Thursday, April 12, 2012

Last Call

It's a Rocket.  Man.  Or it was, for about 60 seconds.

Defying warnings from the international community, North Korea launched a long-range rocket on Friday, but it appears to have broken apart before escaping the earth's atmosphere, officials said.

No element of the rocket reached space, said a U.S. official, who based that conclusion on data collected by the United States from its first few moments aloft.

"This was supposed to be associated with (Kim Jong Un's) ascension to power. So for this thing to fail ... is incredibly embarrassing," said Victor Cha, former director of Asian affairs for the U.S. National Security Council and now a Georgetown University professor.

The launch occurred at 7:39 a.m. Friday, both Yonhap and YTN reported, citing South Korean officials.

Immediately afterward, the South Korean military dispatched helicopters and ships in an attempt to find debris related to the rocket launch, according to YTN.

Japan says the rocket blew up after about a minute.  These guys can test a nuclear weapon but can't fire a rocket?  Yeah.  I'm betting some helpful spies got in and switched a few numbers around.  Boom.  Oops.

Either way, UN Security Council will reportedly meet tomorrow to have a good long laugh discuss what the international community should do next.  Should be interesting.

There Are Good Democrats In Kentucky, Folks

And as much as I give Governor Dinosaur Steve a hard time over the Ark Park and wished Jack Conway had any sort of campaign presence to beat Rand Paul (and don't get me started on Dan Mongiardo) at least one Bluegrass Dem is willing to stand up to the Old Age Mutant Nimrod Turtle: Louisville area Congressman John Yarmuth.

Rep. John Yarmuth (D-KY) is pushing back against the GOP’s efforts to distort the Affordable Care Act and has written a four-page letter calling out Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) for including “inaccuracies” in a recent editorial condemning the law. “As members of Congress, I believe we have an obligation to give our constituents the full facts about the law,” Yarmuth wrote, before fact-checking McConnell for falsely claiming that the the law would increase the deficit, prevent small businesses from hiring, and increase health care spending. The Congressman also challenged McConnell to debate the measure earlier this month.

And Yarmuth really rips into Mitch, too.  No word on McConnell taking Yarmuth up on that debate offer either, which he won't do, of course.

Still, we continue to hear -- from you and other Republican leaders -- false messages that the law will hurt small businesses.  In perpetuating such myths, you are placing millions of small businesses as a competitive disadvantage by withholding and distorting the facts about provisions of the law that directly and substantially benefit them.

And in Congress, that's the equivalent of calling Mitch a lying two-faced sumbitch.  Which he is.  The rest of the letter is a pretty brutal fisking of McConnell's editorial in the Courier-Journal.  Yarmuth continues to be one of the good guys in Kentucky.

Ten Paces At Dawn, Madam, And Inform Your Second!

CNN and WaPo contributor Hilary Rosen opened up on Ann Romney Tuesday night with this exchange on Anderson Cooper:

“What you have is, Mitt Romney running around the country saying, ‘Well, you know, my wife tells me that what women really care about are economic issues. And when I listen to my wife, that’s what I’m hearing.’ Guess what: his wife has never really worked a day in her life. She’s never really dealt with the kind of economic issues that a majority of the women in this country are facing in terms of how do we feed our kids, how do we send them to school, and why do we worry about their future.”

The wingers have found someone they hate now more than Barack Obama for the next day or two.  Rosen's response is not only classic, but true:

Spare me the faux anger from the right who view the issue of women's rights and advancement as a way to score political points. When it comes to supporting policies that would actually help women, their silence has been deafening. I don't need lectures from the RNC on supporting women and fighting to increase opportunities for women; I've been doing it my whole career. If they want to attack me and distract the public's attention away from their nominee's woeful record, it just demonstrates how much they just don't get it.

In which case a number of other Democratic advisors threw Rosen fully under the bus. David Axelrod said this:

Also Disappointed in Hilary Rosen's comments about Ann Romney. They were inappropriate and offensive.


You what to know what's inappropriate and offensive?   Going after Michelle Obama for the policy positions of her husband, which her critics on the right have no problem with, or going after her personally whenever she eats a damn cheeseburger.  I don't want to hear a word from the right over this, after Laura Bush was untouched for 8 years.

Rosen is correct when she says Mitt Romney made Ann Romney his top adviser on women to soften the 20 point gap with President Obama.  The same people going SHAME ON ROSEN laugh about the latest "Moochelle Obummer, Food Fascist" jokes in their email.

And you know what?  Rosen's right.  Ann Romney has never worked at a job a day in her life.  Must be nice.  Doesn't stop Mitt from lying about women, by the way.  Rosen may have been inartful, but it certainly is less awful than calling the first lady a chimp, isn't it?

So, as Rosen says, spare me.

A Hand Up - Doing It Right

A program helps people buy a car that will get them to work, with simple interest (because it doesn't exist anymore, that means it is never compounded so it is only charged once during the loan).  It is a brilliant way to help struggling people make it to work and keep their jobs and homes.  Credit scores are shot for a lot of folks, but mandatory financial education is part of the deal.  Borrowers must learn how to make a realistic budget and stick to it.

Eighty percent of participants are single mothers.  You know, those slutty women that the GOP doesn't want to pay the same wages as men.  Those women and their dependent children were often living on the edge of hungry, and after months of juggling bills some cars were no longer dependable, which added further worries and strain to maxed credit cards.

The article highlights the story of one woman, whose car had over 200,000 miles on it and was not reliable.  She now has a car and was able to get an entry-level position at a law firm.  Because she was able to make it to work every day, she has enjoyed several promotions and replaced a worker who had attendance problems.  Without this hand up that taught her how to manage money and get on her feet realistically, it could have been her on the block.

