Sunday, October 4, 2015

Last Call For Podcast Versus The Stupid

This week's episode (and we're going to try to go to a weekly schedule on Sunday evenings for now) is These Disunited States Of Gunmerica.

Check Out Blogs Podcasts at Blog Talk Radio with Zandar Versus The Stupid on BlogTalkRadio

Having both grown up in red states and living in them now, Zandar and Bon talk about gun control and American gun culture in the wake of yet another mass shooting in America and find that the US is pretty disunited about the whole thing. Plus more on Springfield's Slut Walk, creepy-ass city councilmen, and more.

Good Ol' Rocket Top, Rocket Top, Gunnessee!

When a tragic, preventable massacre like the mass shooting in Oregon last week happens, as a politician you can choose to respond by asking the American people to do what's necessary in order to prevent another such incident from happening.

For Democrats like President Obama, that means asking the American people to do their duty to push lawmakers to implement real gun safety laws to protect them.  For Republicans like Tennessee Lt. Governor Ron Ramsey, that means asking the American people to do their duty as Christians to start packing heat 24/7.

Responding to a mass shooting at an Oregon community college that left 10 people dead, Tennessee Lt. Gov. Ron Ramsey on Friday encouraged fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to consider getting a gun.

Ramsey, R-Blountville, made those remarks in a Facebook post Friday, one day after a shooting at Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore., left 10 people dead. The suspect, 26-year-old Chris Harper Mercer, reportedly asked victims to name their religious affiliation during the massacre.

In his Facebook post, Ramsey links to a New York Post article with the headline "Oregon gunman singled out Christians during rampage." Ramsey groups the Oregon shooting with other recent mass shootings in the nation. "Whether the perpetrators are motivated by aggressive secularism, jihadist extremism or racial supremacy, their targets remain the same: Christians and defenders of the West," Ramsey said.

"While this is not the time for widespread panic, it is a time to prepare," he later adds. "I would encourage my fellow Christians who are serious about their faith to think about getting a handgun carry permit. I have always believed that it is better to have a gun and not need it than to need a gun and not have it.

"Our enemies are armed. We must do likewise."

Mind you, this is an elected official, the Lieutenant Governor of a state, who sees some of his fellow Americans as "our enemies" and that he is openly encouraging citizens to be willing to use deadly force.

His comments elicited a written statement from Tennessee Rep. John Ray Clemmons, D-Nashville, who said Ramsey's comments "reek of fear-mongering and religious crusading."

"Rather than lead the General Assembly’s bipartisan efforts to improve public safety by removing guns from the hands of criminals and addressing the serious mental health issues confronting many in our state, Senator Ramsey unfortunately chose the road most traveled by the radical right," said Clemmons, who introduced a bill earlier this year that sought to amend the state's "guns-in parks" legislation.

"Senator Ramsey’s inciting statements in the face of a national tragedy are all the more alarming when you consider them in their historical context," he added. "Things have never ended well when any leader has asked people to take up arms in the name of their religious faith. This type of rhetoric is counter-productive to our efforts on so many levels."

I'm glad that Democrats in the state were willing to call Ramsey out, but this "armed Christian militia fantasy" that the right wing has is dangerous as hell. Always more guns, until everyone has a dozen and then, well, why do we need laws anyway when we all have guns, right?

Sunday Long Read: The Odd Couple

They were on the opposite sides of just about every one of Washington's policy debates, he was the rising star of a White House tech advisor and she was the established Hot Air conservative columnist, but of course they were married and had a daughter and were deeply in love.

And then Jake Brewer was killed last month during a charity bike ride for cancer.

In a superficial sense, Jake Brewer and Mary Katharine Ham were a true D.C. anomaly. Bipartisan relationships have always been fairly rare in Washington, where politics are felt so strongly, and Jake and Mary Katharine were far more than Election Day partisans: Their disparate ideologies shaped their increasingly high-profile careers.

But they didn’t see it that way, Mary Katharine recalled at their home in Alexandria recently. Just because politics defined their jobs didn’t mean it defined their lives.

