Monday, September 30, 2013

The Fallows Rule and the Failure of Journalism at the Washington Post

As a public service, we'd like to offer a yardstick by which to measure whether an organization that purportedly practices journalism is succeeding or failing in addressing the current political terrorism being practiced by the Republican Party.  That yardstick is provided by James Fallows, in The Atlantic:
As a matter of journalism, any story that presents the disagreements as a "standoff," a "showdown," a "failure of leadership," a sign of "partisan gridlock," or any of the other usual terms for political disagreement, represents a failure of journalism*** and an inability to see or describe what is going on. [snip]

This isn't "gridlock." It is a ferocious struggle within one party, between its traditionalists and its radical factions, with results that unfortunately can harm all the rest of us -- and, should there be a debt default, could harm the rest of the world too. 
Now, here's the once great Washington Post  Bezos Bugle editorial this morning.  You be the judge:
Ultimately, the grown-ups in the room will have to do their jobs, which in a democracy with divided government means compromising for the common good. That means Mr. Boehner, his counterpart in the Senate, Harry M. Reid (D-Nev.), minority leaders Sen. Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) and Rep. Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) and the president. Both sides are inordinately concerned with making sure that, if catastrophe comes, the other side takes the political hit. In truth, none of their reputations stands to benefit.
So we're back to "Both sides..."   Derp.

That paragraph reeks of Bezos Bugle editorial page editor Fred "Both Sides Now" Hiatt.  Is it possible to be sentient and write that paragraph?  Is it possible to call journalism your profession and write that paragraph?  We think by Fallows' yardstick, or by any other reasonable measure of what constitutes the most important hallmark of journalism -- honesty -- that paragraph, and the paper that published it, failed.

UPDATEMore offenders.

Today's Cartoon

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(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via

It bears repeating:
...What they’re doing here is not hostage-taking, the most commonly used metaphor in the media. It’s political terrorism. When hostage-takers see that their demands are met, they release the hostage. But what makes anyone think today’s Republicans will ever release the hostage? No—if the Democrats agree to negotiate, the demands will never stop. Every pivot point on the legislative calendar will be an opportunity to make demands without precedent in our system.

Letters We Wish We'd Written - Historical Analogy Dept.

In today's once-great Washington Post  Bezos Bugle:
Regarding the Sept. 23 article “Shutdown standoff shows no sign of easing”:

“We have just carried an election on principles fairly stated to the people. Now we are told in advance, the government shall be broken up, unless we surrender to those we have beaten . . . . If we surrender, it is the end of us.” So said Abraham Lincoln in 1860 following his victory in the presidential election.

Southern states were demanding a “compromise” on slavery in exchange for not seceding from the union. However, their proposed “compromise” required that the victorious party make all the concessions to ensure the continuation of the institution of slavery. We just completed an election in 2012 in which Democrats won the White House, the Senate and a majority of the popular vote in the House “on principles fairly stated to the people,” yet the Republicans (a large percentage of them Southerners) threaten to “break up” the government (through defunding and defaulting on debt) unless the victors surrender to the losers. Has anything changed in 150 years?
Leonard Allen Jewler, Washington

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Wyoming Slap-Down Continues

Not long ago, as we have noted, Lady Macbeth descendant Lynne "Queen of Mean" Cheney, the spouse of notorious random shooter Dick "The Dick" Cheney, got into a spat with former Rethug Sen. Alan Simpson over Simpson's support for incumbent Sen. Mike Enzi over her daughter Liz Cheney.  After the Queen of Mean told Simpson to "shut up" about his support of Enzi, the spat went public and she denied ever saying "shut up" to Simpson.  Well, Simpson published a response in a Wyoming newspaper that  begs to differ:
"In all of my 35-40 years of public life in Wyoming, I’ve never been called one particularly offensive name – and that is, a liar. And this is what Lynne Cheney said in her statement about this sad evening, and I quote her: 'As to the story posted on Facebook I have to admit I am at a bit of a loss. That simply did not happen.' And that twisted comment is one damn bald-faced lie and I have had a belly full of it! I have never been called a liar before and it sure as hell won’t work this time."
That'll leave a mark.  Something tells us the flinty -- and honest -- Simpson won't be on the Cheney Klan's Christmas list this year, and that's a good thing for him.   Just don't go hunting with The Dick...

Boehner's Leadership Fail

David Ignatius writes today about the weakness of Speaker Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner in the once great Washington Post  Bezos Bugle:
We are seeing the consequences of a leaderless House in the GOP’s renewed threat of a government shutdown or debt-ceiling default. These reckless actions are part of a grandstand play to reverse the Affordable Care Act, more parts of which begin to take effect in October, but they’ve assumed an illogic of their own. The House Republicans seem almost to enjoy holding the country hostage. Their version of Russian roulette has become so familiar that we forget just how outrageous it is.

Boehner surely knows this course is folly. Legislation to defund Obamacare won’t pass Congress. And the GOP’s brinkmanship, however popular with the right wing, is damaging the party nationally. Boehner this week struggled to find an alternative strategy — to avoid a shutdown by delaying Obamacare a year, or by attaching the defunding plan to the debt-ceiling extension. Both were seriously bad ideas, but even these extreme proposals were rejected by his caucus.
Ignatius also mentions the sleazy backroom role of unfaithful lieutenant and Rethug Majority Leader Eric "Cancer" Cantor in undermining attempts by Boehner to rein in his Crackpot Caucus.   Frankly, we can't remember a time when a Speaker has been so unable or unwilling to control his members.  But, then again, we can't remember a time when members included such dolts and extremists as Louie Gohmert, Steve King, Michele Bachmann, and their entire teatard cohort.

(Image:  It takes a strong man to cry... except in John Boehner's case.)

Bill Clinton On Republicans' Chilling Spitefulness

The "Explainer-in-Chief" on "This Week" (after the embedded ad -- sorry):

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Saturday, September 28, 2013

Headline of the Week

Andy Borowitz, you're a genius:

"Senate Reaches Bipartisan Deal To Shut Down Ted Cruz"

(On Friday, the Senate voted 79-19 to move to a vote on the House-passed budget, upsetting the always doomed carefully laid strategery of Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (Narcissist-TX) to raise money from wingnut rubes  extort the Administration into defunding Obamacare.)

