Wednesday, October 12, 2011

Last Call

I talked about Raleigh NC and Wake County back in January after the school board there introduced a plan to end busing and desegregation.

Wake County, home of the capital of the state I grew up in a Southern state no less, is telling children and parents that diversity is no longer a proper or necessary goal for public schools.

Before the Tea Party took control of the GOP, Wake County was a held up as a model school district.  It dropped racial integration for economic integration ten years ago and since then is one of the better ranked large school districts in not just the state, but the entire country.

Well, voters in Wake County had their say yesterday, and they threw the Tea Party out on their ignorant asses.

The big win for Democrats and desegregation represents a big loss for conservative benefactor Art Pope, who served as the architect of the 2009 school board election that saw an anti-diversity Republican majority win control of the officially nonpartisan body, and who along with his political network backed yesterday's losing candidates. Pope is one of the most influential money men in North Carolina politics and is a close national ally of the billionaire Koch brothers through his role as a national director of the conservative advocacy group Americans for Prosperity, which backs school privatization and whose North Carolina chapter helped Republicans in the 2009 school board race.

With five of the board's nine seats up for grabs yesterday, Democrats won four races outright and ousted board chair Ron Margiotta, a particularly divisive figure who also serves as a trustee for a private school run by Bob Luddy, a close associate of Pope and the Koch brothers and another major funder of this year's anti-diversity-policy candidates. Margiotta lost to political newcomer Susan Evans by 52% to 48% in Southwest Wake's District 8, considered the most strongly Republican of the board's nine districts.

The fifth race looks to be headed to a runoff, but the Tea Party's pointman in NC, Art Pope, took it in the shorts back in my home state.  The difference was turnout, where election officials were expecting around a 10% turnout for the special election, the actual number was much higher driven by absentee/early voting and the controversy surrounding the school board.  It was 9-0 Republicans in 2009.  Four of them have been tossed, and Democrats can take a majority depending on the runoff results.

When you vote, you can change things, folks.  Remember that.

Deatbeat By Word, Deadbeat By Deed

GOP Rep. Joe Walsh (R-Deadbeat Dad) is now saying the $100,000 plus he owes in child support is really just a "he said, she said" issue and that his wife "informally" let him off the hook.

Freshman Rep. Joe Walsh (R-IL) says he didn't pay tens of thousands of dollars in child support payments to his ex-wife because he was under the impression they had an informal agreement that he'd keep the money.

"He reasonably relied on [ex-wife Laura Walsh's] representations and conduct, to his detriment," Walsh's lawyer said in a court filing, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
Through his attorney, Walsh claimed he had a "verbal agreement" with his wife on child support because "Joe and his former wife were both tired of court appearances and the resulting emotional and financial impact on the family. Neither party had the financial or emotional wherewithal to continue the battle."

Right.  And then Walsh lent his own campaign 34 grand, kind of proving he had the cash on hand all along.  It was only after he did that act that his wife sued him for the money he said he couldn't pay (but sure could lend to his campaign to buy a seat in Congress.)  Now he's blaming his wife for the "mix-up" here.  Profiles in Courage, indeed.

This guy couldn't be a bigger douchebag.

Capital Offense In Pennsylvania

Pennsylvania's capital of Harrisburg has finally run out of options: the city council has voted to send the municipality into bankruptcy protection.

The city of Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, facing a state takeover of its finances, filed for bankruptcy protection following a vote by City Council, according to a lawyer for the council.

Mark D. Schwartz, a Bryn Mawr, Pennsylvania-based lawyer and former head of municipal bonds for Prudential Financial Inc.’s mid-Atlantic region, said he filed the documents by fax to a federal bankruptcy court last night. The filing couldn’t be confirmed with the U.S. Bankruptcy Court in Harrisburg.

The state capital of 49,500 faces a debt burden five times its general-fund budget because of an overhaul and expansion of a trash-to-energy incinerator that doesn’t generate enough revenue.

“This was a last resort,” Schwartz said in an interview after the council voted 4-3 to seek bankruptcy protection. “They’re at their wits end.”

And the battle in Harrisburg is just beginning, as are the lawsuits.

Jason Hess, the acting city attorney, told the council members before the vote that they didn’t follow procedure and their action wouldn’t be binding. The members went ahead anyway.

Preparing for bankruptcy is going to mire the city in litigation it can’t afford, said Councilwoman Patty Kim, who voted against it.

Popcorn is going to be necessary here, and a lot of people in Harrisburg are going to be miserable before this mess is all said and done.  The way things are going right now, this show will be coming to a city near you sooner than you think.

