Monday, December 31, 2012

Last Call (Of The Year)

And we go over the fiscal cliff tonight because Republicans, who spent all of 2012 calling Barack Obama a Kenyan anti-colonialist blackity black black shiftless lazy welfare pimp daddy black person, have hurt feelings.

Republicans refused to have a vote in the House tonight.  Not Democrats.  Republicans.

That is all.

See you next year.

Zandar's 2013 Predictions

Can I do any better than 5.5 out of 10?  We'll give it a shot.  What's ahead for 2013?  Here's what I think, and I'm just some guy.

1)  The upcoming debt ceiling fight will cost America another credit notch from one of the big three agencies.  This seems like a pretty safe bet as the Republicans are already demanding Social Security and Medicare/Medicaid cuts or they'll wreck the economy as a result.

2)  Bashar al-Assad won't be Syria's President by Dec 31, 2013.  This also seems like a pretty safe bet, as the end of 2012 sees him barely holding on as leader.

3)  President Obama will have to make a recess appointment for a Cabinet position.  That's unprecedented as far as I know.  But that's really the next step in Total Republican Opposition, isn't it?

4)  Chris Christie will be re-elected as Governor of New Jersey with Cory Booker holding out for Senate...but don't be surprised if Christie doesn't finish his term.

5)  As more Obamacare benefits kick in, it will gain majority approval by Americans.  I honestly believe this will get better as more benefits come due.

6)  Republicans will muster enough votes to split the electoral vote by Congressional district in at least one state that went for Obama in 2012.  Ohio would be the biggest prize.

7)  The Leap Motion controller turns into one of the big tech successes of 2013.  I'm feeling pretty good about this one, enough to put my money on one.

8)  Kim Kardashian's baby with Kanye West will be the story we're all sick of by the end of the year.  I'm already sick of it.

9)  Lincoln takes home the most Oscars.  Tall order, I know.  But I just see this being the big Oscar flick in 2013's awards.

10)  ZVTS makes it to the end of another year.  I still plan to be around, and Bon is concentrating on her writing these days, but you'll see more of us.  Still plenty of Stupid to fight.

So into the Future files you go then.  We'll see where we are this time in 2013.

Zandar's 2012 Scorecard

The tradition continues as I score my predictions for the year from last Dec. 31.

Seems I was right about 5 of 10 at least:
  1. President Obama was reelected, quite handily.
  2. The GOP kept at least one chamber of Congress (House)
  3. 2012 broke box office records.
  4. Sarah Palin was not the GOP veep choice.
  5. ZVTS is still here.

Partial credit on:
  1. The Eurozone nations didn't blow up into crisis mode, but they are in recession thanks to austerity as I did predict.

I was wrong about:
  1. We got extremely close to a GOP candidate breaking the N-word Event Horizon, but no winner.
  2. The GOP didn't shut down the government in 2012.
  3. Syria's al-Assad is still in power, albeit barely.
  4. No military incident on the Iran-Iraq border.  I was very surprised at this one, but glad to be wrong here.

So, 5.5 out of 10 is actually my best score so far out of doing these.   I'll have my predictions for 2013 later today.


Sunday, December 30, 2012

Last Call

A couple of stories as we head into the last day of the year tomorrow:

First, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton has been hospitalized as a routine procedure after her follow-up exam to clear her to return to work after her recent illness and concussion turned up a blood clot.  Her docs are not fooling around on this one, and it's a good thing this one was caught when it was.  Blood clots are no joke.

Second, still no fiscal cliff deal as of tonight, and all sides seem to agree that the defense sequestration cuts are going to happen regardless, which could lead to some 800,000 defense contractors having to take some unpaid leave.  Also, no joke.

We'll see where we are tomorrow night.  I'll also pull out my 2012 predictions from last year, and make my 2013 predictions.  Hopefully, we'll have some good news for you guys on New Year's Day, too.

Stay tuned.

Null If I Know

If there's a state currently trying to nullify federal regulations because STATE'S RIGHTS and whatever, you can bet that state is South Carolina.

Claiming that the federal government lacks the Constitutional authority to regulate firearms maintained within one state, a South Carolina State Senator has introduced a bill that would exempt the state’s guns, ammo and accessories from all federal regulation.

The bill, called the South Carolina Firearms Freedom Act, cites the Ninth and Tenth Amendments for legal support, in conjunction with the Commerce Clause of the Constitution. The argument goes that the two Amendments give to states all powers not specifically given to Washington, and that since state’s regulate intrastate commerce—in this case, the sale and purchase of firearms—states have the sole authority to regulate firearms manufactured and used within their borders.

The bill’s scope is specifically limited to only natively built and sold firearms to keep it from broaching the federal government’s power to regulate interstate trade via the Commerce Clause.

State Sen. Lee Bright (R) pre-filed the bill earlier this month for the state legislature to take up the issue in the coming session. Bright filed the same bill during the current session, but it never reached a floor vote.

This is really a clever plan to create jobs by attracting the rocket-propelled grenade industry, right?

"If we make it and sell it within the state then the Feds can't touch us" is something that's been used before in legal arguments over the decades in the US, and for the most part, it hasn't worked.  But good luck for trying to have your own firearms industry, guys.  Maybe you haven't thought this through, but I'm sure gunmakers have.

Just declare nullification and secede already.  Worked well for you last time, I understand.

Press The Meat With POTUS And Fluffy

President Obama sat down with David "Fluffy" Gregory of Meet The Press and spent half an hour or so kicking Gregory's ass up and down the block, along with the collective asses of the GOP.

It's a very informative interview as President Obama makes his case for trying to work with both Republicans and the press, both of which have been less than respectful to him.  POTUS kindly informed Gregory exactly what he thought of that, and Gregory knew pretty early on he was being called on the carpet, and deservedly so.

Meanwhile GOP Sen. Lindsey Graham was on Fox News Sunday all but signalling a GOP cave.

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) said on Sunday morning that he believes the odds are quite good that Senate can pass a narrow measure to avert the “fiscal cliff” and prevent taxes from rising for most Americans.

Graham said on “Fox News Sunday” that the odds are “exceedingly good” a deal can get done. “I don’t think people want to go over the cliff,” he said. Graham added that such an outcome would be a “political victory” for President Obama.

Graham also said he spoke with Defense Secretary Leon Panetta on Saturday night about the deal, and Panetta said it wasn’t likely to address the defense sequester, the automatic reduction in military spending set to take place early next year.

It's looking more and more like the GOP is tripping over itself to try to give President Obama a deal good enough that the President doesn't go over the cliff and leave the GOP broken at the bottom of the ravine.

We'll see.

Saturday, December 29, 2012

An Ugly Crime Tied Up With A Pretty Bow

It appears that the NYPD have a suspect in this week's bizarre subway murder, where a man was pushed in front of a 7 train at the Lowery Street Station on Thursday.  Only the suspect raises some more ugly, ugly questions.

The woman, Erika Menendez of the Bronx, has been charged with second-degree murder as a hate crime, Richard A. Brown, the Queens district attorney, said. 

