Thursday, February 28, 2013

Those Unlikeable Rethuglicans

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(Jim Morin, via

(Mike Luckovich, via

Bob Woodward -- Still A Dick

The once great Washington Post Kaplan Daily's associate editor, life-long Rethuglican, and Beltway media elitist is pushing a new line of attack against the Obama administration:  They thweatened me!  After you follow the link to the email exchange, you'll see there was no "threat" (other than to what might be left of Woodward's rapidly diminishing reputation).  Clearly this d-bag is pulling out all the stops to sell his new book and/or change the conversation from the journalistic malpractice in which he was recently involved regarding the sequester.  The administration and progressives need to keep pushing back against this smug shill.

This guy clearly has an agenda, and it's not the truth.  Check out No More Mister Nice Blog's update about how, when Woodward gave his story to Tiger Beat on the Potomac Politico (revealing, no?), there were some curiously missing words -- replaced by an ellipsis (a.k.a., Woodward's "18-minute gap").

UPDATE:  Having seen the actual email exchange, some in the wingnutosphere, who hoped to flog this story to death, are regretting getting involved.

138 House Rethugs Still At War With Women

This morning, the House finally passed the Violence Against Women Act,  286 - 138, with all  138 "no" votes being cast by Rethuglican members.  An attempt was made earlier by House teahadists to limit the scope of the Act to exclude some minority women (Native American, immigrant women), but it was defeated, and the final bill is the inclusive legislation that the Senate had passed earlier.

In the past, reauthorization of the VAWA was so routine that it barely made news.  Now, with the Rethuglican/New Confederate Party inhabiting the furthest right-wing territory on the planet, they've made even "mom and apple pie" legislation -- legislation in this case that will curb domestic violence -- into a battle.  Still waiting for the Rethug rebranding?

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

Good Cop, Bad Senator

Today's Senate Judiciary Committee hearing on gun safety was punctuated by a verbal slap down administered by Milwaukee Police Chief Edward Flynn on South Carolina Sen. Lindsey "Huckleberry Closetcase" Graham, and it was a joy to see.  Huckleberry was adhering to National Rifle Rampage Association talking points suggesting that background checks are ineffective, since the prosecution rate for violators is low.  Chief Flynn pointed out that background checks deny some 76,000 people -- criminals and lunatics among them -- from getting guns in the first place, and that followup prosecutions for people falsifying gun applications isn't the issue.  Huckleberry tried to cut Chief Flynn off, but Flynn was having none of it from him and simply continued talking.

Remember when the Rethuglican/New Confederate Party liked to bill themselves as the party of "law and order?"  Today when it comes to the nation's law enforcement leaders, Rethugs are on the side of the "bad guys."

It's Why We Call Them Rethuglicans - Supreme Court Edition

From today's oral arguments in Shelby County (Alabama) v.  Holder, which will decide whether the Voting Rights Act (VRA) is upheld or struck down in part or in full, we have this from the smug reptilian Rethuglican "Justice" Antonin Scalia regarding why the VRA's reauthorization has been passed by increasingly larger votes in the Senate each time it comes up:
"I think it is attributable, very likely attributable, to a phenomenon that is called perpetuation of racial entitlement. It’s been written about. Whenever a society adopts racial entitlements, it is very difficult to get out of them through the normal political processes...[snip]

"Even the name of it is wonderful: The Voting Rights Act. Who is going to vote against that in the future?"
Even the attorney representing Shelby County wouldn't agree with Scalia that the VRA was a "perpetuation of racial entitlement."  But judging from the questions the five activist right-wing Rethuglican justices posed at the orals today, the VRA is hanging by a thread. Should it be struck down, it will be open season for Rethuglican legislatures in the South and elsewhere to proceed with their plans to disenfranchise as many minority voters as they can before the next election, through bogus voter i.d. and onerous voter registration laws.

"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:
"First it was a five-year term, and then an eight-year term, and then a 25-year term and I don't think that happened because the problem got worse," Scalia told U.S. Solicitor General Donald Verrilli. "I think it is something we can call the perpetuation of a racial entitlement. And history has shown that once a racial entitlement is established, it's very hard to eliminate it legislatively unless a court steps in and determines that it conflicts with the Constitution. "I don't think there is anything to gain by any senator by voting against this Act. This is not the kind of question you can leave to Congress. They're going to lose votes if they vote against the Voting Rights Act. Even the name is wonderful." - See more at:

On Your Mark Cartoon of the Day

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Legislation for gun control/safety will  likely be introduced in separate bills, the requirement for universal background checks being the most popular.  The National Rifle Rampage Association will fight any and all measures that would have any negative effect on gun sales, especially measures that would take guns out of the hands of the "bad" guys they blame for the violence.

Mid-Week Song

Today we're featuring a performance by lovely young jazz vocalist and bassist Esperanza Spalding, who won the Best New Artist Grammy in 2011, the first ever by a jazz musician. At only 20, she became an instructor at the Berklee School of Music in Boston, and has performed concerts all over the world. Here she is performing "Tell Him" at the White House in May, 2009.

Tuesday, February 26, 2013

Americans Think Republicans Are Out of Touch, Partisan

As we lumber toward sequestration, these polls should be a wake-up call to the Rethuglican leadership (if only they weren't paralyzed by fear of their foaming- at- the- mouth- base):

 From Pew:
"Sixty-two percent of adults say the GOP is out of touch with the American people, 56 percent say it’s not open to change and 52 percent say it’s too extreme, according to a Pew Research Center poll released Tuesday." (our emphasis)
From NBC/Wall Street Journal:

"With the automatic across-the-board spending cuts set to begin on Friday, Americans are split over whether President Barack Obama is emphasizing unifying the country or taking a partisan approach, according to a new NBC News/Wall Street Journal poll.

