Friday, September 14, 2012
Thursday, September 13, 2012
Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has chosen Jesse Benton, the chief strategist behind Ron Paul’s presidential campaign, to lead his own reelection bid.
“We’re committed to running a presidential-level campaign in Kentucky, and that starts with a presidential campaign manager,” McConnell said in a statement. “Jesse is literally the best in the business at building and organizing conservative grassroots movements, and I’m thrilled he’s chosen to return to Kentucky to lead my campaign.”
This appointment is intriguing. After all, McConnell backed Paul's opponent in the 2010 primary and while they've managed to work together in Kentucky, why is McConnell dumping his in-place team for an outsider from what could be termed a hostile camp?
The key, I think, lies in the characterization "presidential-level campaign."
McConnell doesn't have serious Democratic opponents in the state, unless Governor steve Beshear decides to challenge McConnell. Lt. Governor Jerry Abramson could run, but would have a hard time overcoming his support of gun control laws.
Yes, liberals exist in Kentucky.
Most likely, AG Jack Conway would toss his hat into the ring. He can't run for Attorney General again, and his term expires in 2015, but he lost to Paul in 2010 quite handily.
I'm thinking, however, that McConnell could face a primary inside his own party, and that's why he's decided to hire Paul's buddy. With a long record in the Senate, it's easy to cherry pick votes where he compromised with Democrats and present them as an agenda.
From a state that elected Aqua Buddha to Senate, this would not sit well with an obviously rabid electorate, particularly when Mitt Romney loses badly this November.
Which is what I think McConnell is counting on as well, which brings up the topic of this post.
Whither Republicanism? Or perhaps, "wither Republicanism" is a better choice.
The argument will be made, when Romney loses, that the primaries ended up choosing a mushy, mealy-mouthed moderate and that if a comparison is made between the relative success of the 2010 midterms and the 2012 Presidential elections, hard-core conservatives appear to be an attractive choice in the nation.
Nevermind that midterm elections usually have about half the electorate of the Presidency, and the half that do vote tend to be more ideological than the ones that only vote for the Big O(ffice), which winnows down the moderate vote in midterms.
It's a stupid argument but an easy one to make, especially as the prima facie evidence supports it. And in the end, isn't that precisely how conservatives view the world? Scratch the surface? Never.
I suspect what may end up happening is that the party itself will splinter and hard. I suspect the name "Republican" will remain with the hard-core nutbag conservative Teabaggers, while the more moderate Republicans will either end up in the Democratic fold-- not many, I'm sure-- or lost at sea.
About the only real advantage the moderates might have is a Rolodex and access to big bank accounts, but from what we've seen in this election cycle, that's not a guarantee. When Sheldon Adelson can single-handedly bankroll Newt Gingrich's insurgent candidacy, and the Koch brothers all but pay a salary to Herman Cain, you can bet they'll want a shake up in the ranks.
Here's the "logic," such as it is: By ridding the party of any dissidents to the hard conservative line, the Koch brothers and others have guaranteed themselves an assembly line of soldiers to march out into elections. Then, backed by nearly unlimited monetary resources, reinforced by the abhorrent Citizens United verdict, they can pick and choose key races to win and create a conservative infrastructure.
Nice dream. I wish I had that kind of sleep aid available to me. Too bad it simply won't work.
It's conceivable the Kochs et al could purchase the government for a term or two, but then what? When it all falls apart, it will fall apart hard, as any movement based on an external infrastructure does. Look at the Teabaggers. After 2010, they've suffered a series of catastrophic defeats, culminating in the selection of Mitt Romney as the GOP candidate this year.
Admittedly, he had enough money to counter the money being poured in, but the money being poured in was not a fully opened spigot: some of it went to preparing for the general election, and we'll start seeing the fruits of those labors popping up any day now that September 11 is behind us.
Indeed, a really paranoid person would claim that the Islamist attacks overseas were put on to try and create a situation where Obama would be immune to defeat, a war president and all that. Evidence suggests otherwise, however.
