Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Last Call

Megadeth rock icon Dave Mustaine:  Birther idiot.  Santorum supporter.  Oy.

Megadeth guitarist Dave Mustaine said in an interview with a Canadian television show “The Hour” that he “has a lot of questions about him [President Obama], but certainly not where he was born. I know he was born somewhere else than America.”

“Well, then you’re a birther,” said host George Stroumboulopoulos, who had asked Mustaine directly whether he was one.

“No I’m not calling a question to it, I just, you know, what’s the point?” Mustaine said, who then proceeded to say that Obama had been “invisible” until he became President.

Earlier in the interview, Mustaine had lamented the state of American politics, casting aspersions on nearly all the Republican candidates as well, except for former Pennsylvania Senator Rick Santorum. Mustaine previously said that he hoped Santorum would make it to the White House, and then said he hadn’t actually given his endorsement, essentially citing some semantics about what he meant.

In the new interview, Mustaine said that Santourm “…just looks like he could be a really cool president, kinda like a JFK type of guy.”

OK, sort of a birther idiot, sort of a Santorum supporter.  Sort of.   Still a douchebag.

Husker Do (Or Don't)

Early PPP polling from Nebraska shows pretty much what I expected:  Bob Kerrey is in deep trouble after his "will I, won't I, maybe" dance to get into the Senate race and as a result, he's likely to lose Ben Nelson's old seat in November to GOP Secretary of State Jon Bruning unless he gets his ass in gear.

PPP's newest Nebraska Senate poll finds that Democrats are in a much worse position with Bob Kerrey as their candidate than they would have been with Ben Nelson, and that Jon Bruning is now a strong favorite in both the primary and general elections.

Kerrey's campaign rollout has not been a success. In October his favorability rating in the state was a +5 spread at 39/34. Since then it's dropped 20 points on the margin to -15 at 36/51. Kerrey's stayed steady with Democrats but has seen large drops with independents (from 47/24 to 36/38) and with Republicans (from 23/47 to 16/74).

Kerrey trails the top 3 Republican contenders by double digits. He's down 17 to Jon Bruning at 54-37, 14 to Don Stenberg at 52-38, and 10 to Deb Fischer at 48-38. In PPP's last poll before he announced his retirement Ben Nelson trailed Bruning by only 4, Stenberg by 3, and actually led Fischer by 2. This does not appear to be one of those instances where a retirement left the party better off.

There are two things a Democrat has to be able to do to win in Nebraska: peel off a lot of Republican votes and win independents by a wide margin. Zeroing in on the match up with Bruning, Kerrey is doing neither of those things. He's actually losing 18% of the Democratic vote to Bruning, more than the 12% of the Republican vote that he's winning over. And he trails 44-42 with independents as well. 

In other words, there's strong evidence Ben Nelson would have been a better choice to hold the seat, and he dicked the party over by ducking out just weeks before the filing deadline, leaving the Dems with Bob Kerrey.

And it looks like Kerrey may lose by 20 points.

However, this was to be expected, so we'll see.  It means holding Ohio and backing Sherrod Brown is even more important.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

There's a really simple reason why unemployment is higher in red states:  Republicans fired far more state and local employees in order to pay for additional tax cuts for businesses and the wealthy, which...surprise...did not create additional jobs!

Nearly all of the job losses took place at the state and local level, and they were most severe in a handful of GOP-controlled states. In other words, erosion of public sector employment isn’t a problem affecting the entire country equally—it’s a problem in particular states, thanks to very particular legislators. As the following chart shows, seven states laid off more than 2.5 percent of their own state and local workforce. Other states lost, on average, less than half a percent of their workforce.

Of the eleven states in which Republicans came into power in 2010 – Alabama, Indiana, Maine, Michigan, Minnesota, Montana, New Hampshire, North Carolina, Ohio, Pennsylvania and Wisconsin – five were among the seven states that lost more than 2.5 percent of their workforce from December 2010 to December 2011. The remaining 42 states lost an average 0.5 percent (there is no data for Mississippi).

So yeah.  It's been a nightmare for these states because the GOP fired hundreds of thousands of people to pay for more tax cuts for really rich people and businesses.

Do we get it yet, America?

Arguably The Biggest Dick Move Ever

Ladies and gentlmen, the National Rifle Association.

The National Rifle Association has a new item in its online store: hoodies, with a special pocket designed to conceal a handgun. Hooded sweatshirts have taken on new meaning in the last week as a symbol for Trayvon Martin, who was shot and killed while wearing one last month. Last week, Geraldo Rivera speculated that it was Trayvon’s hoodie that was to blame for his death, sparking widespread criticism. “We want concealed carry to fit around your lifestyle — not the other way around. That’s why we developed the NRAstore exclusive Concealed Carry Hooded Sweatshirt,” reads the product description. If enough people buy them, Rivera may be right to assume some hoodies can be dangerous.

This is pretty much the most singularly repugnant and amorally insidious middle finger to the black community and human being with a conscience than I have seen in a very long time.  I am convinced that this has to be an Onion parody or the best hack Anonymous has ever pulled.

