Greg Prince's Blog

Musings and pontifications from a reality based progressive

Archive for May, 2010

Rachel Maddow on Rand Paul

Posted by Greg on May 21, 2010

Rachel really nails it here – too few people really appreciate or have thought through what capital “L” Libertarianism really implies, and I don’t think that’s where rational people in 2010 want to go.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

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Poetic justice

Posted by Greg on May 20, 2010

In a perfect world there would be no rape.  Perhaps the next best thing would be for more sexual assaults to end like this one.

One might wish her aim were better, perhaps the target was just too small?

Posted in Justice and the Courts | Leave a Comment »

POLITICO: Rand Paul’s America – Ben Smith – Rand Paul’s America

Posted by Greg on May 20, 2010

POLITICO: Rand Paul’s America – Ben Smith – Rand Paul’s America.

This is going to be an interesting race to watch.  Protestations notwithstanding, Paul and his ilk are NOT mainstream, even within the GOP, and as his principles and policies come to light, how much support will he really have?  Even in Kentucky?

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Things are looking up

Posted by Greg on May 19, 2010

It’s the day after several primaries, plus a bonus election, and for the first time in a while thoughtful Democrats should have a spring in their step looking to November.

The media narratives will remain focused on the Republican’t noise machine according to which anything and everything is representative of “liberal” failure and is bad for Democrats and Obama, but the facts speak for themselves.  Democrats had a good night, a very good night.  And it’s a particularly rewarding night for the netroots who saw preferred candidate perform well against establishment candidates.

In fact, we see something at Politico that is seldom seen these days:  “Republicans failed spectacularly.”  We’ll come back to that.

First off, Arkansas is the gift that keeps giving.  Blanche Lincoln needed to come in over 50% to avoid a run off.  She didn’t make it.  Lincoln is among the more brazen of the DINO conservadems and is owned by special interests.  She’s not particularly popular in Arkansas and reelection would be a challenge even without a primary.  In other words, she’s a prime target and Bill Halter forced her to speak to Democrats for a change.  Addy Stan observes:

When, during an appearance on “The Rachel Maddow Show” in the midst of the health-care debate, FireDogLake’s Jane Hamsher threatened Sen. Blanche Lincoln with a primary challenge, people though Hamsher was either full of bluster, nuts, or both. Tonight, nobody’s laughing.

How you feeling about that public option now Blanche?

Just having a primary challenger still made a meaningful difference.  Trying to bolster her progressive credentials she went gung ho in the Senate on derivatives reform under the current financial legislation.  Thing is, Lincoln never was serious about derivatives reform, it was all for show and amendments to weaken the proposals were to have been introduced as soon as polls closed in Arkansas.  Inconveniently, Lincoln’s problems didn’t end when the polls closed and the tougher language will have to be retained, for now.  TPM reports:

A far-reaching proposal to regulate derivative trading will not be scaled back in Wall Street reform legislation, at least for now, multiple Senate aides confirm. The development comes as welcome news to an unusual mix of progressives, financial officials, and at least one conservative Democrat: Sen. Blanche Lincoln (D-AR).

Lincoln is the author of the derivatives title in the Senate’s financial regulation bill, and for weeks has faced opposition from Wall Street, the White House, and members of her own party over a provision to force financial firms to spin off their derivatives trading desks into stand-alone entities.

It will be interesting to see what happens in two weeks, but typically supporters of the incumbent are less motivated to come out yet again for a special election.  Stay tuned.

Pennsylvania gave us a twofer.   Sestak’s victory over GOP defector Arlen Specter is something of a surprise given Specter’s support from the Democratic machine, but he simply ran a better campaign, and benefits from being a real Democratic instead of an opportunistic moderate who was caught on camera being very honest about changing parties primarily to avoid a spanking in the GOP primary.

The real news of course is PA-12.  The GOP was hell bent on winning this seat and it seemed very doable for them.  This district is not Obama friendly, and stimulus and healthcare reform don’t poll well.  In short, the race looked to be a very good opportunity for the GOP to nationalize the race, create a referendum on Obama’s s term, and establish momentum going in to the midterms.  Except for one pesky detail; (Yglesias)

Mark Critz’s win in the PA-12 House election is just straight-up embarrassing for Republicans. The Democratic strategy was straight out of the 2006/2008 playbook. Find a moderately conservative House district and run a somewhat heterodox Democrat. You don’t win every race, but you win a bunch. You can’t count on those guys’ votes on all the key issues, but each of them is with you sometimes. Add up a shifting coalition of such members to the big block of solid House liberals, and Nancy Pelosi can put an effective governing agenda together.

This was supposed to stop working in 2010. The end of the Bush backlash and the rise of anti-Obama sentiment, combined with the reality of the legislation coming out of the Pelosi-era House is supposed to get Republicans back to baseline at least. To see a Democrat win an open seat in a district that went for John McCain will be a welcome sign to a large number of House Democrat incumbents from red districts.

Critz isn’t a liberal, but a Democratic win here is great news for Democratic prospects nationwide and major egg on the face of the GOP establishment.

