Wednesday, July 31, 2013

Today's Cartoons: Do-Nothing Republican Congress

(click to enlarge)

As has been noted, this is not a party interested in any way, shape or form in government.  They take pride, in fact, in being the do-nothing, anti-government party because FREEDUMB!  So, they're just vandals doing what vandals do.

BONUS:  And their base?  They're nuttier than fruitcakes.

(Top:  Jim Morin, Miami Herald;  bottom:  Drew Sheneman, Tribune Media)

Go, Just Go, Cont'd.

Disgraced San Diego Mayor and groper extraordinaire Bob "Feelie" Filner is being sued by the San Diego city government to recover any costs that the city may incur in lawsuits against the accused sexual harasser.  Feelie, who has put himself in rehab for his problems, has yet to resign his position, despite the increasing calls for his resignation from fellow Dems and the growing number of women who have experienced Feelie's form of unwanted attention.

(photo:  No telling where his other hand has been...)

Mid-Week Summer Song

We've never featured the surf sound here, so here's a classic from Jan and Dean, which was number 1 on the charts exactly 50 years ago this week.  Surf's up.

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

Drawing from an inexhaustible well, we bring up a few buckets of Rethuglican/ New Confederate Party un-distilled stupid:

Even though many Rethugs are calling the latest budget hostage-taking ploy by tea baggers in Congress a "bad idea," there's always Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (Anchor Baby-TX) willing to make a last stand at the Alamo Senate well in order to tell the American people that it wasn't Rethugs who shut down the government over Obamacare:
We've got to stand up and make the argument and win the argument that, 'No, that's not true. We have voted to fund the federal government. We want to fund the federal government. Why is President Obama threatening to shut down the federal government? Because he wants force Obamacare down people's throats.'
Please run fly with that, Tailgunner Ted!!  We're certain the general public is with you and won't parse the clever political ju-jitsu you're practicing here.  They'll come to the conclusion that, yes, even though Rethugs have been publicly strategerizing about using Obamacare de-funding as a poison pill in the budget negotiations, it will all be Obama's fault if the gummint shuts down 'cause he dint agree to kill his signature legislative accomplishment!  Brilliant!

Perhaps Tailgunner Ted is relying on the "incurious" intellects of Rethugs, represented by the likes of  North Carolina Gov. Pat "Duh" McCrory, in which case, he may be onto something:
Pat McCrory, the Republican presiding over the dismantling of the state's relatively reasoned approach to race and the law, declared Friday that he was eager to sign the state's restrictive new voting law, the most suppressive of its era, even though he had not read a key part of it. "I don't know enough, I'm sorry," the governor told a reporter who asked about a provision in the pending measure that will preclude pre-registration for those under 18 (because, after all, if there is anything this nation needs to do when it comes to encouraging civic participation it is to make it harder for eager young people to vote).
In his confessed ignorance of the details of a discriminatory voting law in a Southern state, McCrory is no outlier. His incurious approach to such vital legislation is yet another form of the willful ignorance that has animated much of the national debate over voting rights over the past half decade or so.
 "I don't know enough, I'm sorry."  A rare instance of self-awareness by a Rethuglican, but "willful ignorance" is useful if you're advancing the anti-democratic goals of your Stupid Party, no?

Cardinal Sin

When Pope Francis broke new ground in saying "who am I to judge" gays following his historic trip to South America, it was only a matter of time before the reactionary wing of the Church reacted.  Take it away,  New York's Cardinal and pedophile priest protector Timothy Dolan:
“Homosexuality is not a sin, right? Homosexual acts are, just like heterosexuality is not a sin outside of marriage, that would be sinful...While certain acts may be wrong, [the Pope] would always love and respect the person and treat the person with dignity and not judge them.”
Thank you for your Papal encyclical comments, we're sure the actual Pope will appreciate your clarification.  To think that this bigoted enabler of pedophile priests was in the running for the Papacy is staggering.

BONUS:  The BooMan has an interesting take on the possible domestic political impact of Pope Francis' willingness to side with the outsiders and underdogs in society.

Profiles In Chivalry

Beset by numerous conflict of interest problems, Virginia's Rethuglican Governor Bob "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell is now claiming that a private event at the Governor's executive mansion in 2011 that involved Blowdry Bob's financial backer and notorious gift horse Jonnie Williams was orchestrated by his wife.  Blowdry Bob must figure that if he's going down, he'll take his better half with him.  (Mrs. McDonnell hasn't been a slouch in cashing in either, including some expensive gowns and accessories paid for by her husband's PAC).

We're guessing that after throwing his spouse under the bus, Blowdry Bob may have to bed down on the executive mansion sofa for the duration of his term.

(image:  If we knew then what we know now...)

Monday, July 29, 2013

Poll Shows Support for Weiner Deflating

Perhaps signaling that New York City voters have gotten tired of the personal problems of Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner,  the latest Quinnipiac poll indicates that Weiner has slipped to last place, behind Christine Quinn, Bill Thompson and Bill DiBlasio in the Dem primary for mayor.  The sexting repeat offender's own campaign manager resigned last Saturday, but Weiner continues to plunge ahead in his quest for the nomination, and won't pull out.  He might want to consider throwing caution to the wind (we know he's good at that) and run as his online persona, "Carlos Danger."  It would certainly be a more honest representation of the candidate himself.

Cooch's Cash Crisis

(click to enlarge)

Rethuglican Talibangelists are all for getting gubmint off your back, except when it comes to the bedroom.  That hypocrisy is apparently having a negative effect on Virginia Rethuglican gubernatorial candidate and vaginal probe enthusiast Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli's fund raising abilities, as major donors are turned off by his extreme social conservatism: 
“'I’m an employer in Virginia, and Cuccinelli terrifies me,' said Gary Shapiro, the president and CEO of the Consumer Electronics Association in Arlington, which represents 2,000 technology companies.

