Saturday, May 31, 2014

Clinton Again To Address Benghazi Attack

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the presumed front-runner for the Democratic Presidential nomination in 2016, has a book coming out shortly in which she blasts the Benghazi! Benghazi! BENGHAZI!! circus that the Rethugs are using to damage her credentials.  As she says in an excerpt from the book:
"Those who exploit this tragedy over and over as a political tool minimize the sacrifice of those who served our country. Those who insist on politicizing the tragedy will have to do so without me.  I will not be a part of a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans."
We believe there's nothing the Rethugs won't try to do to undermine their most daunting opponent, including what Clinton calls "a political slugfest on the backs of dead Americans."  Every important question has been asked and answered, so now all the Rethugs can do is continue to spin conspiracy theories and fling poo, hoping that enough Americans who haven't been paying close attention will see a cloud of dust, hear the word "investigation" over and over, and assume there's something there that isn't.

Saturday Cartoons - Happiness Is A Warm Gun Edition

(click to enlarge)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Drew Sheneman, The Star-Ledger, Newark, NJ)

Friday, May 30, 2014

Binders Full of Women Quote of the Day

"She was raised here, she worked on a farm.  She didn't just sit at home needle-pointing, as you know, she was doing some work on the farm – squealing work on the farm."-- (emphasis added) plutocratic gaffe machine Willard "Mittens" Romney, stumping in Iowa for far-right Rethug senatorial candidate Joni "The Castrator" Ernst.  That needle-pointing crack should go over well with Iowa's women, but then Willard always did enjoy paging through those binders full of women.

Weekend Twofer

Prematurely, The Byrds co-founder Gene Clark passed away just over 23 years ago, on May 24, 1991, at 46.  A prolific songwriter, Clark's output with The Byrds is some of the best work that group produced.  Here,  from their first album (1965's "Mr. Tambourine Man") is Clark's gorgeous ballad "I Knew I'd Want You."

Fast forwarding to 1967, David Crosby breathily introduces the Clark-less Byrds, before the iconic South African jazz trumpeter Hugh Masekela joins them on the rousing "So You Want To Be A Rock And Roll Star."  (Well do ya'?!)

Enjoy the music and your weekend.

Changes At The VA

Secretary of Veterans Affairs Eric Shinseki resigned this morning during a meeting with President Obama, as evidence mounted that scheduling records for veterans' care in VA medical facilities was being falsified and manipulated.  Shinseki, himself a decorated combat veteran and former Army Chief of Staff, said for him to remain to clean up the system would be "a distraction."  The President named VA Deputy Secretary Sloan Gibson to temporarily replace Shinseki while a search for a permanent Secretary gets underway.

The vast majority of veterans receive quality care in VA facilities, once they get in to see a doctor.  However, much of the problem stems from perverse incentives put in place by VA management that encouraged falsification of appointment records, etc. *  Shinseki was clearly misled by subordinates as to the credibility of waiting times for care, something he referred to today as "a breach of integrity."  The Justice Department is looking into possible criminal charges for those falsifying official records at VA facilities.

*BONUS:  Peter Schuck has a thoughtful column in today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle that allocates blame more broadly =cough= Congress =cough=.

Asymmetric Quote of the Day

"Republicans have become a radical insurgency—ideologically extreme, contemptuous of the inherited policy regime, scornful of compromise, unpersuaded by conventional understanding of facts, evidence, and science; and dismissive of the legitimacy of their political opposition. The evidence of this asymmetry is overwhelming." -- Brookings Institution's Thomas Mann, discussing the blatant dishonesty of the Beltway media's "blame both sides" / "false equivalency" story line.  Read Mann's article here, and understand how extremist Republican obstruction is harming the U.S. with the tacit complicity of our broken media.

(h/t to Daily Kos)

From The Sports Desk...

Item #1:  The PR department of Washington's football team thought it would be a clever idea to troll team critic Sen. Harry Reid by asking their fans to tweet their support of the team's racist name to his account.  It bombed spectacularly, as a large majority took the opportunity to criticize the team's ownership for resisting a name change (btw, ask yourself whether you would call a Native American a "redskin" to his or her face.  Right, enough said).  Any more bright ideas, Li'l Danny Snyder?

Item #2:  The NBA Clippers have apparently found a new sucker owner:  Steve "Gimme The" Ballmer, who paid an incredible $2 billion for a team that only recently had a projected value of $750 - $850 million tops.  The estranged (and soon to be divorced) wife of racist owner Donald Sterling, acting for the Sterling family trust, ok'ed the Clippers' sale to the former Microsoft executive.  Suffice it to say that Gimme The Ballmer was…er…Clipped.

Thursday, May 29, 2014

In More Ways Than One Quote of the Day, Extended Play Edition

"I've been confused for Anthony Weiner twice now. I don't know how this keeps happening," [Wisconsin Republican Rep. Paul] Ryan told a group of Republicans on Wednesday at an event in Mount Pleasant, Mich., according to

Note to Ryan:  When people yell, "Hey, wiener!" at you, they're not referring to former New York Congressman Weiner.

Glasses Are Temporary, Stupid's Forever

News that Texas Gov. and future LensCrafter spokesmodel Rick "Oops" Perry is once again testing the Presidential waters in Iowa is cause for anticipatory merriment.  Oops is in Iowa ostensibly campaigning for Iowa Governor Terry Branstad and other wingers, but he wants to refurbish his image from 2012, where he finished fourth in the Iowa Rethug primary behind such political geniuses as Rick "Frothy Mix" Santorum and Ron "Race War" Paul.

Oops was one of the biggest punch-lines in the 2012 Rethuglican Presidential clown car primary, and despite his acquisition of serious glasses to make him appear smarter, he's the same dumbass Governor elected by dumbass Texans.  Get the popcorn ready for the coming buffoonery.

