Monday, November 7, 2011

Last Call

This afternoon not only did a fourth woman come forward to accuse Herman Cain of sexual harassment, not only did she hold a public press conference with her lawyer Gloria Allred, but the accusations themselves really were nothing short of sexual assault.

Sharon Bialek alleged at a news conference today that Herman Cain reached under her skirt in 1997 as she sought help in finding a job. 
The Chicago-area mother, who is described as a Republican, urged the GOP presidential candidate to “come clean” and admit how he was “inappropriate” with her and other women.
Bialek’s story was immediately denied by the Cain campaign, which sent out a news release as the woman spoke publicly at a New York City news conference with her lawyer, noted defense attorney Gloria Allred, by her side. The stories of three other women have been reported by Politico and the Associated Press.

Oh, it gets worse.

Bialek described an incident in July 1997 where she and Cain were in a car and her offered to show her the trade group’s headquarters. 
“Instead of going into the offices, he suddenly reached over and … put his hand on my leg, under my skirt toward my genitals,” Bialek said.
“He also pushed my head toward his crotch,” she said.

Bialek replied that she was married had a boyfriend when Cain allegedly did this, his response was “You want a job, right?”

And if the unremittingly awful context of “You want a job, right?” doesn’t sum up the entire Republican Party over the last several years, then I don’t know what else could.  Cain’s stated policies are disgusting as it is, but this pretty much seals the deal.  Big gorram line between sexual harassment (which is never okay) and sexual assault, and Herman Cain just sailed over it.

Oh, and if that’s not enough to make you try to dent your monitor in with your fist, El Rushbo’s response to the presser will do it, if not Dick Morris's response.

Worst Kasich Scenario

The latest polls in Ohio before tomorrow's election shows GOP Gov. John Kasich's law to strip collective bargaining rights from public workers is about to go down in epic defeat.

Public Policy Polling (PPP) found that 59 percent of voters oppose SB 5, while just 36 percent plan to approve it during Tuesday’s election.

“What might be most remarkable about the 23 point margin in this poll is that it’s exactly identical to what we found the first time we polled on this issue all the way back in March,” PPP’s Tom Jensen noted. “Voters were furious then and that anger has continued all the way to November.”

Democrats were prepared to vote against the bill 86-10, while Republicans are more divided on the issue. Only 30 percent said they will vote against it.

If approved, SB 5 would strip most collective bargaining rights from public employees in Ohio. Police officers, firefighters, teachers, and other state employees could still negotiate for some benefits, but not wages. Public employees would also be prohibited from striking.

Gov. Kasich’s own approval numbers have tanked since he has signed the bill. He was elected by a 55-37 margin over former Democratic Gov. Ted Strickland, but now only 33 percent of voters approve of the job he’s doing, making him one of the most disliked governors in the nation

Things are looking pretty good, but if you're in Ohio, we still need you to vote tomorrow in order to make this a reality.  It's no sure thing in an off-year election.   Both Kasich and the No On Issue 2 folks are running tons of commercials in the state, but in the end I think having Kasich be the face of the pro-Issue 2 folks was a massive mistake, as people hate this bill as much as they hate him right now.  National Republicans were smart enough not to cut any commercials in Ohio for this mess.

I guess Zombie Reagan wasn't too telegenic.  Having said that, let's not take this for granted.  Get out there and vote tomorrow, Ohio.

Back To The Empty Well

Who says that conservatives don't recycle?

Apparently the Big Idea for defeating the President in 2012 is trying the exact same strategy that failed in 2007 and 2008 by pulling up Obama ads from 2004 for "new material" to show that President Obama doesn't have any new material in 2012.  You get all that?  Good.  Seems the alarm's being sent out to reactivate the Hillary Clinton Irregulars in the name of party purity and demoralization of the Dems, and...well, Obama 2004 = Obama 2012, or something.

No really, that's the entire plan.  Take it away, Daily Caller!