'To attract the best employees, you don’t want to have the most backward policies in the country,' Shapiro said, referring to Cuccinelli’s stands on issues including abortion and gay rights.  Shapiro, an independent who confronted Cuccinelli at a February meeting of the Republican Governors Association executive council to vent his concerns, said his peers in the business world share his perspective. 'I don’t know anyone who’s going to give him money,' he said. 'I said it to Cuccinelli’s face: He’s anti-business, anti-woman, anti-employer, and he’s not going to get the support of business leaders.'"
Thankfully, Cooch and his Talibangelist backers are going to find the going rough in an increasingly purple state like Virginia.

(cartoon:  Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Tuned Out

We're seeing reports that hate radio blowhards Rush Limpballs and Sean "Heil" Hannity are being dropped from 40 major market radio stations owned by Cumulus.   Apparently the Cumulus network has observed a drop off in advertisers for the two bloviating bigots, as advertisers (particularly in the case of Limpballs) don't want their products associated with the venom spewed by these two radical wingnuts.

Here's hoping the irrational rage that these two have spawned over the years is finally returning to consume them.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Sunday Funnies

(click to enlarge)

(News Item: "Lincoln Memorial Vandalism")

As we noted below, efforts by Rethuglicans to shape voter turnout to their liking are moving ahead, and the Justice Department will be busy in the next few months and perhaps years in keeping that from happening.

(cartoon: Signe Wilkinson, via

Sunday Read -- Messing With Texas Edition

Stephen Stromberg in the once great Washington Post Kaplan Daily on the Attorney General's decision to enforce what's left of the Voting Rights Act in Texas:
If you believe a handful of Texas Republicans, Attorney General Eric Holder’s new effort to enforce the Voting Rights Act in their state and elsewhere brazenly defies the Supreme Court, which struck down part of the law in June. “This end run around the Supreme Court undermines the will of the people of Texas,” Gov. Rick Perry said.
“The Supreme Court message to the Justice Department was clear — don’t mess with Texas,” Rep. Lamar Smith insisted. “But Eric Holder and the Justice Department aren’t listening.”
It would be amazing if that’s actually what Chief Justice John Roberts and the court majority said. But, in reality, the attorney general’s move to use the Voting Rights Act provisions the Supreme Court left in place is perfectly consonant with the ruling, and not just in a technical sense. It also comports with the court’s logic. Anyone who says otherwise didn’t read it, didn’t understand it, or didn’t let that stop him. Lamar Smith apparently confused the 24-page decision with an asinine bumper sticker.
The recent (Democratic) voter suppression law passed in North Carolina by the Rethuglican state legislature is certain to receive the same treatment, as should every state and jurisdiction that has taken the decision in Shelby County v Holder to mean it can proceed full speed backward in denying the vote to people they don't want to see at the polls.

Saturday, July 27, 2013

Look Out Mitch, Indeed

Michael Tomasky has written a piece on the Dem challenger that will give Kentucky's Rethuglican Senator and turtle-human hybrid Mitch "Missy" McConnell fits.  Her name is Alison Lundergan Grimes, and she has this video out announcing her candidacy that we think is one of the smartest and most appealing political ads we've seen.  Here it is:

"I don't scare easy."  Damn, we love you, Alison.  Knock Missy out in 2014 for the sake of your grandmothers, your State, and the country.

Another Day, Another Gun Massacre

This time the massacre occurred in Hialeah, Florida where a gunman took hostages and ended up killing 6 before being shot by a S.W.A.T. team. It wasn't that long ago when multiple killings were front page news for days.  Now, thanks to a cynical numbness promoted by the National Rifle Rampage Association and their paid political shills, it's become a mundane story.  It barely makes a wave.

After the Sandy Hook massacre, the consensus was that now, finally, there would be some common sense reforms including background checks and limits on gun magazines.  Not so.  Clearly, the NRA thinks they've won, and perhaps they've won the last battle, but the tide has turned and the new generation won't abide this sanctioned murder, any more than they abide racial or gender discrimination.

Republican Versus Republican

The battle lines are forming --  and the schadenfreude, it tingles:

On shutting down government to de-fund Obamacare:
A growing number of Republicans are rejecting calls from leading conservatives, including Sens. Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz and Rand Paul, to defund the president’s health care law in the resolution to keep the government running past Sept. 30. The rift exposes an emerging divide over how the GOP can best achieve its No. 1 goal—to repeal Obamacare—while highlighting the spreading fears that Republicans would lose a public relations war if the dispute leads to a government shutdown in the fall. 
Most prominent among those rejecting the "de-fund or else" hostage-taking:  Sens. John McCain, Tom Coburn, and Richard Burr, a.k.a. what passes at times for the "just- sane- enough wing" of the Rethuglican Party.  Round One.

On libertarian national security and anti-terrorism views:
Highlighting a growing split in the Republican Party over national security policy, New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie (R) on Thursday harshly criticized libertarians -- including Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) -- by invoking the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.
Gov. Christie, starting to echo Rudy "Noun, Verb, 9/11" Giuliani,  pushing back against current Rethug front-runner (!!!) Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul.  Round Two.

On "Mr. Tangerine Man" John Boehner and the anti-immigrant "Steve King wing of the Republican Party":
Despite a firestorm of criticism — including another rebuke from Speaker John A. Boehner Thursday morning — the Iowa Republican defended his comments last week that such [immigrant] children have “calves the size of cantaloupes” as a result of carrying drugs across the border.
You'll never get the crazy out of the Republican Party.  You can only hope to hide it in the attic or the basement until after the next election.  Round Three.

BONUSIt's not just warfare at the national level, either.

(Image:  Apologies to Mad Magazine, but bombthrowers... it's just so a propos.)

Friday, July 26, 2013

Go, Just Go

In recent days, we've been appalled by the likes of the narcissist Anthony "Carlos Danger" Weiner, who appears to be oblivious to what constitutes inappropriate behavior, and is mentally abusive toward his spouse.  Now we have Dem Mayor of San Diego Bob "Feelie" Filner who has been accused by multiple professional women of everything from inappropriate comments to actual sexual battery / the unwanted touching of someone sexually.  The women accusing Feelie are not hiding behind a screen, they've gone public, and they are impeccably credible:  a retired Rear Admiral, a University chancellor, etc.

