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Archive for September, 2013

The DNC is Nearly Broke

I’ve talked about this before, but when CNN talks about it, it has to be bad.

There’s another budget crisis in Washington, and it’s unfolding inside the Democratic party. The Democratic National Committee remains so deeply in the hole from spending in the last election that it is struggling to pay its own vendors.

It is a highly unusual state of affairs for a national party — especially one that can deploy the President as its fundraiser-in-chief — and it speaks to the quiet but serious organizational problems the party has yet to address since the last election, obscured in part by the much messier spectacle of GOP infighting.

The Democrats’ numbers speak for themselves: Through August, 10 months after helping President Obama secure a second term, the DNC owed its various creditors a total of $18.1 million, compared to the $12.5 million cash cushion the Republican National Committee is holding.

Several executives at firms that contract to provide services to the party — speaking anonymously to avoid antagonizing what remains an important if troubled client — describe an organization playing for time as they raise alarms about past-due bills falling further behind. And senior strategists close to the DNC say they worry the organization appears to have no road map back to solvency. “They really thought they could get this money raised by the summer,” one said, “but the fact is, from talking to people over there, they have no real plan for how to solve this.”

DNC national press secretary Michael Czin says the committee is working with vendors on a case-by-case basis to pay down their tabs. And filings show the organization over the last five months has made $4.5 million in payments to the Amalgamated Bank and appears to be hewing to a $1 million-per-month installment schedule now. “While we work to retire our debt, we’re not taking our foot off the pedal and are making the investments that will help ensure that Democrats are successful in 2014, 2016, and beyond,” Czin said. He pointed to ongoing work by the DNC’s National Finance Committee, which met over the weekend in Colorado to discuss fundraising strategy.

Last week August fund raising numbers were released, in them they showed the RNC had pulled down $6.8 million to the DNC’s $4.3 million.

DNC debt increased from $18.1 million to $18.2 million.

Why is this news?

Well, for a party with an occupant in 1600 Pennsylvania Ave, any sort of fund raising problem — especially this bad — is going to be noticed.  Typically, having the White House means more money, not less.  Oh, sure money is flowing to the committees (The DSCC is scorching the NRSC this cycle, which should worry those hoping for a GOP Senate takeover.) for 2014, but this is not exactly something a major party wants to see.

Part of the problem is that the Obama White House has little to no trust in DNC Chairwoman (and Florida Congresswoman) Debbie Wasserman Schultz.  Another is that Organizing for America, the post-Obama presidential campaign apparatus has urged giving to it instead of the DNC.  The White House has essentially cut the knees out of its own party apparatus all for the sake of promoting its own agenda.

That’s great and all…if the American people want said agenda.  (Clearly if you have to campaign for it after winning re-election, they probably don’t.)

The other factor, and I’ve said this before, is that a DNC in serious financial straights puts all state Democratic parties in financial straights.  How much cash on hand does DPW have?

Are the lack of DNC monies — or the concern that Tate won’t be able to deliver them in 2014 — one of the reasons why Democrats appear ready to hand their gubernatorial nomination to a woman who’s sole electoral service is a local school board?  Because she can afford a campaign they can’t?

Probably.  There’s very little reason not to think otherwise at this moment.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Cartoon of the Day

Sounds about right given the media perception going on right now…

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Cuba Lifts Decades-Old Ban on Playing Pro Ball Outside Nation

If sports has any effect on the politics of a nation as liberal sports columnists like to say, than this is pretty huge news.  With professional leagues banned for decades, any solid baseball player in Cuba has to play for the Cuban national team. So, for decades, the common practice for any big-name Cuban ball player who wanted come to America and play Major Leauge Baseball was to find a way to defect.

Once upon a time, the entire Cuban National Team defected when it was playing a series of exhibition games in Miami.  At one time, the defections got so bad, top Cuban talent would have round-the-clock security just to ensure they wouldn’t be able to defect and leave the Cuban National team.

Mind you, this doesn’t just apply to baseball, but soccer, volleyball (pretty big in Cuba) and any other team sports.  Baseball gets all the press because it’s the only sport where most of these players will go on to get big-money contracts.  The most recent high-profile Cuban deflection is L.A. Dodgers phenom Yasiel Puig.

