Romney’s Choice of Ryan

I feel like I have read several times on liberal blogs that Romney now has to carry Ryan’s baggage as well as his own. I do not think so.

The Ryan pick does indicate that Romney was not completely confident of enthusiastic support from his base (which amounts to the Tea Party). Choosing Ryan makes the base feel a lot better about Romney.

To win the general, Romney has to move to the center at least some distance, but without a Tea Party approved running mate, he could not afford to do that.

Back to the baggage. My memory is that when the presidential candidate picks a running mate, it is the running mate that must conform to the candidate’s positions. Ryan’s job is to take Romney’s conservative message to the base while Romney moderates himself for the general electorate.

Democrats will do everything they can to hang Ryan’s previous positions around Romney’s neck. Romney’s long record of being on every which side of every issue will make that a lot easier. But anywhere where Romney’s conservative position differs from Ryan’s, we can expect that Ryan will be talking up Romney’s position, not his own.

I still believe that in the end, Obama wins with a solid margin.

UPDATE:  “Well, first of all, Congressman Ryan has joined my campaign and his campaign is my campaign now. And we’re on the exactly the same page,” …the page being Romney’s page, not Ryan’s.

What George Zimmerman Is Guilty Of

Although I have never blogged on this subject, I have gone on the record elsewhere that, given the facts as they were being presented, George Zimmerman is guilty of the murder of Trayvon Martin…probably second degree murder.

I have never argued that he would be found guilty in a court of law. Given the facts that have come out, Mr. Zimmerman has the law on his side.

In an article in today’s Orlando Sentinel, Zimmerman’s lawyer, Mark O’Mara, explains why he expects to get the judge to throw the case out. It will not surprise me if he succeeds. It will surprise me if the case goes to trial and Zimmerman is found guilty.

But Zimmerman is guilty. How? The confrontation between the two men was initiated by Zimmerman’s following Martin. Yes, the better response by Martin to being followed would have been to call the police. But this is where the concept of “white privilege” affects perceptions of the case.

Yes, I would call the police. Just about everyone I know would have called the police. In my universe, the police present no threat to me. Excepting one time, when I have been pulled over there was a reason for it. The one time there was not a reason, the officer, upon realizing he had pulled over the wrong car, apologized and sent me on my way without even looking at my license or registration.

When I was in middle school, I was out in the middle of the night with two friends just goofing around and the police showed up. We got a lecture (“a neighbor might shoot you by mistake”) and sent home. Not taken in, not escorted home, sent home.

For many African American males, the police represent something very different. It is not difficult to imagine that “calling the police” is not the first thought that went through Martin’s head.

To follow someone is to initiate a confrontation. Zimmerman followed Martin. He did so without cause or justification. He had already called the police, the dispatcher told him they did not need him to follow.

The confrontation was ended with the killing of Martin by Zimmerman. Zimmerman is guilty of murder.

Zimmerman will be exonerated by the legal process because the legal process does not recognize that to follow someone is an aggressive threatening act.

An Indiana judge recently demonstrated that being followed is a frightening experience.

Alternate Future Presidential Press Conference

Reporter:  Mr. President!!! Mr. President!!!

President Romney:  What? Oh, right!  What is your question?

Reporter:  Sir, you are the duly elected President of the United States, correct?

President Romney:  Yes, that is correct.

Reporter:  And that means you are also the Commander in Chief, right?

President Romney:  Yes, that is correct, the Constitution itself makes it so.

Reporter:  And you draw a salary as President and Commander in Chief?

President Romney:  Why, yes.  I believe there is a statute to that effect.

Reporter: Very good, sir.  Given that, could you please explain why the US military has attacked Iran?

President Romney:  Oh! I see your confusion.  No, at the time that attack took place, the First Lady and I were doing a tour of our mansions, we do not like to leave them to the staff for too long without checking up on them. You never know when the opportunity to fire staff will arise!

So, you see, I was on a kind of sabbatical from the Presidency when the attack took place.  I cannot be held responsible for the actions of the people I left in charge while I was away.

Next question, please




Update:  I added the line “You never know when the opportunity to fire staff will arise!”

The War on the Postal Service

What is the Republican Party at peace with?

There is the War on Women.

There is the War on Voting.

There is the War on Entitlements.

There is the War on Science.

There is the War on Public Schools.

I’m probably forgetting something….

But who knew there was the War on the Post Office?  Quite a stealth war, with the main offensive push taking place back in 2006 when the Republican congress passed the Postal Accountability and Enhancement Act which was then signed by President Bush.