So far, Feelie has declined to resign his post, despite calls from fellow Californians Rep. Nancy Pelosi and Sen. Barbara Boxer, as well as senior Democratic Party officials.   If the accusations against him are pursued in a court of law, his resigning voluntarily may become moot.

UPDATE:  As if on cue, Feelie's taking some "time off" and entering rehab for his problem.

(photo:  Where's your other hand, Mayor Feelie?)

Weekend Song

(Ed. note:  Yeah, we know today's Mick Jagger's 70th birthday.  It's just that he's a smug Thatcherite Tory and Obama-basher, so instead we have to say "bugger off!")

Incredibly Inspiring

Our thanks to dear friend and reader P.E.C. for pointing us to the story of the Landfillharmonic project, which is about poor people in the capital of Paraguay that have created musical instruments from picking through trash dumps.  Discarded pipes became flutes, and wooden crates became guitars.  With the combined efforts of a trash picker and a music teacher, they recycled the trash they found into creative instruments, and created hope for the poorest kids who are playing these instruments in an orchestra.  If you follow the link, they have the story and a "donate" button, which we encourage all to do.

If this doesn't bring a lump to your throat, you should check to see if you have a pulse.  It's incredible.

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Vandals, Doing What Vandals Do

Today's read is from center-right political scientist and resident scholar at the American Enterprise Institute (!) Norm Ornstein, who decries the "contemptible" behavior of Rethuglicans in trying to sabotage implementation of Obamacare:
... [T]o do everything possible to undercut and destroy its implementation—which in this case means finding ways to deny coverage to many who lack any health insurance; to keep millions who might be able to get better and cheaper coverage in the dark about their new options; to create disruption for the health providers who are trying to implement the law, including insurers, hospitals, and physicians; to threaten the even greater disruption via a government shutdown or breach of the debt limit in order to blackmail the president into abandoning the law; and to hope to benefit politically from all the resulting turmoil—is simply unacceptable, even contemptible. One might expect this kind of behavior from a few grenade-throwing firebrands. That the effort is spearheaded by the Republican leaders of the House and Senate—even if Speaker John Boehner is motivated by fear of his caucus, and McConnell and Cornyn by fear of Kentucky and Texas Republican activists—takes one's breath away.
As usual, please read the entire piece. 

If one steps back from all the rhetoric and noise and looks at what's going on here in the simplest terms possible, they would see a party trying its utmost to keep fellow Americans from getting basic health insurance and, therefore, basic health care.  And, as Ornstein notes, that same party also wants to benefit from causing this misery for others.

Carlos Danger Quote of the Day

"There is a level of narcissism here -- online and off -- beyond anything we have ever seen in New York politics. Weiner makes Fiorello LaGuardia, once known as the Little Flower, look like a shrinking flower in comparison."  --  columnist Mike Lupica in the New York Daily News on Anthony "My Name Is My Fame" Weiner (a.k.a., Carlos Danger).  It's not just narcissism, but arrogance, and serial lying, and spousal abuse.  He needs to withdraw, stay out of the spotlight, and get therapy.

The latest NBC/WSJ/Marist poll shows Carlos Danger has dropped 9 points, and has fallen into second place (only second??) behind New York City Council speaker Christine Quinn.  Again, New York City Democrats, the solution is Christine Quinn for mayor.

Keep Messing With Texas

Attorney General Eric Holder announced this morning that the Justice Department will challenge Texas in Federal District Court on its clearly discriminatory Congressional and legislative redistricting, which favors the Rethuglican / Stupid Party.  This is the first major test of a State's laws after the Supreme Court nullified Section 5 of the Voting Rights Act, containing the requirement of certain States and jurisdictions to pre-clear any changes that would discriminate against voters with the Justice Department.  In his statement to the National Urban League, Holder said, "We believe that the State of Texas should be required to go through a pre-clearance process whenever it changes its voting laws and practices."

Other States have been rushing through such voter discrimination measures as limited early voting which affects working women and students, and voter IDs, which discriminate against urban voters who don't own cars and possess drivers' licenses.  It's a sign that the Rethugs are out of gas and can't appeal to the growing majority of Americans when they attempt to rig election outcomes. We're happy to see the Justice Department vigorously challenging their attempts.

Fear, Rethug Style

It's certain that demographic trends don't favor the Rethuglican / New Confederate Party.  The minority population is growing more rapidly than the white population, and they are voting overwhelmingly Democratic, thanks to hostile policies and attitudes promoted by Rethug wingnuts, the most prominent example of which is uber-hater Rep. Steve "Not Martin Luther" King.

Josh Marshall has a piece on the fear being felt by the 20% to 25% of the population which sees their "America" slipping away, and becoming more diverse.   The Rethuglican / New Confederate Party is in the grip of that segment, which represents the majority of their voters.  Here's the situation:
"Yes, [Rep. Steve] King is more intemperate and perhaps more hateful than most. But he speaks for the relatively small slice of the electorate which makes up a pretty big slice of the GOP electorate and keeps the GOP anchored in opposition to immigration reform and to policies which put most of the non-white population off-limits to the party indefinitely. That’s why the whole plan to ‘double down’ on the ‘whites only’ strategy now increasingly favored by Republicans isn’t so much of a strategy as a recognition that it can’t break free or discipline that mammoth part of its voter base."
(emphasis added)

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Conversation on Race, Wingnut Style, Cont.

Following up on our earlier post today, Stephen Colbert has "The Word" on how the right wants to conduct a conversation on race (watch full screen):

Weineriffic Quotes of the Day

"The primary reason Anthony Weiner shouldn’t be mayor, or anything else, is still that he’s an unaccomplished opportunist with few principles and malleable views on every public policy issue besides the Palestinian-Israeli conflict, a subject on which he has indefensible and insane views. But if people decide to not vote for him because of the dick pics I’m fine with that too."  Alex Pareene,

"Mr. Weiner and Ms. Abedin have been saying that his sexual behavior is not the public’s business. Well, it isn’t, until they make it our business by plunging into a political campaign. Mr. Weiner says he is staying in the mayoral race. To those who know his arrogance and have grown tired of the tawdry saga he has dragged the city into, this is not surprising."  New York Times editorial.

