Friday, October 28, 2011

Last Call

Here's your chart of the day showing what Americans are and are not spending money on anymore:

More frozen veggies, fixing the cars we have, distractions and pets, much much less eating out, big ticket items like furniture, appliances and cars, and less clothes. The American consumer is no longer consuming, and that's putting US manufacturers of stuff -- especially big ticket items -- out of business. This has been going on for four years now and it's now the new normal economic landscape of America. It will be for some time.

Passing The Political Football

Once again my senator Mitch McConnell continues to show America that Republicans are focused like a laser on the most important issue facing the country right now: jobs the economy abortion national security screwing with college football conferences.
Earlier this week, the Big 12 conference appeared ready to admit West Virginia into the league—a move so certain that university officials began tipping off members of their current conference, the Big East. But on Tuesday, the Big 12 abruptly backed off its overtures to the Mountaineers, leaving school officials in limbo and wondering what had happened.
On Wednesday, West Virginia received a key clue. The New York Times' Pete Thamel reported that Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell had lobbied officials at two Big 12 schools on behalf of his alma mater, the University of Louisville, which also is vying for a spot in the conference.
Everything Republicans do is about personal gain.  That's the point of political power, one leads to another in a cycle.
Not surprisingly, McConnell's alleged lobbying prompted anger among the two senators from West Virginia, Jay Rockefeller and Joe Manchin, who are both Democrats. They have called on the Senate to investigate whether McConnell inappropriately interfered in the football drama.
"The Big 12 picked WVU on the strength of its program--period. Now the media reports that political games may upend that," Rockefeller, who is chairman of the Senate Commerce Committee and has jurisdiction over college athletics, told reporters. "That's just flat wrong. I am doing and will do whatever it takes to get us back to the merits."
Manchin, a West Virginia alum, went further, questioning McConnell's ethics.
"If a United States senator has done anything inappropriate or unethical to interfere with a decision that the Big 12 had already made—then I believe that there should be an investigation in the U.S. Senate, and I will fight to get to the truth," Manchin said in a statement. "West Virginians and the American people deserve to know exactly what is going on and whether politics is interfering with our college sports."
So yes, it seems now that while the country is busy having a gut check over the direction of the country, over social equality, economic fairness, over the role of government in America and the true power of the wealthy, the most august deliberative body in the world is out back behind the outhouse fighting over the size of each others' "conferences" and Republicans are abusing their power because they can.  Meanwhile, the one thing that gets Joe Manchin pissed off enough to fight back isn't the economy or Republican intransigence on jobs but the fact that Mitch is messing with the Mountaineers.

Can we just Occupy Congress already?

Michele Bachmann, Meet My Friend "Reality"

Michele Bachmann is at it again.  This time she is criticizing Obama's plan to help ease student loan debt.  Of course we all know Bachmann is no fan of education, saying she would "do away with" the Department of Education if elected, even going so far as to call the DOE unconstitutional.  It's to the Tea Party's advantage that the future voters have no fancy learnin' so they can see through their copious bullshit.

Let us begin.

Bachmann starts by calling Obama's decision to move the action up by two years as an "abuse of power" and goes on about how he is dooming taxpayers.  Well, not quite.  This was already passed and slated to take place in 2014.  The only change is with the date it takes effect.  So which is a greater abuse of power, moving up aid for young people who desperately need it (freeing up money to put back into the economy) or overruling that aid if elected? 

She then warns of dire repercussions for taxpayers.  Another load of Tea Party BS.  Taxpayers will not shoulder the burden, and the loans still must be repaid in full.  The point is to lower required payments from 15% of income to 10% that must be paid, which allows graduates in a struggling economy to have money to put into housing and other necessities.  Taxpayers won't be footing any of the costs, so that's a direct lie, either out of malice or ignorance on her part, I don't know.  The Huffington Post verifies this as well.

Bachmann has also gone on record saying she would lower minimum wage to compete with overseas labor.  In a different interview she said she would consider eliminating it altogether.  For someone with so little respect for education, she doesn't seem to understand that she is dooming young graduates to choose between an education they can't afford and a job that won't keep them fed and sheltered.  I know, let's have her try to exist on the current minimum wage and see how well she holds it together.  Let's see how $250 a week feeds her family and what kind of home she would be able to afford.  I want to know how her financial expertise helps her when there is no money.

She then goes so far as to call Obama's assistance a "moral hazard" because "there is a morality in keeping our financial promises, and I don't think we should push that off onto the taxpayer.  The individual needs to repay and be responsible for repaying their student loan debt."  Umm... except the students will be paying their debt, and taxpayers will not be responsible for anything.  So where is the moral hazard?  I think it's the idiot talking out of her ass without checking the facts.

Dance, puppet, dance.  Or better yet, somebody get this clown off the stage already.

O Canada, Thou Art So Bland

Canadians aren't known for being wild to begin with (unless you count Alanis Morissette, but then again she left for a reason).  Still, two elementary schools have taken boring to another level, saying kids can only come to school wearing "caring" costumes at Halloween.

CALGARY — Children wanting to wear scary, violent or blood-drenched costumes will have to trade them in for more caring and community friendly outfits at two public elementary schools this Halloween.

The principal of Colonel Walker and Ramsay schools said her staff has chosen to use the day normally known for scares and frights as an opportunity to teach community values.

