February 12th, 2011


CPAC Hires Waiter to Deliver Speech

Shocking Scandal: Tucker Carlson is Actually a Waiter!

It's Hard Out There For A Black Candidate At CPAC

Wandering around the vast and labyrinthine CPAC yesterday, I stumbled into Michael Williams, the Texas Railroad Commissioner (an important elected gig in the Lone Star State) and a Republican candidate for the Senate seat Kay Bailey Hutchison is retiring from.

Last year, I interviewed Williams -- who at the time was among the lucky conservatives to have Sen. Jim DeMint's (R-SC) endorsement in the Senate race that was supposed to happen when Hutchison quit after her run for governor (she didn't, so Williams had to wait.) During our chat, he told me how conservatives need to do a better job reaching out to the African American community, where he acknowledged right wingers have little entre or experience.

When I ran into him yesterday, it appeared conservatives have not made much progress on that front. Ahead of me was a CPAC attendee rushing past, as they are wont to do in this giant place.

"Hey, are you Herman Cain?" the young man asked Williams, referring to another African American conservative running for federal office and attending CPAC.

I asked Williams if that happened a lot.

"Not really," he told me. "A lot of people think I'm a waiter."

Williams blamed the confusion on his trademark bowtie, which -- like a lot of conservatives -- he wears all the time, and wears well.

A friend with him said that on more than one occasion, people had asked him to get them a drink.

"I think it's really because of the bowtie," Williams explained.

Confusion over who is and who isn't a waiter is certainly not limited to CPAC, or to conservatives in general.

But Cain and Williams, along with Rep. Allen West (R-FL), who'll be delivering the keynote address this afternoon, are pretty much the only black elected officials in attendance. It's at least a little striking that people here get the men confused or think they work here.
  • newantt

2010 Amazon drought Severe

Amazon drought 'severe' in 2010, raising warming fears
By Richard Black
Environment correspondent, BBC News
3 February 2011 Last updated at 14:23 ET

Last year's drought in the Amazon raises concerns about the region's capacity to continue absorbing carbon dioxide, scientists say.

Researchers report in the journal Science that the 2010 drought was more widespread than in 2005 - the last big one - with more trees probably lost.

The 2005 drought had been termed a "one in a century" event.

In drought years, the Amazon region changes from being a net absorber of carbon dioxide into a net emitter.

The scientists, from the UK and Brazil, suggest this is further evidence of the Amazon's vulnerability to rising global temperatures.

They also suggest the days of the Amazon forest curbing the impact of rising greenhouse gas emissions may be coming to an end.

The 2010 drought saw the Amazon River at its lowest levels for half a century, with several tributaries completely dry and more than 20 municipalities declaring a state of emergency.

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Me - I hate Christmas

Walker says National Guard is prepared

Gov. Scott Walker says the Wisconsin National Guard is prepared to respond wherever is necessary in the wake of his announcement that he wants to take away nearly all collective bargaining rights from state employees.

Walker said Friday that he hasn't called the Guard into action, but he has briefed them and other state agencies in preparation of any problems that could result in a disruption of state services, like staffing at prisons.

Walker says he has every confidence that state employees will continue to show up for work and do their jobs and he's not anticipating any problems.

His plan would require higher pension and health insurance contributions and remove bargaining rights except in a limited way over wages.

Chicago Tribune

Wisconsin May Take an Ax to State Workers’ Benefits and Their Unions

Citing Wisconsin’s gaping budget shortfall for this year and even larger ones expected in the years ahead, Gov. Scott Walker proposed a sweeping plan on Friday to cut benefits for public employees in the state and to take away most of their unions’ ability to bargain.

The proposal by Mr. Walker, a Republican who was elected in November after pledging that he would get public workers’ compensation “into line” with everyone else’s, is expected to receive support next week in the State Legislature, where Republicans also won control of both chambers in the fall.

The prospect left union leaders, state and local employees and some Democrats stunned over the plan’s scope and what it might signal for public-sector unions in the state. Union leaders began planning rallies in Madison and contacting lawmakers, pressing them to reject the idea.

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New York Times
  • newantt

2011 CPAC Straw Poll, Ron Paul no.1, Sarah Who? no.9

Ron Paul Wins 2011 CPAC Straw Poll, Sarah Palin Finishes a Distant 9th Place

 There more things change the more things stay the same.