Mary Katharine, 35, leaned back into their sagging brown couch, tucking her feet to support her pregnant belly — their second child, due in December. She was wearing Jake’s cowboy boots, with his wedding band on a chain around her neck.

It was here on this couch that they had their last fight, where she apologized for starting a political spat — she can’t remember now what it was about — when he was just trying to tell her about his day at the office. She scrolled through her phone, looking for that initial e-mail she had ignored back in 2008. “Would be great to have you there,” he had written. “Not only to have a bit of both sides, but mostly just ’cause I think you’d be great to have regardless.”

She laughed: That was so Jake, always eager to hear the other side even while committed to his own. He seemed like a success at anything he tried — triathlons, photography, singing — and found the same ease in the advocacy work that brought him to the District: first environmentalism, and later government transparency and technology, rising to a top job at the petition Web site On the side, he co-founded an immigration advocacy organization, Define American.

Mary Katharine came to Washington a few years earlier in 2004, frustrated with a small-town newspaper job that gave her little outlet for expressing the conservative arguments she was craving. She had grown up in the struggling public schools in Durham, N.C., which convinced her that bigger doesn’t mean more efficient in government. A job at the Heritage Foundation led to opinion-writing gigs; her gift for fast-talking rants and punchy comebacks earned her regular TV appearances opposite Bill O’Reilly and the ladies of “The View.”

Their lives, like their careers, could have existed in these two worlds apart, surrounded mostly by people who agree with them. Washington makes that very easy.

Instead, they went on a date to an Indian restaurant, which led to a ping-pong bar and staying up until 4 a.m. talking about the annual Mule Day festival in Jake’s home town of Columbia, Tenn.

They were both almost 30, and it just worked. They had the same level of energy and talent. As one friend would later say, they were magnetized from the start.

But the elephant in the room wasn’t the silent type. Commenters on liberal e-mail groups fretted that the relationship was a bad idea, that she would snoop through his e-mails, do something to hurt the cause.

When Jake called his mother, Lori, to tell her he’d met someone beautiful and smart and funny, he paused to say, “But there’s something you should know. She’s uh . . . she’s . . . uhm . . .”

Lori screeched: “Oh, my God, she’s Republican !”

And yeah, I know.  I find Ham to be depressingly banal, even for a Heritage Foundation flunkie, but these two really did love each other and they had a second child on the way, and sometimes we forget that there are real people behind these pundits and politicians, who are human, flawed, and scared just like us schlubs out here in the cheap seats.

Saturday, October 3, 2015

Doctors Without Borders, Hospitals Without Walls

A U.S. gunship bombed a hospital run by Médecins Sans Frontières / Doctors Without Borders (MSF), early Saturday morning, killing at least 16 people. The Americans had been flying close air support as Afghan government troops continue their effort to re-take the city of Kunduz, which fell to the Taliban last week almost without a shot.

Muhammad Ajami, 35, tells The Daily Beast that he was talking to his 17-year-old brother Jamil on the phone at the time of the airstrike. Earlier in the evening Jamil had been injured during the fighting and admitted to the MSF clinic, the only operational hospital-type facility in the city.

“This was about 2:00 a.m.,” said Muhammad. “Jamil was telling me he wanted me to get him and take him home, there was a lot of bombing and shelling in the city. Then there was a big bang, and my brother dropped his phone. The last words I heard were ‘Move to the basement! Move to the basement! And crying and crying.”

MSF issued a statement “condemning in the strongest possible terms the horrific bombing of its hospital in Kunduz, which was full of staff and patients.” Three MSF staff were confirmed dead and more than 30 unaccounted for after the trauma center “was hit several time during sustained bombing and was every badly damaged.”

MSF has decades of experience working in war zones and had notified “all parties to the conflict, including in Kabul and Washington,” of the precise GPS coordinates of its facilities, including the hospital, guest house, office and an outreach unit in a village northwest of Kunduz. Those coordinates had been communicated repeatedly most recently on September 29, after the Taliban took the city, according to another MSF statement.

A U.S. senior defense official told The Daily Beast in Washington that a U.S.-manned AC-130 gunship “was called in to return fire against a Taliban position that was firing on U.S. Special Forces advising Afghan Special Forces” when the attack began somewhere near the hospital.

