Thursday, February 23, 2012

Last Call

So, this happened.

Like I said, after this last election, the first order of business is pass a budget. Now, I believe that. I supported the Paul Ryan budget and sent it over to the Senate. Now I live with some Senators, I yell at them all the time, I grabbed one of them the other day and shook him and I’d love to get them to vote for it — boy I’d love that. You know but other than me going over there with a gun and holding it to their head and maybe killing a couple of them, I don’t think they’re going to listen unless they get beat.

That's GOP Rep. John Sullivan of Oklahoma at a town hall this week. He's apologizing, of course. You know, since he got caught saying he was going to give the Senate some good ol' Second Amendment remedies.

I mean it's not like members of Congress actually get shot in the head or anything.

Oh wait.

The Brother From Another Planet

I've discussed at length the "Otherization" of President Obama as one of the most pernicious and vile themes of the last four years, how Republicans constantly drum up anger and hatred towards POTUS by saying how he's"just not like us" and changing the criteria of what he is and is not on a daily basis in order to custom-tailor their awful attacks.  E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post does a great service by picking up on this theme.

They say that President Obama is a Muslim, but if he isn’t, he’s a secularist who is waging war on religion. On some days he’s a Nazi, but on most others he’s merely a socialist. His especially creative opponents see him as having a “Kenyan anti-colonial worldview,” while the less adventurous say that he’s an elitist who spent too much time in Cambridge, Hyde Park and other excessively academic precincts.

Whatever our president is, he is never allowed to be a garden-variety American who plays basketball and golf, has a remarkably old-fashioned family life and, in the manner we regularly recommend to our kids, got ahead by getting a good education.

Please forgive this outburst. It’s simply astonishing that a man in his fourth year as our president continues to be the object of the most extraordinary paranoid fantasies. A significant part of his opposition still cannot accept that Obama is a rather moderate politician quite conventional in his tastes and his interests. And now that the economy is improving, short-circuiting easy criticisms, Obama’s adversaries are reheating all the old tropes and cliches and slanders.

Even if you actually believe all this stuff, it's the same thing that failed to win for the GOP in 2008, so why are the Republicans doubling down on this?  Because they can't win on the issues, of course.  They couldn't in 2008, they can't now.

So this nonsense is all they have.  And still, the GOP candidate will get a minimum 42-43% of the vote running on this.

No Respect For The Elderly

If you want to know why Republicans don't really fear eliminating Medicare and replacing it with vouchers, or going after Social Security, or turning Medicaid into block grants for states to hide brutal cuts in the program, it's because the people it will hurt aren't the people voting for the Republicans in the first place:

A new report finds that black and Latino Americans are significantly more likely to be have difficulty retiring than white Americans on average.

University of California, Berkeley Center for Labor Research and Education examined statistics from 2008 to 2010 and determined that black and Latino retirees were more likely to be in the lowest income group. According to their report (PDF), 32 percent blacks and 47 percent of Latinos are in the bottom 25 percent of earners, while only 22 percent of whites were in the bottom 25 percent.

Senior poverty rates among people of color were even more staggering, with 19.3 percent of black seniors and 19 percent of Latino seniors in poverty. Among whites, however, only 7.4 percent of seniors were below the poverty line.

Statistics showed that blacks and Latinos were also far less likely have retirement plans or health insurance offered by their employers, factors that make saving for retirement even harder. 

So yes, there's a reason why Republicans want to cut these programs and make things worse: they figure they won't lose too much of the Senior vote at all from where they are currently.

Epic Fail: Jay Nixon's War On Drugs

Well, you have to admit it's unusual.

ST. LOUIS (AP) — Authorities allege that the quest to make methamphetamine has led to an unlikely alliance between a white supremacist and a black inner-city gang member.

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch ( reports that Aryan Nations member Richard Treis and Robert "Biz" Swinney are among seven people facing federal charges for conspiracy to make meth, distribution of meth and other drug-related crimes.

Amazing what people will do to make money, huh?

The other thing here is the real problem with meth, drug laws, and over the counter medicines. Poorly thought out measures have created an industry that has people buying ingredients for meth and reselling the medicine for enough that criminals can live off the profit. A new class of criminal has been created. Why risk meth charges when you can deal in Sudafed instead? Jay Nixon is trying to make it so you have to have a prescription to use medicines with pseudoephedrine. That won't help, but he refuses to acknowledge that it will put a burden on the poor while giving the Sudafed bandits even more financial reward. The people who are underinsured or have no coverage at all will suffer so that Jay Nixon can score a political victory.  Hell, there are too many rural poor who can't afford the cold medicine.

