Friday, October 19, 2012

Last Call

About this time of silly season, we get the election predictions to be filed away in Future Stupidity.  First out of the gate this week is The Hill's A.B. Stoddard, penning President Obama's epitaph.

President Obama is losing. So says the latest Gallup poll, and so do those swelling numbers in key states like Wisconsin, Florida, Virginia and Ohio.

Democrats say wait, he won the second debate. They are holding their breath, hoping polls next week will show that this week's debate brought the herky-jerk of the campaign back full swing, with Obama back to his September lead in the swing states and poised to win. But with two weeks to go, a sudden surge in voter support for a president as unpopular as this one, in an economy this weak, is simply hard to believe. Conservatives like Karl Rove note that this late in October, no candidate with support higher than 50 percent (see Mitt Romney: Gallup) has ever gone on to lose.

Perhaps Obama lost the presidency weeks ago, on Oct. 3, when he sleepwalked and scribbled through the first debate and helped make Romney a new candidate overnight. It was Obama's night to finish Romney off; behind in the polls, even Romney likely woke up that morning thinking it was over. But Obama underestimated the task, the challenger and the electorate — all in 90 minutes. So a win this week was critical but perhaps not decisive. There is no obvious reason for Obama's performance to reverse the course of the campaign and blunt Romney now. And though there is one final debate next week, a back-and-forth on national security and foreign policy isn't likely to make the sale for anyone who still cannot make up his or her mind.

Doomed!  No reason Obama should be able to win!  Pack it up!  It's over!  Gallup, libtard morons!

Into the file you go then.  We'll see where we are on November 7.

In California, Road Forks You!

Jim Grant of Carlsbad, California?  I salute you, because you are awesome.

"I actually laughed out loud in my truck and just knew I had to get some shots of this urban art before some city employee takes it down or it is vandalized," he said. He shot some photos Tuesday afternoon, posted them on CNN iReport and left a Post-it note on the sculpture in hopes of finding the artist.

The literal fork in the road was short-lived. A city crew pulled it out of the concrete Wednesday morning, saying in a statement that "although the fork in the road remains, the literal fork was removed this morning. We appreciate the creativity, but it's not legal or safe to put objects like this on public streets or medians."

It's too bad, because the guy behind the fork just rocks.

Before the fork was ripped out, Grant's Post-it note made its way to the artist, who explained he was a retired teacher who wanted to remain anonymous for fear of getting fined or sued by the city.

The 62-year-old retired math and physics teacher said he has wanted to make a fork for that island ever since he saw "The Muppet Movie" in 1979, in which Kermit tells Fozzie Bear, on their way to Hollywood, to bear left if he comes to a fork in the road. A moment later, a giant upside-down fork appears in the road.

That was more than 30 years ago, but he never had the time to work on the project until he retired in June. He spent the summer on it, laminating pieces of wood together until they resembled the kitchen utensil. He bought a can of chrome paint and sprayed the fork until the can was empty. His brother, a middle-school wood shop teacher in El Cajon, helped him smooth out the edges.

"I'm not an artist. I have no talent, but I'm not afraid to try, and I'm quite surprised that the fork came out as good as it did," he said.

With his 32-year-old son's help, they mounted it in the street on Tuesday morning.

Put the fork back, Carlsbad!

Beyond Thunder DOMA, Part 2

Another major federal appeals court decision has struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional, but this time the venue was far more conservative as was the jurist handing down the decision.

In this case, the Second Circuit determined it was unconstitutional for the federal government to require 83-year-old Edith Windsor to pay over $300,000 in estate taxes after the death of her spouse Thea Spyer. Windsor and Spyer lived in New York, but married in Toronto, Canada, in 2007, after a 40-year partnership. When Spyer died in 2009, New York had not yet legalized same sex marriage, and thus the federal government required Windsor to pay taxes on Spyer’s estate — a burden that wouldn’t have befallen an opposite-sex couple, whether married in or out of state.

In February 2011, the Justice Department halted its defense of DOMA, upsetting House Republicans who have spent over $1 million defending it in the Obama administration’s stead.

Notwithstanding the withdrawal of its advocacy, the United States continues to enforce Section 3 of DOMA, which is indeed why Windsor does not have her money,” the opinion reads. “The constitutionality of the statute will have a considerable impact on many operations of the United States.”

Judge Dennis Jacobs, who authored the opinion, is the circuit’s chief judge and was appointed to the court in 1992 by President George H.W. Bush.

The raw economic truth of same-sex marriage discrimination at the federal level is, what I believe, the most powerful legal argument as to why the Defense of Marriage Act has to go.  It's discrimination written into the United States code, period.