But the official could not say how close that fighting position was to the hospital or whether the United States did indeed know the hospital coordinates beforehand. Defense officials also could not say how long the attack took place.  

Let's go over the fact that bombing a hospital is in fact a war crime, not to mention that 14 years after 9/11 we're still bombing goddamn Afghanistan.

Ya'll aren't going to want to hear this, but Obama is responsible for this mess.  We need to get out of Afghanistan fully, no more "support", no more "advisory capacity" no more Special Forces, just out.  Period.

Fourteen friggin years, guys.

And Obama, you screwed this up big time.  You need to answer for it.  Now.

Stuff And Things About Jeb

Jeb Bush really is making a total mess of this campaign, isn't he?

Jeb Bush invited a firestorm on Friday by saying that “stuff happens” in reference to renewed calls for legislative action after tragedies like the mass shooting in Oregon.

I had this challenge as governor because we had — look, stuff happens,” he said at a forum in South Carolina. “There’s always a crisis and the impulse is always to do something, and it’s not necessarily the right thing to do.”

The inelegant phrase immediately set off a wave of criticism from observers suggesting he was playing down the scourge of gun violence and the tragedy on Thursday, in which a gunman killed nine people at a community college in Roseburg, Ore.

Mr Bush, taking questions from the state’s attorney general, Alan Wilson, was speaking about a pattern of proposing legislative responses that he said did not halt the tragedies they were meant to stop.

Asked afterward about the “stuff happens” comment, Mr. Bush said, “it wasn’t a mistake,” and requested that a reporter point out “what I said wrong.”

“Things happen all the time,” Mr. Bush said. “Things. Is that better

There are three issue here.

First problem is the GOP notion, widely held, that there is nothing that government can do or even should do in order to prevent the mass slaughter of citizens like this.  More than 30,000 people die yearly to firearms in the US and somehow Republicans have not only counseled that the government shouldn't prevents it, but that it can't: it's the blood that waters the tree of liberty, the necessary cost of a free society where firearms "preserve" the Constitution. Indeed, 300 million firearms in the hands of American citizens is good and necessary and there's nothing that we should do in order to curtail that number. By far, this is the biggest issue and the largest debate we need to have, but cannot.

Problem number two is the fact that Jeb Bush, like most Republicans, are running for President (you know, Chief Executive of the Federal Government) in order to specifically not do anything.  Vote for me, I won't solve you problems!  Republicans of course don't think government is the answer (gun deaths, the economy, the environment) unless they do (Sharia law, women's reproductive systems, repealing health insurance).

Finally, Jeb's mealy-mouthed "What's the big deal?" reaction to this just makes him look even more like a privileged creep with all the empathy of Mitt Romney.  It's truly amazing how out of touch the guy is, and incapable of hiding problems one and two from "moderate" voters.

Anyway, add another gaffe to the pile for Jeb, who is self-destructing at the cost of hundreds of millions in donor and super-PAC dollars before our very eyes.

Friday, October 2, 2015

Last Call For Small Ball Rand Paul

You know what, I'm beginning to think Rand Paul might not even make it to the Kentucky GOP caucus he bought.

Struggling to gain traction in the Republican presidential race, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) this week will turn his attention to fundraising for his Senate reelection efforts.

Paul, who is running for president and reelection to the Senate simultaneously, will attend fundraisers for his Senate campaign on Wednesday and Thursday in Washington, D.C., according to invitations for the events obtained by The Hill. 
One Republican operative with close ties to Kentucky politics warned against reading too much into Paul’s Senate fundraisers, saying it’s not a sign that Paul is giving up on running for president, but rather a necessity of running for two offices at once. 
The operative said it’s a good use of time for Paul to fundraise for the Senate while he’s in Washington. Paul can tap groups that may be friendly to his Senate bid but aren’t inclined to commit to him, or any candidate, while the GOP presidential field remains this large.

Paul, he noted, isn’t going all in yet on fundraising for Senate – he’s not on the ground in Kentucky fighting for resources with the candidates running for statewide office, where elections for governor on down will be held this November.
A spokesperson for Paul’s Senate campaign did not return a request for comment.