You can always rely on Jay Nixon to take drugs seriously, you know.  Unless his son is involved.  When it comes to him, it's amazing how lenient "reasonable doubt" can be.  Thanks to his regulations, there is now profit in reselling certain drugs.  Regular folks are treated like criminals for getting cold medicine.  Jay Nixon's son can be surrounded by pot but for lack of evidence the charges were dropped. Stupidity all around.

A Swing And A Miss: Strike Two

They were close to figuring it out, and then they just freaking missed.

Headline: Mom warns of energy drink dangers after boy falls out of car

The article is very short and can be read here. The basics are that a 13-year-old boy drank alcohol mixed with an energy drink and jumped out of a car, leading to his death.  No charges will be pressed against the poor driver, who was unable to defeat physics and will carry that nightmare for life.

Here's where it takes an even more alarming turn for the stupid:

"This drink is illegal and way too powerful for kids," she told The Baltimore Sun. "They all think they are invincible, but this shows them they are not."
Maryland Attorney General Doug Gansler has made it clear something more needs to be done about alcohol-packed energy drinks.

Excuse the hell out of me, but am I the only one that thinks the person who supplied the kid with alcohol is guilty, and that there are several people who have some explaining to do?  What state was this boy in before he jumped?  How did he get the alcohol?  What did his parents know about what he was doing and who he was with?

It's too easy to blame the energy drink and ignore the other facts.  A 13-year-old was drinking, riding around in a car with others, and nobody seems to want to tell how it all came to his jumping from a moving vehicle.  I hope somebody digs a little deeper.

The Demise Of DOMA

On Wednesday a federal district court judge in California found that Section 3 of the Defense of Marriage Act, the part that defines marriage as between a man and a woman, to be in violation of the Fifth Amendment's equal protection clause.

Judge Jeffrey S. White, a Bush 41 appointee, was ruthless in his dismissal of the law's disregard for the Constitution.

The Court concludes that, based on the justifications proffered by Congress for its passage of DOMA, the statute fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny and is unconstitutional as applied to Ms. Golinski.

Although the Court finds that DOMA is subject to and fails to satisfy heightened scrutiny, it notes that numerous courts have found that the statute fails even rational basis review.

Failure on a rational basis level is legalese for "Epic Fail" people.  This one's going upstairs, along with last year's ruling. as well.

We'll see how it goes.

The Big GOP Debate Thread: By The Time I Get To Arizona

Here's are the only things you really need to know about last night's debate.  One, it's more than likely the last one for the Republicans.  Two, they did this:

On Wednesday, contraception became the latest topic to raise the ire of conservative debate goers.

During a CNN-sponsored Republican presidential debate in Arizona, the crowd booed wildly at the mention of birth control.

Newt Gingrich then lied about President Obama "supporting infanticide", Mittens then lied about the President's "assault on religious freedom", Santorum then lied about the "pill being dangerous", and Ron Paul noted that as a doctor, if only women had morals, we wouldn't need contraception at all.

The sound you heard during that roughly 8 minute segment of the debate was every female swing voter laughing and walking away from the Republicans for a very, very long time.

Conservative pundits sympathetic to Romney have been making the case this week that, whatever Santorum’s conservative merits, he drags the whole party down with his extreme rhetoric. They got plenty of evidence for their case on Wednesday after the GOP received a question on whether they support birth control. Gingrich and Romney practically fell over themselves to condemn moderator John King for daring to even bring it up, insisting that it was an irrelevant distraction from the important issues of the day and their only concerns with contraception were really about religious freedom.

Then came Rick Santorum, who completely deflated their case. He enthusiastically responded to a question about contraception with a lengthy (and seemingly unrelated) sermon about the over-sexualization of teenagers.

“What we’re seeing is a problem in our culture with respect the children being raised by children, children being raised out of wedlock, and the impact on society economically, the impact on society with respect to drug use and a host of other things, when children have children,” he said. “And so, yes, I was talking about these very serious issues.”

Pretty soon the entire podium was following his lead, joining in with their own denunciations of teenage pregnancy and calling for more abstinence programs.

These guys are toast.  Their party is toast.  Their ideas are toast.  The fact they spent that long bashing women in a debate where the word "jobs" was absent showed just how out of touch these fools really are.


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