Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Last Call

Looks like The Odious Patrick McHenry is getting a challenger he should worry about for NC-10 next year:  Asheville Mayor Terry Bellamy.

“Washington is broken, and people are tired of watching the bickering and political posturing while businesses and families are struggling,” said Terry Bellamy. “As mayor, I’m expected to get results and we should expect no less from our Representatives. It’s time to send some people to Congress who can get the job done, and put North Carolina and the country back to work.”

A lifelong resident of Asheville, Bellamy is married to Lamont Bellamy and the mother of two children, Seth and Imani and her nephew, Keithan. She is the first African-­‐American and the youngest person elected mayor of the city. In 2009, she handily won re-­election to a second four-­‐year term.

Bellamy said jobs would continue to be her top priority. Most of the counties in the district have double-­‐digit unemployment and have been hard hit by trade policies that sent manufacturing jobs overseas.

“We need to refocus our priorities and stop outsourcing our jobs,” said Bellamy. “Instead of looking at companies’ bottom lines, we need to look at families’ bottom lines. We need to make serious investments in education that give our people the skills to create a workforce that attracts new industries and keeps those that are already here.”

I'm going to say this: an African-American woman Democratic challenger in NC-10 means this is going to be about as nasty a race as it can possibly get from McHenry.  It's going to be nothing short of brutal, but Terry Bellamy knows this.  More power to her.

I'd love to see my hometown Teabagger go down in flames.  Here's hoping.

Fire Walker Chronicles

The effort to oust Wisconsin GOP Gov. Scott Walker is officially underway.
Taking the next step in a battle that's been in the works since February, organizers planned a midnight kickoff to efforts to gather more than a half million recall petitions against GOP Gov. Scott Walker and Lt. Gov. Rebecca Kleefisch.
"There are some midnight collection events around the state. People are ready to go and want to start as soon as possible. There's a lot of excitement about it," said Meagan Mahaffey, executive director of United Wisconsin.
United Wisconsin, which is helping lead the recall efforts against Walker, planned a midnight electronic filing and a paper filing later Tuesday morning with state elections officials, Mahaffey said. Separate recall efforts against GOP senators also will be launched Tuesday. Meanwhile, Walker hit back with an ad campaign starting with Monday night's Green Bay Packers game.
The recall attempt against Walker formally begins a fight that has been looming since the governor introduced a bill in February to repeal most collective bargaining for most public employees. If successful, it would be only the third recall election for a governor to be held in the nation's history.
The group is hoping to get 600k signatures for Walker's recall, and they need them by January 14th, 60 days away.  If you've got friends up in Cheeseland, now's the time to point them towards the recall effort.  It's going to be a long haul, but as Ohio's Issue 2 proved a week ago, it can be done.

Time to send this Koch-head packing.

National Basket Case Association

The NBA's labor deal collapsed into a singularity of blame and recrimination yesterday, and America really has much larger problems to worry about right now as the entire season may be at risk.  Maybe I'm cold and petty, but this seems to me like a totally pointless exercise in futility.

The NBA Players Association on Monday rejected the owners’ latest offer and have launched the process to disband their union, throwing the entire 2011-2012 pro basketball season into jeopardy.

Players had the option to accept the offer, which proposed a shortened 72-game schedule beginning December 15 to end a months-long lockout, or take it to a vote and turn it down altogether.

“This is the best decision for the players,” union president Derek Fisher said Monday.

“A lot of individual players have a lot of things personally at stake in terms of their careers.

“And right now they feel it’s important … that we not only try to get a deal done for today but for the body of NBA players that will come into this league over the next decade and beyond.”

NBA commissioner David Stern had previously warned if the current offer is rejected, the owners would come back with an even harsher one.

“It looks like the 2011-12 season is really in jeopardy,” Stern told ESPN. “It’s just a big charade. To do it now, the union is ratcheting up I guess to see if they can scare the NBA owners or something. That’s not happening.”

But in order for the NBA to have a 72-game season, Stern admitted the two sides would likely have to come to terms on a new collective bargaining agreement within the next week.

The players gave up several billion dollars in salary.  The owners wanted the players to give up even more, so boom goes the labor dispute.  I find myself unconcerned, maybe it's because there's no NBA team in Cincy, and after the Hornets left Charlotte where I grew up and were replaced with the Bobcats (which to my knowledge have never won a playoff game) I turned to college b-ball instead.

I hope this does get resolved as there's a lot of folks who depend on the NBA for tourism dollars in league cities like Cleveland and Indianapolis.  Certainly they don't need to be made to suffer as the millionaire players fight the billionaire owners.

We'll see.

Lesson Learned: Kat Von D Gets A Taste

Kat Von D was famously the rebound girl for Jesse James after his messy, infidelity-plagued 2010 divorce from Sandra Bullock. The L.A. Ink star and tattoo artist, 29, and the motorcycle mogul, 43, called it quits for good in September after a nixed engagement and a brief reconciliation.

Von D admits in her post that she thought James was vilified and unfairly depicted in the media.

"There was a time when I was confident and excited at proving the world wrong, because I believed so deeply in people's ability to change for the better," she writes.

"Although this was not a primary purpose in the relationship, I did feel like it would be a positive thing for those who judged Jesse solely based on what they read in tabloids, to see that change is always possible -- even in the people who seem hopeless," she admits.

And she knows what all her fans and detractors are thinking. "I deserve a big fat 'I told you so,' from everyone, and wish I didn't have to say, 'You all were more right than you'll ever know' but you were," she concedes. "Not to worry, I've gladly paid the consequences for every mistake I've ever made, but learned so much from each of them."

