Wednesday, February 29, 2012

The Worst Republican Nominee Ever

Now that Mitt Romney is back to being the most likely (and equally reviled) Republican nominee there are a lot of conservatives saying he will be The Worst Ever. Almost.

1) Alf Landon - 1936
It was the middle of the Great Depression and things were really shitty, unemployment was 17% but things had gotten better the last couple of years. Landon campaigned on a platform that Democrats had spent too much money, made the Depression worst, and was moving the country towards dictatorship. If that sounds familiar it's exactly Romney's campaign stance. A poll of rich Americans showed Landon winning in a landslide. Unfortunately for Republicans, poor people got to vote too.

2) Bob Dole - 1996
Got the nomination because he was Next In Line even though he was an unlikeable person. Had to fight for it against a radical Catholic extremist (Pat Buchanan) so by the time he got nominated he was considered too liberal for Republicans and too conservative for everybody else. The 2012 contest is looking like a clone of this election except Dole was so old he looked like a reanimated corpse while Romney looks like a poorly maintained robot.

2.5) Mitt Romney - 2012
Probable location. 

3) Wendell Wilkie - 1940
Republicans hated the FLOTUS too
Wendell was the sad choice of a brokered convention. A Wall Street millionaire who had never held political office, Wilkie was a flip-flopper before the term was invented. He was a staunch internationalist while at the same time appealed to strident isolationists. He would keep the popular New Deal programs while at the same time accused those same programs of being inefficient and corrupt. With war waging in Europe and Asia the American people decided they'd rather have a third term from a known success than a weather vane who changed his position with the wind.

4) Barry Goldwater - 1964
The biggest landslide loser in Presidential history. He is not ranked higher because he started a movement that culminated in the election of Ronald Reagan 16 years later.
 Goldwater was so radical there is really no one in modern politics to compare him to. He wanted to privatize Social Security, nuke Moscow (just because it's there) and Vietnam, and opposed the 1964 Civil Rights Act. He embraced the insanity, actually saying out loud, "Extremism in the defense of liberty is no vice."

I'm sorry, I was wrong. By today's standards Barry Goldwater would be a mainstream Republican.

5) Thomas Dewey - 1948
Dewey was supposed to be a sure winner. Incumbent Harry Truman was immensely unpopular while a third party campaign by Strom Thurmond (running for the segregationist States Rights Party) would steal votes from Truman without touching Republican states while another Democrat in the race (Henry Wallace) would take liberal votes. Everyone told Dewey all he had to do was say nothing but pablum and empty platitudes, which he did.

Dewey ran the most content free campaign in history. His statement that "our rivers are full of fish" is reminiscent of Mitt Romney "the trees are the right height" platform. Truman won easily.

Shooting Cats Out of Trees

The President of the California Fish and Game Commission, Dan Richards, is in hot water for hunting and killing a mountain lion in Idaho. The hunt, legal in Idaho, is illegal in California.

Cougar hunting is the laziest, most pathetic excuse for big game hunting every created by the perverted minds of so-called "sportsmen."

A guide uses a pack of dogs to chase and harass the cat until it takes refuge in a tree. The guide leads the "hunter" to the tree where the cougar is. It looks much like this.
The "hunter" then takes pot shots at it until he kills the cat. Shooting fish in a barrel is harder, the fish move.

The dogs do all the work. The guide gets paid a shitload, figure at least $5,000. The "hunter" goes to cocktail parties where he lies about how dangerous and adventurous it was and how brave he is.

If you want to feel sick, take a look at the photo on the LA Times article at the link above and the psychopathic grin on the face of Richards as he poses with his execrable "trophy."
Real skill is tracking a cougar without using dogs and getting close enough to snap a picture. Do that and I'll be impressed.

Monday, February 27, 2012

My Five Favorite TV Heroines

Lucy Lawless got arrested while a part of a Greenpeace protest of an oil drilling ship docked in New Zealand. It's the rare fantasy who can be heroic it real life as well. Good on you Lucy! This is my personal list and only includes shows I have watched.

Xena - Lucy Lawless (1995-2001)
All you have to do is look at her to see she's unnatural, an affront to God. A woman with the strength of ten men? ~ Altered States
A feared warrior, once the Destroyer of Nations, she roams the ancient world seeking redemption for all the people she has killed. As a fighter she is nearly the equal of gods, like Ares, and demigods, like Hercules. The first four seasons are the best.

