Posted on 26-11-2012
Filed Under (Sports) by Rashtrakut

But for a handful of conference title games the regular football season is almost over.  Award season will soon be upon us to be followed by the Bowl games.  In a week Texas A&M QB Johnny Manziel could end up as the first freshman to win the Heisman trophy – reserved for the most outstanding player in college football.  Yet Manziel – aka Johnny Football – faces a stiff rear guard action from people who do not believe a freshman should receive the Heisman.  This prejudice used to extend to all underclassmen until Tim Tebow won the award as a Sophomore a few years back.  Sophomores won the Heisman the next two years.

Manziel has been a human highlight reel obliterating SEC offensive records.  While his sheer reckless and fearless play can induce palpitations in this Aggie, he has been an absolute delight to watch.  Added to the joy is Texas A&M’s first 10 win season since 1998 after a decade of mediocrity sometimes laced with sheer awfulness.  Some enterprising soul compiled clips of all of Manziel’s 43 TDs from this season where he racked up 4,600 yards and became the first Freshman to pass for 3,000 yards and rush over 1,000 yards.    Johnny Football should soon become Johnny Heisman.  Enjoy the video below and Gig’em Aggies:

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Posted on 21-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It is an irony too delicious to pass up.  America’s lousy electoral system is still counting votes two weeks past election day.  With votes still to come in from Democratic states like California, it seems almost certain that the most despised plutocrat in America will end up with 47% of the vote.  Mitt Romney has become a Republican un-person since doubling down on his 47% remarks after the election.  It is fitting that 47% will be the final post script on a political career mostly spent losing elections.

Goodbye Mr. 47%, and good riddance.

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In a rare moment of decisive action the Indian government hanged Ajmal Kasab, the surviving Pakistani terrorist from the 2008 26/11 Mumbai attacks.  The last couple of years have seen tedious posts in this blogger’s Facebook feed with friends whining that the Indian government managed to do _____, “BUT KASAB IS STILL ALIVE.”  A few weeks ago when Kasab fell ill in prison with rumors of dengue fever, snarky comments that a mosquito may manage to do what the Indian government could not proliferated.

The reality is that there never was much chance of Kasab receiving a reprieve from the hangman.  He was captured on photograph participating in the Mumbai attacks.  He had been abandoned by his home country Pakistan.  Even with India’s reluctance to use the death penalty, no Indian government would have dared to pardon the most notorious criminal in Indian custody.  It was only a matter of time before the bloodlust of the mob was sated.

While no tears need to be shed for his fate, Ajmal Kasab was merely the vicious tool of murderous masters.  The Pakistani terrorists in the 26/11 attacks received their instructions from handlers in Pakistan – almost certainly handlers from Pakistan’s rogue spy agency the ISI.  The wing of Lashkar-e-Taiba that supplied Kasab and his terrorist brethren from Pakistan’s lost underbelly has merely changed its name and its leader Hafiz Muhammad Saeed still roams free.

Pakistan reluctantly admitted the nationality of Kasab, but has done little else to curb its support of terrorism as a tool of state policy.  The aftermath of the Osama Bin Laden raid has pushed some of these activities underground for now but nothing has been done to curb the flow of available recruits to the terrorist recruiting mills.  Even the outrage over the Malala Yousafzai attack has not led to any concrete steps on the ground.

Pakistan is essentially a failed state.  Its state security agencies still shelter the Taliban and Kashmiri jihadist fronts.  Its policies towards its neighbors on the west and the east are largely negative.  Its corrupt civilian government has little legitimacy.  The judiciary appears to have overreached and has lost the heroic halo from its role in bringing down the Musharraf dictatorship.  The army has indicated that it is not subject to any civilian oversight.  The state has no control over large parts of the tribal north-west.  Rebellion simmers in Baluchistan.  Nobody seems to have any control over what the ISI is up to.

Indians woke up today to the news that Ajmal Kasab has been hanged.  While they celebrate they should remember that his ISI handlers still roam free.

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Posted on 20-11-2012
Filed Under (Current Affairs) by Rashtrakut

“Vae, puto deus fio” (Dear me, I must be turning into a god.)

– The emperor Vespasian on his deathbed.

One wonders whether Bal Thackeray (obituary here) uttered some similar sentiments.  Evidently the Maharashtra police seem to think that a new deity has been added to the Hindu pantheon.  In the latest assault of free speech in India, a mild Facebook rant and a Facebook like ended with the arrest of two students.  The “offensive” post questioned why the whole city of Mumbai was forced to shut down on the death of a private citizen when national heroes were ignored.  The resulting criminal charge was “hurting religious sentiments” of Thackeray’s followers who followed up the police complaint by ransacking an orthopedic clinic run by the original poster’s uncle – which does bring up the question why Shiv Sena goons keep trashing hospitals…but i digress.  The terrified young women have withdrawn the post and apologized for the temerity of engaging in free speech.

