Thursday, May 3, 2012

Last Call

Remember, America doesn't have a right-wing domestic terrorist problem.  We have a long string of completely unrelated "mass shooting" events where gunmen declare that various minority groups or random bystanders are the enemy and kill a bunch of them seemingly out of the blue in an attempt to strike fear into the hearts of millions and/or to force political change through bloodshed, but since these folks are FOX News viewers, it's just "unfortunate" when this happens every couple of months or so.   Meanwhile, the real terrorists are the New Black Panther Party because OOGA BOOGA BLOOGITY BLACK.  Cue the scary chyron, folks.

Longtime white supremacist and border vigilante JT Ready saw himself as part of a war that few others would fight. He amassed weapons. He donned a uniform. He formed his own brigade of volunteers to walk alongside him as he hunted what he described as “narco terrorists” flowing across the Arizona-Mexico border.

On Wednesday, reports out of Arizona said Ready died, not at the hands of drug runners, but with his own gun during a mad rampage inside a suburban home just east of Phoenix. Along the way, the reports said, he took the lives of four other people, including a toddler.

The Arizona Republic reported the victims were Ready’s girlfriend, her daughter, the daughter’s boyfriend and the daughter’s 18-month-old baby. Ready still somehow managed to use the event to blame immigrants even after his death. A posting on his Facebook page appeared hours after the massacre took place.

“Reports are unconfirmed that a cartel assassination squad murdered JT Ready and several of his friends and family this afternoon in Gilbert Arizona,” the posting said. “This page’s admin will keep you updated of the situation as soon as possible.”

Don't dare call them racists, don't dare say we need law enforcement to look into the militia and white supremacist movements, don't dare point out the people going on shooting rampages are not young urban minorities, don't dare point out how easy it is to get firearms and ammunition in this country,  don't dare point out the people who actually are mounting up for a shooting war in our midst, because you should really be worried about the fellow down the street with the different religion or no religion at all or the unarmed black kid with the hoodie or the dirty effing hippie Occupy protester on the street corner or the Latino family driving along the border state highway or the people who want marriage equality for their loved ones, or the woman who wants to get rid of the fetus she's going to be unable to care for in six months.

These people, I am told, are the terrorists among us who will kill people, and not REAL 'MURICANS like JT Ready.  And man, this one stomps on all the asshole buttons, he gets all this hardware to play Metal Gear Solid on the border to shoot him some brown people because he has to protect the white way of life, and in the end the person who was the greatest threat to his loved ones was JT Ready him-goddamn-self, who took the chickenshit way out and punched his own clock after murdering a toddler.  Now that's freedom, my droogies.

America, you need a good swift kick in the ass.  Here's hoping this wakes up the somnambulant among us.

White Out (Of Your Mind)

There are some days where I'm just entirely ashamed of the state I grew up in, North Carolina, and this is one of those instances.

The wife of a sponsor of North Carolina’s Amendment One, a proposed change to the state’s constitution that would ensure legal recognition only for marriage between a man and a woman, reportedly offered an eyebrow-raising explanation for her husband’s support of the measure.

Jodie Brunstetter, the wife of state Sen. Peter Brunstetter (R), has found herself embroiled in controversy after suggesting that her husband’s role in writing the bill — which passed the Republican-controlled general assembly last fall — was racially motivated.

According to the alternative Yes! Weekly, which picked up the remarks from freelance journalist and activist Chad Nance, Jodie Brunstetter told a poll worker in Winston-Salem, N.C. Monday that the reason her husband “wrote Amendment 1 was because the Caucasian race is diminishing and we need to uh, reproduce.”

Nance had been volunteering for a group opposed to Amendment One while also serving as a campaign manager for Matt Newton, a U.S. House candidate in North Carolina’s 12th Congressional district. After a dispute with the candidate over his decision to make Jodie Brunstetter’s remarks public, Nance resigned from Newton’s campaign.

So yeah, Amendment 1 in North Carolina?  There's a reason it was written and worded so terribly vague and so awfully broad.   There's a reason that in a state where laws already exist to outlaw gay marriage that an amendment to the state constitution is apparently necessary.  And there's a reason why I think supporters of stupid, bigoted, divisive nonsense like this are stupid, divisive bigots.  Sick and tired of hearing this stuff would be happening with a white President and that Barack Obama's race has nothing to do with the Tea Party's complete hatestorm.  Not at this level.  Not with people openly admitting this garbage.

Anyhow, this is just asinine, ignorant, and silly.  If I wasn't vehemently opposed to Amendment 1 before, it has now become my duty to see this thing die screaming.

Playing Real Money Ball Now

If you're going to run a charity con game and get caught after a multi-year manhunt, run a big ass charity con game.  On veterans.  And then give the money to the GOP.  After all, they wrote the book on this stuff, right?