Still, one Kentucky Republican operative said the fundraisers will inevitably be viewed through the prism of Paul’s fledgling presidential campaign. 
Some of this is self-evident,” the Kentucky Republican operative said. “If he thought he’d be the nominee, he wouldn’t spend time hedging his bets and raising money for the Senate race. I think that tells you everything you need to know.”

Nobody at this point believes Rand Paul has a serious shot.  He's been stuck in the single digits nationally and isn't in the running for Iowa or New Hampshire at this point.  I don't know how long he can pretend like he's still a viable candidate, but I hear there's a lot of that going around in the GOP currently.  Right now Rand is trying to win South Carolina, for instance.  I guess that's a plan.

Everyone's waiting on the other guy to drop out so that they can stay in and pick up staffers and donors to live to fight another day, but if even Jeb Bush's donors are demanding that their paid and bough for candidate start producing bu Halloween, the half-dozen other Republicans floating around the 2% mark like Rand here don't have long in this race at all.

Game On In The Queen City

Cincinnati is hosting the area's first major college eSports tourney this weekend, and I'm all for it.

Games at UC's Fifth Third Arena usually involve basketballs or volleyballs. This weekend, however, the play will be with magic spells, swords, and guns, on computers.

The All Midwest Collegiate Invitational is expected to draw about 500 competitors and spectators for games like League of Legends, Super Smash Brothers, and Hearthstone.
Tournaments like this are common on the East and West coasts, but Stelanie Tsirlis says that's inconvenient for game players in the Midwest. 
“They have to travel out there. They have to buy the plane ticket, the ticket to get into the event itself.” 
Tsirlis is a senior at Miami University and a gamer herself. She's also the chief marketing officer for AllMid, which is a collection of game players from her school, UC, Xavier, Ohio State, and others.

Together, they're out to play and to earn some respect for their sport. 
There will be prizes, both cash and game credits. Tsirlis says some of the games pit individuals head-to-head, and others are for teams.

“What I like the most about the invitational this weekend is that our League of Legends tournament on the competitive side has the actual collegiate teams from all the colleges that are participating.” 
Tsirlis says there are even some colleges in the U.S. that are offering scholarships for gamers. 
“There aren’t many,” she admits.

“I know that there are some universities that support eSports as club sports. But to have an actual varsity team is kind of rare.” 
Tsirlis says she hopes this weekend's invitational will show universities that eSports are legitimate and a big deal. 
“People are invested. People are interested. And the eSports industry itself is about to explode. It’s a baby industry. I think it would be smart for any university to hop on that bandwagon and start recognizing any eSport as an actual sport and start supporting those students who play.”

Laugh all you want, but I find eSports to be a better deal to students than exploiting college football or basketball athletes for multi-million dollar programs that they'll never see a dime from, and risking career-ending and even life-threatening injuries to play.  Nobody gets concussions from playing a couple Hearthstone matches.   Nobody buys kids hookers, blow, tattoos and cars to play League of Legends.  Coaches don't get five million a year to scream at kids playing Super Smash Bros. Melee.

It's a hell of a lot less corrupt and more morally acceptable than any major traditional college sports program out there in 2015.  If the point is to let college kids play games, I'm 100% behind the AllMid an other eSports tournaments.

For now, at least.  Once colleges figure out how to market this, they'll start exploiting kids for free labor I'm sure.  But it still won't be as bad as college football.

Bitter Home Alabama, Con't

I've talked before about Alabama pulling the one-two punch of requiring a driver's license in order to vote in 2016 and then closing down 90% of county driver's license offices to "save taxpayer money". If there was still any reasonable doubt as to this being a massive disenfranchisement of thousands of black voters by Republicans, it has been obliterated by the first round of driver's license office closings, nearly all coming in majority black counties. Kyle Whitmire of