Emma Peel - Diana Rigg (1965-1967)
Emma: It's late, I'm tired, and I want to go to bed. 
Strange Man: In that case, how would you like me to tuck you up?
Emma: In that case, how would you like me to break your arm. ~ The Joker
The British series the Avengers. In only two years Diana Rigg created one of the greatest characters in television history. Emma Peel was a master martial artist and fencer, a scientific genius, and the brilliant head of industry. She was the "talented amateur" to professional spy John Steed. Stay away from the 1998 movie which is utter garbage.

Ziva David - Cote de Pablo (2005-present)
Admiral Chase: Does Agent David carry a weapon?
Gibbs: She is a weapon. ~ NCIS, Broken Arrow
A Mossad assassin assigned as liaison to the Naval Criminal Investigative Service. She resigns from Mossad after she was captured on a Mossad op and abandoned to Arab terrorists only to be rescued by NCIS. An expert with a sniper rifle, pistol, knife, and hand-to-hand combat. Now a US citizen and NCIS agent.

Buffy Summers - Sarah Michelle Geller (1997-2003)
Riley: Buffy, when I saw you stop the world from, you know, ending, I just assumed that was a big week for you. Turns out I suddenly find myself needing to know the plural of "apocalypse". 
Buffy: [Light-heartedly] Look, if you were fighting since you were fifteen, you'd have a hefty resume too! ~ Buffy, the Vampire Slayer, A New Man
You know the drill. The Chosen One. She alone fights the vampires, demons, and forces of darkness. Buffy is the only one on this list who cheats, she has supernatural powers. The first four seasons were great. The fifth season was just good. It declined after than but it was always able to rediscover its greatness in individual episodes.

Honey West - Anne Francis (1965-1966)
This is just a personal indulgence from my youth. The first female action hero on American television (Honor Blackman as Cathy Gale on the British series the Avengers predates her), it ran for just one season. She owned a detective agency and had a pet ocelot.

Honorable Mentions
Purdey - Joanna Lumley, the New Avengers
Fiona Glenanne - Gabrielle Anwar, Burn Notice
Kate Beckett - Stana Katic, Castle

No, I never watched Wonder Woman.

Sunday, February 26, 2012

Random Observations

Romney's Wealth
It's not that Mittens is rich (JFK and FDR were stinking rich too), it's that he can't seem to open his mouth without sounding arrogant and condescending about it. He never says, "Every car I ever owned has been American made," that sounds patriotic. RomneySpeak is "Ann drives a couple of Cadillacs," sounds like bragging.

Rand Paul for Veep
I, and lots of other people, are convinced that Romney and Ron Paul have negotiated an agreement. Ron will support Mitt by attacking only Mitt's opponents and Romney will elevate Ron's son to a major level on the national stage, the Vice Presidential nomination.

Caricature Studies
It's amazing how all the Republican presidential candidates are campaigning as cartoon caricatures of themselves. Romney is the robot clone of Thurston Howell III and Richie Rich. Santorum is the sex obsessed Puritan who demands a theocracy. Gingrich is the randy man-whore who can't control his emotions. Ron Paul is the crazy old coot who says things like "We are all Austrians now" like anyone can understand what that means. This is not some liberal distortion of them, they are voluntarily doing this to themselves.

Saturday, February 25, 2012

Greece's Banker Dictatorship

If German bankers have their way, democracy is dead in Greece. Germany's Finance Minister has called for Greek elections, already postponed to April, to be delayed still longer. This week a Greek minister endorsed the proposal to cancel elections.

The logic is simple. International bankers, notably Goldman Sachs, manipulated Greek debt for their own profit at the expense of the Greek people. Now that the Greek debt is unsustainable, international bankers led by the Germans are squeezing the Greek population with a staggering array of mandates. These include slashing the minimum wage and the outlandish requirement that some Greek citizens will actually have to pay for the privilege of holding a job. This has led to street protests...
...and police state crackdowns.
Greek elections, if fair and open, would certainly kick out the assorted bankers who have been ruling Greece these last few months and replace them people who will put Greek citizens ahead of Deutsche Bank's bottom line. That is unacceptable to the International Monetary Fund and the European Central Bank.

 It's all part of the austerity plan. Serfdom and crippling poverty for the Greek people and profits for the bankers.

