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Some people think it may be a bad idea to consider Hillary the "presumptive nominee" for President. But is it?

If she has no valid challenge, that means there's less money spent in the primary, which can be saved for the general. It means there's no bad blood from Primary election rhetoric that upsets democrats and feeds GOP propoganda. It means Hillary can look so centrist-right during the Primary Election season, that the GOP candidates have to pull that much farther to the right in order to out-contrast themselves with her, making them even more extreme caricatures of themselves.

However, the best reason may be allowing potential VP nominees to avoid a primary fight that alienates them from the Clintons and the voters.

So, that being said. Who would you want to be Hillary's Veep?
Elizabeth Warren?
Michelle Obama?
Howard Dean?
Chelsea Clinton?
Bernie Sanders?
Wesley Clark?
(insert name)?

What should we look for in a VP candidate for Hillary?

A Liberal Firebrand who's ideologically pure? A pragmatic centrist who might be better at negotiating liberal-leaning policies into legislation? Is there someone who'd you consider to be both? Other desires?

Who's on your Dream Ticket? Who's on your Pragmatic Ticket?

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New York, NY - (JP) In a bid to prove he's not racist, a charge leveled at many who investigated Barack Obama's birth certificate, Billionaire Land Developer Donald Trump announced today that he intends to look into claims and suspicions that future presidential candidate Hillary Clinton is, in fact, a man.

"I'm a Classy Guy™, and I know classy guys, and Hillary Clinton is a classy guy," Donald Trump stated to reporters today, adding "People tell me her cajones are almost as big as mine. Almost."

Trump explained he's felt pressure by others to look into her background. A new movement, calling themselves "Manners" has been trending on the internet for weeks. This movement believes that Hillary Clinton is a man. Among many claims to support their suspicions, popular internet pundits say that only a man would be so interested in female reproductive rights.

Trump explained, "I'm not sexist, just like I'm not racist for distrusting Barack Obama, but people have been telling me they've had suspicions for years. They tell me that no self-respecting woman would wear those striped pants she wore in the 60s. 'Only a man would commit such an fashion crime', they tell me. Also, pants suits."

Trump continued "They say, not only did she keep her last name, but it's a secret code. Look it up, there are no 'Rodhams' in Chicago. It's all a fabrication. 'Rod' and 'ham' is a suggestive pun only a man would come up with."

The Billionaire said he was preparing requests to see Hillary Clinton's birth certificate, marriage certificate, and the birth certificate of Chelsea Clinton, the couple's daughter. However, many disbelievers state that times have changed and 21st century 'Manners' require a DNA test before treating someone like a lady.

They also claim that while the Constitution of the United States doesn't require a religious test, it doesn't say anything about transvaginal ultrasounds.

"This also explains Monica," Trump stated.

Asked if he was referring to the infamous intern, the Billionaire paused and said, "Hey, I'm a Classy Guy™, and all classy guys preferred Rachel. Only a man who's trying to cover something up would claim their favorite 'Friend' was Monica."

When asked to elaborate on what Hillary was covering, Trump said they'd have to wait for the results of his investigation.

But on his wait out of the interview, the famous Billionaire turned and said this reporter should look into what happened with an old friend of Hillary Clinton's.

Trump said, "His name was Ben, Benjamin Gawzee."

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If there's one thing that's really irks me, it's imprecision with language. Oh, I'm OK with spinning words and framing narratives in politics. It's part of rhetoric. I even give Frank Lutz his due for some compelling turns of phrase on the linguistic lathe. I mean "Death Tax"? Seriously, I love that one and I think that progressives can sell it on those terms as well. 'Cause really, who else can more afford to be taxed than people who don't need their money anymore? Why tax the living when we can tax the deceased? It's a win-win.

But I digress. The source of my irritation has been floating around a while; however, even the president screwed it up recently. It's the meaning of "American Exceptionalism". A lot of purportedly smart people talk about it, throw mud at others regarding it, and yet fail to understand it.

When I studied the concept in college several years ago, before it became a predatory pundit hot potato du jour, it meant something different than what Joe the Public now happily thinks it means. A lot of people think it means American Excellence. However, it really means the opposite. Follow me over the fold to find out why.

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Read this HuffPo blog first, if you haven't seen it. I read it yesterday making the rounds on facebook. At first I didn't know what to make of it, other than the fact I didn't care for the word-play on "gypsy" (Generation Y Protagonist and Special Yuppies), which seems to disparage an entire ethnic group as self-centered and shiftless. Anyway, I think I figured out what it is I found troubling:

It's bullshit.

The author seems to ignore critical changes in the socio-economic, political, commercial and inter-personal fabric of American life over the course of recent history. It's not the idea that some people think they are "special" that's at issue, it's the explanation for why they think they are special, the degree to which they think they are special, and the suggestion that it's especially errant that I find problematic.

