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With the threat to American voting rights these past couple of years, I have been fretting for months. Fretting whether I was "really" still registered even though I haven't missed a vote in 20 years. Fretting about whether my Early Voting ballot would arrive in my mailbox and arrive on time, and whether, once dropped in the mail, would be received at the Country Registrar and be counted.

This is part of the genius of the War on Voting. You don't actually have to disenfranchise people to get them not to vote. Here I am, in sunny wonderful California, where our State and County offices are not run my incompetent RWNJs and I was nervous! Imagine how a guy or a gal in Ohio or Florida, maybe with a misdemeanor on their record, maybe with some unpaid traffic tickets, must feel, thinking they "might" have to produce their ID to a government official in order to exercise their franchise. It doesn't matter if a person might actually be prevented from voting, or might actually get busted on a warrant or whatever - they don't even have to mess with the state in which a given voter resides! - the cloud is there, and that's all it takes to suppress a vote.

Equal Protection my ass.

Anyways, I have voted and am assured my vote was counted. Dive below the swirly if you have a minute and I'll show you ...

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Jed Lewison's post "Romney to Olympians: 'You didn't get here solely on your own'"

Jed concludes the Rmoney is "full of crap," and Jed's right as always. But this particular quote is more than contradictory or hypocritical: it's a privileged, elitist jab at working class Americans.

An athlete arguably deserves MORE credit for his or her own success than does an entrepreneur. Of course I agree generally with the sentiment Rmoney expresses here, I also agree with POB's sentiment (later conceded by Rmoney as well) in re: entrepreneurs and job creators. It's good to acknowledge that no person is an island, sure.

Having said that, coaches and parents aside, who's doing the real work when an athlete achieves? Encouragement, instruction, holding stopwatches, blowing whistles, writing things on clipboards - all very important no question. But who's doing the actual running, jumping, swimming, etc., and making the personal sacrifice of body and time? The athlete.

Ultimately a business capitalizes on publicly-financed infrastructure, and by definition delegates the real work of the business to others. The athlete capitalizes on the support of others - don't forget however that the athletes and/or their families are often paying through the nose for the services of coaches and the use of facilities.

So of course Rmoney sees this angle on the athletes' lot: they're the workers not the entrepreneurs. Of course he wants to make sure the workers acknowledge they aren't all that. Observe that corporations and 1%ers get rich off of infrastructure built and financed by others? You get called a Kenyan Socialist and worse. But bust your hump for basically your entire life to compete among the best of the best in pure athletics? Hey there, buddy, don't get too full of yourself. Think of the highly-paid coaches and the makers of Lycra Spandex. Get back in line, you.

As far as I'm concerned, athletes can tell Rmoney to shove it: whether you medal or not, YOU have acheieved something noble and great - and you DID build that!

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TPM reports today that "Former GST Steel Vice President B.C. Huselton explains in the video that the company was in dire straits when Bain took over, and that the firm did its best to save them."

Caught Flatfooted, Romney Camp Pushes Back Hard Against Bain Attacks

A commenter notes the following:

Why does his Bio on LinkedIn say this...."For the next twenty-eight years, B.C. worked at ARMCO Steel Corporation ending his career as VP Human and Business Systems at ARMCO Worldwide Grinding Systems, a business unit HE AND OTHERS PURCHASED as part of a MBO with Bain Capital. B.C. launched his initial consulting business in 1998." http://www.linkedin.com/....
So, big surprise: A Bain crony who profited from a Bain bustout insists the bustout was no bustout at all. Looking forward to the MSM calling out the hypocrisy ... no, you go ahead and do what you're doing. I'll wait ...
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Suck on this, Friedman. The Mustache Hisself has rightly earned the title Wanker of the Decade! It's pretty simple really: people take him seriously, but he is a self-aggrandizing windbag. Righties think he's a liberal, and he showed the world how intelligent he is by backing the most heinous, pointless, rotten war in American history.

Be sure to throw a little PayPal Donation Atrios's way to support the ten years of awesome suckiness he has waded through for our delight and edification!

UPDATE: First runner-up is Fred Hiatt. Happy Blogiversary, Atrios. That you for reliving the horror but tomorrow's just a day away. Just one more wanker to relive from this wankerous decade ... !