Friday, February 24, 2012

Romney and Empty Ford Field

One of the first rules in political campaigning I learned is to never speak in a bigger room than your audience. If you expect 20 people, schedule a room that holds 18. If your expecting a crowd of 1200, hold it in a hall that seats 1000. You always want to leave the fire marshal complaining.

I knew from the get go that Romney's speech at Ford Field was destined for disaster, he'd have to bus in half the population of Provo, Utah to make it look decent. As it was, he "sold out" the event at 1,200 fatcats (Using an extremely liberal definition of the phrase "sold out" as apparently even the folding chairs weren't filled.). It doesn't matter what Romney said today when everybody will be laughing at the pathetic images.

Thursday, February 23, 2012

Women As Chattel

Just a brief note found at DailyKos (Now I'm a Farm Animal??).
The Illinois House Agricultural Committee passed a bill to regulate female (human) reproduction. It's like something out of The Handmaid's Tale, human female fertility is a commodity to be overseen and regulated by the same men responsible for pork bellies and cattle breeding.

Wednesday, February 22, 2012

Romney Theocracy

Since Mittens has decided to get holier than thou let's look at one of the scarier aspects of the Mormon faith.

... the church must not triumph over the state, but actually swallow it up. ~ Mormon Paper (possibly Joseph Smith), 1844
Coined by Joseph Smith himself, we are already familiar with the concept through the phrase "Islamic Republic of Iran." Smith envisioned a government with some aspects of democracy but ultimate control would be with God as dictated by the Mormon priesthood (the Council of Fifty). Modern Mormons take pains to assure they do not plan to forcibly convert Americans to their faith and that we would retain our free will within the constraints of God's Laws (as defined by them). Membership in the Council of Fifty was deemed secret. Current Mormon leadership today deny it exists.

The White Horse Prophecy
It’s a very common belief [among Mormons] that the Constitution will hang by a thread and the Church will save it. ~ Salt Lake Tribune, 1999
Another thing the Mormon leadership denies existing but they seem intimately familiar with it. The prophecy, allegedly from Joseph Smith himself, says that during a time of turmoil in the country the Mormon church will rise up and seize control of the US government to "set up a kingdom never to he thrown down."

I don't know if Romney believes the claptrap that he is the anointed one but it does put a different spin on Romney's speeches if you view them through the lens of the White Horse Prophecy.

Tuesday, February 21, 2012

'The Trees Are the Right Height'

I don't hang on Mitten's every word so this performance eluded me for a few days. It's only 43 seconds and it is just weird.
It's like some unholy hybrid between the dad from Father Knows Best and Robby the Robot at a Comedy Club open mike night.

First, just watch how he moves, stiffly back and forth, like a Cylon Toaster with a software glitch. Then, and only then, listen to the words. I'll give Romney the benefit of the doubt and assume his "trees" line was intended to be a joke but he rolled right over the line like a monster truck crushing a vintage Mustang.

There are carefully scripted stutters and "ums" inserted to make it sound like he was talking off the cuff (the term is "disfluencies") except there is something unnatural about it - no brief pause, tics, or subtle eye movement suggesting he is searching for the right word. These are just verbal sound effects deliberated imbedded in the speech to make it seem less scripted.

And then there are those five little words at the end, "I want to do well." Where the fuck did they come from and what the fuck do they mean?

Only now can we get to the tone. There is something childish in the speech, like he was trying to invoke The Three Bears. (California redwoods are too tall, Mississippi magnolias too short, but white pines are just the right height.) The speech was childish like Romney's fourth grader recitation of America the Beautiful. This is as if Mitt believes his crowds have poor listening comprehension and must be talked down to like they were little children.

There was mechanical enthusiasm but no passion. Even with the pre-planned disfluencies, you get no sense he is feeling the words. You can see the gears grinding - paste on fake smile, make eye contact with passing glances, use hands, say words as written. No wonder people say Romney is a robot or a Martian or a Martian robot.
You can see the gears grinding.

Sunday, February 19, 2012

Santorum's Theocracy

I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. ~ Mark Twain
At least Rick Santorum is not a stealth candidate, he is not shy about the theocracy he wants to impose upon the United States.
The biggest threat to America today is not Communism. Its moving America towards a fascist theocracy. ~ Frank Zappa

Saturday, February 18, 2012

Presidents As Puppets

Who's running for President?
The first names may be on the ballot but its the second person whose running the show. Thanks to the Citizens United case, presidential candidate are no longer running for election, they are marionettes being run by their wealthy owners.

