Wednesday, October 31, 2012

The Worst

Stay classy Romney campaign:

DAYTON, Ohio — The last-minute decision by Romney high command Monday to suspend politics while Sandy raged sent aides in Ohio scrambling to convert a scheduled victory rally into an apolitical "storm relief event" — a process that tested the campaign's agility, and left a few threads of partisanship inadvertently hanging.

On Monday morning, Romney's local team in Dayton was eagerly preparing to host the candidate the following day. A high school gym had been reserved, a stage had been rented, and a pair of celebrity guests — country singer Randy Owen, and NASCAR driver Richard Petty — had been booked to give the event some B-list heft.

Then, a little before noon, communications director Gail Gitcho announced the cancellation of "all events currently scheduled" for Tuesday. The superstorm that forecasters had been warning about for days had picked up steam, and people throughout the northeast were now bracing for the worst. In a statement, Gitcho said the decision to cancel campaign events had been made "out of sensitivity to the millions of Americans in the path of Hurricane Sandy."

But Boston wasn't quite ready to lose a full day of swing state visibility with a week left in the race. So, after some deliberation, the campaign decided to use their existing venue in Ohio to stage a makeshift, and nonpartisan, humanitarian project. It would be a way for Romney to show leadership — and get on the local news — without looking craven or opportunistic.. . .
The plan was for supporters to bring hurricane relief supplies to the event, and then deliver the bags of canned goods, packages of diapers, and cases of water bottles to the candidate, who would be perched behind a table along with a slew of volunteers and his Ohio right-hand man, Senator Rob Portman. To complete the project and photo-op, Romney would lead his crew in carrying the goods out of the gymnasium and into the Penske rental truck parked outside.
But the last-minute nature of the call for donations left some in the campaign concerned that they would end up with an empty truck. So the night before the event, campaign aides went to a local Wal Mart and spent $5,000 on granola bars, canned food, and diapers to put on display while they waited for donations to come in, according to one staffer. (The campaign confirmed that it "did donate supplies to the relief effort," but would not specify how much it spent.). . .
But even as Romney, clad in blue jeans and rolled-up sleeves, hustled around his area of the gym, shaking hands, thanking supporters, and stacking cases of bottled water on top of each other, signs of stagecraft remained.

As supporters lined up to greet the candidate, a young volunteer in a Romney/Ryan t-shirt stood near the tables, his hands cupped around his mouth, shouting, "You need a donation to get in line!" Empty-handed supporters pled for entrance, with one woman asking, "What if we dropped off our donations up front?"

The volunteer gestured toward a pile of groceries conveniently stacked near the candidate. "Just grab something," he said.
Two teenage boys retrieved a jar of peanut butter each, and got in line. When it was their turn, they handed their "donations" to Romney. He took them, smiled, and offered an earnest "Thank you."

Fake "storm relief" even ts in Ohio? Pretending to wash clean dishes? The fuck is wrong with these people?

Friday, October 26, 2012

I would do anything for your endorsement, but I won't do that.

Meatloaf/some other weird people trying to sing American the Beautiful with a very awkward Mitt Romney watching:

What To Expect In Obama's Second Term: In His Words, Off the Record.

There was this back and forth between Obama and an Iowa newspaper the other day that ended up letting a very interesting interview see the light of day. Basically Obama did an "off the record interview with their editorial board, and they were pissed off that it had to be off the record, and publicly said so. In response, the Obama campaign released a transcript of the interview, to prove that they didn't actually care or something, but regardless, an interview that the president initially thought was off the record could show a little more insight into what he's actually planning for his second term than normal stump speech bullshiting. Right? Maybe? Either way, here is the interview:

When you combine the Bush tax cuts expiring, the sequester in place, the commitment of both myself and my opponent — at least Governor Romney claims that he wants to reduce the deficit — but we’re going to be in a position where I believe in the first six months we are going to solve that big piece of business.