For the second year in a row, Rep. Ron Paul, R-Tex., emerged as the potential presidential candidate that a group of conservative activists want to see at the top of the Republican ticket in 2012.

Paul won this year’s Conservative Political Action Conference straw poll by a healthy margin, getting 30 percent of the vote. His nearest competitor was former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney, who won 23 percent of the vote. Most of the other possible candidates wound up in the low single digits.

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2011 CPAC Presidential Ballot Straw Poll Results:

Ron Paul – 30 percent
Mitt Romney – 23 percent
Gary Johnson – 6 percent
Chris Christie – 6 percent
Newt Gingrich – 5 percent
Tim Pawlenty – 4 percent
Michele Bachmann – 4 percent
Mitch Daniels – 4 percent
Sarah Palin – 3 percent
Herman Cain – 2 percent
Mike Huckabee – 2 percent
Rick Santorum – 2 percent
John Thune – 2 percent
Jon Huntsman – 1 percent
Haley Barbour – 1 percent
Other – 5 percent
Undecided –1 percent

Suzumiya Haruhi

NYT: China Might Force Visits to Mom and Dad

BEIJING — On the eve of the Lunar New Year festival, when Chinese flood train stations, bus terminals and airports to reunite with loved ones, one Chinese ministry is proposing that the government mandate closer families.

A traveler carried her baby in Hefei. The Lunar New Year travel rush began Jan. 19.

Under a proposal submitted last Monday by the Civil Affairs Ministry to China’s State Council, adult children would be required by law to regularly visit their elderly parents. If they do not, parents can sue them.

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First post. *crosses fingers*
  • mswyrr

when lobbyists kill democracy, eat its good cuts, and dance on its grave

When Democracy Weakens

As the throngs celebrated in Cairo, I couldn’t help wondering about what is happening to democracy here in the United States. I think it’s on the ropes. We’re in serious danger of becoming a democracy in name only.

While millions of ordinary Americans are struggling with unemployment and declining standards of living, the levers of real power have been all but completely commandeered by the financial and corporate elite. It doesn’t really matter what ordinary people want. The wealthy call the tune, and the politicians dance.

So what we get in this democracy of ours are astounding and increasingly obscene tax breaks and other windfall benefits for the wealthiest, while the bought-and-paid-for politicians hack away at essential public services and the social safety net, saying we can’t afford them. One state after another is reporting that it cannot pay its bills. Public employees across the country are walking the plank by the tens of thousands. Camden, N.J., a stricken city with a serious crime problem, laid off nearly half of its police force. Medicaid, the program that provides health benefits to the poor, is under savage assault from nearly all quarters.

The poor, who are suffering from an all-out depression, are never heard from. In terms of their clout, they might as well not exist. The Obama forces reportedly want to raise a billion dollars or more for the president’s re-election bid. Politicians in search of that kind of cash won’t be talking much about the wants and needs of the poor. They’ll be genuflecting before the very rich.

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Pretty much. Depressing, I know. Here, have a cartoon.

king rad

Woolly Octopus Attacks Tokyo! Godzilla is called in to investigate.

Image and video hosting by TinyPic

The 'social knitwork': Guerrilla knitters take on Tokyo

“Guerilla knitting” sounds like contradiction in terms. After all, how can a peaceful, meditative and solitary activity bear any connection to a movement suggesting solidarity in subversion?

Sounds like a tale spun of yarn, but it’s reel ... I mean real, and happening in Tokyo.

A diaspora of around 20 knitters around Japan -- from Aichi to Niigata -- have found themselves entangled in a woolly web of mischief that came about through tweeting.

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The 'social knitwork': Guerrilla knitters take on Tokyo | CNNGo.com
source has photos and a gallery
Bree Gun

Ann Coulter: The Left Is Trying To Co-Opt Gays

There's been a bit of CPAC-related news today, this being the last day of the conference. Ann Coulter took the podium this afternoon to address the attendees and was intent on being as characterstically provocative as possible.

In her speech, she spoouted that "the left is trying to co-opt gays. They should be on our side. We watched this for 30 years. The left keeps using one group after another to destroy the family. That is their goal, to destroy the family. Liberals want the family destroyed. Then you have loyalty directly to the state."

Coulter continued her invariably outlandish comments by proclaiming during a Q&A session that she thinks "there should be more jailed journalists."

Watch her CPAC speech, if you can stomach it: