Tuesday, November 1, 2011

Last Call

Rick Perry loves maple syrup, folks.

With all the insanity over Herman Cain's high-speed train wreck into a 137-car pileup, I think this is the real political story of the week.

Cain may walk away from the events this week. But Perry's "college open mic night at the Improv routine" here? Nope. Done. And the only reason we're not all laughing at this idiot is that we're too busy laughing at Herman Cain right now.

What I walk away from after seeing all this is just how apt the comparisons are between Perry and Dubya. There's no doubt that the exact same sort of Animal House frat-boy "Now watch this drive!" center-of-attention nonsense is the true motivation of Rick Perry as it was of Bush Jr. and all.

Perry looks like Will Farrell channeling Dubya if he was running today. Period.

Identifying The Problem WIth Voter ID Laws

House Dems are finally starting to make a stink about state voter ID laws and disenfranchisement and want an investigation into them.  House Republicans are so far completely ignoring them.  Surprise, right?

Two top House Judiciary Committee Democrats want to know, and on Monday they asked Committee Chairman Lamar Smith, R-Texas, to hold hearings on those laws, which have been adopted or are pending in 37 states.

The chairman is reviewing the request, and he had no immediate comment.

"As voting rights experts have noted, the recent stream of laws passed at the state level are a reversal of policies, both federal and state, that were intended to combat voter disenfranchisement and boost voter participation," said Reps. John Conyers, D-Mich., and Jerrold Nadler, D-N.Y.

Conyers is the committee's top Democrat. Nadler is the top Democrat on its Constitution subcommittee.

They're concerned about new laws in 13 states that they say will curb access to the ballot box.

The changes require voters to present government-approved identification cards, curb voter registration drives by third-party groups, curtail early voting, end same-day registration and overturn rules that give convicted felons who've served their time the right to vote.

Twenty-four states are considering similar measures, according to New York University's Brennan Center for Justice, which issued a report on the topic in October.

Once again, the "widespread voter fraud" that these laws are supposed to prevent has never materialized, meaning that the real reason that these laws exist are to make it more difficult for Americans to vote and to discourage the poor, the elderly, and students from doing so.

Let's understand here that the laws Republicans are enacting are there to reduce overall turnout and to raise barriers making it more difficult to exercise your right to vote, not less.  Republicans know the fewer people vote, the better they do in elections, period.  It's painfully obvious as to what they are doing, and it's far past time House Dems demanded action.

Of course, the odds of the GOP lifting a finger to even look at these laws is nil.  It's a nice thought, however.

All He Wants For Christmas Is A Two-Horse Race

Bless his poor little heart-analogue, Ben Smith really, really wants the 1% to buy him a primary challenger for President Obama for the holidays so he has a story to cover that doesn't involve a political party convention that includes the very real possibility of being covered in thrown feces.

Progressive disgruntlement with elements of President Obama's governance, and with his principled fondness for compromise, has not at any point seemed on the verge of a serious primary challenge, and the most serious potential challengers -- Howard Dean and Russ Feingold -- have ruled it out.

But a New York reader sends over the stirrings of that disillusion in one of America's true liberal heartlands, Manhattan's Upper West side, where Obama and Biden won 84% of the vote in 2008. A longtime local Democratic activist, Bob Ginsberg, has sent around a mailing to about 1,800 New York Democratic leaders and activists, calling for a progressive challenge to President Obama.

Obama, Ginsberg writes, is destined for David Weprin-style defeat because of "his wimpiness; his unwillingness to fight for anything; and his addiction to compromising."

Some kids want a pony, some kids want a Red Ryder BB Gun, some kids want Santa to bring them a primary challenger for the incumbent President, because that always turns out awesome for the party doing that.

Here's a hint.  If you have been unable to identify a primary challenger before now and the primaries start in, oh, two months or so, then your grand plan probably isn't working too well.

Might I suggest a heavy investment in a robotics fabrication team and a skunkworks instead?

This Week's Supersensitive Jackass Is Brought To You By Great Falls

Smith, who lives on the 1600 block of 1st Avenue North, said the problem began when he noticed a large decal on the back window of a car in the parking lot of Quality Life Concepts. The decal is a white silhouette of a naked woman.

"To me, this has crossed the line," he said.

Offensive or not, Shanna Weaver, who owns the car and decal in question, said it's her right to display the picture.

"It's my freedom of speech, which he can't take away," Weaver said. "It's no different than the mud flaps that you see on trucks."

