Tuesday, June 5, 2012

Last Call

Some delightful naivete from Rolling Stone's Chris Thompson on why the GOP's racial barricade strategy is "doomed to fail" needs to be tempered by some cold, harsh reality.  First, Thompson's premise:

Two decades of immigration and changing demographics have steadily eroded the Republican base in the Golden State. But rather than adapt to this new reality, the state party lurched deep into the far-right swamplands of American politics. As the state grew more socially liberal, the last of the Republicans doubled down on conservatism, and sank into irrelevancy.

But this is no local story. What happened in California is just beginning to happen all over the country. The GOP’s most reliable supporters are increasingly crammed into the South and the Midwest, energized by an ever more embattled sense of grievance and cultural alienation, while the rest of the country becomes younger, more multicultural, and more socially liberal. This trend is only going to accelerate, and unless Mitt Romney and his colleagues come to their senses and find a way to reverse it, the GOP is looking at a generation in the electoral wilderness.

And Republicans will have done it to themselves. Just like they did in California. 

That's the way it would work in the movies.  Here in reality, the Republicans realize they can't change demographics, so they are making it as impossible as as they can for those changing demographics to actually have that effect.  Here in reality, House incumbents win 85% of the time and Senate ones do even better.  Every ten years, districts are rebooted to remove competition and concentrate the competitive races into one or two districts per state at best.

Secondly, Thompson's own Rolling Stone colleague Jillian Rayfield in fact has an excellent piece on voter suppression in states like Florida, where the GOP there is simply going to change the rules and keep as many minorities and poor from voting, and count on the Supreme Court that gave us Citizens United to make the final call in their favor that the Voting Rights Act and National Voter Registration Act are antiquated and unnecessary in 2012.  I suggest he read it, because it's the road map to how changing demographics don't mean a damn thing, especially in the short term.

And finally, what the first two reasons have in common are the third reason why Thompson's scenario won't come to pass anytime soon:  more and more Republicans exercising local and state control to simply change the rules.  The GOP takeover of Texas and Florida and the resulting voter purges in both states (Yes, Texas is doing it too, some 300,000 eligible voters could be kicked off the rolls) are working as intended:  the fewer people that are allowed to vote, the better the Republicans do.

In California, the state may be blue, but the Republicans have managed to make it all but impossible for the state to ever raise taxes thanks to a 2/3rds majority or a statewide referendum necessary to do so, assuring that the bluest state in the nation has to make exactly the kind of draconian cuts that Republicans would make if they were in charge.  Witness Gov. Jerry Brown all but beg taxpayers to approve the latest tax measures or face billions more in cuts in schools, Medicare, state services and employee layoffs.  Republicans are winning here by a scorched Earth default, and if anything they want to copy the success of California in the other states.

If other populous blue states are reduced to the state California is in right now, then yes, Republicans will take that as a win, and if red states like Texas can remain blood red through voter suppression, well they'll take that too.  The real problem is the GOP takeover in state after state, systematic and devastating, in district after district, county after county.  They have the funding and the networking and the outrage necessary to make it so that even if the state goes blue, it will be in such a financial catastrophe when the Democrats get control that voters will simply consider giving it back to the Republicans just to make the nightmare stop.

One party is playing by the rules.  The other one is playing to destroy them.  Guess who's winning in the long run if things keep us as is?  If California, Illinois, New York and New England are the only blue states left because the GOP has made it impossible for Dems to win or even to vote, who's coming out on top?

Here's a hint:  it's not the Donks.  Wake up and smell the ashes, man.

We've got a hell of a lot of work to do.

I've Seen This Movie Before

And topping our list of stupid things to do in the Gunshine State of Florida?  Pretend you're a zombie for a viral video project just to see how people react.  How people react is they try to shoot your undead zombie ass, that's how.

Vitaly Zdorovetskiy, who says he came to the United States in 2004 to become an actor, posted a video of himself over the weekend in a zombie costume chasing various younger people in streets, parking lots and parks in Miami.

At about the 2 minute mark in the video, one young man fleeing the zombie attack can be seen pointing a gun at the prankster.