Disclosure rules for super pacs makes actual knowledge impossible (Your Supreme Court at work). Adelson's $25 million investment in Gingrich is probably over 70% of all the money being spent in support of Newt. Friess is not telling how many millions he had invested in buying Santorum but it is certainly more than half, probably two-thirds, of his super pac funding. As for Romney, rather than having a sole proprietor like Newt and Rick, he has put together a board of directors of fatcats of which VanderSloot is the most despicable.

Presidential candidates have always been beholden to their donors but never before, not even during the corrupt Gilded Age, have they been so clearly owned. If either Gingrich or Santorum are elected they each would be slaves to a single master. While Romney's servitude would be more diffused he too would not be representing the nation as a whole but only the dozen men who so dearly purchased his loyalty.

The new oath of office should a Republican be elected in 2012 will read something like this:
He is owner and I am owned
He commands, I obey
He is Master and I am slave
He is to be pleased and I am to please
Why is this?
Because He is Master and I am slave.

Friday, February 17, 2012

Handicapping the Republican Field

The Republican primary has looked like a steeplechase for three legged horses - lots of tripping, falling, and hilarious attempts to get over every hurdle.

Mitt Romney (1 to 1)
Mittens is trying to prove he can buy an election where most people voting despise him. His financial and organizational advantages are huge (he's 1 to 3 on Intrade) but not decisive. Romney will win the West (Mormons) and Northeast but get his clock cleaned in the Mid-West, South, and Bible Belt.

Rick Santorum (5 to 1)
Frothy's strength is he is Flavor of the Month (I'm sorry, that's disgusting) while there is actual voting. His weakness is he's not even on the ballot in Virginia and Indiana and doesn't have a full slate of delegates available in several other states.

Brokered (6 to 1)
Jeb Bush, Chris Christie, Sarah Palin, Mitch Daniels. There is a far dinkum chance that the end of primary season will see Romney with a majority but not plurality and unable to negotiate a surrender by one of the others. A Republican brokered convention will be an open auction with millions being spent to buy delegates.

Ron Paul (10 to 1)
Don't underestimate the mole rat. Most of what he does is underground, procuring delegates by stealth. If the convention goes to multiple ballots he might unleash a flood of hidden Paulbots and steal the nomination.

Newt Gingrich (30 to 1)
The zombie salamander has regional strength in the Old South and nowhere else. Romney's biggest nightmare is if Gingrich and Santorum form an alliance and tag team Romney to death. In this scenario Newt should end up as the Veep candidate but their roles might reverse.

Thursday, February 16, 2012

Santorum and Libertines

One of the things I will talk about that no president has talked about before is I think the dangers of contraception in this country, the whole sexual libertine idea. ~ Rick Santorum, 2012
To Rick Santorum the world has been going to hell since the 17th century. Santorum is convinced that how and with whom Americans have coitus "are important public policy issues."

He thinks that something vitally American was lost when this country stopped stitching a great big red A on the chests of wanton strumpets. What about contraception? Aren't children suppose to be a punishment visited upon sinful women? Don't get me started on those evil doctors who treat venereal diseases instead of letting them fester as marks of Cain on fornicators.

Wednesday, February 15, 2012

Romney and Intrade

I like using Intrade's gambling site for politics mostly because because it works in odds, like the Daily Racing Form. It's weird that Romney surrogates are now touting Intrade as more reliable than scientific polling because its not.
It's Easy to Manipulate
We're not talking about a Las Vegas book here. Intrade is a small operation with low volumes of cash flowing. If you are willing to throw $20,000 a day at an Intrade bet you can pump up the odds. In horse racing the term is "pool manipulation." If Romney's camp are touting Intrade you can bet they are doing this, it's cheaper than a Detroit media buy.

Betting Is Not Favoring
Intrade has a betting line whether the US or Israel will start a war with Iran. The current odds are better than 2 to 1. While some may be betting on it because they want another war (John Bolton) most, probably, don't. Just because you love UCLA doesn't mean you won't bet on Kentucky to beat them. People can bet that Romney will win the nomination because of his bottomless pit of money and sleazy campaign tactics without wanting it to happen.

Intrade Show Romney Declining
Mitt's current odds are 1 to 3 to get the nomination.  Just one month ago he was a 1 to 10 favorite. Santorum is currently 5 to 1, up from 99 to 1 last month.

