Friday, August 31, 2012

Last Call

The trees are the right height.  Also, the flooding is the right depth.

Mitt Romney looked to capitalize on the Republican National Convention on Friday, rallying supporters in Florida and making a surprise visit to storm-battered Louisiana.

The freshly and formally nominated Republican candidate traveled to Louisiana after a traditional post-convention rally in Florida, shelving plans for a second rally in Virginia and meeting instead with storm victims in a move that his campaign hoped would reinforce a convention message to the country that he’s more than a dollars-and cents-businessman.

Romney toured Jean Lafitte, La., where emergency responders have been helping people hit hard by floodwaters from Hurricane Isaac. He met Gov. Bobby Jindal and local officials, asked questions and discussed evacuation procedures. “Did the water come from the sky, or the rivers, or the ocean?” Romney wondered. Reporters couldn’t hear the answer

Mitt.  Get some sleep, man.  Take a day off or something.  You actually managed to screw up a hurricane appearance with a friendly governor.   Sheesh.

Who says weird stuff like that?  I mean when you're obviously making a political ploy out of Louisiana's pain after telling them to go screw themselves last night in your big speech because global warming is soooooooo goddamn funny, and then you show up and botch it with some garbled nonsense where you then ditch the press pool to go riding around in a flood zone.

You're not President yet, Mitt.

And lord knows you won't be.

Read more here:

Ask A Question, Get An Answer

As part of their most recent poll, the Washington Post included the question: "What's the main reason you think most black voters support Democratic candidates?"  The biggest answer among Republican voters, independents, and Democratic voters?  "I don't know."

However, the Post cataloged the top five responses they got after that.  They're pretty much exactly what you expect as you can see in this graphic here:

Voters on why blacks pick Democrats 

The Democrats' answer can be summed up as "We're the party of civil rights." Republicans sum it up as "Black people are lazy and stupid." Independents edge towards the GOP position slightly.

Yeah, that's about par for the course for the body politic.

Autopsy Confirms Sage Stallone Died Of Heart Disease

People magazine explains more in the full article.

Heart disease, not drugs, was the major cause of Sage Stallone's untimely deathearlier this summer at age 36, the Los Angeles County coroner announced Thursday. 

After conducting an autopsy as well as a full toxicology screen, the coroner cited atherosclerotic coronary artery disease as the cause of death, and said that the drug test was negative except for a small, "sub-therapeutic" level of hydrocodone, more commonly known as Vicodin. 
There's no good way to lose someone you love, but there are still things that bring you comfort.  Knowing his son's death wasn't intentional or brought on by drugs will bring them some small relief.  What will bring them even more relief is just knowing the truth.  Closure is important.

My heart still goes out to him.  After watching (and loving) The Expendables 2, there were a few themes and things that brought a tear to my eye knowing the loss he suffered after filming.  But yeah, not to throw a spoiler, but if you know his son died a few scenes are touching.

Vote Of Confidence In Ohio

A federal judge has overruled Ohio GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted and has restored early voting for all Ohioans on all days, including weekend voting, that were available in 2008.

U.S. District Court Senior Judge Peter C. Economus ordered Republican Secretary of State Jon Husted not to enforce a state law passed last year that closed that window to in-person early voting to anyone but members of the military and their families.
"This Court notes that restoring in-person early voting to all Ohio voters through the Monday before Election Day does not deprive (military) voters from early voting,'' wrote Judge Economus, a Clinton appointee. "Instead, and more importantly, it places all Ohio voters on equal standing.
"The only hindrance to (military) early voting is the Secretary of State's failure to set uniform hours at elections boards during the last three days before Election Day,'' he wrote. "On balance, the right of Ohio voters to vote in person during the last three days prior to Election Day -- a right previously conferred to all voters by the State -- outweighs the State's interest in setting the 6 p.m. Friday deadline.''

This is pretty massive, folks.   The full decision (PDF) is here, and super bonus points for justifying the injunction having the merit of the OFA argument succeeding in higher courts by citing -- get this now -- Bush v. Gore.

The right to vote is protected in more than the initial allocation of the franchise.  Equal protection applies as well to the manner of its exercise.  Having once granted the right to vote on equal terms, the State may not, by later arbitrary and disparate treatment, value one person’s vote over that of another.   It must be remembered that the right of suffrage can be denied by a debasement or dilution of the weight of a citizen’s vote just as effectively as by wholly prohibiting the free exercise of the franchise. 

Well played, Judge Economus.  Well played, indeed.  Your move, Mr. Husted.

[UPDATE]  And Husted and Ohio GOP Attorney General Mike DeWine have indeed made their move, immediately appealing the case to the 6th Circuit here in Cincy.  The optics of Republicans going to court in order to stop people from voting in a swing state like Ohio?  Is DeWine crazy, stupid, evil, or all three?

Priest Says "The Younger Is The Seducer" In A Lot Of Cases

(Reuters) - A Roman Catholic priest in New York expressed sympathy this week for some clergy who sexually abuse children, saying that it is often the "youngster" who is the seducer, then later apologized for his remarks.
Comments by the Rev. Benedict Groeschel, 79, co-founder of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal in Westchester County outside New York City, in which he expressed sympathy for convicted child rapist Jerry Sandusky, drew strong criticism from the Archdiocese of New York and the support group Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests.
"Suppose you have a man having a nervous breakdown, and a youngster comes after him. A lot of the cases, the youngster — 14, 16, 18 — is the seducer," Groeschel said when asked by an interviewer from the National Catholic Register, the nation's oldest Catholic newspaper, about his work with priests who abuse children.
Yeah, and surprise, he apologized.  He didn't say he was wrong, mind you, he is clearly the expert.  Just that he isn't as clear as he once was.

I just don't even know what to say about this.  I have some Catholic friends who are appalled by the actions of their church, and yet keep hoping for change.  I thought honestly that nothing could surprise me anymore, and yet here I am... slackjawed and unable to find the words to express my outrage.

Bugger kids, cover it up, blame the kids when caught, and speak as the authority on what is holy, right and pure.  And in the end it will just disappear, because we are hurtling towards some sort of spiritual brick wall, where little boys getting nailed is like a delicacy and nobody can stop them anyway.

I can't think about it anymore.

What The Hell Just Happened?

"I ain't happy, I'm feeling glad
I got sunshine, in a bag
I'm useless, but not for long
The future is coming on"

--Gorillaz, "Clint Eastwood"

"They were saying,
I just thought,
this was great.
Everybody is trying,
Oprah was crying."

--Actual Clint Eastwood, last night at the Republican National Convention

Yeah. This happened.

Clint Eastwood, the secret guest at Thursday’s closing night of the Republican convention, surprised everyone with a head-scratching, ad libbed speech in which he pretended to talk to and make fun of an invisible President Obama on the stage.
In an eleven-minute speech, Eastwood bashed Obama for everything from failing to turn the economy around to proposing that terror suspects be tried in civilian courts in New York City. Eastwood, at times mumbling and fumbling over his words, held a mock conversation with Obama as represented by an empty chair on the stage with him, even pretending that the nonexistent Obama was telling him to shut up.

