Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Last Call

Your political cartoon of the moment, from the Charlotte Observer's Kevin Siers:

Like I said before, "You want a job, right?" should be the Dems' slogan in 2012.

Clue: The GOP, In America, With The Candlestick

Tim Dickinson's piece in Rolling Stone on how the GOP became the party of the One Percent is required reading for an informed electorate.

Republicans talk about job creation, about preserving family farms and defending small businesses, and reforming Medicare and Social Security. But almost without exception, every proposal put forth by GOP lawmakers and presidential candidates is intended to preserve or expand tax privileges for the wealthiest Americans. And most of their plans, which are presented as common-sense measures that will aid all Americans, would actually result in higher taxes for middle-class taxpayers and the poor. With 14 million Americans out of work, and with one in seven families turning to food stamps simply to feed their children, Republicans have responded to the worst economic crisis since the Great Depression by slashing inheritance taxes, extending the Bush tax cuts for millionaires and billionaires, and endorsing a tax amnesty for big corporations that have hidden billions in profits in offshore tax havens. They also wrecked the nation's credit rating by rejecting a debt-ceiling deal that would have slashed future deficits by $4 trillion – simply because one-quarter of the money would have come from closing tax loopholes on the rich.

The intransigence over the debt ceiling enraged Republican stalwarts. George Voinovich, the former GOP senator from Ohio, likens his party's new guard to arsonists whose attitude is: "We're going to get what we want or the country can go to hell." Even an architect of the Bush tax cuts, economist Glenn Hubbard, tells Rolling Stone that there should have been a "revenue contribution" to the debt-ceiling deal, "structured to fall mainly on the well-to-do." Instead, the GOP strong-armed America into sacrificing $1 trillion in vital government services – including education, health care and defense – all to safeguard tax breaks for oil companies, yacht owners and hedge-fund managers. The party's leaders were triumphant: Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell even bragged that America's creditworthiness had been a "hostage that's worth ransoming."

It's the kind of thinking that only money can buy. "It's a vicious circle," says Stiglitz. "The rich are using their money to secure tax provisions to let them get richer still. Rather than investing in new technology or R&D, the rich get a better return by investing in Washington."

As one of your constituents there Mitch, may I say without reservation that you are destroying this country at the expense of the people who voted you into office.  You're going to find 2014 a tough re-election.  You won't be Senate majority leader, that's for damn sure.  Not if I can help it.

Do read the entire essay, and share it with your friends.  This has been the GOP playbook for three decades now, and it's worked beyond everyone's wildest dreams for the top, and worst nightmares for the rest of us.  It's the anatomy of a crime scene, and Dickinson's detective story based on the homocide of the American middle-class is gripping reading.

It's time for the folks holding the bloody knives to pay.  Yesterday proved that we can still do that.

Penn State Of Denial, Part 2

In the wake of the truly ugly incidents of child molestation involving former Penn State assistant football coach  Jerry Sandusky, looks like his one-time boss Joe Paterno will be retiring at the end of the season from Penn State.

Legendary Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno will retire at the end of the season, he said Wednesday in a statement. Paterno's move comes in the wake of a child sex abuse scandal involving a former assistant football coach.

“I am absolutely devastated by the developments in this case.  I grieve for the children and their families, and I pray for their comfort and relief,” he said.

“I have come to work every day for the last 61 years with one clear goal in mind: To serve the best interests of this university and the young men who have been entrusted to my care. I have the same goal today.

"That's why I have decided to announce my retirement effective at the end of this season. At this moment the Board of Trustees should not spend a single minute discussing my status. They have far more important matters to address. I want to make this as easy for them as I possibly can."

I personally don't think Paterno should be allowed to finish out the season, but that's not my call.  The university will be under a lot of pressure to see him go sooner as these allegations get worse.  I have no sympathy for his "legend" either if he turned a blind eye to this for years, nor do I have any sympathy for the school or the program.

Geov Parrish has more on this over at BooMan's place.

