Thursday, August 2, 2012

Last Call

How awful is the Ryan-Romney budget and tax plan?  So bad for the middle class in fact that nobody in the Republican party will tell the truth about it.  Ezra Klein goes straight for the heart here:

The reason Romney’s plan doesn’t work is very simple. The size of the tax cut he’s proposing for the rich is larger than all of the tax expenditures that go to the rich put together. As such, it is mathematically impossible for him to keep his promise to make sure the top one percent keeps paying the same or more.

In other words, Mitt Romney is lying to you, and he thinks you're a moron.

This is going to be a huge problem for the Romney campaign. The Romney team has tried to paper over the fact that its policy promises don’t add up by withholding the crucial details that independent analysts need to do the math. But now independent analysts are filling in those details for them (the Tax Policy Center’s look at Romney’s tax plan should be read in tandem with the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities effort to flesh out his spending promises). And, ultimately, that’s worse, as actors with more credibility than the Romney campaign are showing what the Romney campaign was trying to hide.

Sound familiar?  Leaving out the details and leaving to others the work of backfilling the specifics is pretty much the entire Romney campaign so far.  We don't know the details about Romney's own taxes.  What makes you think his plan to fix your taxes is anything other than complete nonsense designed to turn the US into the most imbalanced economy on earth?

Why do you think he's spewing outright falsehoods like this now?

“I worked in a state. I found a way to work across the aisle, by the way. And when I look — we’ve got to have someone that goes to Washington that buries the hatchet and says you know what, there are good Democrats, there are good Republicans that care about America, let’s work together to get the American people working, get some growth again. This is important. Getting America working, this isn’t a statistic we’re talking about.  23 million Americans out work or underemployed. 23 million. It’s a tragedy. It’s a moral failing for a country as successful as successful and wealthy as ours to have had policies that kept people from going to work. I want to get people back to work that want to work. Put them in good jobs with more take home pay.”

And yet his own party has blocked every single effort to improve job creation.  What, given the behavior of the last 4 years, makes anyone think the Tea Party assholes in the GOP will allow Mitt Romney to work with the Democrats at all?

Like I said, he's lying and he thinks you're a moron.

Pragmatism, Ever Green

The only thing that the Green Party and their candidate for President, Jill Stein, can effectively do is cost Barack Obama re-election and put Mitt Romney in the White House.  That's a shame, because protest votes for her against Romney or Obama either way are votes that could put the most environmentally hostile, Wall Street-friendly man to ever run for the office in power.

While Obama and Romney rail at each other, to an outsider’s eye each is nearly indistinguishable from the other, Stein said.

“We need an independent political party to help articulate the vision and the demands (of the people) and drive them into the political agenda,” Stein said. “Without our voices, it’s just a battle of public relations campaigns funded by Wall Street.”

Breaking up big banks and creating local banks, she said, would provide the money for the social and green programs on her agenda. She also wants to limit the role of corporations and Wall Street in politics. “We need to take the money out of politics,” she said.

We do.  But Jill Stein has zero chance.  And even if she takes 2 or 3% of the vote away from Barack Obama in swing states, it could be enough to give Mitt Romney Ohio, Pennsylvania, Florida, and a number of other states...and the White House.

Your vote for Stein could lead to Romney winning?   Ask Ralph Nader about President Gore and Florida sometime.  That turned out really well for America, didn't it?

Read more here:

Lack Of Representation

Apparently my Congressman, Republican dipstick Geoff Davis, has resigned this week effective immediately.

Rep. Geoff Davis (R-Ky.) -- who was already set to retire after this term -- announced Tuesday that he will resign immediately due to a recent  "family health issue."

"Recently, a family health issue has developed that will demand significantly more of my time to assist," Davis said in a statement. "As a result, I cannot continue to effectively fulfill my obligations to both my office and my family.  Family must and will come first."

He did not elaborate on the specifics of the health issue.

That means Dinosaur Steve can call a special election, and Democrat Bill Adkins is asking for help against Tea Party glibertarian Thomas Massie.  Massie is expected to win (this being NOBAMA Country and all) although Bill Adkins would be a hell of addition to Congress from a progressive point of view.   Both of my useless Senate appendages will be at a fundraiser for Massie in three weeks or so over in the nicer suburbs northeast of Louisville.

Bill could certainly use some help from you as a result.

Horny Bull Nails Patrol Car

Let's break this down and savor the developing story, shall we?

If you aren't laughing yet, this should do the trick:

SHERWOOD, Ark. (AP) -- A bull in the mood for love damaged an Arkansas sheriff's patrol car when it tried to mount a man who was leading the animal across a yard.
Authorities said Wednesday that a Faulkner County sheriff's deputy was responding to a call about a bull running loose when he saw the man slapping and trying to guide the bull. 

Attention city folk: don't ever smack a bull.  Especially when they're in the mood.  Daddy likes it rough, for those who haven't witnessed the real deal.  

This guy learned the hard way.  Pun intended.

The Log Cabin Democrat reports that as the patrol car drew near, the animal reared up and pinned the man against the vehicle.  According to the deputy's report, the bull then "tried to mate with him."

And now the finale, because just how did you think this story would end?

The bull then lost interest and followed a truck down the road.

This is the stuff I'll miss when I leave the Midwest.  Stuff like this just doesn't happen in L.A.  It's been a serious week, and the heat has everyone feeling a bit prickly.  I hope this made you all smile, because it made me giggle for a good ten minutes.

