Thursday, September 6, 2012

Last Call

What?  You didn’t think you were going to get through the DNC without unsolicited advice for President Obama from The Centrist Concern Troll Twins in the Wall Street Journal, did you?  Oh, you silly dears.  Roll the tape, Claude!

What voters are looking for—and particularly what swing voters, independents, and disillusioned Obama voters are looking for—is a new direction for America based on fiscal discipline, a balanced budget, and economic growth and leadership
More than anyone else in this race, Paul Ryan has spoken of the need for fiscal discipline and economic growth—two themes that have been largely absent from the Obama-Biden campaign—which explains a large part of the Ryan-inspired Romney bump.

That bump is like 0.75 points, but who cares.  Dorka Schoen and Give ‘Em Caddell need not your facts.  Centrist Daleks will Tri-ang-u-laaaaate!  And hey, Paul Ryan is a Centrist too!  You should listen to his Very Serious Centrist Positions on tesseract marathon running and the joys of children conceived through coercion and force.

For his part, President Obama needs to change direction—immediately and decisively. His campaign strategy has been to divide the country on the basis of class, demonize the wealthy, call for higher taxes and unceasingly attack Mr. Romney. Yet poll after poll has shown that while voters embrace the idea of higher taxes on the rich, it does not translate into votes. 
In 2008, Mr. Obama promised to help unite America in a “post-partisan” Washington. But the 2012 campaign has been one of the most negative in memory. What he needs to do is acknowledge that he’s made mistakes and that he wants to pursue a substantive approach to governance. Put another way, he needs to bring back “hope and change” and abandon his divide-and-conquer strategy.

Should he do this before or after he announces he’s not running in November because it’s really tragically unfair of him to have broken such a historic streak of white men running the place, you know.  It’s the right thing to do.

It has been said before, but only because it’s so true: Mr. Obama should follow the lead of President Bill Clinton, who emphasized in both his terms in office the need for unity and consensus to achieve fiscal restraint. Inviting Mr. Clinton to speak at the convention Wednesday night is a sure sign that the Obama campaign understands the need to move to the center, if not in substance then in style. 
Yet nothing would appeal to independents and swing voters more than if the president were to embrace the findings of the 2010 Simpson-Bowles deficit-reduction commission and make it clear that he too has a plan to revitalize the U.S. economy, reduce the deficit, reform entitlements and spur economic growth through a fairer and leaner tax system.

So President Obama has the unique opportunity to be the adult in the room by handing control of the country over to the nice folks who aren’t all that sure about evolution because the open-minded scientist must question the theory, but they believe tax cuts magically create additional tax revenues because rich people will spring forth from the nothingness like Orks from Warhammer 40K (and reach a collective critical mass of entrepreneurs, a WAAAAGH! of small business owners who will run around franchising at everything, paint their businesses red because they’ll create jobs faster, and leave nothing but career opportunities in their wake of mass construction.  Sure).

Yeah, I’ll buy that.  President Obama should totally listen to these guys.  (Also, Centrist Daleks versus Small Business Orks.  Somebody make that happen.)

Hill Or High Water

So where the heck was Hillary Clinton last night, anyway?  Turns out she couldn't be at the Democratic National Convention for a reason:  technically, it's illegal for the Secretary Of State to be at a party convention.

Federal law -- the Hatch Act of 1939, amended by Congress in 1993 -- specifically prohibits secretaries of state from attending political conventions, and the State Department's own ethics guidelines also rule out political activity.

A senior administration official, speaking on background because the official is not authorized to speak on the record, told CNN, "The law carved out the State Department as having a unique position in the government in that foreign policy, by its nature, must remain nonpartisan/apolitical."

"So State Department officials -- specifically those who are presidential appointees confirmed by the Senate (i.e. the secretary) -- are far more restricted than, say, someone who works at the Education Department."

When Condoleezza Rice was President George W. Bush's Secretary of State, she did not attend the Republican National Convention. Now that she's a private citizen, however, she did take part in last week's RNC, delivering a speech on foreign policy.

