Wednesday, October 30, 2013

A Daughter's Wedding

A Hackwhacker daughter is getting married later this week, and we'll be flying off to be there for the bride and groom.  The bride's dad is feeling a mix of excitement, anxiety, pride and nostalgia, not surprisingly.

Blogging will be light to nonexistent for the rest of the week, but we'll be back in true form next Monday.

Your Spooky Halloween Cartoon

Ooooooo.   Be afraid, be very afraid!

(click to enlarge)

(Steve Benson, via

For It Before They Were Against It

It doesn't get any more craven or stupid than this:
Even if it passed Congress, it wouldn't have stopped the debt limit hike because President Obama could veto the measure. The purpose was to give these senators political cover to say they disapprove of a debt limit hike(our emphasis)
They're counting on this working, given the low-information, mouth-breathing Rethuglican base.  They might be right.

Ayn Rand Paul's Sticky Wiki

Stephen Colbert gives Rethuglican wingnut  Sen. "Ayn" Rand Paul a good going over for his plagiarism of a Wikipedia entry during a campaign appearance for Virginia Rethuglican gubernatorial candidate Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli the other day.  Watch and enjoy.

Tuesday, October 29, 2013

Ciao, Cooch

With one week to go before the Virginia statewide elections, Dem candidate for Governor Terry McAuliffe has opened up a 12 point lead (51 - 39) over Rethuglican / Stupid Party candidate and transvaginal probe enthusiast Ken "Cooch" Cuccinelli, according to the latest Washington Post Bezos Bugle poll.  What's remarkable is the lead that McAuliffe has over Cooch among women voters:  58 - 34.

Figures on campaign expenditures in the article show that McAuliffe has a formidable advantage over Cooch, as Rethuglican donors are giving up on his chances and snapping their wallets shut.  Much of the souring on Cooch has to do with his medieval views on reproductive rights and marriage equality, but a lot of additional damage was done with the Stupid Party's Government shutdown, especially in vote-rich Northern Virginia where Federal employees make up a large percentage of the population.

Even though polls aren't elections, and we have a week to go, all of the trends favor McAuliffe.  So we're feeling fairly comfortable in saying "Ciao, Cooch."

Monday, October 28, 2013

Go Nuclear on Judicial Nominees

David Weigel reports on the looming fight on judicial nominees, starting with a crucial D.C. Circuit Court vacancy:
Later this week it's likely that Democrats will file for cloture on the nomination of attorney Patricia Millett for a judgeship on the D.C. Circuit. It is likely that Republicans will oppose this. As Sahil Kapur explained in August, when the Senate Judiciary Committee gave Millett a partisan 10–8 recommendation, Republicans have coalesced around Iowa Sen. Chuck Grassley's idea to shrink the D.C. Circuit, stamping in place (for now) a conservative majority. You know, like the majority that ruled against Obama's recess appointments.

"It is clear that the President wants to pack the court with individuals whom he believes will rubber-stamp his agenda," Grassley said in September. "When a President seeks to fill a court with ideological allies for the purpose of reversing certain policy outcomes, that is packing the court."
Did you catch that, right there?  "Pack the court..."   The Rethuglicans are up on their Orwell, we see.

In their desperation to hold onto a right-wing majority on the powerful D.C. Circuit Court, Rethuglicans, led by that sphincter-faced Sen. "Up" Chuck Grassley from Iowa, are saying that filling vacancies now represents "court packing."  In response, we fervently hope that Sen. Reid goes straight to the "nuclear option" on this and any other attempt to play games with the legitimate filling of court vacancies.  Shut down any potential filibuster and get an up or down vote.

These obstructionist reactionaries will never recognize the legitimacy of Democratic governance.  The only elections whose results matter to them are the ones they win.  Screw them (again).

BONUSCharles Pierce weighs in.

The Hack's Hacking Headache

The phone-hacking and bribery trial of mega-winger Rupert "Aargh" Murdoch protege Rebekah Brooks and Andy Coulson begins today, with serious implications for Aargh's media empire.  Aargh's "News of the World" newspaper came crashing down a couple of years ago amid evidence that their reporters had hacked private phone conversations of political and celebrity Brits.

We sincerely hope that Aargh's "business model" here in the U.S., which includes such trashy organs as Fux News and the New York (Com)Post, will be scrutinized in the same manner as his UK properties.  It's one thing for the National Security Agency to collect data on electronic transmissions to prevent another 9-11, and it's another for a private tycoon's company to "spy" on private citizens for salacious reasons or purposes of political extortion.

(Image: "Aargh matey, can't we buy the coppers off?")

Today's Cartoon

A propos of today's reading (see below):

(click to enlarge)

(Gary Markstein, via

Monday Reading

Steve Coll in The New Yorker, on the Tea Party, Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell (Weasel-KY) and Republican decline:
The Tea Party’s anti-intellectualism reflects a longer, deeper decline in the Republican Party’s ability to tolerate a diversity of ideas and public-policy strategies, and to adapt to American multiculturalism. Mitt Romney’s poor showing among Latino voters in 2012 helped insure Barack Obama’s reĆ«lection. Republican leaders, chastened and without any other obvious way to increase their vote base before 2016, pledged earlier this year to revive a comprehensive immigration-reform bill. Yet party leaders, in part because they have been tied down since July by the debt confrontation, haven’t found a way to move legislation past the nativist caucus in the House.
In line with Coll's premise above, read Steve Benen at MaddowBlog on Sen. Marco "Polo!" Rubio (Craven-FL) and prospects for immigration reform with the New Confederate Party in charge in the House:
It was only a matter of time before Sen. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) abandoned the immigration reform legislation he ostensibly helped write, and as of this morning, the transition is complete. A top spokesperson for the Florida Republican told TPM Rubio believes the House should consider “a series of individual bills,” instead of the comprehensive approach that enjoyed bipartisan support in the Senate, and which would probably pass the House in an up-or-down vote.
Finally, E.J. Dionne, Jr., talks about not repeating damaging policy mistakes foisted on us by the New Confederate Party and their tea bagger base:
Here’s the mistake made by President Obama and the Democrats that nobody is talking about: They have been too fearful of confronting our country’s three-year obsession with the wrong problem.
And here is the tea party’s greatest victory: It has made the wrong problem the center of policymaking.
(Spoiler alert:  Dionne's talking about Republicans rolling back Democratic low- and- middle class benefit programs in the guise of "deficit reduction" -- a.k.a.,  budget cuts for thee, tax breaks for me.)