So, a few things here. Just because you want to call it pornography doesn't make it so. The fact is, you can't tell the woman is naked. It's a solid block shape, she could be wearing tight fitting clothes for all we know. There is no display of genitals, no sexual activity being depicted. It's a sexy silhouette and that's all. And if it bothers him so much he can look away.  Weaver is correct, I've seen this exact image on mud flaps all across the country.

The issue does bring a problem to light with how laws are written. 

Great Falls and the state of Montana both have laws that make it a misdemeanor crime to knowingly distribute or display "obscene material" to minors. According to Great Falls city code, "obscene" is defined as any material that depicts nudity or sexual conduct "in a manner that is patently offensive to prevailing standards in the adult community with respect to what is suitable for minors."
Those terms aren't specific, and they should be. It would allow the law to be enforced in a way that isn't subjective, and would allow for a clear line to be drawn.  Because one super conservative jackass feels he can tell others what they can display on their vehicles, the cops have had to come point out that her sticker is not a violation of decency laws.

Frankly, if this is enough that he cannot control his dirty thoughts, he needs to find Jesus right away.  By this man's standards, Georgia O'Keeffe and her "suggestive" flowers would have been over the line.

Real obscenity where minors can find it?  Bad.  Controlling jerks who use their personal beliefs to stomp over others?  Just as bad.  Too bad this guy can't tell the difference.

What "Forever" Means To The Hopelessly Spoiled

I'm just going to say what everyone is thinking.  Kim Kardashian needs the ever living hell slapped out of her.  She spent ten million dollars of someone else's money to throw the wedding of her dreams, marched untold hundreds of people in circles to meet her escalating demands, files for divorce without giving her husband the courtesy of a heads up phone call, and then has the balls to say she sure did wish it would last forever, but sometimes things don't work out that way.

The length of her marriage?  72 days. 

I'm not a fan of Kris Humphries, nor of Kim Kardashian.  I feel terrible that this impudent little rodent has been selected as a "celebrity" that we have to see splashed everywhere.  Like we don't have enough shallow overpampered brats swarming the headlines, we now have to contend with the worst of them all treating marriage like a handshake.  She's had more commitment to her phone contract.

I won't give her any more space (unless she crosses the line of can't-ignore-it stupidity again) but l have to say my momma had it right... money doesn't buy class.

No Gay'n, No Pay'n

I wonder, does the UK's list of anti-gay countries include the United States?

Britain will consider withholding aid from countries that do not recognize gay rights, Prime Minister David Cameron said, afterCommonwealth leaders failed to adopt reforms on the issue.

“Britain is now one of the premier aid givers in the world. We want to see countries that receive our aid adhering to proper human rights, and that includes how people treat gay and lesbian people,” Cameron told the BBC.

He added: “British aid should have more strings attached, in terms of do you persecute people for their faith or their Christianity, or do you persecute people for their sexuality. We don’t think that’s acceptable.”

Someone should probably explain Cameron's position to the Republican party, preferably using small words.  Would it be that our own politicians would resolve to do something like this instead of, you know, exactly the opposite.

It's Peanut Butter Bubble Time!

Anyone who still thinks record-breaking drought patterns in the South don't matter because Al Gore is fat, red state immigration laws chasing off migrant farm workers is only a good thing, and rampant food commodity speculation by the financial sector is a way to boost the economy, and that a few giant food conglomerates controlling all the market for the stuff you eat is a super capitalistic idea, meet the confluence of all four of these lovely occurrences in your supermarket aisle as you're about to see the price of peanut butter go through the freakin' roof.

Kraft will raise prices for its Planters brand peanut butter by 40% starting Monday, while ConAgra  has instituted increases of more than 20% for its Peter Pan brand that went into effect this month. 

J.M. Smucker , which makes Jif, will introduce price hikes of around 30% starting Tuesday.

Consumers, meanwhile, are already seeing these increases reflected at grocery stores.

Maria Brous, a spokeswoman for the Publix chain, said the store had already made slight increases in retail prices and expects them to go higher "as the cost of goods continue[s] to rise".

Dick Roberts, a spokesman for Giant Eagle grocery stores, said that "like all retailers," the store is "being affected by industry factors on peanut butter pricing". Chris Brand, a spokesman for Giant food stores, said the "outlook does not look good until next year's crop is harvested and produced".

Yes folks, we've finally gotten to the point where the Invisible Hand just Rochambeau'd you for your frackin' peanut butter.  Is there anything that the conservative "greed is good", deregulation at all costs policies of the last decade or so can't destroy and doesn't result in the average American having to pay the check?

Peanut butter jelly with a baseball bat, indeed.


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