Friday, November 23, 2012

Last Call

The 2012-13 NHL season is rapidly falling apart, as the All-Star Game and a third of the season is now in the garbage.

The National Hockey League lost another showcase event to its ongoing lockout on Friday, announcing the cancellation of the 2013 All-Star game along with another fortnight of regular-season contests.

With games now cancelled through December 14, the lockout has now cost the NHL 422 regular-season games, 34.3 percent of the scheduled season.

The All-Star Game, which was to have been in Columbus, Ohio, on January 27, is the second marquee event to go, after the January 1 Winter Classic outdoor game.

“The reality of losing more regular-season games as well as the 2013 NHL All-Star Weekend in Columbus is extremely disappointing,” said NHL deputy commissioner Bill Daly.

“We feel badly for NHL fans and particularly those in Columbus, and we intend to work closely with the Blue Jackets organization to return the NHL All-Star events to Columbus and their fans as quickly as possible.”

Would have been nice to see the All-Star Game here in Ohio too.  But at this rate there may not be any hockey for a long, long time.  The fans don't seem to be particularly bothered by a lockout they way they were baseball 18 years ago, hell, there's less concern than there was with the NBA lockout last year.  I think the NHL might be in serious and permanent trouble here, which is a damn shame.  And speaking of the MLB lockout...

NHLPA executive director Donald Fehr came out of Wednesday’s talks sounding similarly pesssimistic.

“On the big things there was as of today no reciprocity in any meaningful sense, no movement on the players’ share, no movement on salary-arbitration eligibility, no movement on free agency eligibility, no agreement on a pension plan,” Fehr said.

And I'll be damned if Don Fehr isn't involved again in a lockout.  What is it with this guy and destroying professional sports seasons?

More Dems Versus Better Dems

There are two schools of thought on how to recover the Speaker of the House position for the Democrats:  one says that we need to have the numbers first and then get real liberal legislation passed as a result of mass, the other says we have to have true liberals in the House first to build a power base and then the numbers will flow from there.  The first has the advantage of short term gains that can lead to longer ones but at the risk of a GOP backlash, the latter means a longer time in control but requires more time to come to power, and perhaps never coming to power until the Republicans have made it impossible to do so.

One of the key House Dems in the "More Dems versus Better Dems" argument right now is Patrick Murphy, the Florida businessman who beat out the repugnant Allen West.  Howie Klein over at Down With Tyranny reminds us that Patrick Murphy is at best a Blue Dog, and at worst, a full-blown Republican.  Coming from Kentucky (where our last Congressional Democrat, Blue Dog Ben Chandler, was roundly defeated) I can certainly relate:

I was more than a little shocked when Keith Ellison, one of the most progressive stalwarts in the House, endorsed Patrick Murphy. Murphy, a rich spoiled brat, a Romney donor, and a lifelong Republican who just switched parties, had exactly one thing going for him (aside from his father's personal attack PAC): he ran against hated war criminal Allen West. Many Members of Congress were especially eager to see West defeated-- and not just because he's a loudmouthed teabagger. Alan Grayson argued that there was no one else in the House like West because West is a war criminal. His presence brought a sense of infamy on the whole joint. Most progressives agree with Grayson on that one but they didn't rush to endorse Murphy. New Dems and other corrupt conservatives with blue t-shirts did. Ellison, of course, had an even more personal grudge against West, who isn't just a raving McCarthyite but is also a vicious Islamophobe who hate personally baited Ellison. I had never talked with Ellison when he called me to tell me his thoughts on why he had endorsed Murphy; that was also our last conversation (at least so far).

One thing Ellison said that I liked-- and liked a lot-- was an indication that he would take Murphy under his wing and help him understand the progressive prospective. It's a shame he can't time travel back to when Murphy was 5 or 6 years old... but it's worth a try. And he needs to get started quickly. Yesterday MSNBC anchor Andrea Mitchell asked Murphy a typically loaded Villager kind of question: "How much are you willing to cut entitlements if you get the tax increases you want?" Could you imagine anything like that coming out of Rachel Maddow's mouth? And Murphy's response-- well just the exact New Dem line: "Everything should be on the table." Boehner's gonna love this boy! And Ellison better get busy.

