Maybe I Understated The Situation

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

The GOP is increasingly becoming a southern party.

I am. At least according to this great post by Nate over @ at 538. The money shot:

The upshot of this is that the House popular vote tends to discount those areas where a party is so dominant as to discourage competition, because less competition in a district also means fewer votes in that district. Congressional Districts have roughly the same number of people as one another, and so a fairer way to evaluate the House might simply be take the average of the vote share received by each party across all 435 districts (giving a candidate credit for 100 percent of the vote when he runs unopposed). If we do things this way, then we find that the Democrats won, on average, 56.0 percent of the vote on November 4th, and the Republicans 41.3 percent. That’s a difference of 14.7 points, far more formidable than nominal 8.9 point advantage that the popular vote total gave them.

Even in districts where the Republicans did compete, moreover, they were often not truly competitive. The Democrats had 126 districts that they won by 40 points or more (including races that they won uncontested); these are what I call Democrat-Dominant Districts (DDD’s). These districts represent approximately half of the Democratic seats in the House, and nearly 30 percent of the House in its entirety. By contrast, the Republicans had only had 30 districts that they won by 40 or more points, of which 22 are in the South.

The shorter version is the GOP is fucked & doubly so if the Dems do some serious redistricting after the next census, but seriously you need to read the whole post & check out the graphs. Beautiful work by Mr. Silver as usual.

I Bet No One Saw This Coming

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 17, 2008 • no responses - be the first

Shoe hurler being tortured? Can’t say I’m shocked by the accusation or that it might actually be true:

The brother of the Iraqi journalist who threw his shoes at US President George W Bush has said that the reporter has been beaten in custody.

Muntadar al-Zaidi has allegedly suffered a broken arm, broken ribs and internal bleeding, his older brother, Dargham, told the BBC.

Mr Zaidi threw his shoes at Mr Bush at a news conference, calling him “a dog”.

A spokesperson for the Iraqi military says the journalist is in good health and said the allegations were untrue.

It is unclear whether the reporter may have been injured when he was wrestled to the floor at the news conference, or at a later point.

Italics mine. You would think since this made so many headlines that whoever has the man in custody would be handling him with kids gloves, but who knows. As this BBC story reports, there have been two days of demonstrations in Iraq on Zaidi’s behalf. The Iraqis should be charging this guy straight up with whatever they got & let the law take it’s course. I don’t think he deserves to be tortured but I also don’t think a beating in his future was unforeseeable after throwing his shoes at the POTUS. It was a dumb, reckless act committed against a man who deserves worse than a shoe upside the head, but is not worth risking bodily harm or worse over.

Shout out to dday

Another Addition

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 • no responses - be the first

to the Team of Ballers (via):

Duncan was co-captain of the Harvard basketball team and after graduation he played professionally in Australia for several years. That puts him a cut above the pick-up crew that you’ll see in the rest of the administration.

On the real, Obama needs to show up at the Rucker to ball with his team.

Update:
via Daniel Strauss, here’s Dana Goldstein with a more serious take on Mr. Duncan.

Southern Strategy?

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 16, 2008 • no responses - be the first

No not that one., this one:

“You look at the South,” Shelby said. “You take — not just Mercedes in my hometown — but BMW, Honda and all of them. These companies are flourishing with American workers made in America.”

But the flourishing of the transplants didn’t come without significant taxpayer help. Shelby’s Alabama, for example, secured construction of a Mercedes-Benz plant in 1993 by offering $253 million in state and local tax breaks, worker training and land improvement. For Honda, the state’s sweetener surrounding a 1999 deal to build a mini-van plant was $158 million in similar perks, adding $90 million in enticements when the company expanded the plant three years later. A 2001 deal with Toyota left the company with $29 million in taxpayer gifts.

Alabama is hardly alone. Corker’s Tennessee recently lured Volkswagen to build a manufacturing plant in Chattanooga, offering the German automaker tax breaks, training and land preparation that could total $577 million. In 2005, the state inspired Nissan to relocate its headquarters from southern California by offering $197 million in incentives, including $20 million in utility savings.

In 1992, South Carolina snagged a BMW plant for $150 million in giveaways. In Mississippi in 2003, Nissan was lured with $363 million. In Georgia, a still-under-construction Kia plant received breaks estimated to be $415 million. The list goes on.