Cartoons of the Day

(click to enlarge)

Revealing factoid:  at the NRA headquarters in Northern Virginia, part of the Second Amendment is chiseled into the building's granite wall.  It begins with, "...the right of the people to keep and bear Arms, shall not be infringed."  What's deliberately missing is the preceding phrase, "A well regulated Militia, being necessary to the security of a free State…."   Surprise.

The mentally ill have become the un-regulated militia undermining our security with their Second Amendment "rights."

(cartoons: top, Pat Oliphant, bottom Jack Ohman, via

In More Ways Than One Quote of the Day

 "Let's not be totally unfair, I am much smaller now than I used to be.  I used to be bigger." -- New Jersey Rethuglican mob boss Gov. Chris "Krispykreme" Christie, at a recent "town hall" meeting (i.e., a Krispykreme supporters rally).   Krispykreme's lost weight as a result of last year's lap-band surgery.  But the political extortion and revenge games played by Krispykreme's gang in New Jersey have sunk his Presidential hopes, and more scandal is yet to come as a Federal grand jury and legislative investigations continue.

Smaller indeed.

Wednesday, May 28, 2014

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept. - The "R" Word Edition

From yesterday's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle, William Ade writes regarding a letter sent by the president and general manager of Washington's football team (i.e., Bruce Allen, brother of former Republican Sen. George "Macaca" Allen) to Sen. Harry Reid on May 23.  Reid and 49 other Democratic senators had previously written the NFL asking the league to endorse a team name change:
I wonder if Redskins owner Daniel Snyder and General Manager Bruce Allen and National Football League Commissioner Roger Goodell address Native Americans in person as “our honorable redskin friends.” When handing out tablet computers to Native American children, does Mr. Snyder tell them that being called a “redskin” is something they should be proud of, that having their heritage serve a sports brand worth millions to Mr. Snyder and his partners has “deep and purposeful meaning”?  
I don’t expect those gentlemen to admit the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of their arguments; there is just too much money involved. But for the rest of us, this argument that a group of wealthy, white sports executives are honest arbiters of how Native Americans should feel is a charade. 
William Ade, Burke
Mr. Ade is correct in saying Li'l Danny Snyder, his butt-boy Bruce Allen, and Commissioner Goodfella Goodell would never admit the intellectual and moral bankruptcy of their arguments. Frankly, it's long been obvious that the only color that gets their attention is green.  If Li'l Danny could profitably own and market a team named the Washington Shitsacks, he would vow to never change that name either.

Today, Native American, civil rights and religious leaders are sending a letter to every NFL player asking them to add their voices to the campaign to get the team's name changed.  Maybe shaming will lead to shunning, and shunning will lead to the change needed.

(Image:  Li'l Danny Snyder, ethically but not financially bankrupt.)

Coming Back To Bite Them

From the early days of the Affordable Care Act, the right-wing has been furiously and serially lying about the health insurance reform legislation.  "Death panels," "socialized medicine," and "you won't have a choice," were some of the standard falsehoods.  Of course, the village media largely failed to correct the record, preferring to keep score as to who "won" the "debate."

Now, with the ACA exceeding enrollment goals and gaining popularity as more people sign up, the Dems are on the offensive for a change in several election contests, where "Obamacare" is not proving to be the wedge issue the Rethuglicans had hoped.  Senate Minority Leader and human / turtle hybrid Mitch "Missy" McConnell was just lambasted for dishonestly claiming he would repeal "Obamacare" while at the same time preserving the highly popular state exchange, Kynect, which was formed under the ACA.  Thankfully, Dem candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes was quick to slam Missy's deceit, as was the Lexington Herald-Leader, one of Kentucky's major newspapers.

The dishonest campaign to torpedo the ACA seems to be coming back to bite many Rethug politicians. Sadly for them, getting bitten in the ass isn't covered under the ACA.

BONUS:  This Hackwhacker can personally attest to the turning of the worm on Obamacare.  I heard a radio ad for Democratic congressional candidate Don Beyer today, who's running in the 8th District in Virginia (admittedly a safe Democratic seat in recent years).  Playing a clip of President Obama saying the debate on the ACA was over, Beyer promised to defend Obamacare.  Oh, he also referred to himself as a "progressive."

Maya Angelou, 1928 - 2014

Poet and artist Maya Angelou has died at the age of 86.  Since 1982 a professor of American Studies at Wake Forest University, Angelou achieved fame for her 1970 work "I Know Why The Caged Bird Sings."  She's won Grammy awards for spoken word albums, the Presidential Medal of Freedom, and the National Book Award.  Coming from a harsh background that included dancing at a strip club in her teens, and rape at age 7 by her mother's boyfriend, Angelou later befriended Presidents and artists alike and became an icon to generations.  RIP.

Mid-Week Whispers Song

Following up the hit "Let Her Go" from last year,  Passenger (a.k.a., Englishman Michael Rosenberg) has a new album, "Whispers," coming out in June.  Here's the lovely title track from that album.

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

How Low Can You Go? (Cont.)

Responding to the recent shootings in Santa Barbara, Richard Martinez, the father of one of the victims, spoke out against the gun violence:
"Our son Christopher [Michael-Martinez] and six others are dead," Richard Martinez told reporters gathered outside a sheriff's station for a news conference the day after the shootings near the University of California, Santa Barbara, where the 20-year-old son was a sophomore. "You don't think it'll happen to your child until it does."  [snip] 
"The talk about gun rights. What about Chris' right to live?" Martinez said. "When will enough people say: 'Stop this madness! We don't have to live like this! Too many people have died!"
Of course, that can't be allowed to stand, so the knuckledraggers of the gun fondler set sprang into action immediately.  Here's a small, but representative sample of their wit and wisdom:

Tea bagger Republican icon Samuel "Joe the (Not) Plumber" Wurzelbacher manned the battle station he calls his website (!):
I am sorry you lost your child. I myself have a son and daughter and the one thing I never want to go through, is what you are going through now. But: 
As harsh as this sounds – your dead kids don’t trump my Constitutional rights.
Somewhat more unhinged comments came from a Twitter twit, Todd "Loose" Kincannon former executive director of the Republican Party of South Carolina, who ejaculated this:
Fuck him. He is a piece of shit. His tragedy sucks, but he blamed me for it and wants to take away my rights. The guy is trying to take away my rights to protect my family. Fuck him every day of the week and twice on Sunday. [snip] 
No idea how my son will die, but I know it won't be cowering like a bitch at UC Santa Barbara. Any son of mine would have been shooting back.
Well, Todd (who apparently and most unfortunately has already bred) has made despicable remarks in the past, but this is about as Low As You Can Go.   If there's such a thing as karma, it's going to land on Todd and "Joe the (Not) Plumber" like a ton of bricks some day.