“I’ve got Mr. Obama sitting here,” he said, motioning to the chair. “And he’s, uh, I, I was just gonna ask him a couple of questions.”

The questions, however, did not go so smoothly.

“So Mr. President, how do you, uh, how do you handle, uh, how do you handle promises that you made when you were running for election?” Eastwood said to the empty chair. “And how do you handle it, uh, how do you handle it, I mean, what do you say to people?”

Andy Kaufman could not have done a better piece of performance art. Not with all of John Belushi's drugs and Richard Pryor's anger. Clint Eastwood trolled tens of millions of people by losing a ten minute argument with an imaginary Barack Obama. In fact, @InvisibleObama got thirty-seven thousand followers last night on Twitter. It was the greatest thing I have ever seen. Ever. Of all time.

Mrs. Mojo Rice In (2016)

If the measure of the competition in 2016 is "Which speech at the GOP Convention was given by the the best liar" then Condi Rice is clearly the person to beat.

Rice began her speech by recalling the September 11 terrorist attacks, which lead to the invasion of Afghanistan.

“This young century has been a difficult one,” she said. “I will never forget the bright September day, standing at my desk in the White House, when my young assistant said that a plane had hit the World Trade Center — and then a second one — and a third, the Pentagon. And then the news of a fourth, driven into the ground by brave citizens that died so that many others would live. From that day on our sense of vulnerability and our understanding of security would be altered forever.”

Rice, who was deeply involved in the Iraq war, said that the world no longer had a clear idea of where America stood on international issues like nuclear weapons in Iran and the uprisings in Syria. She insisted the United States needed to reclaims its status as the custodian of world power.

“When our friends and our foes, alike, do not know the answer to that question — clearly and unambiguously — the world is a chaotic and dangerous place,” Rice continued. “The U.S. has since the end of World War II had an answer — we stand for free peoples and free markets, we are willing to support and defend them — we will sustain a balance of power that favors freedom.”

“And I know too that there is weariness — a sense that we have carried these burdens long enough,” she added. “But if we are not inspired to lead again, one of two things will happen — no one will lead and that will foster chaos — or others who do not share our values will fill the vacuum. My fellow Americans, we do not have a choice. We cannot be reluctant to lead — and one cannot lead from behind.”

Nowhere in the speech did she mention Osama Bin Laden.  But she quietly took the radical elements of the GOP to task towards the end, speaking to the "sensible center".  It really is too bad that the one sane Republican left in the GOP party hierarchy is a blood-drenched war criminal and inveterate liar.  Condi Rice is frightfully intelligent, which compounds all her many sins, denials, and oversights in allowing this country (if not actively leading us) into two bloody wars that never should have happened.  You can bet that if she's allowed anywhere near the halls of power again, tens of thousands will die and millions will suffer.  We're still paying for her "vision of leadership" more than a decade later.

Of the most dangerous people at the GOP Convention that I fear in 2016?  This dark-winged angel of death is at the top of the list.  For the GOP, she is a stark reminder that the Dubya era happened, something they've been pretending didn't.  There's a huge gap in US history for the GOP from the years 1790 to 1980 or so, and 8 years missing from 2000 to 2008.  All Republicans will ignore that first massive gap, but the second more recent one is something none of them can go near without being irradiated with Dubya's complete failures.  That's a huge anvil around her neck if she goes forward in 2016.

But there's no doubts she can never be allowed to be part of another President's administration again.  Hell, she should be rotting in The Hague if there were any justice on Earth.

Pretty clear that's not going to happen.


Thursday, August 30, 2012

Last Call

So Mitt, as you take the podium tonight at the GOP Convention?  About Bain & Company?  That free market "success story" that's your main qualification for being able to fix America, Inc.?

You didn't build that.  Mitt ran the company into the ground in order to raid the joint. Rolling Stone's Tim Dickinson investigates:

According to the candidate's mythology, Romney took leave of his duties at the private equity firm Bain Capital in 1990 and rode in on a white horse to lead a swift restructuring of Bain & Company, preventing the collapse of the consulting firm where his career began. When The Boston Globe reported on the rescue at the time of his Senate run against Ted Kennedy, campaign aides spun Romney as the wizard behind a "long-shot miracle," bragging that he had "saved bank depositors all over the country $30 million when he saved Bain & Company."

In fact, government documents on the bailout obtained by Rolling Stone show that the legend crafted by Romney is basically a lie. The federal records, obtained under the Freedom of Information Act, reveal that Romney's initial rescue attempt at Bain & Company was actually a disaster – leaving the firm so financially strapped that it had "no value as a going concern." Even worse, the federal bailout ultimately engineered by Romney screwed the FDIC – the bank insurance system backed by taxpayers – out of at least $10 million. And in an added insult, Romney rewarded top executives at Bain with hefty bonuses at the very moment that he was demanding his handout from the feds.

What a surprise.  Mitt Romney used taxpayer money to save his company, then he and his executives pocketed the cash.   But Mitt set that option up on purpose:

With his rescue plan a bust, Romney was forced to slink back to the banks to negotiate a new round of debt relief. There was only one catch: Even though Bain & Company was deep in debt and sinking fast, the firm was actually flush with cash – most of it from the looted money that Bill Bain and other partners had given back. "Liquidity is strong based on the significant cash balance which Bain is carrying," one federal document reads.

Under normal circumstances, such ample reserves would have made liquidating Bain an attractive option: Creditors could simply divvy up the stockpiled cash and be done with the troubled firm. But Bain had inserted a poison pill in its loan agreement with the banks: Instead of being required to use its cash to pay back the firm's creditors, the money could be pocketed by Bain executives in the form of fat bonuses – starting with VPs making $200,000 and up. "The company can deplete its cash balances by making officer-bonus payments," the FDIC lamented, "and still be in compliance with the loan documents."

What's more, the bonus loophole gave Romney a perverse form of leverage: If the banks and the FDIC didn't give in to his demands and forgive much of Bain's debts, Romney would raid the firm's coffers, pushing it into the very bankruptcy that the loan agreement had been intended to avert. The losers in this game would not only be Bain's creditors – including the federal government – but the firm's nearly 1,000 employees worldwide.

Mitt then used that "perverse leverage" to then rip taxpayers off for millions.

In the end, the government surrendered. At the time, The Boston Globe cited bankers dismissing the bailout as "relatively routine" – but the federal documents reveal it was anything but. The FDIC agreed to accept nearly $5 million in cash to retire $15 million in Bain's debt – an immediate government bailout of $10 million. All told, the FDIC estimated it would recoup just $14 million of the $30 million that Romney's firm owed the government.

It was a raw deal – but Romney's threat to loot his own firm had left the government with no other choice. If the FDIC had pushed Bain into bankruptcy, the records reveal, the agency would have recouped just $3.56 million from the firm.

Romney scammed the FDIC into taking a bad deal or a horrible deal, and either one would leave Romney and Bain's top executives with fat sacks of green.

Of course, we're not 100% positive if Mitt profited from this, after all.  He's hiding his financial information and we don't know for sure.  But it would be insane to assume he didn't personally profit from this "eat this crapburger or eat bullet to the head" choice he locked the FDIC into, and went to great lengths to set up.

