Thursday, December 22, 2011

Last Call

Steve M. has a damn good point:  Romney knows his best shot at winning in 2012 is getting the Village on his side personally.  It was working beautifully for John McCain right up until Sarah Palin and "the fundamentals of our economy are strong" speech with the Dow dropping 350 points behind him, and if it wasn't for that awful mistake for Veep, we'd be talking about how President McCain would be cruising to re-election despite starting a war with Iran on top of war with Afghanistan, Iraq, Libya and hell, probably Mexico.

So yes, as the Mitt breaks out the Tire Swing to make all the reporters his buddies, keep in mind what he's actually saying in his policy speeches:

“Just a couple of weeks ago in Kansas, President Obama lectured us about Teddy Roosevelt’s philosophy of government. But he failed to mention the important difference between Teddy Roosevelt and Barack Obama. Roosevelt believed that government should level the playing field to create equal opportunities. President Obama believes that government should create equal outcomes.
In an entitlement society, everyone receives the same or similar rewards, regardless of education, effort, and willingness to take risk. That which is earned by some is redistributed to the others. And the only people who truly enjoy any real rewards are those who do the redistributing — the government.
“The truth is that everyone may get the same rewards, but virtually everyone will be worse off.”

Mitt Romney is not only saying that President Obama has turned us into "socialists" but he's now completely bought into the basic Tea Party belief that the government itself is the greatest enemy of the American people...and the leader of those enemies of the people is the President himself.

All it takes apparently to get the Village to completely overlook Mitt playing the Tea Party card is some pizza and sandwiches.  He's a moderate!

There And Back Again

We interrupt the Republicans completely losing the payroll tax cut fight for the trailer for The Hobbit movie, scheduled for this time next year.

We now return you to the Republicans completely losing the payroll tax cut fight.

Carry on.

Now That's How You Welcome Home Your Sailor For The Holidays


And in 2011, thanks to the tireless work of activists, Democrats in Congress, and President Obama, this completely happened.

Thanks to the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — a policy that prohibited gays from serving openly in the military — a lesbian couple won the first kiss honor at a Navy homecoming. The couple won the first kiss honor, a Navy tradition, in a raffle.

“I think that it is significant because it is the first time where we can actually show who we are,” Petty Officer 3rd Class Citlalic Snell told the Virginian Pilot. “Being in the military were it was not allowed — we can show it, we can be public about it, and we don’t have to hide our relationship. And I think it is something that is going to open a lot of doors not just for our relationship but all the other gay and lesbian relationships in the military now.”

“I feel good about it, it is nice to be able to be myself,” her partner, Petty Officer 2nd Class Marissa Gaeta, added. “It’s been a long time coming.”

The two met after boot camp and have been dating for a little over two years. They plan to get married.

Nothing like a sailor in uniform to make a girl's heart skip a beat, as they say.   Stick that on a recruitment poster, fundies.

Stop Telling The Truth, Citizen

Earlier this year, prosecutors charged Julian P. Heicklen, a retired chemistry professor, with jury tampering because he stood outside the federal courthouse in Manhattan providing information about jury nullification to passers-by. Given that I have been recommending nullification for nonviolent drug cases since 1995 — in such forums as The Yale Law Journal, “60 Minutes” and YouTube — I guess I, too, have committed a crime.

The prosecutors who charged Mr. Heicklen said that “advocacy of jury nullification, directed as it is to jurors, would be both criminal and without constitutional protections no matter where it occurred.” The prosecutors in this case are wrong. The First Amendment exists to protect speech like this — honest information that the government prefers citizens not know.

Laws against jury tampering are intended to deter people from threatening or intimidating jurors. To contort these laws to justify punishing Mr. Heicklen, whose court-appointed counsel describe him as “a shabby old man distributing his silly leaflets from the sidewalk outside a courthouse,” is not only unconstitutional but unpatriotic. Jury nullification is not new; its proponents have included John Hancock and John Adams.

The rest of the article goes on to explain a few things about how juries work and what they may not know about their rights and responsibilities. Jurors are allowed to let their personal moral lines influence their decisions. It also explains the dark side of the effect, that racist or elitist regions have used this to warp the justice system. Of course someone will, but if you believe in people then you have to hope that educating the public about this will do more good than harm.