And the value of the downfall of Paterno is twofold. First, it underscores that a situation like that can happen anywhere, to anyone - even in a place as idyllic as Happy Valley and with the moral rectitude of Paterno's football program. Secondly, while Paterno has been legally exonerated of wrongdoing, there's also been a pretty clear public moral judgment that his actions were not adequate. That as the most influential man in his community, he should have followed up. He should have asked why Sandusky continued to be around his program - with more young children in tow, no less - for a full decade after the initial allegations against him. When nobody else contacted authorities, Paterno - among others - should have

Absolutely agree with this.  I mean Penn State's president, Graham Spanier, is expected to lose his job over this imminently.  Why not JoePa too?

This Week's WTH- Whaaaaaat?

A former rugby player claims that after he had an accident that broke his neck and resulted in a stroke, he woke up feeling very different, and from that point forward knew he was gay.  I saw this on HuffPo's site first, but they link to a Daily Mail article.

The "nature vs. nurture" debate over sexual orientation continues at full force, but now, one former rugby-playing Welsh jock claims to have actually "woken up gay" after a gym accident led him to suffer a stroke.

As the Daily Mail is reporting, 26-year-old Chris Birch was trying to impress his friends with a back flip while training, but broke his neck and suffered a stroke. When he came to after being rushed to the hospital, Birch, who hails from South Wales, said his personality had completely changed. "It sounds strange but when I came round I immediately felt different," said Birch.

Afterwards, he saw a handsome actor and had a physical reaction that he had previously had for women. Other parts of his personality changed as well, including that he had little in common with his friends. He altered his appearance and changed his job, and no longer has much interest in sports.

I always take the Daily Mail with a grain of salt, but this does lead to some interesting ideas. The article keeps it too simple, homosexuality is surely a blend of many things, just like any other component of our psyche. Anything so complex and shared by so many people is surely a blend of genetic tendencies, environment, and life experiences.  I am more interested in what part of his brain was affected and may shed light on what physical traits influence our personality most.  He didn't "wake up gay" so much as he woke up a completely different person.  If the medical details are correct, there could be a chance to learn something new.  Personality change among stroke survivors is not impossible, but because of his age and uniqueness to the injuries that brought around the stroke it may help us understand the process better.

Governor's Son Off The Hook For Pot Possession

The only problem is, they're full of crap.  The first article says a spokesperson said Willson Nixon hid marijuana after it was spotted by cops called to a loud party.  The new update, after saying facts did not support violating a city ordinance beyond a reasonable doubt, goes back in time and reminds us:

At the time, Columbia police said a young man later identified as Nixon tried to hide the marijuana.
At the time?  What changed?  They were pretty darn sure when the first story broke.  Did he try to hide it or not? If he did, he violated more than a city ordinance.  If he didn't, he was in the same apartment as a bunch of people smoking pot.  So uh, when cops are called to a party it isn't a violation of city ordinance to be in a residence with a bunch of pot on the table?

Being Jay Nixon's son didn't help at all.  Now stop asking your pesky questions and get back to it, Citizen.

Queen City Shuffle

Here in local election results, Cincinnati voters made some major changes to the City Council in the wake of city and Hamilton County employees taking major budget cuts over the last year.

Voters ousted four incumbent Republicans from Cincinnati City Council on Tuesday night, choosing instead seven Democrats, a majority of African-Americans, the first openly gay candidate and enough support to move forward with the streetcar project.

The outcome clearly was the result of the turnout generated by Issue 2, the measure to repeal the collective bargaining reforms of Senate Bill 5. The issue was expected to draw a lot of Democrats and union supporters to the polls.

Issue 2 lost in Hamilton County big, the Nos getting nearly 60% of the vote, and it was a bloodbath for Republicans on the ballot, but they're blaming Issue 2 for their crushing loss and rightfully so.

Ousted: Chris Bortz, Leslie Ghiz, Amy Murray and Wayne Lippert.

"Issue 2 seems to be dragging the Republican Party down," said Lippert. "This is transformational, but not in a positive way for the city."

Hamilton County Republican chairman Alex Triantafilou said the results left him "concerned for the future of the city."

"No question that Issue 2 played a significant role in this," he added.