The U.S. Marshal Service announced Tuesday that it had captured one of America’s Most Wanted fugitives who is accused of creating a fake charity for Navy veterans that funneled some of the $100 million collected to Republican candidates.

Between the early 2000s and 2010, a man using the alias “Bobby Thompson” collected millions from unsuspecting donors for the charity U.S. Navy Veterans Association (USNVA), which claimed to provide support for members of the U.S. Armed Forces. Officials believe that very little, if any, of the money was ever used as intended, according to the U.S. Marshal Service.

To help legitimize his charity, Thompson allegedly donated part of the ill-gotten funds to Republican candidates like former President George W. Bush, former Republican presidential candidate John McCain and House Speaker John Boehner.

Republican Virginia Attorney General Ken Cuccinelli reportedly personally pleaded with Thompson for donations and received $55,000 for his effort, making Thompson Cuccinelli’s second-largest donor. Cuccinelli was eventually forced to turn over the tainted money to veterans support groups.

Over the years, Thompson also attended the 2008 Republican National Convention and numerous fundraisers. The Roanoke Times obtained photos of Thompson posing with Bush, Boehner and McCain — as well as Rep. Adam Putnam (R-FL), former Bush adviser Karl Rove and former Republican New York Mayor Rudy Giuliani.

Awesome.  Glad they busted this guy, and it raises a whole nasty batch of questions about this guy and his donations, just in time for campaign 2012.  I'm sure he gave himself up just to spite Orange Julius.

When The Guys In Charge Are Idiots, This Sort Of Thing Will Happen

SAN DIEGO (AP) — A college student who was forgotten by federal drug agents and left in a holding cell for five days without food, water or access to a toilet says that he drank his own urine to survive.
Daniel Chong also said that he bit into his glasses to break them and tried to use a shard to scratch "Sorry Mom" into his arm, according to a story published Tuesday in U-T San Diego ( ).
The 24-year-old engineering student at University of California, San Diego, was swept up as one of nine suspects in an April 21 drug raid that netted 18,000 ecstasy pills, other drugs and weapons.
Chong said federal Drug Enforcement Administration agents told him he would be released. One agent even promised to drive him home from the DEA field office in Kearny Mesa, he said. Instead, he was returned to a holding cell to await release. DEA spokeswoman Amy Roderick said he was accidentally left there.
"I had to recycle my own urine," he said. "I had to do what I had to do to survive."
He scratched a message to his mom because he thought he was going to die from dehydration.  He also claims that the lights were left off for days, and he could hear agents outside but no matter how loudly he shouted, they never heard him.  That seems strange, but since he has the element of being right so far on his side, I'll give him the benefit of the doubt.

He also says that when they opened the door, a snide comment was made about the water he'd been asking for.  It sure sounds like this was on purpose and approved over the course of several days.

Move along, citizen.  There is nothing to see here.

Stop. I Hereby Revoke Your Right To Breed.

The grandparents of a 7-year-old Florida girl are facing several charges after they allegedly towed her in a plastic car behind their SUV—all while under the influence of alcohol.
The Herald Tribune reports that Paul J. Berloni, 49, is charged with driving under the influence, child endangerment and driving with a suspended license. Sarasota Sheriff's deputies say Berloni has been convicted on three prior DUIs. His wife, Belinda Jean Berloni, 47, faces one charge of child endangerment.
The granddaughter was reportedly not injured during the incident.
They pulled a child behind them in a plastic car, in speeds up to 10 miles per hour.  That may not sound fast, but we're talking a second-grader, who could have been killed or ruined forever.  She was tied with a couple of leashes.

Then factor in that they were drunk. I mean, it makes a crazy kind of sense because few people are that stupid while sober.  However, I have a hunch these two grandparents are stupid whether it's happy hour or not.

This is when I wish I had a Clue Bat and permission to beat the stupid out of them.

Hit Like A Kansas Tornado

If there's any red state "laboratory of democracy" where lunatic Republican economic theories get turned into applied legislation, it's Kansas.  If you want to know what Paul Ryan, Eric Cantor, and the rest of the GOP Young Guns have up their sleeves for where you live, the Sunflower State is America's early warning system, and the state's working poor just got flattened by a fiscal EF5.  Salon's Andrew Leonard:

Last week, Kansas House and Senate negotiators agreed on a new tax plan that will sharply cut income taxes for wealthy state residents while at the same time raising taxes on the poor. The result, predictably, will be a shortfall in state revenue that will undoubtedly force additional cuts to state services.

The Center on Budget and Policy Priorities provides the analysis, but you don’t have to trust the left-leaning think tank for the spin. A newly formed group of retired Kansas Republican legislators are also declaring that enough is enough. The bottom line is this: If you’re wealthy enough and smart enough to structure your business affairs correctly, you can avoid both corporate taxes and income taxes. But if you’re poor, you will have to choose between whether you qualify for the Earned Income Tax Credit, or a state-funded rebate on sales taxes charged on groceries. One or the other! Not both! Because if there is a tax loophole that favors working-class Americans, we’d better close it!

