Friday, October 2, 2015

Last Call For Small Ball Rand Paul

You know what, I'm beginning to think Rand Paul might not even make it to the Kentucky GOP caucus he bought.

Struggling to gain traction in the Republican presidential race, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this week will turn his attention to fundraising for his Senate reelection efforts.

Paul, who is running for president and reelection to the Senate simultaneously, will attend fundraisers for his Senate campaign on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C., according to invitations for the events obtained by The Hill. 
One Republican operative with close ties to Kentucky politics warned against reading too much into Paul’s Senate fundraisers, saying it’s not a sign that Paul is giving up on running for president, but rather a necessity of running for two offices at once. 
The operative said it’s a good use of time for Paul to fundraise for the Senate while he’s in Washington. Paul can tap groups that may be friendly to his Senate bid but aren’t inclined to commit to him, or any candidate, while the GOP presidential field remains this large.

Paul, he noted, isn’t going all in yet on fundraising for Senate – he’s not on the ground in Kentucky fighting for resources with the candidates running for statewide office, where elections for governor on down will be held this November.
A spokesperson for Paul’s Senate campaign did not return a request for comment.

Still, one Kentucky Republican operative said the fundraisers will inevitably be viewed through the prism of Paul’s fledgling presidential campaign. 
Some of this is self-evident,” the Kentucky Republican operative said. “If he thought he’d be the nominee, he wouldn’t spend time hedging his bets and raising money for the Senate race. I think that tells you everything you need to know.”

Nobody at this point believes Rand Paul has a serious shot.  He's been stuck in the single digits nationally and isn't in the running for Iowa or New Hampshire at this point.  I don't know how long he can pretend like he's still a viable candidate, but I hear there's a lot of that going around in the GOP currently.  Right now Rand is trying to win South Carolina, for instance.  I guess that's a plan.

Everyone's waiting on the other guy to drop out so that they can stay in and pick up staffers and donors to live to fight another day, but if even Jeb Bush's donors are demanding that their paid and bough for candidate start producing bu Halloween, the half-dozen other Republicans floating around the 2% mark like Rand here don't have long in this race at all.

Game On In The Queen City

Cincinnati is hosting the area's first major college eSports tourney this weekend, and I'm all for it.

Games at UC's Fifth Third Arena usually involve basketballs or volleyballs. This weekend, however, the play will be with magic spells, swords, and guns, on computers.

The All Midwest Collegiate Invitational is expected to draw about 500 competitors and spectators for games like League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers, and Hearthstone.
Tournaments like this are common on the East and West coasts, but Stelanie Tsirlis says that's inconvenient for game players in the Midwest. 
“They have to travel out there. They have to buy the plane ticket, the ticket to get into the event itself.” 
Tsirlis is a senior at Miami University and a gamer herself. She's also the chief marketing officer for AllMid, which is a collection of game players from her school, UC, Xavier, Ohio State, and others.

Together, they're out to play and to earn some respect for their sport. 
There will be prizes, both cash and game credits. Tsirlis says some of the games pit individuals head-to-head, and others are for teams.

“What I like the most about the invitational this weekend is that our League of Legends tournament on the competitive side has the actual collegiate teams from all the colleges that are participating.” 
Tsirlis says there are even some colleges in the U.S. that are offering scholarships for gamers. 
“There aren’t many,” she admits.

“I know that there are some universities that support eSports as club sports. But to have an actual varsity team is kind of rare.” 
Tsirlis says she hopes this weekend's invitational will show universities that eSports are legitimate and a big deal. 
“People are invested. People are interested. And the eSports industry itself is about to explode. It’s a baby industry. I think it would be smart for any university to hop on that bandwagon and start recognizing any eSport as an actual sport and start supporting those students who play.”

Laugh all you want, but I find eSports to be a better deal to students than exploiting college football or basketball athletes for multi-million dollar programs that they'll never see a dime from, and risking career-ending and even life-threatening injuries to play.  Nobody gets concussions from playing a couple Hearthstone matches.   Nobody buys kids hookers, blow, tattoos and cars to play League of Legends.  Coaches don't get five million a year to scream at kids playing Super Smash Bros. Melee.

It's a hell of a lot less corrupt and more morally acceptable than any major traditional college sports program out there in 2015.  If the point is to let college kids play games, I'm 100% behind the AllMid an other eSports tournaments.

For now, at least.  Once colleges figure out how to market this, they'll start exploiting kids for free labor I'm sure.  But it still won't be as bad as college football.

Bitter Home Alabama, Con't

I've talked before about Alabama pulling the one-two punch of requiring a driver's license in order to vote in 2016 and then closing down 90% of county driver's license offices to "save taxpayer money". If there was still any reasonable doubt as to this being a massive disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters by Republicans, it has been obliterated by the first round of driver's license office closings, nearly all coming in majority black counties. Kyle Whitmire of

In 2011, Alabama lawmakers approved the state's voter ID law, making it illegal to vote in Alabama without a government-issued photo ID. 
For most folks, that's a driver's license. 
In those 29 counties you might be able to register at the courthouse, but you won't be able to cast a ballot there unless you have that ID. 
That's not just an inconvenience. That's a problem. 
But it gets worse. 
Look at the list of counties now where you can't get a driver's license. There's Choctaw, Sumter, Hale, Greene, Perry, Wilcox, Lowndes, Butler, Crenshaw, Macon, Bullock ...
If you had to memorize all the Alabama Counties in 9th grade, like I did -- and even if you forgot most of them, like I have -- you can probably guess where we're going with this. 
Depending on which counties you count as being in Alabama's Black Belt, either twelve or fifteen Black Belt counties soon won't have a place to get a driver's license. 
Counties where some of the state's poorest live. 
Counties that are majority African-American. 
Combine that with the federally mandated Star ID taking effect next year, and we're looking at a nightmare.

Or a trial lawyer's dream.

There are eight counties in Alabama where at least 75% of the population is black.  Every one of those counties is losing its drivers license office.  This is such a blatantly obvious attempt at voter suppression that civil rights lawsuits will be filed by the truckload, and I don't see how the state can defend its actions...but if the courts somehow decide this is constitutional (and with this SCOTUS it all depends on whether or not Justice Kennedy wants to see America's dark past)  expect a whole lot of driver's license office closures in a lot of red states.

We'll see where this goes, but I remind you that at least for now, Alabama Republicans are definitely getting away with this at the moment.  And I'm not sure if that will ever be changed.


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