Sunday, September 16, 2012

Last Call

Obama campaign deputy manager Stephanie Cutter takes on the Romney campaign's latest ad blitz accusing President Obama being soft on China and bad for manufacturing jobs, and sets the record straight.

“Here’s the full story: Over the last two-and-a-half years we’ve added more than a half million manufacturing jobs. They’re actually the first manufacturing job gains since the 1990s,” says Cutter.
She also attacks Romney’s tax plans, saying that his proposals to give tax breaks to American companies overseas could send 800,000 jobs abroad, to “China, Mexico, and other countries.”

“His plan encourages companies to create jobs there instead of here at home,” she says, proceeding to hit Romney on his record at private-equity giant Bain Capital and for investing in Chinese companies.
Cutter dismisses Romney’s claims that the administration failed to be an effective advocate against unfair trade practices, accusing Romney of “actually attacking the president for being too tough on China when they were flooding the market with tires.”

“Seriously, when the president stepped up on behalf of American tire workers, saving more than a 1,000 jobs, Romney said it was ‘bad for the nation and our workers,’” she says, citing a passage from Romney’s 2010 book “No Apology.” Romney had criticized the president’s decision early in his administration to side with the United Steelworkers and impose a 35 percent tariff on Chinese tire makers.

Looks pretty bad for Romney, but remember, the facts simply don't apply to them anymore, by their own admission.  It's pretty one sided when you fact check him, because they simply don't care if they're caught lying.  It becomes "So what?"

So what, America?

So what are you going to do about it in November?

Podcast Versus The Stupid!

This weekend's episode: Romney Shambles, as Bon and I discuss the Romney campaign falling apart so badly that the winger blogs are calling on President Obama to resign, why you need to vote, and why down ticket Senate and House races are so important this year.  Do give a listen.

Listen to internet radio with Zandar Versus The Stupid on Blog Talk Radio
As always, you can download the episode in mp3 or Windows Media Player format, listen in iTunes, or check out the archived episodes of PVTS on the Archive page. And if you like what you hear, consider throwing in a couple of bucks via secure PayPal donation, eh?


Dina Lohan - Acting Fail

Dina Lohan tells TMZ ... she had NOT BEEN DRINKING before her interview with Dr. Phil ... and blames the editing for making her appear intoxicated. 

The interview -- set to air on Monday -- was taped several months ago ... and a new promo for the episode features a seemingly confused Dina acting bizarre .. and many people suspect she was blitzed. 

In fact, the promo features a clip in which Dina's ex-hubby Michael Lohan asks Phil if Dina had been drinking before the interview. 

But Dina is adamant she was sober ... telling TMZ, "I don’t care what it looks like. I’m fine and I don’t care what anyone says."

She continues, "All people saw was two minutes edited of an hour long interview. Of course they cut it to make it interesting. That’s their job . I don’t blame them for doing that. Some of the comments were taken out of context but I’m fine. I’m fine.”

Sounds  a bit like denial.  Which makes sense, as it's the same lines Lindsay said over and over, while she lost weight, looked haggard, went to jail and stayed in trouble for years.  She learned from the best liar there is... her mother.

There is no Jedi editing trick to make this woman look bad.  She did it herself.  I cannot imagine what the full hour would be like, I'll pass.

Blind Affection

Stolen shamelessly from  The generosity of a stranger.  The love of a lifetime.  I bawled for a several minutes, and then cheered up when I realized we live in a great world where someone can care so much, and a blind cat can still find your laptop and decide to place themselves right on the keyboard.  All is right with the world.
4 years ago while I was on holiday in the south of Italy (was living in the north) I found a tiny kitten desperately crying with the power of a thousands suns. I decided to take care of her during my holiday, so that she would be stronger and more capable to survive when I would leave back home. At the time she was obviously too young to survive alone under a 43 degrees Celsius (109 F) sun. 

Her legs were clearly not okay, the mouth was also asymmetrical and impossible to close, probably because of a trauma, but the worst news still had to come. The following day I brought her to the vet who said that her eyes were closed not only because she was still too young but also because an infection ate both eyeballs. The vet also said that she was too weak, and that he thought that she could not survive. 

In the following days my brother and I started to take care of her eyes infection, ears infection, intestine worms and fever, while keeping her warm, feeding her with warm powder milk every 4 hours and teaching her to follow the noise of our steps and clapping hands. After 15 days Skunky was still weak but alive, but I had to leave. So I changed my plane reservation to include a pet, and long story short, Skunky is now sleeping in my bed, with the body under my covers and her head on my pillow. 

…what Skunky gives to me everyday is worth 10 times more what I might do for her.

Blind Kitten Rescued, Given New Forever Home 

Your Sunday Morning Read

I'm going to try to give you folks an in-depth piece to read on Sunday mornings from here on out, and you're going to want to start with MoJo's brilliant Mac McClelland as she goes back to her working-class roots and meets her old college roommate Erin and her husband Anthony and family in suburban Ohio and asks "whither the middle?"  If you want to know why the GOP is losing in the Buckeye State after 2010 swept in the GOP, you don't have to go too far past "Ohio's War On The Middle Class."

