Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Last Call For Alex, Sunk

In the special election for Florida's 13th district to replace the late career GOP Rep. Bill Young, Democrat Alex Sink couldn't flip the seat as Republican David Jolly won 48.5% to 46.6%, with independent Lucas Overby serving as spoiler and taking 4.8% of the vote, enough to split the opposition to Jolly and allow the GOP to keep the seat.

The outcome does not change anything for Democrats in their calculus for retaking the House in next November's midterms. They still need to pick up 17 seats.
Political handicappers consider that a tall order, considering the shrinking number of competitive congressional districts nationwide.
Jolly served as a former general counsel for Young and also worked as a lobbyist.
"Tonight brings an end to this election," a victorious Jolly told supporters. "Tomorrow provides the opportunity for us to embark together on a new journey of representation here in Pinellas County."
Sink, the former Florida Chief Financial Officer, narrowly lost the 2010 gubernatorial election to Rick Scott.
She conceded the contest more than an hour after the polls closed, expressing pride in her campaign and thanking volunteers and supporters.
"I have congratulated David Jolly and wish him the best success in representing the voices of Pinellas in Congress," she said.
Florida-13 is a swing district in a swing state. It covers most of Pinellas County between Tampa Bay and the Gulf of Mexico, including parts of St. Petersburg. 

This is a district that voted Young pretty handily in 2012, but also helped President Obama win the state in his re-election.  Republicans are already saying this portends absolute doom for the Dems in 2014, but unless the GOP plans to help run glibertarian douchebags like 27-year old Overby in all the competitive districts to split the youth vote, it's not indicative of the country as a whole.

On the other hand, Jolly has to now immediately defend the seat in November, and I'm betting 8 months of doing nothing by voting against Obamacare isn't going to get him the win when turnout should be higher than the 39% this special election brought around.

We'll see.

Meanwhile, In Ukraine...

Ukraine may have to arm itself with nuclear weapons if the United States and other world powers refuse to enforce a security pact that obligates them to reverse the Moscow-backed takeover of Crimea, a member of the Ukraine parliament told USA TODAY.

The United States, Great Britain and Russia agreed in a pact "to assure Ukraine's territorial integrity" in return for Ukraine giving up a nuclear arsenal it inherited from the Soviet Union after declaring independence in 1991, said Pavlo Rizanenko, a member of the Ukrainian parliament.

"We gave up nuclear weapons because of this agreement," said Rizanenko, a member of the Udar Party headed by Vitali Klitschko, a candidate for president. "Now there's a strong sentiment in Ukraine that we made a big mistake."

His statements come as Russia raised the possibility it may send its troops beyond the Crimean peninsula on the Black Sea into the eastern half of Ukraine.

The Russian Foreign Ministry said lawlessness "now rules in eastern regions of Ukraine as a result of the actions of fighters of the so-called 'right sector' with the full connivance" of Ukraine's authorities.

Rizanenko and others in Ukraine say the pact it made with the United States under President Bill Clinton was supposed to prevent such Russian invasions.

The pact was made after the Soviet Union dissolved in 1991 and became Russia, leaving the newly independent nation of Ukraine as the world's third largest nuclear weapons power.

I'm hoping this is the opinion of a grumpy Soviet-era hardliner who's still kicking around Kiev's parliament some 25 years later.  But former heavyweight boxer Vitali Klitschko and the Udar party have been arguably the highest profile players in Ukraine's revolution.  But it shows that the situation in Ukraine is getting increasingly perilous, and that Putin has raised the stakes considerably with his actions.

Good thing we have President Obama at the helm, and not McCain or Romney.

Fish With Martyr Sauce

CBS reporter Sharyl Attkisson has apparently had enough of the network not running her Benghazigate pieces and is, I assume, leaving for someplace where she can happily smear the President more often over in Winger Welfare land.

Sources at CBS told the Washington Post's Erik Wemple that Atkisson was upset that the network hadn't used more of her reporting on the Sept, 11 2012 attack in Benghazi, Libya, and she's currently working on a book that details her struggles with the Obama administration (title: "Stonewalled: One Reporter's Fight for Truth in Obama's Washington").

But Atkisson had long ago carved out a special place in the hearts of conservatives.

Not only did she earn a reputation for relentlessly hounding the Obama administration over Benghazi, she also doggedly reported on the federal government's gun-walking operation known as "Fast and Furious," another conservative obsession.

The right showed its appreciation for her "Fast and Furious" coverage in 2012, when Atkisson received the Accuracy in Media's Reed Irvine Accuracy in Media Award at the Conservative Political Action Conference.

Her reporting was also regularly picked up by the aforementioned conservative news sites. Peruse through the archives at Breitbart, The Blaze and Townhall, and you'll find Atkisson's work cited frequently.
Of course, maybe it was because Attkisson is basically working for the GOP and helping to launder leaks to damage the Obama administration as recently as November.

On November 11, a CBS News report cited selectively leaked partial transcripts from Affordable Care Act (ACA) opponent Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) to claim that "the project manager in charge of building the federal health care website was apparently kept in the dark about serious failures in the website's security." The network was criticized by Maddow producer Steve Benen when he found that the warnings referenced a function of the health care website that won't be active until early 2014 and has nothing to do with the parts of the website that are currently in use. A Democratic staffer Benen talked to also said that this part of the website "will not submit or share personally identifiable information."

CBS' faulty report aired just days after the network faced widespread criticism and was forced to apologize for failing properly vet an unreliable source that was prominently featured in the network's October 27 60 Minutes report on the Benghazi attack. But CBS wasn't the only outlet to promote misleading claims from the leaked Oversight Committee transcript.

On November 11, The New York Times reported that The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services' Henry Chao, "[t]he chief digital architect for the federal health insurance marketplace," was "not aware of tests that indicated potential security flaws in the system, which opened to the public on Oct. 1," citing excerpts released by Issa. The same day, FoxNews.com claimed that Obamacare security concerns had been "withheld," but never mentioned that its story was based on a partial transcript. CNN's New Day, and Fox News' America's Newsroom and On The Record with Greta Van Susteren all ran the story on November 12. The Associated Press repeated the claim "Chao was unaware of a memo earlier that month detailing unresolved security issues" as late as November 13 -- after contradictory reports had surfaced.

The media's failure to confirm the suggestions made by partial transcripts from the House Oversight Committee is a significant oversight, considering the committee chairman Darrell Issa's history of releasing misleading material the press.

So yes, she gladly wants to run false and misleading pieces to hurt Democrats, and is upset that maybe, in the wake of Lara Logan's 60 Minutes Benghazi fiasco that had to be publicly retracted, that the network is actually being more critical of GOP propaganda pieces.

That's enough to make you a "victim of liberal bias" when you quit your job.


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