Saturday Morning Reads: Assorted Nuts

nutsGood Morning!

BB had to cover for me yesterday because my allergies were just going so crazy that I was dizzy most of the morning and afternoon.  The combination of four nights of cigarette smoke and Live Oak Pollen have me suffering like crazy.

I’ve been putting ice on my red, swollen, and sore eyes, taking benedryl so I can breathe, and coughing/sneezing like crazy.  The usual antihistamines have not been enough.  My voice is so husky you’d think I was on the make for some one.

The good news is that it stormed today and I think the trees are through that phase and all bars in New Orleans go smoke free on the 25th.  I only have a few weeks left and will I be celebrating like crazy.

Speaking of crazy, an Iowa Homeschooling event hosted a few of the nuttier Republican candidates and my governor proved he was right there riding the crazy train with Ted Cruz.   Ted Cruz called the boycotts of states passing bigot bills “waging jihad” against religious freedom.   I wonder if he realizes that majority of people in this country–including christians–support civil rights over bigotry dressed up as religion.

“We look at the jihad that is being waged right now in Indiana and Arkansas going after people of faith who respect the biblical teaching that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Cruz said during a panel moderated by conservative radio host Steve Deace on Thursday. “We need to bring people together to the religious liberty values that built this country.”

The religious values that built this country are basically called “separation of church and state” not enshrinement of one cult’s pet peeves.

Yes, Jindal was there and was just as idiotic. Iowa is the state where he and his recently retired aides have Nuts01residency these days. BB rightly points out that Jindal now seems to have something against corporate America.  That ought to make the Republican Donor Class run away.

The main theme at an Iowa homeschooling event yesterday attended by four potential GOP presidential candidates was what Sen. Ted Cruz called the gay “jihad” against religious liberty in the form of nondiscrimination laws.

Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal attempted to add a populist bent to his remarks on the topic — an increasingly popular strategy among LGBT rights opponents — by declaring that “an alliance of Hollywood elites and corporate America” are “assaulting the rights of Christians” by opposing measures like those in Indiana and Arkansas that would have given broad leeway to business owners to discriminate against LGBT customers.

“We need to remind these elites, America did not create religious liberty, religious liberty created the United States of America,” he told the enthusiastic crowd.

Remember, “elites” mean people educated in facts not fantasy.  Jindal use to fancy himself one of those up until he switched from running for governor of Louisiana to leader-in-chief of the stupid party.

Huckabee and Santorum were there too with their usual brands of hate and stupidity. 

All of the hopefuls stressed their respect for and connection to home schooling. Jindal and Huckabee touted their state legislation supporting home schooling. Santorum noted “it’s great to be here with fellow home school moms and dads.”

He implored the parents to trust their judgment in choosing a president just as they trust themselves to make the best decisions about educating their children.

“Do not defer to the experts,” he said.

Home schooling isn’t easy, Huckabee said. He hopes there are enough Americans “who have the same conviction to make the sacrifice for the country that you are willing to make for your children.”

However, he worried that too many people will not make that choice.

There are 80 million self-identified evangelicals, but only half are registered to vote and only half vote in a presidential election.

“I worry there’s not the passion, the interest, and the commitment that is needed to get our country back where it needs to be,” Huckabee said. “You represent that passion.”

Jindal warned that winning the 2016 presidential race is not optional — “not because we are Republicans, not because we are conservatives, but because it is the future of our country that is at stake.”

“I don’t think we are beyond the tipping point, but I think it’s only four more years of this president’s policies, whether it is Hillary Clinton or whoever, we will get to that point,” he said.

Cruz drew a parallel between President Jimmy Carter and President Barack Obama — “same failed economic policies, same misery, stagnation and malaise.” The solution is another “Reagan revolution” by Republicans, Christian conservatives .and conservative Democrats.

“That’s what it’s going to take to turn this country around,” he said.

We’ve had enough of that kind of crap since the first s0-called “Reagan revolution.”  I think most of us recognize that nearly everything walnut-300he did has made us less. The biggest roots of income inequality came from the changes made back then. We’re living the results of less upward mobility and less real incomes daily now.  We’ve also seen assaults on women’s health and rights as well as assaults on science, public education and unions.  None of the outcomes have been pretty.

Republicans are already planning to run ads to assault Hillary Clinton’s presidential bid announcement.  She has them running scared and ugly.  One of the ugliest comments this weekend came from the NRA’s Wayne LaPierre whooping it up with his gun fetishists in Tennessee.

At the NRA’s annual convention today, Wayne LaPierre spent quite a lot of time in his speech talking about Hillary Clinton and how much they cannot let her become the next president. He joked about her history with various scandals, called her secretive, and asked if anyone really thinks she deserves to be the first female president.

Clinton is expected to announce her campaign on Sunday, but to LaPierre, another Clinton term in office should just mean more “scandal and deceit and self-serving behavior.”

And then, he offered this over-the-top dire warning:

“She will not bring a dawn of new promise and opportunity. Hillary Rodham Clinton will bring a permanent darkness of deceit and despair forced upon the American people to endure.”

As for the ugly ads, you can read about it in here.

The ads, highlighting controversies while Clinton was secretary of state and questions about foreign donations to her foundation, will run in swing states: Ohio, Florida, Virginia, Colorado, North Carolina and Iowa, according to Raffi Williams, a spokesman for the Republican National Committee.

“From the East Wing to the State Department, Hillary Clinton has left a trail of secrecy, scandal and failed liberal policies that no image consultant can erase,” RNC Chairman Reince Priebus said in a statement. “Voters want to elect someone they can trust and Hillary’s record proves that she cannot be trusted. We must ‘Stop Hillary.'”

That has been a Republican imperative for months. In Ohio, a state that Republicans historically have needed to win the White House, Clinton would beat any of the Republicans now considering a run, according to a recent Quinnipiac University poll. But Ohioans don’t many of those potential challengers, which will change in the coming months, and Clinton’s lead has slipped from a Quinnipiac poll two months ago.

I can only imagine they will be extremely misogynistic and hateful given that’s just about the Republican Playbook these days.

images (2)So, here’s something really nutty about Jeb Bush.  Why on earth has his voter registration listed him as Hispanic? 

Florida Gov. Jeb Bush updated his voter registration the day a New York Times story revealed he listed himself as Hispanic on the form in 2009.

A Bush spokesperson confirmed the change.

Bush, whose wife and three children are Hispanic, attempted to laugh off the mistake in a tweet.

If he can’t even check the right box on a simple question, would you trust this man with the button to our nuclear arsenal? Sheesh!

Okay, so this isn’t about a Republican nut, just a rapist nut.  Former Football player and rape drug using rapist Darren Sharper will be subject to a live time of penis monitoring.  I didn’t even know there was such a thing!

Convicted rapist Darren Sharper will serve nine years in prison for his crimes, but he won’t return to a regular life after he finishes his sentence. If two New Orleans judges approve the deal instead of issuing a 20-year sentence in Louisiana, Sharper will be treated as a sex offender, and closely monitored for the rest of his life.

The New Orleans Advocate has details of the pending agreement. After prison, Sharper would be on parole in California, registered as a sex offender and narcotics offender. He’d be tracked by GPS. After parole, he’d be moved to Arizona for probation for the rest of his life. Sharper would no longer be allowed to drink alcohol, go to a bar, use online dating, or travel more than 50 miles away from his home without permission from state officials. His penis would be also be monitored:

Sharper will be subject to lie detector tests and, while on lifetime probation in Arizona, to the “penile plethysmograph,” in which a sensor is attached to the penis while an array of sexual images flashes before his eyes, to gauge arousal.

(It’s unclear what exactly what the penile plethysmograph does or proves.)

Here’s an article from the NYD that explains just that.nuts-484262_640

Many convicted sex offenders are required to undergo this testing, which involves strapping a pressure-sensitive device to a man’s penis and gauging his reactions to stimulating pictures, video and audio, experts said.

Some experts said sex offenders’ responses — especially to “deviant” material — could determine their likelihood of reoffending.

Others contest the merits of penile plethysmography because it’s intrusive and not always accurate.

The test works by having sex offenders attach the device, which resembles an arm blood pressure cuff, to themselves in a separate room from a clinician at a doctor’s office or in prison.

The device measures blood flow to the penis, either through changes in the volume or circumference, as subjects view stimuli that are tailored to their problems or fetishes, according to guidelines by Oregon’s Department of Health.

Pictures and videos show people of different ages and genders partaking in various sexual scenarios and states of undress.

How often the test is conducted depends on the offender.