Indian civil society and social media is now up in arms and the state government has promised strict punishment “if the policemen are found guilty” – i.e. nothing will happen.  The Shiv Sena thugs are typically unrepentant.   India has lately been showing a depressing tendency to crack down in free speech on social media.  Many colonial era laws enacted to suppress dissent have been retained by India after independence to preserve communal harmony.  The result is a thin skinned populace that runs to the police every time anything remotely offensive gets uttered.

This is creates a mockery of India’s guarantee of free speech. As previously noted on this blog, freedom of speech implies the freedom to offend – otherwise it would not be a freedom that needed codifying.  In India, thin skinned crybabies are using loosely drafted laws to suppress any dissent.  This is rapidly becoming a gut-check moment for Indian democracy.  Will it retain the liberal free speech traditions embodied in its constitution and encouraged by its first Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru?  Or will it continue down the road traveled by his grandson Rajiv Gandhi – whose government was the first to ban Rushdie’s Satanic Verses?

So far India’s vibrant civil society has loudly challenged such free speech violations.  Yet India’s politicians and their (sometimes uniformed) thugs continue to persist in such conduct.  Without stringent electoral and legal consequences for such acts, Indian free speech will remain under siege.

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Posted on 20-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

He was originally a cartoonist by trade.  He never held political office.  He was reviled, hated and feared by millions.  Yet the death of Balasaheb Keshav Thackeray brought India’s commercial capital Mumbai to a standstill.  Two million people (including many of India’s film, commercial and political elite) attended his funeral which included state honors and a 21 gun salute.  The state of Maharashtra was shut down, partly from respect and more so from fear of his thuggish followers.

Thackeray’s claim to fame and power was his political party the Shiv Sena which he founded in 1966.  His virulently anti-communist party was originally encouraged by the state’s ruling Congress Party as a rival to Mumbai’s dominant communist trade unions. It was also a nativist regional party that tapped into the resentment of native Maharashtrians who felt displaced by immigrants from the rest of India (particularly South Indian Tamils, Marwaris and Gujaratis).  It also aggressively embraced Hindu causes and engaged in Muslim baiting.

The Sena’s rise to power was steady, winning control of the Bombay municipal corporation in the 1980s and the Maharashtra state government (in alliance with the BJP) in the 1990s.  However, the Sena could not stay at top of the peak.  Power brought factional infighting and later a split as Thackeray designated his surviving son Uddhav as his successor instead of his thuggish but more charismatic nephew Raj.  Raj Thackeray founded his own political party which split the Sena vote and prevented a return to power at the state level.

Thackeray attained national notoriety in the 1990s when his party was accused of causing the anti-Muslim Bombay riots in 1993.  Over the years he shocked the intelligentsia by professing admiration for Hitler and engaging in crude Muslim bashing.  He was even briefly stripped of his right to vote for soliciting votes with inflammatory statements.  Yet Thackeray had a strong base of support from blue collar Maharashtrians who benefited from social services from local Shiv Sena branches and appreciated a son of the soil party that vocally supported their interests.

Many educated Maharashtrians, like this blogger, had little use for the Shiv Sena.  The Sena displayed little tolerance for dissent and was notorious for using brute force and thuggery for perceived slights.  As an example, in 2001 after the death of Sena leader Anand Dighe in an accident its thugs ransacked and burnt down the state of the art hospital where he died.  The hospital has never been rebuilt and its shell still stands as a mute reminder of Sena thuggery.  When Salman Rushdie’s Satanic Verses was banned in India, Thackeray told Muslims to learn how to take their lumps.  Yet when a later Rushdie book “The Moor’s Last Sigh” contained a caricature of Thackeray, it was banned in Mumbai to protect his sensitive feelings.

However as a cousin noted a few days ago, Thackeray was not that different than the chauvinistic regional chieftains in other Indian states.  The primary difference was the openness with which he uttered his prejudice and sent his thugs to suppress dissent.  He was the first man to give a legitimate alternative to the over-powerful Congress party in Maharashtra.  Yet in the grand scheme of things the influence of Thackeray and his ilk is largely negative to the Indian political fabric.  A country as diverse as India with political parties looking primarily and often solely to protect their parochial interest runs the risk of turning the country into the crumbling Austro-Hungarian Empire.