Faulkner says the program has generated a 90% repayment rate because most of the people really do want to work.

This is the type of creative solutions that will make a difference.  Ways To Work hopes to expand to all fifty states.  I wish them the best of luck.

Branson Stupidity

BRANSON, Mo  -  The City of Branson has a new law to fight meth. It requires people to get a prescription to buy certain medications with pseudoephedrine.
Nearby Hollister already has a similar ordinance on the books, but Branson's is a little different because it allows an exception for medicine sold in liquid or gel cap form, containing ephedrine or pseudoephedrine.
City officials say the exception was made because Branson is a tourist town and many people traveling to Branson wouldn't be able to easily get a prescription if they needed the medicine.

Making it difficult to get medicine while slashing healthcare benefits during a recession is going to hurt a lot more people than it's going to help.  Forcing people to allow their information to be added to a database is a gross intrusion, making it so the medicine isn't available or forcing patients to jump through additional hoops is going to make it difficult for workers who are already struggling with a severe allergy season.

This is not the answer.  I know police forces are strained too, but this is not the way to resolve our meth problems.  Moving the burden to businesses and patients is not a long-term solution.

Allowing gel capsules to remain is only a patch.  Expecting tourists and travelers to participate in these measures will be a tough sell, as Branson already struggles with image issues.


Nuked Gingrich, Part 18

And faced with his own political demise yet again, Newt Gingrich returns to form.

During a meeting with 18 Delaware Tea Party leaders here on Wednesday, Newt Gingrich lambasted The Fox News Channel, accusing the cable news network that employed him as recently as last year of having been in the tank for Mitt Romney from the beginning of the Republican presidential fight and singling out former colleagues for attacking him out of what he characterized as personal jealousy.

I think Fox has been for Romney all the way through,” Gingrich said during the private meeting at Wesley College to which RealClearPolitics was granted access. “In our experience, Callista and I both believe CNN is less biased than Fox this year. We are more likely to get neutral coverage out of CNN than we are of Fox, and we’re more likely to get distortion out of Fox. That’s just a fact.”

Gingrich’s contract as a Fox News contributor was terminated last spring, as he was gearing up for his White House run.

The former House Speaker’s blunt remarks about Fox came in response to a question from one of the Delaware Tea Party leaders about the manner in which his campaign has been treated by conservative media outlets.

Gingrich did not pull his punches in accusing Rupert Murdoch -- the chairman and CEO of the News Corporation, Fox News’ parent company -- of pushing for Romney behind the scenes.

I assume it’s because Murdoch at some point said, ‘I want Romney,’ and so ‘fair and balanced’ became ‘Romney,’” Gingrich said. “And there’s no question that Fox had a lot to do with stopping my campaign because such a high percentage of our base watches Fox.”

Done, folks.  Done.  Newt won't even be able to get Wingnut Welfare now.  And he's going to do as much damage to the Mitt/FOX News base as he can before he's shut up.  I love it.

Definite EPIC FAIL.

Mitt-igating Circumstances

Harold Meyerson over at Kaplan Daily actually asks the correct post-Santorum question:  Can Mitt swing back to the center, and in what reality is that even possible?

Since the Tea Party takeover of the GOP in 2009 and 2010, Republican voters have often either nominated candidates so far to the right that they lost winnable seats — Sharron Angle in Nevada, Christine O’Donnell in Delaware — or driven mainstream conservative candidates into the fringes of right-wing fruit-cakery in order to hold their seats.
In 2010, California GOP gubernatorial candidate Meg Whitman had planned to run as a successful, recession-fighting CEO and a social moderate — much, in fact, like Mitt Romney — in order to win in a very blue state. But to fend off a primary challenger to her right and to prevail with the right-wing GOP primary electorate, she had to oppose immigration reform, an issue she had hoped to duck. Her move rightward ensured both her primary victory and her general election double-digit defeat by Democrat Jerry Brown, despite her spending roughly $150 million of her own money on her campaign. In particular, she was never able to convince Latino voters, who backed Brown overwhelmingly, that she wasn’t hostile to their cause — or, more elementally, to them.
The United States as a whole is neither as liberal nor as Latino as California, but Romney starts his general election campaign in the same box in which Whitman found herself. In order to win the nomination, he has taken positions that have caused his favorability ratings, particularly among women and Latinos, to plummet. He may hope for an Etch a Sketch redefinition, but that will be hard to achieve. If he says anything favorable about reproductive rights, the Republican right will be all over him.
If he so much as suggests he’s rethinking his position on the Dream Act, the GOP base will read him the riot act. Like Whitman, he has lashed himself to the mast of an aggrieved and wacked-out right, on a voyage going no place but down. A more deft politician might be able to extricate himself from this position. Romney is nobody’s idea of deft.

The only way it does happen of course is if the Bobos and Lord Saletans and Gergens and Milbanks and MoDos say he has completed the pivot.  Considering most of them have pointedly ignored any reason for him to have to pivot by tacitly accepting his Tea Party moves as Sensibly Centrist(tm), I don't have really high hopes for them being able to resist.  What I do expect is six months and change of the Marquis de Mittens as someone you'd want to have a beer and a KFC Double Down with, because his multiple Cadillacs are full of stuff Ann gets at Wal-Mart.  He's just like you, ya know.

We're talking about people that sold a war of choice.  Packaging a President, especially with unlimited SuperPAC cash, should be a cakewalk for these guys.  Luckily, Mitt himself is a terribly flawed candidate among a room full of broken ones.  Odds are he'll do as much damage to himself as President Obama.  It's going to take unlimited cash to keep Mitt even moderately close in the polls, he's so awful.  The bad news is that's exactly what he has.


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