Kentucky also deserves some mention.   Jack Conway will be fine as a candidate, but the real story is the victory of Rand Paul, a teabagging son of Texas Congressman Ron Paul.  Spend some time listening to the son and you’ll think the father is sane.  Thing is, Paul ran on a platform that is pretty standard GOP fare, so it’s hard to know just how strong the tea will brew for the general.  But this is a best case scenario for the Democrats.  Paul can be beaten, and Conway is the strongest candidate on the Democratic side.

All in all, a very respectable evening for Democrats.  There is a lot of voter anger, how much will that translate into anti incumbent vs. anti establishment? T hat remains to be seen.  The votes against Specter and Lincoln, as well as against Kentucky’s GOP favored candidate Grayson can  be seen as defeats for the party machinery and traditionalists, but with the exception of Lincoln, the anti incumbent spirit is less clear.  There is no incumbent in Kentucky, and Specter was not elected to his seat as a Democrat.

Similarly, wishes for a viable third party ring hollow.  Being “not Democrat and not Republican” is not the same thing as a vision for governance and a platform to campaign on.  The Independence Party of Minnesota is finding this challenge.  A left over from the Jesse Ventura days, they manage to attract a hard core following, but never reach critical mass to elect anyone to office – other than stealing enough DFL votes to keep sending Michele Bachmann to Congress, alas.  But that’s all they have going for them is being “other.”  Some times their candidates are liberal, some times they are conservative.  There’s no cohesive vision for voters to support.  Even among the various incarnations of the Tea Party, there are few common threads around which to build a platform.

Minnesota primaries are in August.  Then onward to November.

Posted in Election 2010 | 1 Comment »

Gulf Geyser: A Quick Reference Sheet For Reporters

Posted by Greg on May 18, 2010

Gulf Geyser: A Quick Reference Sheet For Reporters

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Back at them

Posted by Greg on May 17, 2010

Posted in Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap, The Right | Leave a Comment »

Making a funny while making a point

Posted by Greg on May 14, 2010

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Borowitz Report

Posted by Greg on May 10, 2010

Borowitz Report.

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Peak Water

Posted by Greg on May 10, 2010

Peak Water

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Stephen Colbert on George ‘Rentboy’ Rekers: ‘Technically, I Believe he Was Looking for Someone to Hoist His Sack’

Posted by Greg on May 6, 2010

ROFL.

Vodpod videos no longer available.

more about “Colbert Rips Anti-Gay Activist, Throw…“, posted with vodpod

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Whatever Happened to the Ozone Hole?

Posted by Greg on May 5, 2010

Whatever Happened to the Ozone Hole?.

Fascinating study showing that human efforts can and do make a difference.

Posted in Environment, Science | Leave a Comment »

No clue how bad it’s going to get

Posted by Greg on May 5, 2010

A sad but enlightening piece at HuffPo that sheds some light on the BP disaster, and highlights that optimistic rhetoric coming forth from government and industry officials notwithstanding, the harsh reality is we have no clue when, if ever, the spill will be plugged, and therefore no clue how bad the environmental damage will be.  This has potential to be a catastrophic event with impact worldwide.

The Ixtoc disaster, however, is spit in the ocean compared to the British Petroleum apocalypse. Estimates are the current blowout is putting 200,000 gallons or 5000 barrels of crude per day into the waters of the Gulf. Ixtoc’s blowout was not capped until two relief wells were drilled and completed at the end of those nine months, and regardless of optimistic scenarios from the federal government or BP, relieving the pressure on the current flow is probably the only way to stop the polluting release of oil. The only way to relieve that pressure is with additional wells. No one is going to honestly say how much time is needed to drill such wells but consider the scope of environmental damage we are confronting if it requires at least as long as Ixtoc. Nine months of 5000 barrels of crude per day ought to turn the Gulf of Mexico into a lifeless spill pond and set toxins on currents that will carry them to deadly business around the globe.

NOAA apparently believes the situation is on the verge of getting worse. A leaked memo suggests that the tangle of pipes on the ocean floor are covering and constraining two other release points. Pressure is likely to blow those loose and, according to NOAA, the gusher will increase by “orders of magnitude.” In most interpretations, that phrase means a ten-fold rise in the flow, which will replicate the Ixtoc disaster in three days.

It’s not really been discussed enough, but this deep sea drilling is bleeding edge stuff, not the slam dunk that has been sold to the public, and the US regulatory apparatus simply isn’t up to the task of providing adequate oversight and demanding adequate safeguards.

Mr. Obama, can we PLEASE start moving on a sane, defensible, forward thinking energy policy?

Posted in Business, Energy, Environment | Leave a Comment »

Another Christianist hypocrite

Posted by Greg on May 4, 2010

Great, here we go again with a whacked up bitter homophobe dragged kicking and screaming from the closet.

This time it’s George Reckers, caught coming back to Miami with a lovely barely legal male escort.

Funny Odd Thing has comprehensive coverage.

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Sometimes “wow” just isn’t enough

Posted by Greg on May 3, 2010

Thanks to Americablog, check out these photos of the Gulf oil rig exploding then sinking.  Stunning.

Posted in Environment | Leave a Comment »