In his last years, Thackeray was a bit of a defanged tiger.  His nephew Raj Thackeray had stolen much of the nativist thunder from the ailing old man.  He and not the designated heir Uddhav is likely to be the ultimate heir of Thackeray.  And so Balsaheb Thackeray’s legacy will live on.  How India manages to contain it will decide whether the Union of India survives or slowly splinters.

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Posted on 15-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

It seems we still have Mitt Romney to kick around one more time. Just when we could hope to see the last of the Bain plutocrat, he shook the etch-a-sketch one last time. This summer Romney’s campaign was shaken by the release of the video where he tagged 47% of the country as moochers. After initially petulantly standing by the remarks Romney laughably and unconvincingly asserted he was for the 100%. Now the election lost, his political career over and unwilling to accept he was outfought by a community organizer the plutocratic mask is revealed once more.

In a call to donors Romney whined that President Obama won by giving “gifts” to his constituency – women, young voters and minorities. On election night Bill O’Reilly engaged in similarly racially loaded rhetoric.

There is of course a total lack of self-awareness on Mitt Romney who wanted to give billions of dollars in goodies tax cuts to his fellow plutocrats and whose Medicare lie was an implicit promise of goodies to old voters. However in the Republican mind only Democratic Party voters want “stuff.”

In a sign of the coming political oblivion of Mitt Romney, his party’s governors and presidential hopefuls spent no time throwing him under the bus. Unlike Romney they understand just how big a disaster the 47% comments were, even though their understanding extends to semantics and not actual policies.

So Romney stands alone, exposed once final time as a giant dick.

UPDATE:  Audio added below.

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Last month, in the 17th week of her pregnancy, Savita Halappanavar started to miscarry.  Admitted to hospital doctors informed her that the fetus had no chance.  However since the fetus still had a heart beat doctors cited Irish law and evidently the phrase above in refusing to permit a medical termination of the pregnancy.  So the 31 year old dentist was kept in hospital for two and a half days of agony until the heart beat stopped.  However, by then she had contracted septicemia.  She died four days later.

I have trouble expressing just how angry this callous death sentence passed on Savita Halappanavar by Ireland’s almost total ban on abortion makes me.  This was not a case where the fetus had a chance to survive.  But rather than limit the tragedy by saving the mother, they kept her in agony until it was too late to save her.  The medical necessity of the mother was trumped by the religion based ban imposed by the law.  This death occurred a month after a bunch of so called doctors issued a statement that abortion was not medically necessary to save the life of a pregnant mother.

This is not a scenario totally alien to the United States.  The platform of one of our parties calls for an absolute ban on abortion, which could lead to deaths like this.  The loosely drafted personhood amendments that right wing groups have placed on various state ballots could also prevent medically necessary pregnancies like these.  Then there is the compassionate Bishop Olmstead of Phoenix who excommunicated a nun who as an administrator of a Catholic hospital allowed a medical termination of a pregnancy to save the life of the mother.  The Bishop then followed it up by stripping the hospital of its Catholic status – probably inadvertently improving the caliber of healthcare available to women.

Many Irish have expressed their shame and anger at the death of Savita Halappanavar.  However, the question is whether this finally leads to a change in Irish law and permits doctors to respond to obstetric emergencies.  If it does, the tragic and senseless death of Savita Halappanavar will not have been in vain.

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Posted on 10-11-2012
Filed Under (Sports) by Rashtrakut

Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:23

For the last time this night SCOOOOOOOOOBBYY DOOOOOOOOOO For those who are wondering what this is about see here.  Need to party.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:18

I am in absolute shock…a good  shock…but still a shock.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:15

DOWN GOES BAMA…DOWN GOES BAMA….JOHNNY FOOTBALL FOR HEISMAN!!!!!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:14

WOW!!!! Offsides Bama…first down Aggies

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:12

Lousy play calling Aggies have to punt…Bama will get the ball back

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:09

Come on offense…one first down wins this.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:08

Its intercepted..its intercepted A&M still alive!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:04

Shit!!!  There is the play action bomb I was waiting for

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 18:03

Crap…3&out…Bama gets the ball with a chance to go ahead.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:58

Crap…deep bomb to Cooper torches A&M’s pass D…Bama back in it.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:55

A&M playing bend but don’t break…and almost intercepts…McCarron.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:50

LOL, the Bama returner was tackled by his own blocker

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:47

Beautiful deep pass by Manziel to Swope…and Then TD A&M to Malcom Kennedy..A&M goes for the kill

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:41

Whoop…Yeldon fumble…come on offense

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:40

Crap…Bama connects on a deep pass to a wide open WR.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:39

Hey..someone calls a Bama OL for holding…color me shocked.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:36

Ah…another Bertolet moment…missed FG!!!! Frack!!! Frack!!!! Frack!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:33