I agree with the basic premise that their parents are to blame, but it goes much deeper, including their grandparents as well as so many other changes and innovations that have occurred over the last century. However, I think that the issue is not that Gen Y or others errantly believe they are special, but that the prior generations did not think they themselves were special enough.

Follow me across the fold for a rebuttal to an attempt to denigrate an entire generation. (For the record, I'd be considered Generation X, not Generation Y, so I'm not taking this personally.)

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Skittle the winking George Zimmerman
Skittle the winking George Zimmerman
Trayvon is dead and George Zimmerman killed him. He should be punished. So this visual popped into my head that whenever George Zimmerman is in public, I'd like to see people pelt him with Skittles. Pelt that pr*%^ until he runs. I wonder how he'd like to be profiled, stalked and then shot at.
"George Zimmerman is Stupid, Throw Skittles at Him."
Taste the rainbow, mutha-f*&^%!

But it could be dangerous. Maybe Zimmerman would pull out his Kel-tec and shoot back. Yeah...and maybe then he'd actually get convicted of something next time.

But why stop with Zimmerman? This would be gratifying to see happen to lots of people who are against color and variety get a nice big dose of both, rapid fire and at high velocity. Yeah, I know, it'll all be fun and games until someone puts an eye out, but maybe then they'd finally be able to see clearly.

I should be careful how I word this fantasy, cause ya know someone will think it's a call to violence. And if you use a straw to shoot it, someone will say there was spit on it, making it an attack with a biological weapon. Especially considering how Conservatives have become such crybaby wimps at people standing up to them... ya know, how bullies get.

They'll call the people who do it "fruits", because of the flavors and unicorns because of how people look with straws in their mouth when they blow-dart Skittles. Own it. Set up color/flavor brigades. Carry banners and signs and t-shirts that proudly proclaim:

Don't Stand Your Ground on Me flag/banner for Skittle Wars.
Don't Stand Your Ground on Me!
Don't Stand Your Ground on Me!
or
You can have my Skittles when you pry them from my fruit-colored fingers!
or
I got your High-Fructose Corn Syrup right here!
or
Just go ahead and try to open your big mouth!

while chanting:
"You're mean! We're sweet! You tricked, now eat your Treat!"
or
"Just desserts when justice deserts!"

And as ridiculous as that sounds, you know they'll one-up us. They'll start confiscating Skittles at public rallies. And straws. And maybe even M&Ms. Soon it will be illegal to walk around with Skittles. And if you carry around a bag with more than one serving, they'll nail ya for Intent to Distribute.

You know how their minds work. They'll blame Trayvon retro-actively for "Packin' Sweet". Because when Skittles are outlawed, only outlaws will have Skittles.

The only thing I'm not sure about is if it will be progressives or conservatives who will eventually stage a "destruction of the sweets", also to be called a Boston Skittles and Iced Tea Party. But it's okay. We'll have a backup plan. When they take away our Skittles, we'll still have licorice ropes and Hubba Bubba Bubble Tape to whip out and flog them with.

But as revolutionary and happy as this idea makes me feel, I assert it's merely a fantasy that popped into my head. I can't be held responsible for other people doing this, no matter how responsible for it I'd like to be. ;)

Discuss

My heart goes out to those affected by the recent severe storms. I survived at least one tornado in Oklahoma as a kid, and worked on homes there for HFH once upon a time. I'm loath to write this, but I feel a little shock to the system might be in order.

So, what would you prefer to hear on the radio or television in the future?

A major tragedy was averted this afternoon, when a strong tornado tore through Tornado Town without a single fatality and only a few minor injuries.

A National Weather Service Spokesperson said that the US Weather Observer and Chaser Association in partnership with local law enforcement successfully surrounded and tracked the storm, which allowed for timely and accurate neighborhood level warnings and directions for emergency response.

Several lives were saved by EMT-qualified storm chasers who stabilized critically-injured storm victims and helped clear roads of debris, allowing ambulances to drive through and deliver the wounded to hospitals.

Thousands more took refuge in neighborhood storm shelters constructed a few months ago by USWOCA, using public and private grants and donations from around the country.

Untold numbers of local and out of state motorists were prevented from being caught in the storm as it passed over an interstate highway when spotters and chasers assisted law enforcement in directing traffic away from the potential death trap.

There was one close call, however, when a specialized storm intercept vehicle was struck and heavily damaged by the tornado, but the chasers were protected by the internal roll-cage, harnesses and helmets and are doing fine tonight.

Or
Hey Kids, there's a PDS today and you know what that means: Pornado Day Storm-abration!

All your favorites are back in town: Cornado Dogs, Funnel-Cloud Cakes, and The Flying Cow Rootbeer Float!