Christine Quinn for Mayor.

Conversation On Race, Wingnut Style

Ever since the verdict in the George Zimmerman trial, the right wing has been furiously scrambling to turn the tables and portray Zimmerman as the victim of a thuggish black teen.  Part of the right wing narrative has been to depict the true victim, Trayvon Martin, as threatening due to his attire, age, and most significantly, skin color (and the lethal Skittles he was carrying).

Now we have a column in the conservative rag Nazional National Review by ancient warfare historian and toga aficionado Victor Davis "Maximus Gluteus Eruptus" Hanson, claiming that he warned his son to avoid black male youths (a cynical reversal of Attorney General Eric Holder's advice to his son about polite behavior in the presence of whites), first quoting his own father:
“Be careful if a group of black youths approaches you [Hanson's father said].  After some first-hand episodes with young African-American males, I offered a similar lecture to my own son.”
The Atlantic's Ta-Nehisi Coates delivers a great takedown of Hanson's horsemanure and the move by the Nazional National Review to publish it.  Here's part of his summation:
"It should come as no surprise that Victor Davis Hanson's generational advice has met with mixed results. But when you are more interested in a kind of bigoted nationalism than your actual safety, this is what happens.....These two strands -- stupidity and racism -- are inseparable. The pairing seem to find a home at National Review with some regularity. It's been a little over a year since the magazine cut ties with self-described racist John Derbyshire for basically writing the same thing that Victor Davis Hanson writes here.... You are what your record says you are and at some point one must conclude that these are not one-offs, that the magazine which once blamed the Birmingham bombing on 'a crazed Negro,' is dealing with something more systemic, something bone-deep."

Mid-Week Song

The Liverpool group The La's never achieved the stardom they were seeking following their one 1988 hit, "There She Goes."   However, a more successful cover of the song in 1999 by Sixpence None The Richer, and the song's placement in a couple movies (e.g., The Parent Trap) and commercials (FTD florists) revived the original group and their song, which we feature.

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Weiner Is Still A Wiener

Fresh explicit texts and photos of New York Mayoral candidate Anthony "My Name Is My Fame" Weiner that were done after his 2011 resignation from Congress have surfaced.  Apparently, this guy has some deep-seated self-destructive impulses, not to mention some serious sexual baggage.

The voters are occasionally willing to forgive these types of transgressions (hi, Congressman Mark Sanford!), but this is a bit much.  Weiner held a press conference this afternoon, at which he acknowledged the new material was true for the most part.  His long-suffering wife, the lovely Huma Abedin, made her own painful statement after Weiner finished, saying essentially that they were still working through problems in their marriage but that she supported his candidacy.  (That's another mark against him:  using his wife -- who can do a lot better husband-wise -- as a "defense witness" or prop).

We have a simple solution:  New York voters should elect Christine Quinn, and let this Weiner cook a lot longer.

BON(ER)US:  Weiner's screen name was revealed to be "Carlos Danger."  [pause for laughter]  Here are some of his rejected screen names.

Quote of the Day: Republican Rebranding Edition

From Rep. Steve "Lyin" King (R-Yahooville), one of the House Republican Party's "Three Stooges" (Rep. Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann and Rep. "Screwy Louie" Gohmert rounding out the threesome) opining about the DREAM act target population:
"Some of them are valedictorians, and their parents brought them in," King told Newsmax in an interview last week. "It wasn't their fault. It's true in some cases, but they aren't all valedictorians. They weren't all brought in by their parents."

"For everyone who's a valedictorian, there's another 100 out there that weigh 130 pounds and they’ve got calves the size of cantaloupes because they're hauling 75 pounds of marijuana across the desert,” he continued. “Those people would be legalized with the same act."  (our emphasis)
Maybe some of them wear hoodies, too,  Congressman?   If there weren't 200 more like him on the Rethuglican side of the House, this douche-nozzle would be getting censured for remarks like that.

"Rebranding," our asses.

Conversation Cartoons of the Day

Signe Wilkinson, via

Clay Bennett, via

All Together Now, Benghazi BENGHAZI!

Having failed to generate any movement over the so-called IRS "scandal," extreme wingnut Congresscritters are turning to their Rethuglican leadership in the House to establish a special committee to "investigate" guessed it....Benghazi! BENGHAZI!!  Led by uber-wingnut Rep. Steve "Out of Stock" Stockman (Tinfoil Hat - TX), bitter enders in the House are gathering signatures to force a discharge petition and an up or down vote on establishing the committee.  They need a simple majority of 218, but have only collected roughly 160.

Instead of focusing on the needs of the American people, the Rethug wingers continue to politicize everything they see (or imagine).   Remember last November when they ran on the economy and jobs? Now it's attempted scandal-generation and their war on women.

Monday, July 22, 2013

Heir Male Delivery

There's something in the news about a baby boy being born over in England today....oh, this must be what they're talking about.  Jolly good.

Congratulations to the happy couple.  Let's hope they and their boy stay as normal as possible, given the royal family's dysfunctional history.

The Growing U.S.- India Alliance

Lovable Vice President "Say It Ain't So" Joe Biden will arrive in India today, on a trade-boosting mission with the world's largest democracy.  It follows last month's visit by Secretary of State John Kerry and precedes this fall's hosting of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh by President Obama in Washington. The U.S. - India connection reflects the importance the U.S. places on the emerging Indian market, as well as its strategic value in counter-balancing China and as an ally in fighting terrorism (India itself being the target of cross-border terrorism from Pakistan).  A side benefit from the increased attention to India is the positive reaction from the growing and increasingly affluent Indian-American population in the U.S.

(Hopefully, the endearingly engaging Biden will refrain from hugging unsuspecting females, which is a definite no-no among conservative Hindus.  Just ask Richard Gere.  Good luck, Joe).