Big 15 yard personal foul on Bama for hitting defenseless reciever

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:32

Dang!!! What a catch by Swope over the middle

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:28

3 & out Bama after 3 passes and 1 completion…am puzzled why they are not pounding the ball.  Johnny Football time.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:24

In 3 quarters A&M 62 plays to Bama’s  45

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:21

Crap…A&M relies on Bertolet…and he somehow makes it….still up 6.  Now defense has to step up.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:16

A&M trying to pick on Fulton using the bigger Evans…but he finally breaks one up.  False start forces 3rd and 9 but Johnny Football runs for the 1st down (favorable spot).  A&M at the 10 after a quick run by Malena….A&M heads into the 4th knocking on the door and still somehow up 3…Do I dare believe?

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:12

A bit stunned to see Bama’s D wearing down before A&M.  Need some Trey Williams speed here to take advantage.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:11

Substitution confusion for Bama forced to take a time out.  They are subbing along with A&M to slow the pace down, but have to think that all that running will tire them down.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:10

A&m moving the ball this drive…three physical catches by Evans on this drive.  Swopes has been silent for a while…and there is a short screen to him on cue.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:05

Delay of game on A&M…lousy start to the second half.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 17:01

A&M is selling out to stop the run…Bama forced to go for FG…and barely in.  3 point game.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:59

That will hurt…huge conversion by Bama on third down to the RB…A&M defense on its heels.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:57

Please stop talking about AJ McCarron for the hypesman.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:55

Not sure why Bama is not pounding the big backs up the middle.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:50

WTF…referee made the tackle there…nice to see they call holding on at least one team.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:49

As usual Dingleberry’s play calling falls apart in the second half.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:48

Ticky tack call by refs…the same geniuses who missed the hold call on the last play.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:44

Bama is going to just pound the rock here….not sure why Bama has not used more play action here….nice defense by A&M…3rd down…there should have been a hold call on that play…3 and out Bama

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:41

3 & out A&M…not a good start…Bama can take the lead here.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:40

Dammit Dingleberry stop the designed QB runs

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:39

A&M gets the ball to start the half.  One thing I am very happy about Sumlin is that they are not scared by Alabama’s defense.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:19

I am very happy with this team, but this team is a couple of recruiting classes away from competing.  A&M can still win, but the defense  is showing its limitations.

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Posted on 10-11-2012
Filed Under (Sports) by Rashtrakut

Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:18

A&M takes the knee goes into the half up six…Shades of LSU…A&M up early byt Bama coming back.  A&M gets the ball to start the half. New thread here.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:08

Bama knocking on the door….should be able to pound it in….TD Bama

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:03

And the wretched crew is back…did not think A&M’s defense would hold up, but this is too early.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 16:00

A TD by Bama and they are right back in this game…enough time for them to pound the ball down the field.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:59

Bama stops the Aggies on 4th..Manziel took too many hits on that drive

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:56

Bama finally stops A&M on 3rd down.  A&M trying to decide what to do.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:53

A&M is running Manziel too much..AGAIN!!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:52

Dang…what a third down conversion…should have sacked him twice.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:50

A&M starts deep after a penalty on the return.  Bama crowd alive after the TD.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:44

Bama knocking on the door…and there is the physical TD.  Bama run game finally alive.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:42

Bad tackling by A&M…Bama going to go on 4th and 4…and they get a favorable spot from the refs..first down.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:40

Bama has essentially abandoned the pass…seems to be working this drive…play action coming soon.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:39

Bama finally converts its first 3rd down.  Fast start by A&M but this game is not over yet.  Bama can still run the ball at an undersized A&M…I think they score here.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:34

End of the first quarter 20-0 A&M over Bama

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:33

The fast A&M start is why Saban was bitching about the no huddle.  Bama’s complicated defense struggles when they cannot get calls in.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:30

WTF Bertolet…misses another XP 20-0.  Aggies need another kicker

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:29

TD Aggies 21-0 DANG!!!!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:27

Wait knee was down…so Bama gets a break….refs trying to held Bama…that was a TD

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:24

There goes Johnny Football on the ground…..1st down A&M.  The Sumlin offense is the first A&M team in the last year that gets the screen play working….and once again Manziel turns a sack to positive yards…Another quick pass and A&M back in red zone…Now A&M is getting the run up the middle going….some really bad tackling by Bama defense….TD A&M 21-0..Dang!!!!