And if you're ready to float, then we've got ZORBS, ZORBS, ZORBS! Yes, that's right, Stormin' Zorbin' is back and you can ride one of these human-sized inflatable bouncy-balls up into the clouds!

But wait, We got activities for the adults too! Men, See if can make the bottle "never. hit. the ground." in the White Lightning Up-Chuck Bottle Tossing Contest. And ladies, The annual Twitty Tister Wet and Windy T-shirt Contest is back! Don't forget the Rolling Hay Bale Balancing Contest, if you've got the legs for it. And after the twister has come and gone, look around the damage pile while you play Pornado Bingo!

So come on down and Pack the Parkway.

We'll be here every stormy day all May.

Do you like the first scenario? Does the second scenario make you seethe with anger at its inappropriateness? If the answers are yes, then follow me below the storm-cloud with the orange lining for a few sober thoughts on what we might do about it.
Poll

Should something be done about the storm chaser problem?

28%30 votes
11%12 votes
28%30 votes
21%22 votes
9%10 votes

| 104 votes | Vote | Results

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You've probably heard by now the warning people that Sandy might cause so much havoc that it will probably have an effect on Election Day. The wind, rain, snow and flooding is expected to affect power and travel for up to 10 days after it comes ashore in the middle of next week. I think the potential exists for a situation where a lot of people may not be able to vote unless they cast early ballots in states that allow it.

How might this storm affect the results? We might expect cities to be the first to get power back, and cities are generally easier to get around to local polling stations even on foot. In rural areas the power may not come on as soon. Moreover, rural areas run a larger risk of transportation disruption due to downed trees and power lines, flooding and snow. If we look at the demographics, this may mean that democratic voters in the cities may be more able to get to their polling station and will be more likely able to use electronic voting or paper voting (depending on state). This also means that Republican voters in the rural areas may have difficulty getting to their polling station and there may not be power for electronic voting if they get there, and a couple states in the affected area (Virginia and Pennsylvania) have paperless voting and may not have paper backups ready. An urban/rural storm impact divide could result in a larger number of democratic-favored ballots and give that party the edge in the elections.

What can be done? People could vote early, if their state allows it, although it may be too late for that depending on hours available over the weekend and how soon the storm starts affecting the region. The election could be postponed, but that would take an act of Congress. However with potentially more Republican voters being affected, the Republican majority House may choose that path... if they have enough time to convene in Washington (or elsewhere?) before the storm affects DC.

It's also not clear if changing the election would be legal this close to Election Day. I don't know if states can attempt late voting since the constitution demands a single election day to be the same across the nation, but if early voting is allowed by law, then perhaps late voting can be as well since delays in certifying the election are normal and considered legal. However, some jurisdictions in the affected region will probably not be able to make any changes to their voting rules due to the requirements of the Voting Rights Act of 1965, including most of Virginia (a double-whammy with paperless voting), all of South Carolina, parts of North Carolina, a lot of New Hampshire, and parts of New York City (Manhattan, Brooklyn, the Bronx) unless they receive preclearance from the US Justice Department, which may or may not be coming. Perhaps they will offer preclearance retroactively, or maybe Congress will step in directly... if the majority thinks it will be to their party's advantage.

Alternately, the State Legislatures or the Governor may appoint Electors directly, according to the various state's own constitutions and laws since the US Constitution does not require that electors be directly elected. Thus, the disaster and related states-of-emergency or martial law might be used as an excuse to discount the election and appoint electors for whichever party controls a state's necessary organs for appointment of Electors. However, in either event, the Electors themselves have to bear the decision as to whether they shall remain faithful to their party or if they shall be a faithless Elector and vote their conscience on their own beliefs, including the validity of the general election and the wishes of the voters and the potentially disenfranchised. One could say that this sort of exigency justifies the continuation of the Electoral College process, but I suppose that will depend on how fair the result turns out to be.

Or the Supreme Court of the United States may jump in, again.

Poll

How much will Hurricane Sandy affect the election?

16%24 votes
31%47 votes
10%15 votes
16%25 votes
20%31 votes
5%8 votes

| 150 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

These two stories were intertwined today on the local news today (WREX 13 - NBC Affiliate - Rockford, IL).

Link to video (won't embed for some reason)

"They said that they're here to support us in the United States, so support us," Freeport resident, Cassandra Jamison says.

And they aren't getting answers, at least not right now. Both Boehner and Schilling said no to media at the country club event. This was after not telling anyone they would even be in town.

Synopsis: John Boehner showed up unannounced for a closed door fundraiser for Bobby Schilling (IL-17) at the Forest Hills Country Club in Rockford, IL, but somehow Victims of Bain Capital outsourcing found out and staged a protest outside.

For those unfamiliar with the geography, Rockford, IL is ~25 miles south of Janesville, WI (where Paul Ryan lives). What a coincidence that the Republican Speaker of the House shows up so close to where the presumptive soon-to-be-announced Veepstakes winner lives.