A rediscovered video from Barack Obama’s 2004 Senate race shows him road-testing his current rhetorical techniques, pitching far-left policies, and depicting business and the marketplace as negative forces.
“We all have a set of mutual obligations towards each other — we are our brother’s keeper, we are our sister’s keeper — and that those mutual obligations have to express themselves through government policies,” he said at the tail end of a soft-focus, five-minute autobiographical video entitled “Introducing Barack Obama” that he released during his 2004 campaign for U.S. Senate.
They’re “the kind of values that I’ve been trying to promote through my career,” he says.
Obama won the primary in a landslide. He easily won the 2004 election against a weak GOP opponent, after his main GOP rival quit the race when a Democratic-appointed judge unsealed damaging divorce testimony.
The 2004 video also showcases several recurring features of Obama’s speeches — his use of the passive tense to glide past controversial issues, his passive-aggressive portrayal of himself as the reasonable moderate among extremists, and his promises of benefits without costs.
Yeah, I like how it was "rediscovered" just like it was trapped in amber, mined out of a Costa Rican jungle and scientists had to painstakingly reconstruct the data bits using spare processing power from Google's server farm.  (They filled in the lost sequences with frog DNA.)

The larger problem of course is right now this is all the Right Wing Noise Machine has: dragging up US Senate candidate Obama's videos from back then to prove he's got nothing "fresh and new" now, in a weak effort to try to demoralize Dem voters with cries of OBAMA FAILED YOU, STAY HOME IN 2012!

Of course it also re-engages the PUMA forces, eager to refight the lost battles of 2007 and 2008 so they can do the right's work for them.  They're more than happy to take up that banner once again.  It worked so well for Republicans in 2010, after all.

The Michael Jackson Case

I have always loved Michael Jackson.  I loved his voice, but that was probably the least thing I loved about him as I grew up with him through his many phases as an artist.  I truly admired his dancing, the fact that his body just randomly fired into action, and his ability to carry any rhythm is something professional dancers spend lifetimes honing.  He was on target from five years old, and never so much as stumbled in his art.

But there was a dark side to the Jacksons, and over decades we have watched it unravel.  We know his father beat them all brutally, and that their mother's love was conditional on meeting her expectations.  All of the kids were damaged from this, but Michael did seem the most affected of them all.  He never had a childhood, and spent his adult life chasing a childhood that he imagined as perfect and free of responsibility.  We'll never know for sure about the accusations against him, but in my heart I felt he was innocent, lost and exploited.

He was also looking for an escape.  This isn't the behavior of  a man who discovered a drug late in life.  These are the actions of a man who has spent a lifetime hiding and looking for a way to escape his world.  He built a property around lost youth, and was obsessed with returning to childhood.  The drug was nothing but a way to not worry.  To get away.

Michael Jackson was a desperately unhappy man.  I don't think he knew this was a form of suicide, but I don't see how it could have ended any other way.  He wasn't determined to die, but to escape.  Through Conrad Murray he got the release he wanted, and in the end he escaped this world for good.  Murray is guilty, but in a way he is a victim too.  He served a patient who wanted the impossible.  He should have refused to go along, but the reality is someone would have provided, and this would have ended with the same results.  The only thing that might have changed was the doctor on the stand.

It also bothers me to see the family milk his death through merchandise and lawsuits.  They act pained, they are really panicked.  Their cash cow, the golden goose, the guy who brought it all together, is gone. I hate to sound jaded, but it's so clear to me that they loved him but they loved the money and fame a whole lot more.  It all seems to be fear regarding money and how they will continue, not missing their beloved Michael, the little boy with the million dollar smile.

This is a sad story for everyone involved, no matter how you tell it.  Conrad Murray is surely guilty, but Michael Jackson's tragic life was headed towards an inevitably tragic end.  I expect Murray to be found guilty, but his prison time won't put anything right.  The Jacksons say they want justice, but justice would have been a little boy getting the love and support he needed decades ago.  He wasn't just allowed to be a child, he was never allowed to be a human being.