Intrade, right now, is probably close to correct. Mitt's chance of becoming President was 1.3 to 1 in January and is just 2.3 to 1 today (Santorum is 17 to 1). Barack Obama's chances of reelection are up from a 9 to 10 favorite last month to a prohibitive 2 to 3 betting choice today.

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Mormon Soul Stealing

One of the strangest rites of Mormonism is their practice of proxy baptism. The practice is simple, a Mormon decides he wants to convert someone who is already dead. The Mormon gets baptized in the dead guy's name and, presto, a new Mormon corpse.

The list of dead converts is huge including Adolph Hitler, Lee Harvey Oswald, and the 9-11 hijackers - because what would heaven be without those folk? Mormons are also big on stealing the souls of Jewish Holocaust victims. The practice continues even though Jews have objected, rightly considering it an abomination. It has been recently reported that the souls of the parents of Simon Weisenthal have been despoiled by baptism.

Mormons claim their baptisms are voluntary, that the dead have a right of refusal. However, apparently, Mormons believe "exalted" Mormons become demigods ruling their own planets after death and that the path of godhood lies in how many souls they convert to Mormonism.

Mitt Romney has preformed proxy baptisms, including taking the soul of his wife's dead atheist father who had specifically rejected the LDS church while alive. This seems to imply that postmortem baptisms are not voluntary but rather Mormons believe they can force the dead into a faith they rejected while alive.

Sunday, February 12, 2012

Lieberman Allies With al Qaeda

The enemy of my enemy is my friend. ~ Chinese proverb

Sen. Joe Lieberman had urged the United States to fund the Syrian opposition. Al-Qaeda has also endorsed and is participating in the Syrian revolt.

Reasons: Al-Qaeda has always been a Sunni Muslim faction; the Assad regime comes from a Shi'ite tribe. Sen. Lieberman has always considered himself Israel's representative to Congress; overthrowing Assad would weaken the anti-Israel Hezbollah (a Shi'ite faction).

Israel is already backing an al-Qaeda terrorist faction in Iran because it serves their purpose. Whether the CIA is also funding them or Mossad agents were just pretending to be US spies is still unclear. Israel's Likud government has its own goals and they are not often in the best interests of the United States.

Assad is engaging in genocide against his own people, just as Gaddafi was doing in Libya. There are many good, legitimate reasons to act to end the wanton bloodshed. But giving money and weapons to al-Qaeda because it will help Israel with her Lebanon problem is not one of them.

Saturday, February 11, 2012

'Severely' Romney

It was a single word, an adlibbed modifier, but it has managed to piss off the conservatives he was trying to impress.
I was a severely conservative Republican governor.
Severely (adverb) - Harsh, unnecessarily extreme. Serious or stern in manner. Grave. Rigidly restrained. Causing discomfort or distress.

It's an odd word because it is almost never used to describe something good. Normal people don't say, "She is severely beautiful" or "severely nice." No, severely usually modifies negative words like "injured" or "cruel" or "constipated."

I know what he was trying to do. He was trying to punch up the word "conservative" which he had repeated so often (ever 60 seconds) in the script it was becoming a dull and meaningless mantra. Yet it sounded off, dissonant, atonal. I'm sure his speech writer shit himself as he screamed "say 'strictly' you nincompoop!"
Romney at CPAC

Anyhow, conservatives are locking on the word "severely" as proof Romney is insincere, that he shares liberal beliefs that conservatism is a bad thing. I was reading comments at DailyKos yesterday and someone opined that he was beginning to feel sorry for Mitt Romney. I am too. He really is beginning to look pathetic.

Friday, February 10, 2012

Brokered Conventions in History

Republicans are talking about the chances of a brokered convention, where their nominee is chosen in smoked filled back rooms. The betting site Intrade currently has the odds at 5 to 1.

For the over 30 years the Republican convention has been a coronation. With the nominations wrapped up early the conventions could be choreographed affairs with all the drama of a wet dishrag drying in the sun. In 1976 there was something of a competition between Jerry Ford and Ronald Reagan but there was no real brokering. Incumbent Ford was the establishment candidate and was always assured the bulk of the uncommitted, professional politician delegates.

1952 - Eisenhower and Taft
Dwight Eisenhower and Robert Taft were neck and neck coming into the convention. Neither had a majority thanks to feisty California Governor Earl Warren. Ike then proceeded to prove that he was more ruthless as a politician than he had been a general. Ike manipulated convention rules to take the Texas delegation away from Taft (who had initially manipulated the state delegate selection) and with it the nomination.

