Friday, October 4, 2013

Last Call For The Fire And The Flames

This is a really depressing story even for shutdown crazy Washington DC.

What has already been a strange and scary work week in the nation's capital, came to a close with a shocking incident on the National Mall: For reasons we don't yet know, witnesses say a man doused himself with gasoline and then set himself on fire. 
D.C. fire department spokesman Tim Wilson tells the AP the man suffered life-threatening injures. The wire service reports:

"He was standing by himself at Seventh Street and Madison Drive, in the center portion of the Mall, when he emptied the contents of a red gas can on himself and set himself on fire moments later, said Katy Scheflen, who witnessed it as she walked through the Mall. 
"She said passing joggers took off their shirts in an effort to help douse the flames, and the man was clearly alive as the flames spread. A police department spokesman said he was conscious and breathing at the scene. MedStar Washington Hospital Center tweeted that the man was taken there but had no condition update." 
Images posted on social media sites showed a rescue helicopter landing on the lawn, the iconic Washington Memorial in the background. They showed police descending upon the scene on a clear, sunny day in Washington with the Capitol building in full view.

One of those tragic stories that makes you think about perspective, and how all this affects our basic, daily humanity.  What would drive a person to do this?  It's bizarre as hell.

Then again, so are government shutdowns.

High-Stakes Calvinball

The shutdown mess continues with no end in sight, mainly because John Boehner is trapped in a hell of his own making.  He claims he won't allow the country to default, but that's exactly what will happen if the House doesn't raise the debt ceiling in two weeks.  The White House is tired of his game of Calvinball, according to Ezra Klein.

As the White House sees it, Speaker John Boehner has begun playing politics as game of Calvinball, in which Republicans invent new rules on the fly and then demand the media and the Democrats accept them as reality and find a way to work around them. 
First there was the Hastert rule, which is not an actual rule, but which Boehner uses to say he simply can't bring anything to the floor that doesn't have the support of a majority of his members. 
The shutdown, the White House argues, is now operating under a kind of super-Hastert rule in which a clean CR is supported by a majority of House Republicans but Boehner has given the tea partiers in his conference an effective veto over what he brings to the floor. 
Then there's Boehner's demand for further concessions on the debt limit, which he now says he can't back down on, but which he made knowing that it would make it harder for him to back down. 
The White House has decided that they can't govern effectively if the House Republicans can keep playing Calvinball. The rules and promises Boehner makes are not their problem, they've decided. They're not going to save him. And that also rules out unusual solutions like minting a platinum coin or declaring the debt limit unconstitutional. The White House doesn't want to break the law (and possibly spark a financial crisis) in order to save Boehner from breaking a promise he never should have made.

So no, the White House isn't going to save Boehner.  But will he fall on his sword in order to save the country from economic catastrophe?

He's a Republican.  What do you think's going to happen?  We've got two weeks, then our economy collapses because Republicans are insane, mean, and stupid.

I'm betting long on disaster futures, myself.

The Republican Mask Slips Again...

...and once again Republicans tell the country what they really are worried about during this shutdown silly season.  Behold, my senators, Mitch McConnell and Rand Paul caught on live mic here by a Kentucky NBC affiliate.

Senator Paul began, "Do you have a second?" 
"I'm all wired up here, um," Senator McConnell replied. 
"I just did CNN and I just go over and over again 'We're willing to compromise. 'We're willing to negotiate.' I think... I don't think they poll tested we won't negotiate. I think it's awful for them to say that over and over again," Paul said. 
"Yeah, I do too and I, and I just came back from that two hour meeting with them and that, and that was basically the same view privately as it was publicly," McConnell agreed. 
Paul added, "I think if we keep saying 'We wanted to defund it. We fought for that and that we're willing to compromise on this', I think they can't, we're gonna, I think... well I know we don't want to be here, but we're gonna win this I think."

What the Wonder Twins here don't understand is the vast majority of Americans are against the idea of shutting down the government over Obamacare.  They think that America is going to blame the Democrats for this for refusing to scrap a law that passed in 2010, was upheld by SCOTUS in 2012, and topped by President Obama's re-election 11 months ago.

Like Team Romney a year ago, these idiots think they've already won.  They're completely baffled as to how anyone could side with Obama over this.  They think Obama will cave any minute now.

The one person these two morons don't care about?  You.

Keep that in mind.


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