Supporters of these deals contend that the economic activity spurred by the arrival of the automakers is worth the up-front costs. Yet some experts say that, considering the ever-growing size of the incentive packages, there’s little evidence to support that claim.

My question is to what end? Obviously these politicos will gain lots of electoral benefits by bringing business to their states but what does this do for the party nationally? Not much that I can see. The GOP is increasingly becoming a southern party. They torpedoed the auto bailout; seemingly to make a point about unions. They scream about free markets while trying to dictate wages at the Big Three. Where is this thinking taking them? Who are they representing? The Washington Independent story shows that doling out subsidies isn’t necessarily a win-win proposition for these states:

Others wonder if the incentive packages don’t go too far to divert taxpayer dollars from vital state services. When Tennessee courted Nissan in 2005, for example, its $197 million gift came about the same time the state was cutting 170,000 low-income adults from its Medicaid rolls. A 1998 Time magazine report found that an Alabama elementary school adjacent to the Mercedes plant was home to 540 kids in a building designed to hold 290.

“The Mercedes-Benz plant illustrates a fundamental principle of corporate welfare,” the article read. “Everyone else pays for economic incentives — either with higher taxes, fewer services or both.”

So what we have are GOP Senators potentially dealing a serious blow to the economy while trying to make things easier for foreign car companies in their home states. The same companies that already have a competitive advantage over our companies because they don’t have to worry about providing health insurance for their workers here, because they don’t have union employees, or back home, because their gov’ts pick up the tab. USA! USA! USA!

Shout out to Yglesias

Update:
Seems I’ve echoed Eugene Robinson on this one:

They have managed to position their party as being against unions, against America’s domestic industrial patrimony, against the blue-collar working class — and also, incredibly, against the Rust Belt states, such as Michigan and Ohio, that are home to UAW-represented auto plants and that also regularly tip the balance of presidential elections.

And for what? The Republican senators who voted to kill the bailout knew full well that the White House was determined to find some way to tide the automakers over. It was as if they couldn’t help themselves. Even lemmings must be shaking their heads in dismay.

The Sheer Stupidity of Rod Blagojevich, Part Deux

by TKOEd • Monday, Dec 15, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

From the Dept. of You Can’t Make This Stuff Up:
Rod Blagojevich is considering having R. Kelly‘s criminal attorney represent him. There’s not much to say about this other than, WHAT THE FUCK ARE YOU THINKING BLAGO?

You Feeling Brave…, Go ‘head Get Gully

by TKOEd • Sunday, Dec 14, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

This has to be one of the top five gulliest things of at least this decade. I really, really wanted to post a video here but the BBC video doesn’t have embedding, and it’s the best vid I’ve seen because it has Bush’s comments afterwards. He says he didn’t feel threatened but he looked pretty shook to me. Even if he really wasn’t scared, he should have been. My man threw those shoes like Rob Dibble threw a baseball. If they would have connected we would have seen blood. He was pretty accurate too, Bush’s deft duck kept his skull from being wrecked. While this is fairly amusing, I’m not really down with throwing shit at world leaders. That being said I don’t really blame the guy either. Bush & the GOP have been a disaster in this country & around the world. Any ill that befalls him I look at as karma.

The Sheer Stupidity of Rod Blagojevich

by TKOEd • Tuesday, Dec 9, 2008 • 3 responses - join us

Seriously folks how dumb do you have to be to try & “sell or trade” the president-elect’s Senate seat. Blagojevich was already under investigation for his dealings with Tony Rezko. Bulldog U.S. Attorney Patrick J. Fitzgerald, of the Valerie Plame investigation, was the guy watching him. If you know anything about Fitzgerald than you know this is a guy who you should be walking on eggshells around if he’s got his eye on you. Yet Blago, who has been described as “like George W. Bush but not as bright”, decided he was going to try & extract something from the president-elect in return for naming Obama’s preferred candidate to his Senate seat (Obama, obviously, didn’t play ball). Here’s Blago yesterday saying he doesn’t think there’s anything hanging over his head & that he welcomes wiretapping:

Josh Marshall at TPM puts it best:

Even setting aside the primordial level of corruption of trying to sell the senate seat of the President-elect of the United States, I never fail to be amazed at the brazenness and stupidity of some political crooks. I mean, I think everyone involved in politics or interested in political corruption in the country had to know that Blagojevich’s phones were tapped and probably his offices were bugged, and that Pat Fitzgerald had him under the craziest level of scrutiny. And he tries to sell the senate seat with that hanging over his head? That’s simply amazing. I guess you could say he’s just a traditionalist, trying to keep up heritage of Chicago machine politics. But with some of these characters, it must just be pathological.