Are there any questions as to why he's hiding his tax info after reading this?

The Fattest Of All The Cats

You knew it was coming:  Matt Taibbi's Rolling Stone expose' on Mitt Romney's days at Bain Capital, and it's everything that you'd expect from the caustically truthful author.

And this is where we get to the hypocrisy at the heart of Mitt Romney. Everyone knows that he is fantastically rich, having scored great success, the legend goes, as a "turnaround specialist," a shrewd financial operator who revived moribund companies as a high-priced consultant for a storied Wall Street private equity firm. But what most voters don't know is the way Mitt Romney actually made his fortune: by borrowing vast sums of money that other people were forced to pay back. This is the plain, stark reality that has somehow eluded America's top political journalists for two consecutive presidential campaigns: Mitt Romney is one of the greatest and most irresponsible debt creators of all time. In the past few decades, in fact, Romney has piled more debt onto more unsuspecting companies, written more gigantic checks that other people have to cover, than perhaps all but a handful of people on planet Earth.

Mitt's plan is to run America like a business:  One that he's about to take apart and sell off in the largest hostile takeover in the history of the world.  He's going to streamline, rightsize and synergize  the 99% right out of the American dream and keep the rest for himself and his buddies.

By making debt the centerpiece of his campaign, Romney was making a calculated bluff of historic dimensions – placing a massive all-in bet on the rank incompetence of the American press corps. The result has been a brilliant comedy: A man makes a $250 million fortune loading up companies with debt and then extracting million-dollar fees from those same companies, in exchange for the generous service of telling them who needs to be fired in order to finance the debt payments he saddled them with in the first place. That same man then runs for president riding an image of children roasting on flames of debt, choosing as his running mate perhaps the only politician in America more pompous and self-righteous on the subject of the evils of borrowed money than the candidate himself. If Romney pulls off this whopper, you'll have to tip your hat to him: No one in history has ever successfully run for president riding this big of a lie. It's almost enough to make you think he really is qualified for the White House.

America, Inc. is about to be vivisected for parts, folks.  The looting of the US treasury began in earnest four years ago with the bank bailout.  That was just a test run.
The unlikeliness of Romney's gambit isn't simply a reflection of his own artlessly unapologetic mindset – it stands as an emblem for the resiliency of the entire sociopathic Wall Street set he represents. Four years ago, the Mitt Romneys of the world nearly destroyed the global economy with their greed, shortsightedness and – most notably – wildly irresponsible use of debt in pursuit of personal profit. The sight was so disgusting that people everywhere were ready to drop an H-bomb on Lower Manhattan and bayonet the survivors. But today that same insane greed ethos, that same belief in the lunatic pursuit of instant borrowed millions – it's dusted itself off, it's had a shave and a shoeshine, and it's back out there running for president.

And if he wins (which almost certainly means the GOP will gain the Senate as well) then we'll deserve exactly what we'll get.  Forget the new Gilded Age:  we'll be in the new Feudal Age.

Do read the whole thing.  Taibbi eviscerates everyone involved with aplomb.

Voting While Black

Earlier this week Rachel Maddow took on the True The Vote jokers and exposed their real agenda:  targeted voter harassment against minorities, especially African-Americans and Latino voters.

The group had its first test run in its home district of Houston in 2010. ”True the Vote appears to have targeted mostly black precincts, sending white challengers to stare down voting booths filled with black voters,” Maddow said. ”There were so many reports of an intimidating atmosphere in Houston that election that the Federal Justice Department sent observers in on election day.”

True the Vote’s shadowy backers have injected a massive infusion of cash into the organization’s coffers, which will enable them to station “a million” poll watchers at every district they deem questionable in the country.  They have held seminars in Colorado, Florida and Ohio, all hotly contested swing states.

In Ohio, the practice has its origins in the 1800s, when precinct captains were charged with the duty of challenging any person who showed up to vote and appeared to have a “distinct and visible admixture of African blood.”  The voter would then be subject to a barrage of questions about their heritage and background with the aim of intimidating them to the point that they would leave rather than face this type of harassment.

The same laws are being taken advantage of today by True the Vote to the very same end, silencing the voice of the black electorate.  Ohio’s Secretary of State, John Husted was scheduled to speak at True the Vote’s Ohio summit on Saturday, but backed out when Maddow and producers contacted his office about the group.  Maddow invited Husted to come on the show and explain his connection to the group, but as of last week, the Secretary’s office stopped answering and returning calls from the “Maddow Show.”

What went on in Houston and Harris County, Texas in 2010 will now be repeated across the country in 2012.

The conservative group alleges that there's massive voter fraud in Harris County, and the poll watchers they've trained have been accused of intimidating voters. But at Moody Park, Republican candidate Fernando Herrara, the challenger to Democratic state Rep. Jessica Farrar, said he knows of instances in which election officials have only shown voters how to vote the straight Democratic ticket. He believes that in certain polling areas, he's losing 5 percent daily due to illegal voting practices that favor Democrats. Only a few minutes after he voiced his concerns that voters were getting manipulated, a Harris County investigator arrived to serve him with papers. It turned out Herrera had been accused of voter intimidation.

Before this election it was rare to hear of even one complaint from a voter. So far this cycle, there have been more than 55 in Harris County—many of which allege voter intimidation. True the Vote has promised it will have over 1000 poll watchers out on election day to ensure the process is fair, but so many poll watchers also heightens concerns about intimidation.

Groups of True the Vote "patriots" will be in minority districts across the country intimidating, harassing, and accusing minority voters of not voting Republican enough (it must be ILLEGAL!) in order to try to tarnish and delegitimize any Democratic wins, particularly an Obama reelection victory.  These jackasses screaming about "millions of fraudulent votes and we have proof!" will be the catalyst for House investigations, national Voter ID legislation, and hey, even impeachment proceedings probably.

It's not like the GOP is interested in truth, remember?  Voting Democratic while black is a crime, folks.

Science Explains Why Gullible Old People Believe Paul Ryan

FRIDAY, Aug. 24 (HealthDay News) -- Whether it's an email from an unknown gentleman on another continent pleading for money or a financial scammer selling a promising penny stock, the young and old tend to be more easily duped than middle-aged people.
Now, researchers have pinpointed the area of the brain responsible for this gullibility and have theorized why it makes children, teens and seniors less likely to doubt.
The ventromedial area of the prefrontal cortex of the brain -- a softball-sized lobe in the front of your head, just above your eyes -- appears to be responsible for allowing you to pause after hearing or reading something and consider whether it's true, according to a study published recently in the journalFrontiers in Neuroscience.

The rest of the article explains how this vital part of our brain isn't formed until our early 20s, and declines as we age.  So now it makes perfect sense.  Biologically speaking, Mittens and Co. have a better chance with the older Americans.

Oh yeah, and being white helps too, I'm sure.

Springfield City Council Sticks It To Us Again

There will be a special podcast coming this weekend, in which I go into detail about how our city government decided to weasel out of doing their duty.  But for now, I'm going to tackle this issue because it is happening all over the country.

