Sunday, November 30, 2014

Sunday Sermon: Rabbi Tells Fundamentalists "You're Being Had"

For decades, the Republican Party has used conservative Christian evangelicals as their political ground troops, hoping that they won't notice that the party elite's priorities don't mesh with the religious right's.  In promising year after year to force cultural change through politics, the Rethugs haven't delivered in nearly the way they've delivered for their wealthy patrons.  Rabbi Jay Michaelson notes that as the wealth of the top one percent has grown to levels not seen since before the Great Depression, cultural change has moved in the direction of progressivism, as the Rethugs well know:
"They stir you up about social issues in order to get you to the polls, and then they don’t really do anything about them. Because, in fact, they can’t. These are cultural questions, not political ones, and they have to be solved in the cultural arena."
He also points out that the harsh, "greed is good" rhetoric of those on the political far-right should disturb actual Christians:
"What happened to the Christian concern to 'love the least of these,' the most vulnerable, the most destitute? In my opinion, supply-side Republicans have convinced many Christians not merely that the welfare state is a bad idea, but that generosity itself is a vice, that public assistance equals dependence, and that giving the wealthy even more breaks is the way for benefits to 'trickle down' to the rest of us."
In short, if evangelicals think the Republican / New Confederate / Stupid Party is looking out for them, as Rabbi Michaelson would say, they're being had.

BONUS:  A good example of how the one-percenters try to argue their "up is down, black is white" position is this stinkeroo in (where else?) today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle by one-percenters and paid Koch brothers shills John and Carol Saeman, who try to convince us that centralized gummint baaad and that the Koch brothers share the same anti-poverty worldview as (wait for it) Pope Francis I!  (And we're sure Pope Francis shares the Koch's "We pollute the world" laissez-faire capitalism, too!) Their looking glass gets even more risibly myopic when they point to special interests controlling the gummint just a month after their patrons, the Koch brothers, helped buy a Republican Senate, while underwriting Republican attempts to disenfranchise young and minority voters.

BONUS II:  Here's a meticulous take-down of the Saeman's tongue bath of the Kochs and of their attempt to lash them to Pope Francis.

Putting The "Ass" In Class

Apparently not knowing or caring where the line is separating a political hatchet job from a personal one, Rethuglican House staffer Elizabeth "The Ass in Class" Lauten attacked President Obama's daughters's appearance at the annual "turkey pardon" farce in an unusually nasty way on her Facebook page:

"Showing a little class" is something Lauten needs to practice….intensively.  Here are two teenage girls, participating in a farcical ceremony to pardon a turkey for Thanksgiving, and they're supposed to dress up in evening wear and white gloves, not roll their eyes once and act like…..teenagers?  And the snark about not dressing for "a spot at a bar?"  They're only 13 and 16 years old, beotch.  Maybe the likes of Elizabeth "The Ass In Class" Lauten can restrain their venom against the President's family for the next two years, but then again Rethuglican operatives like her lack the class to do that.

UPDATE:  She gone.  We still despair of the rebranding.

UPDATE II:  Looks like The Ass In Class was arrested as a teen.  Karma's a b*tch.

Friday, November 28, 2014

Please, Please Let This Happen

We're not God-botherers, but we'd get on our knees and pray for this to happen:  some teatard "movers and shakers" are upset at Arizona Sen. John McNasty for not being quite as crazy as they are.  As a result they're "reaching out" to former half-term Governor of Alaska, and full-time grifter, Sarah "Winky" Palin to run against McNasty in the Rethug primary election for 2016.  Apparently, he hasn't built "the dang fence" fast enough for their liking.

What's delicious about this scenario is that, without McNasty's desperation move in picking Winky from well-earned obscurity in 2008, Winky would be doing sports features for a 1,000 watt radio station somewhere in Alaska's wilderness.  Now, she could be the instrument of his political demise.  Please, please let this happen.

(photo:  Go get 'im, Winky!)

Wingnut Rages At Reaction to Brown Shooting

Wingnuts haven't been shy about expressing themselves about the pass that Ferguson police officer Darren Wilson got in his shooting of Michael Brown.  After all, now that we're "post-racial" and have a black President, it's OK for them to spout their racist bile, right?   Expressing his racial hatred and perhaps feelings of inadequacy, the editor of the prominent right-wing web site Red State would have "shot Mike Brown right in his face." (By the way, check out the skinhead / Christian identity / Aryan Nation look this "editor" is sporting).

The upwelling of molten rage by the self-pitying right is not new, but the fact that they're doing nothing to mask it (once again) is informative.

Walmart: Poster Child For Corporate Greed

Here's why, if you happen to pass by a Walmart soon, you may see people out picketing:
The nation's largest employer, Walmart employs 1.4 million people, or 10 percent of all retail workers, and pulls in $16 billion in annual profits. Its largest stockholders—Christy, Jim, Alice, and S. Robson Walton—are the nation's wealthiest family, collectively worth $145 billion. Yet the company is notorious for paying poverty wages and using part-time schedules to avoid offering workers benefits. Last year, a report commissioned by Congressional Democrats found that each Walmart store  costs taxpayers between 900,000 and $1.75 million per year because so many employees are forced to turn to government aid.  (our emphasis)
Not only are taxpayers picking up the bill for Walmart employees living under the poverty level, but their execrable penuriousness is causing some Walmart stores to set up food bins for employees to donate to other employees:

Those associates wouldn't be "in need" if Walmart paid a living wage and allowed full time employment with benefits like health insurance.   One wonders how the Waltons ("the nation's wealthiest family") can sleep at night.  Then again, we think we know the answer.

Weekend Song Twofer

The Allah-Las are a Los Angeles quartet whose recently released new album, "Worship the Sun," is receiving a lot of attention. The first song we're featuring, however, is from their self-titled 2012 album; the song's called "Busman's Holiday."  The second song, titled "No Werewolf,"  is an instrumental from their new album.  Follow that?  Yes?  You need another drink.  Enjoy the music and your weekend!

Wednesday, November 26, 2014

News You Can Lose

This rather good news appeared today in the print version of the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
The U.S. economy grew even faster in the third quarter than initially thought, posting the strongest six months of growth in more than a decade and pulling further ahead of other big economies of the world. 
The gross domestic product, the country’s total output of goods and services, expanded at a healthy 3.9 percent annual rate in the July-September period, the Commerce Department reported Tuesday. That’s a notable jump from its first estimate of 3.5 percent. The revision was propelled higher by more robust consumer and business spending. 
Together with a 4.6 percent surge in the spring, the country has recorded its biggest back-to-back quarterly performance since 2003.  (our emphasis)
Unfortunately, this was not featured on page 1 -- that space was reserved for Ferguson unrest (understandably), health care in ... wait for it...  Mosul, Iraq,  another in a series of fluffers on potential Republican presidential candidates (seriously, Carly Fiorina?!?), and a warm 'n' fuzzy Thanksgiving feature.

No, the information about the strong economic growth was on page... 12... on the bottom half of the page... in a digest... under "Also In Business."  Well played, "liberal media," well played.

