Friday, November 25, 2011

Last Call

Hope you had a good Black Friday.  This year shopping was especially rough, apparently.

Authorities are searching for a woman accused of pepper-spraying other shoppers Thursday night at the Wal-Mart in Porter Ranch so that she could grab more discounted merchandise.

Twenty customers, including children, were hurt in the 10:10 p.m. incident, officials said. Shoppers complained of minor skin and eye irritation and sore throats.

"This was customer-versus-customer 'shopping rage,'" said Los Angeles Police Lt. Abel Parga.

The woman used the spray in more than one area of the Wal-Mart "to gain preferred access to a variety of locations in the store," said Los Angeles Fire Capt. James Carson.

"She was competitive shopping," he said.

Oh beautiful for spacious aisles, for amber waves of spray...

Only in America would a police spokesperson look at this case where pepper spray was used by a civilian, get nervous about the whole UC Davis thing, and decide to dodge the whole incident by calling it "competitive shopping".   Black Friday kinda sucks.

On the other hand, our old friend Don Surber says college economists who oppose rampant consumption on Black Friday should be taxed within an inch of their lives, (and while we're taxing private universities, let's charge sales tax on college tuition and end student loans!  That'll keep the poor people in their place!)

Mitt Romney Evil, Incorporated

One of Greg Sargent's readers puts forth an interesting hypothesis about Mitt Romney's most recent scurrilous campaign ad:  that Team Romney's obviously awful shenanigans are a signal to the GOP base that Romney's ready to run as nasty a campaign as necessary in order to win.

This interpretation is practically supported by what the Romney camp itself has said about the ad. Romney advisers have proudly boasted that their dishonesty “worked,” because it secured more media attention for the ad and baited the Obama team into an all-out response, creating the impression of a head-to-head media showdown between Romney and the President. It’s only a tiny leap from there to the conclusion that the Romney camp saw the dishonesty itself as a way to prove to GOP primary voters that Romney will do whatever it takes to beat Obama. And if this is the game, then the Romney camp’s unrepentance in the face of widespread media condemnation only helps, signaling that Romney is willing to employ whatever tactics are necessary to end the Obama presidency even if it means bravely taking a sustained beating from the Obama-worshipping liberal media along the way.

My view is that all the boasting from Romney’s advisers about their own strategic brilliance is just bluster. If they’re willing to run an ad this dishonest, why would anyone believe anything they say about it? It’s more likely that they lied, got caught, and came up with another set of falsehoods to explain the lie away. But who knows — maybe the above interpretation is true. Maybe the Romney team thinks a deliberate show of dishonesty will carry appeal for GOP primary voters who hate Obama so much that they want a candidate who will throw even the most basic standards of honesty and decency out the window to defeat him. If so, that says a lot about the Romney campaign’s regard for those voters, doesn’t it?

Actually, it says a lot more about the state of the Republican party machine more than anything else.  The GOP Plan for 2012 was always "drain all the oil out of the economic engine of the country and blame Obama".  It's not novel or even a bit weird, it's exactly what the base has been conditioned to expect.  Right now the defining characteristic of a Republican is blind, inchoate hatred, of President Obama, his wife, his daughters, his party, his fellow Democrats, the people who voted for them, and the people who support them.

Mitt is simply playing to the base.  He has no choice.  Assigning Team Romney values that may indicate they are going to feel shame or remorse and run a more positive campaign in the future is ridiculous.  The only thing that matters is President Obama has to lose, and the base doesn't care how or why.  Lies about the President and his policies have been the hallmark of the last three years.  Why would the 2012 campaign season be any different?

Mitt Romney is a Republican.  This is what Republicans are all about.

Thanksgiving Leftovers

Jimmy Kimmel wins the internet.

I can honestly say that my family's Thanksgiving gatherings didn't involve politics very much. Sports, oh hell yes. Politics? Not so much.

Did everyone enjoy the Macy's parade?  I know Pepper Spray Cop did.


Leftovers. Nom.

BPA Free Bottles? Yeah, About That...

It seems the BPA scare has caused several companies to label their products as BPA-free.  There has been some controversy over the compound and what role it truly plays in the cause of certain cancers, diabetes and heart conditions.

There's just one small problem.  It's not just plastic, it turns out canned food contains it as well.  The cans themselves are lined with the chemical.

People who consumed one serving of canned soup a day for five days had a more than 1,000 percent increase in urinary BPA over people who consumed fresh soup for five days, the study showed.