It's time to legalize pot and move on to bigger fish, or so I think.  But even if one felt differently, I think we can all agree that moves like this are cowardly and defy the processes we should be given.  Rather than spare us the cost of a pesky vote, Springfield City Council instead passed a measure to decriminalize marijuana.

Only to keep it from going to a public vote, they passed it so they can gut it and make it completely useless.  Heaven forbid voters get a chance to be heard.  They ran a nice public dog and pony show to give the impression they give a damn, but in the end they went for the highest bidder.  The E-verify measure they passed was illegal in places, yet it went in as law and instead of fixing the illegal parts council members were trying to figure out how to make them work.

Funny how they can find a way to make it work when it benefits them.  We would try to vote them out or run for office, but they just squashed votes for council seats, saying it was too expensive.  That is the same reason they gave for not wanting the marijuana measure to go to vote.


Thanks to Rob Wolfe from Randomly Walking for pointing out this little nugget of dumbassery:

Hunter Spanjer says his name with a certain special hand gesture, but at just three and a half years old, he may have to change it.
"He's deaf, and his name sign, they say, is a violation of their weapons policy," explained Hunter's father, Brian Spanjer.
Grand Island's "Weapons in Schools" Board Policy 8470 forbids "any instrument...that looks like a weapon," But a three year-old's hands?
"It's a symbol. It's an actual sign, a registered sign, through S.E.E.," Brian Spanjer said.
This is taking ridiculous to exciting new levels.  First of all, unless he is a black belt his hands are not weapons.  What they are doing is the equivalent of banning words like "buns" and "suns" because they rhyme with guns.  But even so, in preschool, this is unacceptable.  They are making a very young child painfully aware of his handicap and insulting his name.  We may be able to see the nuances of this issue, but rest assured he cannot.

As for nuance, it's still all crap.  Banning hand gestures is ridiculous enough, but when it is a child's name it just makes sense that they get over themselves.

We Just Stopped Giving A Damn, Ma'am

Steve Benen points out that the Romney camp no longer cares about the truth, and dares the media to do something about it.

[On Tuesday], Team Romney abandoned the pretense of caring about honesty altogether.
Mitt Romney's aides explained with unusual political bluntness today why they are spending heavily -- and ignoring media criticism -- to air an add accusing President Barack Obama of "gutting" the work requirement for welfare, a marginal political issue since the mid-1990s that Romney pushed back to center stage.
"Our most effective ad is our welfare ad," a top television advertising strategist for Romney, Ashley O'Connor, said at a forum Tuesday hosted by ABCNews and Yahoo! News. "It's new information."
The claims are "new," of course, because the Romney campaign made them up. Sure, it's "new information," in the same way it would be "new information" if Obama said Mitt Romney sold heroin to children -- when one invents a lie, its "newness" is self-evident.

Romney pollster Neil Newhouse added, "[W]e're not going to let our campaign be dictated by fact checkers."

So guess what, Village media?  When you rolled over for Palin in 2008 and the Tea Party in 2010, you inherited Mittens and his crew saying now that truth is meaningless in this election, and that there's nothing you can do about it.  The threat is implicit:  if you point out Mitt is lying, you're biased and the campaign will bury you, and the Republican party will remove your access.

Mitt's campaign is daring the Village to even try to call them out.  With only a few exceptions, it won't happen.  Why?  The Village destroyed its own credibility with the Both Sides Do It!/View From Nowhere.  Not pissing GOP politicos off became more important than telling the truth about them (and to a lesser extent, some Democrats).

Now we're at the point where the Romney campaign is daring the media to report the truth, and no doubt already threatening vengeance.  They have FOX and Rush and Hannity and Huckabee and whatever media outlets they've bought.  They don't need the broadcast networks and the newspapers anymore.

Paul Ryan's GOP convention speech Wednesday night exemplified this new dynamic as he told outright lies about Medicare, the debt ceiling battle that cost the US a credit rating notch, the Bowles-Simpson commission, and a Wisconsin auto plant closing that Ryan blamed on Obama...when the plant closed in 2008 before Obama took office.

Ryan criticized Obama for — yes — not using government funds to prop up an auto plant in his district.

“A lot of guys I went to high school with worked at that GM plant. Right there at that plant, candidate Obama said: ‘I believe that if our government is there to support you … this plant will be here for another hundred years,’” Ryan recalled. “That’s what he said in 2008. Well, as it turned out, that plant didn’t last another year. It is locked up and empty to this day.”

Ignoring the inconsistency of a Republican chastising Obama for not bailing out more auto manufacturers, the plant in question closed before Obama’s inauguration in 2009.

They don't care anymore.  They're just making stuff up in order to win.

And all sides know it.

How Obama Rolls

The Obama administration is set to finalize new fuel efficiency standards that will make new cars sold in 2025 meet significantly higher mileage per gallon.

The Obama administration finalized the rule requiring automakers to roughly double the fuel efficiency of cars and light trucks by 2025, the White House announced on Tuesday.

Regulators unveiled the auto fuel efficiency proposal last November after nearly a year of negotiations among the administration, automakers and environmental groups.

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency has estimated that the efficiency rule could reduce oil use by 2 million barrels per day.

That standard, 54.5 MPG, means we'll be moving in the right direction on new cars and trucks.  Keep in mind gas prices have tripled in the last 12 years.  12 years from now?  Not sure how much gas will be, but I'm pretty sure like the $1.25 a gallon I recall complaining about in 2000, today's $3.75 a gallon or so will be a fond memory 12 years from now...and you'll be thankful for your car getting that kind of mileage.

We'll see how it goes.


Wednesday, August 29, 2012

Last Call

In GOP America, if you're hit by a flood, tornado, or say a hurricane like Isaac, you're on your own.

Rep. Raul Labrador (R-ID) told ThinkProgress at a Hispanic Leadership Network luncheon that Republicans should take a similar approach with disaster funding for Hurricane Isaac as they did after natural disasters last year. In 2011, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) led the Republican charge to deny disaster funding following major hurricanes and tornadoes unless the federal budget was cut in other areas.

Labrador said that Congress must “readjust everything we do” in order to find cuts to pay for Hurricane Isaac disaster relief. “If there’s emergencies, we don’t always need to keep borrowing money,” said the freshman Republican.

Here's the thing. We don't need to borrow money. Disaster relief funds are already in the budget and Republicans know it.  That's why they're trying to get rid of funding disasters ahead of time.

As Hurricane Isaac bears down on the Gulf Coast, there should be plenty of money — some $1.5 billion — in federal disaster aid coffers, thanks, in part, to a new system that budgets help for victims of hurricanes, tornadoes and floods before they occur.

It's a system that Paul Ryan, the Republican nominee-to-be for vice president, had hoped to scrap as a way to make his House GOP budget look smaller by about $10 billion a year. Politely, party elders told him no way, at least for now.

Do you think that if Romney/Ryan win and the GOP gets control of the Senate that disaster relief will still exist?  What do you think?

The answer of course is that it will exist for those who vote Republican.  They're eager to give rural red state farmers hundreds of millions to make up for lost crops in this year's drought.  But urban hellholes like New Orleans?

How long can you tread water?