Villains Aren't Always Republicans

Frequent blind squirrel Dana Milbank has a look at someone who truly rates as a villain in the Darren Wilson/ Michael Brown shooting non-indictment:  St. Louis County District Attorney Bob McCulloch, a man who clearly has no business being in the business he's in:
As has been repeated often in recent weeks, a grand jury will indict a proverbial ham sandwich if a prosecutor asks it to. Alternatively, McCulloch could have brought charges through a judicial hearing; he chose not to do that, either. 
Asked Monday night whether he had any regrets about the way he handled the case, McCulloch replied, “No, not at all.” This shouldn’t be a surprise, given McCulloch’s history. That his father, a police officer, was killed by a black suspect doesn’t by itself disqualify him, but his record should have: not a single prosecution of a shooting by police in his 23 years on the job. Four times he presented evidence to a grand jury in such a case and didn’t get an indictment; now he can add a fifth.
It's appalling and rather sickening to note that McCulloch has run for office as a Democrat.  Another small-bore villain would be the shit-mountain conservaDem Governor of Missouri Jay "I'm The Schnook, Not The Crook" Nixon, who declined early on to name a Special Prosecutor to take the case out of the corrupted hands of McCulloch.  If these are what pass as Democrats in Missouri, we're afraid to look in that compost heap for what constitutes a Republican. Shame on them and shame on the rotten system they inhabit.

Media Myths That Just Won't Die - The Tea Party Isn't The Republican Party Edition

Charles P. Pierce picks apart yet another piece in Politic-ho embedding the myth that the tea party and Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ White Man Party are distinct entities, then he moves to the general observation which we heartily, though sadly, endorse:
The persistence of this myth among our elite political press owes its salience to the reluctance of the elite political press to admit that one of our two political parties has gone insane, that the prion disease it acquired when it first ate the monkeybrains 30 years ago finally has eaten away the party's higher functions. It also owes its salience to the reluctance of the elite political press to admit that there is a deep and abiding affection among a huge portion of the American people to vote for the crazy and against its own interests, that the political Id is still the best campaign manager you can find, and that, out in the states, the legislatures are designing a system that will make that situation permanent. It is very hard to admit all this. It shakes the comfort zone. It makes condescending bedtime stories about the greatness of the system and the wisdom of the people sound childish and silly. After a while, it becomes harder and harder to admit that the horse race you so love to cover is fixed from the starter's bell.
One of the biggest political story of the past 25 years, if not the biggest, has been the extreme radicalization of the Republican Party.  It's a story the mainstream political press has declined to identify, much less cover and analyze.  So instead you get the both- sides- do- it,  look- the- other- way, "they're being more reasonable now" styles of reportage, because they don't want to get caught having an opinion that might offend the crackpot caucus out there.

BONUS:  Maybe "journalists" should take Jorge Ramos' advice.

Mid-Week End of the Earth Song

Lord Huron is an indie folk band based in Los Angeles.  Their 2012 song "End of the Earth" is ethereal and lovely.  Enjoy your Wednesday.

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Picture of the Week

Holiday decorations hang over a street in Ferguson, MO last night, before the announcement that police officer Darren Wilson would not face charges over the shooting death of Michael Brown last August.

The grand jury indicated that they could not find probable cause to indict Wilson on a range of charges from first degree murder to involuntary manslaughter, second degree.  It was a curiously drawn out announcement, which had the effect of causing tensions to build over the weekend and into Monday night, which then erupted in violence and arson.  What was more curious is that the biracial jury didn't think firing 12 shots at or into Brown constituted "reckless" action resulting in death, the basic criteria for involuntary manslaughter at a minimum.

The anger and disappointment of the residents at the grand jury's decision was widespread, prompting demonstrations across the country.  Police departments nationwide will be under intense scrutiny for their actions, and under pressure to better engage the community they police and to equip police with body cameras.

(photo:  Reuters)

Monday, November 24, 2014

President Obama's Executive Action On Immigration: Si, Se Puede!

So, is President Obama's executive action on immigration being supported by Latinos?  Puede decir el 90 por ciento?

(click to enlarge)

(Latino Decisions National Poll, Nov. 20-22))

Said Latino Decisions co-founder Matt Barreto, “This is the most unified we have seen Latino public opinion on any issue.”  The poll also found a strong majority wants the Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ White Man Party to stop trying to block the President's initiative.  Or, as the President says, "Pass a bill!"

Morning Read - Power Struggle

If you read this post,  Charles Blow's observation won't come as a surprise:
Don’t let yourself get lost in the weeds. Don’t allow yourself to believe that opposition to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration is only about that issue, the president’s tactics, or his lack of obsequiousness to his detractors. 
This hostility and animosity toward this president is, in fact, larger than this president. This is about systems of power and the power of symbols. Particularly, it is about preserving traditional power and destroying emerging symbols that threaten that power. This president is simply the embodiment of the threat, as far as his detractors are concerned, whether they are willing or able to articulate it as such.  [snip]
Make no mistake: This debate is not just about this president, this executive order or immigration. This is about the fear that makes the face flush when people stare into a future in which traditional power — their power — is eroded, and about their desperate, by-any-means determination to deny that future. 
This applies not only to the extremist Republican/ New Confederate/ Stupid/ White Man Party, but to their enablers in corporate media =cough= once great Washington Post =cough=.   That's why we continue to say to President Obama and Democrats:  ignore the frightened, vicious chatter and do the right thing.  They're going to hate you and fight you whatever you do anyway.

Sunday, November 23, 2014

The Amnesty President

Whenever Republicans yell (falsely) about President Obama's immigration reform measures being equivalent to "amnesty," every network and cable source should run this clip of Rethug icon St. Ronnie of Hollywood expounding on "amnesty" in 1984.  But the Rethugs won't stop yelling, and the networks won't cross them by exposing their hypocrisy.

Sunday Funnies, Immigration Edition

(click to enlarge)

The corporate tail that wags the Rethuglican dog (e.g., the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, etc.) wants some reform, albeit in order to keep cheap labor available.  The Rethuglican id, however, fears immigrants and the inevitable demographic consequences to their social order (see posting below).  Above all, they are, again, on the wrong side of history.

(cartoon: Signe Wilkinson, via

Saturday, November 22, 2014

Saturday Read - Today's Confederate Party

Doug Muder at The Weekly Sift has an interesting article that draws the connection between the un-reconstructed Confederates of the 19th Century and today's tea bagger Republican Party (h/t Nancy LeTourneau at Washington Monthly). Great read. Here's a small sample:
... [T]he enduring Confederate influence on American politics goes far beyond a few rhetorical tropes. The essence of the Confederate worldview is that the democratic process cannot legitimately change the established social order, and so all forms of legal and illegal resistance are justified when it tries. 
That worldview is alive and well. During last fall’s government shutdown and threatened debt-ceiling crisis, historian Garry Wills wrote about our present-day Tea Partiers: “The presiding spirit of this neo-secessionism is a resistance to majority rule.” 
The Confederate sees a divinely ordained way things are supposed to be, and defends it at all costs. No process, no matter how orderly or democratic, can justify fundamental change. 
When in the majority, Confederates protect the established order through democracy. If they are not in the majority, but have power, they protect it through the authority of law. If the law is against them, but they have social standing, they create shams of law, which are kept in place through the power of social disapproval. If disapproval is not enough, they keep the wrong people from claiming their legal rights by the threat of ostracism and economic retribution. If that is not intimidating enough, there are physical threats, then beatings and fires, and, if that fails, murder.
This is the same dangerous slice of the American demographic that existed before, during and after the Civil War.  They call themselves constitutionalists, conservatives, tea partiers, Republicans.  But what they really are, based on their worldview DNA, is  Confederates.  Violent, traitorous, nullifying, un-democratic, un-American Confederates.