Orleans Parish Assistant District Attorney Christopher Bowman told the Daily News he could not comment on how this testing would be conducted with Sharper because he could not discuss open cases.

Some experts claim penile plethysmography can help stop sex offenders from acting on their arousal by pinpointing what they’re subconsciously attracted to.

“Once an offender’s deviant sexual arousal patterns have been identified, treatment interventions can be introduced which are designed to reduce or eliminate these deviant response patterns,” the Council on Sex Offender Treatment wrote.

“Behavioral treatment teaches the offender the sequence of events leading to the commission of his deviant behavior and then provides the offender with specific methods to disrupt the offense cycle.”

It’s important to know what sex offenders’ deviant fantasies are, especially because self-reporting can be inaccurate, they said.

“Those sex offenders with the most deviant phallometry patterns have been found to have the highest recidivism,” the Council said, calling it “among the most successful” tactics.

But penile plethysmography can’t go as far as conclude whether someone will reoffend, David Samadi, the chairman of urology at Lenox Hill Hospital, told the Daily News.

I’m not sure if this actually works. I’m sure there are studies out there somewhere.

So, this is an open thread and please post whatever you want today!  Have a great Weekend!!

Evening Reads: Outrageous…bloody outrageous!

I am so disgusted with today’s “hearing” on birth control that I can’t even express the way I feel without using phrases that contain words like… “Fuck” and “You” and “Assholes.’

Perhaps I should have warned you, this post contains language not safe for work, school,  church…or congressional hearings.

So, here are the top headlines at Memeorandum:

Democratic Women Boycott House Contraception Hearing After Republicans Prevent Women From Testifying | ThinkProgress

A picture of the witness table:

Issa also dismissed the Democrats’ woman witness as a “college student’ who does not “have the appropriate credentials” to testify before his committee.

Darrell Issa Compares His All-Male Anti-Contraception Panel To Martin Luther King | ThinkProgress

House Oversight Committee Chairman Darrell Issa (R-CA) has been catching flack for holding a panel today relating to women’s access to birth control that featured zero women, but Issa won’t let the fact that few Americans agree with his position deter him. Taking to Twitter this evening, he fired back with a always-appropriate Martin Luther King Jr. comparison:

Indeed, as King knew, the “arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice” and depriving women who work for Catholic hospitals of affordable birth control. Issa’s hearing also featured giant posters of King and other historical greats whose footsteps the panel was apparently following in, like President Kennedy, and Mohandas Gandhi.

But as Adam Serwer points out, King actually wrote that he hoped state and federal governments would appropriate “large sums of money” to educate people about birth control.

Rep. Darrell Issa Bars Minority Witness, a Woman, on Contraception – ABC News

A Capitol Hill hearing that was supposed to be about religious freedom and a mandate that health insurers cover contraception in the United States began as an argument about whether Democrats could add a woman to the all-male panel.

“Where are the women?” the minority Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., asked early in the hearing.

Santorum Sugar Daddy Foster Friess Gives ‘Gals’ Contraception Advice: Put An Aspirin Between Your Knees | ThinkProgress

Given that Aspirin is not a contraceptive, Friess seems to be suggesting that women keep the pill between their knees in order to ensure they legs stay closed to prevent having sex. Conspicuously, Friess doesn’t put the same burden on men.

Friess’ general attitude seems consistent with the candidate he supports. Santorum personally opposes contraception, has pledged to lecture women on the dangers of birth control if elected president, and thinks states have the right to outlaw it.

How The GOP Went Back To The 1950s In Just One Day | TPM2012

Very neatly, and on three separate fronts, conservatives in America turned the clock back to the 1950s with their rhetoric about women’s rights Thursday, according to women in politics on both sides of the aisle. This could be a big problem for the GOP when the calendar reaches November.

Let’s take a look at Thursday, February 16, 2012, the day Washington fell into a time-warp.

On Capitol Hill, Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) held hearings on contraception and religious freedom that produced the now-famous picture of a table full of men called to weigh in on access to contraceptives. Democrats wanted a woman — a Georgetown law student with a friend who lost an ovary because the university doesn’t cover birth control — to say her piece at the hearing, but Issa wouldn’t let her on the panel. He said she wasn’t “appropriate or qualified” to discuss the topic at hand.

Jaws dropped in the women’s rights community.