Quote of the Day

"The American people have worked too hard to recover from crisis to see extremists in their Congress cause another one. And every day this goes on is another day that we can’t continue the work of rebuilding the great American middle class. Congress needs to pass a budget in time, pay its bills on time, and refocus on the everyday concerns of the people who sent them there."  -- President Obama in his weekly radio address today.  It's way past time to call out the teabagger right and to brand them as "extremists," but it's better late than never.

Saturday Cartoon and Reading

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(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press, via

Companion reading, from the New York Times op/ed page:

Charles Blow, on the Crackpot Caucus' abuse of democratic institutions:
Set aside the fact that the [Affordable Care Act] law cannot yet be deemed a failure because its provisions are still being phased in and those that have gone into effect seem to be working.
Focus instead on the fundamental disagreement here: The president is saying that he won’t negotiate over a stunt that would destroy our economy and the world’s, while Republicans are saying they are willing to risk it all in order to derail him.
This is not responsible. This is not principled. This is not high-minded. This is personal and dangerous. This is an abuse of instruments of power in pursuit of reprisal.
Gail Collins, on the Crackpot Caucus' 2012 Republican platform wish-list:
This week the House Republican leaders were looking at a long, long list of must-haves that also included changes in regulations relating to coal ash, reduction in Civil Service pensions, restrictions on malpractice suits and an end to some greenhouse gas regulations.
And their members found that list too restrictive. Behind-the-scenes discussion continued about more things the Republicans could demand. A ban on late-term abortions? A trillion-dollar budget cut? Bring back the gold standard? Bring back the bustle? It’s 2013 and anything is possible.
So, what do you think is wrong with these people? Thanks to gerrymandered Congressional districts and the Tea Party, we do seem to have a surprising number of elected officials who actually don’t believe that raising the debt limit so the government can pay its bills is a good plan.
 But, as we all know, elections don't have consequences if they're won by Democrats.

Friday, September 27, 2013

Picture of the Week

President Obama speaking to Iranian President Hassan Rouhani, the first direct conversation between a U.S. President and an Iranian President since 1979.  Obama initiated the call as Rouhani was ending his trip to the U.N.

(White House photo by Pete Souza)

The Stakes In "The Fight Of Obama's Life"

Jon Chait discusses the stakes in the showdown with the House Republican Crackpot Caucus over raising the debt ceiling:
If outsiders have failed to grasp the motivations of the House Republicans, puzzling at their odd redoubling of ideological fervor since November, they have likewise mistaken Obama. Everything I have seen from Obama suggests he understands that he cannot repeat his blunder of 2011, when he mistook the GOP’s debt-ceiling threat for an invitation to engage in normal fiscal bargaining.

Obama can’t tame the monster he created gradually; he has to kill it completely. Bargaining his way through this crisis would do Obama no good, even if he could get through it by offering up a meager or even symbolic concession. Anything that allows Republicans to believe they can trade a debt-ceiling threat for policy concessions simply creates a new hostage crisis the next time the debt ceiling comes up. This negotiation is Obama’s only chance to halt the routinization of debt-ceiling extortion.
Chait's piece should be required reading in the West Wing, though one hopes they've long ago internalized what the stakes are and why they can't cede an inch to the lunatics and anarchists in the Republican Party.

Weekend Song

This cover of the Beatles song (from the Help! album) is by a British quartet, The Silkie.  John Lennon produced it and Paul McCartney (guitar) and George Harrison (guitar and tambourine) played on it. It hit the U.S. Top Ten in 1965.

Climate Change and the Human Factor

Climate change deniers won't be having a good day today, after an international panel of experts reported that there is 95% certainty that climate change is directly connected to human activity.  Not that they won't come up with paid shills from the fossil fuel industry to "refute" the overwhelming evidence.

The report, which will be issued in its entirety on Monday, shows that the past 3 decades have been the hottest since 1850 -- the beginning of the Industrial Age.  The Earth is expected to experience a 4 degree temperature increase in the next century, which will result in polar ice melting and ocean levels rising.  We're already seen an increase in violent mega-storms, and polar ice cap shrinkage.  So, it's time -- actually past time -- to curb carbon emissions and greenhouse gases, which are the leading cause of global warming, and damn the fossil fuel profiteers who can't see beyond their balance sheets.

Republicans Aren't Racist, Cont'd.

Question:  How can you tell a Rethuglican political hack is a racist?

Answer: When his lips are moving.

For example, we have Arizona Rethuglican National Committeeman Bruce "Bruce Ass" Ash in a Facebook post, saying that the President is "shucking and jiving" about the Affordable Care Act.  Perhaps he was in a hurry and didn't have time to throw in references to watermelon, chit'lins, and hoodies.  Oh well, next time.

Wendy Davis For Governor

It's great news that women's rights champion and Texas State Sen. Wendy Davis is running for Governor of Texas in 2014.  Davis, who gained national attention for her filibuster of a Texas law placing onerous restrictions on reproductive health services for women, will be in an uphill race, given the Rethuglican edge in voter registration.  However, Dems are hopeful that her run will galvanize enough Dems and bring them to the polls to make a difference in down-ballot races for legislature.  Given her tenacity and smarts, don't count her out by any means.  She's a fighter and a star who will help turn Texas purple as the State's demographics shift gradually toward the Dems.

Thursday, September 26, 2013

Three Little Pigs

-- Sen. Joe "My Other Mansion Is A" Manchin (DINO-WV), a.k.a. Cornpone Joe Lieberman, is reading Rethuglican talking points... again.

-- Space invader and former Rep. Allen West (R-Uranus) will no longer be employed by right-wing wurlitzer Pajamas Media because he just might be anti-Semitic (but not because he's a raving loon, oh no!).

-- The State Representative referenced by President Obama in the clip below -- the one who likened the Affordable Care Act to the Fugitive Slave Act -- is State Rep. Bill O'Brien, former New Hampshire House speaker and current Ign'ant Analogy Champeen.

"All Of This Would Be Funny If It Wasn't So Crazy"

The President on Rethuglican Obamacare scare tactics, today at Prince Georges Community College (MD):

The Rethuglicans' Debt Ceiling Ransom Note

Stick 'em up, America!  The Rethuglicans will shoot the economy unless you meet their demands!

