Friday, October 12, 2012

Nobody Asked Me, But...

1) Just in case you missed it, IMMORTALITY!
2) I loved Joe Biden's deconstruction of Paul Ryan last night, particularly when he all but called Grover Norquist a traitor to America:
"And instead of signing pledges to Grover Norquist not to ask the wealthiest among us to contribute to bring back the middle class, they should be signing a pledge saying to the middle class we're going to level the playing field; we're going to give you a fair shot again; we are going to not repeat the mistakes we made in the past by having a different set of rules for Wall Street and Main Street, making sure that we continue to hemorrhage these tax cuts for the super wealthy."
Sub-text? A pledge to Norquist trumps the Pledge of Allegiance. Beatifully done.
3) About all Paul Ryan had to do was to rip his shirt off and start flexing, if he wanted to come off anymore immature and shallow.
4) Your word of the day: Malarkey. When a politician wants to say "bullshit" but the cameras are rolling.
5) If I had been Biden, I could have argued even more forcefully, particularly on tax cuts. For instance, during the Bush years, taxes on the wealthy were at the lowest they've been since Hoover, yet Bush only managed to create 2.3 million new jobs, a figure Obama eclipsed inside of 18 months by passing middle class tax relief (the Social Security suspension,) and when "Jack" Kennedy-- something else I would have called Ryan on-- lowered tax rates, the highest marginal rate was 70%, not 38%.
But you'll also note that America's greatest achievements came before Kennedy did that: the interstate highway system, Social Security, rural electrification, the Tennessee Valley Authority, the GI Bill, the Marshall Plan, leaps ahead in public education that benefitted Paul Ryan, Mitt Romney, Barack Obama and joe Biden. All of these came about when marginal rates topped out at 90%.
Let me say that again. They occured with taxes reaching as high as 90%. And even under Kennedy, the space program was developed and the moon landed on when taxes were 50%.
America will never lead the world the way it did post-World War II until we recreate those conditions.
6) Just how desperate are our times? The European Union, as a whole, won the Nobel Peace Prize today.
7) Mitt Romney's timing is impeccably awful, yet again. Even before he shifts focus to China artificially manipulating the yuan to hurt America, the yuan skyrockets on currency markets, improving our economic outlook and bringing more jobs back to America.
8) Note to my LA readers: that is not E.T. on Crenshaw
9) More evidence that water existed on Mars came yesterday.
10) Finally, apparently you can buy too much toilet paper in New Jersey. Better alert Gov. Christie. I think his quota may be past.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Big Bird: Republican

Why PBS cuts will hurt Republicans more than Democrats, but they hurt us all.

What To Make Of This?

This is a graph of average water levels (annual and monthly) for the Great Lakes since 1997. (Click it if you need resizing)
While the immediate downtrend trend and projection is startling, it could be nothing more than an outlier. However, if you look from 1997, you'll see that the Midwest lakes (Superior, Michigan and Huron) all have long-term declining levels.
That's a reason to pay attention. This indicates a long-term drought has snuck up on the Midwest and Plains states. That's our breadbasket, not to put too fine a point on this.

The Plucky In Kentucky

Joe Biden should mop the floor with Paul Ryan tonight, is my guess at things. Not that Joe Biden is a great orator. He's not. He's as prone to gaffes and mouth-running as any serious Presidential contender I've ever seen, with the exception of Sarah Palin.
But Biden has an awful lot going for him heading into tonight's tilt. For one thing, the moderator Martha Raditz of ABC News is the senior national security reporter for the network and as such, likely to ask an awful lot of questions that will be softballs for a foreign policy wonk like Biden and will give ample opportunity for Biden to remind America that Osama bin Laden is still dead. So long as Biden pre-empts Ryan from reminding people that Biden advised against the assault, he's golden here.
Centre College, the actual site of the debate, is a liberal arts college, which automatically inks Biden in as the home team. He'll have a plurality of the audience on his side.
And if he stays gaffe-free, Biden can unleash his snarky sarcastic side and probably rattle Ryan's feathers. After all, Ryan is most notable for telling FOX News (!) that he "didn't have time" to explain how his proposed $5 trillion tax cut and $2 trillion increase in defense spending could possibly create a balanced budget and pay down some of the national debt.
His. Not Romney's. His own plan was too "complex" to even give a broadstroke primer coat to the single most Republican-friendly media outlet on the planet!
Finally, Biden has been here before. In 2008, he took on then-liked Sarah Palin who flirted and teased the camera as much as any harlot, and still had her lunch stolen with his tale of the losses he suffered in his family. Palin couldn't even muster the empathy to say "I'm sorry," and she barely bothered to defend the top of her ticket.
I don't think Ryan will make the same mistakes, to be sure, but he's on brand new turf here. I don't think he survives intact.