“The defendant is accused of committing what is every subway commuter’s nightmare,” Mr. Brown said in an interview. “Being suddenly and senselessly pushed into the path of an oncoming train.” 

Mr. Brown said that the woman was motivated by hatred, telling the police, that she “pushed a Muslim off the train tracks because I hate Hindus and Muslims ever since 2001 when they put down the twin towers I’ve been beating them up.” 

Ms. Menendez conflated the Muslim and Hindu faiths both in her comments to the police and in her target for attack, officials said. 

The victim, Sunando Sen, was born in India and, according to a roommate, was raised Hindu. 

So yes.  She's being charged with a hate crime because she thought she was killing a Muslim in cold blood.  Turns out her victim was Hindu, and she was too stupid to know the difference.  And a man died anyway, senselessly, tragically, because...why?

Because he looked like a Muslim.  And where were people in the NY subway getting the idea that Muslims were dangerous people who had to be killed pre-emptively?

Why, they saw ads like that daily thanks to our old friend, Pammycakes.

Anti-Islam activist Pamella Geller's "Support Israel, Defeat Jihad" ads didn't go over very well with subway riders, so she's is trying a different tactic. Her new ads, which go up next week, feature the Twin Towers engulfed in flames, along with this out of context quote from the Koran: "Soon shall we cast terror into the hearts of the unbelievers.” The New York Times reports that she's also made a much bigger ad buy, placing a sign beside each of the 220 clocks hanging in New York's subway stations. Geller notes that this time would-be vandals "would have to get a ladder." So when riders are accidentally covered in spray paint by activists aiming for the ads, we'll have Geller to thank.

That was earlier this month.  It seems this week Geller's ads claimed their first victim.  Somebody who had committed the crime of looking like a Muslim.   Did Geller push the man off the platform?  No.  Did her ads help?  Free speech, vile speech, only goes so far.

Won't that be fun.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, December 28, 2012

Last Call

Another potential cabinet mess is looming thanks to the GOP:  with Environmental Protection Agency head Lisa Jackson announcing that she's stepping down in January, getting her replacement confirmed will of course be completely impossible, as Senate Republicans are already signalling a serious fight.

Sen. James Inhofe (R-Okla.), a leading Capitol Hill critic of the EPA, fired an early warning shot on Thursday, suggesting that Jackson’s replacement should change the agency's direction.

“Although I take a skeptical view, this appointment would provide this administration an opportunity to change its regulatory course,” Inhofe said in a statement.While the heads of Obama’s energy and environmental team initially won Senate approval in 2009, nominees to a number of senior positions in more recent years have faced a bumpy road and procedural blockades.

Sen. David Vitter (R-La.), who will replace Inhofe as the top Republican on the Senate Environment and Public Works Committee, said Thursday that he wished Jackson the best. But he added that during her tenure, EPA has been “stifling” the economy.

“Moving forward I’ll be working with my colleagues in the Senate to make sure the new nominee is thoroughly vetted, puts sound scientific standards above political ideology and understands that EPA’s avalanche of regulations can crush the growth of American businesses,” he said in a statement.

It's going to be a long slog for whomever gets the nod, the smart money is on current deputy Robert Perciasepe, who the White House says will become acting chief in case nobody is confirmed by the time Jackson leaves, i.e. Republicans block any action on the nomination in committee, an absolute certainty.

Let's not forget in addition to real winners like Inhofe and Vitter, the Committee is infested with anti-science GOP dipsticks like Wyoming's John Barrasso, who has repeatedly tried to block the EPA from enforcing any air or water pollution rules at all, Idaho's Mike Crapo, who has tried to block EPA regulations on animal waste from big farm producers and meat factory farms, and Alabama's Jeff Sessions, who is "offended" by climate scientists actually practicing science.

So yeah, expect to see "acting EPA head" in the news for a long time.

Rocked By The Docks

Heads up:  our hard-working union labor brethren at the International Longshoremen's Association are approaching a big strike deadline this weekend if their contract expires, and corporate America is about to see just what kind of damage dockworkers can do to their just-in-time shipping models.

Home Depot Inc. and Lowe’s Cos. have the most at stake among retailers facing a dockworkers’ strike, with possible port closings cutting off shipments right before the lucrative gardening season.

Home Depot, the biggest U.S. home-improvement chain, is making plans in case 15,000 workers at ports from Maine to Texas walk off the job, and Lowe’s said that it is monitoring the talks. About 45 percent of the commerce that flows in and out of the U.S. goes through East Coast ports, according to the National Retail Federation.

Retailers “would be hit far and wide from apparel to home goods to patio furniture to barbecues,” Jonathan Gold, the NRF’s vice president for supply chain and customs policy, said yesterday in a telephone interview from Washington. “It is a major concern. At this point, we don’t anticipate a settlement.”

The International Longshoremen’s Association has vowed to walk out if a deal isn’t reached before the Dec. 29 expiration of its contract with the U.S. Maritime Alliance, whose members include container-carrier companies. Talks broke down last week after nine months of negotiations. A strike would be the first at East Coast and Gulf Coast ports since 1977. 

That's a hell of a bottleneck, and a hell of a bargaining chip, and yet it's gotten to the point where most likely the docks will be shut down as of this weekend.  No doubt the workers here will be made into villains, as all workers are who dare to demand anything from CEOs making 400x what the average employee makes.

Funny, that.  Reuters is reporting there's a deal on the table to avert the strike this afternoon, but it looks like it's only a 30-day contract extension while negotiations continue.  We'll see.

Kentucky: Unbridled Racism

Casey County in central Kentucky is about 100 miles south of where I live, and I am once again reminded that if you get more than a few minutes outside of the cities around here, you get square into redneck hell.

Danny Hafley of Casey County, Ky. said this week that people are reading the mannequin in his front yard depicting President Barack Obama eating a watermelon completely wrong.

"The way I look at it, it's freedom of speech," Hafley told Lex 18 in a recent interview, going on to state that he had included the watermelon not in attempt to play to any racist stereotypes, but because the statue "might get hungry standing out here."

According to Hafley, the display is "popular" and a frequent draw for people passing by to stop and take pictures.

(Video above via Lex 18 reporter Adam Yosim)

Watermelon imagery has been utilized by anti-Obama efforts in the past, usually by those claiming there is no racist sentiment behind the choice.

But don't you dare call it racism, right.  I do get tired of saying that about all the racism around here, but there you are.  Freedom of speech is great and all, but it doesn't mean you're not a racist moron for exercising it in such a poor way.  Time to add Casey to the growing list of counties I won't visit here.

Boy I remember all those Bush mannequins eating watermelon, don't you?


Thursday, December 27, 2012

Last Call

Over at Maddowblog, Steve Benen locks on to the Old Age Mutant Nimrod Turtle vs. Ashley Judd story.

Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), generally comfortable in the roll of dealmaker, has done very little work in the fiscal talks. The reason is widely known, but generally goes unsaid: McConnell is terrified of a primary challenger and working with Democrats on a debt-reduction deal will only generate more far-right ire.