But some parents say it’s political correctness gone too far.
Teachers say they want to be considerate concerning other cultures that don't celebrate Halloween.  Bullshit, by dear.  By that reasoning  you wouldn't celebrate any holidays, because there is always a section of the public that chooses not to.  How about teaching the historical significance of the holiday, and the many cultures that do celebrate it (and why they do it differently)?  What is the wrong with a little safe roleplay and candy?


Concerned Mom Banned From McDonald's

Back in July we ran a piece about a mother who discovered dangerous conditions in McDonald's play areas.  From four different types of staph to gonorrhea, in fact.  She also used science to show the dangers weren't potential, but real.  There is a video embedded that is sound and logical, and explains the what and why behind her investigation.

McDonald's finally gets around to replying.  Their answer? Ban her, of course.  She is no longer allowed in any McDonald's establishments that have a play area.  All of them.

Dr. Erin Carr-Jordan, a mother of four, started recording and posting videos of trashy playgrounds, and quickly built an international following. Her lab tests, which revealed dangerous bacteria on the equipment, have been featured on network broadcasts and in major national newspapers.

This week, Carr-Jordan was notified by an East Valley franchisee's attorney that she is no longer allowed in any of his McDonald's restaurants that have playgrounds.

"Rather than have someone come into the playgrounds and do the right thing and make them clean and safe, they told me not to come in anymore," Carr-Jordan said.

I'm with her. This is serious. Consider how many kids play in those environments and how many of them are travelers passing through. If you did want to start an epidemic you are talking about prime breeding grounds right here to cover the nation's population in a matter of days. One dangerous playground would have the ability to infect the whole country, let alone the fact that there are dozens if not hundreds that are lacking. Then you have kids, who don't really understand the dangers lurking on those surfaces. Kids aren't known for their detailed hygiene going in to eat food. How many illnesses could have been or be avoided in the future by taking a few steps to clean?

A McDonald's spokesperson said "We remain committed to working with an internal team on ensuring that our PlayPlaces are clean and safe for all customers."

Don't tell us, lady. Show you care by doing something.  I said it in July, I'll say it again: a little suds and spraying can go a long way.

The Hillary Wedge

It's really kind of sad how desperately the media wants there to be a huge split between Hillary Clinton and President Obama for them to cover, so apparently they'll do anything to "make" it happen.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton would trounce Republican presidential candidates Rick Perry and Mitt Romney in hypothetical head-to-head matchups for the presidency, a new poll shows.

Clinton would beat former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney by 17 points, 55 percent-38 percent, according to Time magazine. And the former first lady would blow away Texas Gov. Rick Perry by 26 points, 58 percent-32 percent.

In contrast, that same poll shows that Obama leads Romney by only 3 percentage points and Perry by 12 points.

The Secretary of State has repeatedly said “no” when asked whether she would run for president, in 2012 or 2016. Asked on NBC’s “Today” two weeks ago whether she would consider running for president again, Clinton said unequivocally, “no.”

So of course the only people that the Village wants to see in the race more than Chris Christie is Hillary. And they'll continue to try to divide and depress the Democrats until the schism actually happens (Oh, and as a bonus, their corporate masters in the GOP win power.)

More and more our political media tries to create the story, not report it.  The companies that own them want their money's worth.  That's not how the country should work, but what do I know, I'm just a dirty effin' hippie blogger.

Michele M. Bachmann Will You Please Go Now?

The party's over for the Bachmanniac as the floundering Republicans eat their own ahead of January's primaries.

"It's time for Michelle [sic] Bachmann to go," reads the first line of a statement from American Majority President Ned Ryun. His group operates in seven states, trains thousands of tea party supporters and is "liked" by over 371,000 people on Facebook.

"Bachmann, the leader of the so-called tea party caucus in the House and the most vocal about her affiliation with the Tea Party than any other Presidential candidate, has consistently presented herself as a champion of the movement and its values," Ryun's statement continued.

"Bachmann has ridden her tea party credentials from obscurity to a national platform like no other."
Bachmann campaign manager Keith Nahigian responded in a statement.

"The strength of the Tea Party is all individual's opinions are valued but the no single leader speaks for it. Mr. Ryun, who supports Texas Gov. Rick Perry, is entitled to his own opinion. And that's exactly what he is expressing. Michele Bachmann enjoys strong support from Americans across party lines and that certainly includes the Tea Party. She will continue to be a strong advocate for the values and principles reflected by the Tea Party as works toward a victory in the first-in-the-nation Iowa caucuses as she seeks to win the Republican nomination."

Ryun denies he supports Perry, telling CNN: "I liked his plan that he came out with earlier in the week. And I said as much in a blog post. But I have not, and neither has American Majority endorsed anybody."

American Majority's rebuke of Bachmann marks the first time a well-known tea party group has turned on one of its own in the presidential race – a candidate who so frequently pushes tea party values it's become a key underpinning of her White House bid.

Republicans are quickly realizing that the media smokescreen about the "conventional wisdom that President Obama is doomed" is so much bullpucky, and that the President's numbers remain steady while the Republicans are falling on their faces.  President Obama continues to lead head to head match-ups with any Republican, time and time again.

Bachmann's own numbers have dropped off a cliff.  Republicans are clearing the decks of the crazies because they're realizing if one of them is allowed to win the primary, they lose to Obama.  The problem of course is all of them are crazy.


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