Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Last Call

Since America can never be allowed to discuss gun control, your only options when faced with a tragedy like Aurora are A) do nothing, B) GET MOAR GUNS.   Guess which ones residents of Colorado are turning to?

Between Friday and Sunday, the Colorado Bureau of Investigation approved background checks for 2,887 people who wanted to purchase a firearm — a 43 percent increase over the previous Friday through Sunday and a 39 percent jump over those same days on the first weekend of July.

The biggest spike was on Friday, when there were 1,216 checks, a 43 percent increase over the average number for the previous two Fridays.

The checks are required before anyone may legally purchase a gun in Colorado. Because some purchasers may have bought more than one gun or decided against their purchase, the actual number bought may have been different from 2,887.

Such increases aren't unusual in the wake of mass shootings.

Of course not.  The answer to mass shootings is always more guns because we can never even discuss fewer guns, the answer to all economic issues is always more tax cuts because we can never even discuss making anyone pay more in taxes , the answer to teen sex is always abstinence because we can never even discuss sex ed, the answer is always just a measure of how far we're willing to go down the path where anything less than 100% compliance is the sole reason why the path fails.

If only everyone had guns, no teenager ever had sex, and taxes were 0%, we'd solve all of our problems.

A Contemptible Motion For Contemptible Fools

Over at ABLC, Bon talked about the story of Lexington teenager Savannah Dietrich, the 17-year-old sexual assault victim who faced a six month jail sentence for contempt of court for tweeting the names of her attackers after the pair of young men who assaulted her (and circulated pictures of that, by the way) cut a plea deal in juvenile court.

Yet now it’s Dietrich who is in hot water. She was angry at the order stating she couldn’t speak of the juvenile hearing. Her attackers were given protection because they are minors, despite the fact that she is one as well and they attacked her, not the other way around. She unleashed her feelings on Twitter, which led to the defendant’s attorney calling her out on violating the order.

Dietrich admitted freely that she was violating the court order, but faces up to six months of jail time and a fine of up to $500. The remarkable thing is that the defendants in her case admitted guilt and took a plea bargain that got them a sweet deal. Now she may be the only one who does jail time over her own assault.

Well, it turns out the outcry here in Kentucky and across the country was so raucous that the contempt motion has been dropped.

Defense attorneys for two teenagers who pleaded guilty to assaulting 17-year-old Savannah Dietrich have withdrawn their motion that she be held in contempt for tweeting the names of her attackers in defiance of a court order.

David Mejia, an attorney for one of the teens, said given that the story has gone global because of a piece Saturday in The Courier-Journal, there was no reason to continue the contempt motion.

What could contempt do now?” Mejia said in an interview, adding that the boys’ names have already been circulated far beyond the original tweet. “Seems like a rather useless exercise doesn’t it?

The boys are no longer media virgins and the damage has been done?  That's the excuse for dropping the contempt charge?  Really?  That's so far into colossal douchebag territory we're going to need to invent new self-healing plastics just to maintain structural integrity of the unit.

Don't get me wrong, Savannah Dietrich went through more than enough as the victim here.  The notion that she spend six months in jail and pay a fine was preposterous, so seeing the charge dropped is a serious win.  But let's not forget the contempt charge was suggested as nothing more than vitriolic retribution by the defense team of the two assholes who got away with a plea bargain for sexual assault and circulating pictures of their conquest.

My sympathies for their tender fee-fees are infinitesimal.  You'd have a better shot of spotting a Higgs boson wearing a tiny Lady Gaga meat dress while performing various arias from La Traviata than being able to quantify how much of a damn I give about the social reputation of these reprobates.  Then these jagoffs decide they're going to send the victim to jail, and then when the solid wall of the sound of the country shouting the word "asshole" knocks all their dudebro beer glasses off their tables, their lawyer says OH WELL, SHE'S ALREADY DAMAGED THEIR REPUTATION ENOUGH, WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO DO.

I don't say this nearly enough.

I'm saying it now.

Fuck you, the two sexual predator assholes who did this, and fuck you, attorney David Mejia, you rotten excuse for a human being.  You are awful.  You are in fact the greasy, burnt shards of hopelessness and rot at the bottom of the bag of life's kettle chips.  I hope one day that medical science masters the compassion transplant, because you're a couple hogsheads low in that department, guys.

Most of all, I hope you never have a daughter, niece, mother, aunt or sister who finds herself in the same hideous situation that Savannah Dietrich did and that you never feel that particular brand of pain and inchoate, impotent rage at finding yourself and your loved ones at the mercy of the caprice of a couple of teenage dudebro assholes.  I hope you never find yourself so far broken as a man that you are filled with a burning desire to gain denied justice through the application of a metal Easton softball bat and five minutes in a locked room with the jackasses that hurt the people you care about, a desire so strong you become physically ill at the effort needed to contain it, just to continue functioning, and that you have to stop and remind yourself constantly through the incandescent blinding futility of your rage that if your pressure vessel of a self cracks for even a moment, you will forever disgrace the ones you love and defeat the very purpose of justice itself by becoming a beast no more worthy than those who wronged the people you care the most about.