“Very Dangerous Prank!” Zdorovetskiy wrote on his YouTube page. “Almost Got Shot at 2:00! DO NOT TRY IT!”

Americans.  Trained to shoot zombies, man.  Trained.

Schooled In The Bayou

While the country's been focusing on the Presidential election, and the euro crisis, Bobby Jindal and Louisiana Republicans are about to execute their plan to privatize the state's public schools in a massive mess that will cost taxpayers hundreds of millions.  The real crime is that the "schools" that will profit tremendously from this little scheme are...surprise!...religious-based:

Far more openings are available at smaller, less prestigious religious schools, including some that are just a few years old and others that have struggled to attract tuition-paying students.

The school willing to accept the most voucher students -- 314 -- is New Living Word in Ruston, which has a top-ranked basketball team but no library. Students spend most of the day watching TVs in bare-bones classrooms. Each lesson consists of an instructional DVD that intersperses Biblical verses with subjects such chemistry or composition.

The Upperroom Bible Church Academy in New Orleans, a bunker-like building with no windows or playground, also has plenty of slots open. It seeks to bring in 214 voucher students, worth up to $1.8 million in state funding.

At Eternity Christian Academy in Westlake, pastor-turned-principal Marie Carrier hopes to secure extra space to enroll 135 voucher students, though she now has room for just a few dozen. Her first- through eighth-grade students sit in cubicles for much of the day and move at their own pace through Christian workbooks, such as a beginning science text that explains "what God made" on each of the six days of creation. They are not exposed to the theory of evolution.

"We try to stay away from all those things that might confuse our children," Carrier said.

Other schools approved for state-funded vouchers use social studies texts warning that liberals threaten global prosperity; Bible-based math books that don't cover modern concepts such as set theory; and biology texts built around refuting evolution.

And Louisiana tax dollars are going to this.  It's insanity...and yet, Republicans now dominate the state.  This is the "future" of American education that will make us "competitive" in math and science with Europe and Asia.  Awesome.

Meanwhile, the students left in Louisiana public schools lose more and more funding for every student that takes advantage of this "more efficient approach to education", necessitating more vouchers as students and parents flee a doomed system that eventually goes under a critical mass point and collapses.  Lotteries determine who gets into the posh schools, and who gets into the windowless cubicles with the textbooks where evolution doesn't exist.  It's a grift that would make the best cons grin from ear to ear and everyone's lining up to open a school to get in on the action.

Everything about this is a complete disaster waiting to happen that will almost certainly collapse the state's schools where major private charter outfits will have to step in and "save" the state of education in Louisiana.  And the GOP will gladly hand that control over to for-profit outfits.

Which of course is the point.  The rich get the goods, the rubes get fleeced, and the poor get screwed.  Nothing's more American than that, folks.  There's plenty of damage unlimited GOP control at the state level can accomplish, as Louisiana is about to find out.

I guar-ron-tee it.

Hard Up For Help

NEW HAVEN, Conn. — A bus driver has sued a Connecticut hospital, saying staff at an affiliated facility failed to promptly and properly treat his painful erection and watched a baseball game on television while he waited.

Daren Scott of Brockton, Mass., is seeking $2 million in his federal lawsuit against Yale-New Haven Hospital. The lawsuit says Scott was diagnosed before the incident with recurrent priapism, a persistent painful erection unrelated to sexual stimulation.

Scott was driving customers from Boston to New York on April 17, 2009, when he suffered a persistent and disabling erection. After dropping off the customers, Scott said he checked into an emergency medical facility affiliated with the hospital but was told he had to move his bus because he had parked it in the wrong place.

Scott suffered more pain as a result of moving the bus, and when he explained he was in great pain was told to wait, according to the lawsuit, which was filed in March.

While waiting, Scott said he noticed that the facility's staff, including physicians on duty, was watching the game on TV. Scott says his pain worsened and he told a nurse.
Another issue we need to take care of in our ever-ailing healthcare system is the utter lack of caring we see.  Bill gouging, terrible collection practices and slow-witted counter people are a given.  Hospitals have become a dreaded place where even the lowest expectations aren't met.  This would be comical except that the pain must have been dreadful.  It is one of thousands of stories from everywhere that illustrate what injured and sick people deal with regularly.

