Sunday, November 30, 2014

Last Call For Religious Freedom (For Some)

To recap, the First Amendment allows for freedom of religious worship, unless Islam.  Wait, there's no "unless Islam" part?  Could have fooled Minnesota Republican Jack Whitley.

A Minnesota Republican who posted inflammatory remarks about Muslims on his Facebook page resigned from his position as the chairman of the Big Stone County Republican Party on Friday.

Jack Whitley told the Associated Press he had no plans to resign, but was asked to by other board members after his comments became national news.

Whitley had said he was opposed waterboarding terrorists because he believed that Muslim “parasites” should be killed.

After facing criticism for the remarks, he doubled-down, adding that Muslims should either convert to Christianity or leave the United States. He also said that Muslims don’t deserve First Amendment rights because Islam “infringes on the peace and the tranquility of this nation.”

“If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it,” he wrote on his Facebook page, which has since been made private.

But remember, liberals are the intolerant ones because the First Amendment applying to anyone other than Christians is "PC fascism" against Baby Jesus.  Besides, if you have a problem with the First Amendment applying only to whom Republicans say it applies to:

If you want to consider this a call to arms, then so be it

Then the Second Amendment will remedy it, right?

Held To A Different Standard

Whether or not you believe the White House turkey pardoning tradition is endearing or insipid (or both!) the fact remains that while Obama is in the Oval Office, he is held to a different and higher standard than previous occupants.  And the same apparently goes for his daughters, Sasha and Malia.

A Republican staffer apologized on Friday for comments she made about the way Sasha and Malia Obama dressed for the turkey pardoning ceremony on Wednesday.

Elizabeth Lauten, the communications director for Rep. Stephen Fincher (R-TN), wrote in a Facebook post that the Obama girls did not dress with "class" and looked like they were dressed for "a spot at a bar."

Yes, that's right, the First Daughters are under attack for being teenagers.  Well, teenagers who are a little different than the previous ones.

Dear Sasha and Malia, I get you’re both in those awful teen years, but you’re a part of the First Family, try showing a little class. At least respect the part you play. Then again your mother and father don’t respect their positions very much, or the nation for that matter, so I’m guessing you’re coming up a little short in the ‘good role model’ department. Nevertheless, stretch yourself. Rise to the occasion. Act like being in the White House matters to you. Dress like you deserve respect, not a spot at a bar. And certainly don’t make faces during televised public events.

There are many things wrong with this, but let's start with the way Lauten is trying to slut shame Obama's daughters.  As a reminder, this is what they were wearing Wednesday:


How awful.

Exactly what's wrong with what Sasha and Malia Obama are wearing?  OH NOES YOU CAN SEE HER KNEES.  And remember, this is from the same group of people constantly complaining about how the War on Women is a myth, and that liberals are fascists who are controlling every aspect of how we look and dress in a too politically correct world.  They are teenagers, dressed as such.

And yet she has the unmitigated call to tell the daughters of the first African-American president in US history to "stretch" and "rise to the occasion?"

No, this is a snarling Republican operative putting two young women of color in their place, plain and simple. The assumption of privilege here is overwhelming.

As usual with these cases, her apology was even worse.

"I reacted to an article and quickly judged the two young ladies in a way that I would never have wanted to be judged myself as a teenager. After many hours of prayer, talking to my parents and re-reading my words online, I can see more clearly how hurtful my words were," she wrote. "Please know that these judgmental feelings truly have no pace in my heart. Furthermore, I'd like to apologize to all of those who I have hurt and offended with my words, and pledge to learn and grow (and I assure you I have) from this experience."

I'm sorry you thought I was offending you, and I prayed for hours, so I'm off the hook.

Even more privilege assumed.

Remember, she's a political PR professional, hired as such.  If anything, she's woefully incompetent and should be fired.

On second thought, Republicans should probably promote her.  I'd love to see this person in charge of the GOP's 2016 campaign messaging.  And remember kids, Sasha and Malia are fair game in the eyes of the GOP.

The Grand Screwing In Ferguson, Con't

Andrew "Aptly Named" McCarthy at National Review wonders out loud why the "race hustlers" even made Darren Wilson go to a grand jury after shooting Michael Brown.  After all, the "facts" were Wilson, as a cop, had only to tell his side of the story to end the case right then and there.

For the American Left, a bedrock myth is that white cops kill black kids. It derives from the overarching myth that casts racism as our indelible national sin. As Heather Mac Donald explains, citing exhaustive criminology studies, it flows seamlessly from the quackery that dismisses the disproportionately high incidence of violent crime in African-American communities as an illusion — as the product of police racism and the consequent hyper-targeting of black boys and men, rather than of racial differences in patterns of offending.

Darren Wilson was a white cop and Michael Brown was a black teenager killed in a violent confrontation with Wilson. Therefore, Brown was the victim of a cold-blooded, racially motivated murder, Q.E.D. That is the myth, and it will be served — don’t bother us with the facts.

Once you’ve got that, none of the rest matters. In fact, at the hands of the left-leaning punditocracy, the rest was pure Alinsky: a coopting of language — in this instance, the argot of grand-jury procedure — to reason back to the ordained conclusion that “justice” demanded Wilson’s indictment for murder. And, of course, his ultimate conviction.

I could spend the rest of the day rehearsing why these legal claims are specious. Particularly risible is the story line that the grand jury convened by St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch was a sham — a story line that is itself an elaborate fraud.

Prosecutors can indict a ham sandwich, we were lectured, because the state’s burden in a grand-jury proceeding is so scant. Prosecutors need not prove the case beyond a reasonable doubt, as they must do at trial; they merely need show probable cause that a crime was committed — and by the person of whom it was alleged — and a trial should therefore be held. There was conflicting testimony about who the aggressor was in the Wilson–Brown confrontation; therefore, the story line goes, there was more than enough cause to indict Wilson and let the ultimate determination of guilt — and you can be sure they mean guilt — be made at a public trial. McCulloch instead used the grand jury to exculpate Wilson, a white (cop) privilege that a black defendant could never dream of obtaining.

To describe this as nonsense is a slander on nonsense. It is freely conceded that the grand-jury inquest into Brown’s killing was more a political than a legal exercise. That, however, was the result of intimidation by the Left’s race-mythology agitators — very much including the president and the attorney general of the United States. It was clearly not aimed at benefitting Wilson.

McCarthy hits all the notes in his piece:  Liberals are like Stalin, Mussolini, and of course Saul Alinsky, Obama is a race agitator, and since Wilson, as a cop, would never have been convicted, there was no reason to even bring the case to a grand jury.

And of course, the real victim here is Darren Wilson, who has been "forced" to resign for a crime he didn't commit.  Or rather, what he did commit was not a crime in the death of Mike Brown.  Brown is dead, but of course with McCarthy and the right, that's not the point.  The community raised half a million for Wilson, and he'll have a nice retirement from his job now.

Congrats, here's your bonus for killing a black kid.  And for no extra charge, we get McCarthy here to dictate the tale of Darren Wilson, Real American Hero, who did his job by killing one of those "thugs".

The same people who tell us that liberals are unapologetic fascists are the same ones who see no problem with domestic law enforcement being judge, jury, and executioner.  That's not strange at all, is it?

[UPDATE] National Review editor Rich Lowry reinforces the "lesson" of Ferguson:

But what I really object to is you can discuss all of these problems, but let's not pretend that this particular incident was something it wasn't. If you look at the most credible evidence, the lessons are really basic. Don't rob a convenience store. Don't fight a policeman when he's stopped you and try to take his gun and when he yells at you to stop with is gun drawn, just stop and none of this would have happened.