But there's also McConnell's general election prospects to consider.

 Two weeks ago, Public Policy Polling found that McConnell, with an approval rating of just 37%, is the least popular senator in the nation. In a hypothetical match-up against actor Ashley Judd, the Republicans' Senate leader was ahead by only four points, 47% to 43%.

And McConnell cried "SKEWED" and released his own poll which found...that he was only ahead by 4 points, 47%-43%.

Mitch is in trouble in 2014 and he knows it.

For that matter, also note that McConnell is testing anti-Judd messages two years before the election -- against someone who's never held or sought elected office -- which suggests the senator is genuinely worried about his prospects. By releasing his internal poll, McConnell hoped to look stronger, but in this case, I'm afraid he doth protest too much.

Yep.  I didn't think Ashley Judd was a serious threat to Mitch until we saw his reaction.  If he's in this much trouble with two years to go against an anti-coal Hollywood type (even if that Hollywood type is a UK grad) he just might be actually vulnerable.

We'll see.  Sen. Ashley Judd?  Yeah, I'm down with that.

Fukushima Jujitsu

The incoming administration of Japan's Liberal Democratic Party is pulling the full flip flop on the country's post-Fukushima Daiichi nuclear disaster policy of eliminating nuclear reactors, and if anything, new Prime Minister Shinzo Abe is eager to greenlight more reactors ASAP to make up for the country's power shortages.

Japan’s new leaders set to work Thursday on dismantling plans to rid the country of nuclear power by 2040, pledging to review a post-Fukushima policy.

The pro-business Liberal Democratic Party-led government also said they would give the green light to any reactors deemed safe by regulators, indicating shuttered power stations could start coming back online.

“We need to reconsider the previous administration’s policy that aimed to make zero nuclear power operation possible during the 2030s,” Toshimitsu Motegi told a news conference.

Shinzo Abe, who was elected as prime minister and unveiled his cabinet line-up on Wednesday, appointed Motegi as his economy, trade and industry minister, also in charge of supervising the nuclear industry.

Abe’s LDP won a landslide victory in the December 16 election, returning to power after a three-year break.

Despite anti-nuclear sentiment running high in Japan following the Fukushima disaster, parties opposing atomic energy made little impact at the ballot box.

Motegi said he was ready to give the go-ahead to resuming generation at nuclear power plants “if they are confirmed safe”.

Given that the LDP was swept back into power, Japan's voters are clearly far more worried about Japan's stagnant economy than nuclear safety.  To their credit, the LDP is already proposing big infrastructure projects to rebuild the damaged northeast coast of Japan and to put people to work immediately (something the US should emulate).  That stimulative rebuilding effort is going to include nuclear plants however.

I wish Japan would consider other power sources, but it's hard for me to complain when the US lacks the will to even try to rebuild anything at this point because the greatest country in the world "can no longer afford expensive boondoggles" like, you know, roads, bridges, schools and power lines.

Aloha And Mahalo

Well, looks like I was wrong about Gov. Neil Abercrombie of Hawaii...he really did go for someone other than Colleen Hanabusa to replace the late Sen. Daniel Inouye, choosing Lt. Gov. Brian Schatz to fill the seat.

Schatz, 40, said he will fly to Washington tonight and be sworn in Thursday so he can participate in Senate votes to avert a fiscal cliff of federal tax increases and spending cuts scheduled to take effect in January.

Schatz said he is "humbled" and "honored" by the opportunity.

He said the first thing he would do is reach out to the rest of the delegation to establish Hawaii's game plan for the coming Congress.

Schatz said he would also reach out to U.S. Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev., and to the White House on the pressing issues now before Congress.

"I am honored to serve in this capacity. ... If given the opportunity, I'll make Hawaii proud,"    Schatz said.

Next in line to be lieutenant governor is Senate President Shan Tsutsui of Maui. Abercrombie said Tsutsui is weighing it and must make a decision "promptly."          

Schatz, a former Makiki state lawmaker and Democratic Party of Hawaii chairman, was elected lieutenant governor in 2010.

Abercrombie chose Schatz from a list of recommendations from the Democratic Party of Hawaii that included U.S. Rep. Colleen Hanabusa and and Esther Kiaaina, the deputy director of the state Department of Land and Natural Resources.

Schatz will also be the youngest Senator in the upper chamber at 40, while I don't see him lasting as long as Inouye (five decades), nothing's impossible.  I can't really fault Abercrombie:  he's replacing the longest serving senator with the youngest one.  Also, having Hanabusa jump to the Senate would have left her House seat open with Dems looking for someone to go to the mat with another rough battle against Republican Charles Djou, so again, Abercrombie does look like he's reasonably covering all sides as the titular leader of Hawaii's Democratic party.

Sen. Schatz's first vote may come in days as the term ends next week.  Due to Hawaii's laws on US Senate appointments, Schatz can serve until 2014 before having to run in a special election, and then again in 2016 for Inouye's full term.  He says he will plan to run in both elections.

At only 40, time is definitely on his side.

[UPDATE]  Bob Cesca points out that not only is Abercrombie the nation's least popular Governor(!!!) but that the fact the white Abercrombie picking the white Schatz to represent the least white state in the union (at 24%) is probably not going to help his numbers.  On the other hand...that does make Hawaii's delegation...25% white.


Wednesday, December 26, 2012

Last Call

It's bad enough when the press second-guesses the President with endless bad advice, but it's a whole other ball game when Democratic senators do it.  Ezra Klein:

On Fox News Sunday, Sen. Kent Conrad (D-N.D.), the outgoing chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, made a proposal to solve the “fiscal cliff.” The proposal isn’t going anywhere, but its specifics explain something important about the White House’s negotiating strategy.

“My own belief,” Conrad said, “is what we ought to do is take Speaker Boehner’s last offer, the president’s last offer, split the difference, and that would be a package of about $2.6 trillion.”

Chris Wallace, to his credit, pressed Conrad for details. And Conrad provided them. “The spending cuts would be $1.45 trillion. The revenue would be $1.15 trillion. So, you see there, that’s a combination of $2.6 trillion.”

This in an amazing offer for a Democrat to make. House Speaker John A. Boehner (R-Ohio) has already accepted that “a balanced deal,” by his definition, would include a ratio of 1:1 spending cuts to tax increases. Indeed, his second offer included $1 trillion in tax increases in return for $1 trillion in spending cuts ($1.3 trillion if you count interest). By averaging Boehner’s second offer with Obama’s third offer — that is to say, by starting from a baseline that includes more rounds of Democratic concessions than Republican concessions — Conrad is proposing a more lopsided deal than Boehner is currently asking for

To recap, we have sitting Democratic senators going on national TV and blowing huge holes in the President's position, with this "If I were President" crap.  You're not.  Stop sabotaging your party, moron.

To make it clear just how much of a meathead Conrad is, he's giving Boehner and the Republicans a better deal than Boehner himself offered, for no other discernible reason than for the political edification of Kent Conrad as kingmaker, in his wild dreams of "The Senator who saved America from the Fiscal Cliff."