The details are different, but the basic outline is similar to the ideas codified in Paul Ryan’s Mitt-Romney-endorsed budget: we’ll pay for tax cuts for the wealthy by cutting services that help the poor. Mitt Romney might not be as conservative as Kansas Governor Sam Brownback, but when the bills passed by a GOP-controlled legislature start arriving on his desk, his response will be identical: he’ll sign it.

Meanwhile, the state plans to cut the top tax rate on the wealthy from 6.45% to 4.9%, and eliminate corporate taxes completely by 2017.  Also, the state plans to repeal a "majority" of itemized deductions.  And yes, most residents would have to then choose between the earned income tax credit or the grocery refund...and not get both.  The bottom line:  business owners in the state would get a massive tax break,while workers would have to pick up most of the tab.  Kansas schools would also became dangerously underfunded, and the tax break that Kansas residents would have gotten on food by eliminating sales taxes on groceries has mysteriously vanished from the GOP tax plan.

Tornado alley indeed, except this one's ripping through the pocketbooks of Kansas working class citizens.  Pay attention, because these tax games are coming to a red state legislation and a GOP congress near you...

Bridge Over Troubled Logic

Kaplan Daily's official Obama scold, Glenn Kessler, has dropped yet another "four Pinocchios" on the President over bridges in my state of Kentucky.

I sent them a jobs bill that would have put hundreds of thousands of construction workers back to work repairing our roads, our bridges, schools, transit systems, along with saving the jobs of cops and teachers and firefighters, creating a new tax cut for businesses. They said no. I went to the Speaker’s hometown, stood under a bridge that was crumbling. Everybody acknowledges it needs to be rebuilt. Maybe he doesn’t drive anymore. Maybe he doesn’t notice how messed up it was. They still said no. There are bridges between Kentucky and Ohio where some of the key Republican leadership come from, where folks are having to do detours an extra hour, hour-and-a-half drive every day on their commute because these bridges don’t work. They still said no.

For this, Glenn throws the book at the President.

As we said before, we understand the need for symbolism. But that does not give a president license to stretch the facts.
Calling out the Republicans at the Brent Spence bridge was bad enough, given the bipartisan support for its reconstruction. But pointing to the Sherman Milton Bridge, which already has been repaired without funding from the president’s jobs bill, is ridiculous.
Perhaps the president was using outdated talking points, but that’s little excuse. Given that the president earned Three Pinocchios before, we have little choice but to up the ante this time.

Well, first of all the crack in the Sherman Minton in Louisville had been there since the beginning, and the repairs to fix it were far less extensive than originally thought. It was still a pain in the ass for four months out that way just as the president said. Meanwhile here in Cincy, construction season is currently adding about 30 minutes to my commute every afternoon. The problem is of course that the President is right about the Brent Spence. I live in northern Kentucky and I drive the Brent Spence every day to and from work in Cincy, it's in dire need of replacement because it's congested as hell and carries two interstates worth of traffic on just four lanes. And neither Kentucky Republicans nor Ohio Republicans want to pay for it.

The $2.4 billion Brent Spence Bridge replacement could receive final environmental approval from the Federal Highway Administration by the end of July, but what happens after that is anyone’s guess.
The project schedule calls for detailed design to begin in September, but neither Kentucky nor Ohio has enough funds to complete the phase – and it’s unclear whether they’ll get it this year.
Ohio needs $52.2 million and Kentucky needs $68 million to complete detailed design of the new bridge and the related overhaul of a 7.8-mile stretch of Interstate 75.

Normally that money would come from the federal government. And right now, that's being held up by Orange Julius and his motley crew of miscreants. Meanwhile, every month the bridge project is delayed costs the Cincinnati area $8 million. So yes, the Sherman Minton is fixed, but the Brent Spence replacement is in limbo right now and may remain so for a very long time. Construction may not start until 2015 as Kessler complains about, but Kessler fails to note that the design phase does start this year, and at least some money (as detailed above) will be needed by the end of the year, and that money is being blocked by Republicans. And personally, as a Kentucky taxpayer, I want this damn thing replaced along with the awful 3-lane 71/75 approach to the bridge through Kentucky. The sooner, the better.

Construction could begin in early 2015 – but only if funding is secured.
Backers of the project increasingly believe that Congress will not allocate any construction funding until Ohio, Kentucky and the Greater Cincinnati region come up with a plan to pay for the local match of at least 20 percent that is required.
And Kentucky lawmakers may attach strings of their own: some lawmakers want to see a plan for how to pay for construction before any money is allocated after Dec. 31, 2013.

And that's a big if. The Kentucky legislature is in special session hashing out the road bill this week, and Ohio is supposed to tackle the issue at some point. But it seems to me Kessler needs to get some of his own facts straight before dropping Pinocchios on folks.


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