To recap, failing to obey a police officer is punishable by summary execution.  Oh well. Eggs get broken, America.

Sunday Morning Read: Art Is Theft, Art As Theft

Your Sunday morning long read is Robert Kolker's NY Magazine piece on the bizarre story of artist Jasper Johns and his assistant James Meyer, and how the reclusive artist is accusing Meyer of stealing his work.  But there's always more to the story than just simple theft, especially when the artist has always been secretive.  And since Johns's work has sold for tens of millions of dollars in the past, well, when you involve sums of money like that, things always get complicated.

Johns’s primary studio — a large, fully renovated old barn on the grounds of his 130-acre estate in Sharon, Connecticut — is a reflection of his personality. There is no Jeff Koons–like army of implementers doing his bidding and no Andy Warhol–like Factory of hangers-on in the corners, watching it all happen. He only occasionally allows visitors; the few assistants he’s employed are meant to recede into the background, there but not there. It was in Sharon that one friend, the art dealer Francis Naumann, first met Johns’s longtime studio assistant James Meyer.

Given how withdrawn Meyer was around Johns, it’s a little remarkable that Naumann managed to get to know him at all. Stocky and mostly silent, Meyer seemed mainly to be on hand to help Johns move things around in the studio; he would join them for lunch, too, but rarely took part in the conversation and almost never shared an opinion. After a number of visits, Meyer let Naumann know that he, too, was an artist. “He was painting a little like Jasper,” the art dealer remembers, “though, of course, he was completely unknown.” When he learned that Meyer had dyslexia and had difficulty writing the personal statements and other literature that an artist needs to be noticed by gallery owners and dealers, Naumann offered to help. “Every once in a while he would send me something that he wrote, and I would try to put it into better English.”

Naumann’s next brush with Meyer — the important one — took place in the spring of 2009. Naumann was contacted by a fellow art dealer named Fred Dorfman, asking if he knew of any collectors in the market for a small work by Jasper Johns, a 12-by-14-inch black-and-white drawing on plastic — “a complete and fully finished, beautiful drawing” signed by Johns, Naumann says. Dorfman emailed a photo of the drawing to Naumann, who then sent it to a client of his, a New Jersey–based collector named Frank Kolodny, who fell in love with it. Soon after, Naumann learned that the person selling the drawing was Meyer. On the face of it, he insists, the news that Johns’s longtime studio assistant was unloading one of his boss’s works struck him as only slightly peculiar. Artists like Meyer “always need money at one time or another,” Naumann says.

Given everything that’s happened since, it’s not surprising that Naumann sounds a little defensive when he tells the rest of the story. It made sense at the time, he says, that Meyer would, over the years, have received at least one of Johns’s works as a present. In fact, Naumann had once seen a Johns drawing not so different from this one hanging above the fireplace in the home of Sarah Taggart, Johns’s secretary. It also made sense, Naumann says, when he learned that Meyer had set two conditions on the transaction: The sale could not be public, and the buyer could not resell the drawing for eight years. “You can’t go tell the artist, ‘I’m selling the drawing you gave me,’ ” Naumann says. “It might make it a little bit uncomfortable if he’s still working for the guy.”

They agreed on a sale price: $400,000. Naumann says he conducted the appropriate due diligence. He negotiated for Kolodny to be allowed to break the eight-year sale restriction if Meyer stopped working for Johns for any reason. He had Dorfman send him a copy of an official record kept in Johns’s office, verifying the work was a gift to Meyer. And he got a sworn affidavit from Meyer himself saying the work was authentic, he’d owned it since 1995, and he had the authority to sell it.

What he didn’t do, however, was pick up the phone to try to discuss the sale with Johns. Better, he thought, to be discreet — and sensitive to the studio assistant who was parting with an artistic treasure he no doubt had witnessed the master create. For the same reason, he says, he never spoke with Meyer. This couldn’t have been an easy decision for the man. Why rub it in?

It would be another three years before Naumann, along with everyone else, would learn the truth — that the page from Johns’s ledger was a complete forgery; that the drawing, though a genuine artwork by Jasper Johns, never belonged to Meyer; that Meyer had covertly pulled it from a file drawer in Johns’s studio; and that there’d been a lot more where that came from

The whole story, I think, would make an excellent movie. Meyers is an artist in his own right, a frustrated one, obliterated in the shadow of the great Jasper Johns, and that's where things get very fuzzy.  Do read the story.

Saturday, November 29, 2014

Shoot The Messenger

As Martin Longman points out, if you thought the Democrats were serious about trying to win the Senate back in 2016 with Sen. Elizabeth Warren in charge of strategy, all that ended Friday when the Dems placed Sen. Mark Warner of Virginia in charge of the party's messaging machine.

Senator Mark Warner of Virginia was almost bounced out of Congress, primarily because he and the Democratic Party were criminally overconfident about beating tomato can, Ed Gillespie. It was a humbling experience because Warner was seen as immensely popular in his home state, and just the kind of vice-presidential candidate who could put some Electoral College delegates firmly in the hands of Hillary Clinton, or any other Democratic nominee. Warner's comeuppance didn't last too long, however. Despite leaking that he had voted against Harry Reid to remain the leader of the Senate Democrats, he was just awarded a similar kind of leadership position to Sen. Elizabeth Warren of Massachusetts. Sen. Chuck Schumer of New York said that Warner will be "taking on the role of policy development advisor at the Democratic Policy and Communications Center."

Mmm, a healthy diet of debt nonsense and "entitlement reform" for all the poors.  The Catfood Commission is back, kids, and this time there's just one man running the whole show.

The split is particularly apparent on fiscal matters, as could be seen on the campaign trail in Virginia where Warner won an unexpectedly close re-election campaign against former Republican National Committee chairman Ed Gillespie. Warner held campaign events touting fiscal responsibility, even telling a room full of Democrats that some of them might be better off voting for Republicans if they would support a debt and deficit deal that includes revenue increases.

Looking forward to that GOP Congress for the next, oh, forever.  Just need to blow it badly enough to stick Jebbie or Rand in the Oval Office and we'll fiscally responsible our way right into total oblivion.

The 2016 Clown Car Clock Strikes Thirteen

The Hill identifies the baker's dozen of GOP goofballs potentially running for the White House in 2016, and these thirteen are a solid wall of losers each with their own problems that will prevent them from ever winning.

The current driver is Rand Paul:

Paul would not have been in the top tier just a few months ago, but since then he’s become a media sensation. He’s as comfortable bashing the president for his immigration executive actions on Fox News as he is joking about pot with Bill Maher on HBO’s “Real Time.”

In addition to inheriting his father’s campaign infrastructure, he’s moved early and aggressively to build his own from Silicon Valley to Washington.

Paul’s Libertarian streak could appeal to young voters who have tilted Democratic in recent years. And out of the top tier of establishment contenders, he has the best chance of winning the Iowa caucuses, which would make him the unquestioned frontrunner.

There's a lot of push to make Paul the libertarian version of Dubya's "compassionate conservative", where compassion is replaced by "profit margin".  For the voters who believe that everyone would be a millionaire except for those pesky government regulations and that those people just need to work 95 hours a week if they really wanted to not be poor, Paul is their man.  Bonus points for his forays into the dark urban jungle to visit the natives there to show people he cares about black and Latino voters. 

I think that's what bothers me the most about Rand Paul, that to him, voters of color are noble but ignorant savages that simply need to be educated on the wonders of Randian capitalism, like the calendar reads 1732 and Detroit is the heart of the new Dark Continent.  If we were only shown the enlightenment of Republican conservatism, we'd instantly leave behind the "Democrat plantation" forever.