The new council means Cincy's streetcar project can finally move forward unimpeded by Republicans and that the city can now take steps to fix the city budget without sacrificing police, firefighters, and teachers.  It's a start.  We'll see what Mayor Mark Mallory can do with the kind of support he's always wanted, like from Cincy's first openly gay council member, Chris Seelbach.

He worked for former Vice Mayor David Crowley and modeled his candidacy after the lessons Crowley taught him. He promises to carry on the goals of his mentor, who died early this year of cancer. Crowley taught him to look for "issues of justice in everything you do."
All he hears out of City Hall, he says, is what should be cut and not cut. He wants to turn the debate more toward what council can do to make Cincinnati more of a place sought out by young professionals and young families. He worked in 2004 to help defeat Article XII, which banned naming gay people as a protected class. He wants to make public transportation the top priority and move toward a fixed-rail system connecting all neighborhoods.
He's 31, vice president and chief financial officer of The Seidewitz Group, a marketing and consulting firm. He lives in Over-the-Rhine, is an endorsed Democrat, and is the city's first openly gay council candidate.

And that's just how big of a disaster Issue 2 was for Ohio Republicans last night.  Kasich is toast, folks.  He cannot be jettisoned fast enough in the Buckeye State.  The overreach was brutal, and a significant number of Ohio GOP voters jumped ship on this measure and mobilized Democrats.  The coattails on the Issue 2 No vote completely reworked the government of one of the more conservative cities in the state and made it overwhelmingly progressive, not to mention creating a majority African-American council to back Mayor Mallory.  Between this and Dems rolling to wins in Kentucky as mistermix mentioned, yeah, Tuesday was a pretty good day for our side 'round my neck of the woods.

Also, the latest PPP numbers in Ohio are looking really good for the President, but I'm waiting to hear how the Issue 2 vote was meaningless because TEH YOONYUN THUGZ created tens of thousands of fake cardboard standee voters after raiding every Office Depot and Staples in the tri-state over the weekend for art supplies.

Cain Unable, Part 8

And the first call for Herman Cain to quit the race coming from a sitting Republican is in: Alaska's Sen. Lisa Murkowski.

Republican Sen. Lisa Murkowski told CNN on Tuesday she is "concerned" that the most recent charge of sexual harassment against Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain "is not an isolated incident" and that he should quit the race if there is any truth to the claims.

"I'm learning about this at the same time as any of the rest of you. But I would suggest that if, in fact, there is substance to the claims - and now there are apparently four individuals that have been involved or who have come forward - if that's the case, I think that his opportunity as a nominee are gone," the senator said.

Nearly all of the Republican senators contacted by CNN sidestepped questions about the scandal that has rocked Cain's campaign, saying they want to learn first if there is real evidence to support the mostly anonymous charges.

However, Murkowski made clear she was moved by the public account of Sharon Bialek, a single mother from Chicago who held a news conference on Monday to say Cain wanted sex in return for helping her to find a job.

And so it begins.   Steve M. thinks Herman will be with us well into 2012.  I personally think Cain will get stomped in Iowa and New Hampshire and fold before St. Patrick's Day anyway, so it's a moot point. We'll see how far this goes, but given Cain's ego and the fact his only job is to sell books right now, he'll stick around for as long as he can.

Meanwhile, a second Cain accuser's identity has been revealed.

Thanks to a decision by The Daily — News Corp’s iPad-only newspaper — to out her this morning, a communications director at the Treasury Dept. has become the second woman to have her name put to accusations that Herman Cain is a serial sexual harasser.

Whether she likes it or not — and it seems clear that she doesn’t — Karen Kraushaar’s name will now be part of the story of Cain’s history of being accused of inappropriate behavior at work. Kraushaar, 55, confirmed to NPR Tuesday she was one of the women who complained about Cain’s actions at the National Restaurant Association in the 1990s and settled the claims with the NRA.

It's entirely possible this mess could reach critical mass, but given that the only people whose opinion on Cain actually counts right now are GOP primary voters in early primary states (and they love the guy) we'll see what happens.

Magic 8-ball says it's Newt's turn on top of the Clown Car anyway.


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