That is something I would never wish upon you or the two men who assaulted this young woman.  Pray you never experience anything close, because you will fail that particular test, gentlemen, and only compound your sins exponentially by hurting the innocent around you even more.

I'm going to get some air now.

Bachmann Makes A Graves Error

Has Michelle Bachmann finally gone so far off the deep end with her one-woman Muslim Brotherhood McCarthyism that she might actually lose in November?  That's up to the folks in Minnesota's 6th, but her Democratic party opponent Jim Graves isn't wasting any time in using Bachmann's apparent meltdown to pitch himself as the Not Completely Insane Candidate.  Evan McMorris-Santoro talks to the Graves camp:

Bachmann’s baffling quest to root out Muslim infiltrators in the federal government could be the final piece in a puzzle Democrats have been trying to solve for years. This time, says hotel executive Jim Graves — the Democratic Party choice to take on Bachmann — momentum is on his side.

“It definitely has, I think, cemented people that may be in the middle that say, ‘Well you know, she’s really out there, but we need somebody to keep Congress in line,’” Graves told TPM Friday. “I think this has gone well over the edge for people.”

Graves said he’s seen an “uptick in financial support” on the ground in the 6th District as Bachmann’s quest to rid the federal government of “Islamist” infiltrators has dominated headlines. Many of Bachmann’s fellow Republicans, including her former presidential campaign manager Ed Rollins, have condemned her recent charges, especially the ones aimed at State Department staffer Huma Abedin.

Graves said he’s seen the same kind of disgust from some Republicans in Bachmann’s district. The state Republican Party did not respond to multiple requests to discuss Bachmann on Friday.

“A lot of Republicans [in the district] say, ‘This is the straw that broke the camel’s back. We just cant afford to have this uncertainty and fear-mongering and McCarthyism,’” Graves said.

Bachmann’s latest foray into the headlines has cast a new spotlight on her reelection campaign. Graves expects the controversy to drive more national money and attention to his campaign. The Democratic candidate has a net worth between $22 million and $111 million and told TPM he’s prepared to put his own money behind his bid against Bachmann, a prolific fundraiser with a national base.

Graves has the money, surely.  But anyone worth that much running on the blue side in Minnesota has got to be either the most moderate of Blue Dogs, or a die hard hippie.  Not sure which, so let's look at his stance on the issues:

Government has a role to play in society, but it should be limited to what citizens cannot do for themselves.   I believe that the free market makes better decisions than politicians. I also believe government must balance its budget and my solution is to end the blame game and start working together. As you can see, I am in the unique position of being both pro-business and pro-government. We need to get jobs back in 6th District by allowing us to compete on a level playing field with China and Mexico.  We need to close the tax loopholes that allow companies like Apple to earn billions of dollars by selling their product to us in America, while avoiding paying taxes in America.  As a successful business owner, I understand accounting. I respect bottom lines, and I am qualified to bring the necessary fiscal accountability to Washington.

I’m a CEO and I want my employees to make a good living wage. I compromise with my union. Why? The driving principle for many of my core values is the Golden Rule. If I want to earn enough to raise a family, have good health care and pay for my children’s education, the same must be true for my employees.  The other fundamental value in my decisions is pragmatic business logic. As much as two-thirds of our economy is driven by consumer spending; therefore, the more money in the pockets of the middle class, the stronger our economy will be. What our struggling economy needs more than anything is increased aggregate demand for our local goods and services.

I could think of a number of other Democrats I'd rather see in Congress other than a one percenter with nine figures, but I'm pretty sure most of you would agree that this guy is infinitely preferable to Michele Freakin' Bachmann.

We'll see.

My Take On The Penn State News

Zandar has done a fine job of covering the Penn State smackdown that will echo for decades.  I just had a couple of things I wanted to say after watching it live.

First, I am impressed at the repeated references to cultural change.  To make things right and work against it ever happening again, cultural change must occur.  From athletic directors to administration, not only must healthy fear of sanctions influence the rules, but an understanding and commitment to choosing right over wrong.  Competition is important, winning is what the game is about.  However, schools are about more than games, they must protect their students.  Changing from a "winning at all costs"mentality must occur.

Also, in the many recaps I have not heard anyone touch on the statement that individuals could face additional sanctions pending the results of a criminal investigation.  I wonder who, what, and what prompted that statement that we may not know (yet).  That was the sole mention and I've been listening all day.  Anyone want to chip in on this?

There is a lot of debate about the severe punishment.  I say good for them, it had to be so.  Anything less would be permission or seen as backhanded acceptance.  Universities have been sent a very clear message.  There is no way to allow conduct like this and come out ahead.  There's no amount of profit or success that can't be reversed if covering up something so heinous.  The statement had to be made so that there was no possible acceptable outcome except doing it right.