Cuba announced Friday that its athletes will be allowed to sign contracts to compete in foreign leagues, a shift from decades of policy that held professional sports to be anathema to socialist ideals.

The measure promises to increase the amount of money baseball players and others are able to earn, and seems geared toward stemming a continuing wave of defections by athletes who are lured abroad by the possibility of lucrative contracts, sapping talent from national squads.

It was not immediately clear if the ruling would let Cuban baseball players jump to the U.S. major leagues without restrictions imposed by local or U.S. government policies.

Cuban athletes will have to pay taxes on any earnings from foreign clubs, and the 51-year-old U.S. embargo outlaws nearly all American transactions with the Cuban government.

Unfortunately, the American embargo on Cuba bars those who do defect from sending money to any remaining family members in Cuba.  Still, this change of rules in Cuba under Raul Castro is light-years ahead of anything Fidel ever did let talented Cuban athletes do when he ran the island.

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“Avengers: Age of Ultron” Trailer Now Available Online

Been looking for this video since July’s San Diego Comic Con, just amazed it took three months before it was finally cleared for YouTube.

San Diego Comic Con has very strict rules regarding video aired during panels.  Not only is it prohibited to film at Comic-Con panels, but many Hollywood studios will actively shutdown any and all postings on YouTube to the point of suing the individuals who put them online.

Three months after San Diego, it appears the embargo has finally been permanently lifted.

Enjoy.

 

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Google Turns 15, Celebrates with New Logo

Ah 1998, I think I was switching between Yahoo and Alta Vista for my search engines in college back then.  (Remember Alta Vista?  Their “Babel Fish” was the best of the original Internet translators.)

Anyway, Google is celebrating it with an update on its logo.  Since I poked fun of Yahoo’s a while back, it only seemed fair.

Goodbye puffy letters!  We’ll miss you!

GoogleLogo

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Cartoon of the Day

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This is Why Only “The Real Funny People” Are Let in

Every year around this time, typically as a stress-reliever and fund raiser for charity, the annual “DC’s Funniest Celebrity Contest” takes place.  Performers in the past have included — and I’m not kidding here — folks like Americans for Tax Reforms’ Grover Norquist, sitting Congressmen and Senators, members of the press, as well as others.

Past winners have included Ariana Huffington, Mike Huckabee, Chris Matthews of MSNBC, and James Rosen of Fox News.  So, it’s a bipartisan event and usually is fun for all.

Well…fun for everyone except this guy it would seem.

This year’s D.C.’s Funniest Celebrity contest may go down as the most memorable and not for what was going on onstage. Comedy headliner Dan Nainan — a professional comedian who in the past has performed for President Obama — got into a skirmish with Newsweek Daily Beast Correspondent Josh Rogin. Rogin sent out several Tweets during Nainan’s set. “Dan Nainan was funny until he dusted off his 2005 Katrina jokes in a gratingly bad [George W. Bush] impression,” Rogin wrote. “Dan Nainan makes his umpteenth joke about how Asians [can’t] distinguish between letters ‘L’ and ‘R.’ Election, erection we get it,” Rogin added.

Nainan then approached Rogin, who was sitting at the back of the DC Improv comedy club and punched him.

“Dan Nainan comes over to me and says, ‘Are you Josh Rogin,’ and I said yes and then he punched me in the jaw, then he pushed me, then he walked away and about 10 seconds later he came over and punched me again,” Rogin told Whispers directly after the fight. (Whispers was also an eyewitness to the incident.) “At that point I yelled, ‘What the hell are you doing?’ other people noticed and they courted him off and the bouncers escorted him from the show room and we called the police and he’s in the process of being arrested,” Rogin continued.

Nainan was unavailable for comment about what provoked the incident, as he was being led out of the venue by D.C. Police in handcuffs.

Not sure that was supposed to be funny.

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Cartoon of the Day

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Image of the Day

Here’s the image of the Tower Bridge / Leo Frigo Bridge in Green Bay, better known as the I-43 Bridge, this morning caught on Wisconsin DOT traffic cameras.

Reports are the bridge is slumping one side about three feet, and they aren’t kidding.

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The bridge has been closed for obvious safety reasons since 5 AM CT.

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