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:18

Refs bailing out Bama defense with unnecessary measurement.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:15

Two quick passes out of the open back.  Cannot forget the run game.  Bama forced to call time out.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:13

10 years ago Texas A&M upset a #1 team behind the heroics of a Freshman QB…and Kevin Sumlin was OC back then…

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:11

A&M defense on fire, another Bama punt…Johnny Football time again

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:06

How the heck did he do that…TD pass by Johnny Football after almost fumbling the ball…Scoooby Dooooooo 14-0 Ags

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:04

Great fake option pass…Aggies in the red zone.  Michael needs to stop carrying the ball loose…and stop dancing around.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 15:00

And there is the Bama rushing game…should set up the play action nicely….A&M gets McCarron’s first INT of the year.  Aggies here to  play.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:54

TD A&M 10th game this season A&M scores first….and Bertolet gets the XP (Whew) 7-0 Ags

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:52

And there is why Manziel is dangerous..gashes Bama up the middle.  A&M in the redzone.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:51

A&M offensive coordinator Kingsbury starting the damn QB draw again….I don’t like this…yet facemask foul on Bama

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:50

If you see Scooby Doo references, this will be why.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:49

Bama on offense.  Tide probably wants to make a statement against an undersized A&M DL….but so far so good.  3rd and 8 coming up….Whew…3 & out…Johnny Football time coming up.

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Sat, 10 Nov 2012 14:46

Game time is almost here.  Have to admit I am very nervous.  Way too much hype building around a team that still has a lot to prove.  Johnny Football mania is building up, but the kid has a lot to prove.  Nick Satan is the best coach in the business and has had a week to prepare and deflate A&M.  The Tide OL will look to wear out A&M.

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Posted on 10-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

TPM has combined a mash up of the cringeworthy highlights of the final Presidential run of Willard (yes that is his first name) Mitt Romney.  Yes schadenfreude is still running strong through the weekend since we will not have Pinocchio to kick around much longer.  Rich men have run for President.  Businessmen have run for President.  But in the age of the modern political campaign, I don’t think a man with such an awkward public persona or a fundamental inability to relate with the serfs outside the castle on a personal basis has come this close to the Presidency.  Video below:

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Posted on 09-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

This post by a Romney volunteer shows just how big a clusterfuck the CEO candidate’s get out the vote operation and the Obama campaign imitating Orca app was. This article does does not get into how the Romney campaign overpaid for its ads allowing scam artists consultants to pocket huge commissions. Then again Romney made his money mot as a job creator or superb manager but instead by leveraging the tax code. American CEOs are generally glorified bean counters (and sometimes great salesmen) but often shitty managers of people – something to remember the next time a plutocrat promises a magic path to the political promised land.

I cannot help pointing out that the much maligned community organizer kicked this CEO’s butt and it wasn’t because of a hurricane.

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Posted on 08-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

On Wednesday, an emotional Barack Obama thanked his campaign staff who led him to victory in his last political campaign.  Reminiscing about his start as a community organizer and tearing up, Obama spared no praise for the foot soldiers of two of the best run Presidential campaigns ever.  The video below is very touching and worth watching:

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Posted on 08-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The spectacle of incompetence generated by electoral shenanigans of Florida Republicans finally draws to a close as Obama retains the Sunshine State and cements his electoral college blowout.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut
  • Elizabeth Warren (MA) – the first woman Senator from Massachusetts.
  • Tammy Baldwin (WI) – the first openly gay Senator
  • Mazie Hirono (HI) – first Buddhist Senator and first Senator born in Japan
  • Tulsi Gabbard (HI) – first Hindu elected to Congress.  Will be sworn in on the Bhagavad Gita.
  • ME, WA and MD the first states to approve gay marriage by public referendum.
  • WA and CO first states to legalize marijuana (not just the medical stuff) by referendum
  • Romney-Ryan are the first ticket to lose both home states since 1972.
  • Romney may be the only candidate to have 4 home states and to lose them all (MI, NH, MA and CA)
  • Puerto Rico voted for statehood, though the vote is controversial because of many blank votes.
  • The last three presidents have been re-elected (coincidentally they all had only daughters).  The only other time that has happened was with Jefferson, Madison and Monroe.
  • The number of women Senators reached an all time (so far) high – 20.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

In 1994 California Governor Pete Wilson secured re-election by enthusiastically attacking illegal immigrants with rhetoric that offended Hispanics.  As a result the Latino vote in California turned overwhelmingly Democratic.  The Republican Party in the home state of Reagan and Nixon has withered away and yesterday ceded super-majority control of the California legislature to the Democrats.

