Saturday, March 3, 2012

Last Call

Rush Limbaugh wants credit for apologizing, after reaping a week of free publicity. For a troll like him, negative is as good as (if not better) than positive attention.

Though I'm sure everyone has read about it, I'm going to include a quick summary of what he said. He called Sandra Fluke a "slut" and "prostitute" for insisting women have access to birth control. He said he would like to see her put some sex tapes online, and said her costs would be higher because of all the sex she was having.

If he worked for a real corporation, he'd have been fired in a hot second and the victim of this blatant harassment would have a legitimate lawsuit. But because he's a coward he hides behind his own "absurdity" and entertainer job as permission to take cheap shots at a young woman, who took it in stride and showed him what the high road looks like.  By the way, this is exactly what Zandar was saying, even down to the use of the word absurd in his defense.

"For over 20 years, I have illustrated the absurd with absurdity, three hours a day, five days a week. In this instance, I chose the wrong words in my analogy of the situation. I did not mean a personal attack on Ms. Fluke."
Really?  So you'd call your own mom a slut or a prostitute because those words aren't a personal attack? How else should she have interpreted the use of those words?  How about apologizing for implying that she was having so much sex she was going broke?  That seems pretty personal to me, and no accident.  This apology is an even more insulting pile of bullshit than the comments that started this entire episode.  His original comments exposed the ignorance that is so common among his intended audience.

When sponsors began to drop, Limbaugh had found the perfect time to try to play it both ways.  He rolled his eyes and "gave in" to the liberals.  He had gotten his publicity out of it and milked it to death anyway.  He'll try to claim it as sincere when it is convenient.  He calls it an attempt at humor in his apology statement.

As soon as it affected the money, he chose to play martyr and let himself be coerced into an apology.  But don't kid yourself for a second, he didn't mean it.  He doesn't give a damn, and would sell all women out in a heartbeat for a little ratings spike.  Oh look, he just did.

Going Back To The Oil Well

Ahead of a trial that was to begin on Monday, oil giant BP has reached a $7.8 billion settlement with Gulf Coast claimants suing the company.  BP is claiming the settlement means these folks will get the money they deserve sooner rather than later...or never.

The estimated $7.8 billion deal struck by BP Plc with businesses and individuals suing over the massive 2010 Gulf of Mexico oil spill could speed up payments to thousands of claimants and offers lawyers a potential windfall in legal fees.

London-based BP announced the deal on Friday with the Plaintiffs' Steering Committee (PSC), which represents condominium owners, fishermen, hoteliers, restaurateurs and others who say their livelihoods were damaged by the April 20, 2010 explosion of the Deepwater Horizon drilling rig and subsequent oil spill.

The settlement, which delayed a giant trial that had been set to get underway in a New Orleans federal court on Monday, is a step by BP toward resolving its liability in the case, which stretches into the billions of dollars. However, the deal does nothing to settle charges brought by the biggest player in the trial: the U.S. government.

And that's the big problem for BP.   The federal trial is still going forward.

Well, unless the GOP gains control of the Justice Department.  You have a say in that as a voter.  If you think President Obama's been soft on BP, the GOP will not exactly bring them to justice.

AIPAC Attack, Get Back

The Hill, today on President Obama's AIPAC conference speech:

When President Obama takes the stage on Sunday morning before the American Israel Public Affairs Conference, it could represent a pivotal moment for Obama to keep Jewish voters in his corner.

Republicans have sought to peel off the Jewish vote from Obama, as his tenuous relationship with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, who will address AIPAC Monday after a one-on-one meeting with Obama, has led to accusations that he isn't supportive of Israel.

“The feeling is that there’s just no empathy there,” said Dov Zakheim, a former undersecretary of Defense under President Reagan and advisor to President George W. Bush.  “And he hasn’t done anything to really change that."

Another one-time supporter of Obama agrees: "I have been completely disappointed in his policies on Israel. He has a lot to prove going forward."

So glad that a former Bush advisor and an unnamed former Obama supporter proves the President is losing the Jewish vote.  The reality, of course according to J Street's Jim Gerstein:

According to Gerstein, Democrats still maintained a 66 to 31 percent advantage among Jewish voters in the 2010 midterms — in a year where the GOP won in a landslide. Jewish voters voted for Democrats in greater numbers than other key Democratic constituencies, including unmarried women, Hispanics and voters under 30.

Further, Gerstein notes, Republicans and conservatives still have high disapproval numbers among Jewish voters — while Democrats, including the president, remain relatively popular. In July J Street polling, Jews disapprove of the tea party movement 74 percent, with 12 percent approval. They disapprove of Mitt Romney 60 percent to 16 percent, and they disapprove of former President George W. Bush 73 percent to to 16 percent. In the same survey, Obama is above water 56 percent to 34 percent — numbers similar to a recent Gallup polls from the fall that showed Obama at 54 percent to 41 percent.