That's the basis of Rand Paul's minority outreach.  Black and Latino voters are too stupid to see the truth and need to be educated by any means necessary.  It's really not too different from the days of African Colonialism or the British Raj, only it's the police doing the dirty work.  When we talk about the "modern apartheid state" here in America, it's not terribly far from the truth.

And Rand Paul is the guy packaging all that in a guilt-free wrapper for a lot of Republican voters (and more than a few young white Democratic voters too).

Of the thirteen the Hill lists, Rand Paul is by far the most dangerous.

StupidiNews, Weekend Edition!

Friday, November 28, 2014

Last Call For Meanwhile, Out In The Rest Of The World

Other things out there besides Black Friday sales, shifty grand juries, and movie trailers, folks.  Some of it is pretty unrelentingly awful.

Gunmen set off three bombs and opened fire on worshippers at the main mosque in north Nigeria's biggest city Kano on Friday, killing at least 81 people, witnesses and officials said, in an attack that bore the hallmarks of Islamist Boko Haram militants.

Blasts from the coordinated assault rang out as scores of people packed into the ancient building's courtyard for afternoon prayers. "These people have bombed the mosque. I am face to face with people screaming," said local reporter Chijjani Usman.

The mosque is next to the palace of the emir of Kano, the second highest Islamic authority in Africa's most populous country and a vocal critic of Boko Haram. The emir, former central bank governor Lamido Sanusi, was not present.

Boko Haram, a Sunni jihadist movement which is fighting to revive a medieval Islamic caliphate in northern Nigeria, regards the traditional Islamic religious authorities in Nigeria with disdain.

It has attacked mosques that do not follow its radical ideology in a bloody near six-year campaign that has also targeted churches, schools, police stations, military bases and government buildings.

"After multiple explosions, they also opened fire. I cannot tell you the casualties because we all ran away," a member of staff at the palace told Reuters on Friday.

After the attacks, angry youths blocked the mosque's gates to police, who had to force their way in with tear gas.

Not a fan of religion, even less so when it's used as a basis for murdering dozens of people.  Boko Haram is a problem, and while it's not our war to fight, pretending that they'll just give up and go away is also not an option.  President Goodluck Jonathan says he won't rest until all these militants are dead, but that hasn't exactly been the case when it came to the girls these bastards kidnapped earlier.  They've created nearly a million refugees alone from the fighting and terror campaigns in Nigeria's north.

Puts things here in harsh perspective, right?

The War On Women, Post 2014 Midterms Edition

Democratic voters stayed home in 2014, and as a result, Republicans at the state level are more powerful than ever.  Their first order of business?  Making it even harder to get a safe, legal abortion procedure in a number of states.

Republicans now hold two-thirds of the state legislative bodies, after winning control of 11 more chambers. They completely control the legislature in more than half the states, adding Nevada, New Hampshire and West Virginia to that list earlier this month. And they gained two more governor’s seats, so they will hold 31 next year.

Republican leaders who will control the U.S. Senate come January say they want to take up abortion this year, perhaps on a House-passed bill that would limit the procedure after 20 weeks. But the reality is that Senate Republicans will still fall a few votes shy of the 60 needed for controversial major legislation. It’s the states where Republicans can enact more abortion limits.

“We came out of Nov. 4th with a lot of momentum,” said Chuck Donovan, president of the research and education arm of Susan B. Anthony List, which is dedicated to electing candidates who oppose abortion. He expects the number of anti-abortion measures proposed in the states to reflect that. “I think we’re about to get another uptick.”

Thirteen states have passed bans on most abortions after 20 weeks of pregnancy — so-called fetal pain bills — and a couple have enacted earlier limits tied to when a fetal heartbeat is first detected, which can be six or seven weeks into a pregnancy. Several of these state laws are being contested in court, and the arguments may eventually end up in the Supreme Court. But that hasn’t deterred more states from eyeing such legislation; in Ohio, a House panel approved a fetal heartbeat bill just a few days ago.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards predicts that 2015 will bring more attempts to enact restrictive state laws. She said she expects “state legislative attacks on women’s health, even though the vast majority of the public wants elected officials to protect and expand access to safe and legal abortion, birth control and preventive health care.”

So yes, these laws are going to end up in front of the Roberts Court.  There's no reason to believe that they will rule in favor of women here, and "small government conservatives" and "libertarians" are going to be pushing for even stricter regulation of women's reproductive systems.

But that's what YOU voted for, either in truth, or by sitting home and saying "there's no difference between the two parties, why should I care?"

Thursday, November 27, 2014

More Turkey For Thanksgiving

Karoli at Crooks and Liars makes this catch of Lawrence O'Donnell's analysis of the Darren Wilson grand jury proceedings, and those proceedings were nothing short of shocking.

This is how the Grand Jury arrived at their verdict. Early on in the proceedings, Assistant District Attorney Alizadeh handed out copies of a law that was ruled unconstitutional in 1985. In essence it set the bar for use of excessive force lower than is permissible. Simply put, ADA Alizadeh told the jury that it was permissible to shoot a fleeing suspect.

Tennessee v. Garner made the statute Alizadeh distributed to the Grand Jury unconstitutional, but that didn't stop her from distributing it to grand jurors at the outset in order to set their minds in a place where Darren Wilson was justified in what he did.

Then, at the very end of the proceedings on November 21st, Alizadeh "corrected" the record. Sort of.

For the entire proceeding, jurors weighed the evidence in light of a law that was deemed unconstitutional almost 30 years ago. Then they corrected the record at the very end, but by then it was too late.

Alizadeh only tells the grand jurors that the law they've been using for over two months in order to assess the legality of Darren Wilson's shooting of Michael Brown isn't the law on the final day of the proceedings.

And she passes off using a law ruled unconstitutional in 1985 as a mistake.

A law that just happened to exonerate Darren Wilson of any wrongdoing using his version of events, a law that said a fleeing suspect can still be shot without penalty, ruled unconstitutional nearly 30 years ago.

But I'm supposed to trust the system.

OK.  Sure.

Thanksgiving Turkeys In Congress

The chief goal among Republicans in Congress right now is not jobs, or healthcare, or even "the will of the American people", but punishing President Obama like he's an errant child.

Congress returns to Washington Dec. 1, just 10 days before government funding is set to expire, and Boehner and incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) say they are intent on avoiding a government shutdown. Obama’s executive action has inflamed conservatives, who believe he has overstepped his constitutional authority. Some hard-line GOP lawmakers are calling for a showdown with Obama, but Boehner and McConnell have no desire to relive the October 2013 government shutdown. McConnell, Boehner and House Majority Leader Kevin McCarthy (R-Calif.) said that the Republican-controlled Capitol Hill would stop governing by crisis. Boehner last week, however, said that he has plenty of energy to fight Obama.

Some conservatives have called on Congress to choke off funding for the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services, but those employees are funded by fees, not congressional appropriations.

GOP aides and lawmakers say they expect the leadership to consider additional legislation to address the executive order, but there have been no decisions made on what those bills would look like. There are lots of ideas: Texas Sen. Ted Cruz has signaled he would hold up some of Obama’s executive branch nominees, others privately have been musing about shutting the government down, refusing to invite the president to give his State of the Union address or censuring the president. Many in congressional leadership think these ideas are nonsensical, since it will not serve any practical purpose.

To recap, Republicans in Congress are so utterly petty and hateful that they're falling all over themselves to see who can be the biggest asshole to President Obama.  That's what they are worried about right now.

And that's all that matters.

