Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Last Call

Looks like Gov. John Kasich's union-busting bill is about to go down in flames with just two weeks to go until the election.

The campaign to save Senate Bill 5 is taking on water, with a new poll showing voters favor a repeal of the collective bargaining crackdown on Ohio’s public workers by a 57-to-32 percent margin.

The findings in the Quinnipiac University poll also show Gov. John Kasich’s popularity is in the same neighborhood as the S.B. 5 measure he has been campaigning to save. The survey of 1,668 registered voters found them disapproving of the governor’s job performance by 52-36 percent, up from a 49-40 percent negative rating in late September.

Oops.  With the measure at -25% and falling (along with Kasich's approval ratings) it's hard to imagine the bill passing at this point.  Such a massive rebuke to Kasich would basically be the end of his relevance as Governor.

Oh, but look who picked today to jump on the pro-SB5 bandwagon?

Texas Gov. Rick Perry’s campaign Communications Director Ray Sullivan sends along the following statement on former Mass Gov. Mitt Romney’s failure to endorse conservative efforts to keep SB 5, Ohio’s new anti-union law.

“Mitt Romney’s finger-in-the-wind politics continued today when he refused to support right-to-work reforms signed by Ohio Governor John Kasich – reforms Romney supported in June. Americans are tired of politicians who change their beliefs to match public opinion polls. Mitt Romney has a long record of doing this on issues like government-mandated health care and the Obama stimulus. Mitt Romney needs to realize that when you try to stand on both sides of an issue, you stand for nothing.”

Hey Rick?  The measure you support is about to get trashed by the people of Ohio.  What does that say about Perry's judgement, to back a measure so universally reviled by "WE THE PEOPLE"? You might want to worry more about Texas than the Buckeye State, dig?

In fact, national Republicans are piling on Romney for not supporting a ballot measure that is most likely going to lose by 20 points or more.

But that's today's Republican Party for you.  In touch with the heartland!

Beating Three Nines With A Hand Full Of Jokers

Not to be outdone by Herman Cain's awful 9-9-9 plan, Rick Perry shuffles the deck and draws an even more regressive mess of a tax scheme to transfer wealth to the top.  K-Drum takes a look at Perry's cards.

The plan starts with giving Americans a choice between a new, flat tax rate of 20% or their current income tax rate. The new flat tax preserves mortgage interest, charitable and state and local tax exemptions for families earning less than $500,000 annually, and it increases the standard deduction to $12,500 for individuals and dependents....My plan also abolishes the death tax once and for all, providing needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses....To help older Americans, we will eliminate the tax on Social Security benefits....We will eliminate the tax on qualified dividends and long-term capital gains to free up the billions of dollars Americans are sitting on to avoid taxes on the gain.

It's a "flat tax" that keeps many of the same deductions that the flat tax is supposed to get rid of.  Perry can't even get that part right, it seems.  The choice of the old tax code or the new one is of course a terrible idea, assuring massive tax breaks for the rich and nothing for the poor.  It's a propaganda tool.

What can you even say about this? It sounds less like a tax plan than a big ol' stew pot of right-wing applause lines, all the way up to the inane insistence that eliminating the estate tax has nothing to do with rich people and is only designed to provide "needed certainty to American family farms and small businesses." Should we laugh or cry? Perry has actually managed to combine two separate conservative memes (the estate tax is all about family farms, uncertainty is hobbling the economy) into one single sentence that makes even less sense than either of them separately. It's hard not to be impressed.

Although the choice part will assure that if "you dumb broke liberals want to raise taxes dur hurr" why we can take Perry's Hobson's choice and pay more!  It gets Perry back in the game for a few more weeks heading into the end of the year and of course assures Romney will have his own awful "flat tax plan" soon, which is the real point of the measure.

Either way, the 1% wins by stacking the deck.

StupidiNews! A Swing And A Miss Edition

So we can all agree to go home and say a quick thanks that we aren't this guy:

A Vallejo man was found in a child's swing Saturday morning after reportedly being stuck for about nine hours, police said.

At about 6 a.m., a groundskeeper of Blue Rock Springs Park heard a man screaming when he arrived at work. He then called the police to investigate.