Lookit Me! I'm The Smart One!

There's an obvious campaign underway by the usual suspects who brought us the Dumbya Debacle to assure us that brother John Ellis "Jeb" Bush isn't viewed as a cretin like his older brother.  Peppering his speeches with words that his older brother wouldn't recognize and helpfully providing the courtier press with a list of books Jebster's allegedly read are part of a campaign to distance him from Dumbya's deserved image as a dunce, and create an image for a 2016 race.

We don't think it's going to matter to the Rethug base.  First, because the ruling base of the Republican / Stupid Party didn't have a problem with Dumbya's stupidity;  indeed, they applaud straight talkin', gut-checkin' man-of-action guys who can't be bothered to get his facts straight.  Second, Jebster's seen as a RINO to most of the ruling base, and however much he quotes libertarian horse manure, they know in his heart he's all Connecticut Yankee.  He can't read that away.

(photo: Dumb and Dumbya)

Monday, May 26, 2014

Memorial Day 2014

Remembering those soldiers, sailors and airmen that died in war.   Peace.

(photo:  Boston Commons)

Sunday, May 25, 2014

Cartoon of the Day

How sad that the long-term, systemic screw-ups at Veterans Affairs hospitals are overshadowing the Memorial Day weekend and honoring our veterans. Falsifying appointment scheduling metrics so that VA administrators can look good, while vets die waiting for care, is obscene.  During the surprise visit of the President to Afghanistan earlier today, we wonder how many men and women in that audience were worried about the care they're likely to receive from the VA once home.

We've been critical of President Obama over other management failings (e.g., the bungled health care roll-out), but this is especially galling.  If there were criminal acts involved in the falsification of records, they need to come down hard with firings and indictments, and make sure that in the last two years of his Administration they get it right.

(cartoon:  Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette via

Saturday, May 24, 2014

The "10 Dumbest States"

If you're guessing there's a direct correlation between "dumb States" and "Stupid Party," you are CORRECT, sir!   (Only #6 Nevada has gone Democratic in the last several presidential elections;  the rest are solidly Republican/ Stupid Party.)

Tailgunner Ted Cruz To Sheeple: Dems Want To Repeal First Amendment!

Let the fundraising grifting begin! This is what you get when you elect a P.T. Barnum Elmer Gantry Joe McCarthy Tailgunner Ted Cruz (Teabag-TX) to the Senate:
Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX) drew audible gasps Thursday when he told gathering of Christian conservatives that Democrats intended to amend the Constitution to limit free speech. 
“When you think it can’t get any worse, it does,” Cruz warned at the Watchmen on the Wall gathering of pastors sponsored by the Family Research Council. 
“This year, I’m sorry to tell you, the United States Senate is going to be voting on a constitutional amendment to repeal the First Amendment,” Cruz said, to the audible shock of the crowd.  (our emphasis)
Of course, that's not quite an accurate description of Senate Joint Resolution 19:
The Tea Party-backed senator said Senate Democrats intend to vote this year on Senate Joint Resolution 19, which would effectively undo the unpopular U.S. Supreme Court decisions on campaign financing in the Citizens United and McCutcheon cases.  (our emphasis)
Tailgunner Ted followed with this line, guaranteed to empty the pockets of galvanize the assembled nitwits:
“I am telling you, I am not making this up.” 
No, he's not making it up;  as usual, it's something he pulled straight out of his ass.

It's no revelation that Republicans want us to believe "money equals speech" in politics (see aforementioned Citizens United and McCutcheon cases decided by the Republican/ corporate majority on the Supreme Court).  Right-wingers are deathly afraid of "one man, one vote" democracy, preferring to limit voting turnout as much as possible through a variety of voter suppression methods or, when speaking candidly, limiting voting to property owners.  Given the talibangelist audience he was addressing, they'd probably also prefer to limit voting to evangelical Christians.  That's their concept of a "republic," versus a "democracy."

If you think Tailgunner Ted's remarks came out of nowhere (other than his ass), we have this:
The Republican National Committee filed a lawsuit against the Federal Election Commission on Friday seeking the ability to raise unlimited donations from individuals, the latest attempt by the GOP to reverse a seminal 2002 campaign finance overhaul. 
In its suit, the party committee argues that it has a First Amendment right to raise the kind of massive contributions that now fuel super PACs and other independent groups. Currently, individuals can only give $32,400 a year to party committees. Overturning that limit would knock out a major plank of the McCain-Feingold Act, which banned parties from accepting soft money.  (our emphasis)
So, the Republican counter to closing the Supreme Court's decisions to let plutocrats further corrupt the political system is to argue for an even bigger hole in the law to allow the party apparatus to rake in more Koch ca$h.  If that doesn't make you sick, you may want to check your pulse.

(Image:  Tailgunner Ted Cruz with his Doppelganger and political lodestar, the original "Tailgunner," Joe McCarthy.)