As Jon Chait summarizes, the Rethugs have their list of demands in order to extend the debt ceiling, but there's something oddly familiar about it:
It’s Mitt Romney’s 2012 economic plan. Almost word for word, in fact. True, Romney proposed to repeal Obamacare, while the House Republicans propose to delay it for a year. But the gambit there — extend the debt ceiling for a year while delaying Obamacare a year, so that the next debt ceiling hike lines up with another Obamacare delay — makes the two tactics essentially the same.
The rest of the list is Romney’s agenda on taxes, regulation of the environment, finance and other business, Medicare, tort reform. That’s their opening demand: implement Romney’s economic plan or melt down the economy.
It's quite a list.  And, like the Cruz fail-a-buster, it's all hat and no cattle because it's not gonna happen. 

Apparently, elections don't have consequences if Democrats win.

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party - Crazy Uncle Larry Dept.

Gaze dumbstruck at the sheer lunacy of far right-wing birfer Larry Klayman, former pursuer of Bill Clinton's penis and alleged child abuser (Warning:  be sure you've had your rabies shots before reading the following):
Last Wednesday, the great usurper, Barack Hussein Obama, after having been indicted by an Ocala, Florida citizens' grand jury, was convicted by a people's court of defrauding the American people and Floridians by proffering them with a fake birth certificate. See As readers of this column and know too well, Obama is not a natural born citizen eligible to be president of the United States, as he was not born in this country to two American citizen parents. However, to justify his fraud and his elections to the highest office in the land, and after years of inquiry, in 2011 the Obama White House posted on its website a birth certificate purporting to show him having been born in Hawaii. The problem is however, according to forensic experts, the birth certificate is altered and forged.

The day of reckoning has come. Obama, having failed to plead in response to the indictment that was served upon him, waived his right to a jury trial. Thumbing his nose at We the People, as the citizens' prosecutor, I appeared before a citizens' court judge and presented evidence from Cold Case Posse investigator Michael Zullo showing that Obama tricked voters into electing him in 2008 and 2012. As a result, the citizens' judge found him guilty on two counts of falsifying information to federal and state election officials. He was thus sentenced to the maximum prison term for these offenses of 10 years, and ordered to immediately surrender himself into the custody of the citizens of the United States and Florida. 

On November 19, 2013, a day that will hopefully live on in the history of our once great republic, I call upon millions of Americans who have been appalled and disgusted by Obama's criminality – his Muslim, socialist, anti-Semitic, anti-Christian, anti-white, pro-illegal immigrant, pro-radical gay and lesbian agenda – among other outrages, to descend on Washington, D.C., en masse, and demand that he leave town and resign from office if he does not want to face prison time.
If any President has ever faced such balls-out, frothing craziness in the modern era, we'd sure like to hear about it.

Quote of the Day

"In my experience, it is totally unprecedented to keep challenging a law that's already been passed. The Republicans know that, once this takes place, they're in big trouble because it's going to work."  -- MIT economist Jonathan Gruber, who worked on the Massachusetts health insurance reform law (i.e., "Romneycare"), on the desperate attempts by Rethuglicans to derail the Affordable Care Act before it can fully take effect.

One Man Fan Club Cartoon of the Day

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(Clay Bennett, via

Tailgunner Ted Going Down In Flames?

Now that Joe McCarthy clone and far-right Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz's phony "fail-a-buster" is finished, the adults in the Senate can return to the business at hand:  taking action on the Rethuglican House's Continuing Resolution bill which attempts to defund the Affordable Care Act.  There's no way, of course, that's going to happen in the real world, but the real purpose of Tailgunner Ted's histrionics is to rile up the mouthbreather base into coughing up contributions to him and right-wing PACs.  It's a scam.

Jamelle Bouie has an interesting comparison between Tailgunner Ted and the Minnesota Loon, Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann, and their love for political theater, conspiracies, and lying.  Crazy Eyes, who isn't running for re-election after ethics charges were leveled at her, had a brief but effective stint not as a legislator, but as a fundraiser for herself and the hard right.  She was taken seriously up until her first pronouncements as a Congresswoman, and then after that it was "who is this idiot?"  Tailgunner Ted is, according to reports, the most despised man in the Senate given his arrogant and disruptive behavior, so he's seemingly one step ahead of the Loon on the way to oblivion.

Wednesday, September 25, 2013

This Is Priceless

Rethug Senator and role-playing john David "Diapers" Vitter should be hiding in shame after this:
"A couple of weeks ago, after Sen. David Vitter (R-La.) launched a new effort to get Capitol Hill staff to pay more for health care to spite the White House, Senate Democrats decided it was time for a brush-back pitch. Dems sent word that if Vitter's crusade continues, they'd push their own measure: lawmakers would be ineligible for health care subsidies if there is 'probable cause' they solicited prostitutes.  It wasn't a subtle move -- Vitter, of course, ran for the Senate on a far-right 'family values' platform, before he was caught hiring prostitutes."
That's how Dems should be dealing with the nihilistic Rethugs.

Tailgunner Ted's Fail-a-buster

As Joe McCarthy clone / radical right-wing Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz rambles on about "Obamacare" and Nazis and The Little Engine That Could on the floor of the Senate, figures from the Department of Health and Human Services indicate that under the health insurance exchanges established by the Affordable Care Act, health insurance premiums will be below current rates, with variations by geographic area, for the currently uninsured.

Let's watch Jon Stewart's take on the Rethuglican frenzy to stall or kill the Affordable Care Act before the public realizes its benefits and that the Rethugs have been lying to them nonstop.

Mid-Week Birthday Song

Tomorrow is the 115th anniversary of the birth of George Gershwin, one of America's greatest composers.  Gershwin, who tragically died at age 38, composed such classic songs as "Rhapsody in Blue," and "An American in Paris," which are included in the Great American Songbook.  His lovely 1926 ballad, "Someone To Watch Over Me," has been performed by artists from Frank Sinatra and Barbra Streisand to Sting and Lady Gaga.  Here is an instrumental version performed by the Los Angeles Philharmonic Orchestra.