Benghazi: Yes, It Was All A Fake Scandal

After all the hysteria, tinfoil hat conspiracy theories, faux outrage, and vicious Obama/ Clinton/ Rice bashing, there's this (via the AP):
A two-year investigation by the Republican-controlled House Intelligence Committee has found that the CIA and the military acted properly in responding to the 2012 attack on a U.S. diplomatic compound in Benghazi, Libya, and asserted no wrongdoing by Obama administration appointees. 
Debunking a series of persistent allegations hinting at dark conspiracies, the investigation of the politically charged incident determined that there was no intelligence failure, no delay in sending a CIA rescue team, no missed opportunity for a military rescue, and no evidence the CIA was covertly shipping arms from Libya to Syria.
That's no, no, no, and no.  And your "mainstream media" that was all over Benghazi!!! when the right-wingers were flogging it will report Have you seen anything beyond maybe a passing reference to this in the media?  =crickets=

Will Benghazi!!! recede as an issue going forward?  Anyone who believes it will is not familiar with the crackpot right and their anger-generators, Fox "News," hate radio and basement bloggers.  It will continue to be a dead horse these lunatics will beat on as long as there's a Clinton or an Obama in office or running for one.

BONUS:  Here's Martin Longman's (a.k.a., the Booman) take on the media's culpability and need for redemption. Also, Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog is equally skeptical of Republicans letting this go.

BONUS II: As any normally functioning human would have guessed,  Fox "News" gives the report 30 seconds, and not 30 accurate seconds, either.

BONUS III:  Republican Sen. Lindsey "My Stars and Garters" Graham (R-SeCessionland), pictured in the gif above, keeps whacking away.

BONUS IV:  Nope, they're not giving up -  Weeper of the House John "Mr. Tangerine Man" Boehner (R-Eunuch) is still on a mission.

Friday, November 21, 2014

Quote Of The Week

My fellow Americans, we are and always will be a nation of immigrants. We were strangers once, too. And whether our forebears were strangers who crossed the Atlantic, or the Pacific, or the Rio Grande, we are here only because this country welcomed them in, and taught them that to be an American is about something more than what we look like, or what our last names are, or how we worship. What makes us Americans is our shared commitment to an ideal -– that all of us are created equal, and all of us have the chance to make of our lives what we will. -- President Obama last night in his address to the nation on actions he's taking to reform the immigration system.  If you didn't see the address, here's the link to the White House transcript.

Weekend Hammer and Bell Song

Last night, President Obama used his executive hammer to ring the bell of freedom for millions of people in this country, giving them freedom from fear of deportation and broken families.  We're in a new era of struggle for civil rights in this country - from immigration reform, to equal pay for equal work, voting rights, to marriage equality - but we progressives believe that the arc of history truly does bend toward justice.

Let's remember this anthem of an earlier civil rights era, with the ringing voice of Mary Travers, as we continue the struggle against those who would deny people their rights because of their own petty and vindictive smallness.

Obama Acts On Immigration Reforms

Addressing the nation last night, President Obama outlined steps he is taking to improve the immigration system, including:
1. protection of parents of naturalized children who have been here for over 5 years;

2. allowing more children of undocumented parents to be shielded from deportation;

3. the overhaul of rules governing "highly skilled workers and entrepreneurs" to allow them to extend their stay; and

4. enhanced border security and prioritization for deporting criminals.
The move affects nearly 5 million undocumented immigrants.  Obama made it clear that he was acting after being rebuffed by the Rethuglican-controlled, teabagger dominated House of Representatives, who have refused to vote on a bipartisan Senate bill that passed easily last year with 68 votes.  The President placed the ball in the new Rethuglican Congress' court, challenging them to pass comprehensive immigration reform, which they see as opening the door to new Hispanic (i.e. Democratic) voters.

BONUS:  Mock Paper Scissors has a preview -- in misspelled signs -- of the wingnut reaction.

(photo: Reuters/Jim Bourg)

Thursday, November 20, 2014

President Addressing Nation Tonight On Immigration Plans

Well, at least he's addressing the part of the nation that watches Univision and Telemundo (to be fair, CNN, MSNBC, PBS and Fox "News" are also expected to broadcast the speech).  The main broadcast networks declined to broadcast the President's speech in prime time tonight (November is sweeps months, and we all know what'$ important to tho$e network dolt$).  But if we had to choose between Univision and Telemundo audiences tuning in and those of the old networks, we'll take the former.

Meanwhile, when you hear Republican vandals and their Very Serious enablers in the media yap about the President's action "poisoning the well," American Bridge has a helpful rundown of all the other times over the years Republicans declared "the well" was poisoned before by an Obama action.  Here's a summary of American Bridge's piece we copped from Daily Kos:
Sen. Jeff Flake: If Obama Took Partial Credit For A Deal On Immigration Principles Reached By Eight Senators, It Would “Poison The Well” With Republicans. [...] 
Marco Rubio: Obama’s 2012 Executive Orders On Immigration “Poisoned The Well.” [...] 
Lindsey Graham: Obama’s Strategy On Gun Control “Poisoned The Well.” [...] 
U.S. Chamber Of Commerce Spokesman Bruce Josten: Obama National Labor Relations Board Appointments “Further Poison The Well.” [...] 
Rep. Paul Ryan: Obama’s Criticism Of Ryan Budget “Poisoned The Well” In The Budget Debate. [...] 
Senator Lindsey Graham: If Democrats Use Reconciliation To Pass Affordable Care Act, It’s “Going To Poison The Well For Anything Else They Would Like To Achieve For This Year Or Thereafter.”  [...] 
Sen. Bob Corker: Democratic Efforts To Repeal Don’t Ask Don’t Tell “Poisons The Well” On The START Treaty With Russia.
In case anyone hasn't noticed, that well's been poisoned since the day a black Democrat took the Presidential oath of office in January 2009.  That's why you have to ignore the crap they're shoveling and do what's right.

Mike Nichols, 1931 - 2014

Legendary director of stage and screen Mike Nichols has died at the age of 83.  Nichols' career spanned six decades from when he was half of the comedy team of Nichols and May, with Elaine May, to an honored director who has won the "big four" entertainment awards: the Oscar, Emmy, Tony, and Grammy.  He was honored in 1999 at the Lincoln Center for his lifetime of achievement.  He is known for directing "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" and "The Graduate" in the 1960s, as well as numerous plays on Broadway, including "The Odd Couple" and "Barefoot in the Park" by Neil Simon.  Nichols is survived by his wife, former ABC News anchor Diane Sawyer and three children.

