Just to amplify an issue related to Mistermix’s post at Balloon Juice about austerity peacock Tom Coburn’s announcement that he would seek to offset federal disaster relief funds to Oklahoma with budget cuts elsewhere (Pentagon exempted, naturally). Let’s pause to consider what it means that Coburn issued this statement while bodies were still being pulled from the rubble in his home state, an activity that is ongoing.
A spokesman for the senator claimed that Coburn was merely being consistent about his position on federal disaster aid. That’s a lie: Mrs. Polly provides links to accounts of Coburn questioning and delaying disaster relief to other states while accepting funds for Oklahoma below. It’s no surprise that Coburn is a liar and a hypocrite: That’s what we expect from politicians. It’s what our grandparents expected, and their grandparents too.
But what does seem somewhat novel—to me, at least—is the brazen callousness in today’s breed of Republicans, a rigid orthodoxy combined with a rich man’s insulation from trouble that renders them utterly indifferent to the fate of others, even those who look like them and share their origins and cultural pretensions.
Coburn is retiring after his current term: Maybe he’d be less quick to rush before the cameras to display his austerity plumage if he had to stand for another election. But I don’t think that’s necessarily true anymore. His real political masters, Koch Industries, et al, will applaud his haste to emphasize what’s really important in the face of a natural disaster, which is to keep corporate tax rates low and gut regulations on industries that contribute to extreme climate events.
And even if voters remember some other austerity peacock’s callous disregard for an unfolding disaster in some future election (doubtful thanks to the flood of corporate money that swings most elections), the heartless pricks who are voted out of office can transition seamlessly into cushy private sector influence-peddling gigs.
There’s really nothing new to see here, I suppose, but I can’t help but feel that something has been lost nonetheless: basic human decency, fundamental accountability—or at least the need to pretend that these quaint notions are relevant.
Still red-faced from deploring Newtown parents’ strange commitment to furthering an anti-gun agenda, right wingers are disgusted that Rhode Island Democratic Senator Sheldon Whitehouse would be so callous as to use Monday’s devastating monster tornado to highlight his global warming agenda.
Yes, Senator Whitehouse, the beset members of the GOP will long remember your shameless rant against them, particularly the parting shot:
So, like it or not, we’re in this together.
As is usually the case in disasters of this sort, the best and fastest way to help is with cash.. Go to:RedCross.org or text REDCROSS to 90999. Other suggestions for where to send donations are welcome.
What a week! And, I have to agree with Jay Carney, it’s actually been a good week, if for no other reason than its entertainment value. Scandalpalooza has downtrodden Republicans floating in a purple haze of political fairy dust and, history teaches us that when the GOP has magic on its mind it becomes rather spectacularly self-destructive.
By the end of a week of Republican non-stop merrymaking, Prince Rebus and “You’re a Mean One, Mr Gingrich” are the sole, sober voices of reason. Say what you will about Newt, but he does have decades worth of first-hand knowledge of the inner workings, serial miscalculations, over-reach and bumbling blunders that have carried the GOP to its present-day level of uselessness.
So it is that Prince and Newt are the grownups desperately calling cabs for the less inhibited partygoers before they start spewing a skinful of Impeachment Punch all over the rotunda.
In one of those cabs, we find Peggy Noonan belting out “those were the days, my friend” spliced with “we are in the middle of the worst Washington scandal since Watergate” and “the South shall rise again.” [I added that last part; it seemed to fit]
Admittedly, it’s been a while since Peggy Noonan made any sense to me. At first, I thought she was cleverly speaking in tongues. But Peggy’s Catholic and they generally frown on that kind of melodrama.
I knew from the get-go that it wasn’t James Earl Jones lending gravity and heft to Darth Vader’s Jedi armor back in 1979. The only question—which I never asked—was what extremely large and sturdy stunt double would allow himself to be swanned around on-camera for ten years without so much as a single shot of the actor’s actual face. (Anonymity is generally a useless P.R. tool.)
As it turns out, Vader (or at least his clanking physical presence) was portrayed by British weightlifter David Prowse, a robust bodybuilder who helped train Christopher Reeve:
He helped train Christopher Reeve for the role of Superman in the 1978 film and its sequels after lobbying for the part himself. In a television interview, he related how his response to being told “We’ve found our Superman” was “Thank you very much.” Then he was told that Reeve had been chosen and he was only to be a trainer.
as well as training Cary Elwes for The Princess Bride.
Little to my beknownst, I first encountered Prowse a few years earlier, when he played the nearly naked pleasure-boy Julian in Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange.
