Friday, May 11, 2012

Last Call

Harry Reid bemoaned last night the missed opportunity of busting the Senate filibuster last year, considering the GOP invoked its use pretty much every second over the last five and a half years.  Ezra Klein recaps:

Reid’s comments came after Republicans filibustered his attempt to move a House-passed compromise reauthorizing the Export-Import Bank. But the proximate cause of Reid’s ire hardly matters. The point is that he’s concluded he was wrong to oppose filibuster reform when Democrats had the chance.

Election wonks I know think that if President Obama wins re-election, Democrats have even odds -- and maybe even a bit better -- of retaining control of the Senate. Their margin will be slim. But a slim margin is all they’ll need for filibuster reform if they follow the Merkley/Udall plan, which uses a process called “the Constitutional option” to change the rules with 51 votes. More on that here.

Ahh, but there's a down side, as I've been saying.  That 53-47 current margin is 3 lost seats from being a tie, and 4 from being the end of the filibuster if the GOP keeps the House (which if they retake the Senate they certainly will).

Consider, though, what this means if Republicans retake the Senate. The leader of the Senate Democrats appears to have endorsed some version of filibuster reform. That doesn’t make filibuster reform an inevitability. But it does make it likelier. And wouldn’t Republicans prefer it happen on their watch than when the Democrats control the institution? Probably.

It's very likely if the GOP takes both chambers of Congress and 100% guaranteed if that happens and Romney wins.  Now that Reid has opened the gates, the Republicans will start making the argument that if they do take the whole ball of wax, the only way to get rid of all that "Obama socialism" is to axe the filibuster.

Of course, as voters, we ultimately determine that fate.  Get out there and register a friend to vote this week.

Another Milepost On The Road To Oblivion

Bring on the meteor. Thanks.
ORLANDO, Fla. -- An unidentified entrepreneur admits he is trying to profit off Trayvon Martin's death by selling gun range targets featuring the teen who's death has sparked a nationwide controversy. Although Martin's face does not appear on the paper targets, they feature a hoodie with crosshairs aimed at the chest. A bag of Skittles is tucked in the pocket and a hand is holding a can resembling iced tea.
The wall of fire resulting from impact will be nifty.
"This is the highest level of disgust and the lowest level of civility," said Zimmerman's attorney Mark O'Mara. O'Mara said he is worried about how Martin's parents will react to the image of their son on a target intended to be used for shooting practice. The attorney is also concerned the targets will further inflame the community. "It's this type of hatred -- that's what this is, it's hate-mongering -- that's going to make it more difficult to try this case," said O'Mara. Local 6 has been unable to determine the identity of the seller, who had also set up a website to sell the gun range targets. In an email exchange with reporter Mike DeForest, the seller wrote, "My main motivation was to make money off the controversy."
It can't come soon enough, I figure. Going to print this story off and place it in a bowl of delicious Purina Meteor Chow and see what comes 'round.

Ghost In The Moose-chine

Bristol Palin's Facebook ghostwriter has declared open season on the Obama daughters.

In a new blog post entitled "Hail to the Chiefs – Malia and Sasha Obama," Bristol takes issue with the influential role Obama's daughters supposedly played in helping him "evolve" his opinion on same-sex marriage.

"In this case, it would've been helpful for him to explain to Malia and Sasha that while her friends parents are no doubt lovely people, that's not a reason to change thousands of years of thinking about marriage," she writes. "Or that – as great as her friends may be – we know that in general kids do better growing up in a mother/father home. Ideally, fathers help shape their kids' worldview."

This coming from an unmarried single mom who had a kid out of wedlock, who knows everything about the sanctity of marriage better than Barack Obama, happily married to Michelle Obama for more than 2 decades.   Ed Kilgore sums it up:

To be clear, I am not mocking Bristol Palin when I offer these responses. She has the last laugh on me, and on all of us. Like her mother, she has a knack of luring people who know better into paying attention to her rants. In my defense, I’ll say that some of Sarah Palin’s most casual, fact-free rants have wound up in national GOP talking points, leading millions of anxious seniors to believe that the President of the United States wants to have them euthanized. It’s sometimes best to get a head start on Palin-generated nonsense, or in this case, on the next generation of Palins.

In other words, for the rest of their lives, the Palins can spout whatever vapid, moronic moose crap they want and the machine makes it become the pulse of the heartland.  America is a truly great country, where proxy fight attacks over policy are led by the children of political has-beens on the kids of the President.

Nice.  Also, bonus points for going after the President's teenage daughters.  That's how Republicans roll, you see.

