Friday, October 26, 2012

Last Call

Girls creator Lena Dunham is too clever by half (as she usually is) with her latest little slice of obnoxiousness, but at least she's trying to get out the vote.

President Obama teamed up with the most divisive 26-year-old in the world to make a suggestive ad encouraging young people to vote, but it seems to have upset some old conservative men on Twitter. Lena Dunham, famous for her HBO show Girls and her movie Tiny Furniture before that (don't ask me to find any other reasons she's famous), stars in the Obama campaign's latest ad talking about her "first time."

Your first time, "shouldn't be with just anybody." It should be with, "someone who really cares about and understands women." The consequences are, "huge," she warns. You want to do it with someone who, "cares whether or not you have health insurance, and more importantly birth control," she advises. Remembering the wondrous night of her first time, she says "before I was a girl, now I was a woman." Oh! You thought she was talking about SEX! Your pearls, let go of your pearls. You do not need to clutch them so tightly. She's talking about voting. Her other lines like, "you want to do it with the guy who got the troops out of Iraq," and "you don't want to do it with a guy who says 'oh hey I'm at the library studying' when really he's out not signing the Lilly Ledbetter Act," should have given that away? Sorry if that wasn't clear.

Yes, it's snarky to the point of me wishing it had been done by Sarah Silverman or Lizz Winstead or Martha Plimpton or any other of a host of actually funny women, but her heart (and her vote) is in the right place.  Besides, it's the first actually worthwhile thing she's done in her career, so there's that.

Another One For The (Future) Fire

Newt Gingrich is weighing in with his 2012 election predictions, and they're about as plausible as the rest of his 2012 statements.

Former Republican presidential candidate Newt Gingrich predicts that GOP hopeful Mitt Romney will receive “more than 300 electoral votes” to defeat President Barack Obama on Nov. 6.

Speaking to Fox News host Greta Van Susteren on Thursday, the former House Speaker offered to “end the anxiety” for Fox News viewers.

I believe the minimum result will be 53-47 Romney, over 300 electoral votes, and the Republicans will pick up the Senate,” Gingrich said. “I base that on just years and years of experience.”

Let's keep in mind that in order to win 300 electoral votes, Romney would have to win every toss-up state (OH, NC, VA, FL, CO, NV, and NH) but he'd have to win at least one or two states well into Obama's hands right now, like Wisconsin, Michigan, New Mexico or Pennsylvania.

On top of that, he's predicting that the GOP will win all 7 Senate close races, too.

There's no evidence of either other than Newt saying it's so.

Into the Future Files you go, Newtie.

Deep In The Heartless Of Texas, Again

The 5th US Circuit Court of Appeals has given Texas GOP Gov. Rick Perry his wish:  the end of Planned Parenthood in the state and the beginning of over 100,000 women without affordable health care.

As a result of Thursday’s decision by the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals, Gov. Rick Perry (R) said that state officials will “immediately” begin defunding clinics operated by Planned Parenthood, which does not actually perform any abortions in the state.

Perry announced earlier this year that he’d made defunding Planned Parenthood a priority for his administration, triggering months of legal wrangling with the clinics and the federal government. Federal law requires that states not discriminate against health providers in distributing federal funds, but a court ultimately ruled that Texas could forgo federal assistance entirely and set up its own health program.

That’s precisely what Perry is doing, passing on more than $40 million in federal assistance and directing the state to exclude Planned Parenthood, which provides health care services to more than 130,000 low-income women in Texas. Planned Parenthood has 49 health centers across Texas, many of which will be forced to close due to Perry’s decision.

As an experiment, pro-choice activist Andrea Grimes said in September that she spent six hours trying to locate a women’s health clinic in Austin that isn’t Planned Parenthood but does accept Medicaid. Despite a list of 181 clinics on the state’s website, Grimes said she found just 13 actual doctors in the whole state who perform the necessary procedures and accept Medicaid, explaining that the other listings were repeats, radiology centers, labs and doctors who didn’t take Medicaid at all.

To make matters worse for many low-income women, the Kaiser Family Foundation says that Texas has one of the most restrictive Medicaid programs in the country, requiring that a family of three earn less than $188 a month to qualify for assistance. Under the president’s Affordable Care Act, however, Medicaid was slated to expand dramatically to cover nearly all low-income Americans, but Perry also said he will turn down more than $164 billion in federal money that would have been used to provide health care to 1.2 million Texans through 2023.

So as a result, 130,000 working poor women will lose their health care just to punish them for the crime of being poor in Texas.  But of course, that was the entire point.

There's no GOP War on Women though.  That's just preposterous.

Third Time Is The Charm For Mobile Meth Lab

Last week wasn’t the first time Springfield Police found what they believe was a mobile meth lab in Marshall Rhea’s pickup truck.
Rhea, 31, of Springfield, has been charged with multiple counts of manufacturing or intent to manufacture methamphetamine.
Police say they pulled over Rhea for failing to stop at a stop sign in the 700 block of South Fort Avenue. Rhea allowed officers to search the black pickup truck, according to the court documents.
In the bed of the truck, officers found what they believe were components of a particularly volatile type of lab — one that uses the chemical red phosphorous to synthesize the drug. According to the documents, a rubber glove had been placed over a glass container to capture phosphine gas — a highly explosive gas that is also lethal if inhaled.
On the passenger floorboard of the truck, officers found an empty package of 48 pseudoephedrine tablets, according to the documents.