If I'm the White House, I'm calling up Conrad's office and telling him if he ever pulls this crap again, his head is going home to North Dakota about 2 weeks ahead of the rest of him.

Nonsense like this is exactly why President Obama never had 60 reliable votes in the Senate.  Kent Conrad, Ben Nelson, Evan Bayh, Blanche Lincoln, Joe Lieberman...the list goes on.  Too many Senators thought they knew better than "that there Obama boy."

All of them, including Conrad, are gone for good as of January 3.   President Obama is still there.  There's a lesson there to be learned that won't be.

And A Merry Cliff-Mess To All

The always awesome LOLGOP has a piece on the five outcomes of this week's Fiscal Cliffmas deal (or possible lack of one:)

While the sequestration President Obama and Speaker Boehner agreed on in 2011 to avert the manufactured debt limit crisis will include $11 billion in Medicare cuts along with billions in defense and other cuts, it would not change any benefits that beneficiaries of the program receive. But there’s no doubt that if the whole of cuts and tax breaks ending in the fiscal cliff are allowed to come into being — cutting the deficit in half — they would eventually damage our already-shaky economy, despite the fact that right-wingers have been claiming for years that the deficit was to blame for our slow recovery. And if Republicans want to hold the debt limit — which expires early in 2013 — hostage again, a fiscal crisis could be inevitable.

Well true.  So what could happen?  LOL sees 5 possible outcomes:
  1. Three month or more punt (GOP wins, unlikely)
  2. President Obama's most recent offer.
  3. Compromise between Obama offer and Boehner "Plan B".
  4. Short-term cliff jumping, then a deal (Most likely scenario)
  5. Thelma and Louise and no looking back.
Given 2 and 3 have already been rejected, and 5 will cause Wall Street to have a major sad (not to mention the economy, the American people, and the global economy) that leaves 1 and 4.  Republicans are going to be pushing for 1 as it disarms the President's leverage and gets them off the hook.  Democrats are going to be pushing for 4 for the opposite reason.

My money's still on 4, as is LOLGOP's. We'll see where we land this Cliff-Mess season.

Naming The WOLVEREEEEEENS In Our Midst

The latest conservative freakout:  gun ownership permits are the new Obama enemies list.

An interactive map showing the names and addresses of all handgun permit-holders in New York's Westchester and Rockland counties has drawn a response from mostly disgruntled readers since it was posted Saturday on a newspaper's website.

The interactive map published by the Journal News, prompting more than 1,300 comments as of Tuesday, allows readers to zoom in on red dots that indicate which residents are licensed to own pistols or revolvers.

"So should we start wearing yellow Stars of David so the general public can be aware of who we are??" wrote one commenter.

Sure.  This is just like the persecution of Jews in Germany, guys, they had guns too.  

What happened to "Bring it on, libtards!"  Aren't you proud of owning your gun, as a warning to all those bad guys out there that you're ready to water the Tree of Liberty at any time?  What about it, Reasonoids?  Isn't this information being free?

Do you own a registered gun? Well, they know where you live. By "they" I mean the government (which you knew), and the Freedom of Information Act-using, technology wielding media, which can with some effort build maps like the one you see on the right, showing the Westchester County addresses of people who have registered their handguns.

You think Matt Welch and his crew of merry pirates would be thrilled.  Nope.

The map, which "does not include owners of long guns — rifles or shotguns — which can be purchased without a permit," was brought to my attention by Twitterer "Russ" (@burnt_wick), who comments that this "is why you should acquire all of your firearms illegally." 

Ahh, there's the pouty anarchist I know.  The freakout is pretty epic:

My guess would be that the number of people in that area who would like more information about food stamp recipients, families on welfare rolls, or other government programs far exceeds the number who want info on gun owners. Why not publish that information?

It's nobody's business whether you've got a gun permit, or if you accept food stamps. This outrageous violation of privacy by ignorant liberals should be denounced by both sides. And if I were not a gun owner and lived in that area, I would be livid. The paper just put that family at risk because the criminal element now knows who is helpless and who can defend themselves.

On the contrary, Republican small-government conservatives think it's everyone's business if you accept food stamps, and as such think you should be drug-tested before you should be allowed to receive food because of course all people on food stamps are potential criminals.  You know, unlike gun owners.

Oh, and these are the same people who want a national database of the mentally ill, but a map of gun owners is just like the Holocaust. 

There's your "outrageous violation of privacy", morons.


Tuesday, December 25, 2012

Last Call

You didn't actually think a slimeball outfit like FreedomWorks, the Republican money machine led by former GOP House Speaker Dick Armey, was going to be able to spend tens of millions of dollars in a losing effort to elect basically zero Republicans and yet that nobody's head was going to roll, right?

Take it away, David Corn!

When the news broke in early December that former GOP Rep. Dick Armey had abruptly resigned as chairman of FreedomWorks, a powerhouse of the conservative movement and an instrumental force within the tea party, Armey maintained that the nasty split was due to differences he had with the top management of FreedomWorks about the group's operations and future. Immediately, media reports disclosed that Armey had been concerned that Matt Kibbe, the group's president, had used FreedomWorks resources to promote a book he had written (which was released in June) and that Armey himself had received an $8 million payout from a FreedomWorks board member to ease his departure. But internal documents obtained by Mother Jones show that the bitter war inside FreedomWorks has also resulted in allegations of staff wrongdoing (prompting an investigation by lawyers) and counter-allegations that Armey and his allies tried to turn FreedomWorks into a partisan outfit backing establishment Republicans over tea party insurgents.

Grab some popcorn and find a comfortable chair, folks.  This sordid tale of winger cannibalism is about to begin.

On December 12, James Burnley IV and C. Boyden Gray, two FreedomWorks board members (and allies of Armey), sent Kibbe a letter informing him that they had received "allegations of wrongdoing by the organization or its employees." They notified Kibbe that the group's board of trustees had retained two attorneys, Alfred Regnery and David Martin, to conduct an independent investigation of the allegations. Burnley and Gray ordered Kibbe to cooperate with the lawyers, to make sure no records were "destroyed, deleted, modified or otherwise tampered with," and to send Regnery a check for $25,000 to cover his initial fees. (Regnery, a prominent conservative, is the past president of Regnery Publishing, a right-wing firm that has put out books by Ann Coulter, Michelle Malkin, Pat Buchanan, and other notable conservatives.) The letter did not specify the allegations being investigated. In an interview with Mother Jones, Burnley declined to discuss the alleged wrongdoing at FreedomWorks. "The letter speaks for itself," he says. Gray, Kibbe, and a spokeswoman for FreedomWorks did not respond to requests for comment.