Friday, May 23, 2014

Weasel of the Week: Sen. Marco Rubio

Watch Stephen Colbert's takedown of "youth icon" Florida Republican Sen. Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio's self-serving hedge on the question of whether he smoked pot (with an assist from Rubio "fan" David):

Weekend Trying To Be Cool Song

Blogging may be a little light this Memorial Day weekend, as we connect with family and practice our anger management techniques.  In the meantime, enjoy "Trying To Be Cool," by French (French?!) alt rock group Phoenix , from Versailles (Versailles?!).  Also, we love the names of group leaders Thomas Mars and Deck d'Arcy.  Hope your weekend is tres formidable.

Thursday, May 22, 2014

Quitter Quote of the Day

“When you hold someone accountable, it takes some energy and some resource, and Barack Obama is lazy.  In fact, he warned us that he was lazy. And he attributed that to having brought up in Hawaii. It’s his words, not mine.” -- Snowbilly grifter Sarah "Quitter from Wasilla" Palin, commenting on the President's handling of the ongoing Veterans Affairs controversy.  It's worth remembering that this comment is from a person so lazy herself that she couldn't finish her term as Governor, or prepare herself for higher office by reading anything beyond ads for shoe sales.

Continuing her public primal scream therapy for having lost the 2008 election, the Quitter managed to leave out "shiftless," "black buck," "darky" and some other choice epithets from her comments.  We're certain she'll work them into her future commentary.

"We Have Met The Tea Party And It Is Us"

(click to enlarge)

(Jim Morin, The Miami Herald)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Following this week's primaries in various states, the "Republican Establishment is back!" narrative is being breathlessly flogged by the usual, lazy Beltway political analysts and Republican-wired reporters (curiously employed by the "liberal" once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle).  But as Charles P. Pierce aptly puts it:
The basic lesson of last night's primary elections in several states is not to nominate morons. It is decidedly not the comeback of the "Establishment Republicans" because that myth depends vitally on two assertions that are demonstrably unproven in this political era: a) that "Establishment" somehow means "moderate," and b) that there is any such thing as a Republican establishment, or as a formal Republican party, for that matter. What happened in Kentucky, and in various other places where GOP statewide races were contested, was that one group of very conservative, very wealthy, very powerful people sponsored candidates who beat other candidates who were sponsored by other groups of very conservative, very wealthy, very powerful people. (our emphasis)
Jon Stewart, who has more political savvy and insight than most of the hacks employed by the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle =cough= Cillizza =cough= Balz =cough=, had a great line about the win of human-turtle hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell (Reptile-KY) over a tea bagger:
"Doesn't seem like the Tea Party so much lost, as found a new host."
When comedians and political cartoonists have it figured out and the beard-stroking punditry hasn't,  it tells you something about why the biggest political story of the last 25 years -- the radicalization of the Republican Party -- has gone largely unreported.

Fuxers Behaving Badly

Fux news anchor Gregg "Jarhead" Jarrett was arrested yesterday at a Minneapolis-St. Paul airport bar for interfering with a police officer during an investigation into his drunken behavior.   According to accounts, Jarhead was belligerent after being presented his bar bill.  After posting $300 bond at the Hennepin County jail, Jarhead was -- unfortunately -- released.

Following his arrest, he provided an "exclusive" first-person report on jail conditions in Minnesota (that last part was made up, of course).

Wednesday, May 21, 2014

Colbert on Republican Fear of Hillary Clinton

Stephen Colbert has a wonderful take on the Republicans' fear of a Hillary Clinton candidacy, particularly after reviewing the comparative likability of Republican sociopathic dimbulbs hopefuls ("Oh my God.  We've gotta hit her hard.").

Somebody Needs A Nap

Today's tweet from a twit:

That would be noted climatologist and host of "Wheel of Fortune" Pat Sajak, possibly drunk tweeting Monday night. Sajak is a noted Republican wingnut who favors the twitter machine, since it enables him to capture the entirety of his thinking within the comfy confines of 140 characters or less. No doubt in Sajak's "mind," the "racists" are people biased against rich, white, stupid game show hosts. Here are some funny tweets in response to Sajak's mini-rant. Good night.

UPDATE:  Here's some more, uh, sober reaction from clergy.

Arkansas ID-iot

We saw a bit of farce play out yesterday in Arkansas, where Rethuglican gubernatorial candidate Asa "Assa" Hutchinson showed up at his polling place without the ID required as a result of the voter suppression law passed by the reactionary Arkansas legislature, which he strongly supports.   Not to worry.  Assa dispatched an aide to fetch his ID while he waited at the polls.

Imagine a worker voting on his lunch break having to rush back to where he or she left an ID, or a mom having someone babysit while she went to vote, only to discover her ID missing.  They can't dispatch an "aide" to retrieve the ID.  That, it seems, is the whole point:  voter ID laws were meant to make voting more difficult for working and middle class people, not the Assas of the world, who can send their help if they forgot their ID.

(photo:  "I'll strike a casual pose while you fetch my identification.  And be quick… I tee off at the club in an hour.")

Muffins Anyone?

The Plum Line's Paul Waldman makes a valid point about the right-wing's knee-jerk "outrage" over gubmint waste, but only when that spending is on the civilian side of the ledger.  The story a few years ago about "$16 muffins" at a Department of Justice conference is a case in point.  However, giant defense contractors apparently don't merit the spotlight of the Fux Channel and the rest of the Wingnut Wurlitzer because….uh….freedumb!   (Also, Beltway reporters can understand muffins better than contractor invoices, which are too much work and not tasty).

Waldman references a story about $100 million in questionable billing by Northrup Grumman, including an enterprising employee that billed 100 hours per day to the Government contract.  We guarantee that if this were someone getting an extra Social Security check, or more than their share of food stamps, the Fuxers would be on it like white on black people.  Read the article for an explanation of why the right-wing and their media enablers won't find this contractor fraud compelling news.

Mid-Week Song

Nico and Vinz (formerly recording as "Envy") are an Afro-Norwegian (yes) duo that formed in Oslo in 2009.  This song, "Am I Wrong," was released on YouTube last year, and made its American radio debut last month.  It's already the most-added Top 40/mainstream record, and is in the top 10 iTunes singles chart.  The video was filmed in Botswana.  Enjoy their upbeat sound.