BONUS:  Here are some memorable scenes from some of Mike Nichols' films.

Toxic Job Creation

(click to enlarge)

The short-term job gains from the construction of the pipeline are outweighed by the potential for severe environmental damage if the tar sand oil leaks from the pipeline.  With oil prices down, there's also a reduced economic incentive of providing Canada with a pipeline to move their dirtiest form of oil across the Great Plains, over the Ogallala aquifer, and across the Yellowstone, Missouri, Platte, Arkansas, and Red Rivers to refineries in Texas, and then out to the world market.

And the number of permanent jobs created?  A whopping 35.

(cartoon: Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, via

Quote of the Day

"The Republicans have a pretty simple philosophy: they say if those at the top have more — more power for Wall Street players to do whatever they want and more money for tax cuts than somehow they can be counted on to build the economy for everyone else.  Well, we tried it for 30 years and it didn’t work. In fact the consequences were nearly catastrophic." -- Sen. Elizabeth Warren, at yesterday's Center for American Progress convention.

How true, but we heard one pundit say this morning, this is the United States of Amnesia.  When Republican politicians talk about job creation and the economy, recall that in the final month of the last Republican President, the U.S. lost more than 750,000 jobs, home foreclosures were at record levels, and people lost their investment and retirement funds when the stock market crashed.

Wednesday, November 19, 2014

Image of the Day: The House Republican Committee Chairs

(click to enlarge)

Republicans have assigned their incoming Committee chairs.  One out of 21 is a woman.

We despair of the Republican / New Confederate/ Stupid / White Man Party rebranding.

Immigration: Obama "Should Be Working With Congress To Do Nothing Together!"

Steven Colbert and "Esteban Colberto" on the Republican's transparent threats, and their paying for having "been such huge dicks" about Hispanics:

Face the Nation Celebrates 60 Years, Most of Them With John McCain

From today's "Reliable Source" feature in the once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
More than a dozen members of Congress, R’s and D’s alike, along with a who’s who of Washington TV news, turned up at a splashy fete Monday night to mark the Sunday show’s [Face the Nation's] 60th birthday. Sen. John McCain boasted to the crowd at the Newseum that he had been a guest 101 times.  (our emphasis)
"Face the Nation:  Catapulting Republican Talking Points For Six Decades."

(Photo:  from a previous "bro-date" in 2011, co-hosts Bob Schieffer and Grampy McCain;  where's your other hand, Bob?)

Opportunity Lost

It is said that Dems never miss an opportunity to miss an opportunity.  That was certainly true in the mid-term elections, where many adopted a defensive crouch position when they should have been touting 200,000 jobs added each month, the stock market (and retirement accounts) booming, and the success of the Affordable Care Act in providing coverage to 10 million Americans.

Dems are now selecting their House leadership (soon-to-be Senate Minority Leader and a guy who resembles a small town mortician Sen. Harry "Thin" Reid was re-annointed earlier on the Senate side).  House Minority Leader Rep. Nancy Pelosi was re-elected by the Dem caucus, but during the election process, Pelosi received a request by Illinois Rep. Tammy Duckworth, who is a wounded warrior and about to give birth, to waive the rules and be allowed to cast a proxy vote.  Duckworth was told by her doctor not to travel so close to her due date.  Missing an opportunity to demonstrate her party's respect and concern for women, the rigid, tone-deaf Pelosi denied the request.  Duckworth was magnanimous in her acceptance of the ruling.

One could argue that if someone is allowed to cast a proxy vote, then what's to keep more Congresscritters from doing that?  We dunno, how many are eight-and-a-half months pregnant, double amputee war veterans?  Odd decision by Pelosi.

Mid-Week Song

Jazz trumpeter Rick Braun's new single "Back To Back" is climbing the smooth jazz charts, following its release a few weeks ago.  Have another cup of coffee and enjoy.

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

A Tale Of Two Editorial Boards

The execrable once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle editorial board on President Obama's pledge to act on immigration:
Mr. Obama may find a constitutional way to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. But in his frustration with democracy, he is likely to prove his point: Unilateralism will not make the system work.   [snip]
Mr. Obama may find a constitutional way to rewrite the nation’s immigration laws. But in his frustration with democracy, he is likely to prove his point: Unilateralism will not make the system work.  (our emphasis)
"Unilateralism will not make the system work."  There's no end to the stupid in that line.  It just sits there like a deaf,  blind, thing. (What was that Shakespeare quote?  Oh yeah: "You blocks, you stones, you worse than senseless things."  He must've met the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's editorial board.)  What do these frightened ninnies think will "make the system work?"  Golf with John Boehner?  Tea with Mitch McConnell?

The Miami Herald, whose editorial board is nearly a thousand miles away from Washington, yet has more perspective on what's going on right under the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's nose:
We hope it’s soon and that he does everything he can within the law to provide a strong measure of relief to immigrant communities in Florida and throughout the nation. They’ve waited patiently and for too long for the president to act. [...] Mr. Boehner and other Republicans have not been shy about threatening the president if he decides to go ahead, saying any relaxation of immigration rules would “poison the atmosphere” in Washington. Really? At this stage — after years of demonizing the president, blocking his agenda, voting to repeal the Affordable Care Act some 50 times, and so on — now they’re saying No More Mr. Nice Guy?  (our emphasis)
Mr. Obama would be wise to ignore the posturing by his adversaries on The Hill. They’ve been in “No” mode for so long they apparently don’t know how else to behave. If they’re serious about wanting to pass a bill to supersede his executive action, they have the votes to do it whenever they’re ready.
The once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's own Eugene Robinson has an opposite page riposte to the unteachable numbnuts on his own editorial board (Fred Hiatt?  Ruth Marcus?  The smell of faux centrism leads back in their direction.):
The president has not just the right but also the obligation to “use all the lawful authority that I possess,” as he promised last week in a long-deferred effort to repair an immigration system that both parties agree is broken. Law and precedent give Obama wide latitude, and at this point he can hardly be accused of acting rashly.  (our emphasis)
Except by the once great Washington Post's Bezos Bugle's editorial board.

Save Your Confederate Money, Boys

A group in Mississippi calling themselves the "Magnolia State Heritage Campaign" is seeking to place an amendment on the 2016 ballot that would make Christianity the State's religion, "Dixie" would be named the State song, English would be the only official language, and April would be declared "Confederate Heritage Month."  One the one hand, that should go over well with Mississippi's 1.1 million African-American residents.  On the other hand, it's Mississippi.

The resurgence of wingnut militias, secessionist blather, displays of the Confederate flag and other evidence of renewed racism increased the moment President Obama took the oath of office.  Now, a state wants to enshrine racism (and religious bigotry) in its constitution, because…..we're a post-racial country?  Really?

(image:  Always leading the pack)

Jerusalem's Bloody Tuesday

Two Palestinian cousins wielding axes, knives and guns burst into a synagogue in West Jerusalem and murdered four rabbis, three of whom are American, and injured several more worshipers severely before police shot them to death.  While not expressly claiming credit, Hamas praised the attackers, as Palestinian Authority leader Mamoud Abbas condemned the murders. The Israeli government promised swift and harsh retaliation for the murders, and immediately ordered the destruction of the cousins' homes in the Gaza strip and arrests of family members believed to have had prior knowledge of the attack.