The Golden Fleece

Salon has an interesting article on the thriving business of separating right-wing rubes from their money, selling everything from "patriotic" trinkets to shaky investments.  A leading industry targeting wingnuts is gold products, with such far-right endorsers as the unhinged ranter Glenn "Boo Hoo" Beck.   Boo Hoo's partner happens to be Goldline International, which recently had to settle a California lawsuit for $4.5 million for a bait-and-switch operation, selling items to the gullible that were not what were advertised.  The sales pitch is almost always based on telling the wingnuts that the economy is tanking and Armageddon is near (subtext:  "it's the Marxist Kenyan Usurper that's to blame.").

Hustling grifters like Boo Hoo will always be a day's ride ahead of the posse, but it's good to see that the scams perpetrated on gullible wingnuts by their most cherished "heroes" are being exposed.

Monday Read: Republican Band of Anarchists

From Jonathan Chait in the New York Magazine:
"The Republican Party has spent 30 years careering ever more deeply into ideological extremism, but one of the novel developments of the Obama years is its embrace of procedural extremism. The Republican fringe has evolved from being politically shrewd proponents of radical policy changes to a gang of saboteurs who would rather stop government from functioning at all. In this sense, their historical precedents are not so much the Gingrich revolutionaries, or even their tea-party selves of a few years ago; the movement is more like the radical left of the sixties, had it occupied a position of power in Congress. And so the terms we traditionally use to scold bad Congresses—partisanship, obstruction, gridlock—don’t come close to describing this situation. The hard right’s extremism has bent back upon itself, leaving an inscrutable void of paranoia and formless rage and twisting the Republican Party into a band of anarchists."
Chait's article is well worth reading, although it will be familiar territory to readers of this blog who by now will have read account after account of the mindless rage fueling the hard right's losing struggle with the realities of 21st century America.  But, hey, let's get it all on the record.

Naturally, Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner is proud of this procedural extremism and of his caucus' race to the past:
House Speaker John Boehner says Congress "ought to be judged on how many laws we repeal."
The Ohio Republican makes the comments on an interview aired Sunday on CBS "Face the Nation." He was responding to a question about how little Congress is doing these days.
Boehner says Congress "should not be judged by how many new laws we create."  (our emphasis)
Yeah, you keep working on that Obamacare repeal (39 votes so far)!

With raising the debt ceiling later this year looming as the next Republican target for hostage-taking sabotaging government and the economy (the sequestration being the most recent job-killing blunt instrument employed), expect an increasingly desperate Republican Party to pull out all the stops in its anarchistic war on America's future.

The Latest Civil War Skirmish

In this 150th year anniversary of such Civil War battles as Chancellorsville and Gettysburg, neo-Confederate groups are still attempting to honor the treasonous rebellion against the U.S.  One of the more devious methods employed by these groups, based in the South, is to request headstones for Confederate soldiers at a much higher rate than Union soldiers are receiving them, costing the Veterans Administration $2 million over the past decade.  The placement of the new headstones then generates a convenient excuse for the neo-Confederates to "celebrate" the "noble cause" for which they mythically fought.  Even more galling are the massive monuments erected to the Confederate cause, which attempt to honor the system for which the Southern soldier fought and died.  As the linked article notes, one such monument is in Arlington National Cemetery, and contains an insulting inscription in Latin that essentially says the South was in the right.

Please, no more of this crap.  Let's always remember the Union defeated an evil system of human enslavement and we're all far better for that.

(h/t to Daily Kos)

Sunday, July 21, 2013

How's That Republican Rebranding Coming Along? Bigot Edition

Extremist Rethuglican Rep. Steve "Don't Call Me Martin Luther" King (Nutcase- IA)is the third member of the Michele Bachmann and Louis Gohmert "Three Stooges" Congressional team.  You can count on him to spew the most extreme, unhinged babble whenever he opens his pie-hole, something Rethug leaders would just as soon he not do so often.  Case in point:  on the Latino network Univision, King was asked by anchor Jorge Ramos whether was sorry for comparing immigrants to dogs.  King claimed that he meant it as a compliment, despite video evidence to the contrary.  He has previously compared immigrants to livestock, saying that wire fences are used to control livestock, too.

With morons like King disparaging Latino immigrants --  on Univision no less -- it's clear that Rethuglicans have an electoral death wish.  Keep it coming.

Sunday Read & Cartoon: Rethugs "Desperately Flailing on Obamacare"

(click to enlarge)

(Chris Weyant, The Hill)

The St. Louis Post-Dispatch has a good editorial on Obamacare and Republican nihilism.  Here's a snippet (but read it all here):
The fact remains that even though some big insurance companies have refused to sign up, states that have created insurance exchanges have seen the “magic of the marketplace” — once a favorite phrase of Republicans — drive down the cost of individual health insurance policies. In New York, Oregon and California, rates have fallen as much as 50 percent.
And while the Supreme Court famously upheld the individual mandate, it ruled that state governments could not be required to expand their Medicaid programs. More than 20 states, including Missouri, have refused to expand Medicaid programs to include the working poor, despite the huge financial windfall it would create. To say nothing of healthier populations and lower costs for the privately insured.
This stubborn refusal is driven strictly by politics, by the perverse hope that by keeping people sick and costs high, Republicans — who still have no better alternatives — can salvage some form of nihilist victory. This is profoundly shameful.
But, as we've seen for over 4  years, when it comes to any and all things Obama-related, there's no "shame gene" in the Rethuglican gene pool.

Saturday, July 20, 2013

R.I.P. Helen Thomas

Longtime trailblazing journalist Helen Thomas has passed away at the age of 92.  Covering every President since JFK, Thomas represented United Press International for 39 years, and was the mentor for many of today's well-known female journalists.  Her heated remarks about Israel two years ago effectively ended Thomas's (a Lebanese-American) long career.  RIP to an American treasure.

Holy Sports News, Statman!