It will probably be messy. It won’t be pleasant. But I am absolutely confident that we can get what is the equivalent of the grand bargain that essentially I’ve been offering to the Republicans for a very long time, which is $2.50 worth of cuts for every dollar in spending, and work to reduce the costs of our health care programs.
And we can easily meet — “easily” is the wrong word — we can credibly meet the target that the Bowles-Simpson Commission established of $4 trillion in deficit reduction, and even more in the out-years, and we can stabilize our deficit-to-GDP ratio in a way that is really going to be a good foundation for long-term growth. Now, once we get that done, that takes a huge piece of business off the table.

The second thing I’m confident we’ll get done next year is immigration reform. And since this is off the record, I will just be very blunt. Should I win a second term, a big reason I will win a second term is because the Republican nominee and the Republican Party have so alienated the fastest-growing demographic group in the country, the Latino community. And this is a relatively new phenomenon. George Bush and Karl Rove were smart enough to understand the changing nature of America. And so I am fairly confident that they’re going to have a deep interest in getting that done. And I want to get it done because it’s the right thing to do and I’ve cared about this ever since I ran back in 2008.

So assume that you get those two things done in the first year, and we’re implementing Wall Street reform, Obamacare turns out not to have been the scary monster that the other side has painted. Now we’re in a position where we can start on some things that really historically have not been ideological. We can start looking at a serious corporate tax reform agenda that’s revenue-neutral but lowers rates and broadens the base — something that both Republicans and Democrats have expressed an interest in.

I’ve expressed a deep desire and taken executive action to weed out regulations that aren’t contributing to the health and public safety of our people. And we’ve made a commitment to look back and see if there are regulations out there that aren’t working, then let’s get rid of them and see if we can clear out some of the underbrush on that. Again, that’s something that should be non-ideological.
My hope is, is that there’s a recognition that now is a great time to make infrastructure improvements all across the country. And we can pull up some of the money that we know we’re going to be spending over the next decade to put people back to work right now at a time when contractors are dying for work and interest rates are really low.
Even more solid evidence that he wants to do a completely useless grand bargain: BOO.

Immigration reform: YAY!

Stating that a grand bargain is what's needed to turn around the economy: Terrifying and I pray he doesn't actually believe it.
Conservative BSing about regulations: BOOOO.

Infrastructure spending: YAY!

Who knows how much of this is actually means anything, just figured it was worth passing along.

Thursday, October 25, 2012

Rhee Drops $500K to Fight Collective Bargaining

You know... it's for the kids!
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. –’s political action committee has donated $500,000 to the campaign against the union-backed Proposal 2, with the organization’s leaders saying they wants to preserve school reforms.

The proposal, also called Protect Our Jobs and Protect Working Families, would enshrine collective bargaining in the state constitution, invalidating existing or future state or local laws that limit the ability to join unions.

Critics, including Attorney General Bill Schuette, said about 170 state laws would be affected.

StudentsFirst, an advocacy group based in Sacramento, Calif, “strongly supports collective bargaining for teachers,” but supports some of the limits on what unions could negotiate.

Wednesday, October 24, 2012

To Panic or Not To Panic

There are plenty of stories out there about the election tightening, and on some level that's true. Obama has been losing ground to Romney in the polls since that first debate, proving wrong people (such as myself) who didn't think debates would have a large effect on the election .

But how worried should we be? What does this mean?

It's times like this we're blessed to live in a time where we have Nate Silver's polling analysis to tell us what to think.

A few basics:
-Individual polls don't matter, so don't panic about them.
-National polls should be important, but aren't, because we have we are still dumb enough to use the electoral college.
-Polling averages are the way to go, as are state by state polls of the few states our idiotic system decided will count this time around.
-You don't need to remember all these facts if you just read Nate Silver's blog, and trust him.

Currently, based on his electoral college predictions, Nate Silver has Obama chances to win at 68.1%, and that's actually been increasing over the last week.

Don't panic.

That's not to say Obama can't lose, just that these dire headlines don't reflect the current state of the race in our crazy electoral system. Also, there is no one worse than our political media, and they desperately want this to be a close race, not because of any bias, but because it's better for their business. Since the first debate the race has gotten closer in the popular vote, which should be what matters, but is actually completely irrelevant because our country still decides elections using a system that was put in place to give more power to slave-holding states. 

