Monday, February 6, 2012

Last Call

The Law Of Unintended Consequences has apparently bitten the Maine GOP so hard in the ass that they're scrambling to scuttle their own voter ID law.

Though Republicans enjoy full control over Maine’s lawmaking process, they’ve dropped a push to require certain photo identification in order to vote.

Though Maine Republicans were considering voter ID legislation at the beginning of the year, Democrats vociferously objected because the bill could prevent thousands of Mainers from voting, particularly elderly individuals. On Friday, Republicans acceded to those objections, striking the voter ID language from an election law bill. This is the second time voter ID has failed to pass the GOP-controlled Maine legislature. Last year, a voter ID bill failed in the Senate after first being passed by the House.

And that's actually the unofficial reason.  The actual reason they're scrapping their own voter ID laws?  The people told them to sit the hell down back in November.

Maine Republicans were chastened during the 2011 session after they passed a bill to eliminate the state’s 38 year-old law allowing for Election Day registration, only to see their move overturned by a citizens veto in November. More than 60 percent of Mainers rebuked the legislature and voted to restore Election Day registration.

State Rep. Diane Russell (D) pointed to this episode to explain why Republicans opted against pursuing voter ID again this year. “Last November, 60% of Maine voters overwhelmingly rejected the Republican election suppression agenda,” Russell, who sits on the committee that removed the voter ID language, told ThinkProgress. “It is a real testament to Maine voters that Republicans decided against pursuing another failed election suppression policy by killing voter ID.”

Also, and just to be completely frank, a law designed to disenfranchise the elderly and minorities in a state like Maine is going to hit "the elderly" a lot harder than "minorities" because, well, it's Maine.  So yes, this little stunt was destined to backfire completely, and lo and behold it did.  Surprise!

Iran, So Far Away Part 10

Well, since John Yoo is on vacation this week or something waterboarding herds of unicorns and John Bolton's Mustache is busy with trying to adapt drone controls for use by facial hair (hard to fly straight and hit the red button at the same time when you're only a mustache) to bomb Syria, it's up to Niall Ferguson at the Daily Beast to yell LET'S BOMB IRAN as loudly as possible at the Village today.

The single biggest danger in the Middle East today is not the risk of a six-day Israeli war against Iran. It is the risk that Western wishful nonthinking allows the mullahs of Tehran to get their hands on nuclear weapons. Because I am in no doubt that they would take full advantage of such a lethal lever. We would have acquiesced in the creation of an empire of extortion.
War is an evil. But sometimes a preventive war can be a lesser evil than a policy of appeasement. The people who don’t yet know that are the ones still in denial about what a nuclear-armed Iran would end up costing us all.
It feels like the eve of some creative destruction.

And really, Ferguson's entire argument is "We could so take Iran because our aircraft carriers have more hit points."   Also, the whole "Oil at $160 a barrel if war breaks out" thing is so 2008 because the Saudis can just make more, or something.  It's like the last 11 years never happened, and he's just expecting us to buy the argument and go "LET'S DO IT!" like we're playing Team Fortress 2.  Our bombs are filled with awesome cartoon sound effects and FREEDOM, so it's cool anyway because AMERICA!

Meanwhile, the really awesome part is 49% of Americans are already on board with Operation Here We Go Again, so before you have a good laugh at Niall here, understand that the universe has spotted him a hell of a spread.

President Obama Makes His Case For A Second Term

President Obama's Super Bowl pre-game interview with NBC's Matt Lauer was an opportunity for the President to make his argument as to why he should be re-elected in November, and he talked about jobs, diplomacy with Iran, and raising his teenage daughters.

During the interview, which will be broadcast in its entirety on TODAY Monday, Obama also talked about his re-election bid. He was reminded of a comment he made to Lauer three years ago, during an interview before the 2009 Super Bowl about the economic crisis, in which he said, "If I don't have this done in three years, then it's going to be a one-term proposition."

Lauer noted a new report showing U.S. unemployment has fallen below 9 percent, but many Americas still don't feel the poor economy has turned around, and asked Obama if he's made his case for re-election.

"I deserve a second term, but we're not done," Obama replied. "We've got to boost up American manufacturing, so that all our manufacturing is building again and selling overseas. We've got to make sure that we're pushing American energy ... and we've got to make sure the skills of American workers are the best in the world.

"We've made progress, and the thing right now is to just make sure we don't starting turning in a new direction that could throw that progress off."

But it was the President's comments on Iran that will raise eyebrows.

"We're not taking any options off the table," Obama said. "Our preferred solution is diplomatic, we're going to keep on pushing on that front ... [but] I've been very clear that we're going to do everything we can to prevent Iran from getting a nuclear weapon and creating an arms race, a nuclear arms race, in a volatile region."