We saw the news that polling wizard Nate Silver will be joining ESPN after his current contract with the New York Times expires next month.  Silver is renowned for having the most accurate polling data in last year's Presidential elections, and was the target of delusional Rethuglican pundits and pollsters who were sure sure sure! that clueless plutocrat Willard "Offshore Accounts" Romney was going to win win win!  The Times' loss is certainly ESPN's gain, since Silver began his career in sports statistics and prognostication.  In election years, Silver will be an analyst for ABC News (which owns ESPN), so we'll see him there.

Cartoon of the Day - Blowdry Bob McDonnell Edition

(click to enlarge)

Donations are now being accepted at sticky-fingered Virginia Rethuglican Gov. "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell's legal defense fund, because innocent!  Also poverty!

(Matt Wuerker/ Politico, via

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept., Followed By a Sad Trombone

From today's once great Washington Post Kaplan Daily:
Still another article in The Post ["House GOP bills intended to push White House on scandals," The Fed Page, July 10] used the phrase 'the Internal Revenue Service's targeting of conservative political groups."

Notwithstanding IRS official Lois Lerner's disastrous and inexplicable "admission" to the contrary, there has been no evidence yet adduced that the IRS "targeted" conservative groups. To the contrary, the facts so far tell us that the IRS's exempt organizations division did exactly what it is supposed to do.  It must attempt to implement properly a 100-year-old provision of the tax code that requires the service to differentiate between organizations that are primarily "social welfare" organizations, hence properly exempt under the statute, from ones that are primarily political -- conservative or not -- and hence not exempt.

Regrettably, repeated use of phrases such as "targeting conservative organizations" and "IRS scandal" implants those notions in the public consciousness, and subsequent revelations are unlikely to change that.  The only scandal is the way the news media leap on incomplete "facts" and parrot unsupported accusations to churn controversy. Good people's jobs and reputations have already been damaged, if not destroyed.  Words matter.  But then you don't need me to tell you that.

Conrad Rosenberg,
Silver Spring
The writer is a retired branch chief of the exempt organizations division of the Internal Revenue Service.
Regular readers of the Kaplan Daily see this all the time in the reportage, not just with the IRS nothingburger, but with of every bit of undigested barf that it disgorged from the right-wing media and finds its way uncritically into "mainstream" outlets like the Kaplan Daily.   It's all about sales, hits, "winning the morning," whatever you wish to call it -- just don't call it journalism.

Of course, it's not just the print media that engages in this endless, mindless rock-turning.  Sadly, some deranged souls don't even remember rocks they turned over earlier.  Cue the sad trombone.

Friday, July 19, 2013

President Obama's Remarks Today on Trayvon Martin and Race

President Obama today on Trayvon Martin, the verdict and the context of race in this country's history:

The reaction from racist right-wing assholes is as expected.

Our sentiments exactly:

  1. 41m
    Barack Obama saying perfectly reasonable things about race turns out to be an excellent asshole detector.

Weekend Belated Birthday Song

Belated happy 71st (!!) birthday July 13 to Roger McGuinn, founder of Hackwhackers favorite and seminal folk rock (and so much more) band, the Byrds.  This is a McGuinn composition -- with trademark 12-string jangly Rickenbacker guitar --  from 1991's "Back From Rio" CD, long after the Byrds were disbanded.  Hope you have someone to love.  Enjoy.

Bedside Ill-Manner Cartoon of the Day

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Tom Toles, via

Rethuglican obstruction of the Affordable Care Act, as we noted below, is proceeding despite evidence that implementation will bring immediate and significant benefits to tens of millions of Americans.  The Rethugs know that "Obamacare" could bring about a multi-generational electoral shift to the Democratic Party -- much like immigration reform -- so they're fighting it for all it's worth.

Thursday, July 18, 2013

Rolling Out Obamacare

Matt Yglesias has a thoughtful column up about the rollout of Obamacare starting this fall.  It's worth a read.  But if you know a conservative, don't let them know they're
... certainly fooling themselves if they’re expecting a backlash driven by problems around implementation. The law is structured to be financially beneficial to a large majority of people, and the infrastructure is in place to make that clear to a critical mass of them. Snafus will be real enough, but broadly speaking, the rollout is going to be a huge success.
Professor Krugman, what's your take?
... I agree with Matt Yglesias — unless the GOP finds even more ways to sabotage the plan, this thing is going to work, it’s going to be extremely popular, and it’s going to wreak havoc with conservative ideology.
Conservatives are right to be hysterical about this: it’s an attack on everything they believe — and it’s going to make Americans’ lives better. What could be worse?
(Rant alert!)  Rethuglicans are a delusional, sociopathic, nihilistic, social Darwinist, party-over-country, knuckle-dragging mob masquerading as a political party.  It's no surprise at all that we see Rethuglicans fighting tooth and nail to sabotage Obamacare and deny health benefits to 30 million Americans, just as a few generations ago they fought tooth and nail to sabotage Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid.

But as people begin to reap the benefits of the law, you can add "defeated" to that list of adjectives above.

No thanks to the media, of course.

Lovin' It, Cont'd.

The announcement by bad seed and knife fighter Liz "Lizard" Cheney that she will run for the Rethug Senate nomination in Wyoming against incumbent Rethug Sen. Mike "Bitter" Enzi has prompted some anguish on the far right, much to our delight.  The Bitter Enzi's no stranger to radical right wing politics, and is one of the most conservative members of the Senate.  He's also backed by his colleagues in the Wyoming delegation, and by the National Rethuglican Senatorial Committee.

Lizard is one nasty customer, as this rundown in Think Progress illustrates.  In almost every pronouncement of hers, she gets personal and often in a vicious way (Daddy's little girl).  Yesterday, she used the word "confused" to describe 69 year-old Bitter Enzi when he claimed that she promised not to run if he ran for reelection, implying that the incumbent is too old and muddle-headed.  She's also hoping that voters will forget that she's spent most of her life living in Northern Virginia.