It's not perfect, nothing ever is.  But they did okay, I think, and focused on changing the problem from the roots up.  There will be plenty of people watching to make sure they hold up their end.

Mini-Moose: Parenting 101

A newly-released clip from the Lifetime reality series "Bristol Palin: Life's a Tripp" shows Tripp Palin uttering a homophobic slur when mom Bristol and aunt Willow won't let him visit the swimming pool.
The Palin sisters gasp, and then giggle, when three-year-old Tripp's temper tantrum culminates in the tot calling his aunt a "faggot."
Though Bristol does confess that she's "doing a terrible job disciplining Tripp…I know he's going to continue to push the boundaries," her son's behavior doesn't seem too out of step, given his family's history of anti-gay activity. In 2010, Willow sparked controversy when she fired off at a classmate on Facebook, referring to him "so gay" and "such a faggot."
This  is sort of like my Westboro post, or so I pray.  Please say that this is at least showing people how not to be, and expose how stupidity can infect children.  Don't let our exposure be in vain.  Protect us from the evil that is Brisol Palin, who decided to tell Obama how to address homosexuality with his daughters.


Greek Fire, Part 64

Looking back, I've been tracking the Greek Fire story now for two plus years, ever since February 2010.  Pretty much all the macro-level stuff has been spot on.  The time frame has been extended time and time again by the so called "Troika" of the International Monetary Fund, the European Central Bank, and the European Commission, but the structural changes necessary to fix the problem never appeared, and were only made worse by austerity measures.  Greece has gotten bailout after bailout, but it looks like this time the Troika may be about to cut Greece off.

Some 30 months later, we appear to have finally entered the endgame.


So what happens now?  Greece's next big payment is due August 20.  If they don't have the money on hand, then default is the name of the game and we begin the Greek endgame in earnest.  Increasingly this default scenario is now looking like not just a distinct possibility, but the expected outcome.  Indeed, Germany is now openly talking about life after a Greek exit from the Euro.

Greece should start paying half of its pensions and state salaries in drachmas as part of a gradual exit from the euro zone, a leading German conservative was quoted on Monday as saying.

Alexander Dobrindt, general secretary of the Christian Social Union (CSU), the Bavaria-based sister party of Chancellor Angela Merkel's Christian Democrats (CDU), has long argued that Greece would be better off outside the euro zone.

"With Greece we have reached the end of the road. There must not be any further aid. A country which does not have the will to fulfil the conditions, or is not able to do so, must get a chance outside the euro," Dobrindt told the daily Die Welt.

German conservatives have said enough.  The Troika has all but pulled the plug.  All eyes are now on August 20th.  We'll see what transpires.

Taxing America's Patience, Part 7

Here's a nice little article to reference next time one of those mouth-breathing teabaggers screams TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY and WE CAN'T AFFORD IT.  The reason is because the world's one percenters are holding some $32 trillion in tax havens to avoid paying anything in taxes.

The Tax Justice Network’s report estimates that unreported offshore wealth held in tax havens has reached at least $21 trillion, and possibly as much as $32 trillion. That wealth means that the problem of inequality in wealth and income is actually worse than suspected, the group says.

It also means that many countries are losing out on tax revenue that could go a long way toward alleviating their national fiscal problems, the report’s authors suggest. The largest previous estimate of the problem – also by Tax Justice Network, in 2005 – was about $11.5 trillion, the report says.

The report considers the impacts of a range of offshore abuses, including unreported capital flows and under-taxed corporate profits. It places considerable blame on big multinational banks and other financial institutions that are integral to the process of shifting money to offshore tax havens.

The “huge, secretive offshore industry has truly become the dark side of globalization,” the report concludes. It urges renewed efforts by developed countries to gain a handle on the problem.

And remember, it's unreported wealth.  Nobody pays a dime in taxes on it because it doesn't exist.  Naturally, conservatives are howling.

But some tax experts – particularly conservatives – expressed skepticism at the size of the new estimate. Dan Mitchell, a senior fellow at the libertarian Cato Institute, compared the report’s findings to some estimates of climate change.

And Andrew Quinlan, president of the Center for Freedom and Prosperity, a group that promotes international tax competition and financial privacy, said, “Tax Justice Network and other opponents of tax competition assume that all earnings belong first to governments, which is why they seek to prevent even legal wealth management techniques if they result in less money for spend-happy politicians.”

Yes, because it's so awful paying zero taxes on $32 trillion.  The job creator class will get around to creating those jobs at any second now.   If that pile of money, twice as much money as it would take to pay off our entire national debt by the way, was taxed at even 3%. we'd have no deficit problem in the US.

Instead, the numbers have to be a lie just like climate change because SHUT UP THAT'S WHY GET BACK TO WORK.  Meanwhile, let's cut more teachers, police, and firefighters so we can give the one percenters even more money.  You know, so they can go hide it offshore like Mitt Romney, pay zero taxes on it, and then complain about how parasites like us are draining them dry.

Until they have everything, and we have nothing.


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