Tuesday, May 20, 2014

The Republican War On Women - Peach State Primary Day Edition

As we note below,  today is primary day in many states, among them a hotbed of crazy - the State of Georgia.  Each candidate running for the Republican Senatorial nomination has made his or her* own contribution to the Republican War on Women.  However, one candidate stands alone in his personal bidness experience with the challenges women face in the working world:
With Republicans trying to avoid a repeat of 2012's Todd Akin disaster and retake the Senate, the Georgia GOP establishment was happy to see David Perdue, a self-funded businessman, leading in the polls ahead of Tuesday's Senate primary. Compared to gaffe machines such as Rep. Paul Broun, who has pushed personhood for zygotes, and Rep. Phil Gingrey, who defended Akin's "legitimate rape" comment, the former Dollar General CEO seemed unlikely to introduce fraught gender issues into the general election—where Michelle Nunn, the likely Democratic nominee, is polling well against the GOP field. 
But Perdue's record on women's issues—specifically, whether women are entitled to equal pay for equal work—is far from clean. In 2006, three years into Perdue's four-plus years as Dollar General's CEO, federal investigators at the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission found that female store managers who worked for the company he ran "were discriminated against," and "generally were paid less than similarly situated male managers performing duties requiring equal skill, effort, and responsibility." A year later, separate from that investigation, thousands of female managers who were paid less than their male counterparts joined a class action suit against the company—which Dollar General eventually settled, paying the women more than $15 million.  (our emphasis)
* The one female candidate on the Republican side is Karen Handel, who burnished her credentials as a wingnut warrior when, as an official of the Susan G. Komen fund, she used her influence to defund grants to Planned Parenthood.  Following a firestorm, the nice lady was forced to resign in April 2012, hence her appearance in the Senate race, however briefly.

Crime Blotter Update: Arc of Justice Edition

Today we have two updates on court proceedings against ethically-challenged Republicans:

Former Virginia Gov. "Blowdry Bob" McDonnell:
The corruption trial against former Virginia Gov. Bob McDonnell and his wife, Maureen, is set to go to trial this summer after a judge tossed out a motion to dismiss most of the charges against the couple. 
U.S. District Judge James R. Spencer also ruled Tuesday that the former first couple should be tried together rather than apart.
Blowdry Bob's fall from potential Republican presidential hopeful to defendant in the dock has been breathtaking.  And quite satisfying.

Crackpot fabulistfamily values man, and conspiracy film maker Dinesh D'Souza:
Conservative writer Dinesh D'Souza has pleaded guilty to charges that he asked two associates to donate $10,000 to the Senate campaign of New York Republican Wendy Long, then illegally reimbursed them. D'Souza has also agreed not to contest any prison term between 10 and 16 months, though he won't be sentenced until Sept. 23...
If he does jail time, you can bet D'Souza will be among the sleaziest inmates no matter where he's sent. Should he receive prison time, a complimentary Hackwhackers Soap-On-A-Rope will be on its way to D'Souza for those communal prison showers.

The VA Curse Jar Is Brimming

The mess at the Department of Veterans Affairs continues with evidence that patient waiting lists were manipulated to falsely meet internal goals at several VA locations.  The Daily Show's Jon Stewart, who has made veterans' care a personal issue with him going back at least to lengthy backlogs in veteran benefit claims, took the VA to the woodshed again last night.

It's hard to watch VA Secretary Eric Shinseki, who courageously called "B.S." on troop levels needed for invading Iraq as Army Chief of Staff, come off as a bland company guy whose "mad as hell" comment doesn't wash.  But it's long past time for things to get shaken up at the VA.  Long past.

Quote of the Day, Redneck Chronicles

"A man in Tennessee was arrested for attempting to have sex with an ATM.  Even worse, he had to pay a penalty for early withdrawal." --  Stephen Colbert, in last night's opening teaser for The Colbert Report.  Funny because, #1, it's about a drunken guy in Tennessee, and #2, it's about a drunken guy in Tennessee.  Oh, and the guy also tried to hump a picnic table.

No wonder he missed the #OperationAmericanSpring festivities.

Primary Day In Several States

Several states are holding their primaries today to decide which candidates from their parties will face off in November.  Daily Kos has nice a state-by-state analysis of today's primary elections.

Much of the focus has been on internecine teabagger vs. "establishment" right-wing Republican fights in several states, most prominently in Kentucky, where Senate Minority Leader and human-turtle hybrid Mitch "Missy" McConnell has a solid lead over teahadist challenger Matt Bevin.  While Missy appears likely to win the challenge, he faces a much harder fight against presumptive Dem candidate Alison Lundergan Grimes in November.  Also, 25% of Bevin's supporters are saying they'll cross over and vote for Grimes in November.  Also worth watching is the right-wing free for all in Oregon, where the Rethug candidates were in the final poo-flinging stage of campaigning in the past week, including the news that frontrunner Monica "The Huntress" Wehby was accused of "stalking" her ex-husband and a former boyfriend.  Charming.

As in every election, turnout determines outcomes.  In the Rethug primary elections, the lunatic right can be assured of turning out for their teabagger candidates, and in the past they've given us the unelectable likes of Sharron Angle, Richard Mourdock and Todd Akin.  That's the good news.  If Dems don't turn out to vote in November in a big way, that's the bad news.