In 2011, Alabama lawmakers approved the state's voter ID law, making it illegal to vote in Alabama without a government-issued photo ID. 
For most folks, that's a driver's license. 
In those 29 counties you might be able to register at the courthouse, but you won't be able to cast a ballot there unless you have that ID. 
That's not just an inconvenience. That's a problem. 
But it gets worse. 
Look at the list of counties now where you can't get a driver's license. There's Choctaw, Sumter, Hale, Greene, Perry, Wilcox, Lowndes, Butler, Crenshaw, Macon, Bullock ...
If you had to memorize all the Alabama Counties in 9th grade, like I did -- and even if you forgot most of them, like I have -- you can probably guess where we're going with this. 
Depending on which counties you count as being in Alabama's Black Belt, either twelve or fifteen Black Belt counties soon won't have a place to get a driver's license. 
Counties where some of the state's poorest live. 
Counties that are majority African-American. 
Combine that with the federally mandated Star ID taking effect next year, and we're looking at a nightmare.

Or a trial lawyer's dream.

There are eight counties in Alabama where at least 75% of the population is black.  Every one of those counties is losing its drivers license office.  This is such a blatantly obvious attempt at voter suppression that civil rights lawsuits will be filed by the truckload, and I don't see how the state can defend its actions...but if the courts somehow decide this is constitutional (and with this SCOTUS it all depends on whether or not Justice Kennedy wants to see America's dark past)  expect a whole lot of driver's license office closures in a lot of red states.

We'll see where this goes, but I remind you that at least for now, Alabama Republicans are definitely getting away with this at the moment.  And I'm not sure if that will ever be changed.


Thursday, October 1, 2015

Last Call For The Cycle Of Tragedy

Another hideous mass shooting, this time at a community college in Oregon, where 14 people died including the gunman who opened fire on students in class. President Obama once again addressed the nation as mourner-in-chief, but this time around he expressed significant frustration at Congress for failing to act yet again on gun control.

During a brief televised statement delivered at the White House , the president lashed out at those who oppose gun limits by saying that their answer to such tragedies are more guns, not fewer.

“Does anybody really believe that?” he asked, clearly outraged.

The Oregon attorney general said that at least 13 people were killed Thursday when a gunman opened fire on the campus of Umpqua Community College in Roseburg, Ore.

Mr. Obama pointed out that states with more gun restrictions tended to have fewer gun deaths, and countries like Britain and Australia with far stricter gun laws have much fewer gun deaths.

“So we know there are ways to prevent it,” he said.

He pointed out that the federal government had responded to mine disasters to insisting on safer mines, weather disasters by improving communities and highway deaths by insisting on safer roads and cars. But guns are so immune to such a response that Congress has forbidden the federal government from even collecting some statistics about guns.

Mr. Obama asked news organizations to tally the number of Americans killed by terrorist attacks over the last 10 years and to compare that with those killed by domestic gun violence. And he implicitly compared the trillions of dollars spent and multiple agencies devoted to prevent the relatively few terrorist deaths with the minimal effort and money spent to prevent the far greater tragedy of gun deaths.

And then he challenged voters to make gun safety a priority.

“If you think this is a problem, then you should expect your elected officials to reflect your views,” the president said.
And he promised to continue hammering away at the issue for the rest of his presidency.

“And each time this happens, I’m going to bring this up,” Mr. Obama said. “Each time this happens, I’m going to say that we can actually do something about it.”

And each time it happens, Mr. President, our Congress will make sure nothing is done.  And until we as voters start firing members of Congress over lack of gun safety laws, nothing will change.

It's not on you, Mr. President.  It's not on Congress, to be honest.  It's all on us.

Race To The Bottom In Pennsylvania Schools

A new study profiled in The Atlantic finds that in Pennsylvania's heavily segregated school districts even the presence of 5 or 10% students of color greatly reduces the funding a district gets from the state.

In America, schools with a lot of minority students are chronically underfunded. Is that the case because these students are poor, and poor communities have fewer resources for funding their schools? Or, is it because of the color of these students’ skin?

Unsettlingly, recent research from data scientist David Mosenkis finds that poverty alone does not explain the underfunding. Mosenkis delved into funding data for 500 school districts in the state of Pennsylvania. Because richer school districts are able to drum up more cash through taxes, they should receive less state funding, and poorer districts should receive more. He looked at how much money they received and sorted those findings based on race and income.