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

Debate Recap: Horses and Bayonets

6.54 says it best:
-From a pure politics standpoint, that might be the most one sided debate I've ever witnessed. Romney barely found ways to rephrases Obama's statements before repeating them, which is not a good look. Rather than simply let Romney look foolish on his own, Obama hammered him with condescending line after condescending line, daring Romney to attack him.

-So as much of a "win" as this was in the political realm for Obama, I can't help but think about how much of a loss this was for liberal foreign policy principles in general. The way both candidates agreed on nearly everything and the excitement they seemed to get from imposing "crippling sanctions" on Iran was really gross. The only time Romney seemed to disagree with Obama was actually from the left when he said "we can't kill our way out of this", which is probably the smartest thing he's said during the whole campaign. Remember when Clint Eastwood pretended Mitt Romney asked "why aren't we leaving Afghanistan now?" That would have actually been a good question.

-Because so much of my discussion of this campaign has focused on Romney's constant lying, it's worth pointing out that he was telling the truth about Obama trying to get a status of forces agreement with Iraq, and Obama was lying when he said that they weren't  Unlike our wingnut friends on the other side, I actually wish this was corrected during the debate, because more truth is important, no matter who it helps.

-I hope it's during my lifetime, but at some point in the future, we're going to look back at how all politicians talk about Israel, and be very, very ashamed. We will look as bad as like those who defended apartheid in South Africa, and the amount that it is embraced so completely by both political parties will just make it worse.


Monday, October 22, 2012

SNL on the Second Debate

Between this and that undecided voters skit, SNL is really raising their game this political season.

Friday, October 19, 2012

Obama on the Daily Show

Better questions than any interview I've seen of him in some time (looking at you, 60 minutes!). A question on HAMP??? Did someone not tell Jon Stewart that good liberals don't ask questions about negative things during election season? DOES HE WANT PRESIDENT MITT ROMNEY??? Seriously, well done Jon for doing a better job than 99% of the media yet again.

Thursday, October 18, 2012

Binders Full Of Women, Coal And Gangbangers

I watched a replay of the debate after my exam, wanted to get a few thoughts out there:

- Although it doesn't appear to be the main take away, the moment where Romney got corrected by the moderator about what Obama said seemed to be the highlight. Debates are all about calling people out, and to be publicly shamed like that seemed like a really bad look.

-The 15 minute stretch arguing about who loves coal, oil and natural gas... with no mention of climate change. Ugh. History will not look kindly on them for that.

-Obama's thing about immigration came off much better than Romney's, but he's deported many, many more people than just "gangbangers". The vast majority, you could say.

-As Kari pointed out in the previous post, the "binders full of women" comment overshadowed what was actually a much more offensive part about how women have different schedules because they need to be in the kitchen cooking for their husbands.

-Once again, 90% of the time Mitt Romney either lied about his previous positions, or just changed them during the debate on the fly. He has yet to face much of a consequence for this, and only time will tell if he does.

-I do wonder how the right watches these debates. It's frustrating for me to see Mitt Romney be a completely different person than he was 2 months ago, how do they feel that he has to hide from their ideology to not seem like a monster.

-Which also makes me wonder how anyone can like Mitt Romney. He's such a spineless coward that it's incredible. I totally understand where Harry Reid is coming from. All politicians have moving principles to some degree, but those all the way at the Romney Hillary Clinton/Specter end of the spectrum are the most disgusting  I understand someone supporting Rick Santorum or Scott Walker. I will never understand someone being a diehard supporter of Mitt Romney.

Also, you can tell I've been off the grid when I missed a story involving Taggggg Romney.

Wednesday, October 17, 2012

Tuesday, October 16, 2012

Most Insane Mailer of 2012, Possibly Ever

So this is a real mailer sent out in Arkansas. (via Buzzfeed). Soak it in:



I would normally say this should lead to a photoshop contest, but I genuinely don't think anyone can outdo that top image.

Monday, October 15, 2012

Mitt Vs. Mitt

Jew Lewison at dailykos is a great editor of video, and these are both gems.

FYI: May be less content in these parts until Thursday when midterms are over.

Friday, October 12, 2012

But First, LET'S GO O'S!!