Three Minutes Of Awesome

You can watch the history of video games told in three minutes.  It's pretty cool (though I have to point out that my beloved Lara Croft is missing).  Still, there were a lot of games out there that I had forgotten, and the Sonic footage was fun.

A Bad, Bad Breakup

Insufferable NY Times columnist Maureen Dowd's on-again, off-again love affair with President Barack Obama is firmly in the off mode this week as she gets into the ouzo and sends in her November campaign epitaph she already has worked up while in a drunken stupor at 3 AM or something.

Once glowing, his press is now burning. “To a very real degree, 2008’s candidate of hope stands poised to become 2012’s candidate of fear,” John Heilemann wrote in New York magazine, noting that because Obama feels he can’t run on his record, his campaign will resort to nuking Romney. 

In his new book, “A Nation of Wusses,” the Democrat Ed Rendell, the former governor of Pennsylvania, wonders how “the best communicator in campaign history” lost his touch. 

The legendary speaker who drew campaign crowds in the tens of thousands and inspired a dispirited nation ended up nonchalantly delegating to a pork-happy Congress, disdaining the bully pulpit, neglecting to do any L.B.J.-style grunt work with Congress and the American public, and ceding control of his narrative. 

As president, Obama has never felt the need to explain or sell his signature pieces of legislation — the stimulus and health care bills — or stanch the flow of false information from the other side. 

“The administration lost the communications war with disastrous consequences that played out on Election Day 2010,” Rendell writes, and Obama never got credit for the two pieces of legislation where he reached for greatness. 

The president had lofty dreams of playing the great convener and conciliator. But at a fund-raiser in Minneapolis, he admitted he’s just another combatant in a capital full of Hatfields and McCoys. No compromises, just nihilism. 

And so we add MoDo the Red to the growing list of wealthy Villagers who are resigned to Mitt Romney's easy victory.   After all, they'll probably fare better financially, being the one percenters.  They're okay with a Romney win.  The blood is in the water now, and it's time to flense the President.

Going to be a long, hot summer.  Oh, and as TPM's Benjy Sarlin pointed out on Twitter on Monday, Maureen Dowd has had an axe to grind over Barack Obama for five, going on six years now.

He poses for the cover of Men’s Vogue and then gets huffy when people don’t treat him as Hannah Arendt.

For some of us, it’s hard to fathom being upset at getting accused of looking great in a bathing suit. But his friends say it played into this Harvard grad’s fear of being seen as “a dumb blond.” He has been known to privately mock “pretty boys” (read John Edwards, the Breck Girl of 2004).

He doesn’t lack confidence, but he’s so hung up on being seen as thoughtful that he sometimes comes across as too emotionally detached and cerebral with crowds yearning for an electric, visceral connection. J.F.K. mixed cool with fire.

At best, she's only dismissed him as a vapid lightweight.   She's always been disappointed with him, frankly.

The Handmaid's Tale And Other Future Non-Fiction

If you want to know what a Mitt Romney presidency with appointments to SCOTUS would mean with a GOP House and Senate, you have to look no further than GOP Rep. Cliff Stearns of Florida.

Rep. Cliff Stearns (R-FL) unwilling admitted to MSNBC’s Chris Matthews on Friday afternoon that he believed women who receive abortions should face criminal charges. “I think the punishment should certainly be very serious,” he said. “It should be more than a civil case. It should be something very serious”:
MATTHEWS: So it should be a criminal matter for the woman as well as the doctor?
STEARNS: I think so. You are killing an embryo and in some cases you are killing an embryo that is four or five months into gestation.

My good friend at ABLC, AsiangrrlMN, talked about the defeated PRENDA act the House tried and failed to pass last week, that would have criminalized abortions "based on gender preferences".  ABL talked about it too and why the act was utter nonsense.

But that's the future of America if these guys win in November, period.  Might want to keep that in mind.


Related Posts with Thumbnails