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Last Call For No Lessons Learned

National Review carbuncle Rich Lowry gets a slot over at Team WIN THE MORNING Magazine, and goes beyond his usual simpering semi-clueless stupidity directly into pure evil territory

The bitter irony of the Michael Brown case is that if he had actually put his hands up and said don't shoot, he would almost certainly be alive today. His family would have been spared an unspeakable loss, and Ferguson, Missouri wouldn't have experienced multiple bouts of rioting, including the torching of at least a dozen businesses the night it was announced that Officer Darren Wilson wouldn't be charged with a crime. 
Instead, the credible evidence (i.e., the testimony that doesn't contradict itself or the physical evidence) suggests that Michael Brown had no interest in surrendering. After committing an act of petty robbery at a local business, he attacked Officer Wilson when he stopped him on the street. Brown punched Wilson when the officer was still in his patrol car and attempted to take his gun from him. 
The first shots were fired within the car in the struggle over the gun. Then, Michael Brown ran. Even if he hadn't put his hands up, but merely kept running away, he would also almost certainly be alive today. Again, according to the credible evidence, he turned back and rushed Wilson. The officer shot several times, but Brown kept on coming until Wilson killed him.

To believe this version of events, you have to be completely and with purpose, blind to basic human instinct to the point of malice.  Or you could be Rich Lowry, same thing.  You would have to believe that A) Wilson knew that Brown committed a crime, B) that Brown would go for Wilson's gun, and C) that after Brown was shot and ran away that he changed his mind and charged the guy who just shot him.

And on top of all that, you have to believe that there was no probable cause whatsoever to dispute this.  None.  Come to think of it, nine other Rich Lowrys on that grand jury did just that, didn't they?

This is a terrible tragedy. It isn't a metaphor for police brutality or race repression or anything else, and never was. Aided and abetted by a compliant national media, the Ferguson protestors spun a dishonest or misinformed version of what happened—Michael Brown murdered in cold blood while trying to give up—into a chant ("hands up, don't shoot") and then a mini-movement.

Yes, because the media killed Mike Brown.  Barring that, what's one more dead black person shot by a cop and left on the street for 4.5 hours?  Race has nothing to do with it, you see, because we all know those people are all thugs and criminals, so it's just one more insane savage beast being put down like the beast he was.  America!

When the facts didn't back their narrative, they dismissed the facts and retreated into paranoid suspicion of the legal system. It apparently required more intellectual effort than almost any liberal could muster even to say, "You know, I believe policing in America is deeply unjust, but in this case the evidence is murky and not enough to indict, let alone convict anyone of a crime."

How is policing in America unjust, I wonder, if Lowry sees no injustice in this?

Oh yeah, evil.  It's always the ni-CLANG!s fault.

Air Apparent In The Supreme Court

With the Supreme Court upholding their 2011 ruling that the EPA can regulate greenhouse gas emissions last June, the latest ploy by energy companies to kill regulatory pressure to clean up their acts is to now go after mercury regulations, and the Supreme Court will indeed hear a challenge to those regulations.

The twist this time?  The regulations are too expensive, according to Big Energy.  You know, some of the most profitable companies on Earth.

The basic question in the new case is whether and when the E.P.A. must take regulation costs into account. The agency’s interpretation is that the Clean Air Act, which requires regulations to be “appropriate and necessary,” does not demand that costs be taken into consideration early in the regulatory process.

In the Supreme Court term that ended in June, the justices heard cases filed by industry groups against two of the Obama administration’s environmental regulations — one aimed at limiting power plant pollution that wafts across state lines, the other at cutting planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions.

The E.P.A. won the first case and largely prevailed in the second, though the Supreme Court indicated that it remained prepared to impose limits on the agency’s regulatory authority.

The case against the mercury pollution rule is likely to be followed by more fights. The E.P.A. on Wednesday will release a regulation to cut ozone pollution. Next year, the agency is scheduled to finalize rules that would slash greenhouse gas emissions from power plants. Environmental law experts say the Supreme Court’s decision in the mercury case may provide some hints about how those other rules might fare.

“Is this part of a larger trend of the Supreme Court exerting greater authority over E.P.A.’s regulations?” asked Roger R. Martella Jr., a general counsel at the agency during President George W. Bush’s administration. The new case is a challenge by more than 20 states, along with industry groups and energy companies.

The problem here is that a broad ruling in favor of corporations could blow a hole in any regulations issued by the Executive Branch, depending on what SCOTUS defines as "appropriate".  The energy companies (and 20 red states) say that at most, the regulations will only generate a couple million dollars in benefits at the cost of nearly $10 billion.  The EPA says it will save 11,000 lives a year.

We'll see how much of a price tag SCOTUS puts on this, with a ruling expected in June.

Taxing Our Patience Again

Ahh, the lame duck session after a midterm election.  Where the truly nasty business goes.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has reached a compromise with House Republicans on a package of tax breaks that would permanently extend relief for big multinational corporations without providing breaks for middle or lower-income families, individuals with knowledge of the deal tell ThinkProgress. 
Under the terms of the $444 billion agreement, lawmakers would phase out all tax breaks for clean energy and wind energy but would maintain fossil fuel subsidies. Expanded eligibility for the Earned Income Tax Credit and the Child Tax Credit would also end in 2017, even though the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities estimates that allowing the provisions to expire would push “16 million people in low-income working families, including 8 million children into — or deeper into — poverty.” The proposal would help students pay for college by making permanent the American Permanent Opportunity Tax Credit, a Democratic priority. 
Meanwhile, two-thirds of the package would make permanent tax provisions that are intended to help businesses, including a research and development credit, small business expensing, and a reduction in the S-Corp recognition period for built-in gains tax.

The costs of the package will not be offset.

So roughly $300 billion for businesses, and the middle class gets hosed in the deal.  Nice.  The big loser, green energy, the big winner, oil.

Same as it ever was, too.  Question is will Obama sign it? 

The answer, thankfully, appears to be "no".

Obama objected and responded in an unusual way yesterday. The White House issued a veto threat before lawmakers released the plan publicly, siding with progressive groups and advocates for a lower budget deficit over his own party’s Senate leaders.

“The president would veto the proposed deal because it would provide permanent tax breaks to help well-connected corporations while neglecting working families,” Jen Friedman, a White House spokeswoman, said in an e-mail yesterday.

Good.  We'll see how well this deal holds up now.


Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Last Call For No Justice

And I know, twice in one day, but Rand Paul is that much of an embarrassment.

Reforming criminal justice to make it racially blind is imperative, but that won’t lift up these young men from poverty. In fact, I don’t believe any law will. For too long, we’ve attached some mythic notion to government solutions and yet, 40 years after we began the War on Poverty, poverty still abounds. 
When you look at statistics for the white community alone, you see that we’ve become two separate worlds in which the successful are educated and wait to have children until they are married, and those in poverty are primarily those without higher education and with children outside of marriage. 
This message is not a racial one. The link between poverty, lack of education, and children outside of marriage is staggering and cuts across all racial groups. Statistics uniformly show that waiting to have children in marriage and obtaining an education are an invaluable part of escaping poverty. 
I have no intention to scold, but escaping the poverty and crime trap will require more than just criminal justice reform. Escaping the poverty trap will require all of us to relearn that not only are we our brother’s keeper, we are our own keeper. While a hand-up can be part of the plan, if the plan doesn’t include the self-discovery of education, work, and the self-esteem that comes with work, the cycle of poverty will continue.

Get a job, poor people.  The government's not responsible for you.  Unless, ironically, you end up in prison.  Which Rand Paul is trying to prevent, see.  Classice Rand Paul here, there's no government solution to a system that was never designed to help black people.