I love the fact that both local baseball teams are still alive going into game 5. I'm rooting for the Nats in the NL, but my heart remains with the O's.
Get 'em!

Let's Go Nats

Via this awesome new Tumblr.

Game 5. Let's go!

That Debate


So I have no idea how that played with whatever an undecided voter is, but it was very enjoyable.

Thursday, October 11, 2012

Biden-Ryan Debate Tonight

Prediction time: Media consensus is that Biden wins in a landslide.

Reasoning: In DC media world, Paul Ryan is basically Steven Hawking only smarter and more handsome, where as Joe Biden is a bumbling buffoon who struggles to get through his day without maiming himself. But the thing is, underneath that cartoonish exterior, Joe Biden is really, really smart. He is also a good politician. Of course he makes gaffes, and says things that he shouldn't, but he has literally nothing to do but prepare for this debate. It will end well.

Paul Ryan on the other hand, is one of the biggest frauds in human history. As Krugman said about Newt Gingrich, he's a dumb person's idea of what a smart person sounds like. That works in the right wing crazy bubble where he was conceived, but has often flopped elsewhere. Unlike most Republicans, he isn't rabidly hostile towards the beltway media, so they end up liking him and giving him space to air endless lies, only sometimes correcting them without ever noting that he lies with the frequency that most people breathe (see Klein, Ezra). A creation of the right wing insanity bubble, he has repeatedly flailed when he does media with a host who isn't a conservative or a liberal who is so happy he's found a conservative capable or forming a sentence longer than "god hates fags". His convention speech was so filled with easily correctable lies that you could see DC journalist types weeping on air like jilted lovers when being forced to point out that his speech had been mostly made up.

So with the beltway media's expectations sky high for Ryan and somewhere between an adult dog and Dan Quail for Biden, I think they will go crazy when Big Fucking Deal is speaking in gaffe-free complete sentences and declare him the winner.

Just my prediction, I could be wrong, it's happened quite a few times before.

Also, the village media loves a horse race, so a Biden win would help that.

Any thoughts?

Wednesday, October 10, 2012

Your Moment of Zen

Paul Ryan, yesterday:

"It seems pretty clear that their new strategy is basically just call us liars."
I FUCKING WISH!!!!!!!!!!!

The balls on this guy...

Tuesday, October 9, 2012

Help Remove Bigotry From Our City!

So Pam Geller is bringing her hate to DC, and several of us are looking to make sure the posters are accurately labeled, as happened in New York:

Here's the background:
WASHINGTON -- The agency that operates the D.C. Metrorail system has until the end of Monday to post a set of controversial anti-Muslim advertisements that it fought in court to delay. A judge on Friday ordered the Washington Metropolitan Area Transit Authority to post the ads on First Amendement grounds saying that free speech trumped Metro's worry that the ads could promote violence.

Friday's decision by Judge Mary Collyer echoed a similar ruling in New York City that forced transit officials there to post the ads in select subway stations.

The ads, paid for by the American Freedom Defense Initiative, are supposed to be posted in the U Street, Georgia Avenue, Takoma and Glenmont stations for one month.

The ad reads: "In any war between the civilized man and the savage, support the civilized man. Support Israel. Defeat Jihad." They have been widely condemned as promoting Islamophobia.
Shoot me an email if you'd like to help us with this project.

This Walmart Strike is a Big Fucking Deal

Lost in the shuffle of the debate and conservative BLS truthers is something extremely significant:
For the second time in five days – and also the second time in Walmart’s five decades – workers at multiple US Walmart stores are on strike. This morning, workers walked off the job in Dallas, Texas and Laurel, Maryland; Walmart store workers in additional cities are expected to join the strike in the coming hours. No end date has been announced; some plan to remain on strike at least through tomorrow, when they’ll join other Walmart workers for a demonstration outside the company’s annual investor meeting in Bentonville, Arkansas. Today’s is the latest in a unprecedented wave of Walmart supply chain strikes: From shrimp workers in Louisiana, to warehouse workers in California and Illinois, to Walmart store employees in three states – and counting.