We'll see how it shakes out.  But this is by far the best conservative argument against DOMA, and I think it will be enough to get it struck down sometime next year.

Here's hoping.

Attention PayPal Merchants: Limited Time To Opt Out Of New TOS Change

To be clear, the quoted statements are from a full article on LifeHacker.  I also hate PayPal, after being taken for nearly a thousand dollars in stupidity after their customer service told me my problem had been taken care of.  I will never use their service again, and the author's question says all you need to know: how do they have all the power of a bank with little to no regulation?

But I digress.  PayPal has made changes to their terms of service that restrict legal options in case their merchants feel mistreated.  You have until December 1 to send in a letter refusing to take this change and it will  be honored.  Otherwise, you and all new merchants will be bound by the new terms.

The article also has a helpful link at the bottom with a template to make sure that your letter is acceptable.

I think PayPal sucks, and I'm not alone. Making matters worse, the Consumerist found that PayPal has decided to limit your ability to take legal action against them if they cause you any trouble. Fortunately, there's a way out.

Beloved Musician Dies While On Security Gig

MEMPHIS, Tenn. — Musician B.B. Cunningham Jr., a member of Jerry Lee Lewis' band, was killed in a Memphis shootout early Sunday, police said.
Police said Cunningham was working as a security guard at an apartment complex on Memphis' southeast side, when he heard a gunshot at the neighboring Cherry Crest apartments and went to investigate about 2 a.m., according to The Commercial Appeal (
Police didn't provide details, but they said when officers arrived, both the 70-year-old Cunningham and a 16-year-old boy were found dead from gunshot wounds.
The teenager has not been identified. Calls to police by The Associated Press were not returned.
When contacted at his home in Washington, D.C., Bill Cunningham confirmed his brother was killed.
Byny Garcia, who lives in a unit across the courtyard from where the shooting took place, said Cunningham was well-liked.
"He'd take care of the old people and the Spanish kids," Garcia said. "He was a good person. We don't feel good at this moment."

I'm sad that a 70-year-old musician of his caliber was working a high-risk job in a city with a fairly high crime rate.  He appears to have been a good fellow, and it's unfortunate that he died this way, and couldn't enjoy a retirement.  While I was not privy to his books, I assume a man of his age and accomplishment would have found a better activity if he wanted to volunteer.

Tagg, You're Still It

Ta-Nehisi Coates on Tagg Romney wanting to "take a swing" at President Obama after his dad's debate loss Tuesday night:

Yes because a good whippin' would teach that Obama boy to mind his place. 

It's worth trying to imagine any black man associated with a credible black candidate for the presidency, joking about beating down the incumbent president of the United States. Racism isn't just in what you do and don't say, but in the terrain you walk. It is baked in the cake -- a fact which is hard to understand when you are the party of white people.
If you're looking for the working definition of racism versus assumption of privilege, Tagg Romney is an excellent example.  Racism is the grim realization that any minority male Obama surrogate joking they would "take a swing" at Mitt Romney would almost certainly lose their job within days, with conservatives demanding the first African-American president be made to answer for his tacit fomenting of race war during the election.  Reaction, if the races were switched, would be completely different.
Assumption of privilege is the even more grim realization that Tagg Romney will completely get away with saying what he said, as would any white male surrogate of Romney.  That difference in reaction is always a one-way street.

I've Got Your ACORN Right Here

We're at that time of the election season where we seem to run across inevitable voter registration fraud, and once again it's being committed by the usual suspects, this time leading to an actual arrest of the alleged fraudsters...

You know.  Republicans.

A Pennsylvania man employed by a company working for the Republican Party of Virginia was arrested by investigators from the Rockingham County Sheriff’s office on Thursday and charged with destroying voter registration forms.

Colin Small, a 31-year-old resident of Phoenixville, Pa., worked for Pinpoint, a company hired to register voters on behalf of the Republican Party of Virginia. Prosecutors charged him with four counts of destruction of voter registration applications, eight counts of failing to disclose voter registration applications and one count of obstruction of justice.

Rockingham County Sheriff Bryan Hutcheson’s office said there was no indication that the activity was widespread in their jurisdiction and said the conduct “appears to be limited in nature.” His office said there is a possibility that additional charges may be filed.

Keep in mind if this was a Democratic party related organization with an arrest for registration fraud, we would have investigations, allegations of wrongdoing by party officials, calls for mass resignations, and calls for impeachment of the President.

But he was a white Republican.  So it's an "isolated incident" by "one bad individual" that cannot possibly be an indication of widespread voter registration fraud.  Got it?


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