"But by nearly a 3-to-1 margin, respondents conclude that the Republican Party is emphasizing partisanship more than unity."  (our emphasis)

Today's case in point:  The Senate finally confirmed former Republican Senator Chuck Hagel to be Secretary of Defense by a vote of 58-41, with all but 4 Rethuglicans voting against Hagel.

Quote of the Day

"The idea that the President can necessarily bend Congress to his will is indeed a “dream.” It doesn’t reckon with the most fundamental question at the heart of all of this: What if there is nothing whatsoever that can be done by the president or anyone else to break the GOP out of its no-compromising stance? This isn’t an unreasonable reading of the situation; it’s what Republicans themselves have confirmed, publicly and on the record — they will not concede a penny in new revenues, no matter what. And if this is the case — if the fundamental problem is that Republicans really do prefer the sequester to any compromise — isn’t it incumbent on commentators to explain this clearly and forthrightly to their readers?" -- Greg Sargent in the formerly great Washington Post Kaplan Daily today. A number of progressive commentators have pushed back on the Woodwards/Fourniers/Brookses of the commentariat who persist in seeing Rethuglican obstruction as susceptible to the President's leadership, when in fact nothing -- nothing -- he could do short of giving them 100% of their demands would succeed.

If You Can't Beat 'Em, Cheat 'Em, Cont'd.

Rethuglican state legislators in several "blue" states are continuing their efforts to rig the electoral vote process so that Rethuglican Presidential candidates win their state, even when the popular vote gives the win to the Democrat. Michigan is one of the prominent states where this is happening.

This past weekend, at its convention, the Michigan Rethuglican Party backed a plan that would allocate 14 of the State's 16 electoral votes according to the winners of each Congressional district. If that scheme had been in place in 2012, President Obama -- despite winning the State's popular vote by 9% -- would have lost the State's electoral vote to Willard "One Percent" Romney on the basis of Congressional district voting. For a party that screeches about "freedom" and "liberty" all the time, they sure like authoritarian politics.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Rethuglicans Racist? Nah! (Cont.)

The peckerwoods are out in force over at right-wing sites "Fox Nation" and "Hot Air", a-fussin' and a-fumin' over Michelle Obama's presentation of the Best Picture Oscar last night.  Here, courtesy of LGF,  are their deepest thoughts (the "Star Wars" references are the peckerwoods' idea of a clever joke, comparing the First Lady to a Wookie):

"At Fox Nation:
At least Moochell is crashing the oscars now… Probably not as much fun as crashing through the forest and terrorizing tent campers.
Narcissists? Somewhere in the WH, the president has locked himself in a bathroom with a bottle of astroglide, a zucchini, and his press photos.
I wonder how many favors Barry had to call in to get that mule on stage.
Bought and paid for political plantation hor…
the First Wookie is with out a doubt and embarrassment to the nation, she has never held a real job, earned a dime herself or cares about this country, do not be surprised when George and Weezy are out of the White House she drops Barack quickly and gets her a NBA star.
The Obamas are like ill-bred ghettø kids who just won the lottery. Spendthrift, vulgar, irresponsible, and utterly filled with arrogant delusions of their own self-importance.
Ugh. I would sooner French kiss an Óràngután.
Good for Michelle. This is the least masculine she’s looked in years, and that mop of a haircut really makes her aboriginal good looks shine. Lucky, lucky Barry.
Like a prom dress on a mule.
this racist is sickening. she has no problem spending tax payers money. thank you skin, food stamp voters for the no class Whitehouse.
Reminds us very much of Marie Antoinette.
At Hot Air:
Barf-o-Rama. And even in an updo the bangs make her look like Rick James.
Some country will make Obama king after he destroys Amerika.
What a hideous beast! What’s happened to our country? Is this some kind of freak-show or what- like Divinity eating poo off the sidewalk in that John Waters flick. My worst nightmare is a dream compared to this. Would someone please open the gates and let me out already?
Scientific studies show that animals are often attracted to shiny objects. just saying’.
I think Michelle has no intention of being an ex-monarch. This is all about her running for Senate and then president. After all, the transformation to socialism is not yet complete! Women like her and Hillary cannot stand to have their husbands accomplish more than they do.
I think The Onion had the wrong person.
Hey skank, half the country hates you. Go away. Tired of having to windex my TV everytime you muck it up.
Dr. Zira presented last night?
My proud ownership of male genitalia precludes the possibility of viewing Hollywood self-adorations. Apparently, this policy has spared me a di**-shrivelling moment.
Was there a tribute to Star Wars that I missed?
“All this for a flag?” -Mooch Obama
As happy as seeing Barak Obama murdered would make me, I think Id be happier if someone put a bullet in that fat pig of a wife."
Is there somebody or something that can drain this swamp?

(Image:  visual approximation of the typical commenter on "Fox Nation" and "Hot Air.")

Crime Blotter, Red Beanie Edition

Hardly a day passes when a new scandal breaks in the Catholic Church hierarchy. Now, the senior Catholic Cardinal in the U.K., Keith O'Brien, Archbishop of Edinburgh and St. Andrews, has resigned amid allegations of 30 years of sexual misconduct by several priests. The 75 year old U.K. prelate was scheduled to retire in March, but Pope Benedict XVI speeded up O'Brien's departure, sparing the Pontiff from further embarrassment as his successor is about to be chosen as a result of his own resignation.

With Los Angeles' Cardinal Roger Mahony heading to Rome while facing serious charges that he covered up abuse by priests in his archdiocese and Boston's former Archbishop, pedophile protector Cardinal Bernard Law, firmly ensconced at the Vatican, the "princes of the Church" will certainly have a lot to reflect on.

Hypocrite AlertOf course, the carnal Cardinal O'Brien
"has been an outspoken opponent of gay rights, condemning homosexuality as immoral, opposing gay adoption, and most recently arguing that same-sex marriages would be 'harmful to the physical, mental and spiritual well-being of those involved'. Last year he was named 'bigot of the year' by the gay rights charity Stonewall."