So no, even with her husband there, the Secretary of State cannot by law be a partisan at a purely political function. Surely the party conventions qualify as such.  However, other cabinet members from other, smaller departments are given a "look the other way" pass as long as they are not technically using their cabinet title.  Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius spoke as the former Governor of Kansas, for instance.

But the big guns, Sec State, AG, Treasury, dice.  So no, it would have been highly unusual for Hillary Clinton to have been there speaking.  Not to mention the GOP House would have done crazy nonsense like "Flown back to Washington in order to impeach Hillary under the Hatch Act" or something.  So, there's that.

We'll see.

Called Out On The Carpet

And it seems that Federal Judge Peter Economus is not amused with Ohio GOP Secretary of State Jon Husted ignoring his court order to restore all early voting to Ohioans.

A federal judge ordered Secretary of State Jon Husted on Wednesday to personally appear next week at a hearing about his reluctance to restore early voting the weekend before the Nov. 6 election.

Judge Peter Economus, whose ruling Husted has resisted, scheduled the hearing on Sept. 13 in the U.S. District Court in Columbus.

Economus set the hearing after President Barack Obama's re-election team filed a motion Wednesday requesting the court to enforce its order to restore in-person early voting during the final three days before the presidential election. 

Now this should be good.  Grab some popcorn and let's see Jonny boy weasel his way out of a federal court order while standing in front of the Judge.  Wheeeeeee!

This One's For The Ladies

Before 50 Shades was steaming up commuter Kindles, before Jilly Cooper, even, Shirley Conran gave us the gift of Lace, the original bonkbuster par excellence.
A Mills & Boon-y whirlwind of Swiss boarding school chicanery, bed-hopping champagne heirs and sleazy Parisian photographers, Lace was surreptitious sex-ed at its most entertaining.
On the occasion of this major classic's 30th anniversary and republication, Conran tells Stylist's Amy Grier what women want from erotica.
Words: Shirley Conran / Amy Grier
"I wrote Lace in the days when most men thought the clitoris was a Greek hotel. It started life as a non-fiction book for young girls, explaining sex from their point of view but women respond best when there is a story involved, and that’s how Lace took shape.
Back then, female erotica or pornography was almost non-existent. It wasn’t something people spoke of – men were the ruling class and most of girls were completely bewildered by sex. One of my favourite passages of Laceis when one of the characters remarks on what she thought of a man’s penis the first time she saw it. “It was very ugly, she thought” was what I wrote. Well, it’s not the most aesthetically beautiful object in the world is it?
Judy Blume wrote young women's manuals, but there is still little to nothing for adult women seeking a spicy read.  What little you can find is safely shrouded in social and moral safety zones, so as not to distract from the "lessons" that often set women back generations.  50 Shades has opened a door that may never close again.  With the new publishing venues, it only takes one shot at going viral to achieve success.

Smart writers will take a shot at a glaring opportunity.

But also, I had to share it because of the best quote ever involving mention of a lady part.

We've Got Spirit! Yes We Do!

A high school cheerleading coach resigned from her job--and is now the subject of a police investigation--after a student told Georgia school administrators about a stripping game called “Judge and Jury” that was played during a recent team sleepover at the woman's home.
According to a Clayton County Sheriff’s Office report, a Lovejoy High School student let administrators know about the July 18 gathering where the unnamed coach “assumed the role as the Judge while the other students assumed the role as the Jury.”
During the game, cheerleaders would be asked a series of questions and “would have to answer the question beginning with ‘Honestly.’” If they did not answer correctly, they were given a choice: Either run around the school’s track or “remove an article of clothing.” 
The students kicked up a fuss (fair enough) and there is now concern over the possibility that the incident was caught on video.

I don't care who you are or what you do for a living, if anyone under eighteen, or really twenty-one just to be safe, starts to take off their clothes... run away.  I know our readers are too smart to get into trouble like this, and I'm sad that we have to have this conversation with the public at all, but it seems some folks need that spelled out for them.


Suffering Succotash!