We've been roommates before. But that was back when we went to Ohio State, from which we graduated almost 10 years ago. Now Erin has a grown-up job as a public school teacher and a husband who's a public information specialist for the Ohio agency that keeps tabs on local utilities and makes sure they don't go all Enron on consumers. They have a baby, Jocelyn, who is extremely cute and well behaved, as well as a gray cat named Princess Vespa and a black cat named Barack Obama. For a long time, my contact with Erin has been limited mostly to occasional phone check-ins during which we brief each other on, like, how adulthood is going. Now I'm taking up temporary residence here not as a fun former roomie but as a reporter. I write Erin a rent check for a third of the mortgage—$430. She says she's really happy to see me, even though she knows the grown-up reporter reason I'm here is that she and her husband are state employees, so something bad is bound to happen to them in the next month. That $430, she tells me, might make an important difference in their finances soon.

It's people like Anthony and Erin who are suffering when the battle cry in states like Ohio turns to "government employees are parasites."  But it's not just Ohio that has declared war on their own citizens.  Plenty of other red state governors have gone after state employees, not just John Kasich in Ohio.  When you slash budgets to give tax cuts to the rich, and cut jobs in the process, people suffer.  And guess what?  These people have friends, they have families, they affect people's lives, and when they say "Well, one of us just got laid off due to government cuts" people start thinking "Hey, these are good people, their kids play with my kids.  They're not parasites."

But they see the people who are parasites:  the ultra-rich, profiting off these tax cuts, and then they remember they can vote in November.

Erin and Jocelyn have been going to these protests in Columbus. Neither one of us was really an activist or even especially politically minded in college, but lately, a phone conversation that starts about these amazing ice cream bars ends with news about what Kasich is doing or some kind of fretting, like she's doing right now. With the news that Anthony will likely lose his job, she's panicked that she missed the open enrollment period for her health insurance plan because she assumed, with the faith that professionals tend to default to when they're employed, that no one in her family was about to be jobless. All three Rodriguezes are currently on Anthony's insurance, because it's much better, and cheaper. Luckily, it's not too late to switch. By the end of the week, she'll drive to the appropriate office to drop off the paperwork. And then she'll cry in the car for an hour while Jocelyn's asleep in the backseat, which she'll confess to me when I tell her she's handling her "freaking out" well.

Erin recognizes that she could do a lot worse; if her nightmare of losing her house ever did come close to a reality, her parents would likely rescue her, she knows, as much as she would hate to have to take their money. But her friend, for example, who had a baby at the same time, has been surviving with her husband on his teaching-assistant salary only because they fell into a situation with free rent. Now they have to move, and they have no idea what they're going to do. And a parent of several of Erin's former students had to choose between sending his kid to college and working, since the only job he could get didn't pay enough to cover tuition—and financial aid would be available only if he were unemployed. Erin acknowledges that having to downgrade to a less-great health insurance plan is the sort of thing the upwardly mobile liberals of our generation like to refer to on the internet as "white people problems." A layoff might knock her back an income class or two. But not everyone she knows has a spare income class to fall.

Now, Erin eyes her 11-month-old when she says, "Thank God I have a job. And a job with insurance. Anthony's applying for jobs like crazy, but he's not getting any bites."

But gosh, I thought the tax cuts for the rich was supposed to free up capital so that private sector jobs would be created to keep the people laid off from government work employed.  Surprise!  Not happening.  Ohio's unemployment rate is 8.6%, higher than the national average.  Mac goes on to talk about some of those private sector jobs she's seen that replace these higher-paying "government parasite" jobs:  $9 a hour shifts in a warehouse with no AC in summer or heat in the winter, and where you get fired for not being on the floor 98% of your day.

These workers are all hired as temps by Susie's company. If they make it 90 days, they have the opportunity, in theory, if there's an opening, to become full employees of the logistics company, which means better benefits and about an extra dollar an hour. It has been six months since the logistics company graduated someone here from temp to employee status. At one of the other locations Susie manages, no one has been hired as a real employee for two years. One of the workers in this warehouse has been a temp for a year and a half.

After we walk past workers stuffing inflated plastic air pockets in boxes and a guy continuously taping shut the bottoms of just-made cartons, we go to Susie's office. "Hold on, I gotta fire somebody real quick," she says, picking up the phone. She calls a man who's been working for her for two months. She's sorry, she tells him, but she has to let him go because one of the supervisors caught him talking on the floor. The man, who she thinks is in his late 40s or early 50s, protests that he only asked a new guy where he was from. That's just not the culture, Susie tells him. You know the rules. The logistics company sets them, and she has no choice but to enforce them.

It does say in the new-employee handout that there are no personal conversations allowed on the warehouse floor. Also, no cell phones are permitted. Like a high school teacher, Susie has a pile of phones she's confiscated in a plastic bowl on her desk. Two sick days are allotted per year, and workers must be excused to take them without penalty; after that, the temp is terminated, doctor's note or no. Every temp is allowed one 30-minute break per day, and it must be taken on company premises. Every temp is required to have an ID badge. The cost of this badge, more than an hour's worth of wages, is deducted from the temp's first paycheck.

These are the jobs that globalization creates.  These are the companies that spring up when unions are destroyed and benefits are destroyed, where you lose your job if you talk at work.  This is what the "middle class" looks like now in Ohio.  This is the GOP path to "prosperity", a $9 an hour job that might mean $10 an hour someday in the future.  Maybe.  No guarantees.

But we have to get rid of teachers and state workers and unions and collective bargaining because they make too much money and we're TAXED ENOUGH ALREADY.  

"We" of course being the one percent.  This is what they bring to the table.

Go read the whole thing.

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