The Pain In Spain Continues, Part 4

Spain's recession continues, and despite all the attention on the Obama/Romney fight, it remains that Spain could strain the European plains and cause a hell of a lot of problems should things fall apart over there between now and November.

Spain’s recession worsened in the second quarter as the government’s austerity push to reduce the euro area’s third-biggest budget deficit and a slump in consumer spending offset growth in exports.

Gross domestic product fell 0.4 percent from the previous quarter, when it declined 0.3 percent, the Madrid-based National Statistics Institute said today. That’s in line with an estimate published July 30. Separately, Spain’s borrowing costs fell to the lowest in three months at an auction today after the nation’s bonds rallied this month on optimism the European Central Bank will agree on a plan to help peripheral nations.

Prime Minister Mariano Rajoy last month gave up on his forecast for a return to growth in 2013 as he unveiled budget cuts that will expand austerity measures to a total of 15 percent of annual GDP by 2014. He is due to host European Union President Herman Van Rompuy today for the first in a series of meetings aimed at solving the nation’s funding issues.

“We fear that things are likely to get worse before they get better,” said Martin van Vliet, an economist at ING Bank in Amsterdam, who expects Spain will seek additional financial aid as early as next month. “With much more fiscal austerity in the pipeline and unemployment at astronomic highs, the risks are clearly tilted toward a more protracted recession.”

Yeah, gosh, protracted austerity is going to cause recession and massive unemployment for the next 18 months or so, awesome.  And that's if Spain's economy doesn't crash.  This is the good scenario.

And once again, keep in mind this is exactly what the GOP says they want to do to our economy:  balance the budget through steep cuts to social programs, government services, infrastructure programs, schools, public safety, highways and bridges, and civil service.  The equivalent of what Spain is doing here, cutting the budget by 15% of GDP by 2014, would equal eliminating about $2.4 trillion dollars from the budget here in America.  There would basically be no discretionary spending, period.  It would all go away.

Basically, Rajoy is doing what the GOP say they would do if they were in charge.  But here's the thing, they would actually make a lot of these cuts, and then make trillions in tax cuts for the rich in addition.  The tax cuts would far outweigh the spending cuts, and the deficit would skyrocket upwards.

Austerity is a proven failure.  The only thing worse is the GOP's fake austerity.

My Creation, Is It Real?

It’s my creation, I do not know.

If the dream of a New Jersey group comes to fruition there could be another creationist attraction located in Northern Kentucky. 
Founders of the Creation Science Hall of Fame, which now exists only as a website, would like to develop a brick-and mortar structure along Interstate 75.
“When we have the funds, we would like to locate on the highway, about halfway between the Creation Museum and the Ark Encounter,” said Terry Hurlbut, secretary/treasurer of the group. “What better place to locate than between these two attractions? We envision that as people fly or drive in to see them, we will be a stop along the way.”

Oh good, just what I needed within shouting distance of my apartment, first the Scientology Church Of Greater Cincinnati, now the Hall Of Wildly Misappropriated Science Heroes.

The Creation Science Hall of Fame was developed as a website in 2009 and is devoted to sharing the beliefs of creationism. 
It includes a directory of living and deceased inductees and a brief profile of each.
The section dedicated to deceased inductees begins with the Renaissance period.
The list includes Leonardo da Vinci, Sir Isaac Newton, Samuel F.B. Morse, Louis Pasteur and George Washington Carver.
Living inductees include Ken Ham, founder of Answers in Genesis and the Creation Museum.

Isaac Newton’s ghost is going to knife him some Kentuckians, dammit.

On the other hand, if the place has an animatronic Nikola Tesla on a velociraptor, I’m stealing it before the place accidentally gets napalmed and covered in bees.  Evolved bees.

Lindsay Lohan, Jewel Thief

Grumbles about this have been around for a while.  I dismissed them at first, thinking it was a long step towards connecting her to a crime.  It appears it's a bit more serious than we thought at first.

Lindsay Lohan is now formally a suspect in the theft of $100,000 worth of watches and sunglasses ... law enforcement sources tell TMZ.

As TMZ first reported, Lindsay was at the Hollywood Hills home of Sam Magid a week ago when Sam called the LAPD and reported a jewelry theft.   We're told Lindsay has been at the house frequently, including at an all-night house party a week ago Sunday.

Law enforcement sources tell us ... Lindsay and her assistant Gavin Doyle are both suspects in the theft.

Now here's the twist ... We're told Sam has recanted his story and now says nothing was stolen.  But our sources say cops are not closing out the investigation because they believe they have independent witnesses who can finger Lindsay and Gavin as the thieves

Carrie Me Home

Some early released stills are out from the new Carrie remake.  And they look good.

I hold that Carrie is one of King's best book-to-movie translations despite the amount of storytelling that takes place in a teenage girl's private thoughts.  For the time, the effects in the classic were well done enough to be convincing, and the story was original enough to be terrifying.

The photos show a dedication to the original that is a necessity.  You can't change too much, something this iconic should be retold, not rebooted.  The prom dress and the nightgown are spot on.  While a retelling allows for some creative freedom, I pray they do justice to the ending.  There are enough improvements in special effects to allow a sharp rise in their ability.

I had no idea Julianne Moore had been cast as Carrie's psychotic mother.  I immediately was able to see how well she could portray her.  Practicing the spaced out look of Sarah Palin was surely a help.

Sorry, folks. A girl's gotta get in her digs where she can.

The Line Of The Convention So Far

Chuck Pierce reviews "You Didn't Build This!" night at the Tampa GOP Convention.

Ann Romney was sweet and lovely — and very defensive about people "attacking" hubby's success, but only as a "mom," of course — and Chris Christie brought down the house. But the Republican Party did something remarkable at its convention on Tuesday. It set out on an experiment to see exactly how much unmitigated hogwash the American political system can contain on a single evening. The Republican Party has set out at its 2012 convention in search of the Event Horizon of utter bullshit. It has sought to see precisely how many lies, evasions, elisions, and undigestible chunks of utter gobbledegook the political media can swallow before it finally gags twice and falls over dead, leaving the rest of America suckers all the same. What you didn't see in primetime, from Artur Davis to Ted Cruz, and from one 2016 contender to another, was the GOP embarking upon the task of seeing exactly how much nonsense it could produce at top volume before democracy screams and gives up, like Noriega in Panama when they played the metal music at him.
It was something to see, I'll tell you. An entire evening based on a demonstrable lie.

Ahh, and while Chuck has the GOP pegged as usual, the real line of the night, if not the convention and in fact the entire campaign was delivered by someone not on the stage at all.

An attendee at the Republican National Convention in Tampa on Tuesday allegedly threw nuts at a black camerawoman working for CNN and said “This is how we feed animals” before being removed from the convention, a network official confirmed to TPM.

The CNN official declined to confirm specific details of the incident to TPM but generally confirmed an account posted on Twitter by former MSNBC and Current anchor David Shuster: “GOP attendee ejected for throwing nuts at African American CNN camera woman + saying ‘This is how we feed animals.’”

Staggering racism aside, "This is how we feed the animals" pretty much sums up the entire GOP mindset for the the last 32 years, doesn't it?