Bonus No Intention To Scold Scolding:

I will continue the fight to reform our nation’s criminal justice system, but in the meantime, the call should go out for a charismatic leader, not a politician, to preach a gospel of hope and prosperity. I have said often America is in need of a revival. Part of that is spiritual. Part of that is in civics, in our leaders, in our institutions. We must look at policies, ideas, and attitudes that have failed us and we must demand better.

Why can't your African-American church leaders take care of it?  I'm a politician, and it's not my job to fix your poverty, but I'll sure as hell shame and scold you for it.


Red In Tooth And Claw

Can we officially take West Virginia off the map now for Democrats, and stop pretending it's anything but South Carolina with mountains?

Election night was bad for Democrats all over the country, but arguably there were few states where it was worse for their future — and better for Republicans — than in West Virginia. 
Democrats in the state, long accustomed to controlling virtually every part of the government, lost a Senate race and two competitive House races. They secured a majority in the state legislature’s lower house for the first time in eight decades, and after a postelection party switch gave up control of the state Senate as well. Come January, Republicans will hold all of West Virginia’s congressional House seats for the first time since 1921. They even elected the nation’s youngest legislator, 18-year-old Saira Blair, to the state house
Like Arkansas in 2010, West Virginia seems to have turned a corner from being a Democratic-dominated state to a Republican one. The switch started years ago, when Republican presidential candidates were able to win the state by appealing to its socially conservative voters, regardless of their party affiliation. But in state politics, Republicans struggled to win key offices, or even to field candidates. As recently as 2008, two statewide posts held by Democrats, auditor and treasurer, were uncontested in the general election. 
Republicans deserve much of the credit for the current situation: They had a strong, popular candidate for this year’s Senate race, Shelley Moore Capito, who represents the state in the House of Representatives and is the daughter of a former governor. Evan Jenkins, the candidate they fielded against Nick Rahall II, the longtime Democratic congressman from the southern portion of the state, was a former Democrat who represented part of the area in the state Senate. 
In addition, Republicans capitalized on an electorate resentful of President Obama’s environmental policies, which have received little support in a state where coal mining has long played a big part in the economy and in politics. Even with an open race for the presidency in two years, it’s doubtful that any Democratic hopeful could sway a large number of voters in state contests.

Let's put this out there right now, kids:  Hillary Clinton is not going to magically win West Virginia, Kentucky, Arkansas, Louisiana, or Georgia in 2016, so let's stop pretending the South is in play, other than North Carolina and Virginia.

There's not a state that Obama didn't win in either 2008 or 2012 that Hillary will somehow be able to pull off an upset in.  Period.  Not happening.  Will Hillary get more of the white vote?  Yes.  It's going to come at the expense of the black vote however, because we remember the games Hillary played in 2007 and 2008.  And I think 2014 is proof enough that not every Democrat is going to vote blue just to keep Republicans from winning.

Stand With Rand In Quicksand, Con't

Please tell me again how Rand Paul won't be like other Republicans if elected as President, especially because of his hands-off foreign policy.

In a draft of the resolution obtained by The Daily Beast, Paul states that “the organization referring to itself as the Islamic State has declared war on the United States and its allies” and that ISIS “presents a clear and present danger to United States diplomatic facilities in the region, including our embassy in Baghdad, Iraq, and consulate in Erbil, Iraq.” 
The Obama administration has justified the bombing campaign against ISIS by claiming that it is enabled by the 2001 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Afghanistan, passed in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, and the 2002 Authorization for Use of Military Force in Iraq. Paul’s resolution would terminate the latter and place an expiration date on the former, one year after the passing of his resolution. 
Perhaps most surprisingly, Paul’s resolution will allow for limited use of boots on the ground “as necessary for the protection or rescue of members of the United States Armed Forces or United States citizens from imminent danger [posed by ISIS]… for limited operations against high value targets,” and “as necessary for advisory and intelligence gathering operations.”

So yeah, President Paul would send us into a ground war in Iraq and possibly Syria.  But please tell me how horrible Democrats are on this issue, yadda yadda libertarian freedom.

I will say this until people get it through their thick skulls:  Rand Paul is a right-wing Tea Party Republican, and so are the people who support him.


Monday, November 24, 2014

Last Call For Justice

No true bill of indictment.

Darren Wilson has gotten away with the murder of Michael Brown.

This is America in 2014.  Black lives are meaningless.

Good night, those of you who will be able to sleep tonight.

A Noun, Some Racism, And 9/11

America's Mayor(tm) lets the mask slip and exposes the truly ugly stuff that was always, always there just under the surface.

Former New York City Mayor Rudy Giuliani (R) got into a heated argument about race and crime with Georgetown professor Michael Eric Dyson during a discussion on Ferguson, Mo. 
"But the fact is, I find it very disappointing that you're not discussing the fact that 93 percent of blacks in America are killed by other blacks. We're talking about the exception here," Giuliani said on NBC's "Meet the Press" while discussing whether police forces reflect the demographics of the communities they serve.

Dyson called this a "false equivalency."

Which it is.  Dyson has plenty of "you boys need to pull up your pants and be respectable-lookin to white folk" moments, but here he's correct.  Giuliani on the other hand...

Later in the argument Giuliani argued that while police officers are only present in certain communities because black people are committing crimes. 
"It is the reason for the heavy police presence in the black community," he said. "White police officers won't be there if you weren't killing each other 70 percent of the time."

Because we're violent, sub-human savages who need to be caged or better yet, gunned down.  Former mayor of NYC and one-time Presidential candidate saying this, just so you know.

No, he won't apologize for it, either.

"Here's what I'm very frustrated about with Ferguson, and all these situations," he told "Fox and Friends" co-host Steve Doocey. "These things happen and they are exceptions." 
“The danger to a black child in America is not a white police officer. That’s going to happen less than one percent of the time," he later added. "The danger to a black child -- if it was my child -- the danger is another black.” 
Giuliani went on to suggest that Ferguson protestors ("these people") should spend more time "trying to straighten out" crime in the black community
"I used to look at our crime reduction, and the reason we reduced homicide by 65 percent is because we reduced it in the black community," Giuliani said of his time as mayor. "Because there is virtually no homicide in the white community."

The FBI would like to disagree with Mr. Giuliani on that last point.  I'll disagree with him everywhere else.

Yes, he's just another hateful Republican and always has been.

Two Buck Chucked

The first post-midterm Obama cabinet head to roll is apparently going to be that ofDefense Secretary Chuck Hagel. NY Times:

The president, who is expected to announce Mr. Hagel’s resignation in a Rose Garden appearance on Monday, made the decision to ask his defense secretary — the sole Republican on his national security team — to step down last Friday after a series of meetings over the past two weeks, senior administration officials said. 
The officials described Mr. Obama’s decision to remove Mr. Hagel, 68, as a recognition that the threat from the Islamic State would require a different kind of skills than those that Mr. Hagel was brought on to employ. A Republican with military experience who was skeptical about the Iraq war, Mr. Hagel came in to manage the Afghanistan combat withdrawal and the shrinking Pentagon budget in the era of budget sequestration. 
But now “the next couple of years will demand a different kind of focus,” one administration official said, speaking on the condition of anonymity. He insisted that Mr. Hagel was not fired, saying that he initiated discussions about his future two weeks ago with the president, and that the two men mutually agreed that it was time for him to leave. 
But Mr. Hagel’s aides had maintained in recent weeks that he expected to serve the full four years term as defense secretary. His removal appears to be an effort by the White House to show that it is sensitive to critics who have pointed to stumbles in the government’s early response to several national security issues, including the Ebola crisis to the threat posed by the Islamic State militant group.

