon, Zandar Versus The Stupid will begin a weekly live chat starting at 2:00 PM Central and lasting an hour.  Feel free to come join us and give us you take on current events, recent articles, or whatever is on your mind.

We will also be holding special event chats to cover debates, speeches or whatever else comes along.  We will announce those here and on Twitter and Facebook with as much notice as possible.   Looking forward to seeing you there!


This project is still experimental, so you may notice some appearance or service changes for a while.  If you have any problems or suggestions, let us know!

Pure Virgin BS

This has me so angry that I lost sleep over it.  A lot of sleep, I've mulled this over for a while now.

(CNN) -- Back in March, Amnesty International began reporting that the Egyptian military had subjected 17 women protesters at a Tahrir Square demonstration to "virginity tests." The women told Amnesty that they had been handcuffed and beaten, stripped searched and photographed by male soldiers, then restrained by female soldiers while a man in a white coat performed a virginity check.

The military denied the accusations, but in the past few days, a senior general has confirmed to CNN that indeed, the virginity tests happened. The general justified the abuse by saying these women "were not like your daughter or mine. These were girls who had camped out in tents with male protesters."

The general went on to insist that the tests were necessary because "we didn't want (the women) to say we had sexually assaulted or raped them, so we wanted to prove they weren't virgins in the first place."

So what, women who aren't virgins can be raped without consequence? I don't think the protesters were trying to be caught so they could level charges at the controllers. This was an assault under a barely-there disguise of self-protection. If you don't want to be charged, how about refusing to treat them like animals? I know that would get in the way of the stripping and searching and beating, but still.

Forcibly checked for virginity, not to protect them but to condemn them. These women weren't like your daughters, they were the Other Type, the type of woman who can be treated like a dog but who cares? They clearly brought this on themselves by thinking for themselves and protesting. Even camping with men, because we all know women can't be in a group without being overcome and putting out for every male within sight.

Seriously, this makes me sick. I think these guys should go through a cavity search to make sure they didn't hide film of illegally beating and raping women. Now there's a plan.

Legislating Bigotry

With New York recently legalizing gay marriage, the Republican efforts to seal equality behind the barrier of state constitutions has progressed to North Carolina.  These battles at the state level are vicious, but will be difficult to overturn...and that's the point.  States with laws on the books are now being targeted for making bigotry part and parcel of the states' constitutional code.

North Carolina's General Assembly has scheduled a legislative session beginning Monday to consider an amendment to the state constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.

"This is about far more than gay marriage or LGBT people in our state," said Anthony J. Pugliese, a member of the Board of Directors for the North Carolina Chamber of Commerce. "Every version of this amendment requires a divisive 14-month public campaign. Any version of this amendment would harm business recruitment, stifle economic development and jeopardize the kind of workforce diversity NC companies need to succeed."

"As we work tirelessly to recover from this recession we need to grow our economy and our tax base with as few impediments as possible, but this amendment would have a chilling effect on those efforts and take our state in the wrong direction," he added. "I urge any lawmaker who considers themselves 'pro-business' to oppose this amendment and work diligently toward its defeat."

State law already restricts marriage to opposite sex couples, but a constitutional amendment would protect the law from legal challenges.

If three-fifths of the Republican-controlled legislature approved it, North Carolina voters would ultimately decide the amendment's fate in a statewide referendum in 2012.

North Carolina House Majority Leader Paul Stam said that same sex marriage needed to be banned to protect children.

"We see in countries around the world where they legitimize same-sex marriage that marriage itself is depreciated," he said during a press conference. "I think you'll find that the impetus for same-sex marriage is not for same-sex people to get married – very, very few of them do – rather it is to delegitimize marriage as an institution, as a whole." 

It's kind of hard for same-sex couples to get married at all in North Carolina since Republicans outlawed it, just saying.   But the simple fact of the matter is every time the rights of LGBT Americans are subjected to the tyranny of the majority, they lose those rights.