It ain’t politics, and it ain’t funny, but here’s hoping I just cleared up the deepest mystery of your brain with Mr. Prowse’s own workaday website.
Most wingnuts go straight for the “uppity” angle when criticizing President Obama for asking two Marines to hold umbrellas over himself and the Turkish Prime Minister at an outdoor press conference during a downpour.
Noted boxed wine enthusiast Ann Althouse digs a bit deeper in a post entitled, “The word ‘umbrella’ appears exactly once in Obama’s ‘Dreams from My Father.’” Do think I’m kidding? No, I am not.
I’m astounded to see that the umbrella figures importantly in the book — and it is even an umbrella held over him by another man (his younger brother Bernard). This happens at the end of what is the most dramatic scene in the book, on the last page of the final chapter.
So — as he dramatizes it —it is at the moment when he finds out who he really is that another man suddenly appears and is sheltering him with an umbrella. He’s been crying, but now it all makes sense, and — with the prompting of the younger man — he sees that he is okay.
Flash forward, and he’s President. He is in the Rose Garden. It starts to rain. No man suddenly appears with an umbrella. He is getting wet and he is President — with plenty of airplanes and rifles and all of the world’s greatest military at hand — but he is still getting wet. He has to order the Marine to shelter him. It isn’t Bernard squatting with a bent-up old umbrella. It’s a Marine in full-dress uniform, with a fine unbent umbrella, which is nevertheless not correct under the official — male, rigid — Marine Corps regulations… And here he is, the center of the whole world’s attention, and he had to call for the umbrella. He is not okay.
Wingnuts have demonstrated amazing super powers in the past, including the ability to conduct a comprehensive neurological assessment via a snippet of grainy videotape and audit a family’s finances by peering through the kitchen window at their countertops.
In her analysis of the meaning of UmbrellaGate, Althouse has taken it a step further, investing that “famously Freudian symbol” with powers that far surpass Mary Poppins’ foul weather gear, including the ability to emasculate US Marines and transform the POTUS into an insecure child. It’s both insane and fascinating.
I usually don’t attempt emulsification prior to 10 AM, but I made a smashing hollandaise sauce this morning:
It was a simple recipe: 4 egg yolks, a tablespoon of lemon juice, a stick of melted butter, white pepper, cayenne pepper and salt.
Then I toasted some thick slices of Italian bread, topped them with some slices of Ukrainian purple tomatoes from our garden, topped that with eggs over easy, ladled hollandaise sauce over it and sprinkled it with smoked paprika:
Definitely not a heart healthy breakfast, but we’re patching a floor and laying tile today, so we need the fuel.
Rest assured that while there’s an unemployed photogenic psychotic willing to preen in front of bright lights and pocket Wingnut Welfare, FOX will be assiduous in helping malevolent loons fail their way to the top, if by “top” we mean the bottom of a barrel similar to the one West likes to torture Iraqi policemen in.
Has anyone noticed that the GOP Faux Outrage Machine has been somewhat subdued on the recent revelations that the Department of Justice has been secretly poring over news reporters’ phone logs? Odd, isn’t it? Sure, we all know how Republicans feel about the LAMESTREAM MEDIA!!!1! and it’s insufferable Librul Bias. But, FIRST AMENDMENT! FOUNDING FATHERS! etc., plus, really, Flip-Flops R Us. So why aren’t Republicans getting all apoplectic over this now that they have their big chance to expose Big Brother-ish, Fascist tactics?
Maybe it’s because you’d have to really beat the bushes to find a Republican who isn’t a huge fan of spy vs. spy stuff or who doesn’t believe that anything—anything—that the intelligence community, the military or federal law enforcement does in the name of National Security is out of bounds. And what a slippery slope political talk about limitations could land us on if we’re not careful, eh?
Besides, remember all the way back to the 2012 campaign when Republicans were screaming foul about deliberate White House leaks on national security coups strategically designed to make President Obama look good in an election year? Stories like how the CIA had foiled an Underwear Bomber 2.0 plot that could have taken down a passenger-laden jetliner? Or the sexy one about cyber-spying on Iran’s nuclear program?
Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-SC) circulated the letter . . . signed by Sens. John McCain (R-AZ), Mitch McConnell (R-KY), Lamar Alexander (R-TN), Kelley Ayotte (R-NH), Roy Blunt (R-MO), John Barrasso (R-WY), Saxby Chambliss (R-GA), Susan Collins (R-ME), Jim DeMint (R-SC), Lisa Murkowski (R-AK), Marco Rubio (R-FL) and John Thune (R-SD), among other Republican senators.