Feed red meat to the base.  Feed lies to the press and the middle.  Feed contempt and hatred to the rest.  And look at the animals, the 99%, eat it up.  Durr hurr, stupid man animals will eat anything we throw at them.  Let's keep the dangerous ones locked up so we can gawk at them, and be sure to slaughter a few fatted calves so we eat well and they can rot in their pens and cages.  We're on display for their enjoyment, but never forget they'll put us down if we bite the hand that feeds us.

And a growing percentage of us think we can be the pigs in this Animal Farm before the two-legs come with the butcher's knife.  They won't cut me up, they say.  They'll cut up those other poor saps for meat.  They refuse to see we're all on the menu, but they figure the guys at the top will somehow be sated in their relentlessly greedy appetites before their turn comes.  They may be right, but the point is the Stockholm Syndrome crowd will knife us and leave us for the slaughterhouse all the same just to preserve their perceived power.

And that's the end of us.  We're all being fattened up for the table.  Only the fools can't see it.

The Only Ryan Speech You Need To See

Here's Paul Ryan discussing abortion, courtesy LGF:

Interviewer: Abortion now… something we’re talking about and I think our viewers want to know exactly where you stand, specifically, you’re pro-life, Catholic…
Ryan: Oh yeah, yeah.
Interviewer: But specifically where you stand when it comes to rape, and when it comes to the issue of, should it be legal for a woman to be able to get an abortion if she’s…
Ryan: Yeah, well, so, I’m very proud of my pro-life record, and I’ve always adopted the idea, the position that the method of conception doesn’t change the definition of life. But let’s remember, I’m doing the Romney-Ryan ticket, and the President makes policy. The President, in this case, the future President Mitt Romney, has exceptions for rape, incest, and life of the mother, which is a vast improvement of where we are right now.

To Paul Ryan,  rape is simply another method of conception.  But he's good with Mitt ending abortion and making exceptions, which the GOP will make so narrow as to be impossible to meet, thus assuring forced pregnancy for all women.  Please enjoy your little bundles of rapey joy under the Robot/Zombie '12 ticket, ladies.

You won't have much of a choice, after all.  When life hands you lemons, shut up bitch.


Tuesday, August 28, 2012

Last Call

As Bon and I discussed on the podcast on Saturday, Mitt's conversion to full birther last week was no accident.  Now we get confirmation from the Romney camp that indeed the plan is damn the middle and animate as much of the asshole turnout as possible on the far right who might think that Romney isn't racist/misogynist/hateful enough to vote for him.

The battleground map has remained remarkably stable in recent months, which leaves Mr. Obama with more paths to winning 270 electoral votes and places a burden on Mr. Romney to break through in states where he so far has not. But Republicans suddenly see encouraging signs in Wisconsin after the selection of Representative Paul D. Ryan as his running mate.  Mr. Romney’s chances hinge to a large degree on running up his advantage among white voters in swing states who show deep strains of opposition to Mr. Obama but do not yet trust Mr. Romney to look out for their interests, Republican strategists say. 

Many of those voters are economically disaffected, and the Romney campaign has been trying to reach them with appeals built around an assertion that Mr. Obama is making it easier for welfare recipients to avoid work. The Romney campaign is airing an advertisement falsely charging that Mr. Obama has “quietly announced” plans to eliminate work and job training requirements for welfare beneficiaries, a message Mr. Romney’s aides said resonates with working-class voters who see government as doing nothing for them. 
The moves reflect a campaign infused with a sharper edge and overtones of class and race. On Friday, Mr. Romney said at a rally that no one had ever had to ask him about his birth certificate, and Mr. Ryan invoked his Catholicism and love of hunting. Democrats angrily said Mr. Romney’s remark associated him with the fringe “birther” camp seeking falsely to portray Mr. Obama as not American. 

In other words, the Romney camp sees that the only way forward is to play the white resentment race card as much as possible.  They literally don't have any other card to play, frankly.  Mitt Romney is that awful of a candidate, and the GOP is boldly offering the same trickled-on economics since Reagan, only repackaged and far worse for the middle and especially the lower class.  No hope, only hate.

But after all, he's just an inflatable dummy, a placeholder so that the real party bosses can have someone rubber stamp the work of crushing the last vestiges of net worth in the 95% for the bitter wine of class warfare for the wealthy.

Robot/Zombie '12.  Because You Really Hate The Black Guy(tm).

Hung Up On The Subject

David Frum gives a course in Deflection 101 when it comes to race and GOP politics as he "imagines" how white Republicans must feel (not too much of a stretch for the Canadian Frum.)  If liberals stopped pointing out how the GOP was playing the race card all the time, it wouldn't be a problem, right?

Frum's imaginary white Republican says things like:

The polls tell me that something like 100% of black Americans will vote for Barack Obama. Are they bigots because they rally to their guy? So why are we supposed to be bigots because maybe 60% of us rally to our guy?

And of course this classic:

This whole thing about us not being "diverse" enough - can we cut the crap on that? You suddenly load up the country with millions of newcomers, put them on food stamps and unemployment insurance and Medicaid and what all, put them on the voting rolls without any ID - invite them to help themselves to everything that was earned before they showed up - and what do you expect the original Americans to do?

You think we're not diverse? This is what diversity looks like: the newcomers bunching up in one party, the old stock inhabitations bunching up in the other. It's the same in Britain and in France and in Germany, and just about everywhere. You don't like it? Maybe you should have thought of that before you invited half of Mexico to move here.

Leading to this finisher:

What you want is a country where everybody looks different, and everybody thinks the same. That's what you call diversity. No thanks. You work hard, you pay your way, you quit asking for handouts, and you're American enough for me - and you'll be up there on the podium with Bobby Jindal, Allen West, Herman Cain, and Nikki Haley as a leader of the one party in this country that isn't hung up on race.

Now Frum knows folks who think this, we all do.  And if anything, Frum gives us yet another example of the Mind Of The Privileged White Person, somebody who has the luxury of never having to worry about race.  They're pissed because in 2012, race DOES matter politically, more than it ever has since the days of the civil rights movement.  When you point out that this privilege exists, people immediately get defensive and angry.  It's not a happy, pleasant thing to be forced to think about.

The real problem in the GOP isn't the racism (and it's certainly there) but the complete failure to deal with the assumption of privilege.   People don't want to discuss it.  They don't want to go there, because it's something by and large that white Americans have the privilege to turn off if they don't want to think about it, unlike basically every person of color.  It's a party of a few, awful racist assholes and a whole bunch of enablers.

Having said that, the Democrats aren't angels either.  There's all kids of assumption of privilege by white liberals too.  But one side at least has leaders, activists, and rank and file members who want to work through to ugly bits.  The other?  The other side doesn't like to even acknowledge it exists.

I personally think Frum's being too cute by half up there, and the major issue is you have a difficult time telling if Frum is being snide or serious, whether his screed is parody or real (and the difference between the two is microscopic, frankly.)  That however doesn't change the point that this really is how an awful lot of white Republicans think...and more than a few white Democrats.