With the peace process all but derailed, this may have been the final blow to any resolution of issues dividing Israelis and Palestinians for the foreseeable future.

Monday, November 17, 2014

Monday Reading - Carrying The Fight To The Republican Vandals

A couple of good reads on the struggle between the Republican vandals and people who want government to work (as usual, please read the entire pieces).

Charles Blow on why government is "broken" and who's breaking it:
Congressional Republicans have been sent to Washington with a mandate not so much to conduct business but rather to collect a bounty, to do what they promised and what their supporters expect: Stop Obama at any cost and at every turn, to erase his name or at least put an asterisk by it.
Blow concludes with this observation about the Republican/ plutocrat master plan:
Liberal ideology depends on a productive federal government; conservatism rises when that government is crippled. 
Republicans, in all their cynicism, are increasing their efforts to break the government. 
Isn’t America great?
E.J. Dionne, Jr., on the Democratic push-back that's already started on net neutrality, climate change and immigration:
Republicans did a brilliant job in the campaign playing on the idea that Obama is weak, passive and without a game plan. That was the not-so-hidden meaning of all their television ads about the Islamic State, Ebola and immigration. So Obama has made clear that he won’t be weak and passive and that he has a game plan. 
But what of the hand-wringing by the usual suspects to this continuing "partisanship"? Dionne:
Yes, Washington may again be engulfed in partisan warfare. But at least this time, it will be over things that are actually happening.  (our emphasis) 
And, we might add, things that are actually worth fighting for.

More Rethug Election Games

Not content with rigging voting laws to disenfranchise likely Democratic voters and flooding politics with corporate money, Republicans reportedly used bogus Twitter accounts to share information with right-wing political action committees like Turdblossom Rove's "American Crossroads", an apparent violation of campaign laws which prohibit such coordination.

Using codes within these bogus accounts, internal polling data was shared with right-wing super PACs in order to have them target ad funding more effectively.  It was only after CNN contacted the National Republican Congressional Committee that the accounts were deleted.

BONUS:'s Charles P. Pierce weighs in:
"This isn't 'rigging the system.' It's tearing the system down and putting in place an entirely new, and vastly corrupt, system of your own. The ratfking here isn't a matter of dodging campaign laws. It's a matter of ignoring them until they become transparently ridiculous and fall of their own carefully engineered impotence. It also has the valuable side effect of making voting itself appear doomed and useless, which has been part of the point all along." (emphasis added)

Sunday, November 16, 2014

Today's Cartoon Twofer - Immigration And The Republican Rage Machine

As President Obama prepares to issue an Executive Order addressing the immigration crisis in America, the howls from the right wing are starting to rise.  (Read, if you must, New York Times Republican scold and would-be moral arbiter "Cardinal" Ross "I Seriously" Douthat's piece if you want to experience full-on crackpot hyperbole.)  Meanwhile, Republicans are threatening to use budget bills to pressure Obama to back down on immigration.  If only consistency and humanity guided them rather than pure racist partisanship.  At the risk of their tiny heads exploding, these right-wingers might want to see what other recent Presidents took executive action to shield immigrants from deportation =cough= St. Ronnie =cough= Poppy Bush =cough=.  But, seriously, you were expecting something different? Our rule of thumb applies here as elsewhere:  the louder the Republicans squeal, the more certain you can be you're doing the right thing.

In the meantime, here's your cartoon twofer:

(click to enlarge)

(Jim Morin, The Miami Herald)

(Rob Rogers, Pittsburgh Post-Gazette)

Saturday, November 15, 2014

A Valentine For Those Non-Voters

In his "new rules" segment last night, Bill Maher addressed the people who couldn't bother to vote in the mid-term elections.  After going through a list of how people's lives will be adversely affected by the Rethug sweep, and illustrating what it would have been like if McCain and Romney had won, he addresses the non-voter:
"You've kept yourself pure, because you haven't gotten your hands sullied by the gutter that is American politics.  Well, you can keep telling yourself that, but the truth is if your hands aren't dirty, it's not because you're pure.  It's because you're not helping."

House Approves Pipeline

To no one's surprise, the Republican-controlled House of Representatives passed a bill authorizing the construction of the Keystone XL pipeline by a vote of 252-161.  Every Rethug voted for the bill, which now goes to the Senate.  The pipeline has been hyped by the oil industry and some labor organizations as a boon to employment and energy supplies.  The pipeline would bring the dirtiest of tar sand and oil shale from Canada across the Great Plains of the U.S. in a 36-inch pipeline to the oil refineries in Texas and Louisiana, where it would be processed and shipped to the world market.

Just days after President Obama concluded a landmark agreement with China to restrict carbon emissions, the Rethuglican House has poked a finger in not only the President's eye, but also those of the (ironically) red states across which the pipeline would be constructed and who would be affected by a spill.  It's also a clear reminder that the Rethugs care nothing about the environment and clean energy, and everything about their patrons in the carbon industry.

Friday, November 14, 2014

Weekend Song

Today's song is by Vance Joy (nee James Keough), an Australian indie folk-rocker we first featured several months ago.  This is a song from his recent album "Dream Your Life Away," called "Mess Is Mine."  Enjoy the song and your weekend!

(video by Daniel Keen)

Scumbag Coal Executive Indicted

The former CEO of coal giant Massey Energy has been indicted on charges that he conspired to violate Federal mine safety regulations, which resulted in the deaths of 29 people in 2010 at the Upper Big Branch mine.  Don "Big Shit" Blankenship became a symbol of predatory corporate greed in the aftermath of the mining disaster, with his hand in tea party events and his role in undermining safety and health regulations to maximize profits.

Big Shit faces up to 31 years in prison if convicted on all four counts of conspiracy.  We sincerely hope that he receives the maximum, with no chance of parole.  As outgoing Sen. Jay Rockefeller said,
"As he goes to trial, he will be treated far fairer and with more dignity than he ever treated the miners he employed. And, frankly, it's more than he deserves."
(photo:   "Patriotism is the last refuge of a scoundrel.")

Sink or Swim Cartoon of the Day

(click to enlarge)

The right wing will rev up the climate change denial bandwagon now that the U.S. and China have agreed on carbon emission limits.  One ominous consequence of the midterm elections is that uber climate change denier Sen. James "Inbred" Inhofe (R-Oil Patch) will chair the Senate's Environment and Public Works Committee starting in January, a classic fox-guarding-the-chickencoop situation.

(cartoon:  Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution, via

Cruz-ing for a Bruising

"The Republican Party will make no clean break from its recent ideological and procedural radicalism, despite whatever some of the more grizzled members of the party leadership may hope. The era of government by crisis — from debt ceiling to government shutdown and all the good stuff in-between — is not over. This will be Ted Cruz’s Senate." --  (emphasis added) Elias Isquith, writing in Salon.