So Dick Armey was shown the door by Matt Kibbe and the Tea Party wing of the organization.  As a result, Armey's remaining allies in FreedomWorks accused Matt Kibbe of wrongdoing.  But now Kibbe has fired back:

Shortly after receiving the December 12 letter, Kibbe wrote a memo outlining his beef with Armey, Burnley, and Gray. In the document—titled "Republican Insiders Attempt Hostile Takeover of FreedomWorks"—Kibbe accused the three of being shills for the Republican establishment and undercutting the group's standing as an independent, non-partisan, conservative organization. (FreedomWorks has at times endorsed tea party candidates in primary elections against mainstream or incumbent Republicans, drawing the ire of mainline Republicans.) Kibbe charged that the three men were trying to punish him for defying their effort to steer FreedomWorks into the conventional Republican fold. He contended that the divisive fight within FreedomWorks was not really about his book contract or other organizational matters; it was a grand ideological clash pitting those fully loyal to the tea party cause (such as Kibbe) against backroom, Washington-centric pols attempting to wield their influence to benefit their pals.

Now the big question:  given the fact that basically nobody FreedomWorks got money to actually won in November, if you're a big-time GOP donor, are you going to give these clowns another $100 million to blow in 2014?

I'm thinking FreedomWorks won't be the only GOP dark money operation to implode before November 2014, either.  Watch the bonfire, kids.  It'll keep you warm this winter, as the long-predicted GOP civil war is about to break into the open.

All I Want For Christmas Is Fluffy's Head

Apparently, when our conservative blogger friends aren't getting into the spirit of Christ's word unto men by celebrating the guy's birthday through calling their liberal neighbors ignorant know-it-alls and glib and warped totalitarians, they're too busy spending the day gleefully plotting the prosecution of people who think peace on Earth might be a good idea.

On Sunday, in an interview with the National Rifle Association’s head, Wayne LaPierre, Gregory displayed what appeared to be a 30-bullet gun magazine. He pushed LaPierre on the question of whether fewer children would have died during the Sandy Hook Elementary School massacre this month had the gunman had access to fewer bullets.

The presence of the gun magazine on the show raises questions about a section in the D.C. code — much cited by conservatives and gun rights activists after “Meet the Press” on Sunday — which stipulates that “No person in the District shall possess, sell, or transfer any large capacity ammunition feeding device regardless of whether the device is attached to a firearm. For the purposes of this subsection, the term ‘large capacity ammunition feeding device’ means a magazine,” among other devices.

As such, the DC Metro cops are now investigating this "incident".  Nobody's happier than our old friend Col. Mustard, who has decided that David Gregory must burn as a lesson to liberals and conservatives alike, and that because NBC won't respond to him, that they must be guilty.

There's your Christ-like behavior on Christmas.  And people wonder why I'm agnostic.

Not A Good Christmas For Hockey Fans

As the National Hockey Leagues lockout pitting millionaire players versus multimillionaire owners reaches the 100-day mark, it's fans who are getting the biggest lumps of coal this year.

Team owners have wiped out 625 games through January 14, just over half the planned schedule that was to have started in October, and vow they will not stage a season with less than 48 games per team, requiring a mid-January deal.

Players, who were paid 57 percent of revenues under the old deal, have moved closer to the 50-50 split found in other North American sports, but want owners to increase the amount of shared revenue from strong teams to bolster the fortunes of owners pleading poverty under the previous system.

Ice hockey fans, who returned from the prior lockout in record-setting numbers, have lost half a season because rich players and richer owners cannot hammer out a way to divide $3.3 billion in annual revenues.

Players have approved decertifying the NHL Players Association as a union to allow players to file US anti-trust lawsuits against NHL club owners, although that move has not yet been made.

Forget the fiscal cliff, we're talking about the very real prospect of the end of pro hockey here in North America.  Two lost seasons out of nine when you're arguing about who gets the tens of millions the fans give you to play, and you don't play two entire seasons in a decade because you can't decide who should get even more millions, in this economy?

The entire league can go straight to hell.

Sorry, NHL.  Columbus Bluejax tickets being easy to get or no, I'm sticking with minor league hockey from now on.  At least the Cincinnati Cyclones take to the ice.

Merry Christmas, you greedy jagoffs.

StupidiNews, Christmas Edition!

Monday, December 24, 2012

Last Call

If there is going to be a fiscal cliff deal before January 1, it's quite possible that the late Sen. Daniel Inouye's seat will have to be filled in order to have someone on hand to help break a guaranteed GOP filibuster. 

In his last wishes, Sen. Inouye expressed his desire to have current Rep. Colleen Hanabusa replace him by sending a personal deathbed letter to Gov. Neil Abercrombie, but that's apparently causing something of a stir in Sensible Centrist circles, who are apparently arguing that Abercrombie should fight back against Hawaii's old guard political machine and appoint somebody else.

Political analyst and University of Hawaii political science professor emeritus Neal Milner said Inouye knew exactly what he was doing when sent the letter to Abercrombie. It was meant to put the governor on the spot.

“What’s pretty elegant about this is how straightforward this is,” Milner said. “It’s about as straightforward as it can be and it’s about as dramatic as it can be. It certainly does raise the ante.”

It had been assumed that Hanabusa would be Inouye’s successor when the senator eventually left office, and over the years it appeared the senator had taken a liking to the congresswoman, according to political experts. The two even had lunch just before he entered the hospital.

Milner said it’s also likely that when the senator looked around at his options that he saw a “thin bench” of replacement candidates.

“If you put yourself in his position and looked around to see who was qualified to take his position there’s not much to look at,” Milner said. “The pool gets narrowed very quickly if you look at it through the eyes of the senator. He’s not interested in pulling someone out of nowhere and giving him or her the seat. That just wouldn’t register with him.”

It's also political maneuvering, something Inouye knew a lot about.

Whoever Abercrombie does appoint will most likely serve out until the end of their days in the seat, given the state's politics. 

Abercrombie is said by several close to him to prefer other candidates over Hanabusa. They include Blake Oshiro, his deputy chief of staff, Brian Schatz, his lieutenant governor — even Ed Case, with whom he served with in Congress. Case, 60, announced Sunday he was applying for the job.

Age may also be a consideration. Oshiro and Schatz are in their early 40s, meaning they could theoretically serve longer in the Senate and build up greater seniority. Hanabusa is 61 and Hirono is 65.

Harry Reid wants Abercrombie to make up his mind pretty quickly, regardless.  We'll see what happens.  This flap seems to be all about getting somebody other than Hanabusa in the office, and again a lot of that favors moderate Ed Case.  Frankly, I've got no problem with Hanabusa in the office, and I'd take Ed Case in Kentucky in a microsecond, but I think this is meddling with the Hawaii Democratic Party, plain and simple.

I think Abercrombie will go with Hanabusa.

Season's Greetings!

Merry Christmas from Bon and an elk named Fred!

Insert Your Own Crapo Joke Here

Idaho GOP Sen. Mike Crapo had a bit of a rough weekend, being arrested for a DUI early Sunday morning in Virginia while, you know, being a supposedly devout and tee-totaling Mormon.

Sen. Michael Crapo (R-ID) apologized late Sunday in a written statement released by his office following his arrest on suspicion of drunken driving.