Andy Williams Cancels Christmas Shows

I read a couple of days ago that Andy Williams was not going to be doing his regular Christmas shows (which is a big old deal in Branson).  I wondered then if he was sick or if something was going on, because Christmas is one of his biggest celebrations.  Yesterday, he broke the news that he has cancer.

When Andy Williams performed at his Moon River Theater in Missouri on Saturday, fans came out for what was supposed to be a special Christmas celebration. Instead, the "Can't Take My Eyes Off You" crooner made a health announcement that was less than festive.

"I do have cancer of the bladder,” Williams, 83, said, according to the Branson Tri-Lakes News. "But that is no longer a death sentence. People with cancer are getting through this thing. They’re kicking it, and they're winning more and more every year. And I'm going to be one of them."

I'm actually a fan of Williams and his show. I hope he's back up soon and making the world a better place, two hours at a time.

Orange Julius, Defender Of Our Most Precious Resource

America's really, really rich people?  Rest assured that you have exactly the tireless defender of your wealth that you deserve in Speaker John Boehner.

“You look at Occupy Wall Street, I think you said you understand their frustrations,” ABC’s Christian Amanpour told Boehner. “People such as, let’s say Eric Cantor, called them a mob not so long ago. Do you agree with that? Are they a mob?”

“Listen, I understand people’s frustrations,” Boehner replied. “I understand their concerns. And I, frankly, understand that we have differences in America. We are not going to engage in class warfare. The president is out there doing it every day.”

“It’s not so much that redistribution of income the president is talking about,” Amanpour noted. “It’s a shared and much fairer sense of sacrifice. And there doesn’t seem to be the sense among people here that the sacrifice is being shared. Because they point to taxes and tax cuts and who it benefits and who it doesn’t.”

“Come on,” Boehner protested. “The top 1 percent pay 38 percent of the income taxes in America. You know, how much more do you want them to pay? Let’s take all the money the rich have, it won’t even put a dent in our current budget deficit, much less our debt.”

Yeah, back when the rich were paying 39.6% instead of 35% top marginal tax rates, all we did was balance the budget and run a surplus for a few years. Won't make a dent!   Well, that is before Republicans decided to spend trillions on wars and then the housing bubble and then banks.  But they're the party of fiscal responsibility and all.

Under Boehner's logic, why tax the rich at all?

Oh wait.

Nader's Latest Nadir, Part 2

It seems Ralph Nader really wants to turn the Occupy Together movement into "Primary Obama!" but as usual, he's having trouble with that whole Step Two Question Mark thing and has taken to kicking around the house in his slippers.

It's not exactly clear what direction the Occupy movement will take, or what course Nader himself will take.

In September, he joined forces with Cornell West, a Princeton University professor and progressive agitator, in a public letter to distinguished Americans calling on them to step forward and challenge President Barack Obama in the Democratic primary.

However, he told McClatchy that the effort was now effectively dead, despite fielding what he said was a "pretty good slate" of candidates, because the New Hampshire primary filing deadline was moved up to Oct. 28.

Nader, who looks remarkably the same as he did when he first became a public figure and still lives on $30,000 a year, could possibly be cajoled into another run, say longtime associates. But for now he's doing what he's always done — support citizen agitation and hawk a book.

This month his 16th book, "Getting Steamed to Overcome Corporatism," will be released.

"He's looking for the strategic and tactical advantage in the current situation," said Steven Schier, professor of political science at Carleton College in Northfield, Minn. "This should be grist for his mill. You'd think he'd capture some of the energy of that movement for his causes."

You'd think that.  Of course, maybe it's not working because people still remember the 2000 election and what that meant to the country, or maybe they realize Nader's just trying to sell books, or hanging out with fellow grifter Cornell West, or that the idea of primarying an incumbent Democrat in the White House is a sure way to hand the country over to the GOP a year from now.

And it's not Nader's ideas I have a problem with.  I'd love to see a completely balanced public financing system for candidates, free of corporate influence and lobbying.  I also know that handing over the country to the GOP isn't the way to get that, either...especially in the name of self-aggrandizement.


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