Twisted Sisters

A scientist caught the birth of rare twin waterspouts on camera as the twisters churned to life over Louisiana waters yesterday (May 9). One of the powerful and unusually long-lived twisters damaged homes and cut power as it barreled across Grand Isle, a long, narrow island along the southeastern leg of the state's Gulf coastline.
The tornadoes formed at the front edge of a powerful storm system that moved across the region yesterday afternoon.
"You could clearly see them forming in the sky," he said, "and I was able to get them on the camera as they were starting to drop."
The pictures are cool, and the full article gives some background information on waterspouts and the levels of danger they pose.

While these occurred in Louisiana, they are not rare around the shores of the US.  While stuck behind a wreck in Florida, I watched one develop about a mile from me.  It was one of the bad kind, but it stayed out in the water and went parallel to the coast.  The storm had already driven the boats away, so nobody was hurt.  Still, I was humbled by its raw power.  As far away as I was, you could feel the strangeness in the air.

One of these sisters ventured onto land, but so far the damage is relatively light.  For two dangerous twisters to form and sustain for so long, it's the best outcome one could hope for.

A Pretty 70-Year-Old Virgin Worked As A Cabaret Dancer... And Then It Gets Weird

Pam Shaw is old enough to be a great-great-grandmother, and yet she has retained her virginity despite years working in the entertainment industry.  It's hard not to take this with a grain of salt, but her story is interesting.  Virginity aside, I bet she is a hell of a character with some stories to share.

"Now's the time. I'm ready to take the plunge for the right bloke," Pam Shaw tells the Sun."My standards are still very high, though. I'm hoping to bag a tall, dark and handsome millionaire."
Shaw says she doesn't believe in sex before marriage and has been too busy with her career as a cabaret dance to settle down. "I feel I am ready to give marriage a go and maybe go to bed with a man," she said. "You are never too old for anything. Just look at Joan Collins."
That she believes in such a romantic man is her greatest indicator of genuine inexperience.  I'm just saying, most women stop believing in that particular dream early into things.

Also, I have to point out that there is no trace of judgment or cruelty to those who do have sex outside of marriage.  Shaw states her beliefs without implying anyone should follow her choice to such an extreme.  That alone is enough reason that I hope she does find that fella, and teaches him a thing or two.

Meanwhile, Back At The Lunatic Ranch...

House Republicans have now officially trashed last year's budget agreement by eliminating all agreed upon Pentagon cuts and replacing them with cuts on the poor, because screw Obama, that's why.

The House voted Thursday to override steep cuts to the Pentagon’s budget mandated by last summer's debt deal and replace them with spending reductions to food stamps and other mandatory social programs.

While doomed in the Senate and opposed by the White House, the legislation, which would reduce the deficit by $243 billion, is a Republican marker for post-election budget talks with the White House.

Members approved the Sequester Replacement Reconciliation Act in a party-line 218-199 vote. As expected, the bill was supported by nearly all Republicans — only 16 opposed it, and no Democrats supported it.

So at this point, the House GOP is probably going to work towards another shutdown in an election year as things get increasingly grim for Mitt Romney.  After all, what will they have to lose since they're going down anyway?  What makes anybody think they would ever follow through and keep their word?

We'll see how it goes.  I bet I'm using Shutdown Countdown again before too long.

Dimon Dog Days

That stink yesterday night after Wall Street's close was JP Morgan Chase crapping the bed to the tune of nearly a billion in a bad hedge fund deal.

Since the end of March, the company's Chief Investment Office "has had significant mark-to-market losses in its synthetic credit portfolio," the company said in a filing late on Thursday.

Chief Executive Jamie Dimon called the mistakes "egregious" and apologized to stock analysts on a conference call that the company suddenly scheduled after making the disclosure in a quarterly filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.

Dimon acknowledged that the errors are especially embarrassing in light of his public criticism of the so-called Volcker rule to ban proprietary trading by big banks.

"It plays right into the hands of a bunch of pundits out there, but that is life," Dimon said. He said he still believes in his arguments against the Volcker rule. The problem at JPMorgan, he said, was with the execution of the hedging strategy.

The strategy "morphed over time" and it was "ineffective, poorly monitored, poorly constructed and all of that," Dimon said.

"This violated our principles. This trading violates the Dimon principle."

Apparently the Dimon Principle is "if you lose big enough at Big Casino, the house will pay you back anyway."  We'll see how markets react today to this one.  I'm betting it's going to be a very bad Friday on Wall Street.  But remember, we can't have the Volcker Rule because our super smart titans of Wall Street wouldn't be able to make any money.  You know, instead of losing billions and making you pay for it, that's perfectly okay.

Sorry about crashing your economy and all, but DIMON PRINCIPLE, that's why.


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