Upon arrival, police found a 21-year-old man stuck in a child's swing, which has two leg holes.

The man told police that he had been stuck in the swing since 9 p.m. Friday after he allegedly made a $100 bet with his friends. He proceeded to lube himself with laundry detergent to get into the swing, police said.

The friends then reportedly left him swinging through the night. 
I don't know which is worse, being found or having to admit how much effort went into this craptastic tale of stupidity.  Stupid or not, I bet it hurt like hell and I feel a little sorry for the guy.  I at least hope his friends paid up.

And for our "miss" portion of the news:

A liquor store in Sheboygan, Wisconsin got a little too tipsy recently. A 31-year-old shelving unit crashed to the ground resulting in the loss of a staggering 6,810 bottles of wine.

"I heard a little shift and all of the sudden I looked up and just saw bottles start coming, and so I turned around and booked it as fast as I could," salesman Nick Haen told the Sheboygan Press. The lost bottles varied in price from $3.99 to $149.99.

First, Sheboygan only makes the news every 20 years or so, thus making this automatically noteworthy. Second, the thousands of bottles of wine will surely be missed. Though the employees do not seem to be suffering from a case of sour grapes, they remain in good spirits.

In Which Bon Respectfully Disagrees With 94-Year-Old Woman

VERO BEACH, Fla. - Don't let Rose Swiszowski's 4-foot, 7-inch stature fool you -- she is one brave lady.

The 94-year-old Vero Beach resident is being credited for putting out a fire in St. Francis Manor, a retirement community in Vero Beach located in the 1700 block of 20th Avenue.

The fire could have caused extensive damage to its recreation center.

She was walking to her apartment when she noticed flames in front of the community building on Sunday night.

"I came around the corner and I saw what looked like a bonfire," said Swiszowski.
Rose states that she is not a hero.  I say, hell yes she is.  At her age, and considering the age and condition of the people likely to be found in a retirement community she is a hero over and again.  In contrast to the little girl who died because nobody would help, this goes a long way towards making me feel better about the world.

Kudos, Rose.

Oops! Stupid Cops Edition

Atlanta (CNN) -- When Teresa Culpepper called Atlanta police to report her car stolen, the last thing she expected was to land behind bars for 53 days in a case of mistaken identity.

Mistaken for a woman of the same first name who was wanted on a battery charge, Culpepper is now trying to return her life to normal after the ordeal cost her home and her car. Her attorney said none of it would have happened if police had followed basic procedures.
Their reason for arresting her?  Her name was Teresa, and a call had just gone out about a different Teresa (different last name, birth date and other basic information).  This woman spent nearly two months in jail and a single phone call could have cleared everything up and set her free.  I hope she wins and takes their asses to the bank.  Overnight would have been bad enough.  A week would have been freakish.  Fifty-three days is inexcusable.  Losing her home and car, and surely her job to boot would set a life back for many months.

Release The Hounds

Hacker group Anonymous has announced its latest corporate web target:  the FOX News website.  But I'm not convinced they've thought this through politically.

In a video statement carried recently by several official channels maintained by members of the hacker activist group “Anonymous,” a digitally generated voice explains that the online collective has decided to take down the Fox News website on Nov. 5th of this year.

The date, Nov. 5, is significant for its dramatic placement in the film and comic book “V for Vendetta,” about a freedom-loving terrorist who destroys an authoritarian government that’s come to power in the U.K. “Remember, remember the 5th of November,” is his saying, hearkening back to the “Gunpowder plot” of 1604, in which the terrorist Guy Fawkes was captured and executed for his attempt to blow up Parliament.

The mask used by the Guy Fawkes character in “V for Vendetta” has also become a ubiquitous symbol for “Anonymous.”

To mark this 5th of November, the latest “Anonymous” video points to the network’s “continued propaganda against the occupations” as reason for vowing to “destroy the Fox News website.”

“Since they will not stop ridiculing the occupiers, we will simply shut them down,” the digitized voice explains, adding that an Anonymous-driven “propaganda campaign” against Fox News would follow.

“Fox News, your time has come,” it concludes. “Operation Fox Hunt. November 5th. May the hunt begin.”