In an email to TPM, Crapo’s spokesman Lindsay Nothern said the senator was charged with a misdemeanor of drunken driving early Sunday after being pulled over in Alexandria, Va. for running a red light. Crapo was released from custody upon posting $1,000 bond, according to Nothern. The senator is scheduled to appear in court on Jan. 4.

"I am deeply sorry for the actions that resulted in this circumstance," Crapo said in the statement. "I made a mistake for which I apologize to my family, my Idaho constituents and any others who have put their trust in me. I accept total responsibility and will deal with whatever penalty comes my way in this matter. I will also undertake measures to ensure that this circumstance is never repeated."

Virginia is pretty tough on DUIs.  Crapo is facing a mandatory $250 fine and a year long license suspension, plus the installation of a dashboard breath test device on his car for that year.  Crapo was re-elected to a third term two years ago.  I don't expect any political fallout from this, but the people of Idaho may surprise me.

We'll see where Crapo's dice roll.

Even More Mitten-freude

The Boston Globe gives their version of how the Romney campaign blew it:

To this day, Romney’s aides wonder how it all went so wrong.

They console each other with claims that the election was much closer than realized, saying that Romney would be president if roughly 370,000 people in swing states had voted differently. Romney himself blamed demographic shifts and Obama’s “gifts”: ­federal largesse targeted to Democratic constituencies.

But a reconstruction by the Globe of how the campaign unfolded shows that Romney’s problems went deeper than is widely understood. His campaign made a series of costly financial, strategic, and political mistakes that, in retrospect, all but assured the candidate’s defeat, given the revolutionary turnout tactics and tactical smarts of President Obama’s operation.

One of the gravest errors, many say, was the Romney team’s failure, until too late in the campaign, to sell voters on the candidate’s personal qualities and leadership gifts. The effect was to open the way for Obama to define Romney through an early blitz of negative advertising. Election Day polls showed that the vast majority of voters concluded that Romney did not really care about average people.

These failures are now the subject of scrutiny by national GOP ­officials who say they plan to “reverse engineer” the ­Romney effort to understand what went wrong. A number of Romney’s top aides stressed in interviews that, while they ­remain proud of their work, they feel an obligation to ­acknowledge their numerous mistakes so lessons are learned.

And yet we all know that if Team Romney had gotten those 370,000 votes and put the country into recount hell, or 500,000 votes and won the electoral college, we'd all be reading from our Village betters about how the Obama campaign was the largest failure in human history, and that despite these deeper problems in the Romney campaign, the Obama campaign must have been worse because after all, they still lost to the guy.  And the Romney campaign would have been "right all along".

So no, knowing how close the country came to abject disaster, knowing that Mitt Romney could have won the presidency and lost the popular vote by 3% and 4 million votes, I choose not to dance the dance of Loser Mitt, but to remember that despite every dirty trick in the book and a few new ones, it was only the Romney camp's massive incompetence that saved our country, and that 61 million Americans, less than 20% of the country, could have doomed us all.

They were close.  They needed but four states:  Florida, Ohio, Virginia and New Hampshire.  They almost got them.  We'd be wise to remember how close they were.

Merry Christmas.  We've still got a lot of work ahead.  Take the 2012 election as the warning it was.  Savor the victory, but stay vigilant.


Sunday, December 23, 2012

Last Call

My favorite Zombie Lie of the housing collapse is back again, Broke Ass Black People Caused The Recession.  Every six months or so we get another iteration of this idiocy that centers around the Community Reinvestment Act, which because of "racial quotas" forced banks to make subprime loans to unqualified brown people, which collapsed the housing sector and the economy.  No surprise, it's Investor's Business Daily again with this lie.

Democrats and the media insist the Community Reinvestment Act, the anti-redlining law beefed up by President Clinton, had nothing to do with the subprime mortgage crisis and recession.

But a new study by the respected National Bureau of Economic Research finds, "Yes, it did. We find that adherence to that act led to riskier lending by banks."

Added NBER: "There is a clear pattern of increased defaults for loans made by these banks in quarters around the (CRA) exam. Moreover, the effects are larger for loans made within CRA tracts," or predominantly low-income and minority areas."

Except as I've been saying for years now, the CRA's effect on the housing collapse was minimal because the banks that made the vast majority of bad subprime loans never made them under the CRA.  Investor's Business Daily has been pushing this outright falsehood for four years now.
And I've killed this lie again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again, and again.
Once again, the mortgage brokers that made nearly all of the subprime loans that went bad were MORTGAGE BROKERS and NOT BANKS.   Because they WERE NOT BANKS, they were NOT SUBJECT TO THE COMMUNITY REINVESTMENT ACT AT ALL.

This "study" doesn't prove anything, other than Investor's Business Daily is the NewsMax of the financial world.

Method To His Madness

Hey folks?  Listen up.  NRA executive VP and spokesman Wayne LaPierre is crazy.  Like a fox.

Gun enthusiasts thronged to shows around the country on Saturday to buy assault weapons they fear will soon be outlawed after a massacre of school children in Connecticut prompted calls for tighter controls on firearms.

Reuters reporters went to gun shows in Pennsylvania, Missouri and Texas, and found long lines to get in the door, crowds around the dealer booths, a rush to buy assault weapons even at higher prices and some dealers selling out.
The busiest table at the R.K. Gun & Knife show at an exposition center near the Kansas City, Missouri airport was offering assault weapons near the entrance.
West Plains, Missouri dealer Keith's Guns sold out of about 20 AR-15 style assault rifles in a little over an hour, owner Keith Gray said.

And NY Gov. Andrew Cuomo is doing everything he can to help the NRA sell more guns, more ammo, more everything.

In a radio interview on Thursday with Albany’s WGDJ-AM, New York governor Andrew Cuomo said that he plans to work with state legislators next month to submit a proposal for new gun-control laws; in particular, Cuomo said, “our focus is assault weapons,” because current state laws regulating the weapons “have more holes that Swiss cheese.”
“I don’t think legitimate sportsmen are going to say, ‘I need an assault weapon to go hunting,’” he said.
Cuomo continued, “Confiscation could be an option. Mandatory sale to the state could be an option. Permitting could be an option — keep your gun but permit it.”

Boom.  The NRA is going to be using Cuomo's comments for years and the gun lobby will keep getting richer and richer and buy off more lawmakers.  The NRA's response as the nation's largest firearms manufacturer lobbyist group to the Newtown massacre could not have worked out any better for them, frankly.

So glad politicians on "our side" are happy to do all the lifting for them.

Maker's Mark Of Bad Taste

So depressingly expected that I haven't written about it, but this week details of a lawsuit versus the Maker's Mark Bourbon House and Lounge in Louisville's 4th Street Live district became public.  Ian Boudreau has the deets:

The suit, filed in Jefferson County court by Andre Mulligan, alleges that he and his brother approached the Maker’s Mark Bourbon House and Lounge management in August this year to secure reservations for an event scheduled for Aug. 18. According to Mulligan’s suit, the restaurant management “demanded to know the ratio of ‘black people’ to ‘white people’” in the party, and then refused to grant a reservation when Mulligan explained that everyone attending the party would be black.