Report: Merkel Bugged Since 2002

You might be bugged, too, if former Preznit Dumbya did this to you (rimshot):

We never tire of the weirdness.

(Photos:  Former Preznit Dumbya, planting a bug on Chancellor Merkel?)

Sunday, October 27, 2013

Lou Reed, 1942-2013

Lou Reed, a massively influential songwriter and guitarist who helped shape nearly fifty years of rock music, died today. The cause of his death has not yet been released, but Reed underwent a liver transplant in May.
With the Velvet Underground in the late Sixties, Reed fused street-level urgency with elements of European avant-garde music, marrying beauty and noise, while bringing a whole new lyrical honesty to rock & roll poetry. As a restlessly inventive solo artist, from the Seventies into the 2010s, he was chameleonic, thorny and unpredictable, challenging his fans at every turn. Glam, punk and alternative rock are all unthinkable without his revelatory example. "One chord is fine," he once said, alluding to his bare-bones guitar style. "Two chords are pushing it. Three chords and you're into jazz."

Everybody Continue to Breathe Normally, Please

From BooMan:
...The extremely temporary problems with the website are of no lasting import whatsoever. The only potential problem here is that it doesn't get fixed quickly enough to avoid a deficit of healthy consumers and the rates are annoyingly high as a result. But even that would be fixed and forgotten within a couple of years.

Before long, the website will function exactly as it was intended to and people will get good, solid and affordable access to health care. And the only kind of stories worth writing about the political impact of ObamaCare are ones that look at what it will mean for millions of people to get their healthcare with the assistance of government subsidies, and what it will mean for a political party to oppose those subsidies or seek to diminish them.
And John Cole:
I just watched the SNL opening skit mocking Sebelius and ACA, and the only thing I could think was thank fucking ALLAH that Social Security and Medicaid were rolled out in the pre-internet days.
Think about it, you fucking jackasses at the Wonkblog and you other alleged liberals. All the programs you claim to love, like SS, Medicare, Medicaid, etc. At this point in the rollout for these programs 50, 60, and 70 years ago, the mail would just be reaching the respective offices. Problems people are experiencing today would not even be noticed for four months in those days, yet people still participated, just as people are right now.
We now return you to your regularly scheduled programming, which includes execrable hackery from the likes of CNN.

Sunday Funnies

(Click to enlarge)

(top, Tony Auth, bottom, Clay Bennett, via

Saturday, October 26, 2013


Roughly 10 percent of the U.S.'s top corporations pay zero taxes, according to a report by USA Today.    Companies like Verizon and (surprise!) Rupert "Aargh" Murdock's News Corp pay no corporate taxes.  While middle class families are expected to pay their fair share in taxes, these corporate moochers hire tax attorneys and lobbyists to make sure they slide without paying what they legitimately owe.  All the time, they're whining about high corporate tax rates (which they don't pay in any event).

Time to look at the corporate revenue side of the Federal budget equation, and stop bowing to the Rethug / corporate elite view that it's the "little people" that pay taxes, not them.

Friday, October 25, 2013

Weekend Autumn Song

Here's a beautiful, bluesy/ jazzy rendition of the classic "Autumn Leaves" by Eric Clapton for you to enjoy your upcoming autumn weekend:

The Republican War on Women, Cont.

The troglodytes (a.k.a., Republicans) in Texas are pulling out all the stops to delay the inevitable turning of Texas from red to blue:
Texas’ new voter ID law, set to go into effect on Nov. 5, requires individuals to provide a photo ID featuring their legally recognized name in order to vote. It’s well-documented that such laws disproportionately disenfranchise low-income voters, people of color, students and the elderly, but married women and transgender people (some of whom are married women) are also among those likely to be impacted by the new law.

According to recent data, 34 percent of voting-age women do not have a document that currently reflects their current legal name. Among transgender women and men, the number is 41 percent. That is a lot of people who no longer meet the current requirements, and who may be hard-pressed to get a valid ID in time for the November election.
They must be petrified of Wendy Davis.

And lookee who they snared in their "voter fraud" net:
A Texas district judge who has been voting for the past five decades was almost barred from the polls Tuesday, thanks to the state’s newly implemented, stricter voter ID law. The law kicked in on Tuesday as early voting in Texas’ November 5 election began. 

Oh, by the way, how's that re-branding coming along?

Update on ACA Website

Jeff Zients, the former OMB Director in charge of overseeing fixes in the "" / Affordable Care Act website is saying that the website will be up and running "smoothly" by the end of November.  That's certainly encouraging, given the pent-up demand for affordable health insurance in the 36 states that don't have state-managed insurance exchanges (all Rethug states, by the way).  Let's hope his projection is correct.

There will be time for a post-mortem on the flawed roll-out, but it's hard to grasp the incompetence of not performing a test run of the system beforehand, or the design flaws that resulted in the system crashing for most users.  HHS Secretary Sebelius will have to face very rough questioning next week before Congress (much of it political point-scoring on the part of Rethugs, who want the system to fail anyway).  But it's an object lesson in basic project management:  know the dimensions of what you're procuring, know how to measure progress, and know when course corrections are necessary.

Some Will Ask

"With the Obama White House’s total lack of transparency, it’s no wonder that some will ask whether they staged even a fainting lady in the Rose Garden.  What was once a major leap in logic has become a single step because President Obama has lied so often and so blatantly..." -- former half-term Governor and word salad generator Sarah "Winky" Palin, commenting in her Facebook page on the event held by President Obama to discuss problems with the Affordable Care Act roll-out.