Monday, May 19, 2014

Bitter Irony Alert: Cheney Says Hillary Clinton Should Bear Benghazi Responsibility

Iraq War criminal, torture enthusiast and the man behind the smearing/ outing of a CIA agent, former President Vice President Dick "Five Vietnam Draft Deferments" Cheney, was on Fox "News" yesterday with his loathsome gargoyle of a wife Lynne, when Chris Wallace asked him about Hillary Clinton and Benghazi, Benghazi, Benghazi!!
“She was secretary of state at the time that it happened,” Cheney opined. “She was one of the first in Washington to know about it. I think she clearly bears responsibility for whatever the State Department did or didn’t do with respect to that crisis.”
Well, um, Dickwhistle, she already did take responsibility (October 16, 2012).  How about you?  Did you ever take responsibility for any of your illegal, immoral or unethical acts?  Being the soulless sociopath that you are, of course you haven't.  Had you done so, or had the Obama Administration prosecuted you as many hoped it would, you'd be giving interviews with a phone from behind a quarter inch of plexiglass.  But you're the luckiest son of a bitch in the world aren't you, unlike the nearly 3,000 victims of 9/11, pre-warnings of which the Bush Assministration chose to ignore, or the 4,486 Americans killed in Iraq and thousands more wounded (and many more thousand civilians dead)?

But, please feel free to opine about "responsibility."

Today's Tomorrow Cartoon

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In guns everywhere news, there's this story today about the death of a 6 year old playing with a loaded handgun in Texas, and another today about an 8 year old in Indiana fatally shooting himself.  The guns were left unlocked by the parents.  And, seven people shot in a bar in Ohio, where it's legal to bring your Glock (thanks, Republicans!).

Then there's Wayne "Craziest Man on Earth" Lapierre of the NRA, mocking the #BringBackOurGirls campaign, and suggesting that "force" is the only answer (as long as someone else does the fighting) whether a tyrant, terrorist or your garden variety kid-with-a-hoodie.  Any guesses on how many of the 276 kidnapped girls would have been immediately shot if General Lapierre had gone in with guns blazing?

Last but not least, there's the report that thousands of dollars worth of ammunition was distributed to "mentally unbalanced" loons hanging around Nevada deadbeat rancher/racist Cliven "Hoof" Bundy's hellhole ranch, waiting to start trouble.

(cartoon: Tom Tomorrow, via DailyKos)

Sunday, May 18, 2014

Civil Rights Landmark Observed

Yesterday was the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court's decision Brown v. Board of Education, which overturned the "separate but equal" ruling (Plessy v. Ferguson, 1896) which allowed de facto racial discrimination in public schools.  The wheels were set in motion by a 16 year-old African-American high school student, Barbara Rose Johns, who walked out of Moton High School in Farmville, VA, as recounted in this interesting article.

The civil rights gains of the last 60 years are far from being certain, as a hostile right-wing exercises its political muscle in state legislatures, Congress, and in the current Supreme Court to undermine voting rights and affirmative action legislation.  Although they've switched uniforms from Dixiecrats to Republicans in the intervening years since 1954, the same reactionary forces are working continuously and perniciously to turn the clock back to those segregated days.  They have to be defeated.

(photo:  Ft. Myers, VA elementary school on the first day of desegregation in Sept. 1954.  Bettman/Corbis)

Sunday Cartoon and Reading

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(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Leonard Pitts writes about the knee-jerk reaction of some on the right to the Twitter campaign #BringBackOurGirls that expressed support and concern for the Nigerian girls kidnapped by the terrorist group Boko Haram:
...As noted, [Rush] Limbaugh, [George F.] Will and the National Review have all pronounced themselves unimpressed. Donald Trump, Ann Coulter and Fox’s Steve Doocy have also made attempts at ridicule. 
There is something more than usually saddening about that. 
It is a truth curdling into cliche that American politics is riven by a partisan gap, left wing and right wing estranged from one another like the husband and wife in some long, bad marriage. But in its behavior here, the right does not so much seem estranged from a competing ideology as from its own humanity. 
How is this a thing? How is an expression of caring, concern and outrage deemed worthy of mockery and condemnation? Are these people truly that corroded with cynicism and bile? Is their criticism now just a tic, a reflex bypassing thought? Is every damn thing to be reduced to politics? 
Apparently, yes.
"Estranged...from its own humanity."  That captures so much of what the right wing and its vessel -- the Republican Party -- is today.  Whether it's denying health care to millions of Americans, or voting rights for minorities, or immigration reform, or women's reproductive rights, or equal pay, or same-sex marriage, or sensible gun laws, or You Name It, this is a collection of sociopaths masquerading as a political movement.  It's no wonder they reacted to #BringBackOurGirls the way they did.

Saturday, May 17, 2014

How Low Can You Go?

Only a tea bagger knows.   One might sink lower than this, but it would be hard to imagine:
A conservative Mississippi blogger was arrested Friday for sneaking into a nursing home to shoot a photo of the ailing wife of Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS). According to the Jackson Clarion-Ledger, 28-year-old Clayton Thomas Kelly — who was charged with exploitation of a vulnerable adult — wanted the image to use in a “hit piece” video supporting Cochran’s far-right Tea Party primary challenger, Chris McDaniel. 
Kelly runs the Constitutional Clayton blog, where he regularly posts anti-Cochran rants, screeds against the United Nations, posts defending religious discrimination against LGBT people and a smattering of posts heaping praise on McDaniel, who Kelly calls “the next Rand Paul.” 
The blogger wanted a photo of Rose Cochran — who was hospitalized for dementia in 2000 — for an anti-Cochran video that was posted on Kelly’s YouTube channel on April 26, but which only remained online for a few hours.
Already facing criminal penalties, Constitutional Clayton will hopefully get his ass sued off by Sen. Cochran's family.  McDaniel's campaign issued a strong disavowal and condemnation of their supporter's Constitutional Clayton's actions.  (UPDATE:  But there was some curious timing involved in their knowledge of the incident.  UPDATE II:  More to the story than meets the eye.)

Fortunately, once this has all blown over, Constitutional Clayton can certainly find employment with James "G. Gordon Diddy" O'Keefe's gang of immoral ratf*ckers.

(Photo:  Constitutional Clayton Thomas Kelly's mugshot, Madison MS Police Dept.;  the numbers on the board behind Constitutional Clayton are for IQ measurement.)