As usual for folks like Blago, the Senate seat stuff is just the tip of the iceberg he is also charged with “illegally threatening to withhold state assistance to Tribune Co.” I’d bet money he’ll be charged with some Rezko related wrongdoing at some point also. This clown also thought he might be able to run for prez in 2016. I repeat, this fool was under already investigation for stuff unrelated to Obama’s Senate seat & was pretty much living under the threat of indictment. Yet he still thought he could win the presidency one day. Pardon me, bwahahahahahah!, okay I’m done.

Something I don’t understand is why elected officials have to be pressured to step down from their posts. I get that it’s innocent until proven guilty but you can’t really “serve the people” while fighting criminal charges in court. All elected officials should have to resign their positions once a prosecutor brings charges against them. Especially if it involves political corruption or worse.

The hand wringing has already begun
. I like Sam Stein, but geez. Fitzgerald specifically said the Obama was not being looked at for any wrongdoing :

He added that the complaint “makes no allegations about the president-elect whatsoever.” In one passage of the complaint, Mr. Blagojevich is quoted cursing Mr. Obama in apparent frustration that “they’re not willing to give me anything except appreciation.”

Stein himself says:

There is absolutely nothing in the affidavit to suggest that the SEIU (who did not immediately return request for comment) or Obama were aware of this scheming. But the taint — or at least the potential of taint — is very real.

Eh, sure the potential exists. The potential also exists that GW Bush’s terms as president will be looked at fondly in 50 years, but I wouldn’t bet a dollar on it. There is some evidence that Rahm Emmanuel may have been the person who tipped off the feds about Blago reaching out to Obama. That, of course, makes even less likely that Obama will feel any fallout from this stuff.

Big shout out to TPM for there usual great reporting.

Update:

TPM’s Greg Sargent reports that a source close to Rahm has denied any involvement by Emmanuel. Obama did have an hand in Blagojevich’s downfall though, indirectly & not in a way you might guess. According to the NY Times, Obama made a call to, mentor & president of the Illinois Senate, Emil Jones:

..to urge passage of a state ethics bill….

Mr. Jones was a critic of the legislation, which sought to curb the influence of money in politics, as was Mr. Blagojevich, who had vetoed it. But after the call from Mr. Obama, the Senate overrode the veto, prompting the governor to press state contractors for campaign contributions before the law’s restrictions could take effect on Jan. 1, prosecutors say.

Tipped off to Mr. Blagojevich’s efforts, federal agents obtained wiretaps for his phones and eventually overheard what they say was scheming by the governor to profit from his appointment of a successor to the United States Senate seat being vacated by President-elect Obama.

Unfortunately the rest of the article by Mike McIntire and Jeff Zeleny devolves from there. They deem it necessary to rehash any potentially embarrassing connections Obama had, even though we went over this stuff numerous times during the primary & the GE. It seems to be the media’s little game for the day.

Predictably there are already people telling Obama what he has to do.

A side note. I’ve been super duper gung-ho about investigating the Bush administration in light of all the other shit we have to deal with that they fucked up. But I think Hilzoy has this right:

Oh, and one more thing: it’s clearer than ever to me that Obama and the Congress should give Patrick Fitzgerald the job of investigating the Bush administration’s war crimes. Give him complete freedom from interference, and let the chips fall where they may.

O’Reilly Radio Soon To Be No More

by TKOEd • Friday, Dec 5, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

There will be a precipitous drop in noise pollution early next year.

“The Buck Will Stop With Me”

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008 • no responses - be the first

President-elect Obama said what I have been saying all along when it comes to his team. From the Caucus blog of the NY Times:

‘Buck Will Stop With Me’ | 11:20 a.m.
Q: How can you ensure that the staff will be smoothly-functioning team of rivals?
(more…)

Haiku

by TKOEd • Wednesday, Dec 3, 2008 • 2 responses - join us

Inspired by Hill Rat:

Life and Death, crazy
What are we to do but cry?
I miss my Pops…too.

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