Though generalities such as "once a cheater, always a cheater" aren't fair (I know some reformed players) it is fair to be wary of someone with that history.  I thought my mother didn't get it when she taught me those lessons, it turns out I was a little slow getting a handle on people.  People can change.  But they have to want to change, first.  And when it turns out to be harder than they imagined, they have to want to change more than they want to let it go and return to their old habits.  This guy is a jerk and a serial cheater.  He'll get what is coming to him, but how many women will he dredge through misery first? 

The reaction to his cheating on KVD isn't nearly as dramatic as when he cheated on Sandra Bullock.  It's clearly apples and oranges, Bullock was a trusting spouse who took a chance, Kat Von D was an idiot who tried to show the world she was better than that.  He failed, and so did she.

What a bunch of jackasses.

Used Car For Sale, Half Million In Coke Thrown In For Free

The used Chrysler minivan came fully loaded, with power steering, foldaway seats, tinted windows -- and half a million dollars' worth of cocaine.

San Jose psychologist Charles Preston had no clue there was a cellophane-wrapped stash of "snow" hidden inside the frame when he bought the pristine-condition, 2008 van last year from Thrifty Car Sales in Santa Clara. True, the windows wouldn't roll down all the way. But he had no reason to suspect it was because the door panels were crammed with kilos of coke.

He found out 15 months later when he went to a mechanic to get his brakes checked, and immediately turned the contraband over to police. Now, he's terrified a drug cartel still may be gunning for it.

"They told me, 'You're so lucky, you'd be in jail for the rest of your life if you got searched in a traffic stop and they found this.' "

But they also told him something chilling: Take the van back in to the repair shop to check for tracking devices because somebody is probably looking for it. Then get rid of it.

Despite the No Country For Old Men feel this story has to it, it really is a miracle that he wasn't stopped and put in prison for life. The fact that the van is used to aid a charity adds a bit of irony to it. But thinking that somewhere, a really pissed off coke lord is looking for his stash... that is the stuff of nightmares.

Thank goodness it worked out well for this man. Now if you don't mind, my seat doesn't slide all the way back, I have to go check something out.

The Demo-kvetch Party

Wouldn't be a news cycle without a "Congressional Dems are worried about X for 2012" story, concern X in this case being the Supreme Court's promised legal review of the PPACA.

Democrats on Capitol Hill are worried that the Supreme Court will rule against President Obama’s healthcare reform law.

Over the last couple weeks, congressional Democrats have told The Hill that the law faces danger in the hands of the Supreme Court, which The New York Times editorial page recently labeled the most conservative high court since the 1950s.

While the lawmakers are not second-guessing the administration’s legal strategy, some are clearly bracing for defeat.

“Of course I’m concerned,” said Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio). The justices “decide for insurance companies, they decide for oil companies, they decide for the wealthy too often.”

The pessimism is fueled in part by the John Roberts court’s decision in the 2010 Citizens United case on corporate spending in elections, which Brown has called the “worst” in his memory.

I expect a little better from Ohio's Sen. Sherrod Brown, setting the table for blaming SCOTUS should the law be struck down.  I don't think it will be.  President Obama asked for this, because the question needed to be settled now.  It's a good law, and it's constitutional.  Proving that can only bolster the case for his re-election.

There is an argument about what a SCOTUS ruling would mean to the election, Steve M. covers this in more detail.  I happen to think that a ruling in favor of the President wouldn't hurt him, as the people who are going to vote against him because of "death panels in my breakfast cereal" were going to do so anyhow.

There is the notion however that more than one justice should recuse themselves from the case, the left argues Scalia and Thomas have a conflict because of openly dealing with the litigants, the right demands Kagan recuse herself because of her role as Solicitor General before joining the court.

I still think the law will pass muster, personally.

Cain Unable, Part 9

We come not to praise Godfather Pizza Caesar, but to bury his campaign under its own cheese, unremarked, unlamented, in a shallow grave in Milwaukee.

Republican presidential candidate Herman Cain, in the midst of a Midwestern campaign swing, stumbled badly Monday when attempting to answer a question about whether he agreed or disagreed with President Barack Obama's approach to handling the Libyan crisis.

Meeting with Journal Sentinel reporters and editors before fundraising appearances in Milwaukee and Green Bay, Cain was discussing foreign policy in general when he was asked specifically about Obama's handling of Libya.

Cain paused for some time, then wanted to clarify that Obama had supported the uprising. Clearly struggling to articulate a response, Cain paused again, saying, "Got all of this stuff twirling around in my head."

Finally, Cain said: "I would have done a better job of determining who the opposition is. And I'm sure that our intelligence people had some of that information. Based upon who made up that opposition . . . might have caused me to make some different decisions about how we participated. Secondly, no I did not agree with (Moammar) Gadhafi killing his citizens. Absolutely not. . . . I would have supported many of the things that they did to help stop that."

The MJS's dryly clinical post-mortem notes on the death of Cain's campaign really don't do justice to the amount of fail accumulated by Cain here.  How truly bad was Cain's disastrous response to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel's editorial board?  Judge for yourself.

There's no way out of this one, folks. If the sexual assault allegations weren't enough to finish him for the GOP chuckleheads in denial, this "performance art" in the theater of the absurd here is finito for the Pizza Man.

This pizza is burnt, if not charred.  Time to throw it out and pick the next flavor of the month, huh guys?


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