With nonsense like this emanating from her, it's no wonder that "some will ask" whether Winky's head is filled with little gnats, whose tiny wings create just enough wind energy to power her brain.  It's possible.

(photo:  Bzzzz)

Thursday, October 24, 2013

Voter Suppression As Explained By Your Typical Republican Not-Racist

Another great piece from "The Daily Show," this time on Republican efforts at voter suppression.  The North Carolina Republican yahoo official starts giving away the game starting at 3:30.  Watch the reveal (after the damn ad):

UPDATE: Looks like the yahoo was forced to resign, mainly for saying out loud what they believe there.

Quote of the Day

A sampling from a thoughtful piece from Michael Tomasky at the Daily Beast:
The more I think about this Republican “civil war,” the less it looks like war to me. It often gives the appearance of being war because these Tea Party people march into the arena with a lot of fire, brimstone, and kindred pyrotechnics that suggest conflict. But what, really, in hard policy terms, are these two sides arguing about? Practically nothing. It’s a disagreement chiefly over tactics and intensity. That’s a crucial point, and so much of the media don’t understand it. But I’m here to tell you, whenever you read an article that makes a lot of hay about this “war” and then goes on to describe the Republican factions as “moderate” and “conservative,” turn the page or click away. You are either in the hands of an idiot or someone intentionally misleading you.
Not surprisingly, there's a lot of this nonsense going on over at the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle.  David Broder heritage bipartisanship troll Dan "I Got No" Balz,  blind squirrel emeritus Kathleen Parker, Chris "The Lizard" Cillizza, to name a few of the usual suspects.  But it's really endemic in the "mainstream media" world of the networks, CNN, etc.  Keep in mind Tomasky's instructions.

"Bishop of Bling" Suspended

The bishop of Limberg, Germany, Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, has been suspended by Pope Francis for his extravagant lifestyle, which included a $42 million residence and private chapel and first class travel worldwide.  Some of the expenditures of the suspended bishop were staggering:  over $600,000 in artwork and $1.1 million in landscaping for the residence.  Imagine how many poor children that would have clothed and fed.

The Pope kept Tebarz-van Elst cooling his well-shod heels for a week before granting him an audience, a clear sign that the new Pope is fed up with the arrogance and greed that many of his senior clerics indulge in.  It'll take a mighty effort to fix the years of corruption and sense of entitlement that these "princes of the Church" have, but the Pope has made a start.

BONUS:  Unfortunately, the Pope has no jurisdiction over this disciple of the "gospel of prosperity preachin'".

The Devil Made (Them) Do It

We thought we'd seen the last of late night comedy punch line Herman "Horndog" Cain after he tanked in the race for the 2012 Rethuglican / Stupid Party Presidential nomination.  You'll recall that several women went public in alleging that Horndog had sexually harassed them while he was in the private sector.  Now, the buffoon is claiming that "the devil" made the women (at least four) allege the sexual harassment.  We'd like to know what woman would go public with those allegations against a prominent candidate for office with the backing of wingnut money and publications, risking attacks /smears/ allegations against her if they weren't true?  Horndog, who's now an associate minister (!) at a Baptist church, needs to come up with a better story.  Oh, and hopefully he's not "ministering" to the female members of the church without supervision...Devil or not.

(photo:  Feeling some hellish heat, are we?)

We've Got Your Back....Not

We have a little Beltway media frenzy today involving Dem Sen. Dick Durbin, a staunch Obama supporter and a Dem leader in the Senate, who heard that a Rethug House leader said to Obama's face in a meeting that he "could not even stand to look at you."  The Rethugs said they "couldn't recall" the scene, not surprisingly.  So it's disheartening when the White House spokes-suit Jay Blarney Carney had to chirp that "it didn't happen."  Durbin is standing by his statement, and the Rethugs are demanding an "apology."  Great.

Wouldn't a simple "no comment" from Blarney Carney have sufficed, especially since it's a he-said, she-said situation that only the Rethugs' Beltway media enablers want to blow out of proportion?  So now the White House has virtually accused the Democratic Senate Majority Whip of lying.  And they want Senate Dems to have their back?

UPDATE:  Sen. Reid indicates that far-right Tex-ass Rethug Rep. Pete "Piss-tol Pete" Sessions delivered the insult, based on information that he got from a White House aide.  An apology from Jay Blarney Carney, at a minimum, would seem to be in order.

Wednesday, October 23, 2013

Hey, Who Invited These Clowns?

Jon Stewart on the "extreme takeover" of the Republican Party by the tea baggers, and the hacks who facilitated it (after the ad):

Today's Heartwarming Cartoon

(click to enlarge)

(Jim Morin, The Miami Herald, via

Tailgunner Ted Cruz' Mini-Me in Trouble in Utah

From today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, a cautionary tale about Tailgunner Ted Cruz' sidekick mini-me, Utah Republican tea bagger Sen. Mike "Mini-Me" Lee:
When Mike Lee toppled longtime Republican Sen. Robert F. Bennett here in 2010, it was the tea party’s first big triumph. But now, after a 16-day government shutdown, it’s Lee who faces a revolt within his own party.

Utah, one of the most Republican states in the nation, has a long tradition of being represented by pragmatic, business-minded conservatives in the U.S. Senate. Lee broke that pattern by governing as an ideological firebrand — standing alongside Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.) in the push for a shutdown in a failed bid to undermine President Obama’s health-care law.
As a result, Lee’s approval ratings in Utah have cratered, and prominent Republicans and local business executives are openly discussing the possibility of mounting a primary challenge against him. Top Republicans are also maneuvering to redesign the party’s nomination system in a way that would likely make it more difficult for Lee to win reelection in 2016.  (our emphasis)
Unfortunately, Mini-Me Lee won't be up for reelection until 2016, so he has plenty of time to mend fences.  But, being a True Believer, Mini-Me Lee is more likely to continue taking his lead from Dr. Evil Tailgunner Ted and playing to his tea bagger base.

(Photo:  "Eeeee!")