Since it's not, it's basically a giant eff you to everyone backing Trayvon Martin.  And a not-so-gentle reminder that the NRA thinks people who wear hoodies really are dangerous.

For liberals, that is.  Well played, NRA.  Well played indeed.

12-Year-Old's Probation Revoked

A probation officer has moved to revoke the probation of a 12-year-old St. Johns, Ariz., boy who killed his father four years ago, alleging that the child repeatedly threatened staffers and damaged property at a treatment center in Phoenix.

Christian Romero was 8 when he shot his father, Vincent Romero, and family friend Timothy Romans, with a .22 rifle. As the youngest defendant ever in Arizona, his case became tangled in legal questions about competency to stand trial, and about where he would be placed upon conviction.

After 14 months of negotiations, Christian pleaded guilty to the negligent homicide of his dad and was sentenced to indefinite time in residential care, with probation until age 18.

When he was eight, he ambushed and murdered his father and another man, and due to his actions they are going to make sure he never sees the outside of a mental institution. It's sad to know a man will live a lifetime behind bars for what he did when he was eight, even if I totally understand that he is a danger to others and shouldn't be set free. His case is so rare that unless something impressive is missing, he may be the only child I ever heard of who was so careful... and successful.

Senator Facepalm Strikes Again

Just...effing seriously, Rand Paul?  Kentucky families are putting record profits in oil companies' pockets and you say "Hey, let's fleece the rubes even more!"

Instead of punishing them, you should want to encourage them. I would think you would want to say to the oil companies, “What obstacles are there to you making more money?” And hiring more people. Instead they say, “No, we must punish them. We must tax them more to make things fair.” This whole thing about fairness is so misguided and gotten out of hand.

Which would be great, except that even making record profits, the goddamn oil companies LAID OFF11,000 PEOPLE.

Meanwhile, the oil industry is not using its profits to hire more people. Paul falsely claimed the oil companies employ 9.2 million people — in fact, there are only 2.2 million jobs in the entire oil industry, and 40 percent of those jobs are minimum-wage work at gas stations. Exxon Mobil, Chevron, Shell, and BP have shed their U.S. workforce by 11,200 between 2005 to 2010, according to a report last year. Big Oil isn’t investing in renewable energy or in reducing oil spills, either.

So no, you moron, try again.

“We as a society need to glorify those who make a profit,” Paul concluded.

Then why do they need subsidies?  Jesus hell, I cannot wait to vote this asshole out of office.

Supreme Superlatives

The even-handed Lyle Denniston at the indispensable SCOTUSblog recaps day two of the Supreme Court's oral arguments on the Affordable Care Act, focusing Tuesday on the individual mandate.

If Justice Anthony M. Kennedy can locate a limiting principle in the federal government’s defense of the new individual health insurance mandate, or can think of one on his own, the mandate may well survive.  If he does, he may take Chief Justice John G. Roberts, Jr., and a majority along with him.  But if he does not, the mandate is gone.  That is where Tuesday’s argument wound up — with Kennedy, after first displaying a very deep skepticism, leaving the impression that he might yet be the mandate’s savior.

If the vote had been taken after Solicitor General Donald B. Verrilli, Jr., stepped back from the lectern after the first 56 minutes, and the audience stood up for a mid-argument stretch, the chances were that the most significant feature of the Affordable Care Act would have perished in Kennedy’s concern that it just might alter the fundamental relationship between the American people and their government.   But after two arguments by lawyers for the challengers — forceful and creative though they were — at least doubt had set in and expecting the demise of the mandate seemed decidedly premature.

The Justices will cast their first votes on the mandate’s constitutionality later this week, and there are perhaps three months of deliberations that would then follow.  Much will be said and written within the Court in private during that time, and that obviously could affect the ultimate outcome.  The argument on Tuesday pointed the Justices in opposite directions – the first hour against the mandate, the second hour cautiously in its favor.   Curiously, that was just the opposite of what the lawyers were seeking out of their side of the hearing.

In other words, the government's side is getting 4 votes, period.  It's not at all clear if the challengers will get more than 3.  Chief Justice "sensible centrist" Roberts is leaving the door open to make it 6-3 should Kennedy side with Breyer, Sotomayor, Kagan and Ginsburg.  While nobody really sees Roberts and Kennedy going opposite ways on this, it's possible.  But a 5-4 vote on a case this big would be a disaster for the court, much like Bush v. Gore.  Roberts knows this.

I still say the law survives as is.  But if I'm wrong, it would be that the law was overwhelmingly struck down with the expectation of a new law...perhaps one influenced by the courts.  I don't know (but that seems like a court-ordered single payer plan would be the longest of shots and not within the realm of reality).

Yes, Verilli was pretty awful.  But it was the four liberal justices who did a better job of explaining the government's position than he did, and even Kennedy and Roberts came around to attack the states' lawyer, Paul Clement.  That says volumes.

In my mind, Roberts is the one giving this away as a 6-3 decision in favor of the government here anyway.  We'll see.

More on the entire case this week at The Economist.


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