Monday, January 20, 2014
As The Worm Turns: Jersey Edition
No one can say that New Jersey’s Lt. Gov, Kim Guadagno is not a woman of her word.
According to Hoboken Mayor Dawn Zimmer, she met with Guadagno five days after Hoboken’s planning board rejected the recommendations of a study that would have advanced a redevelopment project and alleges she was was told by Guadagno:
It [the development project] is very important to the governor. The word is that you are against it, and you need to move forward or we are not going to be able to help you. I know it’s not right — these things should not be connected — but they are and if you tell anyone, I will deny it.
And deny it she did in a command performance, this morning:
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/20/14 at 01:37 PM
Sunday, January 19, 2014
Message In a Bubble: Jennifer Rubin Edition
(h/t photo by the one and only Mario Piperni)
Jennifer Rubin is a conservative opinion blogger for The Washington Post and for the eleventy-umpteenth time she has just about had it with the mainstream media’s lack of journalistic integrity and shoddy workmanship [this time she’s looking at you, MSNBC].
Yesterday Ms. Rubin took to her blogatorium to inform us that if there is a real scandal to this whole BridgeGate thing, it is actually MSNBC’s persecution of jolly old Gov. Christie who has already told us “I am not a bully, so fuhgeddaboudit already!” There is so much utter silliness in this blog post that I only just finished unpacking it by Sunday morning.
If you are unfamiliar with Ms. Rubin’s oeuvre you might want to read this short offering, from last year, explaining why conservatives hate the mainstream media [which generously pays her salary]. It is cleverly entitled “Why Conservatives Hate the Mainstream Media.” The gist of it is that conservatives hate the mainstream media because mainstream journos are lazy, lying, un-serious, morally bankrupt Lefties who never ask Obama the hard questions.
So, it’s only a short hop, skip and a jump from there to how Rachel Maddow, Steve Kornacki and Chris Hayes are just the biggest meanies in smear-dom for their abuse of Chris Christie aka the GOP’s Great White Hope 2016.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/19/14 at 02:19 PM
Saturday, January 18, 2014
Constitution: 3 States: 0
This week Oklahoma, Pennsylvania and North Carolina became the latest states to run headlong into the brick wall otherwise known as the US Constitution. Increasingly, state legislators who don’t care for the way things are headed, in the country, have taken to writing their own laws, amending their state constitutions and proposing ballot initiatives to protect their political, social policy and ideological comfort zones.
Evidently, judging by the number of such actions, out in the states, quite a few states are uncomfortable with the powers-that-be, inspiring state executives and legislators to frequently bandy about concepts like state’s rights, nullification, secession, impeachment and the most recent addition to the Extreme Playbook, the Second Amendment Solution.
Fortunately, the framers of our constitution foresaw that leading a vibrant, young nation might sometimes devolve into an exercise in herding cats and they prudently built that framework of very stern stuff. Our constitution has survived some very trying times and ultimately, those tests have strengthened it and repeatedly strengthened our resolve to uphold the core principles that make us the global model of Democracy.
As with most foundational documents, though, ours are open to interpretation and argument and, in some cases, amendment but, ultimately such instruments must pass a rigorous testing of their essential constitutionality before becoming part of the fabric of American law. Thus the framers attempted to protect citizens against the self interests, regional imperatives and transient political agendas of their elected representatives.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/18/14 at 12:21 PM
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
The Rebranding 2014: Brave New GOP
If anyone asks [and, so far, no one has] I’d have to give the RNC’s rebranding effort aka the Growth and Opportunity Project a solid F+. The plus is for the one thing that was prescribed in that roadmap that Republicans actually seem to be doing something about—creating a 21st century GOTV operation to beef up their heretofore pathetic ground game.
For that particular line item, I’d give them a C because they are still talking about it, have made a few hires and announced that the Republican National Committee is getting out of the political ad business to focus its considerable talents on IT. Judging from their condescending derision of all things healthcare.gov, this should be entertaining.
The Republican National Committee says it is changing its entire approach to campaigns, electing to focus on building the party’s grass roots on a constant basis rather than stockpiling money for TV ads in the months before an election.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/15/14 at 01:59 PM
Tuesday, January 14, 2014
The Loon Star State! Not For Everyone . . .