When the Mulligans and their party showed up anyway on Aug. 18, the complaint says the 4th Street Live security personnel barred them from entry into the downtown area, which covers about two city blocks (the Baltimore-based Cordish Operating Ventures, which runs 4th Street Live, is also named in the complaint).

This isn’t the first time 4th Street Live and associated clubs have been accused of racism. In 2006, a Jefferson County judge ordered two clubs to visibly post the “dress codes” they had cited when barring two African-American men from entering The Red Cheetah and Parrot Bay. These dress codes had drawn a lot of local criticism at the time for being rather obviously targeted at African-American men – many felt as if Cordish’s ban on “gang-related” clothing was being used specifically to prevent young black men from entering the area at night, when the bars and clubs are busiest.

Living here in Kentucky, I've had friends of both races tell me 4th Street Live at night is not very friendly for groups of black folk.  People don't like to be reminded it seems that what few black folk live here are in the urban areas of Louisville and Lexington.  It's been a long time problem at 4th Street Live, and that's why I've only been there once two years ago (and during the day.)  Overpriced tourist trap area anyway, but the vibe I got there definitely made me not want to go back.

Which was the point, I guess.  Everyone acts surprised that this kind of thing still exists in 2013, but why should we be?  As Ian points out, we elected arguably the most racist senator in the country in Rand "The Civil Rights Act is unconstitutional" Paul.  What did you expect from Kentucky?

Saturday, December 22, 2012

An Orange Julius Sunset?

Taking this with an entire salt mine, but Taegan Goddard notes the Breitbrats are reporting a concerted effort to get rid of John Boehner as Speaker of the House.

"Several conservative House Republican members are contemplating a plan to unseat Speaker John Boehner from his position on January 3," Breitbart News reports.

"Staffers have compiled a detailed action plan that, if executed, could make this a reality... Dissatisfaction with Boehner is growing in the House Republican conference, but until now there hasn't been a clear path forward."

If the unrest generated by Boehner's Plan B debacle has gotten to this point, it may actually be serious.  Unlike 2010, when Health Shuler and the Blue Dogs went after Nancy Pelosi (and that plan went nowhere, resulting in the remaining Blue Dogs getting thrown out of Congress in November) this assault on Orange Julius's job seems to be a much more serious prospect.

Still, I'll believe it when I see somebody step up to challenge him.  So far, it's nobody, officially.  John Stanton over at BuzzFeed points out that odds definitely remain in Boehner's favor for a good reason:  the Tea Party doesn't want to govern, nor do they have to if they control Boehner and he remains around to take the slings and arrows.

None of this is to say a coup, and a successful one, is impossible. Boehner is clearly weakened by the last week’s events, his conference has become more, not less, conservative. And there are a number of scenarios under which Boehner is forced out of leadership.

But consider this: a weakened Boehner in the speakership may be exactly what conservatives ultimately want. Having one of their own atop the House puts the burden on them to actually govern, find common ground with Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid and President Obama, and marshal an effective electoral strategy for the 2014 midterm elections.

Remaining on the outside of a leadership team that is not in firm control of the House conference gives movement leaders the freedom to operate and push their agenda with none of the responsibilities that come with actually being in charge.

Meanwhile, President Obama has reportedly told Orange Julius exactly where he can go with his Plan B (via Bob Cesca):

Mr. Obama repeatedly lost patience with the speaker as negotiations faltered. In an Oval Office meeting last week, he told Mr. Boehner that if the sides didn’t reach agreement, he would use his inaugural address and his State of the Union speech to tell the country the Republicans were at fault.
At one point, according to notes taken by a participant, Mr. Boehner told the president, “I put $800 billion [in tax revenue] on the table. What do I get for that?”
You get nothing,” the president said. “I get that for free.

Like I said, right now I'm not seeing anyone step up for Boehner's head so until that happens, he stays Speaker.  But I'm betting that changes in the next week or two.  How far that challenge goes?  Stay tuned.

The Unbearable Lameness Of Being Bryan

It took Republicans losing two presidential contests and constantly getting played in the last two years especially by deals between the White House and the GOP, but Pajamas Media hack Bryan Preston finally, finally has realized with the scoreboard 67 to 14 or so that maybe the black guy isn't as stupid as all the smart white pundits thought.

President Obama comes out of last night’s debacle in a position of greater political strength, without having had to move an inch. The GOP leaders in the House will end up having to chase Democratic votes to get anything passed. The markets are reacting negatively to the near vote so far, dropping sharply in light pre-Christmas trading. A president who puts economic growth first would find this worrying, but Barack Obama is clearly putting politics first. Boehner’s Plan B was an attempt to expose that fact, but it instead exposed the fissures on the right. Obama’s priorities all along have been political, and he is well on the way to achieving all that he wants, while positioning himself to be able to blame Republicans for all the downsides. The media will amplify that.

Many of us on the right like to call Obama an amateur, but the fact is, he has won national election twice by hook or by crook, and right now he is poised to benefit from the threat of economic difficulty that he has helped engineer, again. The amateurs are those who think he is dealing in good faith, and those who think one stand on “principle” or “letting it burn” will end up hurting Obama. The fact that at this stage the Republicans have no good options left while the Democrats are set up to swoop in as saviors of the very middle class that their policies are destroying tells us who the real amateurs are.

Now of course, Preston's too much of an utter hack to realize just how bitter and resentful he sounds.  He's a card-carrying member of the "middle class must feel the pain" club, and at best his column grudgingly approaches consideration of President Obama as a human being.  Almost.

But as I've said time and time again, if Obama's supposedly so totally naive and/or stupid, how come he keeps beating the GOP?

Preston doesn't have an answer for that, of course.  Funny, that.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, December 21, 2012

Last Call

John Kerry is officially President Obama's choice for SecState, but the real fight would be on for Kerry's seat, and whether or not Scott Brown could take another swing at it.  Nate Silver runs the numbers:

If voters saw something extraordinary in Ms. Warren, then Mr. Brown might be expected to prevail against a mediocre opponent, as he did in 2010 against the Democratic state attorney general, Martha Coakley. If instead it was something intrinsic to the problem that any Republican faces in Massachusetts, then even a lesser-known Democrat could win. 

Ms. Warren’s favorability rating — 56 percent among Election Day voters — was perfectly adequate but not extraordinary. And 37 percent of voters said they thought Ms. Warren was too liberal, even in Massachusetts. 

But such is the intrinsic advantage that Democrats hold in Massachusetts that Ms. Warren won the election anyway. A “generic” Democrat who avoided the mistakes that Ms. Coakley made (like insulting the former Boston Red Sox star pitcher Curt Schilling) would thus seem to stand a reasonably good chance. 

And I agree with Nate:  Martha Coakley was an unusually terrible candidate.  But Brown still has a shot:

There are other circumstances, however, that could work in Mr. Brown’s favor. Most important is the abbreviated schedule for a special election. 

In a special election campaign that lasts only a few months, the Democratic candidate would not have the luxury of overcoming early errors, as Ms. Warren did. That is especially true because the Democrat would probably face a competitive primary, while Mr. Brown would probably not. 