“She didn’t have the right credentials?” NOW President Terry O’Neill scoffed. “I’m thinking to myself, ‘Buddy, you and your little panel over there don’t have the right anatomy to talk about birth control.’”

News about women’s attire at CPAC and the shit that spewed from Friess are beyond religious freedom:

Friess’ comment was astonishing in two ways. First, it derailed the entire contraception debate that Republicans have been desperate to keep about “religious freedom” rather than make it about, well, who does or does not keep her knees together. Second, there wasn’t a woman around who didn’t have a guttural reaction.

“I want to punch that guy in the face,” said one female operative who called me on an entirely unrelated matter. Phone calls and IM conversations for the rest of the day included similar appraisals of Santorum’s biggest financial backer.

So there you have it: modern women being told by Republicans that they’re not qualified to talk about their own sexual health, are dressed like “whores” and probably need birth control because they’re so slutty. And this is just in one day.

Uh…the article forgot a couple of items… voting against the Violence Against Women Act: GOP Oppose Violence Against Women Act Because It Helps Too Many | Care2 Causes

The state sanctioned rape of women who want to use their rights to legal abortions:State-Sanctioned Rape: Trans-Vaginal Ultrasound Laws in Virginia, Texas, and Iowa | RH Reality Check

Anyone who thinks this is a religious liberty or religious freedom issue are fucking batshit crazy…delusional…sexist…discriminatory…dumbass…cruel…demeaning…dickwads…and that includes the women who go along with this shit.

This is outright war against women. Period.

I saw a tweet today that said, I vote and I sue.

Well, dammit…the GOP assholes stepped up the war on women today. We have to stop this insanity now.

Live Blog: Watching the Republican Candidates Beating a Dead Horse?

Is this really only the 13th debate? It seems like about 30, doesn’t it? Do you have the stomach for it? I plan to listen on satellite radio for as long as I can stand. I figure there could be a few laughs to be had if Mitt and Newt go for each others’ throats. The only other candidate there tonight with a sliver a chance is {eeek!} Ron Paul.

The debate will be on Fox News at 9PM. Here’s how Fox sees it: Gingrich Faces Off Against GOP Field at Iowa Debate

Newt Gingrich enters the high-stakes debate in Iowa Thursday night with a political target on his back, as Mitt Romney and the rest of the Republican presidential candidates look to challenge his front-runner status ahead of the Iowa caucuses.

Gingrich, for his part, is vowing to stay positive.

On the day of the debate, his campaign aired a new Iowa ad that claimed his candidacy embodies “bold ideas and new solutions” for the country.

“Others seem to be more focused on attacks rather than moving the country forward. That’s up to them,” Gingrich said in the ad.

We’ll see how long it takes for Mr. Nasty to lash out at someone. Any bets? You can watch the live stream of the debate at
The coverage actually starts at 8:30PM.

Rasmussen Reports had a new poll out today with Romney taking the lead in Iowa, 23%, to Gingrich’s 20% and Paul’s 18%. So it appears that Romney still has a chance.

Business Insider says tonight’s debate is “HUGE.”

After a rollercoaster shadow primary, the stakes could not be higher this evening. With Newt Gingrich’s lead evaporating, the Iowa race is still anybody’s game. This debate is the candidates’ last chance to make an impression on voters before they hunker down for the holidays. A breakout performance — or major gaffe — tonight could actually make or break a campaign.

They ask: “Can Newt take the heat?” “Will the Mitt-bot self-destruct?” “Can Rick Perry hold it together?” “Will Ron Paul be a factor?” Plus they suggest that Jon Huntsman could be the next candidate to “surge.” I’ll believe that when I see it.

Chris Cillizza calls this “the kitchen sink debate,”

because you can bet any and every attack that the Republican candidates might have been keeping in their pocket will come out tonight. Why? Because it’s the last chance for Iowa voters — and voters nationally — to compare and contrast the candidates before an actual ballot is cast.

And brings up similar questions to those listed above from the Business Insider piece.

I’m ready to live blog, and home some of you will join me. I don’t know how long I’ll last, but I’ll hang in there as long as I can.

Tuesday Reads

The reaction Obama should have to the unemployment numbers

Good Morning!! I wrote about Obama’s three-state bus tour last night, so I won’t go on and on about it; but I watched the speech at the Decorah town hall late last night. I just had to share this excerpt:

“We had reversed the recession, avoided a depression, gotten the economy moving again. But over the last six months we’ve had a run of bad luck. Some things that we could not control.” He mentioned the Arab Spring, which led to higher gas prices, the tsunami in Japan, and the European debt crises.

