Monday, July 22, 2013

Last Call For Six Feet Under Six Flags

Texas's apparent need to disregard any possible reason for government oversight of exploding fertilizer plants also extends to oversight of roller coasters that kill people.

“With No Safety Oversight, Six Flags Will Investigate Roller Coaster Death Itself,” says a U.S. News headline that we totally could have written. Does it surprise you to learn that this death trap of an unregulated roller coaster is in Texas? No, of course it doesn’t. Does it surprise you that there are absolutely zero elected or appointed officials charged with coordinating the legislative, bureaucratic, or legal ramifications of such a death? No, it is Texas, so this too is unsurprising.

So guess who is investigating Six Flags in Arlington?  Why, Six Flags!  Why?  There's NOBODY ELSE TO LOOK.

Six Flags initially said in a statement that it was “working with authorities” to figure out what happened. But it later had to admit that it was running the investigation itself because there are no authorities to work with.

There's no oversight investigating Texas amusement parks, because there's literally no oversight governing Texas amusement parks.

America, because freedom.

Last Call For The Confederate Luchador

Rand Paul's racist buddy Jack "Check out my Confederate flag wrestling mask" Hunter is finally out of a job.

Jack Hunter, the aide to Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) who has in the past expressed pro-Confederate views, has resigned.

Hunter said in an e-mail to the Daily Caller that he will resume his career as a pundit and that he didn’t want to be a distraction for the senator, who is considered a top potential 2016 presidential candidate.

“I’ve long been a conservative, and years ago, a much more politically incorrect (and campy) one,” Hunter wrote. “But there’s a significant difference between being politically incorrect and racist. I’ve also become far more libertarian over the years, a philosophy that encourages a more tolerant worldview, through the lens of which I now look back on some of my older comments with embarrassment.”

Paul stood by Hunter two weeks ago, saying his past comments were “absolutely stupid,” but that he didn’t think Hunter held any racist views.

“If I thought he was a white supremacist, he would be fired immediately,” Paul said.

Instant termination if you're 100% sure, but apparently if you're only relatively sure your social media campaign guy is a white supremacist, firing him takes two weeks or so.  Meanwhile, Hunter is going back to his "pundit" roots where he can be a racist shock jock and actually get paid for it.

Nice work if you can get it, I guess.

Meanwhile, this will fix Rand Paul's little racism problem, right?

Bluegrass State Priorities

What's more important here in Kentucky to our state politicians, good governance or UK basketball? Here's a hint: if it took you more than half a second to arrive at the obvious answer, you don't live here.  here's Think Progress sportswriter Travis Waldron on the state's two religions: coal and basketball.

Now, with one of those industries in sharp decline and the other enjoying its return, as head coach John Calipari says, to its “rightful position atop the mountain of college basketball,” their paths are crossing in a way that will leave many of Kentucky basketball’s biggest fans holding the short end of the stick. Kentucky Gov. Steve Beshear (D) and Lexington Mayor Jim Gray (D)announced plans this week to renovate Rupp Arena, the home of UK basketball since 1976. How the state plans to pay for the estimated $300 million cost, which includes renovations to the attached convention center, is unclear. But to cover the multimillion-dollar cost of the planning and design phase, which will begin soon, Kentucky is diverting $2.5 million in revenues raised from the 4.5 percent tax levied on the sale price of all coal produced in Kentucky.

The so-called coal severance tax generates more than $200 million a year in revenues for Kentucky. Half of that revenue goes immediately into the state’s general fund. The other half is split between two separate accounts for reinvestment into coal-producing counties, with those investments aimed at funding economic development projects that aren’t related to coal, and to foster economic development partnerships between eastern Kentucky counties. In the past, it has funded the creation of industrial parks, road, water, and other infrastructure projects, and scholarship programs for students from coal country. It is meant to address a reality that is staring Kentucky in the face: coal won’t be there forever, and the counties whose mountains have produced it for more than a century need something to turn to when the coal either runs out or is no longer worth mining.

What it isn’t meant to do is build arenas in Lexington. “That’s not what this money is for,” Carrie Ray, a research associate at the Mountain Association for Community Economic Development, an organziation based in Berea, Kentucky, told me. “It’s not intended to build a basketball arena that’s nowhere close to the coalfields.

The state doesn't mind sticking Kentuckians with a $2-$5 toll each way on replacing the Brent Spence bridge to Cincy, but replacing Rupp Arena, well the state will bend over backwards to get that done ASAP.  And these are the Democrats here doing this.  Good ol' Dinosaur Steve and friends are happy to get Rupp Arena renovated.  The Brent Spence?  Not so much.

And people wonder why Kentucky is full of red state Dems.

You Mean It's About Jobs?

With useless Republicans busy trying to repeal Obamacare for the 40th plus time and yelling BENGHAZI and IRS at any reporters they can find, President Obama will be on the road this week talking to Americans about jobs and the economy.

Drawing renewed attention to the economy, President Barack Obama will return this week to an Illinois college where he once spelled out a vision for an expanded and strengthened middle class as a freshman U.S. senator, long before the Great Recession would test his presidency.

The address Wednesday at Knox College in Galesburg, Ill., will be the first in a new series of economic speeches that White House aides say Obama intends to deliver over the next several weeks ahead of key budget deadlines in the fall. A new fiscal year begins in October, and the government will soon hit its borrowing limit.

The speech comes just a week before Congress is scheduled to leave for its monthlong August recess and is designed to build public pressure on lawmakers in hopes of averting the showdowns over taxes and spending that have characterized past budget debates.

In his economic pitch, Obama will talk about efforts to expand manufacturing, sign up the uninsured for health care coverage, revitalize the housing industry and broaden educational opportunities for preschoolers and college students. He will also promote the economic benefits of an immigration overhaul.

But with Congress effectively out of town after next week until Labor Day, we'll only have three weeks after that until the October 1 deadline.  Things are going to get ugly and this may actually be the year that the GOP shuts down the government.  We'll see, but at this point the GOP has made shutdown threats over defunding/repealing Obamacare, raising the debt ceiling, turning Medicare into a voucher program, turning Medicaid into block grants, and it wouldn't surprise me to see them threaten shutdown over the ridiculous national abortion anti-choice law, too.

Keep that in mind as we head forward.


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