Saturday, June 2, 2012

Last Call

The major difference between conservatives and liberals is that liberals want to expand voting, and have tirelessly worked over the years to do that.  Conservatives on the other hand want to limit voting to certain groups.  That tendency is arguably the most dangerous difference between the two groups, because nothing is more important to a healthy, functioning representative democracy than the act of regular voting at the local, state, and federal level.

Which is why when Jonah Goldberg jokes about conservatives "beating" sense into liberals, and that America's young people are too "stupid" be allowed to vote at all, I get a bit annoyed.

Appearing in a video published online on Thursday, Jonah Goldberg, editor-at-large for the neoconservative National Review Online website, explains that he believes letting 18-year-old Americans vote is a big mistake that should be taken back.

Advocating that conservatives should “literally” beat young people into political submission, Goldberg said that young voters are “so frickin’ stupid about so many things,” which is why, in his view, the system must change.

“It is a simple fact of science that nothing correlates more with ignorance and stupidity more than youth,” Goldberg said. “We’re all born idiots, and we only get over that condition as we get less young. And yet there’s this thing in this culture where, ‘Oh, young people are for it so it must be special.’ No, the reason young people are for it because they don’t know better. That’s why we call them young people.”

Well, most of us get over that condition.  Jonah apparently remains locked into infantile chest-beating.  Jamie Kilstein over at Citizen Radio takes him up on it and wants to have Jonah fight him for charity.  I think that's a grand idea.

He'll never do it, of course.  Conservatives get other people to fight for them.

If You Can't Steal A Presidential Election...Again?

I've been chronicling the story of Florida's awful "ineligible voter purge" that's been specifically targeting African-American and Latino voters in the state, and has already caught up a number of citizens lawfully allowed to vote who now must prove to the state they are US citizens or lose their right to vote.  Florida Republicans of course "regret" any errors or any problems this may cause, surely.

On Thursday Eric Holder and the Justice Department's Voting Rights Division told Florida to knock these little Jim Crow era games off, saying that the practice violated the pre-clearance clause for the state in the Voting Rights Act.

Late Friday, Florida's Secretary of State responded with a resounding "Eat shit and die".

Despite a Justice Department letter, objections from county elections officials and evidence that a disproportionate number are voters of color, Florida Secretary of State Ken Detzner's office planned to continue scrubbing the election rolls, a spokesman said Friday. Gov. Rick Scott (R) ordered the search for potentially ineligible voters.

“We have an obligation to make sure the voter rolls are accurate and we are going to continue forward and do everything that we can legally do to make sure than ineligible voters cannot vote,” said Chris Cate, a spokesman for Detzner. “We are firmly committed to doing the right thing and preventing ineligible voters from being able to cast a ballot. We are not going to give up our efforts to make sure the voter rolls are accurate." 

Should in the efforts of the pursuit of making the voter rolls "accurate" Florida's GOP government knock tens of thousands of African-Americans and Latino citizens who are eligible to vote off the rolls and take away that right to vote in November's election in error, then unfortunately that's the price to pay to stop the massive voter fraud of...what was it again?  Oh yes, the massive fraud of "Democrats being allowed to vote in a red state".

Can't have that.  Eggs will be cracked in the pursuit of omelet accuracy.  Warehouses full of them, apparently.  Somebody figured out that the people who will get cracked over this aren't going to be Rick Scott or Ken Detzner, but the county election supervisors.  And apparently, they want no beef from the Justice Department.

The Justice Department letter and mistakes that the 67 county elections supervisors have found in the state list make the scrub undoable, said Martin County Elections Supervisor Vicki Davis, president of the Florida State Association of Supervisors of Elections.

"There are just too many variables with this entire process at this time for supervisors to continue," Davis said.

Ron Labasky, the association's general counsel, sent a memo to the 67 supervisors Friday telling them to stop processing the list.

"I recommend that Supervisors of Elections cease any further action until the issues raised by the Department of Justice are resolved between the parties or by a Court," Labasky wrote.