I often wonder what would happen if bans on interracial marriage or refusal in emancipation from slavery or the continuation of Jim Crow laws or banning women's suffrage had been "put to the people" to add for all time to state constitutions.  There would still be states where I wouldn't be a free American, where people of different races couldn't marry, where women couldn't vote and where even if I was a freedman, I'd be subject to second-class citizenry.

And yet Republicans have no problem with subjecting their own sons and daughters and nieces and nephews and grandchildren and brothers and sisters and parents to this sort of mob mentality of hate.

It's What We Say The Tea Party Is

Over at the Washington Post, Dan Balz reviews what the Tea Party means to American politics.  It's boilerplate stuff really, but the real red flag comes up here:

That the tea party sprang to life during Obama’s presidency should have been less surprising than it was. According to Alan Abramowitz of Emory University, “The tea party movement can best be understood in the context of the long-term growth of partisan-ideological polarization within the American electorate and especially the growing conservatism of the activist base in the Republican Party.”

Over the past three decades, the size of the base within the party has grown significantly. At the same time, those activists were becoming more and more conservative in their views — and more and more hostile in their evaluations of the opposing party. When these activists were asked to rate Democratic presidential candidates on a thermometer scale of 1 to 100, the average fell “from a lukewarm 42 degrees in the late 1960s to a very chilly 26 degrees in the 2000s,” Abramowitz said.

In other words, the Republican base was primed to dislike Obama as president. In fact, it already did before he was ever sworn in. “People attending the tea party events that began early in the Obama administration expressed the same vehement hostility toward Obama first observed at campaign rallies for John McCain and Sarah Palin” in the fall of 2008, writes Gary Jacobson of the University of California at San Diego.

People forget that the Tea Party never gave President Obama a chance, nor were they ever going to.  They had pulled out the racist garbage before he was ever elected, and people conveniently forget that when discussing how the Tea Party wing of the GOP can't possibly be racist.  Michele Bachmann was doing it in 2008.  So was the McCain/Palin campaign.

So no, the Tea Party isn't the magical group of "common sense centrists" or anything.  They are the fringe, batshit insane, John Birch Society, Sons of the South, crackpot lunatic fringe of the party, and they have been purchased lock, stock and barrel in order to attack President Obama.

Even worse, the goal here is to convince moderates that if they vote against President Obama, that maybe the Tea Party will go away and America will get back to functioning again.

All the scholars see the tea party as a mixed blessing for the Republican Party. They describe the movement as the de facto base of the party and cite its energizing force within the party as having contributed significantly to the turnout advantage that the GOP enjoyed in 2010.

But they underscore the risks of the movement pushing the party and its candidates too far to the right. Rae sees the movement and the GOP establishment as having developed “a complex and tense but increasingly interdependent relationship” and writes that the movement will “certainly leave a legacy on American politics, although it is still unclear exactly what that legacy will be.”

And that's the message Balz and others are pushing right now:  the only way to defuse the Tea Party is to dump President Obama as hard and as fast as possible.  It's a message that both the left and the right are happy to push for their own various purposes.

People need to remember that.

About Those Pesky Rules Of Ours

Netflix continues to make friends through pissing off their customer base.

Netflix has started to restrict its users from streaming more than one movie at a time as part of its price hike.

The change could have a major effect on how families use Netflix. No longer can one person watch a movie from the iPad while the rest of the family watches another film on the Xbox, for example.

As website Stop the Cap points out, Netflix has always had a policy that limited streaming, with those on a single DVD or streaming-only plan limited to streaming one film at a time.

But it appears as if Netflix just started enforcing this rule on September 1. The changes seem to coincide with Netflix's price hike, which took effect on Sept. 1 as well. Now, if you attempt to launch two movie streams, Netflix will block it and tell you that your membership plan doesn't support multiple movie streams.

That asterisk next to Netflix's "Unlimited" streaming plan keeps getting wordier and wordier, but that just means the service that can find a way to deliver streaming movies that truly are unlimited and do it right, for a low price, will be the company that replaces Netflix on top of the pyramid.


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