B12 Solipsism

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Archive for the ‘Democrats’ tag

Republicans Gird for Big Losses

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For the sake of the country, the country’s economy, and the entire world, let us hope the Republican’s worry is true. Surprisingly, Sarah Lueck’s entire article doesn’t mention the Iraq War once – you’d think the Republican’s support for the war might have something to do with their anticipated losses.

Republicans are bracing for double-digit losses in the House and the prospect of four or five losses in the Senate, as they fight to hold a wide range of districts and states normally seen as safe for them, from Alaska and Colorado to Mississippi and North Carolina.

The feared setback for Republicans, coming two years after their 2006 drubbing, is unusual for several reasons. It is rare for a party to lose two election cycles in a row. And many expect losses even if their presidential candidate, John McCain, captures the White House.

[From Republicans Gird for Big Losses in Congress – WSJ.com]

A larger Democratic margin means that schmucks like Senator Lieberman would lose their clout.

But a wider margin of control in both chambers would give the party a more workable majority, a change that would let it push more ambitious agendas on health care, energy policy and tax issues. While Democrats are already able to pass much of their agenda through the House, many of those bills currently get stuck in the Senate. A handful more seats in that chamber would give Democrats a better chance of overcoming filibusters, which require 60 votes to break.

“A lot of Republicans thought that 2006 was the low point, and that simply isn’t the case,” said Nathan Gonzales, political editor of the nonpartisan Rothenberg Political Report, which predicts Democratic gains of eight to 12 seats in the House and three to five seats in the Senate.

“It’s like 2006 never ended for Republicans,” said Jennifer Duffy, of the nonpartisan Cook Political Report, which predicts Democratic gains of 10 to 20 seats in the House and four to seven in the Senate.

Already this year, Republicans have lost three House seats in special elections in Republican-leaning districts, an alarm bell for many in the party as they strategize for campaign season.

The dynamics at work: voters’ sharply negative views of President Bush and dismal feelings about the direction of the country, including rising oil and gas prices, a weak economy and fallout from the housing crisis. Even though Congress continues to register low approval ratings, voters overall appear to prefer putting Democrats in charge.

And that little policy decision to continue a massive war in Iraq, let us not forget. The electorate may be dense on lots of topics, but most people realize that pissing away billions of dollars a month in the desert ($720,000,000 a day, according to the Washington Post, which probably doesn’t include all related, long-term costs) isn’t good for the rest of the economy.

Written by Seth Anderson

June 11th, 2008 at 8:48 am

Posted in politics

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Harry Reid – Italian Hater, or just racist

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I’ve been engrossed in Gus Russo’s book about the Chicago mob, The Outfit

The Outfit (Gus Russo)
“The Outfit” (Gus Russo)

Written in journalistic fashion (copious amounts of research, broadly described events, but no flights of purple prose), the book repeatedly sketches how upperworld corruption was an essential part of The Outfit’s business operation. Bold face names like Tom Pendergast and his protege, Harry Truman, guys like Richard Nixon, Joe (and Jack) Kennedy, various Chicago mayors (Daley the elder, Cermak, etc.), movie moguls like Louis B. Mayer and Harry Cohn, and so on all pop up as equal partners in various criminal schemes.

Surprisingly though, was a minor tidbit about Harry Reid while Gaming Commisioner in Nevada (pgs 347-349 in the paperback edition). Apparently, in the late 1950’s, after Nevada had been turned from a sleepy, two-bit cowboy town into a Rat Pack mecca by ambitious gangsters, the Mormon power-brokers decided that Italians were not to be welcomed anymore. Hence, in 1959 the Gaming Control Act which encouraged licensing to ‘savory characters’ only. However, in the first year of the act, licenses were approved for several convicted WASP bookies, gamblers, tax cheats, bribers, and murderers (such as Charles “Babe” Baron, twice arrested for murder). Italians need not apply – even squeaky clean ones like the gourmet chef, Joseph Pignatello.

Soon the Board instituted

the infamous Black Book, which listed “unsavory characters” who not only could never be licensed, but were barred for life from setting foot in a Las Vegas casino. The introductory remarks noted that the list had been devised so that certain individuals “not discredit the gaming industry”. Discredit gambling? This is the same pastime that the board’s Mormon dogma prohibits and labels immoral. All those listed were so included without formal notification, hearing, or appeal. And the reasons for their inclusion could be mere hearsay. Of the initial eleven placed in the Black Book, eight were Italian, and most had been implicated or convicted in the same sorts of crimes as the WASPs who were licensed:bootlegging and bookmaking.

…Over the years, 62 percent of those placed in the Black Book have been Italian, dwarfing the numbers of the runners-up, Anglo-Saxons (15 percent)…“The mere Italian sound of a man’s name generated considerable suspicion.” In a candid moment, board chairman Harry Reid once said, “The reasons for their being singled out are not important as far as we’re concerned.”

Does this even matter? Somehow, to me, it does. Granted, politicians are as frequently racist, ignorant, jerk-offs as the rest of us, but I dream of leaders who have higher standards then the norm. I had halfway allowed myself to respect Harry Reid, especially after recent comments like:

in May of 2005 when he said of George W. Bush, “The man’s father is a wonderful human being. I think this guy is a loser.”

Oh well, throw him back on the heap. I’m done with him.

Perhaps I’m just sympathetic to profiling, having been searched so many times at airports (12 straight times at one point, though that’s better now, I guess I’ve been taken off the list, knock on wood-like object), attacked by drunken frat boys, or whatever. I still cling to my idealism, regardless of how delusional it is. Blame the hillbilly heroin my doctor recently proscribed for back pain….

Written by Seth Anderson

January 10th, 2006 at 12:24 am

Posted in Suggestions

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