Take that as you will. Holder resigning, now Hagel out. Looks like the GOP Senate is going to be able to cause a lot of damage blocking cabinet appointees with the President no longer able to make recess appointments except for a narrow window after the midterm lame duck session.


Sunday, November 23, 2014

Do The Huckleberry Split

So that House GOP Benghazi report issued Friday evening that found no wrongdoing by the White House and in fact proved that the last two years was a massive waste of taxpayer dollars in a witch hunt against President Obama and Hillary Clinton?

Of course it was a Democratic party conspiracy!  Huckleberry Graham says so!

Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.) on Sunday blasted a House GOP-led investigation that recently debunked myths about the 2012 Benghazi attack.  
“I think the report is full of crap,” Graham said on CNN’s “State of the Union.”  
The House Intelligence Committee released a report on Friday evening, which took two years to compile, that found there was no outright intelligence failure during the attack, there was no delay in the rescue of U.S. personnel and there was no political cover-up by Obama administration officials. 
After Graham was asked whether the report exonerates the administration, he initially ignored the question, and then eventually said “no.”  
The House Intelligence panel, Graham said, is “doing a lousy job policing their own.”  

The CIA and State Department lied about everything, so of course the report is full of lies by lying liars who only exist to protect Democrats, or something.  And only Huckleberry Graham knows the truth, which is...umm...well, he doesn't know for sure and he can't prove it but obviously it's a massive coverup.  BENGHAZI FOREVER.

Sure, that's reasonable.  Republicans are reasonable, you know.  As Steve M says, this will never go away.  It'll be Bill Clinton's Whitewater and Vince Foster murder rolled into one that will be "conventional wisdom" about Obama forever.

And it will remain so because nobody will ever punish the GOP for acting like conspiracy nutcases, or BEING conspiracy nutcases.

Another Tantrum For The Pile

With the deadline for the West's nuclear deal with Iran looming on Monday, Israel is trying to do everything it can to wreck any diplomacy it can by threatening that any nuclear pact with Iran will lead to eventual Israeli military action against Tehran.

Without an exit ramp, Israel insists its hands will not be tied by an agreement reached this week, this month or next, should it contain a clause that ultimately normalizes Iran's home-grown enrichment program.

On the surface, its leadership dismisses fears that Israel will be punished or delegitimized if it disrupts an historic, international deal on the nuclear program with unilateral military action against its infrastructure.

By framing the deal as fundamentally flawed, regardless of its enforcement, Israel is telling the world that it will not wait to see whether inspectors do their jobs as ordered.

"Ten, fifteen years in the life of a politician is a long time," the Israeli said, in a vague swipe against the political directors now scrambling in Vienna. "In the life of a nation, it's nothing."

Problem number one: Israel won't comply with any Iranian deal it doesn't like.

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu has threatened the use of force against Iran several times since 2009, even seeking authorization from his cabinet in 2011. Iran's program has since grown in size and scope.

According to his aides, the prime minister's preference is not war, but the continuation of a tight sanctions regime on Iran's economy coupled with a credible threat of military force. Netanyahu believes more time under duress would have led to an acceptable deal. But that opportunity, in his mind, may now be lost.

Whether Israel still has the ability to strike Iran, without American assistance, is an open question. Quoted last month in the Atlanticmagazine, US officials suggested that window for Netanyahu closed over two years ago.

But responding to claims by that same official, quoted by Jeffrey Goldberg, over Netanyahu's courage and will, the Israeli official responded sternly: "The prime minister is a very serious man who knows the serious responsibility that rests on his shoulders. He wouldn't say the statements that he made if he didn't mean them."

"People have underestimated Israel many, many times in the past," he continued, "and they underestimate it now."

Problem number two:  there's no deal with Iran that Obama and John Kerry can broker that Israel will accept as legitimate and "not fundamentally flawed".

That leaves us in a position where Israel is guaranteeing it will attack Iran in order to sink any deal.  Well, attack Iran at some unspecified future point, but still, it's not helping. 

Of course, that's the point.

Saturday, November 22, 2014

The Grand Screwing Continues

No decision yet from the grand jury in Ferguson trying to determine if there's enough evidence to try Office Darren Wilson for the shooting death of Michael Brown, but now we have a story about two men arrested for trying to purchase weapons and disrupt protests in town.

And of course, the Ferguson cops say they are New Black Panthers.

No, really.

Two men who allegedly purchased explosive material they may have been planning to use in protests in Ferguson, Mo. were arrested by the FBI on weapons charges, multiple news outlets reported late Friday.

An indictment returned Wednesday and unsealed Friday accused Brandon Orlando Baldwin and Olajuwon Davis of lying on forms to purchase guns, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch reported.

The indictment states that between Nov. 1 and Nov. 13 the men purchased two Hi-Point .45 ACP pistols claiming that Baldwin was the buyer while the weapons were actually intended for someone else, according to the newspaper.

Anonymous law enforcement sources told CBS News and Reuters that Baldwin and Davis also allegedly purchased explosive material for potential use in protests around Ferguson, where agrand jury decision on whether to indict white police Officer Darren Wilson in the fatal shooting of unarmed black teenager Michael Brown is imminent.

Police sources told the St. Louis Post-Dispatch, Reuters and ABC News that the two men are suspected of being affiliated with the New Black Panther Party. A source briefed on the arrests told ABC News that the weapons charges were filed against the two men in order to "take them out of the rotation."

How convenient.  Police sources.  "Take them out of the rotation".



Seems that after two years of trying to find some way to tie the deaths of a US ambassador and three other State Department employees in Benghazi, Libya to direct negligence by either the President or Hillary Clinton, the GOP House Intel Committee investigation has found...

...NothingNo wrongdoing by anyone in the administration.

A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees.

Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.

In the immediate aftermath of the attack, intelligence about who carried it out and why was contradictory, the report found. That led Susan Rice, then U.S. ambassador to the United Nations, to inaccurately assert that the attack had evolved from a protest, when in fact there had been no protest. But it was intelligence analysts, not political appointees, who made the wrong call, the committee found. The report did not conclude that Rice or any other government official acted in bad faith or intentionally misled the American people.

The House Intelligence Committee report was released with little fanfare on the Friday before Thanksgiving week. Many of its findings echo those of six previous investigations by various congressional committees and a State Department panel. The eighth Benghazi investigation is being carried out by a House Select Committee appointed in May.

So the House GOP buried it in a Friday night news dump last night, because it's a massive embarrassment to them, and the last thing they want to do is have to explain to taxpayers why they wasted millions of dollars on over a half-a-dozen witch hunts against a President they despise, and found absolutely nothing.

But remember, it's Obama that chose "confrontation over cooperation" with Republicans, Republicans who never had any intention of working with him.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Last Call For Oh God Rand Will You Just Shut Up

You know, these posts where "Rand Paul embarrasses himself and the state of Kentucky" are really starting to get painfully old.  Perhaps the senator should stop saying moronic things and in fact do his job.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) likened President Barack Obama's decision to take executive action on immigration to then-President Franklin D. Roosevelt's executive order authorizing putting Japanese-Americans in internment camps during World War II.

Paul made the comments on Friday, a day after Obama formally announced the executive actions, at the Kentucky Association of Counties conference in Lexington, Kentucky. 
"I care that too much power gets in one place. Why? Because there are instances in our history where we allow power to gravitate toward one person and that one person then makes decisions that really are egregious," Paul said. "Think of what happened in World War II where they made the decision. The president issued an executive order. He said to Japanese people 'we're going to put you in a camp. We're going to take away all your rights and liberties and we're going to intern you in a camp.'" 
"We shouldn't allow that much power to gravitate to one individual. We need to separate the power."