Breaking News: The Price Of Beating A Woman Part II

The New York Times caught wind of the situation in Topeka and weighed in. 

City leaders had blamed the Shawnee County district attorney for handing off such cases to the city without warning. The district attorney, in turn, said he was forced to not prosecute any misdemeanors and to focus on felonies because the County Commission cut his budget. And county leaders accused the district attorney of using abused women as pawns to negotiate more money for his office.

After both sides dug in, the dispute came to a head Tuesday night.

By a vote of 7 to 3, the City Council repealed the local law that makes domestic violence a crime.

So, as a Twitter follower pointed out, it's time to call this what it is and stop using safe terms to dodge the reality.  Please allow me to say this is giving permission to beat the shit out of women without consequences.  How's that for direct?  Men who have a history of beating women, or men smart enough to be deterred by criminal consequences now have full permission to assault women because there will be no outcome from it.

Not enough money to prosecute is no reason to repeal the law.  That isn't saying they will improve or pool resources.  That says tough luck, get your ass beat in Wichita if you want some justice.  Our exectation of safety transcends budgets and finger pointing.  If a man assaults a man, he'll still face criminal consequences. 

We talk about class warfare, and it is usually viewed in terms of economic standing or perhaps minority association.  Women make up slightly more than half of the world's population, how is it that we are consistently paid less, treated worse, and in this case sacrificed to criminals to help make a budget? 

If your bullshit-o-meter isn't going off like mad, you're missing something.

How Do You Like It Now?

A man allegedly hit his wife because she did not like his Facebook status quickly enough.  The status was regarding his mother's death, and he commented to his wife that he had received several "likes" on his status.  Because she did not, he supposedly hit her.

Okay, we all know wrong is wrong.  But wow, I have to say I'm shocked that this happened, and that the article didn't read "Wife shot husband for punching her over Facebook status."  She is a better person than I am.  Like I tell my husband, just because we didn't have a shotgun wedding doesn't mean we can't have a shotgun divorce.

He was in Texas, not Topeka, Kansas, so there is a chance he might actually pay for this.  Then again, Texas isn't known for their gentle care or respect for women so at this point... who knows?

The Netflix Conundrum: Half-Baked Edition

Netflix has killed Qwikster, its video-mailing service.  It plans to keep both services under one website, and allow users to manage their account with only one login.

“It is clear that for many of our members two websites would make things more difficult, so we are going to keep Netflix as one place to go for streaming and DVDs,” Hastings said in the blog post Monday.

Netflix’s decision to stay one website is likely to please subscribers. But its turbulent relationship with subscribers over the last three months raises questions about the company’s management, as it attempts the transition from a DVD-by-mail business to one that largely delivers movies streamed over the Internet. Netflix movies can already be streamed directly to PCs, smartphones, tablets, DVD players, game consoles and TV sets.

The Qwikster announcement was a follow-up to the July price change. Analysts saw it as a way for Netflix to distance itself from the older DVD business, which has less future potential than Internet streaming.

If Qwikster was pulled so quickly, one has to wonder if the plan was given full consideration. That also would leave one to wonder if the price hike and other Netflix services were getting equal due diligence before being thrown on the customers.

I don't think Netflix is going in a good direction, but they have plenty of time to redeem themselves. Let's just hope they do that.

I Need Some Textual Healing

That sound you hear is Blackberry maker RIM's clock rounding eleven and heading for midnight.

Millions of BlackBerry users around the world were left without text communication services for a third day on Wednesday as Research in Motion struggled to fix what it said was a switching failure in its private network.

Users in Europe, the Middle East, Africa and India suffered patchy email service and no access to browsing and messaging, ratcheting up negative sentiment toward a company already losing market share to Apple and Samsung.

RIM, which had said on Tuesday that services had returned to normal, said later the problems had actually spread beyond EMEA and India to Argentina, Brazil and Chile.

"The messaging and browsing delays ... were caused by a core switch failure within RIM's infrastructure," it said. "As a result, a large backlog of data was generated and we are now working to clear that backlog and restore normal service."

The service disruptions are the worst since an outage swept north America two years ago, and come as Apple prepares to put on sale its already sold-out iPhone 4S on Friday.

"It's a blow upon a bruise. It comes at a bad time," said Richard Windsor, global technology specialist at Nomura.

That's an understatement if I ever heard one.  RIM has enough problem as it is facing Android manufacturers and Apple's iPhone, but having their major selling point go down for three business days globally while telling customers "oh yeah it's fixed" means they're in serious trouble.