9,999,950 "Patriot" No-Shows In D.C.

The blog Raw Story has had the most extensive coverage of the wingnut wingding that was supposed to have drawn "10 to 30 million patriots" to Washington, D.C. yesterday to make public idiots of themselves overthrow Osamabama's gubmint tyranny and install "tribunals" of right wingers to run the nation….all Constitutionally, of course.  Well, the "patriots" must have gotten lost on their way to D.C., because the turnout wasn't enough to fill a Cracker Barrel store.  Not to worry:  a twitter site has been set up to 'splain the massive flop:  #AmericanSpringexcuses.  It's hilarious.  Rachel Maddow also took a swing at the seditious saps on her program last night.

While we can mock the pathetic turnout and mindlessness of people who think they're defending the Constitution by overthrowing the Government elected under the Constitution, it's disturbing that this level of ignorance and rage has grown exponentially since America elected its first African-American president.  We can laugh, but we can't ignore.

(photo:  They'll need a smaller gubmint to overthrow)

Letters We Wish We'd Written Dept.

At the risk of perpetuating what the letter writer rightly skewers the once great Washington Post  Bezos Bugle for,  here's a Letter We Wish We'd Written anyway:
After more than three years as a Post subscriber, I think I finally understand the newspaper’s editorial policy: Someone prominent makes a statement, and, no matter how outrageous or false, it becomes a peg for a news article to hang on. 
Case in point: Karl Rove suggested that Hillary Rodham Clinton might have suffered brain damage in a fall she took in December 2012. Rove said she was in a hospital for 30 days (actually, three) and that when she emerged she wore “glasses that are only for people who have traumatic brain injury” (actually, they were her regular glasses).

Rather than treat this as the nonsense it was, The Post published a serious analysis asking whether Clinton’s age and health will be an issue in the 2016 presidential election [news, May 14]. Mind you, Clinton is not yet a candidate for that election.
Rove must be delighted. Thanks to The Post, people are now discussing her age and health rather than why he continues to get a hearing in a serious newspaper. 
I can’t wait for the next two years to be over. 
Robert Rothman, Washington
Of course, the Bugle is not alone in catapulting Rove's nonsense to a national audience.  As Mr. Rothman notes, the media has already done Rove's job for him by getting people to talk about another non-issue.  It's a given by now that the "mainstream media" will continue to breathlessly report on any lie, smear, or crackpot conspiracy that someone, somewhere pulled out of their heinie -- the more outrageous, the better it seems.  (It's a lot more edgy than a report on global climate change;  who wants to hear about that again?!)  The same editorial "standards" that prompted the Bugle, CNN, etc., etc., to dissect Rove's patently absurd "diagnosis" operate every day in the ratings-obsessed, gutless,  "not my job to sort out the facts" (i.e., the "Chuck Todd maxim") newsrooms across the nation.  If you want to assign responsibility for the decline in American political discourse, look no further than that.

Friday, May 16, 2014

Weekend Song Bird

Normally, the song we'd bring you for the weekend would more likely be by The Byrds rather than... the birds.  But there are few creatures with as evocative and memorable a song as a wood thrush.  At some point, if you live in the United States east of the Great Plains, you might have heard the wood thrush on a summer stroll in the woods -- it's a sound that brings back memories of sun-dappled forests of childhood for us. We hope you enjoy the song, and your weekend.

Today's Dispatch From The Stupid...Er...Crazy Party - "Idaho, Do You?" Edition

Our regular fellow-banging-his-head "Dispatch..." gif got exhausted (brain trauma?) after watching the recent gubernatorial debate featuring four candidates for the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ Crazy Party nomination in Idaho.  The debate featured two representatives of the Republican base (the aptly named Harley Brown and Walt Bayes) and two politicians (Gov. Bruce "Proud Member of the Weasel Family" Otter and State Sen. Russ Fulcher). Rather than subject viewers to the entire 1-hour debate, this supercut version is lighting up the internet toobs:

Millions Haven't Descended on Washington Yet

As we noted yesterday ("Freaky Friday"), 10 to 30 million "patriots" were expected to descend on Washington, D.C. today to lynch President Obama take over the un-Constitutional government of B. Hussein Osamabama, or something.  We didn't notice any coverage in the lame stream media (the formerly great Washington Post Bezos Bugle didn't even notice the 10 to 30 million "patriots" in the Local D.C. section).  Ditto with all of the radio and TV channels.  So, what gives?  Hold on, we're getting some photos of the patriotic millions (via Raw Story):

OK, the guy with a cross is a good start.  Anything else?

We'll count the two in the middle as equivalent to four "patriots."  That's seven counting the guy with the cross.

Nonetheless, these "patriots" will be working up a ferocious appetite later -- especially the two in the middle, above -- because taking down the gubmint is hard work.  So we were worried, especially after we saw this tweet that made us even more concerned:

BONUS:  Charles Johnson has more pictures (and hilarious tweets) of Operation American Sproing! here.

Rethug Crime Blotter, I'm "OK" Edition

Former Oklahoma Republican Party Chairman Chad Alexander was arrested on possession of cocaine and a controlled substance (oxycontin) without a prescription, after a traffic stop for driving erratically in Oklahoma City.  Next stop, rehab and redemption.

Alexander blamed his "drug dependency" on the stress of his lobbying job and "duties" associated with being a single father ("duties?" Is he being forced?).  Also, check out one of his lobbying clients:  The Boys and Girls Clubs of America.

(mugshot:  "Hey, boys and girls, this is your brain on drugs!")

Turdblossom's Sh*tty Diagnosis

The irrational fear of Hillary Clinton's possible candidacy for President in 2016 is rampant on the right.  The Rethuglican House Select Committee to Smear Hillary Clinton on Benghazi Benghazi! BENGHAZI!! is the primary attack vehicle on her tenure as Secretary of State.  Then we have the pond scum-level attacks that emanate from the likes of Karl "Turdblossom" Rove, the most recent being the nasty, false insinuation that she suffers brain damage from a concussion in 2012.  On The Colbert Report last night, Stephen Colbert delivered a hilarious smack down to Turdblossom's attempted smear.  Enjoy.