“A lot of associates, we have to use somewhat of a buddy system,” Dallas worker Colby Harris said last night. “We loan each other money during non-paycheck weeks just to make it through to the next week when we get paid. Because we don’t have enough money after paying bills to even eat lunch.” Harris, who’s now on strike, said that after three years at Walmart, he makes $8.90 an hour in the produce department, and workers at his store have faced “constant retaliation” for speaking up.

On Thursday, as first reported at Salon, southern California Walmart store workers staged a day-long walkout of their own. Organizers say over sixty workers from nine stores signed in as on strike. About thirty of them were from the same store in Pico Rivera, where strikers and supporters rallied with labor leaders, clergy, politicians. “I’m still thrilled about what happened,” said Harris, who flew in for last week’s walkout. “And it’s given me a lot more energy and a lot more drive.” Other workers were visiting from further away than Texas: When the striking workers returned to work Friday morning, international Walmart workers marched into their nine stores with them, carrying their own countries’ flags.
Amazing courage by those going out on strike. They make next to nothing, and in this economy, finding replacement workers won't be that hard. This is what real change looks like.

Monday, October 8, 2012

About the Sunday Shows...

This is an edition of what atrios said:
To me, the problem with the Sunday shows isn't that they suck, it's that so many moderately engaged people don't understand that they suck. They've bought into the idea that what Very Serious People Who Care About Politics Do is watch these shows, that the proper thing for an engaged citizen to do is to turn on Dancing Dave's Clown Circus and absorb the massive amounts of wisdom it generates.
I used to watch Meet the Press and similar shows for this reason as well. I'd get insanely frustrated, but pissing me off isn't the problem. Neither is the fact that they have stupid people lying and talking about fake problems.

The problem is that watching those shows is seen as how an "engaged citizen" pays attention to politics when in reality watching those shows makes you dumber about current events 90% of the time. Similar to the lying during the debate, the portion of the american electorate that cares enough about politics to flip on wednesday's debate was treated to a endless stream of bullshit that would make them less informed on the differences between the candidates than they were before they watched it.

The braindead media is dangerous, and doing it's best to kill our democracy.

Watch up with Chris Hayes. Get smarter.

But then again, it's not train readers I'm worried about.

Friday, October 5, 2012

On The Road

There's been stuff happening, but I haven't posted because I'm drinking wine and having fun in Bloomington Indiana with several friends of this blog.

Enjoy your weekend.

Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Train Lounge: "The Sound of Unity"

Ran into this in the office, had to put it somewhere.  I know that Tibetans find creative ways to express dissent, and that artists and musicians in China can occasionally find spaces of safety by using coded language and metaphors, but this music video by a Tibetan singer named Sherten blew my mind.  Keep in mind that this is a guy living in Tibet right now, dealing with all of the restrictions and policing that come with Chinese rule.  His video, here with English subtitles, starts with a few clips of Tibetans in different parts of Tibet calling for unity between the three traditional provinces of Tibet.  There's then a short statement by Sherten himself, and then the song itself:

Open references to grieving mothers and fathers, and towards the end telling people to think of "the peace and happiness of a free life," are pretty open references as these things go in China.  Recording this and releasing is a pretty big act of bravery, and as far as I can tell Sherten himself is still going.  Wow.


So I'm going to be in class during the debate, so no liveblog unless someone else wants to take it on themselves. Two things:

Earlier in the week, a story leaked that the Mitt Romney campaign had him practicing "zingers" and other gotcha moments as responses on things he hoped Obama would say. While it's true that most people only remember a few phrases in any debate... the way that Mitt Romney absolutely STRUGGLES to sound human during literally all situations I've ever seen him that aren't this or this... a heavily rehearsed corny as fuck line might not be the smartest move.

The second thing is that we should be on the lookout for incredible wingnuttery tonight, like the type that only comes around 30 or 40 times a year. The right lives in a sealed echo chamber that allows them to believe that Obama the affirmative action president Kenyan Muslim usurper has lived his life in a bubble WAITING for the moment when he gets EXPOSED for who he really is (a black man). When something like a debate happens, and he comes across intelligently, and like, you know, the person that he has always been and continues to be, the right loses their shit. IF ONLY MITT HAD CALLED HIM BOY ON STAGE!!! THAT WOULD HAVE CHANGED EVERYTHING.