Rethuglican War on Women - Oklahoma Chapter

From the "Tulsa World," comes a report of a Rethuglican bill in the Oklahoma State Senate that would allow employers to opt out of providing health care coverage including contraception and abortion:

"The measure, Senate Bill 452 by Sen. Clark Jolley, R-Edmond, passed the Senate Business and Commerce Committee by a vote of 9-0 with no debate and now heads to the full Senate.

"'Notwithstanding any other provision of state or federal law, no employer shall be required to provide or pay for any benefit or service related to abortion or contraception through the provision of health insurance to his or her employees,' the bill says.

"Under the federal Affordable Health Care Act, employee group insurance plans are required to cover contraception unless the business offering the benefit meets the conditions of being a religious organization, said Mike Rhoades, Oklahoma Insurance Department deputy commissioner of life and health insurance.

"Jolley said the measure is the result of a request from a constituent, Dr. Dominic Pedulla, an Oklahoma City cardiologist who describes himself as a natural family planning medical consultant and women's health researcher.

"Pedulla says he is morally against contraception and abortion. He said he had to give up his small group health plan because the only plans available in the state required coverage for contraception and sterilization. He and his family were on the plan and had to find more expensive insurance elsewhere.

"'Every small group plan forces you to choose those options,' Pedulla said.

"Women are worse off with contraception because it suppresses and disables who they are, Pedulla said.

""Part of their identity is the potential to be a mother,' Pedulla said. "They are being asked to suppress and radically contradict part of their own identity, and if that wasn't bad enough, they are being asked to poison their bodies.'" (our emphasis)
 It's refreshing to know, once again, that these Rethuglican men are looking out for the health and well being "identity" of women.

The Something-For-Everyone Oscars

If some were expecting a sweep of the major acting categories by one film, they were disappointed in last night's Oscars.  Each major category was won by an actor in a different film:  Best Actor Daniel Day-Lewis for "Lincoln," Best Actress Jennifer Lawrence for "Silver Linings Playbook," Best Supporting Actor Christoph Waltz for "Django Unchained", and Best Supporting Actress Ann Hathaway for "Les Miserables."  Best Film went to "Argo," and Best Director went to Ang Lee for "Life of Pi."

A very human moment occurred when our favorite, Jennifer Lawrence, stumbled on her way up the steps to accept her Oscar.  She recovered gracefully and joked that the standing ovation she received was out of sympathy for the stumble.   Pure class.

Sunday, February 24, 2013

Bob Woodward -- Your Sequestration Hack of the Month

Step up and claim your award, once-great Washington Post Kaplan Daily associate editor Bob Woodward!  As Anne Laurie's piece demonstrates (with essential links to Dave Weigel, Brian Beutler  and Ezra Klein), Woodward is accusing the President of "moving the goal posts" in the sequestration confrontation, when in fact nothing of the sort has taken place.  It's pure enabling on the part of wealthy, Rethuglican-wired Beltway media elites like Woodward to draw attention to a dead sapling while ignoring the forest where the crazies live.

BONUS:  Don't miss Steve Benen's take on Woodward's bungling.

BONUS II: This excerpt from Esquire's Charles Pierce sums up the problem:
"Having done its Watergate thing, the Post slipped comfortably back into its place in the respectable D.C. power structure. Woodward went with it, producing periodically weighty doorstops filled with establishment stenography. He's no more a liberal than he is a member of Motley Crue. He's a courtier to all the right people, the scribe to powerful. He's a journalistic Sadducee. He tends the Temple grounds."

(Photo:  Bob Woodward, desperately trying to make amends for bringing down Richard Nixon.)

Red-Faced Cartoon of the Day

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It's amusing to watch the tea bagger  Governors that denounced "Obamacare" as a Marxist Kenyan plot to destroy our liberties and make us all eat vegetables who are now accepting Federal monies for Medicaid expansion.  Primary among them was Florida Governor and alien invader Rick "Voldemort" Scott, one of the most vocal and extreme opponents of the Affordable Care Act.  They reek of hypocrisy and dishonesty.

(cartoon: Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Saturday, February 23, 2013

Soulless Rethugs On Display

By now, most people have seen the revolting video of Arizona Sen. and bitter pus-bag John "Grumpypants" McNasty's town hall put down of Caren Teves, the mother of an Aurora, CO shooting victim. It's a tone-deaf, thoroughly cruel piece of business.

Now we learn that the victim's father wrote letters to both McNasty and his Rethug counterpart, Sen. Jeff "The" Flake concerning the importance of sensible gun control/safety laws. Here's what transpired:
"A few weeks ago, Tom Teves, of Phoenix, sent his senators a letter. His 24-year-old son, Alex, was killed last year in the Aurora, Colo. movie theater massacre, and he wanted to tell them Alex’s story and encourage them to take action on guns.

What he got in response, he said, were cold, impersonal form letters from Sens. John McCain and Jeff Flake, both Republicans. Neither of the letters even addressed the Colorado massacre. In fact, they brought up an entirely different shooting, the schoolhouse killings in Newtown, Conn., and mentioned each senator’s ongoing support of the Second Amendment. It was like Alex Teves’ death hadn’t gotten through to the senators or their staffs."
Both Grumpypants and Jeff The Flake should be ashamed of themselves. Sadly for the rest of us, they are shameless, soulless, and without the moral compass that most human beings have. Maybe that's the key to being a Rethuglican politician.