That is the demographic destiny that stares the national Republican Party in the face.  After 6 years of virulent rhetoric on illegal immigration and the passage of laws in states like Arizona that threaten anyone with brown skin with racial profiling, a presidential nominee who promised to deal with illegal immigrants by encouraging them to self deport, opposing the DREAM Act, the at times racist opposition to the elevation of Sonia Sotomayor to the Supreme Court and many such issues the Republican share of the Latino vote dropped from 31% to 21%.  Even Faux News acknowledged this demographic disaster yesterday.  The Old White core of the Republican Party is gradually dying off.  The percentages of Hispanics is surging.  Unless the Republican Party can bottle up the crazies they face a future as a permanent minority party or dissolution like the Whigs.

It is unclear the Republicans know how to solve this problem.  Talking heads like George Will and Bill O’Reilly suggested the solution was to highlight rising young stars like Florida Senator Marco Rubio.   It is profoundly ironic that the party that rails against affirmative action so eagerly highlights its token minority mascots as a solution to its problem with minority voters.  It is a superficial solution that really does not address the core of the Republican Party’s campaign.  To begin with Cuban Americans like Rubio or newly elected Texas Senator Ted Cruz have limited appeal to non-Cuban Hispanics – a big reason is the preferential visa regime available to Cubans.  Also, while the Republicans have gathered an impressive collection of minority faces in elected office – Governors Martinez (New Mexico), Sandoval (Nevada),   Jindal (Lousiana) and Haley (South Carolina) and former party head Michael Steele – none of this has translated to greater minority support.  The last few Republican presidential conventions appear to have had more minority speakers than attendees.

The simple reason is that the Republican Party’s policies turn off many minorities.  Putting a minority mask on policies the community despises is not likely to garner much support from the community.  So far most minority groups have not embraced the Randian fantasy of no government and do acknowledge that government can play a positive role.

One of the bright stars at the Republican convention was Mia Love.  A woman, African American and a Mormon from Utah she wowed the convention attendees.  She was widely expected to take out the one Democratic congressman from Utah – Jim Matheson.  She lost.  Her campaign was disorganized and extreme views on matters like ending the federal school lunch program did not help, even in Utah.  The more I read about her I get the distinct impression that the Republicans fell in love with a young attractive charismatic but inexperienced mascot who was just not ready for prime time – Sarah Palin anyone?

Expecting tokenism to trump policy is offensive.  Condescending remarks like those from Bill O’Reilly that embrace Mitt Romney’s infamous 47% comments are offensive.  Video below:

Active campaigns carried out by Republican Secretaries of State to discourage minority voting, the series of misleading robocalls directed at minority communities, the habit of sending poll watchers only to minority communities are factors that convince minorities that the Republican Party does not respect them or care about them.  And these are still basic matters of tone.  This does not address the substantive disagreement on bread and butter issues which trump agreement with Republicans on the religious culture wars.

The Republican Party was the party that freed the slaves.  However one of its founding constituent groups was the anti-slavery wing of the Know Nothings who were notorious for attacks on immigrants in antebellum America.  Even though the Republican Party held on to a large portion of the black vote until Goldwater voted against the Civil Rights Act and Nixon implemented the Southern Strategy, they spent the intervening period pissing off large chunks of every single ethnic immigrant group entering the United States.  So why would it be different for Hispanics?

The Republican Party needs a through rethink on how they approach minorities.  Nominating someone like Rubio is papering over its serious problem with minorities and will not do much to draw support.  They need to adapt to the reality that we are no longer in Bill O’Reilly’s wet dream of an America controlled by the white establishment and stop embracing race baiters like Joe Arpaio.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Foreign Policy) by Rashtrakut

We won’t have Mitt Romney to kick around for much longer.  However, just released back story for Romney’s Benghazi blunder shows just how much Romney was in thrall to the neo-con elements of his base.  When the American consulates in Cairo and Benghazi came under attack on September 11, Mitt Romney jumped the gun to score cheap political points while the consulates were still under attack.  The Washington Post notes  that Mitt Romney was aware the next day he had blundered.  However, fear of the neo-cons being outraged prevented him from admitting his boneheaded mistake.

Within hours, on the advice of his messaging shop and with the blessing of his foreign policy advisers, Romney approved a statement that accused Obama of sympathizing with anti-American interests in the Muslim world. It was sent out shortly after 10 p.m.

By sunrise the next day, it was clear to Romney that they had acted too quickly. The campaign learned that four Americans had been killed in an attack on a U.S. mission in Benghazi, Libya, including Ambassador J. Christopher Stevens. Even to some Republicans, Romney’s hasty statement looked insensitive.

“We screwed up, guys,” Romney told aides on a conference call that morning, according to multiple people on the call. “This is not good.”

His advisers told him that, if he took back his statement, the neoconservative wing of the party would “take his head off.” He stood by it during an appearance in Florida.