I'm not sure how good of an idea this is considering A) how good FOX is at playing the victim card and B) given the fact they have a number of cable networks at their disposal.  They're going to enjoy this as much as Anonymous, I should imagine.  Anything substantial of course will instantly get them inducted into membership of "Obama's army of digital thugs" with cries that Eric Holder should be fired for not stopping the group before.

Hell, I wouldn't be surprised if they took down their own website and blamed the President.  I certainly don't mind seeing FOX get smacked around, but I completely see Murdoch's network using this as a distraction from their own major problems.

We'll see if anything happens.  Either way, I suspect FOX is eagerly looking forward to the date.

Self-Service With A Smile

Pat Buchanan is still a colossal racist asshole, but Joan Walsh's review of Buchanan's new book is almost as bad as she spends nearly every word lashing together a raft to float on the sea of Uncle Pat's haterade just to show how morally superior she is when it comes to the really, terribly high bar of calling him out on his rampant racism.  It's not like that's difficult to do, you merely have to possess a working soul and some basic self-awareness, but Walsh strays dangerously close to using Buchanan's odious tract to play the "earth may be flat, views differ" game, almost as if she has a need to do so....and then does a terrible job of it.  This is evident in the last third of the piece, especially these two paragraphs.  First:

The end of the book contains Buchanan’s template for success in 2012, which consists of restricting trade, halting immigration, slashing federal spending and — one point many progressives will agree with – “dismantling the empire,” and dramatically cutting military spending. (There’s a reason why when I first started out doing MSNBC’s “Scarborough Country,” I frequently agreed with Buchanan, as long as we discussed the Iraq war.)

Now, let's understand the context here:  Walsh has just spent about 2000 words up until this point saying that at best Buchanan is Gollum, a creature driven by his most base desires that should be pitied and viewed as an instructional relic, a walking warning label who serves best as a cautionary tale...and then on arguably the most important single American policy decision in the last ten years, she says she "frequently agreed" with Buchanan.  I'm a little confused by that, it certainly seems Walsh more than pities the man if she can see eye to eye on him on Iraq.  She's saying he has his good points too, after spending so much time portraying him as without redemption.

Then a couple paragraphs down comes this:

But it’s also as if he’s decided to lose the larger war. I can’t imagine giving up on my country, my party and even my religion, just because the people who had come to share it didn’t quite look like me. I take this book seriously because I owe a certain debt to Pat Buchanan. Doing television with this infamous Irish Catholic conservative, I began to reflect seriously for the first time on the vision of America I grew up with. It was handed to me by my parents, working-class Irish Catholics who believed in e pluribus unum – that those words made their inclusion possible, and they would stretch forward to make sure the civil rights movement accomplished its goals, too.

The bolded sentences need to be considered individually.  First, she can't imagine "giving up" on her country, party and religion, which is a reasonable statement in and of itself but missing one phrase that most of us would have included:  "my president".  It's a curious omission given Walsh's recent history...or perhaps it's completely explained by that history.  She notes that Buchanan had given up on a number of Republican politicians, but she leaves out her "support" of President Obama and he's only mentioned by name in the paragraph directly above the this one, in reference to Buchanan's plan to defeat him.

Secondly, the notion that Walsh owes Buchanan a debt is just terribly creepy.  If Buchanan is as awful as Walsh says he is in the preceding piece, then what kind of history must they have had together that she feels she still owes the guy, as hate-filled and bigoted as he is?  You don't go out of your way to admit you owe someone like Buchanan a debt if you find him morally bankrupt.  It's not like Buchanan has been accidentally trapped by a bad hand in life or anything, his choices were repugnant, his reasoning flawed, and his rationale outright racist at times.  He's still employed at MSNBC and still writes books, so it's not like he's destitute.

She rightfully tears the guy a new asshole and then at the end says "Well you know, not only is he not terrible, but I owe him."  It's like Walsh is trying to have the benefit of attacking Buchanan while still showing she's even-handed and centrist by saying he's not that bad of a person.  I've got news for her:

He's that bad of a person.  Christ.  I knew I wasn't fond of Walsh but this piece is awful.


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