If anyone thought that the midterms would bring about a Rethuglican Party eager "to govern" (excuse our snickering), conflict over issues from immigration reform, to the Keystone XL pipeline, to climate change will swiftly disabuse them.  The Party's radical right, led by wingnut Sen. Ted "Tailgunner Ted" Cruz (R-Calgary), is itching to roll President Obama even at the expense of a short-term government shutdown, and they have Senate "graybeards" like Mitch "Missy" McConnell over a barrel and they know it.

Thursday, November 13, 2014

Nominal Democrats Manchin, McCaskill and Heitkamp -- "Let Them Lose"

Alex Ruthrauff at Wonkette must be reading our mind:
On Monday, beltway bullshit scorecard POLITICO reported that nominal Democratic senators like Joe Manchin, Claire McCaskill, and Heidi Heitkamp appear eager to help the new Republican majority advance legislation. Manchin even called the idea of not working with Republicans to promote their agenda “bullshit.” They probably think that burnishing their “moderate centrist” credentials in this way will help them keep their jobs when they face the voters in 2018. They are wrong. 
Assuming a Democrat is elected president in 2016, and middle class wages remain stagnant or continue to shrink, here is what will happen to Joe Manchin and Claire McCaskill and Heidi Heitkamp in 2018: They will lose.  [snip] 
Let them lose. Then start running Democrats who are recognizable as Democrats in a blind taste test. Even in places where the conventional wisdom says they won’t play well. These candidates will almost certainly lose too, at first. But at least the party’s resources will be spent on promoting candidates who support the core agenda that rank and file Democrats go out and vote for. 
It doesn't matter if these three turds have a "D" beside their name anymore (and we would add soon-to-lose Mary Landrieu).  They didn't stand behind Harry Reid for Minority Leader.  They don't support core Democratic principles.  Indeed, they're willing to hop in the sack with ethical black hole Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell (Money-KY) at the earliest craven opportunity.  God, we're tired of these spineless careerists taking resources away from progressive Democrats.  They're up for re-election in 2018, which is a long time away, but we'll be damned if one cent of ours goes to any of them (three more reasons, if more were needed, not to contribute to the Democratic Senatorial Campaign Committee).  Until then, they should be marginalized by the leadership whenever necessary.

BONUS:  Charles P. Pierce adds his take on the turncoats, with special attention to Landrieu.

The Supreme Court's "Naked Power Grab"

We have two reads concerning the decision by at least four Supreme Court "Justices" to hear a patently malicious and absurd case (King v. Burwell) that could kill the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare).  First, E.J. Dionne, Jr., examines "Justice" Scalia's situational principles, and concludes:
Here’s a hypothetical for you: First, the Supreme Court issues a ruling that installs a conservative president. Then, he appoints two conservative Supreme Court justices who then join with three of their colleagues to make mincemeat of the greatest achievement of a progressive president elected by a clear majority. If such a thing happened in any other country, would we still call it a democratic republic?
Please read the whole column.

Then, Linda Greenhouse writes the the Court may be preparing another un-democratic, right-wing coup reminiscent of another:
Nearly a week has gone by since the Supreme Court’s unexpected decision to enlist in the latest effort to destroy the Affordable Care Act, and the shock remains unabated. “This is Bush v. Gore all over again,” one friend said as we struggled to absorb the news last Friday afternoon. “No,” I replied. “It’s worse.” [snip]
So no, this isn’t Bush v. Gore. This is a naked power grab by conservative justices who two years ago just missed killing the Affordable Care Act in its cradle, before it fully took effect. 
With Republicans soon to have bulletproof control both houses of Congress and with its existing majority on the Supreme Court, this decision to hear King v. Burwell, coming so soon after the midterm Republican resurgence, looks evermore like the Court reactionaries are making a bold push to kill Obamacare on the most absurd and mendacious grounds.  Having already tilted the playing field toward Republicans (voter i.d. and voting rights, Citizens United, etc.), the Court now appears ready to take health insurance away from millions of Americans just so it can destroy arguably the signature progressive legislation of the past 50 years.

To echo Dionne, would we still call this a democratic republic?

Sen. Warren To Leadership Post

Senate Dem leadership will hear a strong progressive voice in the next Senate.  Massachusetts Sen. Elizabeth Warren will be the Dem caucus' strategic policy advisor at all party leadership meetings.  As such, Sen. Warren is expected to be a force in molding the Dems' priorities and policies in the coming years and for the 2016 Presidential elections.

After a stinging defeat at the polls last week, Dems learned that running away from progressive achievements or trying to be Republican-lite doesn't motivate a disappointed base, which is looking for leadership to align party politicians with the majority of the American public which voted for progressive ballot issues in a Rethuglican victory.  If anyone can do the job, it's Sen. Warren.

Photo Of The Week

The Philae lander, a vehicle launched by the European Space Agency, successfully landed yesterday on the surface of Comet 67P streaking through space some 300 million miles from Earth.  With all of the recent political media nonsense about Ebola, etc., what a wonderful testament to what humans can achieve.  This photo is one of many taken by the spacecraft as it approached the comet's surface.

(photo: European Space Agency)

Wednesday, November 12, 2014

Landmark U.S. - China Climate Change Pact

After months of behind the scenes negotiation, the world's two leading economic powers came to an historic agreement that would reduce the carbon dioxide emissions that cause climate change.  Presidents Obama and Xi Jinping announced the agreement, which does not require Congressional approval, which is expected to spur other carbon-polluting nations to adopt restrictions on their greenhouse gas emissions.

The agreement would have the U.S. reducing its carbon emissions by up to 28 percent by 2025, while China agreed to a goal of renewable energy sources providing 20 percent of its energy in 2030, which would be the year of its peak carbon emission.

UPDATE:  Not surprisingly, coal dusty human/turtle hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell hates the agreement (perhaps he's invested in not only coal but respirators).  This type of continued obstruction is what low-information voters think they rejected when they voted more Rethuglicans into Congress.

Mid-Week Memorial Song

For two family members that passed last week, including a much-beloved aunt who loved Irish music, the lovely Irish-style song "The Drowning Plains," by Mychael and Jeff Danna.

Tuesday, November 11, 2014

"You Want Drink Vodka, Too?"

The darling of our right-wing, aggressive Russian autocrat Vladimir "Vlad the Invader" Putin, was seen at last night's fireworks at the Asian-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit draping a shawl over and generally flirting with China's first lady, Peng Liyuan.  The move caused Chinese censors to cut the moment out, while Peng quickly removed the shawl and gave it to an assistant.  Meanwhile, President Obama was chatting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping a few feet away.

Vlad has been moving Russia closer to China through a multi-billion dollar energy deal in an attempt to counter sanctions placed against him for his illegal invasion of Crimea and aggressive actions taken against Ukraine.  His awkward attempt at gallantry (learned in the KGB, no doubt) struck a discordant note in China, which observes conservative norms between unrelated men and women.  Putin might want to stick with what he does best: invading weaker countries, rather than trying to charm the wife of a foreign leader.

Republicans Govern? "It's A Trap!"

Once again, thank you Stephen Colbert.