A gutless weasel who cannot stand up to the extremists of his own party has no business being President.  We are lucky to have avoided a Romney presidency.

 

 

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Watching Faux News yesterday night was a delightful exercise in schadenfreude.  One of the highlights of comedy hour came after Ohio was called for Barack Obama, sealing his re-election.  Karl Rove who has spent a lot of money of some likely irritated plutocrats along with the Romney campaign disputed the call – even though it was clear to this amateur poll watcher that large swathes of Democratic counties still had to send in their results.  The whole fiasco delayed Mitt Romney’s concession for about an hour.

Rove was right in bringing up memories of 2000, but this did not appear to fit that scenario.  Of course Rove’s math has been known to be wrong – notably in 2006 where he confidently noted that he had numbers assuring a Republican win.  For those who missed it, the video of yesterday’s exchange is below.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Once again in no particular order:

  • The Mexican Drug Cartels – Washington and Colorado legalized marijuana last night. The United States may be gradually heading to sanity on the topic.

  • The American Catholic Church and homophobes – Obama won. Three states legalized gay marriage by voter referendum. Wisconsin elected Tammy Baldwin – the first openly gay Senator. Ouch!!!

  • Plutocrats – almost a billion dollars spent and Obama won. Sherrod Brown won. Linda MacMahon blew over 100 million dollars in her two futile attempts to buy the Connecticut Senate seat. And now your taxes will go up.

  • Joe Lieberman – couple more weeks and you join Mitt Romney in political retirement. Good Riddance.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

In no particular order and ignoring the obvious ones like Obama.

  • Arithmetic

  • Nate Silver who may or may not be a witch

  • The return of tax sanity in California.

  • Faux News, Rush Limbaugh and other right wing talking heads – four more years of peddling ludicrous lucrative conspiracies to a credulous conspiracy prone audience.

.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

The anonymous copyeditor who came up with the heading “Let Detroit go bankrupt.” That was a millstone even the most mendacious weathervane could not dislodge. As he ponders the end of a long political career littered with defeat, Mitt Romney probably wishes he had never penned that article.

Wherever you are you unsung hero, this blogger salutes you.

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Posted on 07-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:59

OK…turning in for the night as the Tormore is hitting critical mass.  Michele Bachmann still holds on for dear life.  Dems have narrow leads in the MT and ND Senate seats and the Republican incumbent narrowly up in NV.  Not sure why FL has not been called for Obama yet, but it will probably soon be.  If that result holds, Barack Obama won all his states except Indiana and North Carolina – which were very unexpected wins in 2008 to begin with.

The third consecutive President has been re-elected a feat not repeated since Jefferson, Madison and Monroe, as far as I can tell.  Unlike 2000 and 2004 I retire for the night very very happy.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:54

Jim Matheson (D- Utah) the ultimate political survivor http://motherjones.tumblr.com/post/35191998648/just-cant-beat-him-these-are-the-districts-that

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:48

Looks like Jim Matheson holds the lone Democratic Utah congressional seat over Mia Love, the latest Republican token minority superstar.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:32

New Hampshire’s governor, and entire congressional delegation are now all women.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:23

When was the last time 3 consecutive presidents were re-elected?  Has it happened since Jefferson, Madison, Monroe?  Cannot think of another example.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:14

Dang as I was typing this Bachmann’s lead dropped to 120, she trailed and then jumped back ahead #itsnotthescotch

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:08

The reelection of Obama avoids the nightmare scenario of Romney benefiting from a delayed boom next year a la Bill Clinton in 1993.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:07

Roseanne got 8000 votes in Florida #WTF

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:05

Obama at 50% of the popular vote.  No 2000 scenario, but that will not stop Republicans from denying a mandate in any case.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 01:01

I am happy I am at home swilling scotch in the warmth of my home…part of me wishes I was at the McCormick center.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:59

Shades of Obama of old in the speech..must be immensely relived his last election campaign is over.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:52

Obama wants to meet with leaders of both parties…but Boehner has doubled down on tax nuttery.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:44

Obama refers to his promise of  a dog in his speech four years back, says one is enough.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:42

Obama mentions working with Romney.  Don’t see that going very far.  The Republican party hates the guy.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:41

Obama speaking…sounds tired…hope this is a short speech.  Need to sleep.  Makes a nod about the messed up electoral system.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:38

If memory serves we had exactly same wet cold crappy weather in Chicago 4 years ago #preordained

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:36

Obama coming out to speak.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:33

Paul Ryan re-elected to the House.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:29

Democrats Allan Grayson (FL) and Carol Shea-Porter (NH) swept out in 2010, make it back to the House.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:27