Using a broad scope, Mosenkis found what one might expect: On the surface poor districts do receive more state funding than rich schools. But when he delved deeper into the data, sorting by race, what he found was disturbing.

If you color code the districts based on their racial composition you see this very stark breakdown. At any given poverty level, districts that have a higher proportion of white students get substantially higher funding than districts that have more minority students.” That means that no matter how rich or poor the district in question, funding gaps existed solely based on the racial composition of the school. Just the increased presence of minority students actually deflated a district’s funding level. “The ones that have a few more students of color get lower funding than the ones that are 100 percent or 95 percent white,” Mosenkis said.

Issues with scarce budgets and troubled urban schools aren’t new, and they exist all over the country. In an article published in The Atlantic in 1954, Henry I. Willett attempted to answer the question of whether or not public schools cost too much by saying, “The amount spent for educational purposes as compared with amounts spent for many other items and services, including luxuries, would indicate that the importance of education in our democracy is not yet realized: and the hour is growing late.”

In Pennsylvania, the crisis is particularly acute. The state’s former governor stripped the education budget significantly. In the years since, schools have shuttered, teachers have been fired, and the schools that remain are existing on bare-bones budgets. Earlier this year, two children died after getting sick at district schools where no nurses were on duty due to budget reductions. Pennsylvania is also one of the only states in the country that hasn’t had a specific formula in place for distributing government aid to its districts. That’s left lots of room for partisan politics and funding bias.

The results are pretty shocking.  At every level when controlling for class, majority white school districts in the state get more funding from the state per student than districts where the majority consists of students of color:

Democratic Gov. Tom Wolf, elected last November, is trying to change that.  But Republicans in the state's legislature have yet to pass a budget.  

We're repeatedly told the problem can't be systemic racism because in 2015 that simply doesn't exist, it's just class.  This study controls for class and greatly seems to prove otherwise, and the state is far from alone.

The Mask Slips Again...

...and a Republican accidentally admits the truth.  Today's contestant: presumed incoming House Speaker Kevin McCarthy shows that he's not too bright.

Sean Hannity was pushing hard, asking House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy to name some promises his Republicans had actually delivered on. He scoffed when McCarthy said the party would start undoing the Affordable Care Act -- "you have the power of the purse!" He talked over McCarthy when the leader and candidate for Speaker of the House suggested that the party did not need to cut funds for President Obama's "amnesty," because courts had taken care of it. Only halfway into the interview did McCarthy finally catch a break.

"Everybody though Hillary Clinton was unbeatable, right?" McCarthy asked. "But we put together a Benghazi special committee, a select committee. What are her numbers today? Her numbers are dropping. Why? Because she's untrustable. But no one would have known any of that had happened, had we not fought."

"I give you credit for that," said Hannity. "I'll give you credit where credit is due."

Oh Kevin, you special little snowflake.  You walked right into the jet intake on this one.

"This is a damning display of honesty by the possible next Speaker of the House," press Secretary Brian Fallon said in a statement emailed to POLITICO. "Kevin McCarthy just confessed that the committee set up to look into the deaths of four brave Americans at Benghazi is a taxpayer-funded sham. This confirms Americans' worst suspicions about what goes on in Washington."

Committee Chairman Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.) has long insisted that his aim is solely to understand what went wrong in Benghazi, and not to attack Clinton. "‘While much outside attention has been paid to the former secretary, this investigation has never been about her and never will be," he said in September.

But on Tuesday night, McCarthy suggested the opposite to Fox News host Sean Hannity.

But as Martin "BooMan" Longman reminds us, the biggest open secret in Washington isn't exactly breaking news.

Now, I know that in certain Beltway circles telling the truth is considered one of the worst possible gaffes, but McCarthy bragged about the effectiveness of this smear campaign precisely because he wanted to remind people that the Republicans deserve credit for finding ways to effectively fight back against the Democrats. In other words, he was reminding the Republican base voter that there actually areexamples where the Republican leadership did something extraordinarily partisan and obnoxious and that it worked. The reaction will probably be exactly what he hoped for. He gets a pat on the head and a couple of “Atta Boys.”