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Retroactive Abortion

Welp, it didn't take long for Mitt Romney to blow all the momentum he had going into this week, did it?

Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney sent his campaign staffers into clean-up mode late Tuesday, when reports that he had softened his pro-life position began circulating.

"There's no legislation with regards to abortion that I'm familiar with that would become part of my agenda," Romney told The Des Moines Register's editorial board, according to a story posted on the newspaper's website.

Meaning two things: 1) He's yet again stabbed Paul Ryan in the back, who has sponsored more than a dozen bills to ban abortion...nice jobs creation there, eh?, and 2) he's trying to tack yet again to the middle, and very clumsily.

This poor guy is spinning faster than a guy free-falling from 120,000 feet sideways (that's something like 220 rpm for those of you keeping score, or three times as fast as a 78 record.) It's no wonder he's blowing gaskets left and right.

Within the past ten years, Romney has gone from full-throated support for all abortions in the Senate race against Ted Kennedy to banning all abortions (except for rape -- legitimate or not-- incest or if the life of the mother is in jeopardy) and overturning Roe v. Wade (2007) and now he seems to have decided on this branch of the tree to alight upon.

Sadly for Romney, there's video, something the Obama campaign will make sure to utilize in the closing weeks.

Too, Romney's "resurgence" (read that as "bounce") has come as a benefit of talking about the economy. On social issues, he tanks miserably, particularly with working class women who are already distrustful of Republicans in general after the past four years. And sadly for Romney, in many swing states the economy is less of an issue than it is in redder states.

Curious, that: states that would tend to support Romney and conservatives in general are struggling economically. Odd.

This is all part of a grand strategy to "humanize" the Mitt-bot:

On a series of other issues, Romney has been moving to more moderate ground as Nov. 6 draws near. It’s part of a broader strategy by the Romney campaign that includes a concerted effort to humanize him. The emotional stories about dying friends that he now weaves into his stump speech and his unscheduled stops along the campaign trail to chat with voters and even school children are all part of that plan.

As ABC News Political Director Amy Walter notes, Team Obama’s strategy was to spend early and heavy on television ads defining Romney over the summer as unlikable and untrustworthy. By all accounts, it worked — at least until now.

What is it with reporters-- and this isn't even a report, but an aggregation which demands interpretation-- that they refuse to say what happens next? Yes, it's worked until now. Yes, last week's dynamic shifted slightly. And yes, idiotic comments like this by Romney can AND WILL shift the dynamic right back on track.

The Gallup organization even believes Romney's bounce could falter as early as tomorrow.

President Obama's lead among registered voters didn't budge an inch, meaning Romney's bounce among likely voters merely means that he made his rabble a bit more enthused about his chances. Comments like this, and the backlash they'll create, will snuff that out in a heartbeat.



Tuesday, October 09, 2012

Twisting Knickers

It's kind of funny that, after nearly a week, Democrats and fans of the President are still flapping wings and gums over how lackluster President Obama's performance was at last week's debate, even getting all flustered over a debate "win" by Mittens.
Romney saw a two-point bounce. ALL CHALLENGERS see at least a two point bounce after the first debate. That Mitt only saw a two point bounce should be taken as nothing but encouraging news.
Why at least a two point bounce? Because up until last week, you'd never seen both the President and the challenger on the same stage. By allowing himself to be seen with a peon like Romney, Obama graciously gifted him a bounce. It showed that Obama took Romney's challenge seriously-- altho obviously not seriously enough to challenge him more harshly. Which might be the point.
By contrast, not only did John Kerry see a much bigger bounce, Kerry bounced up into the lead by nearly eight points after the first debate in 2004, the last time a challenger has debated a sitting President.
I'm sure former President Kerry is smiling about this foo-foraw. In fact, if I was the good Senator, I would have come out on Thursday or Friday and reminded people of this fact and that Barack Obama is still in command in the race, and that it's more vital than ever to make sure every Democrat gets out and votes and gets out the vote.
Here's the thing: by engaging Romney on even his most ludicrous statements like the 47% comment, Barack Obama is seen as threatened by Romney's candidacy. He shouldn't be, even if he feels he might stand some small chance of losing to this chump.
Go watch the debate again, only this time, look only at the candidate who is NOT speaking. Now tell me who won the debate. Obama is respectful and patient with Romney, yet you can see his disdain and anger at the blatant lies Romney is telling.
Meanwhile, Romney is chomping at the bit like a wounded puppy trying to take a bite out of the squirrel that tricked him under the falling acorn.
Tell me again, who won? Who won a debate where the major talking point was killing a highly popular children's television icon? Who won a debate where the other major talking point is how badly the other guy lied to score cheap points?
Now, unknot your knickers and go pick up a phone and start making this thing a slam dunk again.