Quote of the Day - "Deluded Republican Reformers"

How to go about saving the Rethuglican Party from itself?  Michael Tomasky notes recent attempts by right-wing pundits to offer solutions, but it's Tomasky who hits the nail on the head over and over in his excellent piece:
"We all know the problem. It’s Rush Limbaugh and his imitators and Roger Ailes and his network. They drive this hatred daily, and they intentionally misinform and lie; you think it’s an accident that polls always find Fox viewers the least connected to empirical reality? Pushing this fury and constructing this alternate reality is great for business. But it’s horrible for America. And the “serious” conservative pundits by and large try to pretend it doesn’t exist, or it’s not that bad, or MSNBC does the same thing in reverse. Well, it does exist, it is that bad, and no, MSNBC does not do the same thing in reverse. MSNBC has an agenda, but it doesn’t craft its messages in such a way as to make its viewers hate half the country." (our emphasis)
When you have a base that has been on the receiving end of lies, distortions and hate for, in some cases, half a century,  it's hard to turn things around in one or two election cycles.  There would have to be a concerted, sustained effort by those in the party who are truly alarmed at the extremism to introduce their base to reality.  Disconnecting those people from their cherished prejudices and insane conspiracy theories means undoing the conscious efforts of the right-wing activists who captured the party apparatus decades ago in order to build just such an angry, driven political base.  Will they "unplug" hate radio and the Fox "News" machine?  We don't think that's likely in the forseeable future, if ever.

BONUS:  Stephen Colbert skewers just the kind of nonsense Tomasky's talking about (for which we awarded Ben "Dover" Shapiro*  of "Wanker of the Week").
* That never gets old.

"Evolution of Mom Dancing:" Michelle Obama and Jimmy Fallon

Wonderful segment on "Late Night With Jimmy Fallon" last night, featuring Jimmy and Michelle Obama.  What a beautiful, poised First Lady we have (spoiler alert:  she's got the moves, too):

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept.

From today's once-great Washington Post Kaplan Daily:

"How sad that your [WaPo] Feb. 12 chart “Transition at the Vatican” omitted the most consequential recent pope: John XXIII.  In his short tenure between the papacies of Pius XII and Paul VI, John XXIII convened the Second Vatican Council, and through his moral clarity, force of conviction and personal integrity, he dragged the Catholic Church out of intolerance and medieval obscurantism. Had he lived longer, he never would have tolerated the Vatican’s mafialike conspiracy to protect the child rapists in its midst. If the church is to revitalize itself, it should choose as Benedict’s successor a man capable of emulating the example of Pope John XXIII.
Salvatore Schiavo-Campo,
Falls Church"

We remember John XXIII fondly as well.  Unfortunately, the chances of finding another like him in today's Catholic hierarchy are slim and none.  Well said, Mr. Schiavo-Campo.

Friday, February 22, 2013

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

There's unfortunately an endless supply of this stupidity, but we'll hold it at two today:

Indiana Rethuglican State Sen. Travis Holdman would like some ladyparts inspected,  for their own good, mind you:
"Women obtaining an abortion-inducing drug would be required to undergo an ultrasound before and after taking the drug under a bill approved Wednesday by an Indiana Senate committee.
Though the bill doesn’t specify that it be a transvaginal ultrasound, in which a several-inch-long probe is inserted in the woman, that’s exactly what Indiana would be requiring, said Dr. John Stuts­man, an Indiana University School of Medicine professor and obstetrician-gynecologist."
We repeat, "What Rethuglican war on women?"  Also:  Branding!

Moving on to Oklahoma, an elected Rethuglican toadstool (no offense to toadstools) has introduced a bill that Mr. Pierce has dubbed "The Dare To Be Ignorant Protection Act of 2013:"
"On Tuesday, the Oklahoma Common Education committee is expected to consider a House bill  [ed:  it since passed the committee] that would forbid teachers from penalizing students who turn in papers attempting to debunk almost universally accepted scientific theories such as biological evolution and anthropogenic (human-driven) climate change.

"Gus Blackwell, the Republican state representative who introduced the bill, insists that his legislation has nothing to do with religion; it simply encourages scientific exploration. 'I proposed this bill because there are teachers and students who may be afraid of going against what they see in their textbooks,' says Blackwell, who previously spent 20 years working for the Baptist General Convention of Oklahoma. 'A student has the freedom to write a paper that points out that highly complex life may not be explained by chance mutations.'"
Oklahoma currently ranks 42nd among states in science and math learning by high school students.  Should this bill become law, Rethugs can take pleasure in knowing that they will be more competitive in a race to the edumacational bottom with other deep-Red states like cellar-dwellers Mississippi, West Virginia, Louisiana and Alabama.

Weekend Music - Chopin Style

Today is Frederic Chopin's 203rd birthday (and he doesn't look a day over 200!), so we want to grace this blog with one of his most beloved works, the Polonaise "Heroique," Op. 53.  Enjoy your weekend.

More Vatican Follies

Reports in the Italian press are alleging that Pope Benedict XVI's recent resignation was prompted by the contents of a report on secretive lobbies within the Vatican, including a gay lobby.  The newspaper La Repubblica notes the 300-page report, which will be provided to Benedict's successor, points to undue influence by "lobbies" within the Vatican that were involved in "adultery" -- which the Vatican identifies as homosexuality in this instance -- and "theft."  The resignation of a Pope is a very rare occurrence, and almost all have died in their position, no matter how weak and ill.  That's what makes this report so interesting.

The papacies of both Benedict and his predecessor John Paul II have been tainted by their mishandling of child sexual abuse cases, with their efforts to reassign the pedophiles and their protectors in the hierarchy, diverting attention and criminal responsibility for decades of priestly abuse.  Coupled with the disclosure in 2010 of a gay prostitution ring operating within the Vatican, we wonder what this new scandal involves -- or who it will ultimately implicate.

(photo:  Combined with the red cape, the cap adds a stylish touch.  Red Prada loafers complete the outfit.)