In Which Tweety Remembers Which Side He's On

MSNBC's Chris Matthews, on Morning Joe, talking to RNC chair Reince Priebus.  99 times out of 100 this would be Priebus getting serviced by the court eunuch, but apparently Tweety rolled 00 on the dice Monday morning and decided he had a small shred of journalistic decency left.

“That cheap shot about ‘I don’t have a problem with my birth certificate’ was awful,” Matthews said of GOP hopeful Mitt Romney’s Friday embrace of the birther notion that President Barack Obama was not born in the U.S. “It is an embarrassment to your party to play that card.”

This stuff about getting rid of the work requirement for welfare is dishonest, everyone has pointed out that it’s dishonest,” he continued. “And you are playing that little ethnic card there. You can play your games and giggle about it, but the fact is, you’re side is playing that card. You start talking about work requirements, you know what game you’re playing, everybody knows what game you’re playing. It’s a race card.”

“And this thing about birthers — yeah, if you’re name’s Romney, you were well born, you went to prep school, you can brag about it. And this [Barack Obama] guy, he’s got an African name, he’s got to live with it. … This is absurdity! Making fun of this guy’s birth certificate issue when it was never a real issue, except on the right wing.”

Priebus goes on to take shots at Matthews, but to his credit, Matthews just melts his face off.   It took long enough, but if Priebus has lost Tweety, maybe there's hope after all for the Village.

Maybe.  Also, it doesn't stop Matthews from being 100% right in his rant, too.

Go figure.

Chris Bag Of Backstabbed

Looks like the NY Post has decided that New Jersey GOP Gov. Chris Christie has to pay for his remarks about Mitt Romney.  Et, tu, Chris?

Gov. Chris Christie wasn’t willing to give up the New Jersey statehouse to be Mitt Romney’s running mate because he doubted they’d win, The Post has learned.

Romney’s top aides had demanded Christie step down as the state’s chief executive because if he didn’t, strict pay-to-play laws would have restricted the nation’s largest banks from donating to the campaign — since those banks do business with New Jersey.

But Christie adamantly refused to sacrifice his post, believing that being Romney’s running mate wasn’t worth the gamble.

“[Christie] felt, at one point, that [President] Obama could lose this. And, look, there still is that chance. But he knows, right now, you have to say it’s unlikely,” one source said.

Yeah, I can see Chris here not wanting to give up the Governor's Mansion, but here's the wacky part.  The Romney camp is scrambling to say this isn't true.

The Romney campaign on Monday denied a new report that New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie didn't want to leave his current post to run on Mitt Romney's ticket because he was concerned they'd lose.

The New York Post reported Monday that Romney aides, in courting Christie to be Romney's running mate, told him he'd have to step down to avoid ethics problems -- namely, so that banks that do business with New Jersey could donate to the campaign. The Post said Christie did not want to step down, doubting the Romney team could win.

But Romney campaign strategist Russ Schriefer told Fox News that he personally spoke with Christie, who called the story "totally untrue." 

Two battling Rupert Murdoch media outlets with conflicting stories?  Something's amiss here on the Jersey Shore, and it's not just Snooki being a new mom.

My money's on driving interest in Christie's keynote speech for the convention this week.  No publicity like free publicity.  Must not be expecting good ratings.

We'll see.

A Blimp, A Verb, And 9/11

Ron Paul took time out of his busy schedule digging gold and burning pictures of Ben Bernanke on Sunday to remind us why he has no chance of ever being President of anything other than the Crazy Asshole Club Of America.

“Somebody — rather nationally —- said the other day on the Internet 'if those Paul people had been in charge Osama Bin Laden would still be alive.' But you know what I think the answer is? So would the 3000 people killed on 9/11 still be alive!” 

Gosh Ron, I'm sure all the 9/11 families are glad to hear that.  If it's not the Pareto 80/20 rule, Ron Paul Corollary getting in his way (20% of what Ron Paul says is sane, 80% is nucking futs) it's his preening smug ego that still wouldn't earn my vote.

I'm glad this jackass will finally be out of Congress in January.

Happy Trails To You!

Former South Carolina GOP Gov. Mark "Hiking the Appalachian Trail" Sanford has popped the question to his Argentinian mistress (and soulmate) Maria Belen Chapur at a restaurant in Palermo.

According to the Argentinian newspaper Clarín, Sanford arrived early to the Bella Italia Grill in Palermo for a lunch date last week with Maria Belen Chapur, handed a waiter a bag containing the engagement ring and told him to “make up a good story” for her while he hid in the stall.

When Chapur arrived, she was told she had won a prize for being the restaurant’s 100th customer of the day. Though she reportedly didn’t know what to make of the story, Sanford soon emerged to spring his proposal, which she accepted.

CNN published photos of Sanford with Chapur Sunday, citing a source “close to” the former governor, along with a statement confirming the engagement.

“I’m both happy and excited for what that means,” he said. “I have long expressed my feelings for her, she’s a wonderful person. My closest friends have met and love her, and I look forward to introducing her to still many more that have yet to do so.”

Oh, you remember Mark, right?

Republicans began placing Sanford in high-profile positions three years ago to groom him for a leadership role, before he seemingly vanished that June; while reporters were told he was hiking the Appalachian Trail, it turned out he had been visiting Chapur in Argentina without telling his staff, or his wife.

Sanford resigned from both his governorship and as leader of the Republican Governors Association and became a national punchline. He was succeeded by Nikki Haley, his former protege.

Eh, Sanford will be back eventually.  Don't count him out for 2014 when Sen. Lindsey Graham is up for re-election.  I'm betting South Carolina Republicans would much rather have Sanford than Graham in DC.

Romney Is The Undercard, Folks

Move over, Robot/Zombie ‘12.  The real players at the RNC are the ones not running for office at all.

Nevada billionaire and Republican donor Sheldon Adelson and his wife, Miriam, are getting ready to create more political buzz. They have decided to attend this week’s Republican convention, CNN has learned. 
They are expected to arrive in Tampa on Monday, one source with knowledge of their plans told CNN, and will undoubtedly draw a lot of attention.
The couple will take in much of the convention activity and are expected to listen to many of the speeches, especially ones by Mitt and Ann Romney.

Least they could do is look in on the candidate they paid tens of millions for.  And if you don’t know much about Sheldon Adelson’s wife Miriam, well you should meet her.

Another possible stop for them is the “Woman Up!” Pavilion here in Tampa named in honor of Miriam Adelson. The pavilion will be the scene for a series of events and policy discussions this week and is sponsored by the YG Network, a non-profit organization aimed at supporting conservative political positions and those politicians who support them. The Woman Up! effort was launched to emphasize issues key to women. 
“Dr. Adelson is a passionate and successful woman who has balanced work and family life remarkably, and we are honored to welcome her to this effort,” Mary Anne Carter, executive director of the YG Network’s ‘Woman Up!” effort, said in a statement last week. “A renowned medical doctor, Miriam Adelson’s experiences in the Israeli Army, as a working mom, and a philanthropist equip her with a unique understanding of the challenges that women from all walks of life face.”

Uh-huh.  And it turns out the YG Network is exactly what you would expect, full of press releases about “liberal schemes” and imploring that the best thing for women in America is to cut taxes on people like the Adelsons, because this will free up money to go to deserving conservative women or something rather than those awful liberal ones, otherwise, well, everyone will have to suffer instead, you see.