Ann Romney wants YOU PEOPLE to know that a quarter of a billion dollars or not, she has SUFFERED for YOU PEOPLE, and YOU PEOPLE have no idea how hard it is to raise five kids when you have enough money to buy a county and stuff.  She came to Ohio today to let YOU PEOPLE know just exactly how hard it was for her.

“When people say that we’ve led a charmed life and we don’t relate to people that are having trouble, I want to remind you that I’ve been in a very dark place, and I know what it is like to have no hope,” Mrs. Romney said at a rally for women supporting her husband, the Republican presidential candidate, at the University of Findlay in Ohio. “So believe me when I tell you these words: We are there for you because we know what it feels like.”

They're just like you.  Only with nine figures in the bank account and seven houses.  Just.  Like.  YOU PEOPLE.

She described her struggle with the disease, which coincided with her family’s move to Utah so her husband could oversee preparations for the 2002 Winter Olympics there. She said she lost the use of her right side and had problems getting out of bed, but said that despite initial second thoughts the move turned out well.

“Sometimes when you take a risk like that and you just go and do what you know is the right thing to do, sometimes God looks over you,” she said.

And sometimes having enough money to get the best treatment possible for your disease so that you're fine, and then having your husband run on a platform to take treatment options away from tens of millions of Americans?

Well, if I believed in God (but karma is a real bitch) I might be, you know, worried if I was her.

Big Dog, Explainer-In-Chief

Bill Clinton came through massively in his big speech last night, leaving Dems a-flutter, Republicans furious, and swing voters tuning in to hear his message.  Here's the entire speech, a 50 minute barnburner:

Highlights for me, anyway:

One of the main reasons we ought to re-elect President Obama is that he is still committed to constructive cooperation. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. Look at his record. (Cheers, applause.) Look at his record. He appointed Republican secretaries of defense, the Army and transportation. He appointed a vice president who ran against him in 2008. (Laughter, applause.) And he trusted that vice president to oversee the successful end of the war in Iraq and the implementation of the recovery act. (Cheers, applause.) 

And Joe Biden — Joe Biden did a great job with both. (Sustained cheers, applause.) 

He — (sustained cheers, applause) — President Obama — President Obama appointed several members of his Cabinet even though they supported Hillary in the primary. (Applause.) Heck, he even appointed Hillary. (Cheers, applause.) 

Wait a minute. I am — (sustained cheers, applause) — I am very proud of her. I am proud of the job she and the national security team have done for America. (Cheers, applause.) I am grateful that they have worked together to make us safer and stronger, to build a world with more partners and fewer enemies. I’m grateful for the relationship of respect and partnership she and the president have enjoyed and the signal that sends to the rest of the world, that democracy does not have a blood — have to be a blood sport, it can be an honorable enterprise that advances the public interest. (Cheers, applause.) 

Can you imagine a Republican talking about cooperation and compromise with Democrats in 2012?  Not without them getting booed out of the hall and the rest of us laughing at their obvious insincerity.

Former President Clinton made a hell of a case for the Obama presidency, and he did it in such an effective way, the crowd was yelling "four more years" at Bill Clinton, talking about Barack ObamaHe basically annihilated, point for point, the Republican lies about the auto bailout, those awful "Obama weakened welfare" lying ads from Romney (It was Clinton's law being weakened supposedly, and he called bullcrap on Romney on national TV) and the stimulus, and sold healthcare reform better than anyone I've seen. 

And yes, that includes President Obama.  As somebody said last night on Twitter, Obama's policies plus Clinton's communication equals the new FDR moment in America, and that's the kind of stuff I enjoy staying up to 11:30 PM or so to see.  Clinton killed it, period. Nowhere in that speech was there any evidence that Clinton supposedly "hated" Obama.  And that drove the Village and the Right absolutely crazy last night.

Where was Dubya last week, Republicans?  Oh yeah, that's right. You hid him.  You guys WISH you had Big Dog.

Instead, you have a herd of yippy dogs, barking and barking and that's all they do.


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