Today's Dispatches From The Stupid Party

It might be a good idea for Rethuglicans to avoid the number "47%" following last year's statement by clueless plutocrat and failed Presidential candidate Willard "One Percent" Romney that suggested that 47% of the American people were moochers.  Case in point:  Maine's poster boy for idiotic statements,  Rethuglican Gov. Paul "LePinhead" LePage was recorded as saying that "about 47% of able-bodied people in the state of Maine don't work."   That should sit well with the voters, particularly since it's not in the least bit true.

Again, we're seeing the fact-free, make-it-up character of the Rethuglican / Stupid Party, from their base all the way to their top elected officials.  LePinhead's only spewing what he hears / reads/ sees from the Wingnut Wurlitzer that churns out false information constantly to keep the base dumb and angry.

Also, on the Obamacare investigatin' front, we have this:
A 67-year old former murder suspect and American fugitive living in Central America whose drug use is legendary and who bragged about sleeping with ten 17-year old girls [aka McAfee Virus founder John McAfee] was contacted by the House GOP last week to advise them on their investigation of the rollout of the Obamacare website,
The invitation to advise the Stupid Party has since been withdrawn.  Ouch.

Mid-Week Tree Song

Chicago-based pop group Plain White T's released an EP earlier this year entitled "Should've Gone To Bed."  One of the songs from that release is getting more and more airplay:  "The Giving Tree." Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 22, 2013

More Polling and More Epic Fail For Republicans

From Greg Sargent:

The Washington Post and ABC News have released a new batch of polling that shows in quite striking terms just how badly the shutdown fight has damaged the GOP.
The question, however, is: Do Republicans actually think it matters that their image is in such disastrous shape, or is that rendered inconsequential by the degree to which the House GOP majority is believed to be invulnerable? The numbers:
* Dems lead in the generic ballot matchup by 49-38. Among independents — a key midterm constituency — those numbers are 46-35.
* Only 21 percent of Americans approve of the way the Congressional GOP is handling the federal budget, versus 77 percent who disapprove. Among independents: 20-78. Among moderates: 14-85.  Among seniors: 18-79. Fewer than one in three regard the GOP favorably.
* Only 20 percent think Republicans are “interested in doing what’s best for the country,” while 77 percent think they’re “interested in what’s best for themselves politically.” Among independents: 14-83. Among moderates: 18-81. Among seniors: 24-74.
* Americans blame the GOP for the shutdown by 53-29; moderates by 60-24; indys by 49-29; and seniors by 46-35.
Crucially, large majorities think the shutdown damaged the country. Eighty six percent say it has damaged the U.S.’s image in the world, and 80 percent say it damaged the U.S. economy.  Those who predicted a shutdown/default crisis would underscore perceptions of the GOP as ideologically incapable of constructive governing have fresh evidence for that view.
Sargent goes on to note an important aspect of these numbers:  help in recruiting quality Democrats for House and Senate races.  An important take for us is the strong disapproval of seniors over Republican handling of the budget, working in the country's best interests, and responsibility for the government shutdown.  That's because seniors are among the most reliable voting demographic.

Teabagger Delusion Clip of the Day

Stephen Colbert tackles the teabagger / Fux Channel's spin on their "victory" in the Government shutdown debacle (for them, of course).  He's hilarious when dealing with the long-distance, transparently-political "analysis" of Fux's  bullet-headed "Dr." Keith Ablow(me), a.k.a. according to Colbert, the "Freudian phallic symbol" (ed. note:  Is this clown a doctor of veterinary medicine?).  Wait for Stephen's "diagnosis" of Ablow(me)'s own situation:  it's priceless.

The Next McCarthy Quote of the Day

"Some will argue that Mr. Obama, as president, should remain above any personal confrontation with a single senator low on the totem pole as a freshman, leaving it to the Republicans to deal with Mr. Cruz. Such a presidential intervention, it will be said, will only elevate the brash Texan in the national spotlight, encouraging him to engage with Mr. Obama as a political equal.  But in the 1950s, Eisenhower learned the hard way that trying to ignore Joe McCarthy only encouraged him to press on with his phony attacks on communist infiltration of the Eisenhower State Department and elsewhere. Cruzism has not yet sunk to similar depths today. But the looks and smell of it are all too familiar to any observers of the era of McCarthyism still around." -- long-time political observer Jules Witcover, writing in the Baltimore Sun (emphasis added).

The most disgusting and troubling thing we saw was Tailgunner Ted's triumphal return to his sheeple in Tex-ass, who buy his lie that if only the Senate Rethugs had risen up like the teabaggers in the House, "Obamacare" would have been defunded.  His behavior goes beyond the normal political horse manure and verges on a kind of narcissistic megalomania.  Whatever it is, he's going to cause even more damage if he's not pulled up short.

Monday, October 21, 2013

More Polling: Obamacare Favored Over Republicans

From a new CNN/ ORC poll:
According to the survey, 54% say it's a bad thing that the GOP controls the House, up 11 points from last December, soon after the 2012 elections when the Republicans kept control of the chamber. Only 38% say it's a good thing the GOP controls the House, a 13-point dive from the end of last year.

This is the first time since the Republicans won back control of the House in the 2010 elections that a majority say their control of the chamber is bad for the country.  (our emphasis)
And Obamacare?
Even though they lost this round, conservatives vow to continue their fight to dismantle Obamacare. And they point to major troubles with the rollout of the website where Americans without insurance can enroll in the new health care exchanges. [...]

According to the poll, just more than four in 10 say they favor the law, with 56% opposed to it.
But of those opposed, 38% say they are against the law because they think it's too liberal and 12% say it's not liberal enough. That means that 53% either support Obamacare, or say it's not liberal enough.
As the Captain Ahabs of the crackpot right continue their obsession with Moby Obamacare, we're reminded of Starbuck's words to Ahab: "Moby Dick seeks thee not. It is thou, thou, that madly seekest him!"

To which we can only add, "Please proceed, Captain Ahab!"