Quote of the Day

"The N.R.A. and gun-rights advocates are quick to use the Constitution to defend unfettered access to even the most lethal firearms. But before the Constitution there was the Declaration of Independence, which asserts that we are endowed with certain unalienable rights, including those of 'Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.' It continues, 'That to secure these rights, Governments are instituted...' It is time now for government to protect our right to life from the threat of gun violence. It is time for politicians to put this right on the same pedestal they afford the right to bear arms." --  Jonathan Perloe, Greenwich Democratic Town Committee, in an editorial piece on (h/t to Daily Kos).

Emblazoned on the exterior of the National Rifle Rampage Association's headquarters are the words, "the right of the people to keep and bear arms shall not be infringed."  Of course, that's not the whole text of the Second Amendment.  The NRA consistently ignores the opening phrase, "A well regulated militia being necessary to the security of a free state..."  Why?  Because the gun lobby isn't about the "security of a free state";  they're about gun sales, and the free flow of firearms to whatever felon, or mentally disturbed person with money to buy them, regardless of their lip service about "bad guys."   

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

Today's proof that, as James Carville noted (post below), "if it sounds stupid and cruel... it's a Republican thing."

We wouldn't want real 'murricans gettin' their hands dirty:
"A top conservative in the House of Representatives told NPR Thursday morning that he opposes bipartisan proposals to allow undocumented immigrants to earn a path to citizenship, but would support expanding 'a guest-worker program for immigrant-labor-dependent U.S. agriculture' to ensure that farms have a steady stream of foreign labor to fulfill the 'dirtiest jobs.'”
That would be Rep. Bob Goodlatte (Rethug-VA), who also recently introduced an un-Constitutional bill to abolish the Federal income tax because FREEDUMB!

Then there's fellow Rethug Rep. Louie Gohmert (Squirrel-TX) who's responsible for this bit of crackpottery:
"Tea Party Congressman Louie Gohmert (R-TX) told a conservative radio show on Thursday that the GOP must oppose gun regulations to protect the country from the threat of 'Sharia Law.'”
Obviously, that's a stone-dumb fella there.  Further comment would be a waste of electrons.

Finally, we swing by Kansas, where Rethuglican State Rep. Dennis Hedke is proposing a bill that:
"... prohibits public funds from being used 'either directly or indirectly, to promote, support, mandate, require, order, incentivize, advocate, plan for, participate in or implement sustainable development.' Hedke said he brought the bill at the request of some constituents. 'I felt like it was a responsible thing to go ahead and let that debate perhaps come out,' Hedke said."
Hedke has to know better, since he's a professional geophysicist.  But one wonders what knuckle-dragging  constituents Hedke was, um, knuckling under to... wait... what's that?  He has a client list of 30-some oil and gas companies?  Mystery solved!

Quote of the Day

"The sequester, many people don't know what it is, but it sounds stupid and cruel, so they think it's a Republican thing." --  Democratic strategist James Carville, on today's "Morning Joe" program on MSNBC (our emphasis).   Branding!

The People Get It

Some other interesting facts regarding the USA Today/Pew Research poll linked to below are that the public is on the President's side on a range of issues, including the budget, gun control/safety, climate change, and immigration.

One number that should wake up the "rebranding" Rethugs is 22.  That's the percentage of the public that identify themselves as "Republicans."

Sequestered Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Polling is showing that the President's approval rating is twice that of Congressional Rethuglicans, who get most of the blame for the sequester mess.   The closer we get to the March 1 deadline, the more pressure will be put on the Rethugs to compromise.

(cartoon:  Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Wednesday, February 20, 2013

Rethuglicans Racist? Nah!

From the Facebook page (since taken down*) of Yellowstone County, Montana, Rethuglican/ New Confederate/ Stupid Party Chairman Jennifer Olsen (kudos also to limp dick Rich Diamond, whoever that asswhistle is):

Olsen is quite an up-and-comer in the teatard/ Rethuglican Party in Montana.  No wonder.  Hey, good luck with that re-branding!

*Or not:  see montanafesto's update in the comments.

Wanker of the Week -- Ben Shapiro

"EXCLUSIVE!  MUST CREDIT BREITFART...ER, HACKWHACKERS!"  (Hee-hee)  It's's Likudnik munchkin Ben "Dover" Shapiro.  That "Chuck- Hagel- is- connected- with- Friends- of- Hamas" unsubstantiated smear that arose during Hagel's confirmation hearings that Shapiro breathlessly broke to the world?  Not only does "Friends of Hamas" not exist, but it was made up by someone thinking no one would be stupid enough to take it seriously.  Guess he didn't reckon with li'l Ben.


(Photo:  Li'l Ben Shapiro, cub reporter for the Breitbart media empire -- actual size)

Colbert's Hole In One

Last night, Stephen Colbert mocked the Beltway press corps for their sudden interest in "transparency" when the President went golfing with Tiger Woods.  It's too bad this intrepid corps was too timid to ask questions of the opaque Bush Assministration on the lead up to the Iraq War, etc.  Colbert asks the vital questions the Beltway press corps wasn't able to:  "Who drove the cart?  Who rode shotgun? Did the President hit from the ladies' tee?"

Mid-Week Smokey Song

Happy 73rd birthday to Motown giant Smokey Robinson.  Robinson is an inductee in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and the Songwriters Hall of Fame, and is a recipient of the National Medal of Arts.  His beautiful tenor voice is immediately recognizable on such hits as "I Second That Emotion," "Going to a Go-Go," and "Tears of a Clown."   Enjoy.

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

 Fasten your seat belts for some more crazy from the Stupid Party!

 From the goober great State of Missouri:
Yesterday, Missouri state Rep. Mike Leara (R) proposed legislation making it a felony for lawmakers to so much as propose any bills regulating guns. Leara’s bill provides that “[a]ny member of the general assembly who proposes a piece of legislation that further restricts the right of an individual to bear arms, as set forth under the second amendment of the Constitution of the United States, shall be guilty of a class D felony.”
So, in Missouri, it's o.k. to be mentally deranged and purchase an AR-15 at a gun show, but if you try to introduce a bill to ... oh, nevermind.