Davis said the effect on supervisors will be "if they've started the process and they do find out that someone is ineligible to vote and they have credible and reliable information to back it up, then they will remove that person from the database. But if they have not had contact with someone on the list, they're stopping at that point." 

Going to be kind of hard for Scott to get his purge if his minions aren't going to do it because their legal counsel is saying "Don't you even think about it."

So who will prevail here, Scott or the county elections supervisors?  We'll see.

Release The Big Dog, Part 2

Bill Clinton rolled into Milwaukee to go to bat for Tom Barrett in his special recall election to knock out GOP Gov. Scott Walker, and actually the former President delivered one of the better barnburners I've heard him make in recent years.

“And this is what I want to say to you. This is about what’s best for you, and your kids, and your future — but it’s also about America,” said Clinton. “You know, for a hundred years now, people have looked to Wisconsin from all over this country, to see a place of small towns and vibrant cities; to see a place of farmers and factory workers and small business people; to see a place where there were vigorous political debates, closely held elections — and then people got together and figured out what the heck to do.

“And now they look at Wisconsin, and they see America’s battleground between people who want to work together to solve problems, and people who want to divide and conquer — people who know that creative cooperation is working in America, and people who want constant conflict.

“And here’s what I want to tell you. Tom was kind enough to say this in his introduction — I think I know a little bit about what would bring America back, what would bring economic recovery, what would enable us to have broadly shared prosperity. And I’ll tell you, if you go anywhere in America today, believe it or not, there are a lot of places that are already back. And they all have one thing in common. They’re dramatically different, but they all have one thing in common: They are involved in creative cooperation, not constant conflict.”

Here's the entire speech, about 17 minutes, from the Milwaukee Jounal-Sentinel:

Impressive, actually.  Greg Sargent also liked the speech, but wonders out loud if it's too late to make a difference at this stage in the game with the election just 3 days away.

This is a strong articulation of the message Dems hope to close this out on. The basic case Dems have tried to make is that Walker’s experiment has introduced an uncompromising and dictatorial leadership style into the state that’s fundamentally at oddds with its character; that Walker’s preconceived and sharply ideological agenda has torn the state apart; and that only by ending the Walker experiment can Wisconsin reunite and move forward again. That’s why Bill framed the choice on Tuesday as one about Wisconsin’s fundamental identity.

It’s anyone’s guess whether this will be enough to make up for Walker’s seeming lead in the polls. I’ve said before that I’m skeptical that he’ll be recalled. But this race is expected to come down to turnout above all. And Dems are hoping that Clinton’s visit, yesterday’s debate in which Walker was clearly on the defensive, and new revelations in the John Doe investigation will create a sense of momentum for Barrett in the final five days that will motivate core supporters just enough to put him over the top. 

The debate Thursday night was pretty strongly in Barrett's favor.  And the John Doe investigation into Scott Walker's possible campaign finance violations is also heating up.  It could be enough of a boost at the right time to put Barrett over the top, or not.  It's necessary however that the Dems go down swinging, and they certainly are here.

Classy As Ever

I have always loved Martin Short.  His movies were hit and miss with me, but as a person I have admired his no-frills compassion and empathy.  He is a class act all the way, and showed us yet again how to hold our chin up when faced with the unexpected.

Short was on air with Kathie Lee Gifford, and she asked him about his wife, unaware that she had died of cancer more than two years ago.  Knowing that made my eyes water when I read his immediate response.  The video shows, he never batted an eye, registered surprise, and did not bash Gifford's head in (and even a man as classy as he must have been tempted).

"You and Nancy have one of the greatest marriages of anybody in show business," Gifford said. "How many years now for you guys now?"
Short, 62, didn't call Gifford out on the mistake, calmly answering, "Thirty-six years."
"But you're still in love!" Gifford went on.
Gifford asked, "Why?" Short shrugged shoulders and said, "Cute. I'm cute."
Short and Dolman were married 30 years, and had three children together.
Later that afternoon, Gifford sent an apology to the actor on Twitter.
The exact opposite of class is apologizing on Twitter.  Thank you, Kathie Lee, you never fail to show us just how graceless one can be.  