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(Click to enlarge)

(Tom Tomorrow, via Daily Kos)

The Dick's Laughable Praise

Former (Vice) President Dick "The Dick" Cheney is weighing in on the bitter civil war in the Rethuglican / Stupid Party, and not surprisingly the unindicted war criminal is saying that the teabagger radicals are a "positive influence."  We have to give The Dick some credit for intelligence, perverted as it is, so there's no way he believes that nonsense.  A more likely explanation for his fondness for the teabaggers is that his equally perverse daughter, Liz "Lizard" Cheney, is running to the right of very conservative (93% rating from the American Conservative Union) Senator Mike "Bitter" Enzi for the Rethug Senate nomination in Wyoming, which is where you'll find the nutballs that make up the teabagger movement, so it's sucking up time.

We'd say that the teabagger movement is a positive influence on politics in the same way that The Dick was a positive influence on the lives of our 4,486 military personnel killed in the Iraq war that he helped lie us into.

BONUS:  The Dick also must have instructed his cardiologist to lie about his heart condition while he was under consideration (by himself) for the Vice Presidency in 2000.  Certainly he knew his history of heart attacks would have disqualified anyone else, right?

Monday Reads -- Of Lice and Men

-- Here's Paul Krugman on the right-wing's "lousy" efforts to correlate poor health with the use of Medicaid (!):
O.K., you know what to do: Google “spurious correlation health.” You are immediately led to the tale of certain Pacific Islanders who long believed that having lice made you healthy, because they observed that people with lice were, typically, healthier than those without. They were, of course, mixing up cause and effect: lice tend to infest the healthy, so they were a consequence, not a cause, of good health.

The application to Medicaid should be obvious. Sick people are likely to have low incomes; more generally, low-income Americans who qualify for Medicaid just tend in general to have poor health. So pointing to a correlation between Medicaid and poor health as evidence that Medicaid actually hurts its recipients is as foolish as claiming that lice make you healthy. It is, as I said, a lousy argument.

And the reliance on such arguments is itself deeply revealing, because it illustrates the right’s intellectual decline. I mean, this is the best argument their so-called experts can come up with for their policy priorities?
Living in a bubble is one thing, but purposefully throwing as much crap as you can against the wall to see if anything sticks -- all to deny people health insurance -- means you get a special wing in Hell all to yourself.

Speaking of Hell and crap,

-- Here's a story about a twitter account dedicated to naming conservative bands (Ted "Crap Pants Fever" Nugent, are you catching this?).  A sampling:  "Screw U2" and "Very Dire Straits."

Happy reading!

Sunday, October 20, 2013

The Unaccessible Care Act

The Administration is reporting that some 476,000 applications have been filed under the Affordable Care Act through the Federal and state health care insurance sites.  The states that have set up health insurance exchanges (Kentucky, New York, California, Oregon, etc.) have had far better success than the Federal site, "," which is experiencing major problems in the roll-out phase.  Also, the number of applications don't correlate to the number of enrollments, and there are real problems cropping up with the data that insurance companies are receiving from the Fed site in order to write new policies.

The Administration had three years to get the Federal site up and running.  We have seen reports that the system wasn't tested until several weeks before the unveiling, and that it was not designed to deal with anywhere near the number of "hits" that were recorded in the first few days.  The great Ezra Klein has a good summation of the screw-up.  The President is rightfully upset that his signature program's roll-out was botched so badly.  The top officials responsible should be tendering their resignations, and for those that don't, they should be fired.

UPDATE:  The President is expected to address the problems with the roll-out Monday morning in a televised news conference.  Here's a recap.

UPDATE II:  Maybe this guy could fix the website...(haha)


From NASA (to get the best enlarged version of the portrait):
"This portrait looking down on Saturn and its rings was created from images obtained by NASA's Cassini spacecraft on Oct. 10, 2013. It was made by amateur image processor and Cassini fan Gordan Ugarkovic."

Saturday, October 19, 2013

Cartoon Cruzin'

(click to enlarge)

(Ben Sargent, Austin Journal-Statesman, via

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via

(Jack Ohman, Sacramento Bee, via

Are Self-Inflicted Wounds Covered By Obamacare?

Now that Obamacare is up and... well, limping, we see the right-wing media pulling out all the stops to develop a narrative based on testimonials from "real 'murricans" suffering harm from expanded access to health insurance ("real 'murricans" being Fox "News" viewers who don't know s**t from Shinola):
Strangely, the recent shutdown was based almost entirely on a small percentage of Congress’s belief that Obamacare, as Ted Cruz puts it, “is destroying America.”  Cruz has rarely given us an example of what he’s talking about.  That’s because the best he can do is what Hannity did—exploit people’s ignorance and falsely point to imaginary boogeymen.
The Salon piece does a good job of debunking the stories (literally) being told by these low-information shills.  C and L also did a little checking on a story being told on the Huckleberry Huckabee show:
Ashley Dionne, a recent guest on Mike Huckabee's show, claimed that her insurance premiums would jump from $75 per month to $319 per month for her family. She proclaimed the act to be the "Unaffordable Care Act" and went even further, claiming her future and that of her children had been 'raped.'
Unfortunately, someone forgot to mention to Ashley that her premiums were offset with subsidies, so she would really pay $223 per YEAR as well as receiving assistance with copayments. Oops.
Of course, should one confront these people with something called "The Facts," their tiny, prejudiced heads might explode (something probably not covered by Obamacare). Or as Digby puts it:
Honestly, if these people are such ideologues that they haven't even checked if they will benefit from the reforms before complaining about them on national television then fuck them. They can pay full market price and help subsidize the rest of us.

Friday, October 18, 2013

Tom Foley Dies

Former Speaker of the House Tom Foley passed away today at the age of 84.  Foley, a Democrat from Spokane, WA, was Speaker from 1989 to 1994, having first been elected to the House in 1964.  He was a decent, courtly and distinguished man who was swept out of office in the off-year election of 1994.  The sinister Newt "Poot" Gingrich became the next Speaker, and later caused the first Government shutdown.  Gingrich was the polar opposite of Speaker Foley:  nasty, hyperpartisan, arrogant and unscrupulous.  After his defeat, Foley served as the U.S. Ambassador to Japan in the Clinton Administration.

