Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Last Call

California Dem Gov. Jerry Brown has gotten a lot of props around here for the bills he's signed into law...but he also has earned a couple of rotten tomatoes tossed in his direction this week for a pair of pretty awful vetoes.

Sunday night, Brown vetoed both the TRUST Act, which would have changed how local law enforcement complied with Immigrations and Customs enforcement against undocumented immigrants, and AB889, called the “Domestic Bill of Rights,” which would have allowed more than 200,000 household employees formal access to overtime and meal breaks.

A member of an immigration advocacy group, the California Immigrant Policy Center (CIPC), told The Raw Story Monday that the two vetoes were a missed chance for Brown to show leadership on the part of the state.

“He lost an opportunity to demonstrate how states can advance legislation to value the important contributions of immigrants here in California,” said CIPC policy manager Gabriela Villareal. “With the TRUST Act, it was a constitutionally-sound bill that would have limited unfair detention and deportations of immigrants, and certainly with the Domestic Workers Bill of Rights, it was an unfortunate disappointment that the governor didn’t recognize the people caring for California’s families as real workers.” 

Ahh, but California's wealthiest one percent, who no doubt employ many of those 200,000 domestics, had problems with the bill, so down it goes.   And the TRUST Act veto too was a major blow to immigration fairness in the state.  Both strikes are nasty reminders that even in blue California, workers' rights and immigration laws remain a major issue in the state, and Brown isn't nearly as liberal as everyone thinks he is.

One percenter issues in a state like California will continue to hold sway.

Mind The Gender Gap, Lads

The latest Quinnipiac national poll finds President Obama up four, but again the crosstabs are where the meat is at.  Romney has a healthy ten-point lead among men right now...but President Obama is up eighteen points among women voters.

American likely voters say 60 - 25 percent that the federal government would make progress addressing the nation's problems if one party controls the White House, the Senate and the House of Representatives.

Voters dislike the Democratic Party less than they dislike the Republican Party, giving the Democrats a negative 45 - 49 percent favorability rating, compared to a negative 41 - 52 percent for the Republicans.

"President Barack Obama won only about 43 percent of the white vote in 2008, so his current standing among whites tracks his earlier winning performance," said Peter A. Brown, assistant director of the Quinnipiac University Polling Institute. "If the president can match or exceed his 2008 showing among whites it will be difficult to impossible for Romney to win.

"It is also very difficult to win an election when you are getting shellacked among women, the group that makes up about half the electorate."

"Historically, voters have preferred divided government in the belief that one side can keep the other in line, but these numbers may indicate that the public is fed up with gridlock in Washington," said Brown.

Imagine that.  Americans are sick of gridlock and a do-nothing Congress blocked by Republicans, President Obama is doing just as well among white voters as he did four years ago, and people prefer Democrats to Republicans.

But the polls are skeeeeeeeeeeeeewed.


Iran Through The Fire And Flames

That loud imploding noise you heard over the last week or so was Iran's currency, the rial, going KA-BOOM as US and EU sanctions on Iranian oil has all but collapsed Tehran's economy.

The freefall suggests sanctions imposed over Iran's nuclear programme are undermining its ability to earn foreign exchange and that its reserves of hard currency may be running low.

The rial traded at 34,200 per dollar according to currency-tracking website Mazanex, down from about 29,720 on Sunday. It was trading at 24,600 last Monday, according to website Mesghal.
There is no clear sign that economic pain in Iran has reached levels that would prompt the government to compromise on its nuclear programme, which Western nations say aims to develop an atomic bomb but which Tehran insists is peaceful.

However, the currency crisis is exposing President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad to criticism from enemies in parliament.

The rial's losses have accelerated in the past week after the government launched an "exchange centre" designed to supply dollars to importers of some basic goods at a special rate slightly cheaper than the market rate.

Instead of allaying fears about the availability of dollars, the centre seems to have intensified the race for hard currency by linking the special rate to the market rate, meaning that even privileged importers will face sharply higher costs.

"The government's initiative ... brought to the surface a tremendous lack of confidence in its ability to manage the currency," said Cliff Kupchan, a Middle East expert at the Eurasia Group, a political risk research firm. "The attempt to fix it triggered a worse crisis via market psychology."

The rial's sinking value will fuel inflation, officially running at about 25 percent; economists estimate the real rate is even higher. Rising costs could worsen the job losses which Iranians say are hitting the country's industrial sector.

We're not quite to Zimbabwe's 100 billion dollar bills yet in Iran, but things are rapidly getting ugly if the rial is losing 20% in value per day like it did on Friday.  The sanctions are going to hurt the people far more than they are going to hurt the mullahs, and what happens next, well we get into the whole "unpredictable" part of the probability tables.

Imagine if you will that since your last paycheck two weeks ago, the price of food, gas, basic supplies all more or less doubled.  Imagine that the speed of that doubling is picking up pace and that prices will double again next week, then in 4 days, then in 2, then 1.  That's hyperinflation, and that's Iran right now.  Needless to say, the danger level in a situation like that is pretty awfully high.

Is this America's "October Surprise"?  We're about to find out.