Tuesday, September 24, 2013

Today's Cartoon - Starvation Diet Edition

(click to enlarge)

(Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle, via

Lest we forget in the midst of the Rethuglican fever-drama currently playing on Capitol Hill, these callous cretins are also trying to cut $39 billion in food stamps -- because POOR!

Bwasted Gun!

During the One Shot Antelope Hunt in Wyoming, former (Vice) President Dick "The Dick" Cheney's shotgun failed to fire, and he had to drop out.  Given his history of shooting his hunting partners, the crowd should consider themselves lucky...not to mention the antelope.

BONUS:  "The Dick's" wife Lynne, on the other hand, has no problem shooting... off her mouth.   What a charming couple!

Obama-Rouhani Meeting Anticipation

This morning, President Obama will address the U.N. General Assembly during its annual meeting of world leaders.  Iranian President Hassan Rouhani will also be delivering remarks, and there is anticipation that the two leaders will meet briefly to signal a desire to restart stalled nuclear proliferation talks and ease economic sanctions on Iran.  The two have exchanged letters recently, and there is hope that Rouhani will represent a departure from the aggressively hostile posture of previous Iranian governments.

Not unexpectedly, the Likudnik government of Israel wants to throw water on the whole scenario, and keep the threat of a military strike against Iran active.  Iran's support of Hamas and Hezbollah probably creates as much of a threat to Israel as what Iran may be developing in the nuclear arena, in that Israel's own estimated stockpile of 200 nuclear warheads should be enough of a deterrent to a first attack.

Knives Out Quote of the Day

"When Mr. Cruz demands that House Republicans 'hold firm,' he means they should keep trying to defund ObamaCare even if it results in a shutdown that President Obama will blame on Republicans. It's nice of him to volunteer House Republicans for duty. The supposedly intrepid General Cruz can view the battle from the comfort of HQ while the enlisted troops take any casualties."  -- editorial in today's Wall Street Journal, that bastion of trickle-down economics and social Darwinism, fearing a Government shutdown not because it would hurt average Americans and the economy, but because Rethugs would be rightfully blamed.  The "General" Cruz dig drips with contempt.

The right-wing corporate Rethug elites are reaping the harvest of years of whipping up anti-Government sentiment among the increasingly radical, know-nothing teabagger base of the party.   Now that a hardcore nihilist group threatens to run the party off a cliff, the alarm bells are going off and the fur is flying.

BONUS:  From Ed Kilgore, Washington Monthly:
 Tea Folk are the only category of respondents in the Pew survey who don’t say a government shutdown would have a “major” effect on the economy. But even they say (by a 62/22 margin) that a shutdown would have a “mostly negative” effect on the economy. It’s worth remembering that many Tea Folk kinda like recessions as purgative medicine for an economy where too many “losers” can get public benefits or private credit. And it’s definitely worth understanding the Tea Party is the tail wagging the dog when it comes to GOP maneuvering in Congress on the budget.

Monday, September 23, 2013

How Would A Government Shutdown Impact Republican Fortunes?

Kinda like this (with the same cheering at the appropriate time):

A Rare Reality Check

A former Senator had this to say in an op/ed in  The Hill today:
Most Americans these days are simply ignoring Republicans. And they should. 

The self-promotional babble of a few has become the mainstream of Republican political thought. It has marginalized the influence of the party to an appalling degree. 
That former Senator?  Republican Judd Gregg of New Hampshire, who excoriates his party's Crackpot Caucus for its "defund Obamacare or else" extortionist stategery over the raising the debt ceiling.  He goes on to say:
Most Americans do not seek purity; they seek answers to the everyday problems they confront. They expect their government to be of assistance in addressing those problems, not to aggravate them through artificial and self-inflicted economic mismanagement, such as having a default crisis that could easily be avoided. 

If the Republican Party ignores this concern and constantly speaks to an ever-narrower segment of the population, it is not going to be viable for long, no matter how vocal that small band of people may be. 
Finding adults and/or sane people in the Republican Party these days is more and more a challenge, but they are there (see posting below).  They just need to have the courage to stand up and speak out.

BONUS:  The American public has already taken a stand:
The CNBC poll reported that by a 59-19 percent margin, respondents opposed linking defunding of "Obamacare" to a possible shutdown starting on October 1, or to a failure to raise the government's borrowing authority, meaning Washington may not be able to pay all of its bills by sometime in October or early November.

Not A Fan of Tailgunner Ted

Sometimes, Sen. John "Grampypants" McCain is on the right side of things (not that right side).  The latest foray into sanity comes via a top aide to Grampypants, who told GQ magazine for an upcoming article on Texas wingnut Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz that McCain "f*cking hates Cruz."  Earlier this year, he referred to Tailgunner Ted and Sen. "Ayn Rand" Paul as "wacko birds" for their extreme views on the Federal budget among other things.

With sides being picked in the Rethuglican / Nihilist Party, McCain and a few others are coming down on the side of not shutting the Government down to make points with the enraged and ill-informed teabagger base.  Good for him.  Perhaps more Rethugs will see the rapids and head for shore before going over the falls.

(photo:  Demagogues Tailgunner Ted Cruz and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy -- wacko birds of a feather)

Sunday, September 22, 2013

Arrant Bulls**t Headline of the Day

"Republicans Will Win The Government Shutdown PR Battle If They Promise Voters Private Jets" (John Tamny, Galt Gazette Forbes).  Far-fetched you say?  Apparently not to an outfit that publishes Randian Social Darwinist crap like this.

How about just basic health insurance, genius?

Sunday Morning Karma Bites

The corporate leadership of Darden Restaurants, owner of franchises such as the Olive Garden and Red Lobster, has been a high-profile opponent of Obamacare, preferring not to provide health insurance benefits or a living wage to its employees.  Well, sometimes when you run an organization premised on screwing those who work for you in order to squeeze a few more bucks out in profit, it comes back to bite you:
This time last year, Neil took a look at the strong results from Darden Restaurants, the parent company of such middle-class standbys as Olive Garden, Red Lobster and the slightly more aspirational Capital Grille. The healthy financials hid a sad truth about the economy: Darden had been able to reduce labor costs because workers, desperate for jobs, didn't have the leverage to ask for better pay.