Women from all walks of life have their own pavilions at the conventions, right?


Monday, August 27, 2012

Last Call

So America, what happens when the talk of President Obama's re-election leading to "civil war" and "armed resistance" and "the blood of tyrants" leads to something very real and frightening?

Prosecutors say a murder case against four soldiers in Georgia has revealed they formed an anarchist militia within the U.S. military with plans to overthrow the federal government.

One of the accused troops, Pfc. Michael Burnett, pleaded guilty Monday to manslaughter and gang charges in the December slayings of former soldier Michael Roark and his girlfriend, 17-year-old Tiffany York.

Burnett told a Long County judge that Roark, who had just left the Army, knew of the militia group’s plans and was killed because he was “a loose end.”

Prosecutor Isabel Pauley says the group bought $87,000 worth of guns and bomb-making materials and plotted to take over Fort Stewart, bomb targets in nearby Savannah and Washington state, as well as assassinate the president.

Gosh, you mean the people with all the guns and the training to use them to kill saying "We must resist Obama by whatever means necessary" is just meaningless talk, and our brave men and women in uniform would never act upon any dark impulses to turn on a Commander-in-Chief that was constantly referred to by an angry right-wing media as an illegitimate, America-hating tyrant who is just waiting to institute martial law, right?

Oh wait.  These people apparently did.  And they bought nearly $100k in firearms, weapons and explosives with the express intent it seems of attacking the federal government and trying to assassinate the President.

But remember, it's just talk.  That is until someone gets hurt, in which case it won't be appropriate to assign blame or even discuss the role of right-wing hate speech in America because that's "exploiting a tragedy for political gain."

So glad the right never did that say, eleven years ago next month.

Oh, and before the BOTH SIDES DO IT nonsense,  the answer to that is "no, they don't."

Leader of Army Plot to Assassinate Obama Apparently Attended the 2008 Republican Convention as a Page

Isaac Aguigui, the Army private and alleged ringleader of a plot to assassinate Barack Obama and "take over" Ft. Stewart in Georgia, apparently served as a page at the 2008 Republican National Convention in Minneapolis, Minn. That's his mug shot after he was arrested for the alleged murder of Pvt. Michael Roark on the left. At right is a 2008 Reuters photo with the caption: "Republican National Convention page Isaac Aguigui watches from the edge of the floor at the start of the first session of the 2008 Republican National Convention in St. Paul, Minnesota September 1, 2008." 

To recap:  Guy supposedly running this plot to assassinate the President, was a page at the GOP Convention in 2008.  If the shoe had somehow been on the other foot, this would be the top news story in America for the next week.

Of course, nobody seems to care that this guy is exactly the douchebag right-wing asshole type that the Justice Department tried to warn people about in 2009.  For their trouble, the right savaged the report and the Obama administration as anti-white racists who hated America's troops.

Screw you.  These guys had tens of thousands of dollars in weapons and were going to kill Americans and go after the President because they believed what they were told, that the government is the enemy and must be stopped with lethal force.

End of line.

Collateral Damage

LOUISVILLE, Ky. – More than half the babies in University Hospital's neonatal intensive care unit one day this month were suffering from drug withdrawal — one sucking licorice-flavored morphine to ease his tremors and near-constant crying, another so sensitive to light and sound that he slept in a dark isolation room.
Kentucky has seen its hospitalizations for addicted newborns climb from 29 in 2000 to 730 last year. The state's 2,400% increase dwarfs by comparison a disturbing national rise of 330% found in a study that examined hospitalizations from 2000 to 2009. 

This is the war on drugs, folks.

So tell me again why we have the federal government chasing down marijuana stores while this runs rampant across the United States.  Tell me we shouldn't allocate our resources differently.  Tell me babies suffering is the price we should pay for this stupidity.

Joplin Mosque: A New Hope

(Reuters) - A rally for Muslims in Joplin, Missouri, drew hundreds of people on Saturday night, nearly three weeks after a local mosque was destroyed by a fire which members of the Islamic community suspect was a hate crime, the organizer of the event said.
The gathering at a city park was promoted on a Facebook page as a way to show "that love is stronger than fear or hatred."
Organizers saw the rally in part as a giving-back to the local Muslim community because their mosque was a relief center for victims of the May 2011 tornado in Joplin, which took 161 lives and damaged or destroyed more than 8,000 buildings.
This is a good sign, because my neck of the woods isn't known for its religious tolerance.  That locals are showing support is an amazing step towards redemption.  It's also a reminder to those who still secretly cheer the arsonists... we're not all like you.  Some of us are better than that.

Child. Hot Car. Again.

Police are investigating the death of a 9-month-old boy found in a parked car on a hot Saturday afternoon.
The death seems to be an accident, according to the Middlesex district attorney's office, which is investigating the case. Still, police blocked off the back entrance to the home on Huntington Street.
A police source says the baby lived on the first floor of the two-story home. A group of people gathered out front while investigators worked in the back. 

Accident or not, this child is dead.  When are we going to assume people should know better and start prosecuting blatant ignorance?  It's August, for God's sake.

Springfield Enjoys A Day Of Awesome

SPRINGFIELD, Mo.-- Comic book fans will be out in droves today for one of Springfield's biggest events.

Rublecon 2012 will be held at the Howard Johnson on South Glenstone all day Sunday.
The events kicks off at 9a.m. and will run until 6p.m.
At least 15 different vendors will be on-hand to showcase thousands of comics, action figures and other collectibles.

This year's event will also feature guest Adrienne Wilkinson from Xena Warrior Princess.
Yours truly was there, with the Fly By Knight Comics group.  We launched our first issue of Zee: The Average American Maniac and a collection of bonus stories from my fiction blog, Dead Shuffle.  We sold out and had a great time.

And thusly the Bon learned that having one's picture taken repeatedly and signing autographs does not suck. Adrienne is an amazing person, by the way.  If you ever get a chance to speak with her, you should.

Bill Nye The Pundit Guy, Part 2

Bill Nye speaks the truth here, as much as the fundies don't want to listen.

Bill Nye, host of the popular nineties children’s show Bill Nye the Science Guy, is warning parents to not teach their children creationism because, he says, it does them a disservice by undermining their scientific understanding and development.

In a short video for Big Think, Nye says that despite being the seat of some of the world’s greatest technological innovations, America is still home to so many who refuse to accept the fundamental scientific theory of evolution. If that belief is passed on to future generations, he said, America would be deprived of the scientists and engineers it will need to stay technologically competitive down the road.

“I say to the grownups, if you want to deny evolution, and live in your—in your world, that’s completely inconsistent with everything we observe in our universe, that’s fine, but don’t make your kids do it, because we need them,” he said. “We need scientifically literate voters and taxpayers for the future.”

Not in the GOP future, Bill.   That future is full of ignorant, manipulated, cynical suckers who do what they are told.  And the GOP platform adopted this week at the RNC Convention gives away the game plan.

Science, critical thinking, those are for people who question the status quo and the world around them.  You need not apply those to Republicans in 2012.
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