UPDATE: 2nd Runner-Up is Sully. Did not see that coming, but Mr. Black is spot effing on! In the days after 9/11, Sully referred to DFH's as a "fifth column" against American interests - when history has shown that it was his ilk, the "moderates" and "serious" people - who gave cover to lying liars who squandered American blood and treasure on pointless endless war.

Below the fold, and for your delight and edification, I have organized links to the Wankers of the Decade posts, along with some excerpts. Fresh updates as they come ...

I have been a loyal reader of Atrios's "sucky blog" ever since the Internets. I am really enjoying his recap of the Wankers of the Decade. Even though it is clearly - clearly! - painful for him to relive these rotten times and pollute his beautiful mind with thoughts of these episodes of serial wankery.

I don't think there's much suspense in the upcoming posts - he basically said before he started he thought Fred Hiatt was Wanker of the Decade. BoBo has yet to make his appearance, also too The Mustache of Wisdom. Not sure if the dead are candidates, but the late Mr. Broder might make the list. There be dark horses - and dark Lil Ponies! - in the mix.

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I feel really good this morning, having (finally) subscribed to DK, and also having taken TBOGG up on his suggestion to donate to Planned Parenthood and have the "In Honor Of" card sent to Karen Handel at Komen.

It’s rare when you see such a high profile organization shit the bed so spectacularly particularly in the case where people can not only refuse to donate to the Komen Foundation, but also boycott all the products that carry the  Komen Pink Ribbon of Caring logo, for which the Komen people are paid handsomely.

We’ve  done this before, but you can make a donation to Planned Parenthood and request a thank you card be sent to

Karen Handel
Senior VP of Fail
c/o Susan G. Komen Foundation
P.O. Box 650309
Dallas, TX 75265-0309

Link: Planned Parenthood Honorary Giving

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On Facebook today, Nicholas Kristof writes:

Mitt Romney has had his share of flip-flops in his career. But I'd like to see one more: a reversion to the moderate pragmatist that he was for most of his career, the kind who probably wouldn't vote for today's Mitt Romney. Read the column and tell me if you agree.

So go tell him. You might have to subscribe to add your sentiments.

I have to say, I should not be surprised -- he is a "serious" person and a "professional" journalists and all -- but I can't help but be flabbergasted and annoyed that we're recycling the bring-back-my-GOP-mancrush genre for Mitt. It was ridiculous that we went through it with McCain, but it's positively offensive to our intelligence to be going through this with Willard Mitt Dukakney. Why would you care which version of Willard you get? All Willard cares about is Willard and his one-percenter pals.

Mr. Kristof references factcheck.org, pointing out "some" of the Democrats' assertions about Willard's flip-floppiness are stretching the truth. And? SO WHAT?! The man should be leader of the free world because he's merely a big flip-flopper as opposed to a gigantic one? That some of the flip-flopping was merely truth-shading ... ? Sorry to engage in my own revisiting of 2004, but where was the media's sober analysis when the pants-on-fire assertions about John Kerry were flying?

He completely avoids the very indelicate subject of Willard's status as a complete liar, of course, as it is gauche to point out that a Repug lies.

And what is it exactly Mr. Kristof wants? For Willard to grab the nomination by deceiving the far-right Repug base so that he can run as a center-right candidate in the general? There's already a center-right candidate in the general: his name is Barack Obama. And if Mr. Kristof, Mr. Friedman, Mr. Brooks, and the rest of the Broderites With Daddy Issues would pull their noses out of their respective navels for ten seconds, they might see that Obama has governed by and continues to campaign on essentially the policies they want us to think no one has ever thought of before.

Ha! But there I go -- not calling liars for what they are!

I am really pissed about this ultimately because I believe Mr. Kristof to be someone who "gets it" and cares deeply about issues in the developing world and especially women's rights, as evidenced by his deep and powerful work in Half the Sky. But I guess it's fine and dandy with him that Willard is willing to campaign against women's health and reproductive freedom -- literally, playing underclass women as cards -- stomp on LGBT interests, and lie baldly about every issue of significance from the past decade -- all will be forgiven if Willard will just go retro and relive those oh-so-moderate early 90's!

Well, I'm not going to forget the scorched earth left by Willard and the rest of the current Repug establishment. I guess what I owe Mr. Kristof is a big wet kiss and a thank-you for reminding me who the elites are, and that the answer is More Better Democrats.