Well, the next year didn't go so well. Darden's stock took a dive, and is still looking a little anemic. Despite in-store remodels, in yesterday's quarterly earnings report the company disclosed that Red Lobster, Olive Garden and LongHorn Steakhouse sales were down 3.3 percent, and the chief operating officer was leaving (always a suspicious sign).  (our emphasis)
The linked posting wonders whether it was the economy or bad food that is causing Darden's decline.  Well, we think there's more:  businesses that treat employees shabbily are engendering an atmosphere that reflects that shabby treatment, in employees that customers don't want to be around.  Putting ourselves in the shoes of a low-wage Darden worker, whose company is telling them that the only thing about their health that concerns them is the cost of insurance -- and, by the way, we might be making you a part-timer to avoid coverage under Obamacare -- doesn't give one the strongest motivation to do the best one can, now does it?  And if the company is willing to cut those corners, where else is it cutting corners?

Unfortunately, it will be those low-wage, uninsured Darden workers that will suffer the most if the restaurants fail. Let's hope their next employment is with a more enlightened company. (h/t Balloon-Juice)

Sunday Funnies

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(top, Tony Auth, bottom Clay Bennett, via

Saturday, September 21, 2013

Weekly Presidential Address - Stop Messing With The American People, Republicans

President Obama to Rethuglicans:  pass a budget, pay our bills, and stop pretending you're going to end Obamacare.  Watch it:

Photo of the Day

President Obama signs an excuse slip for 5 year old Alanah Poullard at a reception for wounded warriors on Thursday.  Nice memento for the kindergarten cutey.

(White House photo by Pete Souza)

Today's Cartoons - Negotiating With Terrorists and Kamikazes

(click to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal Constitution, via

(Stuart Carlson, Universal, via

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party - Climate Change Edition

Today's dispatches come from last Wednesday's hearing of a subcommittee of the House Energy and Commerce Committee on the President's Climate Action Plan (big hat tip to P.E.C.).  In random order, we have Republican worthies,
Rep. David McKinley (R-WV) told [EPA Administrator Gina] McCarthy and [Energy Department Secretary Eric] Moniz, “here is the reality of temperature changes over the last 40 years — actually we can say over 40 years there has been almost no increase in temperature.”
Um, no.

Next up:
Chairman Ed Whitfield [R-KY] began the hearing by arguing that human carbon emissions are insignificant, saying “3.75 percent of all worldwide emissions come from human activity.”
Um, no again.

[Rep. Mike] Pompeo [R-KS] then said he wanted to know “how many heat-related deaths have been eliminated as a result” of the improved fuel economy standards unveiled in 2010. McCarthy responded with reason, saying no one can “make those direct connections.” The climate is complex and the amount of work yet to do to decrease emissions is immense. The CAFE standards were a first step. Rep. Pompeo then tried to conclude that making cars more efficient and burning less gasoline will not do anything for climate change, asking “Is anything you are doing doing any good?” 
Um, three strikes and you're out.  Also, "Is anything you are doing doing any good?"  OMFG.

Please observe what happens when you turn government over to the dimbulbs, loons, and shills.  And, as if it needed to be said again, it's why we can't have nice things in this country.

Friday, September 20, 2013

Weekend Stir It Up Song

American-born Johnny Nash had this 1972 reggae hit, the first of its kind from a non-Jamaican artist.  Go stir it up this weekend.

Video of the Day

Here's Stephen Colbert's take on the efforts to de-fund "Obamacare."  Hilarity ensues (sorry for the embedded ad).

Quote of the Day - Pope Francis Edition

"... I have never been a right-winger."  -- Pope Francis I, in an interview published by the La Civilta Cattolica.  The Pope also suggested that the Church had been focusing too much on abortion, contraception and gay marriage, and forgetting its mission to minister to the masses.

That sound you heard was the simultaneous crapping of pants by Cardinal Timothy Dolan, Catholic League pustule Bill Donohue, the stars of Fox "News" (Bill O'Reilly, Sean Hannity, Megan Kelly, Neil Cavuto, etc., ad nauseam), and the five Catholic Republican bungholes on the Supreme Court.

Rethug Hypocrisy on Mental Health

Michael Tomasky nails it in his piece on Rethuglican hypocrisy on funding mental health in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard massacre last Monday:
"So now we’re being treated to the charming spectacle of Republicans, or a few of them anyway, purporting to care about mental-health treatment in the wake of the Washington Navy Yard shooting. How touching. This doesn’t mean, of course, that they care about mental health. They’re just coming up with something to say in the wake of the tragedy that sounds to the willfully credulous like action and that won’t offend the National Rifle Association. Meanwhile, they have devastated mental-health funding since you-know-who became president. And more important than that, they voted against, and are now preparing to vote en bloc to defund or delay, the law that will do more to address mental health and give society at least a chance that future Aaron Alexises will get treatment that could prevent them going on shooting sprees since ... well, pretty much since ever."
They're also not above wrecking the economy over a Government shutdown and debt ceiling crisis, then blaming Obama and the Dems for a bad economy.  We can't afford to give them the keys to Government again.

Rethugs Act To Shut Down Government

By a partisan vote of 230 - 189, House Rethuglicans leaders bowed to the extremist base of their party and sent a short-term FY 2014 Continuing Resolution to the Senate that would de-fund the Affordable Care Act, and hold a Government shutdown hostage.  The CR has no chance of passage in the Senate (not to mention getting signed by the President), not only because of the poison pill for "Obamacare," but also because it attempts to make the sequester cuts passed last year permanent.

Many cooler Rethuglican heads (and you know you're in LaLa Land when John McCain and Turdblossom Rove are "cooler heads") are warning of a political debacle for the Rethuglican Party in the 2014 elections if their actions shut down the Government.  They also have to worry about their party's extremists forcing a crisis over the debt ceiling, something that would severely disrupt the U.S. and global economies.  If this only resulted in the quick demise of the Rethugs and their teabagger base, we'd applaud, but their recklessness will adversely affect millions and millions of people.