Gee, I wonder if the publicity from this will be hailed by the City Council as they pretend to debate whether to take action against the evils of Dayquil.

We have an idiot with a jar full of explosive gas running stop signs.  Good catch on the part of the cops, too bad they've had to do it three times so far and the dude is still free.  Perhaps we have found the real problem with meth offenders.  

Teen Dies From Caffeine Toxicity

(NECN/WRC: Jim Rosenfield) - The parents of a 14-year-old Hagerstown, Md. girl who died in December are suing the maker of Monster energy drink, claiming caffeine in the product contributed to her death.
Anais Fournier went into cardiac arrest after drinking two 24-ounce Monster drinks within a 24-hour period, according to a complaint filed Friday in California Superior Court in Riverside.
Hers is one of five deaths and a non-fatal heart attack the U.S. Food and Drug Administration is investigating in connection to the energy drinks.
Fournier was rushed to the hospital, but never regained consciousness. 
She was later pronounced dead.
Investigations don't prove the drinks caused the deaths or Fournier's heart attack, FDA spokesperson Shelly Burgess said.
An autopsy found that Fournier died of cardiac arrhythmia due to caffeine toxicity that impeded her heart's ability to pump blood.

We have a major problem with caffeine as a society.  We drink it to wake up, drink way too much to compensate for lack of exercise and stay up too late, which means we will hit the coffee before opening our eyes the next day. Kids are becoming exposed to this at a younger age.  The line between parental responsibility and consumer safety further complicate the issue.  In this case, an unknown condition aggravated the situation, but there are plenty of kids sucking down energy shots and energy drinks, and then washing it down with soda.

Regardless of who is ultimately responsible, this is going to get worse until some common sense is applied.

The Threats Are The Rite-Hite

Add Rite-Hite Safety Systems' CEO Mike White to the list of business owners threatening their employees to vote Romney or else.

The list of corporate CEOs and owners who have tried scaring their employees into voting for Mitt Romney got a bit longer this week thanks to Milwaukee businessman Mike White.

White, the owner of the industrial equipment firm Rite-Hite, sent his 1,400 employees an email this week warning them that they needed to “understand the personal consequences to them of having our tax rates increase dramatically if President Obama is re-elected,” according to the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel, which was sent a copy of the correspondence. The email goes on to warn that Rite-Hite would consider dropping its contribution to the workers’ retirement plan, blaming tax hikes that White says are on the way if Obama wins a second term, and that workers will lose their health care.

But don't take my word for it.  Take Mike White's.

“The tax rate we pay is not 17%, as Warren Buffett would have you believe; with state taxes it is roughly 45%. President Obama has announced that our planned tax rate would increase to roughly 65%, reducing our after tax income by 36% and dramatically reducing, if not eliminating, your and my RSP contributions.”

As a result, White said the company’s profits would not be reinvested. Instead, he wrote, “the money will be sent into the abyss that is Washington, D.C. So, on top of the burden of having your personal taxes increase dramatically, which they will, your RSP contributions and healthy retirement are also at risk, all for the sake of maintaining an over-sized government that borrows 42% of every dollar it spends.”

P.S.:  White is a big Republican donor.  How would you feel if your boss sent you an e-mail threatening you with the loss of retirement and health insurance if the wrong guy wins?  And remember, this was an e-mail he sent out to all employees publicly.  This wasn't under the radar.

But don't you dare call it class warfare, right?

Oh, and looks like Mike White broke Wisconsin law.

We Come Not To Praise Teabaggers...

...but E.J. Dionne at the Washington Post has come to bury them.

If conservatism were winning, does anyone doubt that Romney would be running as a conservative? Yet unlike Ronald Reagan and Barry Goldwater, Romney is offering an echo, not a choice. His strategy at the end is to try to sneak into the White House on a chorus of me-too’s.

The right is going along because its partisans know Romney has no other option. This, too, is an acknowledgment of defeat, a recognition that the grand ideological experiment heralded by the rise of the tea party has gained no traction. It also means that conservatives don’t believe that Romney really believes the moderate mush he’s putting forward now. Not to put too fine a point on it, but if the conservatives are forgiving Romney because they think he is lying, what should the rest of us think?

Almost all of the analysis of Romney’s highly public burning of the right’s catechism focuses on such tactical issues as whether his betrayal of principle will help him win over middle-of-the-road women and carry Ohio. What should engage us more is that a movement that won the 2010 elections with a bang is trying to triumph just two years later on the basis of a whimper.

It turns out that there was no profound ideological conversion of the country two years ago. We remain the same moderate and practical country we have long been. In 2010, voters were upset about the economy, Democrats were demobilized, and President Obama wasn’t yet ready to fight. All the conservatives have left now is economic unease. So they don’t care what Romney says. They are happy to march under a false flag if that is the price of capturing power.

I like E.J. Dionne.  I think he's a smart guy and solid political analyst and pundit.

But he has never been more wrong in his life.  Ever

The fact that E.J. is writing this column is empirical proof that he too has been taken in by Romney's Etch-A-Sketch campaign.  Dionne sees meaningless blanks.  I see a President far more compliant than Dubya ever was.  He will do exactly what he is told.  It will be the Dubya years all over again, only worse.

And should Romney lose, we will see an even more wingnut crazy candidate in 2016.  Santorum.  Huckabee.  Who knows?  Ryan even.  Madness.

No, what this election represents is the death of GOP moderates.  They are gone from the party for good.  And Romney is their puppet.


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