Ironically, I share Mr. Kristof's hope that Willard will flip-flop-flip back to a moderate tack -- so that swing voters will have no reason to switch, and the Tea-Bagger-Evangelical axis will have no reason to show up.

Brothers and sisters, we have to win this thing, and we have to take back the People's House!

Discuss

Roger Ebert comments on the top ten "trigger issues in which the GOP no longer reflects the thinking of mainstream Americans of either party."

There are other trigger issues, but these ten will suffice. Taken as a group, they provide indications that large elements within the Republican Party are abandoning the middle ground of American opinion and pitching in with fringe ideologues. Here and there, this decision may lead to electoral victories. But the tide of history runs against them. It is time for the party to declare its independence from its radical fringe and embrace common sense.

Read: The Republicans Exit History

What a lift you get from a person who simply states the obvious - and another sad reminder how rare that is in the MSM. Repugs can quibble with his conclusion that they are on the road irrelevancy for it, but no one can dispute that Ebert is essentially reading their playbook aloud.

I give him two thumbs up (four if you count big toes) ... !

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Wed Jul 13, 2011 at 02:25 PM PDT

Is the Fox Bubble bursting ... ?

by ManOutOfTime

I have the Fox Bubble on my mind for three reasons: first, because of NewsCorp's exposure as a criminal syndicate; secondly, because of the too-simultaneous-to-really-be-coincidence collapse of the GOP debt ceiling flimflammery; and thirdly, because of the arc of the Paul Ryan story, from the infamous "plan" to the $350 wine hubhub.

Is NewsCorp faltering because of the scandal? Or has the space opened up for the scandal to come to light because NewsCorp was already faltering? Sometimes you don't see the bubble burst, you just see the after effects (summer of 2008 anyone?).

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Tue Jul 05, 2011 at 02:15 PM PDT

How much is $3.5 trillion ... ?

by ManOutOfTime

There is something on the order of $3.5 trillion in corporate coffers (including off-shored cash) plus excess Federal reserves of depository institutions.

How much money is that?

Enough to fund five million jobs for ten years at an average salary of $35,000/year - and that's assuming a generous 100% markup on the salaries to account for benefits and overhead.

I'm not an economist, so this is almost certainly apropos of nothing, but I have to say, it's an odd coincidence. And, in the words of the fictional Lt. Aldo Raine, "Yeah, we got a word for that kinda odd in English. It's called suspicious."

Do I think therefore that salaries have simply been pocketed? Not really. I think that not creating jobs is doing the holders of the cash just fine; if they could make a penny more by hiring rather than not hiring, they'd be all over it.

It's just stunning to see the scale of the ocean of cash relative to the ocean of available labor, considering that there is all kinds of public work that definitely needs doing, and somehow our system is so broken - one major symptom of which of course is monolithic GOP anti-progress - that the recovery is a trickle when it should logically be a flood.

But my suspicion is that the number one issue is the Bullshit Bubble. There are all kinds of inefficiencies and liquidity and leveraging and de-leveraging and blah blah blah going on that explain the stagnation. Also, the lack of ponies and confidence fairies. But in the end, our entire capital enterprise has been hijacked by Bullshitters, people who are betting on the horses rather than riding them and certainly rather than training or cleaning up after them. It may even be that a majority the Bullshit sector is actually wagering on the performance of the bettors and the bookies, rather than on the races themselves! And of course there is a big business in bundling hedged bookie and bettor bets into Bullshit derivatives which are then leveraged as if they were equity.

All bubbles burst and the Bullshit Bubble's bursting is overdue. We thought it burst in 2008, but very quickly it became clear that while actual assets have collapsed, the Bullshit roadshow has just moved on to new cons and manipulations.

When the Bullshit Bubble bursts - and I'm suddenly realizing Michael Moore made the Pigshit Bubble analogy in Dude Where's My Country? so h/t to the man - will all that money rain down as job-creating dollars or will it be mopped-up by job-killing derivative flimflammery?

So one needn't wonder why history's greatest and most progressive economic expansions occurred during high-tax regimes: what happens when the wealthy and big corporations need to shelter their windfalls? It would appear there is the unintended side-effect of jobs being created rather than destroyed.

Oh, and all the good, low-paying jobs slowly got shipped to China over the past thirty years. There's that.

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