Even better, perhaps, is the local connection to Bain Capital that aired as part of the story. Workers at a factory in nearby Freeport, IL (25 miles west) are losing their jobs and some are currently training replacements flown in from China, at Sensata Technologies, a manufacturer of automotive sensors and a profitable company owned by Bain Capital. They've been trying to get Romney's attention and even stood alongside a road they hoped he would take to Iowa several weeks ago after he visited Janesville in mid-June (he took another route instead).

Makes ya wonder if he already had Paul Ryan selected when Romney predicted that he would win Wisconsin.

Discuss

At least 4 dead at Oak creek Sikh Temple. Possibly 20-30 shooting victims. One, perhaps two gunman are still on the loose. Milwaukee SWAT is on the scene.

Please don't call anyone inside the temple to check on them, they might be hiding.

Link to CNN article

WTMJ is reporting that multiple people may have been shot outside the temple.
WTMJ article
Witnesses told Tom Murray of TODAY'S TMJ4 that someone opened fire inside the temple at a time of Sunday morning worship.
JSOnline article
There are reports that the head priest was locked inside a restroom with a cell phone and said there was as many as 30 victims in temple.

CNN is running this live now.



Updates

11:00 AM PT: According to the police update on CNN live:

The first reporting officer was shot and is at a hospital and is expected to survive.

One suspect was shot on the scene and is down, outside the temple. Police didn't confirm if he is alive or dead. Police didn't confirm if there is another shooter inside the temple.

FBI is on the scene.

11:24 AM PT: According to a televised interview of a victim's son:

There were multiple gunmen.

He said he was told that they were "of Caucasian descent."

11:47 AM PT: Shooter outside the temple is "presumed deceased"

7 deceased: 4 inside the temple, 3 outside, 1 is the shooter.

Police have not identified additional gunmen in the temple or on the scene. Police are unsure if there is an additional gunman.



I'm not going to politicize this now, but you know this is going to become political very quickly, with regards to gun laws, mental health and perhaps racism, hate-crime, religion, cultural identity and diversity, so I'm posting this now.

I'll try to keep this updated, or defer to other diarists. Horace Boothroyd III has a good diary he posted earlier here.

Discuss

Someone asked on Twitter what would be a good name for those of us who want Mitt Romney to own up to the truth and release his tax returns and other documents. He thought "Taxers" wasn't a good name. I suggested "'Splainers", as in:

"Romney, you've got some 'splainin' to do!"

Tell me if you like them... and I hope you can forgive me for ruining your enjoyable recollections of "I love Lucy" with the Stain of Romnification.



For a man who wants to be President -- For a man who even thinks he's capable of being President, Mitt Romney sure doesn't seem to know what's going on.

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The year is 1999 to 2002. Someone's been plundering pensions. Ricky may be the Bandleader, but who's the Bainleader?

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And today, in the world of Sport...
Are you ready for some Baseball Bainball?

Oh, he finally did an interview you say? Really...?

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Being a fan of one team vs the other doesn't mean they like you ruining it.

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Making extremists go extreme does not endear you to non-extremists.

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No. Please. Don't.

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Sic Semper Silly-Putty.

Discuss

Mon Jul 09, 2012 at 10:45 AM PDT

New MittMemes (image+caption) and a Poll!

by JPax

Here are some more imagememes made just for Mittens.

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He puts women first... on a jet ski... or maybe he just likes making them drag his ass around.

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What's yours is mine...

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What a novel concept, but private is as private does and candidates can't do private. sowwy.

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Poor Misunderstood Mitt, at least someone speaks his language.

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It's Monday, time for a False Equivalency.

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Where's HUAC, the House Unamerican Activities Committee, when you need them?
Are you now, or have you ever been, a member of the American People?

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Finally, some Troofiness.

Poll

Is "Troofiness" a word?

3%1 votes
19%5 votes
3%1 votes
42%11 votes
30%8 votes

| 26 votes | Vote | Results

Discuss

You have probably all seen the footage of a Romney-Pawlenty supporter shoving a hankey down the throat of a protester in Ohio yesterday. If not, here it is:

Perhaps that sounds sensationalistic, but it may not be. Consider where that hankey may have been. Do you know? I certainly don't, and I doubt the protester does either. It could be probably is loaded with pathogens. He needs to be checked out at a hospital as soon as possible if he hasn't been already.

This is not unlike spitting, which has resulted in charges of Assault in Ohio as well as Attempted Murder when the spitter had a communicable disease, such as this case in Wasilla, Alaska.

Until the perpetrator and victim can be tested to rule it out, we have to assume this was Assault with a Loaded Hankey.

I've created an infographic to help understand the risks:
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Discuss
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