Just suppose you’re the lucky blogger who is invited to speak at the Texans for Freedom and Liberty “Freedom Rally” at the Cottonwood Creek Baptist Church last Saturday. Your mission, should you choose to accept it, is to loosen up the crowd with a little conservative humor [oxymoron alert] before the main event: The One, The Only, Senator Ted Cruz.
You must find just the right subject matter and tone so that the crowd will be ready for The Really, Really Serious Message to be delivered straight from the lips of The Anointed One.
Here’s what Bill Whittle came up with:
“You will see a lot of cars coming west heading east on Interstate 10, and they’re going to have California license plates on them,” Whittle said, as the crowd begins to laugh. “Now, if you see these cars pull into rest areas or hotels or restaurants, that’s fine; wave goodbye, make sure they go out on the Louisiana end.”
“But if you see them pull off into residential areas, you need to open fire on these vehicles immediately,” Whittle said, as the crowd laughs appreciatively and applauds loudly. “Immediately. Not with 9mm or AR rounds; you need to put mortars on those things, you cannot take any chances.”
And, just in case anyone found that advice a little scary:
“What’s the worst that could happen to you?” Whittle said. “I mean, honestly, this is Texas, right? You’ll stand in front of a Texas judge, (and) he’ll say, ‘Did you shoot up that car full of Californians?’ You’ll say yes, he’ll say why. You’ll say, ‘Well, your honor, they needed killing.’ And he’ll say, ‘We’ll strike a medal in your honor,’ and off you go.”
I know, I know, Texas . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/14/14 at 01:10 PM
Sunday, January 12, 2014
I was born, raised and have lived most of my life next door to New Jersey. And when I say “next door” I mean two miles from the border. I worked in New Jersey for many, many years. When I tell you that Jersey is “different,” you can trust me. And it was “different” for decades before The Sopranos created an indelible and enduring image for a state that most Americans couldn’t find on the map without help.
When I was growing up, on the edges of Philadelphia, people talked about so-and-so being “connected.” That one word, applied to an acquaintance, a relative, a co-worker—whoever—produced instant shock and awe. It meant that the person referred to had serious juice and was completely hands-off. A connected guy could snatch your grannie’s purse or set the neighbor’s cat on fire, for an audience in broad daylight, but nobody, including the cop on the beat, would ever see a thing.
Being “connected” didn’t necessarily mean that you were a mob princeling or even a “wise guy” but it meant you did business with such people on a regular basis and that smart people would stay out of your way.
And it wasn’t all fear and loathing, either. Connected guys were often heroes in their neighborhoods because they could make the seemingly impossible happen. Troubles with the zoning board? need a traffic light on your street? need a loan that no bank will give you? connected guys help out the little people and the little people don’t forget. And the world goes round . . .
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Posted by Bette Noir on 01/12/14 at 02:07 PM
Friday, January 10, 2014
Some bloggers of note have been commenting on the intelligence of one S.E. Cupp. I have not gone to the Cupp… er… well in quite some time.
I don’t think that S.E. Cupp is the dumbest pundit working, even though she has produced some of the stupidest punditry to assault the airwaves and t00bz. Cupp is actually pretty canny, having crafted a pretty sophisticated media image. Cupp’s M.O. largely consists of titillation, her “naughty librarian” image, much like that of Sarah Palin, appeals to a conservative male fan base… she’s basically a pinup for pinheads. I guess you can’t spell fanservice without “S.E.”
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Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/10/14 at 09:07 PM
Wednesday, January 08, 2014
The Highway’s Jammed by Right Wing Zeroes on a Fat Chance Power Trip
I’ve written quite a bit about New Jersey governor Chris Christie, aka the Hudson Harkonnen, America’s cafone, and Phony Soprano. The latest Chris Christie news is a rapidly ballooning scandal, the closure of lanes on the George Washington Bridge by Christie Administration Port Authority apointees which caused major traffic snarls, seemingly to punish the Democratic mayor of Fort Lee, who didn’t endorse him in his gubernatorial race. Predictably, Christie is blaming an underling for this d-baggery. Christie is just the sort of vindictive creep who’d place the lives of ordinary people at risk (the lane closures have been implicated in the death of a woman due to a delay in the arrival of medical help) to “punish” an “enemy”.