Ballot initiatives

– Tax increases and death penalty ban going down in CA but only 20% reporting.
– Maine, Maryland and Washington (probably) legalize gay marriage.  First states to do that by referendum without a Bradley effect.
– Michigan repeals emergency manager law.
– Florida initiative to reject the Obamacare mandate loses, but wins in Alabama.
– Missouri votes to ban health care exchanges, which means I suppose the Feds do it for them.
– Colorado and Washington legalize marijuana
– Massachusetts legalizes med marijuana; euthanasia referendum tied.
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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:23

First person Obama called after Romney conceded was Bubba.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:16

Only battleground state Obama lost was North Carolina.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:14

Florida still not called, but Obama up 0.7

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:12

Joe Walsh goes down, Allen West goes down…come on Minnesota make it a trifecta

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:10

Advice for Republicans looking to flee

 

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:08

Looks like Obama coming out to speak soon.  Wonder if I stay up for the Bachmann result.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:06

Dems hold on to ND Senate seat.

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Wed, 07 Nov 2012 00:05

Mitt Romney gives a gracious concession speech.  Talking heads start the pass time of “if only this guy had run the campaign this way.”

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:57

Romney speaking now.  He should throw a bone to Palin and let her give a concession speech.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:54

Fat lady is singing.  Romney calls Obama to concede.  It may just be the Scotch…

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:53

Krauthammer on Faux saying the Republicans don’t need to change but somehow need to get hispanic votes.  Forgets that Romney closed the gap as Moderate Mitt.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:50

Dang!!! VA called for Obama.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:48

Bachmann up only 120 votes, Murphy takes the lead over West.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:44

Karl Rove offering advice to Obama on Fox.  Dear President Obama pay attention and do just the opposite.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:43

Karl Rove is spinning an alternate reality on Faux News.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:42

Bachmann up only 200 votes…please god please…

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:41

Jennifer Rubin’s twitter stream is hanging its hat on the narrowness of the victory.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:39

Karl Rove trying to justify blowing a billion dollars…too funny.  Stating the case for no mandate.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:38

Some of the people on the A&M board are nostalgically talking of secession.  They do bbelong in the SEC.  #theSouthshallriseagain

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:34

Liberated and opened up a bottle of Tormore that had been lying forlorn for way too long.

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Posted on 06-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

I am currently channeling my inner Cartman against Mitt Romney. Meanwhile Pinocchio is still refusing to concede.

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Posted on 06-11-2012
Filed Under (Politics) by Rashtrakut

Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:19

Maryland becomes the first state to legalize gay marriage by popular vote.  Not heard about Maine yet.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:15

Fuck it…going to get the ice and scotch!!!

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:14

Mitt Romney ran a classless campaign…he leaves the same way.  Maybe he is waiting to write that concession speech.  Still waiting on the concession, with NV, IA and CO called it is OVER!!

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:11

Faux calls NV for Obama and CO is officially Obama, it over without Ohio.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:04

Fox News already talking on no mandate for Obama.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 23:01

Fox calls NV for Obama.  Am enjoying watching Faux News for a change.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:54

Chuck Todd noting the President is leading VA, FL and CO.  Maddow points out Karl Rove has a vested interest in dragging this out.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:49

Jeff Flake wins Arizona. Martin Heinrich wins New Mexico. Democrats at 51 in the Senate.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:45

I am currently channeling my inner Cartman against Mitt Romney. Meanwhile Pinocchio is still refusing to concede.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:37

Donald Trump, classy as ever.

 

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:34

OH has been called for Obama, but Romney not ready to concede.  On Faux News turd blossom pulled out his math to say it was not over.  NV, CO and IA need to end this.

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OK they better hurry up…don’t want to drink at 2 AM.

 

Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:21

Whew am I glad i don’t have to hide from this post http://rashtrakut.com/blog/2010/03/23/the-biggest-loser-why-health-care-reform-may-have-ended-mitt-romneys-presidential-dream/

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:15

Its….over…..Ohio to Obama per NBC.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:10

MSNBC calls IA for Obama…fat lady warming up vocal cords.   Maybe Mitt should start working on that concession speech.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:09

Denver Post calls CO for Obama.  NV and IA could end this without waiting for FL, VA or OH.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:06

McCain campaign manager Steve Schmidt acknowledging the demographic disaster facing the Republican party from its embrace of Pat Buchanan’s race polarization strategy.  Putting up token minorities is not enough in the long run.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 22:02

Pacific states close, Obama at 243 electoral votes.

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Tue, 06 Nov 2012 21:59

Tim Kaine beats George “Macaca” Allen.  To think one slur derailed the career of a man touted as a future Presidential candidate.

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