“All those things have been headwinds for our economy….Now, those are things that we can’t completely control. The question is, how do we manage these challenging times and do the right things when it comes to those things that we can control?”

“The problem is that we’ve got the kind of partisan brinksmanship that is willing to put party ahead of country, that is more interested in seeing their political opponents lose than seeing the country win. Nowhere was that more evident than in this recent debt ceiling debacle.”

So nothing was wrong with the administration’s policies? If it hadn’t been for those uncontrollable events, everything would have been just fine? Excuse me, but wasn’t there a report a last week that showed there basically has never been a real recovery?

Have you been following the Anonymous protests against the Bay Area Rapid Transit (BART) authority in San Francisco? The protests were in response to the shooting of a homeless man by BART police–the second such shooting in the past couple of years.

After a white BART police officer shot and killed an unarmed black man shortly after New Year’s 2009, the transit agency agreed to 127 policy changes recommended by an independent auditor. They included arming officers with Tasers and providing crisis-intervention training for the BART police force.

Eighteen months after the auditor issued its final report, BART has fulfilled only a fraction of those recommendations. By last month, barely a quarter of all officers possessed Tasers, even though the agency had purchased enough for each one. Just 10 percent had received training in how to defuse potentially violent situations involving the mentally ill.

On July 3, a BART officer shot and killed Charles Hill, a homeless man, at the Civic Center station in San Francisco. Transit police said Mr. Hill, appearing inebriated, was armed with a bottle and two knives and acted aggressively when two officers confronted him. After a minute-long confrontation, one of the officers shot Mr. Hill.

Last week, the hacktivist organization attempted to shut down BART with a ddos attack, which failed. Next,

participants took to raiding databases and leaking the personal information of 2,000 people.

On Thursday, BART switched off access to voice and data services, from all of the major cellular carriers, including AT&T, Verizon, Sprint, and T-Mobile. The shutdown was in response to plans to use mobile devices to coordinate protests during the evening commute.

“[The protest organizers]…stated they would use mobile devices to coordinate their disruptive activities and communicate about the location and number of BART Police….BART temporarily interrupted service at select BART stations as one of many tactics to ensure the safety of everyone on the platform,” a statement from BART said.

“Cell phone service was not interrupted outside BART stations. In addition, numerous BART Police officers and other BART personnel with radios were present during the planned protest, and train intercoms and white courtesy telephones remained available for customers seeking assistance or reporting suspicious activity.”

When I heard about this yesterday, I wondered if the U.S. was beginning to turn into Egypt, with authorities attempting to keep people from using social networking sites.

The digital interruption caused the protests to be cancelled, but enraged protesters. Thus, the stage was set for a confrontation today. And the confrontation came, with all four downtown SF BART stations forced to shut down.

BART temporarily closed all four downtown San Francisco stations tonight – Civic Center, Powell, Montgomery and Embarcadero – a crowd gathered to protest the transit agency’s decision to cut underground cellular phone service for three hours Thursday evening in an effort to quell a protest.

As of 6:45 p.m., the Civic Center and Montgomery stations were open. At the Powell and Embarcadero stations, passengers could exit trains but not board them.

The closures began at 5:25 p.m., when protesters were kicked out of the Civic Center station, then began marching toward the other stations. That prompted BART to close them, one by one.

The Muni Metro stations at the same locations were closed in tandem with the BART stations. Trains continued to run through the stations, only allowing passengers to exit.

In addition, the FCC has begun an investigation of BART’s actions in shutting down cell phone service. So I guess we’re not Egypt quite yet.

Remember the story about David Prosser, the Wisconsin Supreme Court judge who allegedly choked a female colleague, Anne Walsh Bradley? A special prosecutor has now been named to investigate the incident.

Sauk County District Attorney Patricia Barrett will serve as special prosecutor in the investigation of a physical altercation between two state Supreme Court justices.

Justice Ann Walsh Bradley has said Justice David Prosser put her in a “chokehold” during a June argument over a case in her chambers. Others have said Bradley came at Prosser with fists raised and he put up his hands to block her or push her back.