Really dumb stuff incoming.

Enjoy the debate, let me know what you all thought.

NY AG Sues JP Morgan

This may not be as good as it seems, David Dayen (the best reporter on this subject) has the rundown:
Late yesterday, New York Attorney General Eric Schneiderman filed a lawsuit made up of years-old evidence against JPMorgan Chase, over deceptive practices related to the sale of $87 billion in Bear Stearns mortgage-backed securities at the height of the housing bubble. The lawsuit is closely modeled after one brought against the same defendants by the mortgage bond insurer Ambac, a suit written by a current Executive Deputy Attorney General for Economic Justice in Schneiderman’s office.

The lawsuit only uses state and not federal law, and seems to have been borne of little if any new investigation, though the New York AG’s office claims to have brought the lawsuit “under the aegis” of the Residential Mortgage Backed Securities working group, the task force inaugurated in January to probe securitization fraud in the banking industry before the financial crisis. This is the first suit said to be from the RMBS working group.

But most of the evidence and legal theories in the case come from investigations and suits going back several years, and there’s no reason it couldn’t have been filed at that time. As the relevant statute of limitations under New York’s Martin Act (which has a lower burden of proof, as it does not require demonstrating intent to defraud, only that the fraud occurred) is six years, this will only encompass fraud from late 2006 and 2007, the last vestiges of the housing bubble. This delay in bringing the case cost tens of billions of potential exposure for JPMorgan Chase. And more than anything, the lack of federal participation in the suit shows that the federal agencies involved in the task force are simply disinterested in prosecution, forcing Schneiderman to cobble together an off-the-shelf suit from other sources to make it look like this move against the banks represents anything real. The timing, one month before voters go to the polls in the Presidential election, is similarly obvious.
The larger point is this. Not only does there seem to be no new evidence or investigations or legal theories in this case, but the bulk of it was copied off a separate case filed by someone in Schneiderman’s office years ago. Gretchen Morgenson says that the subpoenas in the case all came from Schneiderman’s office in April 2011, long before the RMBS working group ever existed. The Justice Department will apparently try to take some credit for interviewing Clayton Holdings employees in the case, but again, the Clayton Holdings element of this case has been public knowledge through the FCIC and Cuomo’s time as AG going back many years. And if DoJ was so helpful, why didn’t they bring any charges? No federal charges were filed in this case, which represents fairly obvious federal securities fraud. And they havelonger statutes of limitations available to them, meaning they would be able to sue for more money, since the cutoff would not be October 2006 but much further back.

Nothing here leads me to believe that the task force played any meaningful role. Schneiderman, getting antsy with just a month to go until the election, took a case off his shelf he had been working on, thanks to his deputy, from the moment he got into the AG’s office. And the evidence that he threw it together quickly comes from the fact that he got the name of Bear Stearns’ auditor wrong in the filing. Bad lawyering.

And just because a suit gets filed, doesn’t mean it will lead to anything approaching accountability. The suit is purely civil and does not quantify damages; all it says is that investors lost $22.5 billion on the bad securities in the time frame under the Martin Act’s statute of limitations, from late 2006 to 2007. And Schneiderman’s track record is weak. He filed suit against MERS and the banks who used it in January 2012, and two months later settled for an almost meaningless $25 million. While Schneiderman claimed that the settlement was only partial, we never heard anything about it again.
The most significant revelation about this investigation is complete farce that the national task force is. It's worth remembering that we were told this was the big prize these AGs were getting for ending their holdout over the robosigning settlement. Some prize, but then again, that's not an accident, it was designed to be this useless.

Tuesday, October 2, 2012

Lets Go Nats

Nats clinched the division title last night. Awesome. (photo via sports bog)

Monday, October 1, 2012

Believing Your Own Bullshit

This Chris Hayes opening segment and the discussion that ensued (as Josh Barro pointed out, a discussion that included 3 Republicans) was amazing. These videos really nail the problems the right is facing, and I think Chris Hayes is dead on in pointing out that Ryan is the post child of the phenomenon.

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

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Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy

Visit for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy