Thursday, June 23, 2011

Last Call

The "smaller government" GOP in Georgia would turn small businesses like taxi, limo and bus companies into de facto immigration police under the state's new immigration law.

Several taxi companies and more than 2,000 cab drivers have filed their own lawsuit against the law. Their grievance has to do with a specific provision which would make it a misdemeanor to transport fewer than seven undocumented immigrants and a felony to drive any more than that. The cab drivers claim that this would burden them with the responsibility of checking the immigration status of each and every one of their passengers. (Not to mention the potential invasion of privacy that the law would inflict on their customers). The Atlanta Business Chronicle reports:
On Monday, an Atlanta attorney Quinton Washington of the law firm Bell & Washington LLC, WXIA reporter Jeff Hullinger there are unintended consequences of the law that could affect passengers. Washington said if a cab or limo drivers is pulled over for speeding, or for a broken taillight, police have the right to ask for proof of citizenship of passengers. [...]
A concern is that many immigrants use cabs to buy groceries and run other errands, and cab drivers don’t want to be responsible for asking all of them for documentation paperwork.
“It is our hope that the legislature and local law enforcement authorities would not seek to penalize drivers for simply taking people from point A to point B,” stated Washington.

If companies are in violation of the law, they could face serious penalties including steep fines and jail time.  So who in their right mind in Georgia would give a cab ride to a Latino    Republicans like smaller government...except when it comes to using its power in making things as miserable as possible for those groups they don't like.  Then it's all about throwing civil liberties out the door in order to go after whomever disagrees with them.

This Week In GOP Pants On Fire Lies

Much was made by the right of's dinging of Jon Stewart's statement last Sunday of FOX News viewers being "consistently misinformed".

The way Stewart phrased the comment, it’s not enough to show a sliver of evidence that Fox News’ audience is ill-informed. The evidence needs to support the view that the data shows they are "consistently" misinformed -- a term he used not once but three times. It’s simply not true that "every poll" shows that result. So we rate his claim False.

In which case Jon Stewart was happy to clarify and correct his statement on the Daily Show on Tuesday night.

Stewart pointed out that FOX News (home of the 2009 and 2010 Lies of the Year) might have a few corrections they would want to make as well.  Jon Stewart can apologize and correct his misstatements, but FOX?  Good luck.

Who has more credibility, the comedian or the network full of jokes?

Out Of Moose Gas

So how's Sarah Palin's "Not Running for President Bus Tour" going?  Oh wait, she quit halfway through.

Former half-term Gov. Sarah Palin has reportedly packed in her bus tour...halfway through.
Real Clear Politics is reporting that Palin and her family have returned to Alaska from their "One Nation" bus tour, despite tentatively scheduled stops in Iowa and South Carolina.

From Scott Conroy at RCP:
Though Palin and her staff never announced a timeline for the remaining legs of her trip, aides had drafted preliminary itineraries that would have taken her through the Midwest and Southeast at some point this month. But those travel blueprints are now in limbo, RCP has learned, as Palin and her family have reverted to the friendly confines of summertime Alaska, where the skies are currently alight for over 19 hours a day and the Bristol Bay salmon fishing season is nearing its peak.
Palin's intent to visit Iowa and South Carolina, as well as one stop in New Hampshire, caused some speculation that she was starting to get serious about a run for president in 2012.

Whoops.  And it seems like all the people who did throw their hats into the ring starved Moose Lady of the media attention she thrives on, so since her entire point of the bus tour was to get attention and not to run for President, she packed up her bus and went back home.  She's now taking to her usual Facebook pulpit to deny she quit the bus tour and is in fact saying it will start again at some future unspecified date, so keep paying attention to Sarah Palin to see what wacky fun she'll have next.  Entire point of Sarah Palin, fin.  Chase that shiny object, boys!

Suckers.  Best part is next time Sarah Palin does an event, it'll be "speculation is growing that she's returning to her bus tour and is considering a 2012 run" and the media will chase her around the country again whenever she decides America isn't paying enough attention to her and her spawn (and their lucrative book contracts).

Thus, the cycle begins again and again.

No Dealing On The Debt Ceiling, Part 21

Republicans have now officially bailed on debt ceiling talks and say there will be no tax increases or tax subsidy cuts of any kind for anybody, and if they don't get their way the economy will now self-destruct.

Two top Republicans have bailed on bipartisan talks Thursday aimed at raising the nation's debt-ceiling in exchange for deficit-reduction measures.