Section 803 of Title VIII of the act

Establishes in the Treasury the Postal Service Retiree Health Benefits Fund, to be administered by OPM. Requires the Postal Service, beginning in 2007, to compute the net present value of the future payments required and attributable to the service of Postal Service employees during the most recently ended fiscal year, along with a schedule if annual installments which provides for the liquidation of any liability or surplus by 2056. Directs the Postal Service, for each year, to pay into the above Fund such net present value and the annual installment due under the amortization schedule.

The act includes this:

‘‘(3)(A) The United States Postal Service shall pay into such Fund—
‘‘(i) $5,400,000,000, not later than September 30, 2007;
‘‘(ii) $5,600,000,000, not later than September 30, 2008;
‘‘(iii) $5,400,000,000, not later than September 30, 2009;
‘‘(iv) $5,500,000,000, not later than September 30, 2010;
‘‘(v) $5,500,000,000, not later than September 30, 2011;
‘‘(vi) $5,600,000,000, not later than September 30, 2012;
‘‘(vii) $5,600,000,000, not later than September 30, 2013;
‘‘(viii) $5,700,000,000, not later than September 30, 2014;
‘‘(ix) $5,700,000,000, not later than September 30, 2015;
‘‘(x) $5,800,000,000, not later than September 30, 2016

That’s $55.8 billion dollars over ten years.

And you thought the Postal Service was in financial straits because it was not run efficiently.

Why would the Republican Party be at War with the Postal Service?  I have no idea. But my guess would be that UPS and FedEx would prefer to not have to compete with the Postal Service. In defense of UPS and FedEx, I suspect the Postal Service does enjoy the advantage of the legacy of taxpayer support in that many of the buildings were constructed with taxpayer funding.

But note that neither UPS or FedEx or anyone else wants to do what the Postal Service does: deliver mail to 150 million addresses throughout the country.

Or it could be the Republican Party has it in for the Postal Service because

The Postal Service has been named the Most Trusted Government Agency six consecutive years and the sixth Most Trusted Business in the nation by the Ponemon Institute.

We must not have the populace trusting a government agency.

Here is the posting I first read of this (I was referred to it on Facebook).

Here is another I found when I Googled.  It is from six months ago, but it references H.R. 1351: United States Postal Service Pension Obligation Recalculation and Restoration Act of 2011, which still sits in committee for almost a year now.

Let Us Help You Imagine the Future

And that, to me, fully sums up the Republican case against Barack Obama, or at least one weird variety of it. Obama is about to do all sorts of horrible things: bankrupt the nation, induce hyperinflation, confiscate guns, bring back the Fairness Doctrine. About to do them.

That is Jonathan Bernstein over at A plain blog about politics discussing Santorum’s new ad against Obama (I guess he has no hope of beating Romney…), Obamaville.

It is amusing that the right is beginning to fall back on what Obama is about to do (at this point it is getting difficult to run against what he has done).  I suppose there may be some item or few that Obama has done in his first term that he did not talk about during the campaign, but I have no memory of such. Based on that track record, there is no reason to think that Obama is going to do things in his second term that he has not talked about doing.

Unless one wants to use current Republican officeholders as the example.  Wisconsin Governor Walker did not campaign on the issue of stripping public employees of collective bargaining rights.  But once elected, he did so.  Indiana Governor Daniels did not campaign on the issue of making Indiana a Right to Work state (in fact, I am reasonably sure that he specifically denied any interest in doing so). But once elected, he did so. I suspect there are plenty examples of late.

It does seem (at least to me) that the right tends to be most energetically against that which they themselves do and most suspicious of others doing the same thing they do (not that the right has a monopoly on this).

And yes, I understand that the right believes that Obama has already started bankrupting the country and inducing hyperinflation.



Not the Most Embarrassing Thing I’ve Ever Done

Generally, though not always, the laundry around here is accomplished by the following process.  My wife, Debby, sorts it and puts it into the washer and moves it into the dryer.  Once the dryer buzzes, I get it out, fold it and deliver it to the bedroom (or wherever it goes). Sometimes when I am emptying the dryer I see that there is a load in the washer waiting to go into the dryer and I will put it in.

Yesterday that is exactly what happened. I emptied the dryer, grabbed the clothes out of the washer and tossed them into the dryer and turned it on (after cleaning out the lint  trap). Then I carried the dried clothes from the basement to the second floor bedroom and commenced to fold.