It's All The Buzz

CVS, Walgreens, Kroger, Safeway, Target and Walmart are among major national chains that now include vibrators on store shelves. These devices (also known as personal massagers or vibes) have been around a long time, but their availability on the mass market is relatively new. Condom makers Trojan and Durex are among brands that have expanded product lines to include vibrators, starting with small vibrating rings. Durex launched its first handheld vibrator in 2008, Trojan in 2010.
"We're talking about the Walgreens and CVSes of the world — not the dot-coms and sex shops and things of that nature," says Durex senior brand manager Alan Cheung of the U.S. headquarters in Parsippany, N.J.
It's about time people got over the stigma of sex.  We all do it, so stop pretending otherwise.  I can see discretion (and seriously, what Wal-Mart do these people go to?) but I don't see any problem with it.  I'm sure some will, but they can easily avoid that aisle.

Now it's just a race to see who can be the first to be arrested for trying to steal a vibrator from Wal-Mart.  If you or a family member hasn't been asked to leave a Wal-Mart, chances are you are JC Penny stock, anyway.

An Overwhelming Need To Master 'Maters

You say tomato, I say new bio-genetic frontiers.

An international scientific team on Wednesday said it had unravelled the genetic code of the tomato, opening up ways to improve the fruit’s taste, nutrition and shelf-life.

Gathering more than 300 researchers in 14 countries, the Tomato Genome Consortium compared today’s domesticated tomato with its wild South American parent, Solanum pimpinellifolium.

The tomato has 35,000 genes, but there is only a variation of 0.6 percent between the wild variety and the supermarket variety of today, according to the study, appearing in the journal Nature.

The tomato is a member of the Solanaceae family, which includes other highly valuable crops such as the potato, pepper and aubergine, as well as spices and herbs that have a medicinal use.

A comparison showed that the tomato is just eight percent different, genetically, from the spud.

Agricultural researchers have been steadily sequencing important crops to pinpoint genes that affect taste, resilience to disease or ability to grow in different soils and climates.

This fast-tracks ways of including useful genes in new strains, either through genetic engineering — opposed in some countries — or through traditional cross-breeding.

So first of all, building a better tomato and using it to increase food yields across the globe?  Seems like a worthy goal to me.  Secondly, I'm totally naming my band "Tomato Genome Consortium".

Bond, Lame's Bond

The judge in the George Zimmerman/Trayvon Martin case apparently did not take kindly to finding out that Zimmerman lied about his family's financial status at the bond hearing last month.  As such, Judge Kenneth Lester has given Zimmerman 48 hours to report back to jail...where he will stay and await his murder trial.

A Florida judge on Friday ordered George Zimmerman, the man charged in the killing unarmed teenager Trayvon Martin, to return to jail within 48 hours, saying he deceived the court earlier this year about the true state of his finances.

Judge Kenneth Lester Jr. gave the order after prosecutors provided evidence showing Zimmerman and his wife had essentially hidden about $135,000 from the court during his bond hearing in April. At the time, Zimmerman’s family claimed they had little money to pay a bond so the judge granted one that was much lower than what prosecutors asked for.

“They were well aware of the money that was available,” Lester said.

Zimmerman has been charged with second degree murder in the Feb. 26 killing, which took place in the Orlando suburb of Sanford, Fla. He has claimed he was acting in self defense when he shot and killed Martin.

In early April before he was charged, Zimmerman set up a website asking the public to help pay for his defense and living expenses, saying he was unable to work because of the huge amount of scrutiny the case received.

The obvious question is simple:  if Zimmerman was willing to lie over his family's finances, what else is he lying about?  Our old friend Tom Maguire is of two minds, being Zimmerman's biggest fan.  On one hand, remarking on the state's release of the phone calls between Zimmerman and his wife as basis for the bond revocation...

I would use the phrase "lying weasels" to describe their conduct in hiding this money from their lawyer and the court, but "scheming, lying weasels" seems more apt. And I could add "stupid", too.

On the other hand...

How long will he be in jail? Good question. And considering the weak case seen so far in discovery, why is he in jail at all?

Yes, you kill an unarmed black teenager, why would he be in jail at all?

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

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