BONUS Here's Paul Krugman on how it has come to this:
"...this story is all about the G.O.P. First came the southern strategy, in which the Republican elite cynically exploited racial backlash to promote economic goals, mainly low taxes for rich people and deregulation. Over time, this gradually morphed into what we might call the crazy strategy, in which the elite turned to exploiting the paranoia that has always been a factor in American politics — Hillary killed Vince Foster! Obama was born in Kenya! Death panels! — to promote the same goals.
"But now we’re in a third stage, where the elite has lost control of the Frankenstein-like monster it created.
"So now we get to witness the hilarious spectacle of Karl Rove in The Wall Street Journal, pleading with Republicans to recognize the reality that Obamacare can’t be defunded. Why hilarious? Because Mr. Rove and his colleagues have spent decades trying to ensure that the Republican base lives in an alternate reality defined by Rush Limbaugh and Fox News. Can we say 'hoist with their own petard'?"

Thursday, September 19, 2013

Oh, Boo Hoo

Poor Rethuglican Congresscritter Phil "Poor Mouth" Gingrey is lamenting the fact that while his Congressional aides can quit and work as a lobbyist for "$500,000," he's stuck making "only" $172,000 per year.  We feel sad for Poor Mouth.  Here's our sad face  : (

When a Congresscritter from Bug Butt, Georgia complains about his salary, the wingnuts who sent him to Washington might want to reconsider their choice.

Today's Cartoon - Obamacare Derangement Syndrome

(click to enlarge)

(Clay Bennett, Chattanooga Times Free Press, via

Rethug Civil War Continues

As the deadline for passing a funding bill for fiscal 2014 nears, Rethuglicans are caught between their desire to defund the Affordable Care Act and reality.  Now, one of the shining lights of the wingnut base, Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz, is in the doghouse (along with Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio) for facing the reality that the Senate doesn't have the votes to approve the House Rethuglicans' bill to defund "Obamacare."  Reality bites.

What this demonstrates is that for years the Rethug elites have been lying to their mouthbreather base in promising them things they can't deliver on, and in misleading them into voting for policies that actually harm them (see post, below).

BONUS:  Arizona Sen. John "Grampypants" McCain joins the fray:
"I can tell you that in the U.S. Senate, will not repeal or defund Obamacare. We will not," McCain told CNN's Jake Tapper. "And to think we can is not rational."

BONUS II:  Sens. Reid and Schumer tell the House Rethug Crackpot Caucus "read our lips:"
“In case there is any shred of doubt in the minds of our House counterparts, I want to be absolutely crystal clear,” Reid said at a news conference. “Any bill that defunds Obamacare is dead. Dead.” [...]
“We will not blink. Don’t get it into your heads that we will. We won’t,” Schumer said. “Don’t make it part of your strategy that we’ll cave. We won’t. We’re unified. We’re together. You’re not.”

Screaming and Fury Quote of the Day

"The war against Obamacare: All the rationality of a Justin Bieber fan riot, and all the restraint of 'Saw VI.'” --  New York Times op-ed columnist Gail Collins writing in today's paper.

Yes, the rabid ones are howling at the moon again.  But spurring the irrational raving of the base is the far right's fundraising operation.  Create a "controversy," propose a "solution," and ask for donations to make it happen -- which it almost never does.  No wonder the wingers are beside themselves with anger, but have been too confused to figure out the right people to blame.

(h/t to Daily Kos)

Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Today's Hostage-Taking Quote

President Obama to the Business Roundtable today:
"You have never seen in the history of the United States, the debt ceiling -- or the threat of not raising the debt ceiling -- being used to extort a president or a governing party, and trying to force issues that have nothing to do with budget and have nothing to do with the debt."
With government shutdown a mere 12 days away, the House Crackpot Caucus Rethuglicans are poised to send a spending bill to the Senate that defunds Obamacare.

Yet another example of why we can't have nice things in this country.

Gov. "Oops" Perry and Texas' Race To The Bottom

Texas Rethuglican Gov. Rick "Oops" Perry has been traveling around the country recently touting his State's booming (that's "BOOM!", as in unregulated fertilizer plants exploding) economy.  The pinhead has recently been seen in a video running in Maryland inviting bidnesses to come to Texas for all that FREEDUMB!  (And don't forget their edumaction!) Today, Maryland Gov. Martin O'Malley took to the op-ed pages of the once great Washington Post  Bezos Bugle to offer a rebuttal.  Here's an excerpt, but you should read the whole piece:
Perry and like-minded Republican governors subscribe to the slash-and-burn economic philosophy — a belief that “less” will somehow become “more.” In Texas, he has implemented this vision with gusto, cutting taxes and slashing funding for critical middle-class priorities such as public schools, higher education, health care and infrastructure. The results? Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation, 10th in the rate of poverty and 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.
And while Perry likes to promote the job creation in Texas during his time in office, he leaves out a critical point: The jobs “miracle” he touts is driven by low-paying, non-sustainable jobs. This year, Texas — tied with Mississippi — leads the nation for the percentage of hourly paid workers earning equal to or less than the minimum wage. More than one in 10 workers nationwide earning at or below the minimum wage works in Texas.
Anyone who can listen to Perry, at this stage of his public life, and not look for the ventriloquist standing behind him seriously needs to smarten up.  

BONUSThere's this, too.  "Conservative dystopia," indeed.

Mid-week Memorial

Dedicated to the men and women who died at the Washington, D.C. Navy Yard complex this week.

Tuesday, September 17, 2013

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Navy Yard Shootings

(click to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via

(Nick Anderson, Houston Chronicle, via

Yesterday's mass shooting at Washington, D.C.'s Navy Yard complex was the fifth (!) since the Newtown school massacre nearly a year ago.  And the betting here, as elsewhere, is that that's not going to change a damn thing.

Racist Dimbulbs Attack Miss America

This past weekend, 24-year-old Indian American Nina Davuluri, born in Syracuse, New York and representing New York, was crowned Miss America. Upon winning, Ms. Davuluri had this to say:
"I'm so happy this organisation has embraced diversity.  I'm thankful there are children watching at home who can finally relate to a new Miss America."
Ms. Davuluri is believed to be a practicing Hindu.  A nice moment to show the world that Americans can celebrate their diverse heritage, right?  Well, maybe not to some mouthbreathers out there:
One Twitter user, DallasRobinson8, wrote: "I am literally soo mad right now a ARAB won. #MissAmerica"
Jakeamick5 added: "How the **** does a foreigner win miss America? She is a Arab! #idiots"
Emi_adkins said: "It's called Miss America. Get outta here New York you look like a terrorist. #bye #americanforamerica"
And another user said: "Well they just picked a Muslim for Miss America. That must've made Obama happy. Maybe he had a vote."
Two points:  first, you can't spell "Twitter" without the twit, amirite?   More importantly, what this shows the world (the report we've linked to is Sky News in the UK) is that we have an underbelly of society that is stone ignorant, racist and not ashamed to show it.  Not surprising, of course, but always disheartening.