Thursday, May 15, 2014

Photo of the Day

President and Mrs. Obama, along with former Secretary of State Clinton and former New York Mayor Michael Bloomberg, tour the new National September 11 Memorial Museum in New York, which was dedicated today.

(photo:  K. Lamarque, Reuters)

Some 'Splainin' Is In Order

There's a lot of finger pointing at the New York Times today, after its publisher Arthur Sultzberger, Jr. fired Editor Jill Abramson.  Reports indicate that Abramson was fired for making equal pay demands based on her predecessor's salary.  Sulzberger denies that was the reason for sacking Abramson, mentioning her management style in the newsroom.  If we were to bet, we'd believe Abramson's version, if only for the reason that the newsroom was shocked and dismayed at her dismissal.  Given the nature of the business involved, no one should be surprised if some additional details of the situation surrounding the firing leak out, and more ink is spilled.

UPDATE:  The evidence is mounting that Abramson's been paid far less than her predecessors for a decade.

Freaky Friday

We're reading reports that a collection of wingnuts and other assorted loons are planning a march into Washington, D.C. tomorrow to force President Obama, Vice President Biden, and the top Congressional leaders of both parties to resign.  No, this isn't an Onion story, although it belongs there.

Called "Operation American Spring" (get it?  American Spring / Arab Spring?), the organizers say they've called "10 million patriots" to march on D.C. to lynch the black guy in the White House restore Constitutional government.  Check out this excerpt from their website:
"Those with the principles of a West, Cruz, Dr. Ben Carson, Lee, DeMint, Paul, Gov Walker, Sessions, Gowdy, Jordan, should comprise a tribunal and assume positions of authority to convene investigations, recommend appropriate charges against politicians and government employees to the new U.S. Attorney General appointed by the new President."
It's interesting that all of the people whose "principles" they refer to are on the far, far right.  And where in the Constitution does it permit "tribunals" set up by a mob of angry, ignorant misfits to "assume positions of authority" to rule the U.S.?  What these crackpots are advocating is sedition and rebellion against a Government elected by the people under the terms of the Constitution that they lay claim to as "patriots."  Not to worry.  If the massive flop of last year's similar "Ride for the Constitution" redneck trucker rally was a preview, only a few dozen losers waving tea bagger signs and Confederate flags will show up.

Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Mid-Week Song

Legendary crooner Frank Sinatra died on this day in 1998 at the age of 82, after one of the most successful careers ever in music and film.  Here's one of his best known hits (best watched full screen).

The Water World Of Marco Rubio

Florida Senator and very thirsty man Marco "Glug Glug" Rubio stated earlier this week that there was nothing we could do about climate change, man made or not, contrary to overwhelming scientific evidence to the contrary.  Ironically, the state he represents will be one of the most devastated with the rise of ocean levels resulting from melting polar ice caps and glaciers.  So, after some ridicule was thrown Glug Glug's way, he slightly clarified his ridiculous comment, only to say that yes, the climate was changing, but it always is and man's not responsible.  Or something.  The point is that Glug Glug has to appease the mouth breathing base of his increasingly anti-science party, while not completely alienating independent voters with patent nonsense about climate change.  Meanwhile, Florida's coast will be changing as a result of the climate, whether Glug Glug wants to face it or not.

(photo:  Glug Glug's solution to rising waters)

Tuesday, May 13, 2014

Tom Toles Twofer

(click to enlarge)

Which is why they've shifted to...

Disclaimer:  Results may vary (but not by much).

(Tom Toles, via

Bush Alumni Week

The little shrubs are keeping busy:

- "Bush's brain" (an oxymoron if there ever was one) Karl "Turdblossom" Rove is up to his usual, sleazy, lying tricks, suggesting Hillary Clinton suffered a "traumatic brain injury" when she fell and hit her head last year.

- Bush speechwriter and current once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle pundit Michael "Mushroom Cloud" Gerson, is confoozed about the curious anti-science fever abounding in the land, without (as Charles P. Pierce points out) ever mentioning the word "Republican."

- Bush speechwriter and torture apologist Marc Thiessen (another Bezos Bugle hire, to its everlasting shame) is beating yet another Benghazi! dead horse:  where was Obama during the attack on the consulate?  Where would you have liked for him to have been, and what difference would that have made, you criminal asshat?

Monday, May 12, 2014

Why We Love Elizabeth Warren - Part Infinity

Here's an excerpt from Sen. Elizabeth Warren's blog on the Republicans' Benghazi! kangaroo court:
As a Senator, I take oversight seriously because it is powerfully important. But Trey Gowdy gives oversight a bad name. The House GOP is on a waste-of-time-and-resources witch hunt and fundraising sideshow, shamefully grasping for any straw to make President Obama, former Secretary Clinton, or Secretary Kerry look bad. This stunt does a disservice to those who serve our country abroad, and it distracts us from issues we should be taking up on behalf of the American people. 
With millions of people still out of work and millions more working full time yet still living below the poverty line, with students drowning in debt, with roads and bridges crumbling, is this really what the House Republicans are choosing to spend their time on? Even for guys who have so few solutions to offer that they have voted 54 times to repeal Obamacare, this is a new low.   
House Republicans are doing whatever they can to distract the American people from what's really going on in Washington – a rigged system that works great for those who have armies of lobbyists and lawyers but that leaves everyone else behind. A system in which Republicans protect tax breaks for billionaires while they block increases in the minimum wage for millions of people who work full time and live in poverty. A system in which Republicans give away billions of dollars in subsidies to Big Oil while making billions in profits off of our kids' student loans. 
It's wrong, and it's shameful.
We two Marylanders would gladly commit voter fraud to vote for this person.