The notion that Jewish voters are a monolithic block that wants the President to attack Iran or else they'll completely abandon the Democrats is absurd, but it's conventional wisdom in the Village, and they have no intention of trying to correct it themselves.

Call Someone Who Cares

AT&T has finally announced a cap on their data, and after customer outrage they have been upfront about the limits and terms.  The customers who signed a contract expecting unlimited data have continued to rant online and file complaints.  They may actually have a case in court, AT&T may be doing this simply to prevent future losses in small claims court.

AT&T stopped selling "unlimited data" plans nearly a year ago, but existing subscribers were allowed to keep it.

The company charges $30 per month for the plan, the same amount it charges for 3 gigabytes of data on its new "tiered," or limited, plan.

AT&T has about 17 million "unlimited" smartphone subscribers, most of whom use iPhones.

AT&T's reversal comes less than a week after iPhone user Matt Spaccarelli won a small claims lawsuit against the company for slowing down his service. A Simi Valley, Calif. judge awarded Spaccarelli $850, agreeing that "unlimited" service shouldn't be subject to slowdowns. AT&T argued that it never guaranteed the speed of the service, just that it would provide unlimited downloads. The company said it will appeal the decision. It bars subscribers from bringing class action suits.
Maybe it's just me, but does this not sound like a bait and switch?  T-Mobile gives 5 GB for the same price on their most expensive plan.  Notifying customers that you are screwing them over is still screwing them over.

I don't have AT&T, and because of stupidity like this I never will.  If they continue to go in this direction, T-Mobile may end up winning a war they never asked for in the first place.

Santorum Apologizes

... and still manages to screw it up.

"It was a strong term, probably not the smartest thing but you know what I don't give prepared talking points speeches written by other people," Santorum said in an interview on CNN's "The Situation Room with Wolf Blitzer." "I got a little passionate there and I used a harsher word than I normally would but the point was government shouldn't be dictating to people what they do."

Government shouldn't be dictating to people what they do. That's absolutely correct. That it came from the mouth of Rick "Let Me Tell You What Type Of Relationships Should Be Legal" Santorum is beyond amazing.

Give the man points, he must be completely blind.

Or maybe he's just believes government should be able to tell us what we can't do instead.

The State Of The GOP War On Women

Hey folks, guess what?  While we're certainly watching the GOP introduce bullet to foot on a daily basis at the national level, they're completely winning the war on women at the state level with the power we gave them (in some cases unrestricted power) in 2010.  Federal laws may change for the better, but it doesn't matter a damn bit if states administering the programs simply refuse to implement them.

Montana and New Jersey have eliminated altogether their state family planning programs. New Hampshire cut its funding by 57 percent and five other states made more modest program trims.

But the biggest impact, by far, has been in Texas.

State lawmakers last fall cut family-planning funds by two-thirds, or nearly $74 million over two years. Within months, half the state-supported family planning clinics in Texas had closed.

The state network, which once provided 220,000 women a year free and low-cost birth control, cervical cancer tests and diabetes screenings, will now serve just 40,000 to 60,000, officials said.

Another 130,000 low-income Texas women who get free exams and contraceptives through Medicaid could lose those benefits by month's end, due to a dispute between the state and federal governments over whether Planned Parenthood should be allowed to serve women on that program.

So yes, hundreds of thousands of women are losing access to contraception and basic women's health services.  Voters taught President Obama and the Democrats a "lesson" in 2010, ostensibly over government interference in health care.  Is anyone surprised that the first thing Republicans do when given power of government is use it to take away health care from hundreds of thousands?

If this kind of nonsense pisses you off, you do have an option in November, you know.  Consider the real "lesson" of the 2010 elections:  Maybe there's something to the notion that the "Republicans are worse" as a valid, motivating factor to get your ass into the voting booth this fall.

Blown Away In The NKY

We're still good here at ZVTS HQ here in northern Kentucky, but a bit south of me, several homes were destroyed and 3 people were killed in neighboring Kenton County.  The devastation is pretty awful, not like Joplin last year or Tuscaloosa, but still the footage coming in is just heartbreaking.  One of my co-workers' homes was damaged but she and her family are otherwise unharmed.

Maybe 15,000 people are without power at this point.  It's pretty bad.  One woman was impaled in the storm.  You forget that you live in tornado alley, Ohio and Kentucky aren't really considered "tornado country" the way Oklahoma or Nebraska or Missouri is.  We got an ugly reminder today.

Wasn't just here, either.  Southern Indiana was hit pretty hard, as was northern Alabama.  Something like one of the top 5 worst days for tornadoes in US history.  It was just frightening driving home today, the sky was black and it was pouring, and then it cleared up and it was brightly sunny by the time I got home.  I knew any storm where the clouds that had been there all day were pushed out that quickly had to have been a freight train rolling, and sure enough at least 3 tornadoes touched down.

Needless to say, the Cincinnati Tri-State Red Cross definitely could use your help.  Thanks.

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