The overall political environment is not likely to be as favorable to Democrats in a special election as it was in November (although it also will probably not be as unfavorable to them as in 2010). And there could be an element of sympathy for Mr. Brown among some swing voters. 

So what's the bottom line, Nate?

Despite all that, it is difficult to view Mr. Brown as much better than even money: he is a Republican in Massachusetts who lost an election by a reasonably clear margin just last month. And if Mr. Brown won, he could well face another competitive election in November 2014, when Democrats will have more of a chance to gear up — and when Deval Patrick will have finished his second term as governor and might be more likely to run for the Senate.

A lot depends on who Democrats decide to run against Brown, too.  Ben Affleck has been mentioned as an unlikely choice, while better political money has Barney Frank in the seat (he's not saying no, should he be appointed by Gov. Patrick.)  We'll see who runs, after all, Scott Brown hasn't announced much of anything, and running for Senate is expensive, folks.

Bunker Mentaility

A full week after the Newtown, Connecticut massacre, the Nantional Rifle Association finally got around to a response.  And by "response", I mean NRA Executive VP Wayne LaPierre's spectacular self-immolation on national television at a "press conference" where the NRA refused to take any questions.  LaPierre's partial statement:

Now, I can imagine the headlines, the shocking headlines you’ll print tomorrow. “More guns,” you’ll claim, “are the NRA’s answer to everything.” Your implication will be that guns are evil and have no place in society, much less in our schools.

But since when did “gun” automatically become a bad word? A gun in the hands of a Secret Service agent protecting our president isn’t a bad word. A gun in the hands of a soldier protecting the United States of America isn’t a bad word. And when you hear your glass breaking at three a.m. and you call 9/11, you won’t be able to pray hard enough for a gun in the hands of a good guy to get there fast enough to protect you.

So, why is the idea of a gun good when it’s used to protect the president of our country or our police, but bad when it’s used to protect our children in our schools? They’re our kids. They’re our responsibility. And it’s not just our duty to protect them, it’s our right to protect them.

You know, five years ago after the Virginia Tech tragedy, when I said we should put armed security in every school, the media called me crazy. But what if -- what if when Adam Lanza started shooting his way into Sandy Hook Elementary School last Friday, he’d been confronted by qualified armed security? Will you at least admit it’s possible that 26 little kids, that 26 innocent lives might have been spared that day? Is it so important to you (inaudible) would rather continue to risk the alternative? Is the press and the political class here in Washington D.C. so consumed by fear and hatred of the NRA and American gun owners, that you’re willing to accept the world, where real resistance to evil monsters is alone, unarmed school principal left to surrender her life, her life, to shield those children in her care.

No one. No one, regardless of personal, political prejudice has the right to impose that sacrifice

And for a good 25 minutes or so (when he wasn't being protested by Code Pink in the middle of his gobsmackingly stupid tirade) LaPierre went on to blame video games, the media, the President, movies, television, liberals, parents, teachers, and everyone who wasn't a card-carrying member of the NRA for the deaths of 26 people last Friday.

On top of advocating for an armed militia of American volunteers to indoctrinate guard America's schools, LaPierre called for a national database registry of "the mentally ill", and demanded that students and teachers in schools be taught in firearm safety along with other educational courses.

Now, the National Rifle Association knows there are millions of qualified and active retired police, active, Reserve, and retired military, security professionals, certified firefighters, security professionals, rescue personnel, an extraordinary corps of patriotic, trained, qualified citizens to join with local school officials and police in devising a protection plan for every single school.

We could deploy them to protect our kids now. We can immediately make America’s schools safer, relying on the brave men and women in America’s police forces. The budgets -- and you all know this, everyone in the country knows this -- of our local police departments are strained, and the resources are severely limited, but their dedication and courage is second to none. And, they can be deployed right now.

I call on Congress today, to act immediately to appropriate whatever is necessary to put armed police officers in every single school in this nation. And, to do it now to make sure that blanket safety is in place when our kids return to school in January.

In other words, the guy wants us to put an army of cops in schools in the next two weeks.   All carrying guns, of course.  I'm sure Xe or Triple Canopy would love to get that contract.

Your freedom, of course, means turning America into a series of armed camps with a bunch of people ready to do violence at a moment's notice.  Don't you want that for your kids in your school?

Yeah, what could possibly go wrong with this plan, right?

Will Orange Julius Leave By The Door Or The Window?

As I predicted yesterday, the GOP has indeed left House Speaker John Boehner out to dry as his last shreds of political clout have been stripped from him in the embarrassing collapse of his own Plan B fiscal cliff slope bill last night in the House.

In a stunning defeat, Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) called off a vote Thursday night on his Plan B to avert the fiscal cliff, citing a lack of support from his own party. Boehner issued the following statement as an emergency meeting of the House Republican Conference was ending:
The House did not take up the tax measure today because it did not have sufficient support from our members to pass.  Now it is up to the president to work with Senator Reid on legislation to avert the fiscal cliff.  The House has already passed legislation to stop all of the January 1 tax rate increases and replace the sequester with responsible spending cuts that will begin to address our nation's crippling debt.  The Senate must now act.

Eric Cantor then adjourned the House for Christmas break.   As BooMan points out, Boehner's days as Speaker are now most likely numbered as a result:

The president has no incentive to bargain with Boehner anymore. Why make concessions to someone who can't deliver on his promises? The administration has now been through this process twice with Boehner. If they are going to cut a deal now, it is going to have to be on Nancy Pelosi's terms and designed to win with only a sliver of Republican votes. That would cost Boehner his speakership

I agree.  Boehner has shown that his own party will never sign off on a large bipartisan deal that will get 350 or 400 votes in the House.  I could have told you that on November 7th.

So now, President Obama looks like a genius.  He's broken John Boehner's back on this, and most likely Republicans will have a new Speaker in January.  It also means that the Democrats will put a deal that heavily favors them on the table, and it will most likely squeak through the Senate and House sometime late next week, and the President will sign it on the 31st.

The Republicans will eat their crap sandwich, and then they will take John Boehner out back and ask him if he wants to leave the Speaker's chair by the door or the window...unless you think the GOP can keep more than a handful of defectors from taking the deal.  That kind of leadership power is gone now, broken.  Cantor, most likely, will replace him.  But maybe Cantor will like being the majority leader too much and let the rabble appoint a winger nutjob as Speaker.  That'll be the person who takes the fall in 2014.

But if somehow that doesn't happen and the Republicans decide they'll go over the cliff, they'll get an even worse deal and then they'll take it anyway.  Another door or window choice, again only a handful of defectors needed.  Again, no unity.

And if they somehow don't take that deal, then they'll get every ounce of scorn and blame from the American people, and the GOP will get the door or window choice from the voters.  The choice will be taken from them by that point, it will be the window.

No matter what happens now, President Obama wins.  Republicans have the opportunity to limit further damage here.  They've not been intelligent enough to take it so far.

The door or the window, boys?  Your choice.  But you're leaving.
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