Wednesday, March 6, 2013

March 6


Another reason to be embarrassed to live here.


What up, IKEA? First it's horse in your Swedish meatballs, and now this?

Swedish furniture giant Ikea pulled a batch of almond cakes from its restaurants in 23 countries on Tuesday after Chinese authorities said they contained coliform bacteria, normally present in faecal matter.

The Swedish-made cakes had failed tests "for containing an excessive level of coliform bacteria, according to the General Administration of Quality Supervision, Inspection and Quarantine," the Shanghai Daily website wrote.


Huffington Post - 'Politicians Massively Overestimate Conservatism Of Constituents - Study'

Huffington Post:

Politicians, especially conservative ones, massively overestimate the conservatism of their constituents on the issues of gay marriage and universal health care, anacademic paper published Sunday has found.

David E. Broockman of the University of California at Berkeley and Christopher Skovron of the University of Michigan surveyed nearly 2,000 state legislative candidates in the 2012 election and asked them what percentage of their constituents they thought supported same-sex marriage, a universal health care system and abolishing all welfare programs.

The result was a vast conservative misperception. Constituents, on average, supported gay marriage and universal health care by 10 percentage points more than their politicians had estimated. For conservative politicians, the spread was around 20 percentage points, meaning that conservative legislators tend to greatly overestimate how conservative their constituents actually are.

"For perspective, 20 percentage points is roughly the difference in partisanship between California and Alabama," the authors write. "Most politicians appear to believe they are representing constituents who are considerably different than their actual constituents."

To make matters worse, they seem to believe this despite all evidence to the contrary; look at all the shock GOPers when they found out that Mitt Romney lost or the continuing belief that voters will eventually blame Pres. Obama for the sequester. They literally do not know what voters in the real world are thinking.

This also explains why Republicans find it so easy to say the most insane things. Todd Akin could've just as easily began his weird rape-theorizing with, "As everyone knows…"

Of course, none of this is especially new. I've been pointing out for years that conservatives believe whatever the hell it is they want to believe — and reality be damned. I mean, how many times do we need to see polling that shows "even registered republicans think…" or "even NRA members believe…" before it becomes the most obvious thing in the world? But it's always nice to have these things confirmed empirically.

It may seem like the study shows that liberals and conservatives make the same mistake, but nothing could be further from the truth: liberals and conservatives make the exact opposite mistake in judging the conservatism of their constituents. Liberals err on the side of caution, while conservatives see their constituents through rose-colored glasses. And, of course, the righties are twice as far removed from reality.

But still, there's valuable insight for lefties here. "For liberal politicians, they appear to have more freedom than they may have initially perceived to act on issues such as gay marriage and health care," the report tells us. "But the perception that constituents' wishes are more limited means that a politician may think that 60 percent of constituents need to agree before moving forward with a policy, hence, the idea of a universal health care system is often seen as out-of-reach, though it may not be."

In other words, political courage from the left stands a good chance of paying off. Especially when your election opponent thinks everyone listens to Sean Hannity.


U.S. stocks closed at an all time record high today.

About $10 trillion has been restored to U.S. equities in the past four years as retailers, banks and manufacturers led the recovery from the worst bear market since the 1930s. It took the Dow less than 65 months to rise above its previous high set on Oct. 9, 2007, more than a year faster than the recovery from the Internet bubble.

The news isn't all roses, as the job market is still on shaky ground, however I believe it's worth noting that this recovery, contrary to previous recoveries, has not been based on inflating another bubble.


Governor Howdy Doody Suffers Another Setback, The Stupid Party is Still Stupid

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 5:00 pm by JM Ashby

Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal's signature legislation, which I lovingly refer to as "Jesus Rode a Dinosaur Education," has been ruled unconstitutional in its entirety.

Gov. Bobby Jindal's education overhaul dealing with teacher tenure and evaluations was ruled unconstitutional Monday by a Baton Rouge judge. The judge had previously upheld three sections of the act, but reversed his ruling after agreeing to review the case at the request of both sides. [...]

Caldwell agreed with the Louisiana Federation of Teachers that he had misread part of the legislation before his previous ruling. He then said the entirety of the law must be declared unconstitutional because it violates the "single object" section of the state Constitution, which says any bill brought before the Legislature must contain only one "aim or purpose of enactment."

Jindal intends to appeal the ruling and take the issue all the way to the state Supreme Court, so this won't be last time we hear of it.

And while we're on the subject of Bobby Jindal — CPAC, the yearly convention of conservative wackaloons that serves as a sort of Burning Man for Randian bible salesmen, moon-landing skeptics, and former Klansmen turned Obama pancake syrup entrepreneurs has apparently invited Donald Trump to appear in front of this year's gathering of The Aggrieved.

CPAC's guest list now includes Mitt Romney, Donald Trump, and Sarah Palin, but not Chris Christie or Bob McDonnell.

So much for not being the "stupid party."


House GOP: Lets Tie Contraception to a Government Shutdown. Because Why Not?

Posted on March 5, 2013 at 4:00 pm by JM Ashby

Defunding the non-existent organization ACORN isn't the only wedge issue some House conservatives are attempting to insert into a continuing resolution to prevent a government shutdown.

A group of GOP representatives are demanding that any continuing resolution approved by the House repeal the contraception mandate included in Obamacare.

A group of House Republicans said Tuesday that a bill to fund the federal government should include provisions targeting the contraception mandate in President Obama's healthcare law.

GOP lawmakers reintroduced a bill Tuesday to repeal the contraception mandate. They also pressed their party's leaders to roll back the provision as part of a continuing resolution later this month to keep the federal government operating. [...]

Tuesday's letter, led by Rep. Diane Black (R-Tenn.), indicates that fights over the health law could still roil the funding debate.

Because, as you know, if we simply deny women access to contraception we will usher in a new era of moral righteousness and economic surplus.

According to The Hill, the bill introduced by lawmakers led the Diane Black would also "allow doctors and nurses to sue if they are forced to perform an abortion over their religious objections." And if you're asking yourself what contraception and abortion have to do with preventing a government shutdown, that makes two of us.

It's entirely possible that John Boehner will be forced to violate the Hastert Rule once again and pass a continuing resolution with Democratic votes.


Because ACORN!

The Cape Fear Laugh

House Republicans introduced a continuing resolution yesterday that would prevent the federal government from being shut down, and this was tucked away inside of it.

WASHINGTON — A new short-term budget bill introduced on Monday by House Republicans includes a bizarre provision banning federal funding to anti-poverty group ACORN, despite the fact that the group has already been stripped of federal funding — and has been defunct for nearly three years. [...]

Section 510 of the latest legislation, introduced by House Appropriations Chair Hal Rogers (R-Ky.), reads: "None of the funds made available in this Act may be distributed to the Association of Community Organizations for Reform Now (ACORN) or its subsidiaries or successors."

The chairman of the House Appropriations Committee apparently isn't aware that ACORN closed in 2010. The chairman!

There's no hope for us. Shut it down.


From Meet the Press:

DAVID GREGORY: But there's no ironclad evidence that lowering marginal tax rates is going to lead to economic growth.

SPEAKER JOHN BOEHNER: Oh yes there is. There's mountains.

Actually, Fluffy tried to reason with Boehner today. This exchange encapsulates the grade level of the responses he received from the Tan Man.

"Oh yes there is. There's mountains."

What's that? Second Grade?


GOP Rep Offers Amendment Prohibiting Obama From Playing Golf Until White House Tours Resume

Environmentalists Are Religious Crazies - Says the most un-self-aware crackpot ever.

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