Which is funny, because Rand Paul is ostensibly running for President, apparently on the platform that he will never issue an executive order.  And not to defend Roosevelt, it was a shameful chapter in American history that took more than 40 years for America to correct.  But comparing these two executive orders is just stupid and insulting.

Why even have Presidents then?  Any of them can issue executive orders, and anyone could send Americans to camps according to Paul's "logic",

What a fool.

Go Go Gohmert Time

Oh Texas GOP nutjob Rep. Louie Gohmert, you never cease to amuse me with your rabid, racist insanity.

In an interview yesterday with Dan Cofall, Rep. Louie Gohmert, R-Texas, accused President Obama of using immigration and the Ferguson case to provoke violence.
When Cofall asked Gohmert about Sen. Tom Coburn’s claim that Obama’s executive action deferring the deportation of some immigrants could result in violence, Gohmert replied that Obama’s critics would never resort to violence since only liberals do that
“Civil disobedience comes from the left,” he said. “They’re the ones that loot and shoot up and shoot up stores and do all kinds of things like that. If you look at the conservative gatherings, we even pick up our own trash. But it could be that this president is doing all he can to get conservatives who remember the country when presidents didn’t exceed their bounds and wish we would go back to those days, it may be enough to make them that angry. But I hope not, I hope there’s no violence.” 

Cliven Bundy.  Ruby Ridge.  Timothy Effing McVeigh.  But thanks for playing.

Gohmert also weighed in on the Ferguson case, accusing Obama of inciting violence: “Obviously the president and the attorney general have done all they could to help stir up animosity and fuel the fire and getting people angry at police where they shouldn’t have, but I hope and pray that doesn’t happen. It may happen in Ferguson because obviously they brought in the liberal attack people that just create all the havoc and mayhem they can but I hope and pray that doesn’t spread anywhere else. I’m sure they want it to, I’m sure that people would love to have the federal government intercede, but I would beg conservatives not to get sucked into that trap.” 

You know what gets people angry at police, Louie?  Police shooting and killing citizens, then a having a massive local conspiracy to exonerate the guy who murdered an unarmed kid.  And then having this happen across America dozens of times a year.

But it's all the fault of us savage, sub-human blacks, right?

Last Call For That Defunding Plan

Republicans vow to defund President Obama's immigration plan in the next Congress.  There's only one problem with that plan:

They can't do it.

It would be “impossible to defund President Obama’s executive order through a government spending bill, House Appropriations Committee spokeswoman Jennifer Hing said Thursday. 
Congress doesn’t provide funding to U.S. Citizenship and Immgiration Services (CIS), the agency responsible for issuing work permits and green cards. Instead, the agency is funded through fees.

“We cannot, literally cannot, defund that agency in an appropriations bill because we don’t appropriate that agency. That agency is entirely-fee funded,” Hing told reporters.

As of right now, our understanding is the primary agency responsible for implementing any type of executive order is CIS and we don’t fund CIS. There are no appropriated dollars,” she added.

So much for that idea.

Rep. Steve King (R-Iowa), who wants to defund the order, said he didn’t buy the news.

“I just don't believe that,” he told reporters.

Well then, maybe you should pay the hell attention, Steve-o.


Thursday, November 20, 2014

Last Call For A Heart(beat) Habit To Break

Guess what's back, kids?  The GOP nutjob Heartbeat Bill!

Republican lawmakers in Ohio on Thursday advanced a bill that would ban abortion as soon as the fetal heartbeat can be detected, as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. 
H.B. 248, the so-called "Heartbeat bill," advanced out of the House Health and Aging Committee by a party-line vote of 11 to 6. If it passes the Republican-controlled House and Senate, doctors who perform abortions after the imposed limit would face a fifth-degree felony. Opponents warn the bill would ban abortions before some women even realize they're pregnant. 
“The members of the Health Committee are so callous that they refused to add amendments to provide exceptions for victims of rape and incest or to remove criminal penalties that could be used to imprison doctors that provide abortion care," said Kellie Copeland, executive director of NARAL Pro-Choice Ohio. "The chilling effect of this crusade is being felt throughout the medical community and will no doubt result in talented physicians leaving Ohio to practice in other states.”

HB 248 would essentially eliminate abortion in Ohio, and the anti-choice nutjobs in the Ohio GOP have been trying to muscle this bill through now for two years.  The only reason it's not law is because the bill is even too extreme for some Ohio Republicans, who fear that an inevitable court battle over the bill would actually tell America the truth about the "pro-life" movement: that its goal is to eliminate safe and legal abortions in the US and return women back to the days of back alleys and black markets to get them.

The bad press might finally clue working-class white women in to the fact that the GOP wants to regulate them like chattel.  Wouldn't go so well for them in 2016 and they know it, especially if they, you know, need Ohio in order to win the White House.  Most of all it would blow a giant hole in John Kasich's 2016 plans.  If he signs the bill, he's done for as a moderate, and if he vetoes it, frankly there's enough Republicans in the Ohio State House to override it and he gets both sides angry at him.

So will this bill pass the Ohio House and Senate?  We're about to find out, and pretty quickly.

I've Got One Word For You...

Legendary (and the superlative is absolutely applicable here) director Mike Nichols has passed at the age of 83, and his body of work speaks for itself.  He was the man in the chair on some of the most famous films and most treasured Broadway plays over the last 50 years.

Mike Nichols, a gifted director whose film, TV and stage hits such as "The Graduate," "Working Girl" and ''Angels in America" amplified the aspirations and tragic losses of generations, has died. He was 83. 
The Academy Award- and Tony Award-winning director's career spanned more than six decades, and ranged from stand-up comedy with then-partner Elaine May, to Broadway and Hollywood classics of surreal, caustic humor and tortured personal dramas. 
The husband of journalist Diane Sawyer, his death was confirmed by ABC News. 
Nichols won a Tony Award for directing his very first play, "Barefoot in the Park," and would win eight more Tonys for directing "The Odd Couple," "Luv," "Plaza Suite," "The Prisoner of Second Avenue," "The Real Thing," "Monty Python's Spamalot," and the 2012 revival of "Death of a Salesman." He also won for producing the 1977 musical, "Annie." 
He also received an Oscar nomination (one of five throughout his career) for directing his very first film, "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" (starring Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton), and won the Academy Award for his second feature, the Dustin Hoffman classic, "The Graduate."

And yes, as a kid I got to see Annie on Broadway, although I was only 4.  The Graduate is still an amazing movie, and the rest of his film works were by and large the movies I grew up with: Biloxi Blues, Working Girl, The Birdcage, Wolf, and Primary Colors.

Primary Colors in fact was the movie that got me to pay attention to politics as a kid in his early 20s who thought he knew everything already (that and Bulworth).  Clinton's impeachment nonsense broke soon after and the rest made me a Democrat for life.

Here's to you, Mike.


The White House Needs Better Messaging Though

The President's prime time address to the nation tonight on immigration?  The networks aren't carrying it, because In The Tank For Democrats or something.

The White House is exasperated with the major broadcast networks – ABC, CBS and NBC -- for skipping out on President Barack Obama’s Thursday primetime address on his executive actions on immigration.

“In 2006, Bush gave a 17 minute speech that was televised by all three networks that was about deploying 6000 national guard troops to the border. Obama is making a 10 minute speech that will have a vastly greater impact on the issue. And none of the networks are doing it. We can’t believe they were aggrieved that we announced this on Facebook,” a senior administration official told POLITICO.