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.) and Sen. Jon Kyl (R-Ariz.) backed out of talks with Vice President Biden, furious at Democrats' demands that some tax increases be paired with spending cuts.

The Dems have argued that if Republicans want to close the gaping annual deficit with spending cuts, they have to concede some tax increases, too.

And it's not just some tax increases, but any and all tax increasesDems are arguing that this proves revenue increases will be necessary and that Cantor and Kyl don't want to be the ones making that kind of deal (forcing Orange Julius and Mitchy to eat that particular turdburger).  As a result, the Republicans are now demanding that President Obama go on record to say he wants to raise taxes so that the Republicans can crucify him.

This is how GOP negotiations work, apparently.  Demand 100% of what you want, then when you don't get it, demand 120% of what you want and then add that your opponent must commit political suicide.

Naturally, the Dems look to comply totally because if they don't, someone might call them liberals.  Then when the Republicans get what they want, they'll call the Dems liberals and the lesson the donks will learn is "if you capitulate sooner, the news cycle passes faster."

[UPDATE] Make that demand 300%, as Cantor now says the GOP controlled House will take up a balanced budget amendment in late July.  Can't wait to see what the 2012 budget negotiations look like.  Cantor should ask for cold fusion and the Cubs winning the Series.

ICANN See A Big Change Coming

.com is set to get some .competition, as the net’s governing body over names approved a plan Monday to radically expand the number of possible endings for web addresses.
Starting as early as November 2013, internet users will be able to visit sites with extensions such as .restaurant, .newyorkcity or .microsoft. As with .com, .org and the new popular .co, the dot will need to be preceded by a domain — such as or

That's a Pretty Big Deal.  It opens up a lot of change, and there seems to be little opposition except from traditionalists who hate to see .com lose its place as the default.  The article goes on to explain how the naming protocols are made, and if you've ever wondered who makes those decisions it's worth checking out.

Other possibilities include top-level domains for cities and regions so that restaurants like Mom’s CafĂ© can be momscafe.seattle and possibly other TLDs for businesses such as .bank, which could be controlled to keep scammers from ever registering a fake site.

And with one fell stroke, so many spoofing scams and Nigerian bank runs could be ended.  It's not all up to ICANN, however.  The public decides what grows and what dies on the Internet.  I think it's all great, but I'll be for years to come. 

Minty Fresh: How It Compares To Others

The 2011 Linux scorecard has been released.  It compares the versions and explains their strengths and weaknesses.  It also describes what types of users may be interested in particular features.  For example, if you're like me and you update every chance a new release comes out, some versions are better choices.  Levels of experience are measured, as are bugs and (ugh) dependencies.

For the last few weeks, I have been using Mint exclusively.  I picked it up very quick, but the differences between it and Ubuntu have all been improvements from my perspective.  There are a few weaknesses, but they don't apply to my habits so I have been unaffected.

For those who do not know how to approach Linux, this is a great article to read.  Each major version is described in plain terms and aimed for newbies who need a launching point.

But The GOP Cares About Women, Part 2

Following up on Tuesday's post on Indiana defunding Planned Parenthood clinics and leaving them on the brink of closing, Rebekah Dryden at Maddowblog reminds us it's not just the Hoosier State that's going to be hurt here.  The budget that did pass did make federal cuts to Planned Parenthood, and as a result, clinics are already starting to close across the country, not in just Indiana.

In Minnesota, clinics are closing. Planned Parenthood Minnesota, North Dakota, South Dakota announced this week that it'll be closing six Minnesota clinics because of federal cuts to Title X family planning funding that were made in this year's budget. 

Announcing the closures, the organization's president and CEO, Sarah Stoesz, said the budget cuts "were driven by ideological attacks on women's health, not by a desire to fix the economy."

There will be cuts in North Carolina and Kansas, too.

The North Carolina cuts won't affect Medicaid patients but their spokesperson, Paige Johnson tells us they stand to lose all of their Title X family planning funding from the federal government and state funding for programs aimed at preventing teen pregnancy and providing access to the most effective forms of birth control for low-income women.

Kansas also defunded Planned Parenthood through the state budget -- Kansas' budget includes a measure that essentially disqualifies Planned Parenthood from receiving Title X funding. Medicaid patients aren't affected in Kansas, either. But according to Peter Brownlie, the president and CEO of Planned Parenthood of Kansas & Mid-Missouri, those Title X funds represent about half of the revenue that runs Kansas' two Planned Parenthood clinics. The cuts are set to take effect July 1 and Mr. Brownlie says the organization is still considering a lawsuit.