Still, if I was you, I'd start stocking up on popcorn, because once Mitt loses, it's going to be fun around the GOP.
Wednesday, September 12, 2012
The US ambassador in Libya and three other embassy staff were killed in a rocket attack after the diplomat's car was targeted in the eastern city of Benghazi, it was confirmed on Wednesday.
A statement from President Obama "condemned the outrageous attack on our diplomatic facility in Benghazi, which took the lives of four Americans, including ambassador Chris Stevens".
[...] The assault followed a protest in neighbouring Egypt where demonstrates scaled the walls of the US embassy, tore down the US flag, and burned it during a protest over the same film which they said insulted the prophet Muhammad.
The two leaders spoke by phone last night for an hour, the White House said. While providing no further details, the White House said in a statement that Obama and Netanyahu “reaffirmed that they are united in their determination to prevent Iran from obtaining a nuclear weapon.”
Netanyahu declared earlier yesterday that the Obama administration has no “moral right” to keep Israel from attacking as long as the U.S. doesn’t set its own “red lines” for Iran. His remarks reflect differences within his government about an Israeli attack on Iran and a bid to pressure Obama less than two months before the U.S. election. The call came after Israeli media reports, denied by the White House, that Netanyahu’s request to meet Obama later this month was snubbed.
Tuesday, September 11, 2012
On and on the rain will fallLike tears from a star, like tears from a starOn and on the rain will sayHow fragile we are how fragile we are
Monday, September 10, 2012
U.S. solar-panel installations more than doubled in the second quarter from a year earlier led by demand in California, according to the Solar Energy Industries Association.
Installations totaled 742 megawatts in the quarter, up 45 percent since the first quarter, and may reach 3.2 gigawatts by year end, the Washington-based trade group said today in its quarterly market report. California led installations with 217 megawatts, followed by Arizona with 173 megawatts.
The U.S. now has 5.7 gigawatts of installed solar capacity, enough to power 1 million homes, according to GTM Research, a Boston-based consulting company that prepared the report with SEIA.
The boom was driven by large projects that sell power to utilities, with little growth in residential installations and declines in non-residential projects, Shayle Kann, vice president at GTM, said in an interview Sept. 7. “It’s an indicator that the utility market will be the main story this year and probably for the next few years.”
What does this all mean? It means that commercial developers are finally hooked on being both energy independent and turning what had been a cost into a profit center. It means that the cost per megawatt to install solar panels is going to start coming down. The 3.2 gigawatts installed this year is the tip of the iceberg, as the US has about 13 gigawatts in planned solar installations under contract, with 3.4 gigawatts slated to go online in 2013.
Developers are the mission-critical market in terms of getting acceptance of solar energy in the United States. By deploying solar energy in office buildings, retail spaces and condo complexes, word of mouth at the consumer level will begin to build, and soon, you and I will be at The Home Depot, augmenting or even replacing our worn-out furnaces.
And we have President Obama to thank for all this. If he hadn't made a firm commitment to weaning the nation off foreign oil and backed that up with stimulus funding for the renewable energy industry (which has been growing in a nation where industries have taken a hard hit over the past thirty years), this would not be happening.
Workers at a Queens car wash became the first in the city to unionize this weekend, hoping to combat what they say are low pay and poor working conditions.
Immigrant “carwasheros” at Hi-Tek Car Wash & Lube Inc. in Elmhurst voted 21 to 5 Saturday to join the Retail, Wholesale and Department Store Union.
“This is a huge victory for us,” said Tara Martin, a spokesperson for the labor group.
Workers who voted for the union said they want better wages and steady hours in an industry where car wash managers often send them home without pay on slow days.
How socialist, to expect a day's wages for being available to work but not needed.
Employers could consider this a reservation fee: workers forgo other opportunities to accept employment with a firm. That firm can, as indicated above, simply refuse to let workers work, thus saving the money without appropriately compensating the workers for merely beign available to work.
Union now, union forever.