Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Last Call

Upon further speculation, President Obama has decided to seek a leash on oil speculation driving up prices at the pump.  Hey, Dodd-Frank allows that kind of thing now.

On Tuesday, the White House laid out five ways to crack down on oil market manipulation, one of the elements it blames for high fuel prices.

Civil penalties for firms involved in market manipulation would rise to $10 million from $1 million and would be assessed for each day the manipulation occurs rather than on a per-violation basis under the new proposal.

Maximum criminal penalties would rise to $10 million as well.

The White House also asked Congress to give the Commodity Futures Trading Commission authority to require traders to have more collateral when they trade oil in an effort to reduce risky trading.
Obama is also calling for more funding to increase CFTC surveillance and enforcement staff and to improve technology.

"At a time when American consumers are feeling pain at the pump, it is critically important to ensure that illegal manipulation, fraud and market rigging are not contributing to gas price increases," the White House said in a statement.

Republicans of course completely ignored the President and sided with the oil companies, which was the point of the entire exercise.  Expect yet another Senate vote soon putting Republicans on record in Big Oil's pockets, the the surprise of no one.

Bonus points if wingers are stupid enough to say "But Uppity McDark here said there was little the White House could do about $4 gas!"

Which is why has asking Congress to give the CFTC the power to do something about it, guys.  Which of course the Republicans won't dare to do.

Clown Hall Beclowns Itself Again

It's just all Obama Derangement Syndrome over there, all the time.  Any piece that ever starts off with these words...

Operation Fast and Furious is the deadliest and most sinister scandal in American history. A scandal so big, it’s worse than Iran-Contra and makes Watergate look like a high school prank gone wrong.

...Can be and should be dismissed out of hand for such a myopic and purely ignorant view of American history that it beggars belief that it's not parody. Let's go back to the fact our chief Iraqi intelligence source on Saddam Hussein's WMD freely admits to lying, and George W. Bush and Dick Cheney got us into a war where literally tens of thousands of people died for no good reason. Meanwhile, the death toll of the entire Fast and Furious scandal is...a border patrol agent. In a program that George W. Bush's administration started. But FF is the worst scandal in the history of America? You have to be either high, stupid, or so blind with Obama hate than you can't take a hard crap without cursing the man for five minutes straight.

This is also ignoring everything before the 21st century, too.

These people need psychiatric help.  Seriously.

The Poll Position

And the first batch of polls since Rick Santorum dropped out and left Mitt Romney as the presumptive GOP nominee are out.  CNN has Obama up by 9, but Gallup has Romney up by 2 among registered voters.  The real killer is ABC/WaPo's poll on likeability, with Obama ahead of Romney by a staggering twenty-one points.

Thirty-five percent of Americans see Romney favorably, while 47 percent have an unfavorable opinion of the former Massachusetts governor. He's the first likely nominee to be underwater -- seen more unfavorably than favorably -- in ABC/Post polls in eight presidential primary seasons over the past 28 years. 

Romney's gender gap in vote preferences in an ABC/Post poll last week -- he trailed Obama by 19 percentage points among women -- is reflected in his new favorability scores as well. Just 27 percent of women see Romney favorably, compared with 44 percent of men -- his lowest rating to date among women, and highest among men, in a dozen ABC/Post polls since September.

Obama, by contrast, has no such gap between the sexes; he's seen favorably by 56 percent of Americans overall, including 58 percent of women and 53 percent of men, surpassing Romney in both groups.

Romney also has an enthusiasm gap: Just 12 percent see him "strongly" favorably, about half as many as see him strongly unfavorably. Intensity of sentiment on Obama is more even, tipping slightly to the positive -- 30 percent strongly favorable, 26 percent strongly unfavorable.  

Romney at negative 12 where Obama is plus 14 is pretty awful.  The real killer is Romney is at a mind-numbering negative 25 points among women (27%-52%).  Women despise the guy.  And a gender gap that big seriously makes me question Gallup's polling.  Gallup also shows Romney slightly ahead in the enthusiasm gap, 80% to 76% over the President, with voters for each respective candidate saying they will definitely vote in November.  That's hogwash compared to pretty much every other poll out there.

Nobody believes that.  Not for a second.  There's no way Romney has a gender gap issue that horrific and still is ahead in the polls.  We'll see how that continues to play out, but right now I'm very leery of any poll showing Romney ahead (and Gallup almost never shows their crosstabs like everyone else does either).

If this is the starting point of poll season, Romney's in a deep hole.

A Special Place In Hell... Just... Argh

DENVER (AP) — A 3-year-old is back with his parents after he knocked on a stranger's door in the middle of the night following the hijacking of his father's car at a Colorado Springs, Colorado convenience store with him in the back seat.
"Help me, I'm cold," the toddler told Traci Gilbert, who answered the door.
She said she heard her doorbell ring about 2:15 a.m. Sunday and got up to check. Gilbert looked through the peephole and didn't see anyone, so she opened her door. Outside, she found the 3-year-old covered in snow and sleet, wearing nighttime diapers and a thin jacket.
"He wasn't crying. He never shed a single tear the whole time. That boy is a hero to me," Gilbert said.
Gilbert said Monday she is still amazed that the toddler made it up 14 slick steps to her front door on the second floor of a duplex, carrying a plastic bag that held a container of soy milk, a Sippy cup, two diapers, wipes and pajama bottoms.
That anyone could put a little boy out on the road in the middle of the night is deplorable.  With snow and ice factored in, it moves from criminal to unforgivable.  That child could have frozen, been kidnapped, or run over. Instead, he showed that awesome bravery that you see in kids and took care of it himself.