Democrats retook the House in 2006 because of Blue Dogs.  The response 4 years later was the Tea Party, and now in 2012, the Blue Dogs have almost all been replaced with Tea Party whackaloons.  The problem is with district gerrymandered they way they are, the choices for a lot of liberals who live in red districts are Allen West vs Patrick Murphy, Tea Party vs Blue Dog.

Is one really better than the other?  I'd rather have a dozen Patrick Murphys than any Allen Wests...but voters certainly didn't think so in 2010.

We'll see.  Keep an eye on Patrick.

Handel With Caution

The GOP will certainly want to take the Senate back in 2014, and to do so they'll have to defend their own seats, something they didn't do well in 2012.  The GOP primaried out more moderate candidates in the name of Tea Party purity and ended up with unelectable millstones around their necks, just ask Todd Akin or Richard Mourdock.

One of those seats in 2014 where that could happen again is Saxby Chambliss in Georgia, and the possible millstone in this case is Karen Handel.  If the name sounds familiar, you're recalling that she was the disgraced former Komen Foundation executive who pushed for the breast cancer awareness organization to defund Planned Parenthood, including cutting support for mammograms and preventative breast cancer screening that Planned Parenthood provides for low-income women.  Handel is now considering running for Chambliss's seat in the US Senate.

Karen Handel, the former Susan G. Komen for the Cure executive who spearheaded the group’s effort to cut all funding to Planned Parenthood, is weighing whether or not to run for a U.S. Senate seat in Georgia, according to the Weekly Standard.

A former aide to Handel who worked on her failed 2010 gubernatorial bid told the magazine that she was considering challenging Sen. Saxby Chambliss (R) to a primary contest in 2014. Kay Godwin, a co-chair of Georgia Conservatives in Action, said she was hearing similar noise about a possible primary challenge, according to the Standard.

Handel fell 2,500 votes shy of winning the Republican gubernatorial primary in 2010, losing a runoff to then-Rep. Nathan Deal, who went on to win the general election. That primary drew wide national attention from party heavyweights, with prominent names like Newt Gingrich and Mike Huckabee backing Deal, and Sarah Palin and Mitt Romney endorsing Handel.

Handel ran on a staunchly anti-abortion platform in 2010; Palin said she offered her endorsement in part because Handel would “walk the walk” on curbing abortion.

So yeah, the odds of her saying something moronically misogynist about rape that will cost her 20 points in the race are most likely lower than that of Akin or Mourdock.  It will be interesting to see if she makes it past Chambliss, who has grown increasingly unpopular among Georgia Republicans...or at least, that's what Beltway Republicans want you to think.  Steve Benen:

By any sane standard, Chambliss is not a moderate. He's not even close to what anyone in the American mainstream would characterize as "the center." According to the most up-to-date information, Chambliss has a lifetime rating from the American Conservative Union of 92.5, putting him well to the right of most of his Republican colleagues. The Georgian's most recent VoteView score puts him at number 80 -- with 0 being the most liberal and 100 the most conservative -- to the right of prominent conservative senators like Mitch McConnell, John Thune, and Orrin Hatch.

In other words, when making a list of conservatives who shouldn't have to worry about their far-right flank, Saxby Chambliss would be on it. And yet, here we are.

Why would the right be unsatisfied with Chambliss? For one thing, he's worked for over a year with Sen. Mark Warner, a moderate Virginia Democrat, on a debt-reduction plan that includes modest tax increases. For another, Chambliss seems inclined to pass comprehensive immigration reform, or at least something resembling it.

That, apparently, buys him a one-way ticket to Primary Town, his overall voting record notwithstanding.

So the Handel thing has nothing to do with Handel, and everything to do with threatening Chambliss with obliteration for daring to work with Democrats on taxes and immigration.  Republicans want to make sure that nothing happens for the next two year, just like that last two.

StupidiNews, Black Friday Edition!

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