We would be far, far better off as a nation if there were more Tom Foleys in public office.  RIP.

(h/t to P.E.C.)

Weekend Song - No Backing Down

We're reprising this Tom Petty classic (with George Harrison, Ringo Starr, Jeff Lynne, and Mike Campbell) as our way of recognizing the heroes of the shutdown/ debt ceiling fight, notably Sen. Harry Reid, President Obama and all Democrats in the House and Senate.  By not backing down to the extra-constitutional threats of the teabagger-led Republicans, you were upholding the best traditions of our democracy.  Thanks to all of you.

"Vut Konzdidution? I Um Ahnald"

You'll chuckle when you see this item that actor and former Gov. Arnold "Der Ahnald" Schwarznegger might run for President in 2016, and could challenge the Constitutional provision permitting only "native-born" citizens to run for President.  Der Ahnald, who was born in Osterreich Austria, has a very, um, checkered past, including an affair with his housekeeper that resulted in a child, and allegations of sexual misconduct throughout his bodybuilding and film career.  His autobiography also presents some problems for Der Ahnald, including his admiration for Hitler's oratory. (That might help him with the teabaggers).

We doubt anyone outside of Der Ahnald's posse takes this nonsense seriously.  Indeed, the timing of Der Ahnald's musings is suspiciously timed to coincide with the release of yet another of his "action" films (with fellow Rethug geezer Sly Stallone).  Pure coincidence, no doubt.

(photo:  Some habits are hard to break...)

Reading Assignment For Tailgunner Ted

Now that reactionary demagogue Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz's brilliant plan to shut down the Government has blown up in his face and damaged the Stupid Party, he has some free time to read.  The Borowitz Report has learned that Tailgunner Ted is using his spare time to actually read the Affordable Care Act.  After that, he's reportedly planning to read the U.S. Constitution.  We hope he focuses on the 14th Amendment, which we quote in part:
"Section 4. The validity of the public debt of the United States, authorized by law, including debts incurred for payment of pensions and bounties for services in suppressing insurrection or rebellion, shall not be questioned."(emphasis added) 

Thursday, October 17, 2013

Post-Apocalypse Rethuglican Paranoid Syndrome

"He's [Obama] trying to destroy the Republican party, not to get good policies." -- Rep. Raul Labrador (Tea Party-IDiot).  Actually, Republicans are doing a damn good job of destroying the Republican Party without any help from Democrats or Obama.

So [Obama’s] looking to immigration, he’s looking to carbon taxes and other stuff in the future. If he can split the Republicans in the House, essentially, he regains control of the two houses of Congress and he might be able to enact his agenda. I think that’s what he’s up to." --  right-wing Obama Derangement Syndrome sufferer Charles "Kraphammer" KrauthammerObama might be "up to" enacting his agenda.  Hmmm.  What a curious thing for a twice-elected president to do, Inspector Kraphammer!

Look for more of this "them and us", "hang together or hang separately" messaging coming out of parts of the fractured New Confederate/ Rethuglican/ Stupid Party.  You can almost smell the desperation.

Bitter Tea Cartoons of the Day

(Click to enlarge)

(Top, Tony Auth, center, Pat Oliphant, bottom, Stuart Carlson)

The Teathuglicans are taking it hard on the chin for their destructive behavior, as they should and more.  As expected, they're trotting out the old right wing "stab in the back / dolchstoss" explanation, popularized by the far right in Germany after losing WWI.

Even A Blind Squirrel....

...sometimes finds a nut.  Here's conservative pundit, and therefore a blind squirrel, Ross Douthat in the New York Times writing about the Teathuglican wingnuts' failed extortion ploy:
"It was an irresponsible, dysfunctional and deeply pointless act, carried out by a party that on the evidence of the last few weeks shouldn’t be trusted with the management of a banana stand, let alone the House of Representatives."
First, that's an insult to banana stand operators, Mr. Douthat. Second, the title of his piece is "A Teachable Moment." Those wingnuts aren't teachable, much less sane.

Wednesday, October 16, 2013

Question of the Day

From Balloon-Juice:

Could pooping in one’s chapeau have consequences this time?

Answer:  Je crois que non.  They won't notice what's in their hats, because they're sh*theads anyway.

Today's Republican Rout... and the Schadenfreude

As we prepare to see the New Confederate/ Republican/ Stupid Party surrender at Appomattox in the House, HuffPo has some of the media take, which over time will become the accepted, irrefutable  narrative of this Republican disaster:
Politico called Boehner's efforts a "disaster."
The Washington Post described it as a "humiliating failure," and said Boehner and his leadership colleagues had " lost all control of their majority."
An editorial from the arch-conservative Wall Street Journal board fumed about the GOP strategy, saying that the House caucus "might as well hand the Speaker's gavel to Senate Democratic leader Harry Reid" and urging Republicans to give up their fight.
Things were not much better on the morning shows.
"After a shutdown that lasted 16 days, a shutdown led by House the end of today, those Republicans may leave with little to nothing to show for it," NBC's Peter Alexander said.

"House Republicans are the clear losers," was how ABC's Jon Karl put it. "They pushed to the brink and have nothing to show for it.
If it hadn't affected so damn many innocent people and put the well-being of our nation at peril, you'd be tempted to pop the champagne corks.  Also, it's useful to remember, as we take pleasure in their misfortune, that these miserable clowns aren't going anywhere soon.  There will be more destructive mischief from them in the future, count on it.

But, because life is short and uncertain, and we may never see the likes of this again, allow us a little schadenfreude:

Cruzin' For A Brusin'

Many right-wing fanatics are angry over their hero, Tex-ass demagogue Sen. "Tailgunner" Ted Cruz's folding on the vote to open the Government and extend the debt ceiling into next year.  After his infamous meeting with Teathuglican House members urging them to "stand fast" earlier this week at the Capitol Hill restaurant "Tortilla Coast", where Rethug House Majority Whip Kevin McCarthy was actually sitting at another table but not invited (!) to Tailgunner's "secret" meeting, Cruz is now seen as the most hated man on Capitol Hill for his self-serving grandstanding and for his willingness to throw his fellow Stupid Party members under the bus as he runs for cover and tries to save his political scalp.