Why do Republicans want poor women to have so little family care?  One theory is that if Republicans cut access to Planned parenthood services, poor people will be shamed into not having sex, and stop having children or something.  More cynical people like myself think that Republicans want the opposite to keep them poor.  Oh, and Republicans just hate women, too...especially the ones that won't submit to their dominion.

Russia's War On Drugs

Russian President Dmitri Medvedev sounds an awful lot like a conservative Republican these days and he's getting a lot of props from tea party folks here who claim President Obama's now more of a Communist than Medvedev is (dur hur hur funny).

Well, Russia does seem to sound like a free-market laboratory of democracy...

Russia has more heroin users than any other country in the world – up to two million, according to unofficial estimates. For most, their lot is a life of crime, stints in prison, probable contraction of HIV and hepatitis C, and an early death. As efforts to stem the flow of Afghan heroin into Russia bring some limited success, and the street price of the drug goes up, for those addicts who can't afford their next hit, an even more terrifying spectre has raised its head.

The home-made drug that Oleg and Sasha inject is known as krokodil, or "crocodile". It is desomorphine, a synthetic opiate many times more powerful than heroin that is created from a complex chain of mixing and chemical reactions, which the addicts perform from memory several times a day. While heroin costs from £20 to £60 per dose, desomorphine can be "cooked" from codeine-based headache pills that cost £2 per pack, and other household ingredients available cheaply from the markets.  

So Russians should limit the codeine-based pills the way we do to prevent meth labs from getting supply, right?  Well...

President Dmitry Medvedev has called for websites which explain how to make krokodil to be closed down, but he has not ordered the banning of the pills. Last month, a spokesman for the ministry of health said that there were plans to make codeine-based tablets available only on prescription, but that it was impossible to introduce the measure quickly. Opponents claim lobbying by pharmaceutical companies has caused the inaction.

"A year ago we said that we need to introduce prescriptions," says Mr Ivanov. "These tablets don't cost much but the profit margins are high. Some pharmacies make up to 25 per cent of their profits from the sale of these tablets. It's not in the interests of pharmaceutical companies or pharmacies themselves to stop this, so the government needs to use its power to regulate their sale."

Gee, Russia is sounding more and more like the capitalist US every day.

Who Knew Layoffs Were Bad For The Economy?

Apparently not Republicans, who insisted that laying off government workers would improve the economy because that would free up more resources for private sector to create jobs.  How's that theory working out for you?

The layoffs of thousands of government workers may threaten the already slow-motion economic recovery in many U.S. metropolitan areas, according to a report released on Wednesday by the Brookings Institution.

"Job growth, though occurring in more metropolitan areas than in the past, was sluggish," the think tank said. "Those that suffered the most, as well as those with the weakest economic recoveries, typically lost government jobs."

Since the recession began in 2007, 19 out of the 20 metropolitan areas with the strongest economies gained government jobs, according to the report which focused on the first quarter of the year. Conversely, 13 of the lowest performing 20 areas lost government jobs.

Looking at the 100 metropolitan areas combined, Brookings said total employment rebounded by 0.8 percent after hitting its low point in the recession. But local government employment fell 1.2 percent and state employment dropped 0.2 percent, "reflecting the impact of reduced local and state revenues."

So if the conservative theory that government jobs are completely parasitical on the overall economy is true, the areas that lost government jobs should have stronger economies.  Surprise, the complete opposite of that is true.  Where the government served as the employer of last resort to help when the private sector was reeling, the economy has picked up. 

And right now we're looking at record profits, productivity, and cash on hand for the private sector.  The lean times for big business are certainly over.  But guess what?  They're not hiring as much either, because the demand for their products isn't least in the US it's not.  Overseas expansion is much higher...and that's where the private sector jobs are going.  Ironically, we're seeing a return of manufacturing jobs because the cost of labor is less expensive here than it is in rapidly growing China.  With unions all but destroyed and real wages stagnant for decades, the US is starting to look like the place to go for cheap manual labor...and cheap jobs to go with it.

So if the Republicans are right, and laying off thousands of government workers was good for the economy, we should be seeing the exact opposite of what we're seeing now, which is jobs with good benefits vanishing and being replaced by cheaper, non-union manufacturing jobs with far less pay and benefits.

And that's wrecking the economy.  But that's excellent for big business.  And that's what the GOP wants.


Related Posts with Thumbnails