To tell the truth, Christie’s handling of Port Authority matters has been awful from the beginning of his tenure as governor, when he put the kibosh on a Hudson River rail crossing that would have been funded by the federal government. Even when he’s not motivated by spite, the guy is an utter disaster.
I wonder if, had Christie’s incompetent-at-best and depraved-at-worst Port Authority hires been exposed in November, the jerk would have won the gubernatorial election. By making people’s commutes longer and more tedious, his administration hit people “where they live”. I don’t believe that even the most rabid GOPer would countenance a policy which directly harmed him… not only “those people” were affected by these traffic snarls.
Got buyers’ remorse, Jerseyites?
Cross posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 01/08/14 at 11:44 PM
Dispassionate Conservatism On the Move
So. That sneaky Democrat-led Senate has forced the House to go on defense and produce a new installment in its efforts to put on a happy face and win some elections, dammit!
House Republican leadership issued a new talking points memo, this week, in its series The Rebranding: How To Be. Close on the heels of their “How To Handle a Woman” memo, this latest one is directed at helping members to sound compassionate about the plight of the unemployed while denying a long-term unemployment benefit extension. Maybe the GOP will merge the two to create a separate memo for dealing with the “female unemployed”?
The hope is that a demonstration of caring will persuade the long-term unemployed to get out of their “safety net hammock” and get a job. Once that occurs, the newly employed person’s self-esteem will skyrocket and, in a show of gratitude, s/he will vote Republican.
The Washington Post, bless their hearts, obtained a copy of the actual memo which is every bit as odious as you might expect.
Read it and weep:
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/08/14 at 10:50 AM
Tuesday, January 07, 2014
Is There a Doctor In The House?
Suppose I’m an average American . . . I’m not exactly “low-info” or even politically apathetic, I’m just pretty busy having a life. I’ve got kids, a dog, a job and, now, a tetchy water heater that probably needs replacing. I just don’t have the bandwidth to turn over every rock in the political landscape and inventory the slugs living under them. I live in America the Exceptional so I take some things on faith.
For too long, now, I hear way too much about Obamacare and how it’s going to save or destroy the country and none of it makes a whole lot of sense. And since I have “real” health insurance for my family, through my job, I don’t really need to think about it. Right? I wouldn’t mind paying less for my share but it’s just way too risky to switch insurance when you have it.
So. This morning, on the way to work, I hear that some big organization for doctors has taken a case to the Supreme Court for an emergency hold on the Obamacare roll-out. That gets my attention—this isn’t crazy politicians with an ax to grind but real doctors. And doctors are smart and professional and they know what’s going on in the medical world. This sounds serious if the doctors are going all the way to the Supreme Court to stop Obamacare . . .
* * *
OK. I read that, too. And I’m retired so I have lots of time to not take things “on faith” in 21st century America. The downside of that is that I am sometimes tempted to march off a cliff into the sea and never look back.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/07/14 at 12:22 PM
Monday, January 06, 2014
Come For the Carpetbagging, Stay for the Fishing
Sadly, it appears that the bid for US senator from Wyoming of torture apologist and nattering nabob of nepotism, Liz Cheney, may be drawing to a close. It’s really quite unfortunate that a campaign that featured a massive rift between herself and her sister and sister-in-law over the validity of their marriage, an apparent break in the friendship between
Darth Former Vice-President Dick Cheney and Senator Mike Enzi, the payment of a fine over a fraudulently-completed application for a fishing license, and the revelation that Mr. Liz Cheney was registered to vote in two, count them, two states, (which is certainly the sort of thing that can happen if you are a resident of… wherever you say you are)—was all for naught.
But let’s look for silver linings, shall we? Now that Liz Cheney has settled in the lovely state of Wyoming, she can spend time getting to know people and making herself some friends, possibly bonding over casting lines and hoisting brewskis. It might just be that she is what we would call an “acquired taste” and the good folks of Wyoming haven’t had ample enough opportunity to, um, acquire a taste for her. (I know I never have.)