Couldn't happen to a more despicable clown.

BONUS:  Weigel says the knives are already out in the wingnutosphere for Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell and "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner:
But you can already see how the conservative base will remember this episode. It won't be a story of Republicans making a huge strategic error and bumbling into an Obamacare-defunding fight without the votes to ever win. It will be a story of wimpy party leaders selling out. The shutdown would have been winnable if they hadn't sold out.
"Winnable."  Riiiiight!

(photos:  Tailgunner Ted and Tailgunner Joe McCarthy:  reincarnation on display)

Quotable Quotes

The Teathuglicans have tarnished their party so badly that, despite cynical and transparent photo ops by Sen. "Tailgunner" Ted Cruz and Winky Palin, the public knows who is to blame for this manufactured crisis (74% oppose the Stupid Party's tactics).  Savor the humiliation of the teabaggers as the vote in the House today is expected to accept the Senate bill to re-open the Government and lift the debt limit.  Some thoughts from some nominally sane Rethugs:
"Nothing positive will be achieved by prolonging this shutdown any longer, or crossing the debt limit threshold.  It’s time for my colleagues to face reality." -- Rep. Jaime Herrera Beutler (WA)

"This party is going nuts.  So many people I run into who are normal people -- and I hate to use that term -- they just can't understand what's going on. On this one they can't even see both sides. They just think Republicans are crazy. That's it. They see no justification for any of this."  -- Rep. Peter King (NY)

“Republicans have to understand we have lost this battle, as I predicted weeks ago, that we would not be able to win because we were demanding something that was not achievable.”  -- Sen. John McCain (AZ)
The only regret is that the 2014 mid-term elections aren't this November, because many Americans (cough low-information voters cough) have a short memory.

Rep. Connolly Nails It

You may have heard that the Teathuglican caucus broke into a chorus of "Amazing Grace" yesterday after they voted down the latest compromise to re-open the Government and avoid a default on the debt.  The self-righteous clowns apparently don't realize that "Amazing Grace" is a favored song at funerals.  Dem Rep. Gerry Connolly (VA) did notice, and delivered this perfect-pitch smack down: 
"I hope they understand the derivations of those lyrics.  It was written by a slave trader who came to be filled with remorse for his actions. His words say, 'I was blind but now I see' ... He is remorseful for his past and takes responsibility for those actions and sees the saving light of grace, even for a wretch like himself."  
When he was asked what the Dems would sing once the Government re-opened and the debt ceiling was lifted, Connolly quipped "Here Comes The Sun."  Well done, Congressman.

Mid-Week Wake Up Song

"Wake Me Up" by Grammy-nominated Swedish artist Avicii (a.k.a. Tim Bergling) was released this past summer and has topped the charts in 20 countries (note that the last minute of the video is from his June 2013 concert in Seoul, South Korea). Listening to the vocals, it's more like listening to a country artist, the influence is so strong, and different from his previous work. Enjoy.

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

How's That Republican Rebranding Coming Along?

A participant in last weekend's million couple hundred vets low-information voter march (h/t LGF):

If you think for an instant that this dimbulb doesn't represent the core zeitgeist of the New Confederate/Rethuglican base, and that the treason flag he's got in his left paw is "heritage, not hate," you should go pick up Tony Horwitz' excellent book (published in 1998!) "Confederates in the Attic."  (Also:  "Impeach Obama." Yeah, in your fever-dreams.)

(h/t P.E.C. for the book!)

You Said It

"Wow. Washington has not seen a gathering of intellects like that since the last time Dan Quayle dined alone." -- Charles P. Pierce on Sen. "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz' shutdown/ debt ceiling hostage-taking "strategery" meeting with 15-20 of the most reactionary Republican dimbulbs in the House, including Reps. "Screwy Louie" Gohmert, Steve "Lyin'" King,  Jim "Air(head)" Jordan, and Justin "Mish" Amash.

The Critical Next 48 Hours

As we near Thursday's debt ceiling cliff, the Senate is apparently close to a deal on re-opening the Government through January 15 and extending the debt ceiling to February 7.  The Rethuglicans would be required to join a Senate-House conference on the FY 2014 budget (something the Dems have been asking for since last spring), and there's some slim hope that the sequester numbers will yield to something more fair to working families.  As for the debt ceiling, the Teathuglican radicals have so alienated traditional Rethug backers like the Chamber of Commerce and Wall Street that they may not want to make the February 7 date another Waterloo for themselves.  A better path would have been to extend the debt ceiling date through the end of the fiscal year (September 30) and dare the wingnuts to play with it weeks before the elections.  Here's the New York Times' editorial on the state of play, and their wrap-up:
"Assuming the Senate reaches a deal on Tuesday, it would only go into effect if Speaker John Boehner allows it to go to a vote in the House. If he continues to cater to the Tea Party wing of his caucus, piling on new demands, the delay could be catastrophic — a 'rapidly spreading fatal disease,' as the co-chief executive of Deutsche Bank put it. The time to stop it has arrived."

Monday, October 14, 2013

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

(Click to enlarge)

If only the Affordable Care Act roll-out at the Federal level hadn't been bungled, there'd be more pushback on the wingnuts.  Fortunately, the state-level exchanges are up and operating, and health insurance is being issued.

Teathuglican Shamelessness on Display

A couple of hundred right-wing teabagger radicals led by demagogue Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz and teabagger icon and nincompoop Sarah "Winky" Palin collected on the Mall yesterday in front of the WWII memorial and the White House to idiotically blame the closings on President Obama.   Waving Confederate flags and sporting redneck gear, they listened to shutdown instigator Tailgunner Ted lie about his leading role in the shutdown of memorials and veterans' services.  Winky, who can't resist a TV camera, delivered her usual word-salad that suggested that the President wasn't a good commander-in-chief.