These guys are about done, methinks.

A Bunch Of E-con Artists

The only thing you need to know about last night's economics themed GOP roundtable debate last night in New Hampshire was the number of outright falsehoods the Clown Car Crew spewed out in order to try to con Americans into supporting them as ripped into them.  Mitt Romney can't tell the truth about the economy:

Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney repeated his talking point that the health care law in his state only affected 8 percent of the population — or just the uninsured — while the federal law “takes over health care for everyone.” But that’s wrong on several levels. Both laws affect everyone by requiring that all residents have insurance or pay a penalty; both also focus on helping the uninsured gain coverage. And, just like the federal plan, the Massachusetts law set up an exchange where individuals buying their own insurance can select from various private health plans. That affects more than just those who were uninsured when the law was passed.

And neither can Rick Perry.

Texas Gov. Rick Perry took his job-creation boasting too far again, claiming that “while this country was losing two-and-a-half million jobs, Texas was creating 1 million jobs.” That’s an apples-to-oranges comparison. Texas has created a little more than 1 million jobs during Perry’s time in office, but the nation lost 1.4 million in that same time frame — not 2.5 million. To make the national picture look even worse, Perry goes back to January 2009. The nation has lost 2.4 million jobs since then, but Texas created only 95,600 jobs in that time period.

There's no way Michele Bachmann could ever tell the truth about the health care law:

Bachmann falsely claimed that a Medicare advisory panel created by the federal health care law “will make all the major health care decisions for over 300 million Americans.” Hers is a new twist on a false Republican talking point that the Independent Payment Advisory Board will ration health care for seniors. The board is specifically barred from rationing care on page 490 of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act. It’s true that the board will consist of 15 “political appointees,” as Bachmann said, and they will recommend ways to slow the growth of Medicare. But board members must be medical providers and other professionals with experience in health care finance, actuarial science, health care management and other related fields. And the board’s recommendations can be rejected by Congress, as we have explained before.

And even "the sane one" Jon Huntsman couldn't resist joining the rest of the pack in telling an absolute whopper about health care reform.

Former Utah Gov. Jon Huntsman dredged up an old partisan exaggeration in claiming that the IRS was planning on hiring “19,500 new employees to administer that mandate” in the health care law. We knocked down this inflated claim in March 2010, when it was about 16,500 IRS employees. The truth is that the claim comes from a report by Republicans on the House Ways and Means Committee who made several false assumptions to come up with that number. Plus, the IRS’ primary role isn’t to “administer that mandate,” as Huntsman claims. It will mainly administer subsidies and tax credits. And so far, the IRS has requested 1,269 full-time equivalent employees, according to its fiscal year 2012 budget request, to help implement the law.

The reality is on the most important issue facing our country, our stalled economy and how to restore jobs to fix it, Republicans can't help but make up idiotic fairy tales and outright lies in order to try to con you into voting for them next year.  They can't help but lie, because that's all they have.  The truth is too painful.

Wheels Within Wheels

The Justice Department Tuesday announced that federal law enforcement officials foiled a "major Iranian terror plot" to assassinate the Saudi Ambassador to the US.

The federal government said Tuesday that two men -- Manssor Arbabsiar and Gholam Shakuri -- have been charged in a plot directed by "elements" of the Iranian government to murder the Saudi Ambassador to the U.S. in Washington, D.C.

Arbabsiar, a 56-year-old naturalized U.S. citizen, and Shakuri, allegedly a member of Iran's Quds Force -- the special operations unit of the Iranian Islamic Revolutionary Guard Corps (IRGC) -- are said to have plotted to murder the ambassador using explosives.

Arbabsiar was arrested on September 29 at JFK airport in New York. Shakuri is based in, and by all account remains, in Iran.

"Though it reads like the pages of a Hollywood script, the impact would have been real," said FBI Director Robert Mueller during a press conference at the Justice Department. "We send a clear message that any attempts on American soil will not be tolerated."

"It is only working side by side that we are able to stop plots like this before they can take hold," Mueller said.

It shows once again that the key to stopping terrorism continues to be and always has been good police work and solid investigation skills but I'm certainly not very happy with the implications that the Justice Department is laying this directly at the feet of the Iranian military, and would be working to "hold Iran accountable" for the plot.

Things could get ugly here, and very quickly.  We'll see what the evidence says, but I foresee this getting bad sooner rather than later.


Related Posts with Thumbnails