Luckily, we do have quality people in this country, starting with Ms. Davuluri, who said of the racist comments:
"I have to rise above that.  I always viewed myself as first and foremost American."

WSJ: Drop The Obamacare Defunding Gambit So You Can Beat Up On The Poors

The Republican establishment editorial board of the Wall Street Journal has a moment of sanity on the Republican "defund Obamacare" suicide pact :

We’ve often supported backbenchers who want to push GOP leaders in a better policy direction, most recently on the farm bill. But it’s something else entirely to sabotage any plan with a chance of succeeding and pretend to have “leverage” that exists only in the world of townhall applause lines and fundraising letters.

And in the next breath wants us to know what's really important to them:
The best option now is for the GOP to unite behind a budget strategy that can hold 218 votes, keeping the sequester pressure of discretionary spending cuts on Democrats to come to the table on entitlements. The sequester is a rare policy victory the GOP has extracted from Mr. Obama, and it is squeezing liberal constituencies that depend on federal cash.   (our emphasis)
"A rare policy victory," if by "victory" you mean bringing misery to millions of your fellow Americans.  And that's exactly what they mean.

(h/t Washington Monthly)

Thursday, September 12, 2013

Out To Lunch

Sorry for the paucity of blogging.  We're on the road and have also been dealing with site issues.  We'll be back in the mix in the next few days, so hang in there!

Thanks to our faithful followers who've been suffering withdrawal in our absence!

Monday, September 9, 2013

More "Secessionist" Stupidity

The formerly great Washington Post Bezos Bugle has a story of some local yahoos who want five counties in western Maryland to secede from the State of Maryland and form their own "state." (ed. note:  the region's main products being rednecks and....rednecks).  Pouting that they can't have their way every time, the wingers want to sever ties with Annapolis, which they view as too librul.

This is the wingnut movement in a nutshell (pun intended):  a minority that's been brainwashed by years of hate radio and manipulated by right-wing economic elites can't win elections on the merits, and instead has to resort to (your pick) secession, voter suppression and intimidation, or district gerrymandering.

(photo:  Western Maryland's proposed Congressional delegation?)

Put Syrian Chem Weapons Under International Control?

Russia stirred the Syrian chemical weapons pot today by offering a proposal to place Syria's chemical weapons under international control, with the ultimate objective of eliminating them. Whether this is a delaying tactic (as some Administration officials believe) to delay a U.S. strike, it adds a new dimension to the situation.  Syria is said to be receptive to the proposal, but in the past, Syrian dictator Assad has ruled out giving up his WMD.

With the President due to make his case to the nation tomorrow for direct intervention, and the Congress divided on the issue, this will certainly muddy the situation, but, only if in earnest, could provide a face-saving way out.

Huge Irony Quote of the Day

“This is an unmitigated disaster.  It’s amateur hour at the White House.”  -- "Bush's Brain" and guy-who-can't-read-election returns Karl "Turdblossom" Rove on yesterday's Fux Noise Sunday, commenting on the Obama Administration's Syrian policy.

Turdblossom was a member of the "brain trust" that lied us into Iraq, then bungled the war, then screwed up the Hurricane Katrina response, then sank the U.S. economy and ran up huge debt, etc.   Later, his Super PAC operation squandered hundreds of millions of dollars in a failed attempt to elect Willard "Mittens" Romney.  And he has the nerve to lecture this Administration about "amateur hour?"

Sunday, September 8, 2013

The Games Putin Plays

Russian leader and would-be manly man Vladimir "Little Czar" Putin isn't known for his respect of democratic institutions or freedom.  Now, he has an up-and-coming star to deal with:  Alexei Navalny, who is running on an anti-corruption ticket for the Mayor of Moscow.  Navalny has been an outspoken critic of the Little Czar's corruption and authoritarian policies, so naturally, he was charged with embezzlement and sentenced to prison for five years.  The U.S. ambassador and others called the case politically motivated, and while Navalny is free to campaign while he appeals his conviction, it's clear the the Little Czar will stop at nothing to maintain power.

Today's Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Dispatch, via

News You Can Use...For A Laugh, Cont.

From today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
Why that 'raccoon' wasn't moving

Alexandria, South Lee Street, unit block, Aug. 27.  A resident reported that there was a motionless raccoon in his front yard.  An animal control officer discovered that it was a brush from a push broom. 

News You Can Use...For A Laugh

Tipping our hat to our Arizona Bureau Chief, we have another hard news source:  the New Yorker's Borowitz Report.  Whether it's covering the G20 summit, or the Ted Cruz valley, the Borowitz Report imagines what might be happening.  Examples:
"Hopes for a positive G20 summit crumbled today as President Obama blurted to Russia’s Vladimir Putin at a joint press appearance,  'Everyone here thinks you’re a jackass.'”
"Aides to President Obama said today that he was 'visibly shaken' after receiving support from House Speaker John Boehner for his Syria campaign, adding that the Speaker’s vote of confidence was 'making him rethink the whole thing.'”
And this one that's pretty close to reality:
"As the debate over Syria moves to the United States Congress, a leading Senate Republican [Cruz] said today that the only way to resolve the crisis in the war-torn Middle Eastern country is by 'defunding Obamacare at once.'”
Along with The Onion, we'll have to start reading the Borowitz Report to get the "real" story.

BONUS:  And, wouldn't you know, a wingnut simpleton thought the Borowitz item was for realz! (wait for the page to load).

Saturday, September 7, 2013

The Scream Team

As Michael Tomasky notes in this piece, the public has grown not only war-weary, but very skeptical of U.S. intelligence as a result of the cherry-picking, fabricating, and deceptive "intelligence" that led us into a war with Iraq over their non-existent WMDs (not to mention their non-involvement in 9-11).  That's Dumbya's gift to national security, thank you very much.  Even though the players have changed, the public is still wary about entanglements in the Middle East particularly.  Had Dumbya's team been honest in their targeting, and focused on al Qaeda, we might be in a more advantageous position.