1920 - Warren Harding
This year had a surfeit of candidates. Leading was Gen. Leonard Wood, hand picked by the Roosevelt clan after Teddy died, he was a Medal of Honor winner and a political neophyte. Frank Lowden led the Prohibition wing of the party and had the vibrant personality of dried toast. Hiram Johnson was the radical founder of the Progressive Party, he didn't belong in the Republican Party but he was popular. Way down in sixth place was the insignificant Harding. Ballot after ballot saw no movement. There was no compromising between the two leaders -- Lowden hated Wood as an evil sinner while Wood saw Lowden as a priggish weasel.

Party leaders started meeting to find some third choice, some pleasant fellow that nobody hated. They settled on Harding. Everybody liked him. Lowden's backers liked him because, while he was a randy drunk, he supported Prohibition for everyone else. After ten ballots they finally picked the dumbest man to every hold the office, before George Bush.

1880 - Garfield (not the cat)
This is the closest to the situation today. There was the hated Establishment Candidate (U.S. Grant), the career politician with the shady background (James Blaine), and the uncharismatic sap who only got support because he wasn't the other guys (John Sherman).

Grant is not a perfect match from Romney. Grant (Stalwart faction) was not rich, he need a third term as president to steal some funds for his retirement. Blaine (Half Breed faction) is a good copy of Gingrich. Both were Speakers of the House, excellent public speakers, and both were tainted by corruption. While Sherman did author the Sherman Anti-Trust Act he otherwise, like Santorum, accomplished mostly nothing during his career.

The convention got stuck, Grant's people would never vote for Blaine (and vice versa) while Sherman's supporter couldn't stomach voting for either of those two jerks. Ballot after ballot was cast with no decision. Finally, the Half Breeds decided to offer up a Sherman supporter as a compromise candidate. After 35 ballots over two days the convention finally chose James Garfield and to heal the party they picked Grant supporter Chester Arthur as Vice President.

A note to Chris Christy here is offered. Garfield was assassinated after four months in office by a member of the Stalwart faction.

1924 - Democratic Convention
The Democrats had the longest convention on record. It took 103 ballots over ten days. The chief competitors was William McAdoo, supported by the Ku Klux Klan, and New York Catholic Al Smith. Slowly over the course of the days, McAdoo's supporters migrated to a more moderate Southern lawyer, John Davis.

Thursday, February 09, 2012

Romney's Subliminal Marketing

In a subtle marketing ploy, Mittens has begun comparing himself to Jesus Christ. He has begun describing himself as the son of an uneducated carpenter. Not only that but a magical carpenter who could spit nails into wood.
Mitt and George Romney, the early years.
When Mittens was born, George Romney was an auto industry lobbyist, he hadn't swung a hammer for pay in two decades. Early in Mitten's childhood, his dad became head of a now defunct automaker, American Motors.
The Rambler was his claim to fame.
George was a Rockefeller Republican who nearly tripled state government spending during his six years as governor of Michigan. He was a gaffe prone politician (like father, like son) who most famously said that he had been "brainwashed" over the Vietnam War (To which Gene McCarthy quipped, "a light rinse would have been sufficient.").

This is not to denigrate George Romney. George was ten times the man his son will ever be. But the semi-deific image Mittens is trying to paint is a bald-faced lie, an insult to his father, and an insult to the intelligence of the American people.

Wednesday, February 08, 2012

The Santorum Hat-trick

What conclusions can we draw from Rick's frothy sweep of three meaningless caucuses?
  • Romney loses on an even playing field. Yesterday's votes were the first where Mittens didn't grossly outspent everyone else. The result: two seconds and a third(!). To have even a chance at winning, Romney has to drown the media with attack ads. Even Mitten's isn't that rich.
  • Mitten's got half as many votes in Colorado as he did four years ago and one-third the votes he got in Minnesota and Missouri in 2008.
  • Turnouts were dreadful again. Missouri down 50%, Minnesota down 20%, and Colorado down 10%. So much for the myth that Republicans are fired up about ousting Obama.
Best news? There is not another vote until the end of the month. Peace be upon us all.

Tuesday, February 07, 2012

Modern Ghost Towns

In the old west a town bypassed by the railroads or that saw its silver veins peter out would just dry up. In the 21st century the causes are different but the effect is the same.