After a couple of minutes Debby was at the bedroom door asking me why I was drying dirty clothes that were certainly dry when I put them in the dryer.

In my defense, weak though it may be, the basement is cool and damp.  The clothes felt cool and damp.

On the other hand, as I moved them over the following thoughts went through my head:

Gee, this was a small load.

Gee, this stuff is hardly wet at all, I’ll have to be sure to get back down here pretty quick ’cause these will be dry in short order.

I knew this front loaders spun the water out good, but this is exceptional, I wonder if it is due to the small load.

Live and learn.

It Does But It Does Not

In the continuing saga of the GOP House efforts to undo the Affordable Care Act, the House is currently working on a repeal of the Independent Payment Advisory Board (IPAB).

Speaker of the House John Boehner’s office:

The House will act this week to repeal another part of ObamaCare: IPAB, which empowers a board of unelected bureaucrats to deny care and raise costs.

If the IPAB will raise costs then repealing it will save money, right?


Tea Party activists are upset about something else entirely. GOP leadership has opted to fund the $3.1 billion cost of repealing IPAB with legislation written by Rep. Phil Gingrey (R-GA) that would reform medical malpractice laws.

So repealing the IPAB will cost 3.1 billion.

The bill has to have a “pay for” element to offset the costs of repealing IPAB. Boehner’s office simply makes reference to the IPAB raising costs.  Which to believe….

Disney World

When my daughter was the cutest  little girl ever, she walked back to me after a couple of minutes talking to Santa Claus and, beckoning me to lean down close, quietly said with much conviction “He’s a fake.”

I was reminded of this event when my wife and I recently spent a few days at Disney World. It’s a fake.

I have spent my entire life not going to Disney World for that exact reason. I ended up there because it represented an opportunity to spend many hours with the grandson while his parents attended the Daytona 500 (twice!).

We stayed at Riverside in Port Orleans (and I believe there was a further subdivision of Riverside…but it seemed meaningless and arbitrary). The “river” is really a, I suspect  man made, channel. There is no current, one end is at a lake, the other end is just an end.

At Riverside is a large water wheel in the river that does not flow. Water is pumped up into a sluice which runs several feet and dumps the water on the wheel.  The wheel, via a couple of gears, turns a large axle that reaches into the center of the dining hall and, again via a couple of gears, turns an large umbrella that sets just beneath the ceiling. Much ado for nothing. But the turning wheel is an impressive sight.

We spent time in Downtown Disney, just an outdoor mall really; a day in the Animal Kingdom, which is a mediocre zoo; and a day in Epcot, most of which is also an outdoor mall.

For much of my life various people have told me that I had to go to Epcot Center. That I would like it. Well, not so much. The Spaceship Earth ride was interesting, but I would much more enjoy going through it with the lights on to see how it is laid out inside that golf ball.

Disney is expensive, but at least one can see where a lot of the money is going. There are the free buses, the free water taxis, the fireworks, the extensive grounds, the numerous swimming pools, the endless fake.

This is not to say that I did not have a great time.  I was with great people that I love.  Time in hell would have been pleasant. Disney was a blast.

Where Do Babies Come From?

As the war on women continues, the latest salvo is issued by the North Carolina Hanover County Board of Commissioners.  They have unanimously turned down

a state family planning grant that would cover contraceptive supplies along with other medical services related to family planning.

“If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” Davis said.

Commissioner Jonathan Barfield said he was “one of those abstinence guys” and agreed with Davis’ comment.

There you go.  The problem seems to be that the local women are all having sex with each other and getting pregnant.

Note that the commissioners are all men.
Hat tip: TPM

Rush’s Low Point

It has been a few days now since Rush Limbaugh insulted the Georgetown law student for three days running and then gave the non-apology apology. And sponsors have been dumping him in response to the social media tsunami (I can not believe I spelled that right the first attempt).

I am still seeing blog posts about the trouble Rush is in (now the music group Rush has demanded that Limbaugh stop using their music on his show.)

Rush is not in trouble.  He knew he was going low when he went there.  He understood there would be an outsized reaction to what he said.  This is intentional on his part. The reaction proves his continued relevance (which makes one wonder if he was beginning to doubt his continued relevance).

There will still be sponsors. His show will continue. His audience will remain.

The best response would have been to ignore his statements, but even if everyone managed that it would simply result in Rush saying even worse things.

What he said was bad enough.  I suspect he will say something as bad or worse somewhere down the road. It is what he does.

My Time to Waste