It's unlikely they'll catch the guy, but if they do he'd better hope that nobody finds out what he did or it will be a looooong sentence.

Strippers Get Bum Treatment

Kimberly Smedley traveled extensively and injected silicone into the buttocks of her clients, a vast majority of them were exotic dancers.  There were just a few small problems with the plan.  She's not a doctor.  She's not a nurse, she's not licensed to inject people with anything.  And then there's this little bit of horror from The Smoking Gun:

Smedley faces a maximum five-year prison term when sentenced in mid-July. A plea agreement indicates that federal prosecutors will seek a $250,000 fine, in addition to about $8000 in restitution (that Smedley has agreed to pay).
Pictured above, Smedley is not a licensed medical practitioner. She also falsely represented to customers that the silicone she injected (which was stored in a plastic water jug) was medical grade. Instead, prosecutors disclosed, she used a substance intended for “metal or plastic lubrication, as an additive for paint and coatings, and furniture or automotive polishes.”
Food and Drug Administration agents determined that Smedley ordered “over 4920 pounds” of the substance “from one manufacturer alone” since 2003.

A water jug.  That may haunt my dreams for quite a while.  Here's more. She used Super Glue and cotton balls to keep it from leaking back out.  A dancer became very sick after a "treatment" and led to an investigation.  It's hard to tell at this point how much trouble Smedley  went through to pose as a medical professional.  Were the women aware that this was an "alternative" treatment?  Or did they think she was a legitimate professional who stayed in hotel rooms with water jugs of silicone?  Were women knowingly risking their lives for some extra booty?  Please say it ain't so.

Game Of Chik'n

For some reason, this story really annoyed the hell out of me this morning.
Whenever a new Chick-fil-A opens, hundreds of its devoted fans walk in after spending days, sometimes weeks, outside the front door. Some devotees will wait in line at multiple restaurant openings, just to say they were among the first to eat at that Chick-fil-A. They must really love the chicken sandwiches there, right?
They do, but there’s another reason why they do this. At each grand opening, Chick-fil-A hands out coupons for one free Chick-fil-A Meal per week for a year (52 meals) to the first 100 people in line. For the most devoted Chick-fil-A fans who attend multiple openings, that means having free lunch and dinner for weeks, months or even years.
This leads us to Christina Heise and Matthew Robinson. They are regulars at Chick-fil-A openings, showing up to more than 70 combined. Eventually, they met and started talking. One chicken sandwich led to another, and now they’re engaged to be married.

Oh yes, NOW I remember why this story pisses me off.

As Equality Matters has reported, Chick-fil-A’s WinShape foundation has given millions of dollars to organizations that oppose marriage equality (Marriage and Family Legacy Fund, Family Research Council), bully gay students (Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Focus on the Family), and promote harmful ex-gay therapy (Exodus International). In addition, the company has a score of 0 on HRC’s corporate equality index, offering absolutely no protections to LGBT staff and even firing employees who engage in “sinful” behavior. Compare that to how many Fortune 100 companies offer non-discrimination protections based on sexual orientation (94 percent) and gender identity (69 percent).

Free waffle fries, free bigotry.  Yeah, that pretty much sums up America The Beautiful.  I wonder if they'd honor the coupons for Christina and Matthew here if they were Christina and Madison, or Christopher and Matthew, engaged to be married.  I'm thinking no.  But then again, I'm thinking they wouldn't be in line anyway...then again, taking 52 free meals from these guys on the company's dime seems like a pretty good entry into the sweet revenge column to me.

Romney Will Run Government Like He Ran Business...

...into the ground.  ABL has R-Money pegged when she says:

Romney seems to be taking the same approach to government as he did to his business ventures at Bain. 


“I’m going to take a lot of departments in Washington, and agencies, and combine them. Some eliminate, but I’m probably not going to lay out just exactly which ones are going to go,” Romney said. “Things like Housing and Urban Development, which my dad was head of, that might not be around later. But I’m not going to actually go through these one by one. What I can tell you is, we’ve got far too many bureaucrats. I will send a lot of what happens in Washington back to the states.”

Asked about the fate of the Department of Education in a potential Romney administration, the former governor suggested it would also face a dramatic restructuring.

“The Department of Education: I will either consolidate with another agency, or perhaps make it a heck of a lot smaller. I’m not going to get rid of it entirely,” Romney said, explaining that part of his reasoning behind preserving the agency was to maintain a federal role in pushing back against teachers’ unions. Romney added that he learned in his 1994 campaign for Senate that proposing to eliminate the agency was politically volatile.

When conservatives say "Run government like a business!" they mean "Get rid of the parts of government that help the little people!"  Those are cash sinks, you know.  Mitt wants to do to the federal government what he did to all those companies in Bain Capital:  chop them up, get rid of all the employees, and raid what's left for cash. 

It's code for "scrap the safety net", just like "give the program to the states" is.  In Romney's world, states are competing for the one percent's favor by seeing who can screw over the 99% the hardest and make them even more dependent on the private, for-profit services they rule over.  Government serving the people has no place in R-Money's America.  If you're not making the one percent money, you've got to go.

Remember when Romney was a moderate?  Do you think he still is one?  You'd better wake up.


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