"We've known for a while that drinking beverages that have been stored in certain hard plastics can increase the amount of BPA in your body," study author Jenny Carwile, a doctoral student at Harvard School of Public Health, said in a written statement. "This study suggests that canned foods may be an even greater concern, especially given their wide use."

BPA is used in the linings of metal food and beverage cans as well as in certain plastic bottles and dental sealants.

Seventy-five volunteers were recruited for the study. Every day for five days, one group consumed 12 ounces of canned vegetarian soup and another consumed 12 ounces of fresh vegetarian soup. After a two-day "washout period," the groups switched soups and spent another five days slurping away.

The researchers found that urine samples collected from the canned soup group spiked 1,221 percent over BPA levels over samples collected from the fresh soup group.

The article concludes pointing out that there is no conclusive evidence of harmful effects from BPA. I'm just asking, why run the risk?  It's hard to know at this point if it's a helpful discovery or urban legend fodder, but I will keep up with this and post any updates.  At this point I'm thinking risking a thousand percent increase of anything isn't good for us, even if it's just a little bit dangerous.

Jack Daniels, I Love You

Rarely do I read something so good and kind that it makes me tear up. This did the trick nicely.

NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Tennessee whiskey maker Jack Daniel’s is donating more than $100,000 to pay for plane tickets and travel funds for soldiers at Fort Campbell, Ky., to spend the December holiday season with their families all over the country.

The distiller is also asking the public to make additional contributions that could help hundreds of cash-strapped soldiers who otherwise would be stuck at the post on the Tennessee-Kentucky state line. Donations can be made to the Operation Ride Home campaign online at

Shirley West, executive director of the Armed Services YMCA at Fort Campbell, said she will be working with unit leaders to identify the neediest soldiers who will be eligible for plane ticket vouchers up to $300 for each family member and debit cards up to $100 for each family member for gas and lodging.

Jack Daniel’s is starting the fund with a donation of $101,000 in honor of the Fort Campbell-based 101st Airborne Division, which has recently returned from yearlong deployment to Afghanistan. The soldiers stationed there come from all over the country, but travel expenses can be a huge burden on single soldiers or young families with children.

Now that's putting money to good use and directly affecting people for the better.

Score Another One For The Blockheads

The GOP has refused to allow President Obama's Medicare program head to even get a vote in the Senate, filibustering every attempt, and that means a year after his recess appointment, Donald Berwick is out.  Brian Beutler:

In reality Berwick is a casualty of the ongoing partisan fight over social insurance. Nominally this is the fight over “deficits” and “debt”, but much more accurately it’s a dispute about the nature of key safety net programs like Medicare, Medicaid, and, soon, the new health care law. The irony is that Berwick is best known, and widely respected, for his academic work on making the U.S. health care system more efficient — i.e. how to save people, businesses, and the government money, and simultaneously improve patient care. If the continuing fight over deficits was really about deficits, Berwick would have broad, bipartisan support to continue his work. Instead his curtailed tenure serves as an illustration of the fact that the fight about budget deficits doesn’t really have anything to do with deficits at all.

More importantly, Berwick actually proving that the basic tenets of the new health care law could actually work would be a disaster for the GOP.  If it's allowed to work, Republicans are toast. They know this, so "Obamacare" has to fail before 2014 and the system kicks into full throttle.  The opposition to it is driving their base and they want to manufacture as much outrage as possible between now and next November.

It was a "national crisis" when Berwick was appointed in the first place, remember?

For The Love Of God, People

The latest GOP fauxtrage this holiday week?  President Obama didn't mention God in his Thanksgiving address to the nation, making him the worst human being ever or something.  Gawker's Lauri Apple gives the "non-troversy" the treatment it deserves:

This year Obama decided to do something a little different and celebrate "the community" and the troops instead of God. As the LA Times reports, this literally forced the wingnuts to spend their holidays writing, blog-commenting, and tweeting about how Obama is a militant atheist, a turkey, and a "proponent of separatist multiculturalism and its inherent disruption of progress toward a unified America and the common good." None of the usual references to his ties to Islam from what we've seen, however; maybe it occurred to people that he can't be a Muslim and an atheist at the same time. (He'll probably be a Muslim again by Christmas.)

Gotta love Obama Derangement Syndrome and our atheist militant Kenyan Muslim Socialist anti-colonial President.  Apparently, saying "We hate him because he's black" is just too short and to the point, especially when considering you're calling him an atheist Muslim.  Worst religious fundamentalist ever.


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