Reform? Not So Much

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. — The Missouri Supreme Court has overturned a key provision in a Republican-backed “tort reform” law that limited the amount of money people could win in medical malpractice lawsuits.
In a 4-3 decision today involving CoxHealth the high court said the 2005 law violated the right to a jury trial by capping non-economic damages in medical malpractice cases at $350,000. The limit had applied to lawsuits alleging health care providers were at fault for injuries or deaths.
The monetary limit had been a focal point of a law passed by the Republican-led Legislature and signed by then-Gov. Matt Blunt. They had hoped it would help reign in rising medical malpractice premiums for doctors and thus improve the availability of health care.
Because limiting accountability makes so much sense.  Then mistakes don't become worth avoiding, they become the cost of doing business.  Then you stop forgetting that it's people's deaths or loss that led to that cost.  If the hospital is found to be guilty of some sort of negligence then they should pay an appropriate amount suited to the level of negligence.  If that's something so awful (like cutting off the wrong leg... don't laugh, it's happened!) and preventable then the hospital should pay a fair amount.

Also, it's rein, not reign.  That's just the Springfield News-Leader keeping it real, folks.

Harry Plotter And The Prisoner Of Rafalca

I've stayed away from the story earlier this week involving Senate majority leader Harry Reid going after Mitt Romney, saying that he was told by a former Bain Capital executive that Romney refuses to release his tax returns because has paid roughly zero federal taxes for ten years through various tax games.  It smacks of unsourced nonsense and frankly I don't believe even Romney's that stupid.

But now Harry Reid is repeating the claim, and the Romney camp's response to it makes me think that Reid is telling the truth.

On Wednesday, Reid stuck to his story, and broadened it.

"I am not basing this on some figment of my imagination," Reid said in a telephone call with Nevada reporters. "I have had a number of people tell me that."

Asked to elaborate on his sources, Reid declined. "No, that's the best you're going to get from me."
"I don't think the burden should be on me," Reid said. "The burden should be on him. He's the one I've alleged has not paid any taxes. Why didn't he release his tax returns?"

A Romney spokesman said Reid's charge was baseless and below the belt.

"This is further proof that the president's campaign is willing to say whatever it takes to distract from his economic record, no matter how baseless, unfounded or demonstrably false their attacks are," spokesman Mason Harrison said. "President (Barack) Obama condemned these kinds of negative attacks in 2008, but like many of the promises he made back then, they have turned out to be just more words."

Reid challenged the media to be more aggressive in digging into Romney's finances.

"What if he has paid no taxes, like I am saying he hasn't," Reid said. "What if he has all these moneys as we already know ... in the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Swiss banks. I mean, gee whiz, rather than ask me why I should do this, that is a story you should be writing."

On one hand, this "reporters told me" crap is pretty much the kind of stupid play I expect from Republicans, and let's remember that while they are howling about this being below the belt, Republicans gleefully spread rumors about President Obama's birth certificate.  I've got no tolerance for that level of hypocrisy and they can kiss my ass.

Second, Mitt still needs to release his damn tax returns.  There's a really, really easy way to prove Harry Reid's full of crap, right?  You would think that the Romney camp would now love to fatally embarrass the leader of the Dems in the Senate in an election  year where the GOP has a good chance of being able to win back control of the upper chamber.  If they wanted to call Harry Reid and the Democrats out as liars, they now have every reason to do so.

Except the Romney camp isn't doing that.

One has to honestly ask now why.  Reid has made this claim twice now in 72 hours or so.  If he's full of nonsense, then the Romney camp could prove that at their leisure.

Why aren't they?

Dry Boned In The Heartland

As of this week, a majority of the counties in the United States are suffering such severe drought right now that they qualify as federal disaster areas.

More than half of all U.S. counties have been designated disaster zones, the Department of Agriculture reported, blaming excessive heat and a devastating drought that's spread across the Corn Belt and contributed to rising food prices.

Agriculture Secretary Tom Vilsack on Wednesday declared disaster zone designations for an additional 218 counties in 12 states because of damage and losses caused by drought and excessive heat.

The states are Arkansas, Georgia, Iowa, Illinois, Indiana, Kansas, Mississippi, Nebraska, Oklahoma, South Dakota, Tennessee and Wyoming.

Nearly three-quarters of the nation's cattle acreage is inside a region hit by drought, as is about two-thirds of the country's hay acreage, the agency reported.

USDA researchers added that an average of 37% of the nation's soybeans were last week ranked from very poor to poor, the lowest quality recorded since a massive drought in 1988.

Nearly half of America's corn crop was also rated very poor to poor, while 57% of its pastures and range land were similarly graded.

This year's harsh conditions suggest food prices next year could surge by as much as 4.5%, the agency reported.

And considering how much high fructose corn syrup goes into junk food, well the price of that stuff will skyrocket too.  4.5% more at the grocery store seems awfully low compared to how widespread this drought is, and there's no relief in sight, temperatures across the country continue to be sizzling well into the 90's and close to triple digits for the third straight month now.  2012 will absolutely be the hottest year on record in the US, but I can almost guarantee you this year's record will be shattered again and again in the coming years.

Get used to it, America.  Water shortages, food inflation at double digits yearly, do you think the one percent at the top are going to suffer or even care?

You're on your own.


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