When the president wants to make a primetime address, White House officials will reach out to the big networks like ABC, NBC, and CBS, to gauge whether they would consider running the speech live before putting in a formal request for airtime.

But on Wednesday morning, with plans underway for a Thursday night address on Obama’s plans to issue executive actions on some of the most sweeping immigration reform in decades, those feelers came back with a negative report. None of the major networks wanted to take time away from their primetime programming for Obama’s 8p.m. speech. So the administration did not send out a formal request to the networks and took to Facebook to publicize the speech with a special video message from Obama along with a link to the livestream.

You know who is showing the speech live?  Telemundo and Univision.  And this isn't the first time the networks have told this President that they refuse to carry his speech, either. 

But you'd better believe the networks will be full of Republicans reacting angrily to the speech tonight.  Hard to get your message across to the people when the networks refuse to broadcast it.

Maybe this White House will finally learn to go around them.


Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Last Call For Yet More Counties In Kentucky In Which Zandar Won't Visit

Remember, America has a black president, so racism is over.  Especially here in Kentucky.

In a Bullitt County Sheriff’s deputy’s body camera recording obtained by WDRB, Southeast Bullitt County Fire Chief Julius Hatfield can be heard discussing a car accident on I-65 in September. 
Hatfield first goes out of his way to provide assistance to Loren Dicken, who is white.
“You got a jack, ain’t you?” Hatfield asks the driver. “If you show me where them things is at, I’ll get my guys to start changing the tire for you.” 
At first, Dicken turns down the offer, but Hatfield insists, saying, “It will save you a bill.” 
Firefighters working for Hatfield even picked Dicken up from the hospital and took him back to the firehouse, where his car was ready and waiting.

Seems like a nice guy.  Bullitt County is just south of Jefferson County and Louisville, so it's not totally in the boondocks, and I-65 runs north to south through it. It's about a hour and change from here.

Yep, seems like a nice guy, Chief Hatfield.

But Hatfield treats the family of four black motorists completely differently. 
“Well, I’ve got a family of four from Cincinnati, I got to do something with,” the Bullitt County deputy tells Hatfield over the radio. 
“We ain’t taking no n*ggers here,” Hatfield replies, laughing
Instead of offering to help driver Chege Mwangi, the deputy recommends that he call the AAA motor club.

Oh.  I see.

And when WDRB’s Valerie Chinn attempted to ask Hatfield about the financial management of Southeast Bullitt Fire Department at a town meeting, he suggested that she didn’t understand English, and threatened to have her arrested. 
“Do you understand English darling?” he says in video recorded at the public meeting by WDRB cameras. “Do you understand English?” 
“Turn that camera off,” Hatfield barks. “I’ve asked you that in a nice way. Buddy, call the cops and get them here.” 
“I asked you once tonight if you understand English,” the fire chief adds after Chinn presses the issue. “I’m speaking English.”

Oh. I see.  Well then.

Remind me not to take 65 down through Bullitt County anymore.


Stand With Rand In Quicksand

The Senate bill to reign in the NSA, end metadata collection, and provide more oversight to the agency in the wake of Edward Snowden came up for a vote yesterday, and Republicans were able to kill the bill with the filibuster.  That shouldn't surprise you, as 41 Republicans (and Democrat Bill Nelson of Florida)voted to filibuster the bill that Democrats (and Ted Cruz!) voted for.

But what's this?  Rand Paul voted against the NSA bill.

Rand Paul, a leader of the libertarian wing of the Republican Party, helped kill a bill meant to rein in the National Security Agency. Huh?

The USA Freedom Act, sponsored by Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), received 58 votes on Tuesday night -- two short of cloture, the magic number in the Senate that allows a bill to proceed to an actual roll call.

The 40 Republicans and one Democrat who voted against cloture mostly did so because they thought the bill went too far. Paul also voted against NSA reform -- because, he said, it didn't go far enough.

Paul said he voted against the bill because it would have extended the Patriot Act provision that allows the NSA to search Americans’ phone records. He has consistently opposed the Patriot Act, passed in the wake of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks.

Leahy’s bill extended the provision’s expiration to June 2017 -- as a compromise, in order to change the law to stop the NSA from holding onto phone records. Under Leahy’s bill, that duty would have been handed off to phone companies. The companies' records could only have been searched with a surveillance court's order.

While Paul said he “felt bad” that the bill failed, because it “probably needed my vote," he also claimed the country was "one step closer to restoring civil liberties," because the Patriot Act provision's expiration date will not be extended.

But killing the bill does allow metadata collection on Americans to continue, and Rand Paul I guess is okay with that.  Turns out the enemy of the perfect we were warned about was Rand Paul, Typical Republican, who voted along with 41 of his Typical Republican buddies, to allow the NSA abuses to continue.

What say you now, Rand Paul civil liberties guys?

Horrible, Soulless Clock Is Right Twice A Day Alert

Douchebag, Son of Douchebag is correct for once over at RedState, which shall not be linked.  The words shall be displayed.

And he's goddamn right.  When, not if, the GOP shuts down the government again in order to stop President Obama, they will suffer no lasting harm from it at all.  Clinton was impeached, and not only did the GOP keep the House and pick up Senate seats, they won the White House.

There is nothing the GOP can do that will cause voters to punish them for anymore in the Age of Obama.

Nothing.  2014's election was 100% proof of that.  The insanity is coming. They will defund Obamacare and immigration and EPA coal plant rules and tens of millions of voters will cheer them on because screw the black-ass President and those people.

End of line.


Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Last Call For More Gruber Grubbing

New Republic health care reporter Jonathan Cohn pens a look into the actual truth behind the statements made by MIT health economist and Obamacare advisor Jonathan Gruber, and discovers what America needs most is health economists with political common sense.

Faithful readers of the New Republic may remember Gruber’s role in what became a significant, if ultimately ironic, moment of the 2008 campaign. It’s easy to forget now, but when Obama first ran for president he rejected the idea of an individual mandate. John Edwards, who had included a mandate in his plan, and Hillary Clinton, who planned to include one in hers, attacked Obama for this—and cited a rough calculation that reform without a mandate would mean an additional 15 million people without health insurance. The figure had come from an article I wrote at the time. My source for the figure was a back-of-the-envelope extrapolation by Gruber. 
Obama campaign staff were not pleased. But after Obama won the election, and decided upon health care as a priority, his advisers tapped Gruber to provide calculations. The Department of Health and Human Services hired him as a contractor and paid very good money for his services—nearly $400,000, fees that are, health care experts tell me, roughly in line with what private consulting firms charge for similar work. In that capacity, Gruber provided the White House and sometimes its congressional allies with data—predictably similar to what CBO official projections would ultimately show—that they could use to devise policies or to defend their positions in public.

It’s possible that Gruber offered informal advice along the way, particularly when it came to positions he held strongly—like his well-known and sometimes controversial preference for a strong individual mandate. Paul Starr, the Princeton sociologist and highly regarded policy expert, once called the mandate Gruber's "baby." He didn't mean it charitably. But lots of outside advisors were offering the Administration opinions. On only one occasion, to my knowledge, did Gruber meet directly with President Obama in an advisory role. In that instance, he was part of a delegation of outside economists urging Obama to adopt reforms that would help restrain the cost of care. Otherwise, Gruber’s role was primarily to provide numbers.

So no, he wasn't the "architect" of  Obamacare any more than the CBO is the architect of the Obama budget.  What he said was politically tone-deaf, and all of us need to remember that Republicans are doing is using that to justify taking health coverage away from millions of Americans.

That's the only actual scandal here.
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