Wednesday, July 9, 2014

Last Call For A Tale Of Two Mayors

One former Democratic mayor is on his way up:

The Senate easily confirmed San Antonio Mayor Julian Castro on Wednesday to head the Department of Housing and Urban Development, boosting the national profile of a Democrat with a compelling biography who’s considered a vice presidential contender in 2016. 
The 71-26 vote makes the 39-year-old Castro one of the government’s highest-ranking Hispanics, a growing group of voters who lean solidly Democratic. His ascension comes two years after he got his first broad national exposure when President Barack Obama picked him to deliver the keynote address at the 2012 Democratic National Convention. Senator Ted Cruz voted against confirming Castro. Senator John Cornyn voted to support the confirmation, after publicly backing Castro during a Senate hearing last month.

And another former Democratic mayor is on his way down.

Former New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin was sentenced on Wednesday to 10 years in federal prison for corruption during the critical years of rebuilding after Hurricane Katrina devastated the city in 2005. 
A jury in February found Nagin, a Democrat, guilty on charges including bribery, wire fraud, conspiracy, money laundering and tax evasion. 
Nagin, 58, stirred national controversy with his erratic behavior after Katrina breached floodwalls and inundated New Orleans in 2005, killing at least 1,500 people and leaving tens of thousands homeless. 
Citing Nagin's devotion to family and commitment to helping New Orleans, U.S. District Judge Helen Ginger Berrigan said a shorter prison term than that recommended under federal sentencing guidelines was warranted.

She ordered Nagin to turn himself in to begin serving his sentence by Sept. 8. With good behavior, and barring any appeals, Nagin could get out of prison after about 8-1/2 years.

Just a reminder that sometimes, regardless of party, there are good politicians, and bad ones.  Julian Castro is definitely a rising star, as is his twin brother Joaquin.  Ray Nagin, on the other hand, got caught red-handed.  I hope to hear a lot about the former.  The latter, not so much.

Well, There's Definitely A "By Proxy" Problem Here

Here's your daily epistemic closure 101 for you: Republicans have now shouted "Obama has caused this border crisis on purpose!" enough times to their followers that they've deluded themselves into no believing America has accepted this as fact, and they've moved on to "For what sinister, evil reason has Obama caused this border crisis on purpose?"  This is their favorite part, because they get to use up all of Grandma's tinfoil from the most recent holiday dinner and then attempt to come up with a solution.

Today's contestant on Conspiracy Challenge is Texas Republican Larry Smith, who turns to the DSM-V for his diagnosis of derpitude.

Iraq War vet Larry Smith is the Republican nominee to take on Rep. Filemon Vela (D-Texas) in November. He's also, it turns out, an armchair psychiatrist. According to Smith, Barack Obama's handling of the child refugee crisis along the Mexican bordersuggests the president is suffering from M√ľnchausen syndrome by proxy, a rare psychological condition that causes caretakers to abuse kids. 
"Today, we hear of reports that children are being abused, being used by drug cartels, and even dying," Smith said in a statement on his website last Thursday. "If a high school administrator prompted such mass abuse, that person would quickly be without a job and perhaps even found behind bars. The mental stability of the school administrator would be in question. Is a President of the United States who does such horrific acts deserving of less scrutiny and accountability?…People who intentionally hurt children for attention can be accused of M√ľnchausen Syndrome by Proxy."

That's right, Obama is torturing kids because he's bonkers.  This is where we are with conservative intelligence these days, using plot devices stolen from Law and Order episodes.

Also, who taught this clown how to Google things?

We Gratefully Request To Be Allowed To Discriminate

Welcome to the "post-Hobby Lobby FREEDOM for all the kids" era, where thanks to SCOTUS, religiously affiliated companies that hire federal contractors are happily asking the President to allow them to discriminate against those awful, awful gay people because MURICA.

After a setback in the Supreme Court in the Hobby Lobby case, President Obama is facing mounting pressure from religious groups demanding to be excluded from his long-promised executive order that would bar discrimination against gay men and lesbians by companies that do government work. 
The president has yet to sign the executive order, but last week a group of major faith organizations, including some of Mr. Obama’s allies, said he should consider adding an exemption for groups whose religious beliefs oppose homosexuality. In Burwell v. Hobby Lobby Stores, the court ruled that family-run corporations with religious objections could be exempted from providing employees with insurance coverage for contraception.

I talked about this some last week, but this is precisely what Justices Ginsburg and Sotomayor warned about in their dissents on this ruling.

To give an example, faith leaders said a Catholic charity group that believes sex outside heterosexual marriage is a sin should not be denied government funding because it refused to employ a leader who was openly gay. Gay-rights groups countered that it would be unacceptable to allow religious organizations receiving taxpayer money to refuse to hire employees simply because they were gay, and said they did not expect the White House to provide such an exclusion. On Tuesday they stepped up their calls for Mr. Obama to quickly complete and sign the order.

I do hope the President remembers who voted for him in the first place, and what the right thing to do is both morally and legally.  I know he will, because I trust him.  That's why I voted for him in two elections.


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