Another legacy, added to the economic one, that Dumbya and the Rethugs left behind.

(photo: AP.  The Scream Team posing, Condi showing some leg to her husband Dumbya, and The Dick sitting within reach of Dumbya's strings)

Fear For The Children

We kid you not -- unfortunately (click to enlarge, if you must):

From HuffPo:
Rush Limbaugh has written a kid's book called—wait for it—"Rush Revere and the Brave Pilgrims: Time-Travel Adventures with Exceptional Americans." It's being published on October 29th   (Ed. note:  not Halloween?)
BTW, isn't that "horse" on the cover giving Limpballs a certain "come hither" look?  He can sure spot a horse's ass!

May we offer a few alternate titles?  "Rush To The Discount Bin."   "Rush Reveres ... Rush."   "Rush Rewrites History."   "Rush My Oxycontin Order."   "Rush As Far Away As You Can From This Book."    Feel free to add in the comments.

Let's Call This What It Is: Treason

Texas' Rethuglican Railroad Commissioner and latter day John Calhoun, Barry "Rebel Yell" Smitherman, thinks Texas is ready to secede from the Union.  Smitherman, who is running for state Attorney General (!!), apparently skipped the chapters in the history books that referred to nullification, secession, and (oh yeah) something called the Civil War.  It didn't work then, and it won't work now (much as we'd like to wave the wingnuts in Texas bye-bye and send them to Cuba for a real taste of socialism).

It's not a coincidence that this talk wasn't heard beyond Aryan Nation or KKK rallies up until a few years ago.  Funny how the talk of secession started gaining momentum after the election of the first black President.  Let's remind ourselves that what's being suggested here is turning on your country, or in language even a Texas wingnut can understand, treason.

Friday, September 6, 2013

Weekend Birthday Song

Tomorrow would be rock pioneer and legend Buddy Holly's 77th birthday.  We've featured a number of his songs in the past, and will in the future, but this is one of our favorites.  It's the melancholy "True Love Ways," which was among the last of Holly's studio session songs, recorded in October 1958, less than 4 months before his death on January 23, 1959.  The single, however, wasn't released until 1960.  Enjoy the song and your weekend.

Profiles in Expediency

Hat tip to Daily Kos for uncovering this convenient flip-flop by Staten Island Rethuglican Rep. Michael "Prospects Are" Grimm:
Today, I decided to withdraw my support from President Obama’s proposal for a military strike against Syria. I have heard from many of you in Staten Island and Brooklyn, and it is clear to me that their is strong opposition to the strike. As your voice in Washington, I will continue to listen and take a stand for you.
Will you stand with me in opposing President Obama’s plan with a donation of $25 or more right now?  (our emphasis)
Apparently, after taking the temperature of his district, Rep. Grimm did the only honorable thing... and decided to make a buck off his flip-flop. It's giants like him that are running the nut factory otherwise known as Congress.

It's also why we can't have nice things in this country.

(Photo:  Rep. Michael Grimm:  "Can you send me some moneez to oppose President Obama, whom I supported yesterday?  Pleeze?")

Kentucky Headhunters

The Rethuglican /New Confederate Party internecine warfare continues in Kentucky.  Teatard candidate Matt "Bevis" Bevin's saying that major corporate shill and turtle - human hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell isn't really a fan of fellow wingnut social Darwinist Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul.  Yes, and the sun rises in the east.  Bevis is challenging Missy for the Rethug nomination for Senate in Kentucky, and wants to drag Missy even further to the right into AynRandLand.  As Bevis says, "There is nobody in Kentucky that is fooled by this Mitch-Rand love narrative. Nobody."

Best wishes to the teabagger movement in Kentucky;  may it result in the unlikely election of Dem star Alison Lundergan Grimes.

Thursday, September 5, 2013

Weasel Smile Picture of the Day

Russian Vladimir "Little Czar" Putin flashes a smile at President Obama as he arrives for the G-20 summit today in St. Petersburg.  The Little Czar's looking a little like Leave It To Beaver's master of insincerity Eddie Haskell.  At least Obama's not looking at him.

Pablo Martinez Monsivals, AP
(photo:  "Vlad, what's that sticky red substance on your hands?")

Today's Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

(Kal, Baltimore Sun, via

The Republican Fantasyland

As we noted yesterday, some far-right Republicans are eager to use the platform of hearings on Syria to beat their favorite dead horse(s).  But, as Harold Meyerson writes, forcing them to confront possible military action in Syria has the effect, potentially, of tethering at least some of them back to planet Earth:
If the American right increasingly seems to occupy an alternative planet, that’s largely because its media outlets — we can throw Fox News into the mix — dwell on stories so exquisitely calibrated to excite the right that they may not be stories at all. The New Black Panther Party? The Epidemic of Voter Fraud? The calculated perfidy of Benghazi? The impeachable crime of Obamacare (a socialist scam actually modeled on a proposal from a conservative think tank 20 years ago)? It’s not the editorials and opinionating of right-wing broadcasters and journalists that are driving the right into fantasyland. It’s the tales they spin into stories and the time and space they devote to events that never actually happened or that they surreally misconstrue.
By throwing the Syrian conundrum to Congress, Obama has at least confronted Republicans with a real-world choice. Since Saturday, the drumbeat for closing down the government has been muted in its usual haunts. 
It remains to be seen how long -- or even if -- this dose of reality will spill over into other matters Meyerson touches on (the debt ceiling confrontation, various Obamacare sabotage schemes, etc.).  Frankly, our bet is that this party that has been in various states of delirium for going on 40 years isn't about to put the interests of the people or the nation ahead of its "concocted crises."  That's because Republicans have done such a thorough job of painting themselves into an ideological corner where, since they own the "facts," they have to prevail no matter what cost.  As Meyerson says:
As the share of Americans who support and identify with Republicans shrinks in the polls, the faithful who remain have taken on the aspects of a cult — secure in the knowledge of “facts” that aren’t facts, passionate about causes whose very existence bewilders their compatriots, determined to punish any believers who stray from the fold.
Not much room for maneuvering or optimism there.