The incident occurred June 13, a day before the deeply divided court issued a 4-3 ruling upholding Republican Gov. Scott Walker’s legislation curtailing collective bargaining for public employees. That case started when Dane County District Attorney Ismael Ozanne brought a lawsuit claiming a legislative committee violated the state’s open meetings law in March in forwarding the legislation to the state Senate. Ozanne sought to invalidate the law, and implementing it was delayed for months while the case was pending.

The high court ultimately ruled key parts of the meetings law do not apply to lawmakers.

We’ll have to keep an eye on this story. Also in Wisconsin, today three Democrats face recall votes.

The Wisconsin recall fight ends Tuesday, and while the state Senate is no longer in play, Republicans could cut into the gains Democrats made last week. One Democratic seat in tomorrow’s election is probably safe; the race for the other one is very close.

“Here we’re fighting on our turf,” said Wisconsin Democratic Party spokesman Graeme Zielinski. “We’re cautiously optimistic.”

State Sen. Jim Holperin appears to have the slight edge in the hotly-contested 12th district as a well-liked incumbent, but increased Republican enthusiasm in this GOP-leaning territory makes it basically a toss-up.

Right now, Republicans have a 17-to-16 majority in the state Senate, thanks to the Democratic victories in last Tuesday’s recalls, when six Republicans faced challenges and two lost.

If you haven’t read it yet, please try to get through the Texas Monthly cover story on Rick Perry’s very bizarre religious beliefs. I can’t really do the story justice in a short excerpt, but just the same, I’ll give you a sample to get you started. Two pastors, Tom Schlueter of Arlington, TX and Bob Long of San Marcos, TX had come to see Perry at the Governor’s office in order to inform him of some prophecies that involved him (Perry). They explained that Texas is the “prophet state,” and will lead the U.S. toward “Godly rule.”

At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter “declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand,” Long later told his congregation.


At the end of their meeting, Perry asked the two pastors to pray over him. As the pastors would later recount, the Lord spoke prophetically as Schlueter laid his hands on Perry, their heads bowed before a painting of the Battle of the Alamo. Schlueter “declared over [Perry] that there was a leadership role beyond Texas and that Texas had a role beyond what people understand,” Long later told his congregation.

So you have to wonder: Is Rick Perry God’s man for president?

Schlueter, Long and other prayer warriors in a little-known but increasingly influential movement at the periphery of American Christianity seem to think so. The movement is called the New Apostolic Reformation. Believers fashion themselves modern-day prophets and apostles. They have taken Pentecostalism, with its emphasis on ecstatic worship and the supernatural, and given it an adrenaline shot.

The movement’s top prophets and apostles believe they have a direct line to God. Through them, they say, He communicates specific instructions and warnings. When mankind fails to heed the prophecies, the results can be catastrophic: earthquakes in Japan, terrorist attacks in New York, and economic collapse. On the other hand, they believe their God-given decrees have ended mad cow disease in Germany and produced rain in drought-stricken Texas.

Their beliefs can tend toward the bizarre. Some consider Freemasonry a “demonic stronghold” tantamount to witchcraft. The Democratic Party, one prominent member believes, is controlled by Jezebel and three lesser demons. Some prophets even claim to have seen demons at public meetings. They’ve taken biblical literalism to an extreme. In Texas, they engage in elaborate ceremonies involving branding irons, plumb lines and stakes inscribed with biblical passages driven into the earth of every Texas county.


Here’s another disturbing article, posted at The Institute for Southern Studies. Next low-wage haven: USA. This one is long too, but here’s just a bit of it.

For years advisers like the Boston Consulting Group got paid big bucks to tell their clients to produce in China. Now, they say, rising wages there, fueled by worker unrest, and low wages in Mississippi, Alabama, and South Carolina mean that soon it won’t be worth the hassle of locating overseas.

Wages for China’s factory workers certainly aren’t going to rise to U.S. levels soon. BCG estimates they will be 17 percent of the projected U.S. manufacturing average — $26 an hour for wages and benefits — by 2015.

But because American workers have higher productivity, and since rising fuel prices are making it even more expensive to ship goods half way around the world, costs in the two countries are converging fast.

Dan Luria, research director of the Michigan Manufacturing Technology Center, says many of the big-name consultancies, which until a year ago were advising their clients to “Asiafy their footprints,” are now telling companies to think twice.