If nothing else, just knowing this is how the system can (and was intended) to work is a good thing. We should all be more educated about our judicial system, which is chewing us up and taking advantage of its complexity and the public's ignorance.

Circuits Can Heal Themselves With New Approach

"In a multilayer integrated circuit, there's no opening it up," Nancy Sottos, a professor of materials science and engineering at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, said in a statement. "Normally you just replace the whole chip. It's true for a battery too. You can't pull a battery apart and try to find the source of the failure."

To get around the need for external intervention and diagnostics (which may not be readily available for spacecraft or defense-based aircraft, for example), the researchers adapted a previous technique they'd developed for self-healing polymer materials.

They placed tiny microcapsules (as small as 10 microns in diameter) filled with liquid metal on top of a gold line functioning as a circuit. When the circuit cracks, the microcapsules break open, releasing the liquid gallium-indium alloy into the gap and restoring electrical flow--up to 99 percent in most cases. The liquid does its bidding in less time than it takes to blink.

This has so many applications. Cell phones, computers, and someday even medical devices could benefit from this advancement. Imagine what we could do for the environment if we didn't have to treat electronics like disposable equipment. For those times when devices must have a zero percent failure rate, this can help reach that goal. And it's just spiffy to watch technology develop. I have a feeling this is only the beginning of a trend towards finding ways to get more out of their electronics.

A Pair Of Jacksons From Your Paycheck

The White House is wisely asking American workers what losing $40 in take home pay from their bi-weekly paycheck would mean to them as House Republicans are about a week away from raising taxes on 160 million Americans.

House Republicans on Tuesday rejected a Senate deal to temporarily extend the payroll tax cut, leaving the White House and Congress at an impasse and creating a showdown between President Barack Obama and House Speaker John Boehner.

The tax cut is set to expire on December 31. Ending the tax break would cost the typical family about $1,000 a year, or $40 per paycheck.

Americans are telling the White House what $40 means to them. So we wanted to know if you agreed that $40 is a significant amount of money. We asked you if the end of the tax cut affect your family or if it would have little difference in your daily life. Here's what you said:

Selena Campbell is a 21-year-old from Orlando, Florida, who works in Admissions Control at Full Sail University. She said that the money she may be losing each paycheck would help buy new shoes for her husband. He has to walk to work every day because they can't afford a second car. But Campbell said that isn't the only thing it would help out with.

"For me and my family, $40 is $10 less than what we pay for groceries every week," she said. "There have been weeks, where we have only been able to spend $10 on groceries and have lived off of mac 'n' cheese and hot dogs."

I know for me, $40 a paycheck is gas money to get to work, plain and simple.   The new job's a longer commute, and that payroll tax cut for me makes up for the extra gas money.  I'm not totally screwed without it, but a thousand bucks over the course of a year is still nothing to laugh at.

And yes, as if I didn't need another reason to not vote for Republicans in 2012, this one's personally costing me money.  It's going to personally cost you money too, I'm betting.  So what would losing $40 in your paycheck mean you and your family would have to cut back on?

Like A Blimp, He's Full Of Hot Air, Part 2

And Ron Paul can't even handle a media interview about his racist newsletter garbage.  He can't even stick around long enough to "tell his side of the story" because apparently he's too busy storming out of even talking to CNN:

“Is it legitimate? Is it a legitimate question to ask that something went out in your name?” Borger continued.

“And when you get the answer, it’s legitimate you sort of take the answers you get. I didn’t write them. didn’t read them at the time and I disavow them. That is your answer.”

“It’s legitimate, it’s legitimate. These things are pretty incendiary,” Borger pressed.

“Because of people like you,” Paul riffed.

But Borger continued to barrage Paul with questions, at which point Paul took off his mic and walked out of the interview.

“It seems like Ron Paul got tired of talking about it,” CNN’s Wolf Blitzer said.

Yeah, there's a cool head under pressure, real Presidential timber there.  So once again, if the explanation is so simple, how come Ron Paul can't stick around long enough to explain it?  Maybe because he's realized that his "other people wrote that in my name" defense when you're running for the Oval Office makes you look like an asshole?

Compare that to President Obama.  I can't wait to hear the defense for this idiocy.


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