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The Morning Grumpy – 10/17/12

17 Oct

All the news, views, and filtered excellence fit to consume during your morning grumpy.

 

1. Presidential debates are not about substance, they are about performance. Even moreso, they are about meeting the performance expectations of pundits so they can tell people whether or not you “did enough to win”. By that measure, President Obama clearly lost the first debate and suffered for it in the polls. Also by that measure, Governor Romney clearly lost last night’s debate and will undoubtedly suffer for it in the polls. However, there was one moment in last night’s debate that I think clinched President Obama’s re-election and we’ll look back on it as one of the finest moments in the history of televised debates.

The turn, the alpha-dog stare, the literal contempt in his eyes for Romney, the fucking disdain, all leading up to a “buck stops here” moment for the President on an issue where he is vulnerable. His indignation and demonstration of spine and leadership was palpable. I think that sealed it. It was a “mic drop” moment and Romney stumbled through the rest of his response and was off-balance for the remainder of the debate. He got destroyed.

1a. And, no, the Obama administration did not reject appeals for increased security at the American consulate in Benghazi. The New York Times reported this last week:

In a stream of diplomatic cables, embassy security officers warned their superiors at the State Department of a worsening threat from Islamic extremists, and requested that the teams of military personnel and State Department security guards who were already on duty be kept in service.

The requests were denied, but they were largely focused on extending the tours of security guards at the American Embassy in Tripoli — not at the diplomatic compound in Benghazi, 400 miles away. And State Department officials testified this week during a hearing by the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee that extending the tour of additional guards — a 16-member military security team — through mid-September would not have changed the bloody outcome because they were based in Tripoli, not Benghazi.

So, there’s that.

2. A big lie that Governor Romney told last night was that the President had “quadrupled the number of regulations on small business” during his first term. Yeah, not true, not even close to true.

Obama’s White House has approved fewer regulations than his predecessor George W. Bush at this same point in their tenures, and the estimated costs of those rules haven’t reached the annual peak set in fiscal 1992 under Bush’s father, according to government data reviewed by Bloomberg News.

Obama’s White House approved 613 federal rules during the first 33 months of his term, 4.7 percent fewer than the 643 cleared by President George W. Bush’s administration in the same time frame, according to an Office of Management and Budget statistical database reviewed by Bloomberg.

The number of significant federal rules, defined as those costing more than $100 million, has gone up under Obama, with 129 approved so far, compared with 90 for Bush, 115 for President Bill Clinton and 127 for the first President Bush over the same period in their first terms.

Can’t we all live in a world of shared facts?

3. How the creative class is reshaping America’s electoral map.

Our joint analysis also tracked the pattern of creative class voting in every presidential election since 1988. The table below summarizes the key results. The vote differential has grown steadily from just 6 percent in 1988 to more than 20 percent in 2008. The 2000 election saw a big jump and the trend has only continued since that time.

This is in line with the “emerging Democratic majority” thesis originally advanced by John Judis and Ruy Teixeira, who argued that the Democratic party was developing a powerful new voting bloc among the members of the new professional class centered in post-industrial urban “ideopolises.”

The Republican Party is losing the next generation of voters, firmly establishing themselves as the party of religious zealots and ideological xenophobes in the middle of America. Not a winning long-term gambit, in my estimation.

4. Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan showed up, uninvited, to a soup kitchen to “volunteer”. Hilarity and vacuousness ensued.

The president of the Mahoning County St. Vincent De Paul Society, Brian J. Antag, told the Washington Post: “We’re a faith-based organization; we are apolitical because the majority of our funding is from private donations. It’s strictly in our bylaws not to do it. They showed up there and they did not have permission. They got one of the volunteers to open up the doors.”

He added: “The photo-op they did wasn’t even accurate. He did nothing. He just came in here to get his picture taken at the dining hall.”

The Post reports that Ryan made the unscheduled stop after an event at Youngstown State University, and was there for about 15 minutes. But though the pictures taken shows Ryan apparently doing dishes, the food had already been served and everything had already been cleaned before he got there.

“Had they asked for permission, it wouldn’t have been granted. … But I certainly wouldn’t have let him wash clean pans and then take a picture,” Antag said.

Cynical, disrespectful, and opportunistic are a few words that come to mind.

5. Tanks, but no tanks.

CNN was allowed rare access to what amounts to a parking lot for more than 2,000 M-1 Abrams tanks. Here, about an hour’s drive north of Reno, Nevada, the tanks have been collecting dust in the hot California desert because of a tiff between the Army and Congress.

The U.S. has more than enough combat tanks in the field to meet the nation’s defense needs – so there’s no sense in making repairs to these now, the Army’s chief of staff Gen. Raymond T. Odierno told Congress earlier this year.

“When a relatively conservative institution like the U.S. military, which doesn’t like to take risks because risks get people killed, says it has enough tanks, I think generally civilians should be inclined to believe them,” said Travis Sharp a fellow at the defense think tank, New American Security.

But guess which group of civilians isn’t inclined to agree with the generals on this point?

Congress.

To be exact, 173 House members – Democrats and Republicans – sent a letter April 20 to Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, urging him to continue supporting their decision to produce more tanks.

Enough, already.

Fact Of The Day:  The NFL’s massive breast cancer and awareness campaign is essentially a scam with only 5% of the proceeds actually going to finding a cure rather than the 100% they claim

Quote Of The Day: “No acts of terror will ever shake the resolve of this great nation, alter that character, or eclipse the light of the values that we stand for.  Today we mourn four more Americans who represent the very best of the United States of America.  We will not waver in our commitment to see that justice is done for this terrible act.  And make no mistake, justice will be done.” – President Obama, 9/12/12 after attacks on our Libyan consulate

Video Of The Day: Buffalo TV News desperately needs a guy like Charlie LeDuff on the air.

Song Of The Day: “Doom and Gloom” – The Rolling Stones. This is their newest single and it’s important to remember that Mick Jagger is 69 fucking years old. Rocking song.

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