Freudian Slip Of The Day - Fox "News" Edition

“Joining me now, former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, who’s the host of Fuckabee — Huckabee!” -  Cunning linguist Fox model Megyn Kelly, introducing the man who will henceforth have a new nickname on this blog, on her "The Kelly File" show last night.   Bwahahahaha.

Today's Cartoon - Low Information Nation

Sorry...  we're still in the "anger" stage.

(click to enlarge)

(Jen Sorensen,

BONUS:  And then there's Andy Borowitz' "Country On Wrong Track, Say People Who Did Not Vote."

Veterans Day 2014

Let's start the day by saluting our Armed Forces veterans, whose service and sacrifice should be honored every day, but especially today.

On November 11, 1918 at 11 o'clock in the morning, the armistice between the Allies and Germany was signed, ending hostilities on Europe's Western Front in World War I. The time was significant: the 11th hour, of the 11th day, of the 11th month was meant to signal, after fighting the most horrific war up to that time, that humanity was literally in its 11th hour in confronting the threat of war to its survival. Called Armistice Day at first, in 1954 President Eisenhower proclaimed that the holiday should be a commemoration of all veterans and from then on, we've known it as Veterans Day.

Monday, November 10, 2014

An Instructional Video For Dems

A tip of the hat to Crooks and Liars for uncovering this video of TV's Roseanne letting her representative know that she's not fooled by right-wing, anti-union, trickle down economics malarkey. If Dems would use this as an instructional video of how to talk to Republican politicians, it might work in 2016.  Then again, Dem politicians are generally too polite to point out the obvious, especially when in a crouching position.

Fear, Anger And Conservatives

It's not often that you see a conservative examine what motivated him, and decide it was contemptible. Edwin Lyngar was a conservative who realizes that his fear and anger were cultivated by the movement that he embraced.  He writes in Salon that:
"I’m angry mostly at myself for being manipulated by carnie barkers masquerading as 'the media.'  We are all works in progress, fighting our natural instincts of self-preservation.  That we want to live and thrive is natural, but when we let our instincts damage reason, our nation and indeed our basic humanity suffers.  I regret letting cruelty, fear and tribalism drive my choices.  I should have been better, and my remnant rage is a reminder to always think for myself in the future."
His essay explores the effects of conservative media, leading the way with Fux and its menagerie of cranks stoking fear and loathing by appealing to the "lizard brain" in all of us.  The mid-terms brought that into focus for Lyngar, watching the wingnut Wurlitzer and their partners in the Beltway media hyping Ebola, ISIS and illegal immigration as mortal threats to real 'Muricans.   Science has researched the difference in the working of conservative brains, versus progressives, and has concluded much the same thing.  It's not lost on the wingnut Wurlitzer that feeding that fear and anger are profitable, economically and politically.

Today's Cartoon And Reads

Love "The G.O.P.'s Long-Term Plan" diagram.

(click to enlarge)

(Brian McFadden, via

From E.J. Dionne, Jr., on dealing with the Republican Congress:
[Sen. Mitch] McConnell’s main argument with Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Tex.), and his followers is not about ends but means. McConnell is no less focused than Cruz on bringing down Obama and discrediting Democratic governance, but McConnell needs to be more subtle about it.  [snip]
Solving the country’s economic riddle would be a much better use of their time than investing in the fantasy that McConnell and [Weeper of the House] Boehner will try to make Obama look good. 
Charles Blow looks at the more general mood and methods of the right-wing opposition:
His term must be tarnished; his accomplishments erased. 
Some people blame the president for not cultivating more congressional relationships, across the aisle and even in the Democratic caucus. There may be some truth to that, but not much, I believe. No amount of glad-handing and ego-stroking would compensate for the depths of the opposition. Nor would messaging. 
This is a president who was elected by an increasingly diverse national electorate that some find frightening, a president who is pushing a somewhat liberal agenda that some have found intrinsically objectionable, and a president who is battling some historical personality tropes that many cannot abandon. 
To his opponents, this president’s greatest sins are his success and his self. 
So, if you're listening Democrats, don't repeat the mistakes of the past 6 years by thinking the Republicans are acting in good faith or with good intentions.

Sunday, November 9, 2014

Another Win For The Pope

Pope Francis continues to clean house of right-wing Cardinals and Bishops who are seeking to undermine or challenge his direction for the Catholic Church.  The latest to rip his cassock is the infamous Cardinal Raymond Burke, who has been a strident voice against reproductive choice and same-sex marriage, and who campaigned for denying Catholic politicians communion if they voted pro-choice.  He's also questioned Pope Francis' statements denouncing the excesses of capitalism, which as we all know was Jesus' favorite economic system. He's been demoted from his powerful post on the Congregation of Bishops to oversee a charity that supports hospitals.

If Burke seems to be a bit at odds with how most Catholics view Jesus' basic messages, it looks like the Pope has reached that conclusion.  Let's wish the Pope a long and healthy life as he reverses the corrupt, rightward direction the Church took after the papacy of Pope John XXIII decades ago.

BONUS:'s Charles P. Pierce adds his commentary.

Photo Of The Day: "Blood Swept Lands And Seas Of Red"

(click to enlarge)

(Photo:  Getty Images)

In commemoration of November 11, 1918 (Armistice Day, now Veterans Day in the United States), 888,246 ceramic poppies were installed in the moat of the Tower of London, signifying the number of British Commonwealth soldiers, sailors and airmen killed in World War I.  A stunning reminder of the enormous waste of human life in that war, and all wars.

Report: Democrats To Look At What Went Wrong

There's plenty to say about what went wrong in the 2014 mid-terms for Democrats, and we've pointed to some of it =cough= Democratic cowardice =cough=.  But before we get too far down the road, let's start with getting a dedicated, full-time, professional progressive operative as Democratic National Committee chair instead of a part-time Representative from Florida.  Just sayin'.

Saturday, November 8, 2014

Nominee For Attorney General

President Obama announced New York Federal prosecutor Loretta Lynch as his nominee for Attorney General, to replace Attorney General Eric Holder.   Lynch is a long-time prosecutor, and would be the first African-American woman to hold that important position.

With the Senate due to flip to Republican control in January, Obama said he wants the Senate to act as soon as possible on Lynch's nomination.

Sen. Sanders On The 2014 Midterms

On last night's Real Time program with Bill Maher he succinctly captured the frustration of progressives with the Democratic Party.  After noting that the Rethuglican main message was "screw Obama" and not much more, he gave the Dems a spanking for not standing with the President.  The real star of the evening was Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders, who nailed the problem as being the Rethugs not being truthful about their agenda (which is opposed by the majority of Americans, from Social Security to gun control) and Dems not willing to stand for something.  It's a rather long video, but very much worth watching.

Today's Cartoon And Letter We Wish We'd Written

(click to enlarge)

(Mike Smith, Las Vegas Sun)

And from today's once great Washington Post Bezos Bugle:
To paraphrase the 18th-century philosopher Edmund Burke, the only thing necessary for the triumph of evil is for good people to do nothing. To all of those who didn’t bother to vote in Tuesday’s elections, thanks for nothing. 
Bob Butler, Adelphi
OK, we're still in the anger stage.