Ahh, the old "All options on the table" gambit.  We've heard Bush use this time and time again, but Obama not so much.  It is worth nothing then that he mentioned this, as well as saying that the US was in "lockstep" with Israel when it comes to preventing Iran from getting a nuclear weapon.

Sadly, the statement was necessary in today's political climate.  But it's worth keeping in the back of your head.

Griffin O'Neal Sentenced

Ryan O'Neal's son Griffin faced four years in prison, and came out with a fairly reasonable 16-month sentence for a car wreck in which he injured another driver.

He pleaded guilty to driving while under the influence and possession of a firearm by a felon.  He failed a drug screen, turning a positive result for "many" substances.  He also had a relapse that sent him back to rehab, which interfered with the court's schedules.

Normally, I'm all for rehab and hoping for the best, but this young man needs more than that. He has crossed the line for years, and may actually dry out enough over his sentence to get a grip on his addiction. If not, he'll be back again.  I do feel for the guy, but he wasn't going to stop on his own.

One Shot Setback

LOS ANGELES, Feb 5 ( – Two producers of Tom Cruise's upcoming thriller "One Shot" were slapped by a breach of contract suit in Los Angeles Superior Court on Friday by a former producer on the project.

Kevin Messick, a producer on "Batman Forever" and "The Other Guys," alleges that Don Granger and Gary Levinsohn of Mutual Film Company edged him out of the film adaptation of Lee Child's best-selling novel.

Messick is asking for unspecified damages, his producer's fees and the rights to participate in any upcoming sequels. The franchise rights are important because Jack Reacher, the army-major-turned drifter that Cruise will play, is featured in multiple Child novels.

Le sigh. I'm not a fan of Tom Cruise playing Jack Reacher (anyone who has actually read the book knows why). I'm also not really excited about any of the buzz I've heard so far about the movie. This is yet another curse for the project, which seems to be having a tough time getting off the ground.

I'm not sure whether I should hope for that or not.

Stupor Bowl Ads

Bunch of interesting ads this year in the BIG GAME(tm) but I can tell you without a doubt the worst ad to air last night:  in Michigan, Rep. Pete Hoekstra crapped out this lovely piece of anti-Chinese racist garbage on his opponent, Democrat Sen. Debbie Stabenow.

A Super Bowl ad for U.S. Senate candidate Pete Hoekstra uses an Asian woman speaking in broken English to accuse his rival, Democratic incumbent Debbie Stabenow, of helping the Chinese economy.

“Thank you Michigan Senator Debbie Spenditnow,” the woman says in the 30-second ad as she rides her bike through a rice paddy field.

“Debbie spends so much American money, you borrow more and more, from us. Your economy get very weak, ours get very good. We take your jobs. Thank you Debbie Spenditnow.”

Hoekstra then appears in a new frame, saying, “I think this race for Michigan Senate is between Debbie ‘spend-it-now’ and Pete ‘spend-it-not.’”

The ad is at the link on Raw Story, it's annoying enough that I won't post it here (rare for me, I know.)  But you get the picture.  Totally, completely disgusting.  And Hoekstra won't even bat an eyelash about this.  Making fun of FERENERS SPEAKIN' BAD ENGLISH is totally awesome.

That's all they have anymore in 2012...the party of White People Or The Other.

Nuked Gingrich, Part 17

Considering Leroy Newton Gingrich has already lost the Serious Villagers to Mitt Romney some time ago, he's now reduced to running on EVIL SOSHULIST GUBMINT PROGRAMS.

The 2012 Republican presidential candidate was asked by NBC’s David Gregory on “Meet The Press” whether his hopes for a U.S. colony on the moon fly in the face of the GOP’s fiscal responsibility mantra. Gingrich responded with some choice words about austerity itself before defending his lunar ambitions.

“First of all, David, I don’t think you’ll ever find me talking about an age of austerity. I don’t think that’s the right solution,” Gingrich said. “I am a pro-growth Republican. I’m a pro-growth conservative. I think the answer is to grow the economy, not to punish the American people with austerity.”

One of two things is going to happen (and probably both).  One, Newt will be called a "big-government fake conservative" by his GOP opponents, and two, we're going to see more than a few Puritopians on the "left" say that this makes Gingrich more "progressive" than Obama.

This really is one of those cases where Newt's GOP critics are correct:  Newt's been a government creature for close to three decades now.  Defecits have never bothered him.  But this is Newt's version of pivoting to the middle.  Either that, or he's desperate as hell right now.  Probably both.

Don't fall for it.  Still Newt.


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