The idea that Republican members of Congress will clutch their pearls in horror that McCarthy defended their performance is a big reach, in my opinion.

These folks are so beyond the norms of behavior that you’d expect of your children that it’s absurd to hold them to those kind of standards. When one of them gets caught in a lie, that’s a badge of honor, and it’s not even remotely problematic to get caught telling the truth if the truth is that you’ve been lying.

If you think I am engaging in hyperbole here, just remember back when Mitt Romney set the land-speed record by telling 533 lies in a mere 30 weeks- (and that tally ended in August). Republicans did not blink. They had no problem with Romney’s pathological relationship with the truth. If anything, they wanted him to be a more convincing liar.

Look at Carly Fiorina right now. She’s doing well, recently, and how many of the people running against her have questioned her truthfulness? It’s not an issue for them. It’s not something they can score political points with, because the base does not want their heroes to tell the truth.

So no, it won't hurt McCarthy with his base one bit.  Whether or not it will hurt him with the Village...well they've been attacking Hillary for years now.  Why would this make them stop?


Wednesday, September 30, 2015

Lat Call For Shutdown Countdown, Con't

With only hours to spare on the last day of the fiscal year, Congress approved a temporary spending measure to avert a shutdown and keep the federal government operating through Dec. 11.

In the House, the measure was approved only because of strong support by Democrats — a sign of just how angry rank-and-file Republicans remain over their powerlessness to force policy changes on the Obama administration.

In one last display of their fury, House Republicans on Tuesday adopted another resolution to cut off government financing to Planned Parenthood. The resolution was to be sent to the Senate, where Democrats were certain to block it.

Ultimately, the internal Republican fight over the bill and how strongly to confront the White House cost John A. Boehner his job as speaker. Mr. Boehner’s resignation announcement last week essentially assured Democratic support for the measure. But the temporary spending bill does nothing to resolve the core disputes between Republicans and the White House, setting up even bigger battles in the months ahead.

Congressional Democrats and Obama administration officials said they were eager to begin negotiations with Republicans on a longer-term spending measure. It is far from clear, however, that any deal can be reached soon, given the upheaval in the House.

So for now a shutdown has been avoided.  How much will get done between now and December 11th, who knows. Kevin McCarthy will be under big pressure to prove he's not John Boehner and if he can't, the GOP mob will run him out of town on a rail too.  Will than mean a shutdown right before Christmas?

I'm still very much betting on it.

Dirty Red Ed Is Out

John Boehner isn't the only tri-state area Republican retiring from the House when the GOP has the largest margin of control in 90 years.  KY-01 Republican Ed Whitfield is packing it in too, and facing a major ethics scandal to boot.

Rep. Ed Whitfield (R-Ky.) said Tuesday that he will not seek reelection in 2016. 
Whitfield is the subject of a House Ethics Committee investigation regarding allegations that he improperly used his office to help his wife lobby Congress for the Humane Society. 
But the Kentucky Republican made no mention of the ethics investigation while announcing his retirement.

“Representing the people of the 1st District for 21 years has been an honor,” Whitfield said in a statement. “While many Americans are frustrated with the institution of Congress, I still believe that politics is a worthy vocation and I know many men and women of character will always be willing to serve.” 
House rules prohibit lawmakers’ spouses from lobbying their offices. Whitfield’s wife, Constance, is a registered lobbyist for the Humane Society Legislative Fund. 
The House Ethics Committee announced in March that it had opened an investigation following a report from the Office of Congressional Ethics alleging that Whitfield’s wife lobbied for multiple bills her husband supported regarding animal welfare. Whitfield has denied the allegations, maintaining that he introduced the legislation of his own volition.

I mean granted, there are a lot worse ethics violations than "my wife lobbied for the Humane Society" but Ed's been running his Paducah/Murray district since he was swept into power during the Contract With America election in 1994.

More importantly, Ed Whitfield runs the House Energy Committee's Subcommittee on Energy and Power, which means he's been a one-man wrecking crew against global warming legislation and of course denies climate change is even a problem.

Frankly that's one less jackass Republican in the House to muck things up.  We'll see who the Kentucky Democrats can get to run against him.
Related Posts with Thumbnails