It was 31 in all who signed the letter demanding that Attorney General Eric Holder immediately appoint a special counsel to investigate national-security leaks from the executive branch:
The numerous national-security leaks reportedly originating out of the executive branch in recent months have been stunning.
If true, they reveal details of some of our nation’s most highly classified and sensitive military and intelligence matters, thereby risking our national security, as well as the lives of American citizens and our allies. If there were ever a case requiring an outside special counsel with bipartisan acceptance and widespread public trust, this is it.
So. Months later we find ourselves “uncovering” that very investigation.
With the exception of Margaret Dumont in a white toga performing her plus-size version of the Rites of Spring, nothing makes Classical Occultism less appealing than Stevie Nicks levitating in a cloud of silken Underoos. Needless to say, I was never any kind of Fleetwood Mac fan until I discovered “Tusk” on the B side of a 45 RPM Top 40 single. Talk about relentless rhythm!
Think of this as today’s rock n’ roll sorbet. Cleanse your palate. Enjoy the interplay of exotic pop riffs, and don’t thank me just because the band isn’t dancing all over the YouTube video.
So, Heavily Armed Disgruntled People Of America, how’s every little thing?
Our special correspondent (kitted out at his insistence in Cloak of Invisibility and Kevlar Pants) was attending that little treasonish trade-show-cum shindig of yours last week, when he happened in on the creative gun-storage seminar “Store Your Semi-Automatics In The Kids’ Closet” which sounds like a David Sedaris title but turned out to be really real. So many small children having either smoked their siblings or been smoked in general recently, he began to feel slightly peaky, and unable to appreciate your full spectrum of defiant ballistic wackadoo, detailed here by the vastly more stalwart Bette Noir.
Any old hoo, rankled 2nd-half-of-the-2nd amendment fans, sometime between the Glenn Beck philippics on Michael Bloomberg, Nazi, and fifteen minutes of mike-melting audio purporting to be the thoughts of Gammy Gunrack, yr. correspondent thought, “Line-Dancing Jeebus With A Chaw and a Blowsy Girlfriend In A’Women Hunt’ T shirt, I sure hope these people never have a legitimate grievance—they’re halfway to an armed march on Washington as it is!”
It was at this point that the old back-office telex machine started its musical chattering, and churned out a missive from our special correspondent: “My understanding file reports on people perpetually wrong,from own inviolable position of moral superiority. Currently drowning self in pink gin at expat bar on riverfront. Suggest reply only by telex until further notice or Holder bounced down Capitol steps on keister.”
If you’re rooting for the Republican Party to survive until 2016, you probably believe that Benghazi-Gate is a game-changing strategy of diabolical brilliance. In fact, it’s really pathetic and graphically demonstrates how utterly out of juice the GOP has become.
For the first few months after the Reality of 2012 set in, some Republicans actually toyed with the idea of substantive changes to their antiquated policy platform by convincing themselves that Latinos were natural-born, big-C conservatives. The RNC did it’s little soul-search and discovered that some “serious Republicans” could stomach reaching out to black, Hispanic and Asian voters because they just knew that, if only they could articulate what’s in their little conservative hearts, minorities would drop everything and register Republican.
The GOP beat the bushes and found themselves some folks of the “right persuasion” to head up their outreach programs in the states and to sign up “more of their own kind.” Slight miscalculation. Yesterday, in Florida, one of the most important outreach outposts, the newly appointed RNC State Director Of Outreach, Pablo Pantoja, had to regretfully resign his post and switch his political affiliation from Republican to Democrat.
Here’s how he put it:
It doesn’t take much to see the culture of intolerance surrounding the Republican Party today. I have wondered before about the seemingly harsh undertones about immigrants and others. Look no further; a well-known organization recently confirms the intolerance of that which seems different or strange to them.
Who could’ve seen that coming? Meanwhile, while one faction of the GOP is strategizing about how to come up with enough voters to win a national election, again, ever . . . Hillary Clinton emerges as the Democrats secret weapon for 2016 already raining on the parades of the GOP’s Earnest Young Men potential candidates. Hillary could beat any, or all, of them tomorrow, if necessary.
This probably ranks up there in things that had to be done eventually. Canadian space cadet Chris Hadfield, floating in a tin can, faaaar above the world, gives us his styling of Bowie’s 1969 megahit, backed by a fabulous invisible cheesy celestial rock orchestra.
This raises a few questions, like: What sort of payload snafu lets him cart a grand piano up there, but not a Stylophone? And is it an astronaut’s discipline that doesn’t allow him to break “the rules” and go thumb-over for the barre chords in the C-F-G-A guitar bridge, which would have totally nailed it? And would it have killed the budget to let the poor guy take along a guitar strap?