Now admittedly, they might never warm to her (although pitchforks and torches may be involved at some point down the line) and taking up full-time residence in Wyoming may cut into her television appearances shilling for neoconservative foreign policy ideas she learned at daddy’s knee. I don’t see a downside there.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged. )
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/06/14 at 12:33 AM
Sunday, January 05, 2014
McCain and Graham are Predictable About Violence In Iraq
I think it is unfortunate that there is increased violence in Iraq and a bloody shame that al-Qaeda seems to have control of Fallujah. Based on the aftermath of first, the invasion of Iraq, then the war there, then our withdrawal, it is likely that reasonable people could predict that there would be increased violence, and that Fallujah was a likely place for a bunch of it. And, sure as fire is hot and water is wet, Senators McCain and Graham are all over it, and if you’ve been reading the libretto thus far, I bet you know what song they are singing:
McCain and Graham had been vocal critics of President Obama’s decision to withdraw U.S. troops from Iraq by the end of 2011, and they called the reports of al Qaeda gaining control in Fallujah and elsewhere “as tragic as they are predictable.”
“While many Iraqis are responsible for this strategic disaster, the administration cannot escape its share of the blame,” the Republicans said in a statement. “When President Obama withdrew all U.S. forces from Iraq in 2011, over the objections of our military leaders and commanders on the ground, many of us predicted that the vacuum would be filled by America’s enemies and would emerge as a threat to U.S. national security interests.”
“Sadly, that reality is now clearer than ever,” McCain and Graham said. “What’s sadder still, the thousands of brave Americans who fought, shed their blood, and lost their friends to bring peace to Fallujah and Iraq are now left to wonder whether these sacrifices were in vain.”
It’s very sad that the country was destabilized by a decade of war, and it is President Bush who signed the status of forces agreement that led to the withdrawal, and ending the presence of US troops in Iraq was overwhelmingly in accordance with what the US public wanted. That decision has consequences—and so would staying. If Sens. McCain and Graham are under the impression that brave Americans specifically fought, shed blood, and lost friends to bring peace to Fallujah, they might want to ponder a rationale for the AUMF that started with weapons of mass destruction that no longer existed, and contemplate also why Fallujah does not happen to have peace today. The presence of US soldiers battling ISIS today would not constitute peace, and if the size of the conflict was smaller because of our continued presence, it would be somewhat like a lid on a pot that’s boiling over. Asking us to take into consideration whether the living or the dead Americans who fought in Iraq wonder whether their sacrifices are in vain—is itself a vanity.
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/05/14 at 12:50 AM
Saturday, January 04, 2014
YOLO, Mr. Meacham. YOLO
Oh, dear! sometimes I just want to throw my hands in the air and quote The Beatles:
All the lonely people
where do they all belong?
From a mother’s perspective, the one pictured above belongs in therapy.
Young Trestin Meacham has tried many, many ways, in his relatively short life, to get attention. The internet is dotted with the potholes of his abandoned bloggery; in 2012 he ran for the Utah State Senate on the Constitution Party ticket and $100.00 in campaign donations; and, when that failed, he created the Constitutional Heroarchy of Kherutistan, online, complete with flag, history, it’s own currency—Reese’s Peanut Butter Cups, to be exact.
But only this week, did Trestin Meacham achieve his dream of “going viral” by declaring a hunger strike until Utah gays stop getting married.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/04/14 at 01:01 PM
Thursday, January 02, 2014
Mark Darr: A Cautionary Tale
Ever since our relatives started painting in caves and piling up rocks into henges and such, the circadian tingle of a New Year has inspired us to look backward and forward for clues as to how to keep surviving and thriving in a tricky world.
And, so it is, that New Year’s retrospectives are an instinctive human habit, as are the cautionary tales that we spin and the resolutions that we make based on our realization of how thin a line separates human success from failure.
Generally, we undertake New Year’s resolutions in an effort to internalize the lessons learned during the previous year and use those lessons to make our lives and our selves better in some way.