Moving on to Alabammy:
"When a physician removes a child from a woman, that is the largest organ in a body," [Rethuglican State Rep. Mary Sue] McClurkin said in an interview Thursday. "That's a big thing. That's a big surgery. You don't have any other organs in your body that are bigger than that."
Well, we can say with some certainty that the brain is not the largest organ in Rep. McClurkin's body, boy howdy!

Finally, to the corporate padded cell boardroom at Trump Tower:
[Former Rethuglican presidential wannabe] Donald Trump can’t fire the man protesting his relationship with Macy’s, but the Apprentice star might have sights on suing him.

Trump attorney Alan Garten has sent a cease and desist letter to Angelo Carusone, organizer of the online campaign Dump Trump, and threatened to seek damages of “not less than” $25 million if the protest continues, The Hollywood Reporter has learned exclusively.
Earth to Hairweave, Earth to Hairweave:  your "attorney" Alan "Kinder" Garten apparently didn't have the balls to tell you that your threatened suit will be laughed out of the first court it lands in because boycotts have long been protected speech =cough=First Amendment=cough=.  Someone needs to stage an intervention with this orangutan guy.

Gaucho Mark Returns To The (Campaign) Trail

When last we saw long-distance hiker and former South Carolina Gov. Mark "Gaucho Mark" Sanford a few years ago, he had tearfully admitted his affair with an Argentinian woman, and thus damaged his rising political fortunes.  "Hiking the Appalachian Trail" became the euphemism for having an illicit affair, since Gaucho Mark used that as an alibi for traveling to Buenos Aires for trysts with his mistress.

Now we note that he's running for the newly-vacated seat of Rep. Tim "The Tom" Scott, who was appointed to the Senate after Jim "Demented" DeMint left for greener pastures.  The likely Democratic opponent, Elizabeth Colbert Busch, happens to be the sister of humorist Stephen Colbert.  Gaucho Mark is trying to claim that while "I failed in my personal life," his public life as Governor was exemplary.  Uh, not so fast.  He's got some 'splainin' to do about expending State funds, as the link above notes.  We have no faith in the Rethug primary voters of South Carolina to reject Gaucho Mark, but hope he's sent hiking in the general election.

(photo:  Juggling balls isn't as hard as juggling a wife and a mistress)

China's Cyber Warriors

Several news organizations are reporting that a secret organization within China's People's Liberation Army is responsible for most of the recent hacking attacks on U.S. institutions and businesses.  The organization, named Unit 61398, apparently operates out of a suburb of Shanghai, and was uncovered by U.S. cyber security organizations, which tracked the hacking attacks to a small area known to be controlled by the PLA outside of Shanghai.

The Chinese government has not acknowledged the existence of the unit, and has accused the U.S. of being responsible for most of the hacking attacks worldwide.   Cyber security has become the latest frontier of a shadow "war" between nations, seeking military, intelligence or economic advantages over one another.

Mississippi Grudgingly Gives Up On Slavery

Some hopes die hard.  We saw the news that the State of Confederacy Mississippi finally got around to submitting the paperwork needed to ratify the 13th Amendment to the Constitution banning slavery.   Maybe someone saw the film "Lincoln" and decided to double check, but it's noteworthy that Mississippi was the very last state to ratify the Amendment.  The hard core of the Confederacy ran from  South Carolina westward through Georgia, Alabama and Mississippi, and they haven't given up their notions of a "lost cause" easily;  it's why you still see the Confederate flag, literally the flag of treason, incorporated into many of their state flags.  Maybe it's why some Mississippians recently confused the State flag with the Confederate battle flag, and flew it above the State Supreme Court for a few hours before someone pointed out the error.

We wonder if the words from the '60s civil rights era folk song "Here's to the State of Mississippi" by the late Phil Ochs still resonate:

Here's to the state of Mississippi,
For underneath her borders, the devil draws no lines,
If you drag her muddy rivers, nameless bodies you will find.
Oh the fat trees of the forest have hid a thousand crimes,
The calendar is lying when it reads the present time.

Monday, February 18, 2013

McNasty's Ongoing Tantrum

Not yet recovered from his shellacking in the 2008 Presidential race, Arizona Sen. and perpetual sore loser John "Grumpypants" McNasty won't let go of the phony Benghazi issue, because in part it allows him to vent his resentment at the President every Sunday on teevee. He was on Press the Meat yesterday, where Dancin' Dave Gregory tried to get Grumpypants to explain exactly what the Obama Administration was "covering up" on Benghazi. Grumpypants fumed and sputtered before falling back on a maudlin reference to the four Americans who were killed.

Sadly, the Senator will be around for a few more years, so he'll continue to spread his bitter guff. It's a shame that the Sunday poo-flings haven't wised up to his routine, and book a guest less interested in settling scores and more interested in shedding light.

Today's Cartoon - Coming To Get Your Guns

(click to enlarge)

 (Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

We Need A New Press Corps

The White House Correspondents Association had some significant butthurt over the President's golf weekend.  Here's Association president Ed "I'm A Serious Journamalist" Henry (of Fox "News"):
"Speaking on behalf of the White House Correspondents Association, I can say a broad cross section of our members from print, radio, online and TV have today expressed extreme frustration to me about having absolutely no access to the President of the United States this entire weekend. There is a very simple but important principle we will continue to fight for today and in the days ahead: transparency."
We like Barbara Morrill's rejoinder:
"It's nice to see that the media—that slept through the lead-up to the war in Iraq, that cheerfully pretended the tea party was a grassroots uprising, that breathlessly reported on birth certificates and death panels, all while pretending that the Republican party hadn't spent the last four years obstructing any and all legislation put forward by President Obama—are finally fighting for a principle. Because knowing that the president three-putted on nine will allow us all to sleep better at night. "
Not to mention "both sides do it," deficit/ austerity granny-starving ("pain for thee, tax breaks for me"),  and the endless attraction to shiny objects rather than substance.  "Principle?"  These clowns wouldn't recognize a principle if it caromed off their empty, self-absorbed heads like an errant nine-iron shot.