Today, there are reports that the teabaggers hijacked the event from the organizers of the Million Veterans March, which issued a statement that,
"The political agenda put forth by a local organizer in Washington DC was not in alignment with our message. We feel disheartened that some would seek to hijack the narrative for political gain."
The radical right realizes the strategic blunder that they made in shutting down the Government and threatening default on the debt to extract concessions that failed at the ballot box last November.  Now their only game is to falsely blame the fiasco on those who are trying to stop them.  Cowards.

Sunday, October 13, 2013

Plutocrat Watch

Well at least some folks aren't feeling the pinch of the Government shutdown or middle class woes:
Romney Car Elevator Mansion 
Receives Final Approval

Has he lost count of how many homes he has yet?

Photo of the Week

The First Family meets human rights and education activist Malala Yousafzai (center) in the White House Oval Office.  Malala, who is just 16, is the survivor of a vicious attack by a Pakistani Taliban gunner who objected to her wanting to attend school.  She has become the international symbol of rights for women of all ages, has spoken to the U.N., and been nominated for the Nobel Peace Prize for her courageous fight for women's education and human rights.  Characteristically outspoken, she also urged the President to stop drone strikes because they were alienating innocent civilians in Pakistan.

(White House photo by Pete Souza)

Sunday Football Funnies

(Click to enlarge)

Pressure is mounting on the Washington Redskins to change their offensive name, but as long as greedhead and owner Little Danny Snyder has his way, that won't happen.   Why not keep the Native American symbol, but go with a name like the "Buckskins,"  as a reference to the clothing that both Native Americans and frontiersmen wore.  They'd still be referred in shorthand as the 'Skins, and (of most interest to Little Danny) sales of the new paraphernalia (caps, jerseys, etc.) would bring in huge revenues.

(top: Tom Toles, bottom, Mike Luckovich, via

Saturday, October 12, 2013

Historic Turning Point Quote of the Day

"This is one of those turning points in American political history, the kind you’ll tell your grandkids you were around to see: a once-respectable party that finally was eaten alive by the cultural rage it had so long used to its advantage but held in check in order to win elections. It was a long time coming and it’s a grand thing to watch, provided they don’t wreck the country along with themselves."  --  Michael Tomasky, writing in the Daily Beast, describing the unfolding collapse of the Rethug extortion strategy that drove it to the bottom of the polls.  The "mad dogs," as Tomasky describes them, are still holding forth today at the ironically-named "Value Voters Summit" (key speakers:  Glenn "Boo Hoo" Beck and Michele "Crazy Eyes" Bachmann), their words reverberating in an echo chamber of their own making.

"Government of the People..." Cartoon of the Day

(Click to enlarge)

What used to be the "Party of Lincoln" some 50 years ago has devolved into a sad replica of the Confederacy, with all of its prejudices, hatred of the Federal system and anti-democratic impulses.

The main political fight now is between the "establishment" Rethugs and the crazies of the Tea Party movement, who have deluded themselves into thinking (thanks to wealthy right-wingers and Fux "News") that they represent "the people."  Nothing could be further from the truth.

Screwy's Latest Slander

This blog's no friend of Sen. John "Grampypants" McCain, but while we often question his politics and judgement, we've never questioned his loyalty to his country.  Frankly, only a demagogue would do that.  Enter Texas teabagger extremist Rep. Louie "Screwy" Gohmert (Loon-TX), who according to reports:
".....implied that Sen. John McCain is a supporter of al Qaeda. In his opening statement at a town hall forum during Washington, D.C.’s Values Voters Summit, an annual conservative meeting, Gohmert attacked a certain Arizona senator—who was very clearly not Jeff Flake—as 'a guy who's been to Syria and supported al Qaeda and rebels.'"
Grampypants' injuries sustained during his capture and imprisonment in North Vietnam render him incapable of raising his arms above a certain level.  So while McCain's office has already said he wouldn't dignify Screwy's remarks by commenting, we were hoping that McCain's condition won't prevent the Arizona Senator from beating the sh*t out of Screwy for his slander at some point.

Friday, October 11, 2013

Here's The Deal....

....President Obama and the Dems are in an historically strong position vis-a-vis the despised teabagger-dominated Rethuglican / New Confederate Party.  They should set the deal thusly:  without precondition, open the Government through FY 2014 and increase the debt limit through January 2015.  We'll give you the sequestration budget levels plus cost-of-living adjustment for FY2014 with a separate, significant jobs / stimulus program like 2009's.  No change in "ObamaCare" and no discussion on entitlement programs until after the 2014 mid-term elections.  That's more than fair.  TAKE IT OR LEAVE IT.

Weekend Song

The Byrds' late,  great Gene Clark wrote and sings this melancholy ballad, which appeared on their second album.   (Maybe "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner will set the hostages free this time, too?)  Have a great weekend.

Tweet of the Day

Charge of the Right Brigade

After yesterday's bombshell NBC/Wall St. Journal poll rocked Rethugs on Capitol Hill, showing their brand in free fall with voters who dislike their extortionist approach, one would think that the "leaders" of the debacle would have learned something.  One would be wrong.

Speaking this morning at the ironically-named "Value Voters Summit" -- a collection of far-right wingers who make up the American Taliban -- radical Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz insisted that his teabagger counterparts in the House hold firm and demand defunding of the Affordable Care Act in return for opening the Government.  This nutty and futile position has even been disavowed by the notorious Koch operation, among others.  It's what is driving the Rethug and teabagger numbers into the toilet.

While this has proven to be a lucrative fundraising gambit for Tailgunner Ted and the "Senate Conservative Fund" -- a front outfit of Jim "Demented" DeMint's Heritage Foundation -- no one in his or her right mind thinks that this will happen while President Obama has the veto pen and Dems control the Senate.  But feeding the reactionary mouthbreathers their red meat while separating them from their money is important to keep the wingnut welfare apparatus alive.