Cairo, Illinois
A hundred and fifty years ago Cairo was a mildly prosperous town of 13,000. Today less than 3,000 people live there. While the fortunes of this town on the confluence of the Mississippi and Ohio Rivers suffered as railroads and automobiles lessen the flow of traffic on the rivers, the real death of the town is a matter of race. The controlling white population was dominated by the KKK. Lynchings were common. In the 1960's the town was racked by race riots and the flight, of both whites and blacks, began.

Economic Collapse
Humberstone, Chile
There is still room in this old world for the old fashioned way of ghost towning. Humberstone was built in the 19th century for mining saltpeter. But there are cheaper, more popular ways to manufacture fertilizer than digging for nitrates so the mines shut down and there was no other reason to live in that God forsaken desert. By 1970 the town was empty. I could have gone with Detroit or any of a number of Rust Belt towns.

Picher, Oklahoma
Another mining town, this one extracted lead and zinc and as you can see by the picture the mine owners didn't much care where they dumped the waste. Children loved to sled down the chat piles like they were snow drifts. Only problem was piles contained a fine dust of poisonous lead that was contaminating the groundwater as well as poisoning the children. The EPA shut down the whole town. In ten years the population dropped from 1,500 to 20. Also Centralia (coal mine fire) and Love Canal (chemical plant waste).

Kangbashi New Area, Ordos, China
In 2003, the Chinese government built a major city in Inner Mongolia, ready to house a million people. It has a massive art gallery, the world's largest shopping mall, and a state of the art sports facility. The only problem is a decided lack of actual people. The whole project has cost over $160 billion and yet only about 20,000 residents.

Pripyat, Ukraine
Twenty-six years ago the Chernobyl nuclear power plant had a catastrophic meltdown. The entire city of Pripyat, population 50,000, had to be evacuated. It is still to dangerous to live there but the Pripyat ghost town has a thriving tourism trade.

NOTE: The Fukushima disaster has been ranked by experts as the equal of Chernobyl but the Japanese government is intending on sending its citizens back into the exclusion zone to live this years. The nuclear industry is important to the Japanese economy and who can complain about a little patriotic thyroid cancer?

Monday, February 06, 2012

Mitt Money

No further comment needed.

Mitt In Nevada

Mittens continues to win unimpressively.
  • He won the Nevada caucus with 50% of the vote, a slightly lower percentage than Mitt won the 2008 Nevada caucus.
  • He won fewer counties than 2008.
  • His total vote was a whopping 27% lower than in 2008.
Typical Romney supporter in victory.

Friday, February 03, 2012

Romney and Trump (& other tidbits)

Mitt and Donald
The effect of The Donald's endorsement was most elegantly expressed by Andrew Malcolm, quoted in full below.
Now that "Your Fired!' has married "I like firing people" I wonder what their children will look like.
Way to Reenforce the Meme
Romney drove home the "don't care about the poor" storyline by tying himself to the most arrogant ultra-rich jerk in the country. Romney proved that while he doesn't care about "the poor" he does care about The Donald.

Scott Brown and Mitt
Mitten's home state Republican senator is so impressed by the Romney machine that he has all but endorsed Barack Obama's reelection.

Romney Didn't Win Florida
He just didn't lose. His incessant, insensate negative campaigning so depressed the turnout that 300,000 fewer people voted than did in the 2008 Republican primary. He won by driving people away from the polls.

Thursday, February 02, 2012

The Wisdom of Mitt Romney

Oft times the words a man speaks are a window into his soul.
  • I'm running for office for Pete's sake, we can't have illegals.
  • Corporations are people, my friend.
  • I like being able to fire people.
  • I'm not concerned about the very poor.
  • I've always been a rodent and rabbit hunter.
  • I'm a normal person. I have emotions. (How many people do you know who feel its necessary to say that?)
  •  I get speakers fees from time to time but not very much. ($347,000 in speakers fees.)
  • Maybe I should tell my story. I'm also unemployed. (Except he's was paid $347,000 to talk. Sounds like a job to me.)
  • If you look at the literature or look at the dictionary, the term 'saw' includes being aware of in the sense I've described. I'm an English literature major as well. When we say I saw the Patriots win the World Series, it doesn't necessarily mean you were there -- excuse me, the Super Bowl. I saw my dad become president of American Motors. Did that mean you were there for the ceremony? No, its a figure of speech. (Romney explanation when he got caught lying about his father marching with Martin Luther King.)
  • Keep America American. (A Ku Klux Klan slogan.)