A Special Kind Of Stupid

Scary rides push physics to the limit.  If you are not smart enough to calculate the physics involved, please be smart enough to follow the directions of those who can.  Simple enough, no?

VALENCIA, CALIF.A man who fell off the tallest enclosed water slide in California has "miraculously" survived with no broken bones or internal injuries, according to the L.A. County Sheriff's department.
CBS station KCBS-TV in Los Angeles reported that an unidentified 19-year-old man was rushed to the hospital after falling off the Venom Drop at Six Flags Hurricane Harbor. The 75-foot tall water slide is one of the three slides at Black Snake Summit, and allows riders to "take a virtually vertical plunge, almost 90 degrees to the ground," according to the official description. The man was about halfway down the slide when he fell off and hit the concrete, Six Flags spokesperson Sue Carpenter said.
He went head-first, and derailed enough to land on the concrete.  My father used to say God favored stupid people and drunks, and I'll be darned if that hasn't panned out more often than not.  This stupid man could have died, and instead walked away with no major injuries.  Not a broken bone, no complications.

So I'm jealous.  The last time I took a wrong step I was using a cane for six weeks.  I'm also terrified of water rides, because I don't trust the variables.  This pretty much confirms that I'll never be riding anything scarier than the Lazy River.  Besides a great spider invasion, this pretty much tops my list of terrifying scenarios.

If I could tell this young man anything, I'd spin a web and tell him in my best
 Spider-Man voice, "everybody gets one."

Cops Chase Semi Truck In "You Might Be A Redneck" Moment

OZARK, Mo. -- The driver of a semi-tractor is charged with assaulting a law enforcement officer after a 20-mile southbound chase, much of it in the northbound lanes of U.S. 65, on Sunday night.  Jesse DeJongh, 18, was arrested early Monday, several hours after officers say he crashed his truck in southern Christian County and fled into the woods.
Greene County sheriff’s deputies started chasing DeJongh’s truck on U.S. 65 after employees of Hood’s Truck Stop near Bois D’Arc said he drove off with about $700 worth of stolen fuel.
This guy has "idiot" all over him.  After taking off with $710 in gas, he is followed by a regular who kept cops up to date (you might be a redneck).  At some point he has a conversation with the truck driver, who says he will go back and pay but doesn't, resulting in a chase down Highway 65.  Which is a really really busy highway for those of you who don't know this area.

For you locals: he then goes off on the Evans Road exit!  For the rest of you: that's the curviest, crappiest, most slanted bit of squirrel path that he could have chosen.  The miracle here is that he didn't kill anyone, himself included.

After a brief run in the woods (you are so a redneck) he was brought in by police.  And we all know the best redneck stories end with a night in the pokey.

Jeff Foxworthy was not on the scene.

A Bloody Milestone

The death of US soldier number 2,000 in Afghanistan happened this weekend, and it looks like another "green on blue" killing.

A possible insider attack has claimed the life of America’s 2,000th soldier to die in Afghanistan. The shooting reportedly took place Saturday evening in Afghanistan’s volatile Wardak Province at a checkpoint run by the Afghan Army.

While initial reports indicated that the incident was likely an insider attack, international military officials now say insurgent fire may have been involved. The incident left one NATO soldier presumed to be American dead, along with a civilian contractor, and three Afghan soldiers. Afghan and international military authorities are now investigating the incident.

If confirmed as an insider attack, the incident is likely to carry particular significance beyond being the 2,000th American soldier killed in the nearly 11-year conflict. Though violence has fallen here with US troops seeing consistent drops in fatalities starting last year, the war continues to claim lives and this latest spate of insider killings presents a challenge that has so far eluded US and NATO efforts to solve the problem. 

We still have a long way to go to get out of Afghanistan.  And for countless thousands here in America and abroad, we'll never fully be "out of Afghanistan".

A generation of soldiers will have been to the sandbox.  None came home the same.  Some didn't come home at all.  Something I'll never forgive Dubya and his cadre for, that's for sure.

West Of The Sun, East Of The Moonbat

Rep. Allen West of Florida? Call your office, please. While you still have one, that is.

Firebrand Florida Rep. Allen West is losing his reelection fight by a 9-point margin to Democrat Patrick Murphy, according to a poll taken for the Democratic group House Majority PAC. The survey, taken by the firm Garin-Hart-Yang Research and shared by a source with POLITICO, found Murphy leading West, 52 percent to 43 percent.

But TEH POLLZ ARE TEH SKOOWED and stuff right?

There's reason to take the House Majority PAC poll seriously. Not only is it taken by a gold-plated Democratic pollster, it's also weighted significantly in the GOP direction. The poll sample was composed of 44 percent Republicans and 37 percent Democrats -- a stronger GOP lean than the actual congressional district.
Murphy comes out ahead anyway in the survey thanks to an 18-point lead among independents. His 9-point advantage over West exceeds President Barack Obama's 7-point lead over Romney in the district.

To recap, the poll oversampled Republicans and West is still losing by 9.  Good night, sweet putz. May choirs of pollsters sing thee to thy rest in the private sector.


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