BCG bluntly praises Mississippi’s “flexible unions/workers, minimal wage growth, and high worker productivity,” estimating that in four years, workers in China’s fast-growing Yangtze River Delta will cost only 31 percent less than Mississippi workers.

That’s before you figure in shipping, duties, and possible quality issues. Add it all up, says BCG, and “China will no longer be the default low-cost manufacturing location.”

Serfdom, here we come!

Last night I wrote about the suspicious suitcase that were left outside John Boehner’s Ohio office. A similar event happened in Beverly Hills today.

Beverly Hills police blew up an aspiring screenwriter’s laptop and script when investigating a suspicious package Thursday morning on Rodeo Drive.

The screenwriter, who was not identified, apparently left his briefcase — with the computer and script inside — unattended at a talent agency office.

Beverly Hills Police Lt. Tony Lee said police, not knowing what was inside the briefcase, detonated it as safety precaution.

Lee said the owner was distraught when he learned what happened to briefcase.

I hope his laptop wasn’t in the briefcase too.

Well, that’s all I’ve got for today. What are you reading and blogging about?

When Obama Said, “Be the Change,” Did He Mean, “Do It Yourself?”

This morning, President Obama set out on a three-day “bus tour” of five tiny towns in three Midwestern states before he returns to his comfort zone among the wealthy elites on Martha’s Vineyard for a ten-day vacation.

According to the National Journal, each of the towns on the tour is in an area that is doing very well economically.

The best part about these towns? They’re doing darn well in the face of the country’s worst economic decline since the Great Depression.

Where the country faces an unemployment rate stubbornly stuck in the 9-point range, the four counties Obama will visit top out at 7.7 percent in Henry County, Ill. The lowest, in Winnishiek County, Iowa, is a mere 5.9 percent.

Part of the reason the town mayors all said they escaped the perils of the recession is that none relied heavily on hard-hit industries like construction. Most have diverse industries, split between a small amount of manufacturing and typical Midwestern agriculture. So when Obama goes to “discuss ways to grow the economy, strengthen the middle class and accelerate hiring in communities and towns across the nation,” he’ll be talking to success stories. As cameras flood in, they won’t find closed-down plants or houses with foreclosure signs; they’ll find picturesque small farms, and, in Alpha, Ill., an 8-acre corn maze.

However, a difficult issue for the Obama is that the towns he will visit are

overwhelmingly white; so white that 2010 census figures suggest Obama will be the only black person in Atkinson, Ill., when he visits on Wednesday. That image may be neutral among, say, white, working-class voters, with whom Obama has struggled in recent elections. It won’t look as good to the African-American community, which has been particularly hard hit by the recession.

African-American unemployment hovers at 16.2 percent, the highest for any ethnic group and double the rate of unemployment for whites. While Obama spends the beginning of the week in three cities with white populations over 93 percent, the Congressional Black Caucus will be hosting job fairs, seminars and job readiness workshops in struggling cities over the August recess, hoping to connect unemployed African-Americans with employers in Detroit, Miami, Atlanta, and Los Angeles. The bus tour may not sit well with the CBC, either: Obama will not be attending any of the Congressional Black Caucus events.

That’s pretty troubling, although not surprising. You’d think if the taxpayers are covering the expenses, the President could at least talk to some people who are suffering the worst consequences of the Great Recession.

Jay Leno got off a couple of middling-funny cracks about the trip and the U.S. economy last night.

Leno: President Obama is off on his three-state bus tour this week. I believe the three states are Confusion, Delusion and Desperation.

Leno: More fallout from that Standard & Poor’s credit downgrading of the U.S.. Today England, France and Germany unfriended us on Facebook.

Leno: Treasury Secretary Tim Geithner will stay on with President Obama and not join the private sector. Thanks to his economic policies there are no private sector jobs.

Okay, I thought you could use a little comic relief. Now back to Obama’s road trip.

The head of the RNC Reince Priebus followed Obama to his first stop, Cannon Falls, MN, where he made his own failed attempt at humor, referring to the President’s trip as “Obama’s Debt-End Tour.” Frankly, I don’t get it. But Mitt Romney had a better one, the “Magical Misery Tour.”

None of the articles I’ve read say whether the President will actually ride on a bus from place to place, but I did learn that the Secret Service recently purchased two buses that will be used on the trip. The White House insists this is not a campaign swing, but an “official trip,” so we taxpayers will be picking up the tab.

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