Now, I’m just a humble blogger, a lay observer and parser of political life primarily for my own personal entertainment and/or edification. That said, in my humble opinion, and based on 60+ years of observation, 2013 seems to me to have been a particularly sucky year in these American colonies—a watershed year of dysfunction, ineptitude and sociopathology in the realm of American politics.
Because I happen to still believe in the premise of “government of the people, by the people and for the people,” I must take part of the blame for that suckiness. Ergo, this year, it is my New Year’s resolution to Embrace the Suck to unlock the hidden secrets of combating The Stupid before it gobbles us up. And I sincerely hope that many of my fellow Americans will join me in that effort to make life in these United States just a little less sucky.
To clarify what I believe we might each be able to contribute to that effort, I’d like to take a deep dive into an illustrative cautionary tale about how easily things can go awry when we are not terribly smart about our politics.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 01/02/14 at 11:09 AM
Sunday, December 29, 2013
Are the Benghazi Talking Points Quite Done, Here?
The use of the deadly attack on the embassy in Benghazi, Libya, that resulted in the deaths of four Americans as a political tool has frankly astonished me since the foreign policy naif Mitt Romney had the bad taste to broach it the very evening that it happened. For that reason, I see a kind of lukewarm vindication of the Obama Administration’s public statements regarding the matter in the NYT’s in-depth study on it, which draws two meaningful conclusions: that al-Qaeda was not involved in the attack and that it did stem in part from the widespread protests over a rather dumb bigoted little video, just as was stated by current NSA Susan Rice.
It has long seemed to me that the Benghazi affair as initiated by the Romney folks was a matter of using President Obama’s perceived strength (as having authorized the successful raid that resulted in the death of Osama bin Laden) against him. The failure on the Romney side began with the claim that a statement attempting to ameliorate matters from the Cairo embassy was a sign that the Obama Administration actually sided with radical Islam, but this blew up into a claim that the administration was actually somehow derelict in defending the Libyan embassy from attack from several others on the Republican side, including Senators John McCain and Lindsey Graham, and House Oversight Committee Chair Darrell Issa. The use of the Benghazi tragedy as an indictment of the Obama Administration spans a number of criticisms that conservatives have had with the Commander-in-Chief—that he is Muslim or more sympathetic to radical Islam, that he isn’t a real leader, or that he wants America to fail.
It’s pretty much always been bullshit. Senators McCain and Graham did the best job of giving the game away when they failed to attend a briefing on the matter, opting instead to hang their faces in front of a camera pointing fingers. Rep. Issa, supposedly a kind of watchdog, has fluffed the matter at intervals, but is mostly of the school of investigation that insists that if he doesn’t hear what he thinks he ought, there is surely a cover-up afoot.
And it appears that, for the time being, he is not apt to drop this very tasty rag while there is yet some flavor in it:
On Sunday, “Meet the Press” host David Gregory asked Issa to respond to The Times story, which was published online Saturday. The story also said the Benghazi attacks were “fueled in large part by anger at an American-made video denigrating Islam.”
“We have seen no evidence that the video was widely seen in Benghazi,” Issa said Sunday. “People from this administration … have said under oath there was no evidence of any reaction to a video.
“What we know, David, is the initial reports did not name this video as the prime cause,” he added.
Is that so? (No, it is not. And being a very concerned person, he might perhaps have looked at more than a few media accounts, no?) He’s also said that if a group alleges it has some connection with al-Qaeda, then that is good enough for him, which must be very validating to jihadi-come-lately groups who can at least claim to know somebody who knows somebody.
I’m afraid until Fox News gives the high sign, the idea that there was something more than usually rotten in Benghazi will be as certain a thing as the unbearable whiteness of Santa Claus in some quarters.
What I do want to point out, though, is that there is a sobering side to this in that the militants who made this attack came from the people the US supported in the overthrow of Qaddafi. I think there is an analogy that could be preemptively applied to involvement in Syria, for example. If anyone has the ear of, say, Sen McCain, they might want to try to explain it to him. I sort of hope President Obama has figured it out, but I’ve no real idea. Something about good intentions.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 12/29/13 at 11:22 PM