While we believe Wyoming Rethuglicans will see Lizard as the cynical, opportunistic player that she is and ultimately reject her bid, this will be fun to watch.  Get the popcorn ready.

(photo:  The American Borgias spinning another intrigue.)

Lovin' It

Infighting among Rethuglican politicos makes our day.  To wit:
"A meeting of Senate Republicans on Wednesday grew tense as Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., told his members he could have gotten a better deal on nominations than the one negotiated by rank-and-file Republicans.

McConnell’s tone, according to multiple sources, implied that he had been kept in the dark about the talks between some in his own ranks and Democrats. However, those same Republicans say they kept McConnell updated throughout their negotiating process.

Sen. Bob Corker, R-Tenn., got so frustrated with McConnell’s presentation of events, that he called 'bullshit' loud enough for the room to hear, nearly a half-dozen sources said."
Corker and Sen. John "Grumpypants" McCain brokered a deal with Senate Dem leadership to allow votes on some of President Obama's nominations.  Then, Rethug Senate leader "Missy" McConnell follows the poop sandwich he was forced to eat with a poop chaser.


(h/t to Daily Kos)

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Headline of the Day: Magic Wand Edition

"Conservative Christian group mailed vibrator to Michele Bachmann:  report"

We're sure Marcus had nothing to do with this.

(Photo:  And, we're pretty sure that's not President Obama's "magic wand.")

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party - Edumacation Division

Let's step right into the stupid, shall we!?

From Indiana, we find that newly appointed Purdue University president and former Rethuglican Gov. "Li'l Mitch" Daniels had some peculiar ideas about academic freedom while he was governor:
Former Indiana Gov. Mitch Daniels pledged to promote academic freedom when he became president of Purdue University in January, but newly released emails show he attempted to eliminate what he considered liberal “propaganda” at Indiana’s public universities while governor.
Emails obtained by The Associated Press through a Freedom of Information Act request show Daniels requested that historian and anti-war activist Howard Zinn’s writings be banned from classrooms and asked for a “cleanup” of college courses. In another exchange, the Republican talks about cutting funding for a program run by a local university professor who was one of his sharpest critics.
Because he wouldn't want anything taught that didn't conform with  his dumbass philosophy or world view! That's not what schoolin' is for!

As a matter of fact, who needs schoolin' anyway?  Not Utah Rethuglican State Sen.  Marie Donnie Aaron "The Side of Stupid" OsmondEdumacation should be optional!
A Republican lawmaker in Utah outlined a proposal last week to abolish compulsory education in the state.
State Sen. Aaron Osmond (R) argued that certain "parents act as if the responsibility to educate, and even care for their child, is primarily the responsibility of the public school system." [snip]

"Let’s let them choose it, let’s not force them to do it," Osmond said.  [our emphasis]
We see from Marie Donnie Aaron's bio that
Aaron values education, entrepreneurship, and family. These are the core focus areas that he wants to reinforce for the benefit of future generations in his community and business service.  [our emphasis - certainly not his]
 If he believed in dictionaries, he might be able to look up the meaning of "reinforce" (hint:  it doesn't mean "abolish."  Although ... creating more ignorant loons would "reinforce" the Rethuglican base.   Heckuva job, Osmondo!

The "Conversation" Quote of the Day

"Years ago, some of these same issues drove my father to sit down with me to have a conversation -- which is no doubt familiar to many of you -- about how as a young black man I should interact with the police, what to say, and how to conduct myself if I was ever stopped or confronted in a way I thought was unwarranted. I'm sure my father felt certain -- at the time -- that my parents' generation would be the last that had to worry about such things for their children....Trayvon's death last spring caused me to sit down to have a conversation with my own 15 year old son, like my dad did with me. This was a father-son tradition I hoped would not need to be handed down." -- Attorney General Eric Holder, speaking to the NAACP National Convention, describing the conversation that black parents are forced to have with their children to protect them from racial profiling and violence.

Mid-Week She Was Song

The pioneering new wave band Talking Heads have influenced rock music to this day.  Inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2002, the band was led by David Byrne, who is currently touring with the lovely Annie Clark/St. Vincent.  Here's Talking Heads' whimsical video of "And She Was" from 1985.

"Obamacare" Succeeding In New York

The health insurance exchange set up in New York State will save individuals over 50% in health insurance costs, beginning in October, according to reports.   Individuals now paying $1,000 per month in health insurance will be able to choose a plan from among 17 insurers and could end up paying only $308 per month.

States like New York and California, which have implemented the insurance exchange feature of the Affordable Care Act, are experiencing large savings in insurance costs, and insurance companies compete to participate in the state exchanges.  There are still Rethug-controlled states that are working against the interests of their citizens for partisan reasons and refusing to set up state-wide exchanges that would make insurance companies compete to cover individuals (similar to the Federal Employee Health Benefits program, which covers Congress -- even wingnut Rethug Congresscritters).

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Rethugs Abandon McConnell, Agree to Vote on Obama Nominations

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had what appears to be a major victory today in the ongoing effort to blunt Rethuglican efforts to filibuster Obama administration executive branch nominees.  In exchange for having to deploy the "nuclear option" of changing Senate rules to allow a 51-vote majority to invoke cloture, a group of Rethugs led by Arizona Sen. John "Grampypants" McCain Boehnered abandoned Senate Minority Leader and turtle impersonator Mitch "Missy" McConnell and voted to proceed with the nomination of Richard Cordray to head up the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.  Six other nominations to executive branch positions were also to get cloture votes, although there's a catch (there always is, no?):
In short, Republicans would confirm nominees to all seven positions, a big concession for the GOP. But in a concession for Democrats, they would replace two recess-appointed nominees to the National Labor Relations Board - Sharon Block and Richard Griffin, pictured below - with new nominees under the following condition: Republicans pledge to confirm any two replacements by President Obama to the board by Aug. 27.  
A victory, however small and transient, is a victory when dealing with the nihilist zombies running the Rethuglican party in Congress.  But we should point out that the agreement struck today doesn't address judicial nominations or voting on pieces of legislation.  It remains to be seen whether today's  "agreement" will last, or if it's a one-time concession.  But the fact that Reid used the threat of the "nuclear option" and it made the Rethugs blink, proved perhaps that it can work again (barring true filibuster reform).