BONUS IMore proof, if any is needed, that we need a new press corps.

BONUS II:  Here's Stephen Colbert's take on Mr. Henry's Fox "News," home of principled journamalists:

Sunday, February 17, 2013

White House Immigration Reform vs. The Savior

From "USA Today" comes word that the White House is floating an immigration reform proposal:
"A draft of a White House immigration proposal obtained by USA TODAY would allow illegal immigrants to become legal permanent residents within eight years.
 "The plan also would provide for more security funding and require business owners to check the immigration status of new hires within four years. In addition, the nation's 11 million illegal immigrants could apply for a newly created 'Lawful Prospective Immigrant' visa, under the draft bill being written by the White House.
"If approved, they could then apply for the same provisional legal status for their spouse or children living outside the country, according to the draft."
Within hours, Rethuglican savior and cotton-brained mouthed Sen. Marco "Glug-Glug" Rubio  had rejected the proposal.  You can almost hear the whirring sound of savior Glug-Glug being reeled back in by his Tea Party backers.  Estancia sed, mis amigos.

BONUS:  Of course, savior Glug-Glug is, in the time-honored tradition of his party, trying to make a buck off clueless sheeple.

The Next Pope

E.J. Dionne, Jr., makes a modest proposal that the Catholic Church elect a nun as Pope, but barring that:
"...But I hope that they at least consider electing the kind of man who has the characteristics of my ideal female pontiff. The church needs a leader who has worked closely with the poor and the outcast, who understands that battling over doctrine is less important for the church’s future than modeling Christian behavior — and who sees that the proper Christian attitude toward the modern world is not fear but hope."
Given that the conclave of Cardinals is largely populated by the appointees of the ultra-conservative John Paul II and Benedict XVI, it's hard to imagine they would deviate from their orthodox bubble -- especially when the prevailing zeitgeist in the Church is (rightly) one of defensiveness and paranoia. We're likely to see the election of a middle-aged, conservative, doctrinaire prelate rather than one who reflects "not fear but hope" to the world. Betcha.

Another Rethuglican Blame Game

Rethuglicans are notorious for blaming bad things they've caused on Dems. For example, when they caused the housing collapse by deregulating the financial markets, they blamed low-income Dem voters. Now, their latest dishonest gambit is to blame the upcoming sequester on Dems. The sequester would cut some $85 billion dollars from domestic and defense programs in the next seven months, and result in the layoff of roughly 1 million people working in government support jobs. The New York Times editorial today gives a breakdown of the cuts. They also note the real culprits are the Rethugs, who forced the sequestration by holding the debt ceiling hostage in 2011:
"These cuts, which will cost the economy more than one million jobs over the next two years, are the direct result of the Republican demand in 2011 to shrink the government at any cost, under threat of a default on the nation’s debt. Many Republicans say they would still prefer the sequester to replacing half the cuts with tax revenue increases. But the government spending they disdain is not an abstract concept. In a few days, the cuts will begin affecting American life and security in significant ways." (emphasis added)
So the next time you hear a Rethug politician or pundit dishonestly blame the sequestration on Dems, remember which party is always demanding cuts cuts cuts with no compromise on corporate tax loopholes and other goodies for the wealthy.

Saturday, February 16, 2013

Friday, February 15, 2013

Worst Majority "Leader" EVER

As we watch the nomination of former Sen. Chuck Hagel twist in the wind of Rethuglican filibustering, it's worth remembering that at the beginning of the current Congress, the Senate majority leader, Sen. Harry "Bending" Reid had an opportunity to reform the filibuster process and deny the Rethug minority their obstruction.  He didn't push reform, and no one should be surprised that the Rethugs are once again abusing the rules.

Bending Reid, along with a few other weak Dems, are finding out that their "play nice" approach to the  Rethugs isn't working.   Who in their right minds would think that the Rethugs would "play nice" if the Dems allowed the filibuster to continue?  And if the Rethugs retake the Senate, they'll dump the filibuster and take away Dems' chances of blocking their legislation.  Well played, Bending Reid.

Meteorite Strike in Russia

There's lots of video of the meteorite event in Russia here. Amazing.

Weekend Songs - Water, Water Everywhere

It's hard not to keep indulging in the schadenfreude that we get from reliving Sen. Marco "Glug-Glug" Rubio's response to the President's State of the Union address earlier this week. So we won't... for now. Thus, we have a couple of water-related songs to offer. The first is a 1959 hit by Stonewall Jackson, "Waterloo." We'd like to offer an additional verse, viz:
Marco Rubio
The savior he would be
'Til he lunged for
That water on t.v.
So his moment
He very oddly blew,
That's how "Glug-Glug" Rubio
Met his Waterloo.
Two, three.. hit it Stonewall!

If only he'd had some of what the Sons of the Pioneers sing about:

Stay thirsty, my friends! (Okay, we'll give it a rest for a while. Be glad we didn't do a "Harlem Shake" collection.)

A-Holes of the Week

There was a poignant moment at the State of the Union message when President Obama pointed out Desiline Victor, the 102-year old African American woman from Florida who waited hours in line to vote, thanks to Rethuglican voter suppression efforts aimed at minorities. You'd have to say most people were at once angry that she was the victim of suppression efforts, and proud of her for sticking it out. Those feelings, to no one's surprise, weren't shared by the reptiles at the Fux Channel. Here's part of the despicable exchange between two of their on-air creeps:
"'How long was she on line?' [Anchor Bill] Hemmer asked.