Supreme Court To Rule On Obamacare... Again

The Supreme Court's decision to take up the pernicious King v. Burwell case, following on the heels of the Republican victories in the mid-term elections, is causing many observers to wonder if this is the moment the five Republican justices have been waiting for to sabotage the Obama administration's signature health insurance law.

From TPM:
The Supreme Court announced on Friday it will hear a lawsuit that seeks to cripple Obamacare by invalidating federal subsidies for millions of Americans. 
In a surprising move, the justices agreed to have the final word on a challenge to the legality of federal subsidies in 36 states which declined to build their own state-run exchanges and handed some or all of the task over to the federal government. 
The decision is troubling news for the White House, which wanted to resolve the case in the lower courts so the Supreme Court wouldn't have to weigh in. [snip]
The plaintiffs allege that the plain text of the Affordable Care Act confines the subsidies to "an Exchange established by the State" but not the federal exchange which serves residents of states that didn't build one. 
We know four "justices" (Scalia, Thomas, Alito and Kennedy) previously wanted to rule the Affordable Care Act's (Obamacare) individual mandate unconstitutional in 2012;  Chief Justice Roberts unexpectedly sided with the Court's four progressive justices to save the fledgling act.  It's unclear that would be the case this time around, even though the plaintiff's suit is based on the debunked notion that Congress wanted subsidies only to apply to state-run health insurance exchanges.

Steve M. at No More Mister Nice Blog has a pretty ominous take on the law's future.  Worth a read.

Friday, November 7, 2014

Democrats And The "D*ckless Chickensh*t" Strategy

Nailed it!

Quote of the Day: Who Has The Power vs. Who Has The Truth

"The race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet midterms to men of understanding. Or as I put it on the eve of another Republican Party sweep, politics determines who has the power, not who has the truth. Still, it’s not often that a party that is so wrong about so much does as well as Republicans did on Tuesday."  Paul Krugman, in yesterday's New York Times.  He wraps up the phenomenon of the Republican triumph in the mid-term elections (with a great assist by the media) despite being maliciously wrong about most everything.  Good read and good message to keep in mind.

Weekend Seaworthy Song

We think you'll enjoy this song by multi-talented Lera Lynn, off her album "The Avenues."  It's called "Out to Sea."  Enjoy your weekend.

Employment Up Again

The Bureau of Labor Statistics reported that the economy added 214,000 new jobs last month, making it the ninth straight month of over 200,000 jobs added since 1995.  The unemployment rate ticked down from 5.9% to 5.8% in the same month.

Income inequality, stagnant wages and salaries mitigate the consistently good economic news, as the economic recovery has provided uneven benefits.  The trick that the Dems haven't learned is to emphasize the economic achievements, not the least of which was pulling the nation out of a near-Depresson.  At the same time, they needed to be clear about who was responsible for the original crash and who has been obstructing measures that would get the economy humming again -- infrastructure, minimum wage, equal pay for equal work, and so on.  They failed.

Thursday, November 6, 2014

Post-Election Cartoon Three-fer

(click to enlarge)

(Steve Benson, Arizona Republic)

(Mike Luckovich, Atlanta Journal-Constitution)

(Clay Jones,

The Grand Poobah Has Spoken

Rethuglican Grand Poobah and voice of their inner rage, hate radio's Rush Limpballs, has given orders to his underlings that were elected Tuesday, and it's not to sing Kumbaya:
" is the biggest, and perhaps the most important mandate a political party has had in the recent era. And it is very simple what that mandate is. It is to stop Barack Obama. It is to stop the Democrat Party. There is no other reason why Republicans were elected yesterday. Republicans were not elected to govern." (emphasis added)
We're waiting for the Rethuglican Party's reaction to their guru's orders…..waiting….. waiting…..

BONUS:  And "mandate"?  It was a low turnout election, with under-30 voters (cough) slacking off in particular.

Wednesday, November 5, 2014

Reality Check Quote of the Day

"Mitch McConnell and John Boehner have bet that working against President Obama’s 'agenda' for the sake of working against it is the proper way to build Republican majorities in Congress, and it’s gone swimmingly for them. These Republicans will see no need to change course now in order to 'show that they can govern.' Showing that they can be oppositional, and deflect all blame for the resulting dysfunction onto the presidency, has won them results." -- (emphasis added) Jim Newell writing in Salon.  The Rethugs just want to ride out the next two years, and continue the gridlock by posturing publicly that they want to work with the President while refusing to compromise behind the scenes, knowing that the President (and Dems) will get the lion's share of the blame.  Why should a party which has a deep antipathy toward Government try to make it work, especially when they've just been richly rewarded for obstructing it?

Mid-Week Waves Song

Dennis Stehr, the Dutch singer that goes by the name of Mr. Probz, has a recording out that's (cough) made waves since its release last year.  Expect the Republicans and their media enablers to be singing about "waves" after yesterday's elections.

Dems Fall To Rethugs

It was a big night for the Rethuglicans, who won almost all of the expected contests in their red states, and managed to beat Dem candidates in purple or blue states as well.  The body count was staggering:  losses of incumbent Dem Governorships in Massachusetts, Maryland, and Illinois, and the U.S. Senate flipping to the Republicans with incumbent Dem defeats in North Carolina, Colorado, Arkansas, and (probably) Alaska.  House Rethugs add another 12 seats roughly.

What were presumed to be tight races turned out not to be, like Kentucky where human/turtle hybrid Sen. Mitch "Missy" McConnell easily won over Alison Lundergan Grimes, and Georgia, where David Perdue avoided a runoff election by defeating Dem Michelle Nunn by getting over 50% of the vote.  Hog castrator Joni Ernst appears to have beaten Dem opponent Bruce "Not Bailey" Braley by a decent margin.  The election results mean we'll have to endure the likes of Gov. Rick "Voldemort" Scott in Florida, Gov. Scott "I'd Like To Buy The World A Koch" Walker in Wisconsin, and new Governors plutocrat Bruce Rauner in Illinois, Charlie "The Fish Tale" Baker in Massachusetts and Larry "Gun Ho" Hogan in Maryland.  Great.

So let the second guessing and finger pointing begin.  For starters, we've often noted the Dems don't talk about their successes, and ceded the field to the Rethugs and their dark money allies.  Maybe it didn't occur to them that an increasingly robust recovery, lower unemployment, lower gas prices, affordable health care, pension funds replenished, etc. might appeal to the voters.  Hand it to the Rethugs, though:  they nationalized the election, diverted attention from their candidates' extreme positions, and managed to play the political press with "gotcha" issues about their opponents.

BONUS:  Jon Stewart's take on the midterms: "...the Democrats’ strategy seemed to be — again, I’m not a political strategist — curling up in a ball and hoping you didn’t kick them in the face too hard?”

BONUS II:  It didn't hurt the Rethuglicans that voter suppression worked in reducing normally low Dem turnout further.

BONUS III:  Both Charlie Pierce and Kos take the President to task (as we do, too) for the numbnut decision to hold off on executive action on immigration until after the election in order to "save" several conservaDem Senate seats.  That didn't turn out so good, did it?