Plus, any time that lying hypocrite Missy McConnell loses, it's a good day.

BONUS:  Joan McCarter reminds us that we do have Missy McConnell and his endless filibustering to thank for something:
... we wouldn't have Senator Elizabeth Warren if Republicans hadn't been so terrified of her and raised so much hell about opposing her as head of the new [Consumer Financial Protection] agency. If they had hadn't fought her so hard, she wouldn't be in the Senate. On the Banking Committee.
Thanks, Mitch McConnell!
(Image:  Sen. Missy McConnell having a sad, via DonkeyHotey)

Probe Cooch, Not Women!

While it's clear that Virginia Gov. Bob "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell's scandal-tainted Governorship is sinking fast -- there's speculation that he may even resign shortly -- it was thought that Rethug gubernatorial nominee and transvaginal probe enthusiast Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli would escape the taint.  Not so fast. It appears that the same corporate individual that was lavishing Blowdry Bob's family with gifts and favors has been "nice" to Cooch, too. Here are the details.

Maybe it's Cooch that need to be further probed.

(image:  Not so pleasant when the probe's on the other....foot)

Guns and Racism Cartoons of the Day

(click to enlarge)

The outrageous "not guilty" verdict in the Zimmerman murder trial might prompt new murders by gun-toting vigilantes on the right, who will see the verdict as a green light to pursue innocent people who look "suspicious" or "out of place" (i.e. black or Latino) under the "stand-your-ground" laws of so many states.  Trayvon Martin was in the place he should have been, minding his own business, heading home.  Zimmerman was not, and his aggressive pursuit of Martin precipitated the fatal confrontation.  The NRA and ALEC wingnuts who pushed the stand-your-ground laws have blood on their hands as much as Zimmerman.

BONUS:  Drudge/ Fox/ Dumbest Man on the Internet and assorted other wingnuts are just dying to have imaginary race war turn into the real thing. They might get some blood on their hands, too. 

Tom Toles, via

Tony Auth, via

The Company You Keep

Minnesota loon and teabagger queen Rep. Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann has been having a series of legal and ethical problems stemming from her run at the Rethug nomination last year.  Now, her senior legislative aide has been arrested for theft.   Javier Sanchez was charged with theft of money or items under $1,000 in value (stealing pencils and staplers will get you nowhere, Javier -- aim higher.  Your boss has.)  Crazy Eyes is in her last term as the chief pinhead in the Rethug caucus, but will no doubt follow snowbilly grifter Sarah "Winky" Palin on the book / speech / fundraising grift circuit the day after her term ends.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Political Comity Pic of the Day

Former President George H.W. Bush is escorted by President Obama, former First Lady Barbara Bush and First Lady Michelle Obama to a ceremony in the White House today honoring the 5,000th Point of Light recipient.  The Points of Light initiative was started by former President Bush and has stimulated volunteerism over the past 25 years.

Check out Bush's socks, too.  He's becoming known for sporting colorful socks.

(photo:  Reuters/Larry Downing)

NSA Leaker's End Game?

NSA leaker and Ron Paul devotee Edward "Shoot My Balls" Snowden has potentially devastating information on the NSA's structure and methods of intelligence gathering that could neutralize its capabilities, according to Shoot My Balls' press groupie / provocateur Glenn Greenwald.  Further, this information could be released as a "dead man's trigger" if anything were to befall him, according to Greenwald.

Of course, if Greenwald's information is accurate, logically only the U.S.' s enemies would want the information released, so Shoot My Balls might be wise to be looking more carefully at his "friends" offering him asylum.  Additionally, what is being threatened now is far beyond the initial leak of information regarding NSA phone records collection domestically, and involves information that could materially benefit al Qaeda, Iran, North Korea, etc.  That's a situation that raises the national security stakes dramatically, and undermines the notion of him being a "hero" for individual liberty.

UPDATE:  The estimable tBogg opines on the wisdom of Shoot My Balls' game plan:
"Having made that threat, Snowden, with Greenwald’s help, effectively weaponized himself against the US government by inviting any third party actors, whether the government of a country hostile to the United States or a lone wolf who thinks it would be fun to pop a cap in Snowden’s ass just to see what happens next, to kill him. I’m going to go out on a limb here and suggest that a better plan would have been for Snowden to convey this promise/threat/dramatic posturing to the US government privately instead of getting a target tramp stamp tattooed on his back and then showing it to the world."

Rethug Pickup Skilz Demonstrated

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From Wisconsin to Texas, Rethuglicans are doing their level best to alienate women voters.  We'd say "keep it up" if it would only cost them votes, but there are terrible consequences to their actions on women and on families.

Tom Tomorrow always delivers a knockout when looking at the misogynist behavior of Rethugs, like the true to life statements (e.g., " can't have a party without some ladies!  As long as they keep quiet and do what they're told.") that could have come from any Rethug politician today.
(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

Monday Read -- Republican "Pathological Meanspiritedness"

Paul Krugman on the recent House Republican-engendered Farm Bill debacle:
Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.  [snip]
To fully appreciate what just went down, listen to the rhetoric conservatives often use to justify eliminating safety-net programs. It goes something like this: “You’re personally free to help the poor. But the government has no right to take people’s money” — frequently, at this point, they add the words “at the point of a gun” — “and force them to give it to the poor.”
It is, however, apparently perfectly O.K. to take people’s money at the point of a gun and force them to give it to agribusinesses and the wealthy.
Krugman goes on to conclude a "pathological meanspiritedness" has gripped the Republican party.  It's the prevailing ultra-right libertarian social Darwinism of Ayn Rand, the Koch brothers, Paul Ryan, the tea party and all the other sociopaths on the right that now forms the anti-soul of the Republican party.  So, who "takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering?"  Look up "sadist."

P.S.  It's also why we continue to call them "Rethuglicans."