'What's the big deal? She was happy,' [Fux Host Martha] MacCallum argued. 'She waited on line, she was happy that she voted.'

'They held her up as a victim!' Hemmer alleged. 'What was she the victim of? Rashes on the bottom of her feet?'"
Oh, hardy har har, rashes on her feet! Especially since she needs a wheelchair. Har har, comedy gold.

No, she's actually the victim of people like Hemmer and MacCallum, who think playing games with the voting process to tilt the balance to right wing Rethuglicans is perfectly OK, since they're convinced Democratic voters are leeches on the "makers" anyway. Throw in the fact that she's an elderly African American and a woman and you have the makings of a Fux comedy routine. A-holes.

Giving "Poop Deck" A New Meaning

The Ship of Stools. The Crud Boat. Call it what you will, the Carnival Triumph was pulled into Mobile, AL after days drifting in the Gulf of Mexico without power, sanitary services, or much food. A fire in the propulsion area of the ship days ago caused a massive power outage on the ship, with some 3,200 passengers and 1,000 crew left to deal with dark rooms, rotting food, and non-working toilets. Passengers had to relieve themselves in plastic bags, which were then collected and put in larger bags for disposal. While the passengers had praise for the crew, many were heard talking about a class action lawsuit against Carnival Cruise Lines.

The cruise line is flagged in the Bahamas, which means the Bahamian government has primary jurisdiction for investigating the incident. No doubt, they'll receive assistance from U.S. maritime authorities and the Coast Guard. It's also worth noting that the cruise line pays no U.S. taxes, so there's the question of how the Treasury will be reimbursed for assistance rendered by the Coast Guard, and public port facilities.

(photo:  The good ship Lolly Plop)

Thursday, February 14, 2013

Picture of the Day

President Obama today at College Heights Early Childhood Learning Center, in Decatur, GA, promoting his State of the Union address' universal pre-k proposal.

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

Today we have "patriot" and resident, his own world Ted "I Pooped and Peed My Pants" Nugent commenting on the State of the Union speech:
“It pains me deeply to report that the ACORN community organizer in chief is still at his masterful scripted deceitful fantasy scam, and even worse, the clueless masses are buying it. Somebody better wake up before he completely eviscerates the entire American Dream.”
Someone get Sarah Palin's ghostwriter! This genius is stealing all her lines... from 2008! Yeah, you're a model of sanity and an astute observer of the political landscape, Mr. Crap Pants.

Next we turn to a contributor to, and originator of, the "Stupid Party" moniker, Gov. Bobby "Kenneth" Jindal (Joke-LA), who had a sarcastic thoughtful tweet on the Violence Against Women Act:

Hey, there's no Rethuglican war on women, no siree!

We'd be happy if we could just vote to eliminate a turdpile like "Kenneth" from politics, but living in Louisiana would be too great a sacrifice to make.

Stay Thirsty, My Friends

Stephen Colbert has Sen. Marco "Stay Thirsty, My Friends" Rubio's Watergate moment captured nicely:

Let's see how "Saturday Night Live" handles it this weekend.

What Raising The Minimum Wage Means To Women

Think Progress has done an analysis of why raising the minimum wage from the current $7.25 an hour to $9 an hour by 2015 is so important to women. Not only are the majority of people earning the minimum wage women (64%), they are also the primary or co-breadwinner for the family (60%).

Not surprisingly, the Rethuglican leadership in Congress is calling the President's proposal to raise the minimum wage a non-starter. They've never accepted women in the workforce, and never been willing to give equal pay for equal work (see Lily Ledbetter Act). It's another example of their war on women, which is based on a nasty fundamentalist, right wing creed that scorns working women, blames them for rape, and refuses to protect them against violence or unwanted pregnancies.

Happy Valentines Day

A big day for Hallmark, florists, and marriage proposals.

Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Watery Mid-Week Song

We get our inspiration from Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio, but our song from the ethereally lovely Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine, who sings "What The Water Gave Me" for today's song. Enjoy.

Thirsty Tweet of the Day

Maybe Rubio thought he was playing a drinking game.

Rebuilding the Middle Class

Last night's State of the Union message contained some new proposals aimed at the middle class and working families, and addressed gun control legislation when the President said that the victims of gun violence -- dozens of whom were in the gallery -- "deserved a vote" on gun control/safety measures. Above all, the unifying theme was rebuilding the middle class through job opportunities, education and investing in infrastructure and research.

As to the new proposals, the President listed increasing the minimum wage to $9 per hour, providing a broad expansion of pre-school care for children, and creating an "energy security trust" with revenues from oil and gas lease to foster renewable energy. He also urged Congress to pass the rest of the American Jobs Act legislation that they had partially done 18 months ago, and to put more resources into job-creating research and development. Immigration reform was also urged, and not surprisingly given the 2012 election results, got a bipartisan ovation.

There were two high points rhetorically and emotionally during the SOTU:
-- when the President singled out 102 year old Desiline Victor who had to wait hours in line to vote due to minority voter suppression tactics by Florida's Rethuglican Governor and legislature, and

-- when the President called on Congress to allow a vote on gun control/safety proposals, saying the victims of Newtown, Aurora, Oak Creek, Blacksburg and other towns "deserved a vote."
While tea bagger members of The Stupid Party sat on their hands at those points, the majority of the audience stood and applauded. The State of the Stupid Party remains....stupid.

BONUS: The official Rethug response was delivered by Sen. Marco "Polo!" Rubio, the Cuban American that Rethugs are offering up as their token Hispanic leader. It wasn't an inspiring performance, given that it was overwhelmingly negative with no real solutions offered. Then, there was this priceless moment, when he reached for a bottle of water in the middle of his remarks while his eyes remained on the camera:

Bwahahaha, the only thing missing was a belch after the swig of water. "The Republican Savior" indeed.