Friday, October 18, 2013
New Southern Strategery: Let the Poor get Poorer While the Rich get Richer
Discouraging piece in the Washington Post today about the increase in poverty in southern and western states as measured by the percentage of school kids qualifying for free or reduced price lunches. This graphic compares 2000 to 2011:
In 2000 only four states reported that a majority of their public school kids were on free or reduced lunch. In 2011 seventeen states did. All in southern or western states. The author of the article quotes Michael Rebell, executive director of the Campaign for Educational Equity at Columbia University as attributing this increase in poverty to statistics showing that the U.S. lags behind other countries in educational testing. He points out that kids from high income areas are holding their own but when you look at scores from schools with a lot of low income kids the bottom drops out. The rise in poverty can certainly be at least partially explained by the recession. The Southern Education Association spokespeep also throws in “immigration and a high birthrate among low-income families”. (Translation: “If only those poors would stay where they belong and not breed so much here!”) Hank Bounds, Mississippi commissioner of higher education has a couple of cents worth too:
Hank Bounds, the Mississippi commissioner of higher education, said the country needs to figure out how to educate the growing classes of poor students and reverse the trend.
“Lots of folks say we need to change this paradigm, but as a country, we’re not focusing on the issue,” said Bounds, who was previously Mississippi’s state school superintendent. “What we’re doing is not working. We need to get philanthropies, the feds, business leaders, everybody, together and figure this out. We need another Sputnik moment.”
Sputnik moment? Seriously? OK, here’s what that 2011 map called to mind for me.
read the whole post »
Posted by marindenver on 10/18/13 at 02:15 PM
Nullification Doctrine 2.0
Jim DeMint, who fittingly occupied John C. Calhoun’s old Senate seat before he decamped for a wingnut welfare gig at Heritage, published a screed in the WSJ today that was two parts “la-la-la-I-can’t-hear-you” and one part argument for a modern twist on nullification.
The editorial, entitled “We Won’t Back Down on ObamaCare,” serves notice that the teaturd lemmings in Congress will continue to try to overthrow a law that was duly debated, legislated and upheld by the highest court in the land plus a national election. DeMint gives three reasons why the gallant cause to combat
Northern aggression ObamaCare must continue:
The first is that ObamaCare was not the central fight in 2012, much to the disappointment of conservatives. Republicans hoped that negative economic news would sweep them to victory, and exit polls confirmed that the economy, not health care, was the top issue. The best thing is to declare last year’s election a mistrial on ObamaCare.
A “mistrial”—are you fucking kidding me? We don’t need to consult a “word cloud” of Republican talking points for the 2012 election to know “ObamaCare” would show up in a big fat font. It was a major issue by any rational measure, and even if it weren’t, exit polls aren’t a sane basis to nullify laws. There was an election. The GOP lost.
Second, the lives of most Americans are not dominated by the electoral cycle. They shouldn’t have to wait three more years for Congress to give them relief from this law, especially when the president has so frequently given waivers to his friends. Full legislative repeal may not be possible while President Obama remains in office, but delaying implementation by withholding funds from a law that is proven to be unfair, unworkable and unaffordable is a reasonable and necessary fight.
Take it up with the Founders, Jimbo. And you had your shot in the last election cycle. You lost.
There’s a third reason not to stop fighting. Forget the consultants, the pundits and the pollsters; good policy is good politics. If the Republicans had not fought on ObamaCare, the compromise would have been over the budget sequester. Instead, they have retained the sequester and for the past three months ObamaCare and its failings have been front and center in the national debate. Its disastrous launch was spotlighted by our defund struggle, not overshadowed, as some contend. With a revived and engaged electorate, ObamaCare will now be the issue for the next few years.
No, what’s been front and center is the irresponsible and reckless behavior of the GOP—so much so that it’s overshadowed the glitchy healthcare exchange rollout. Only someone who is irrevocably divorced from reality could claim that Cruz & Co.’s disastrous nullification attempt was a win for the GOP. And make no mistake, fellow citizens, that’s what we’re dealing with here: people who are completely unmoored from facts. The kicker:
These are the reasons we fought so hard to get Washington to listen to the American people and take action to stop ObamaCare, and it is why so many are thankful for the courageous leadership of people like Sens. Ted Cruz and Mike Lee, and conservatives in the House of Representatives. The law is economically unstable, financially irresponsible and harmful to hardworking Americans.
No, the Republicans are fomenting economic instability, behaving in a financially irresponsible manner and doing measurable harm to hardworking Americans. It’s been laid bare for all to see, and the American people reject DeMint’s Calhoun Doctrine 2.0 by huge margins.
When he was still a senator instead of a wingnut welfare queen, DeMint famously predicted that healthcare reform would be Obama’s Waterloo. But it’s looking more like the GOP’s Appomattox.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 10/18/13 at 10:47 AM
Thursday, October 17, 2013
It’s His Party: He Can Cry if He Wants To
The final (for now) congressional vote on ending the government shutdown and raising the debt limit finally happened, and here are our totals:
The Senate voted 81 to 18 Wednesday night to reopen the federal government and raise the nation’s borrowing limit, hours before the Treasury Department faced the possibility of being unable to pay all of America’s bills for the first time in modern history.
The House followed suit, voting 285-144, to end the latest damaging battle of divided government in a polarized Congress.
I wil probably have a lot more to say about this later, but for now, keep in mind that there were 18 GOP Senators and 144 GOP House members (oh, yes, they were all GOP members), who for some reason thought not raising the debt ceiling would be fine with them. Among the “Nays” were usual suspects for the 2016 GOP presidential primaries—Ted Cruz, Marco Rubio, Rand Paul—even Paul Ryan.
That’s kind of a disgrace, isn’t it? In a few years, will they be able to defend that? Will they maintain that this was a symbolic vote since they didn’t doubt in the least that the votes to pass were there? I guess we will see how that flies.
But speaking of whether or not the votes were there, I guess Boehner was not accurate when he previously said that the votes to pass a clean CR weren’t there. It’s possible he only thought he could get them if his members were under the debt limit gun, so to speak. But when you consider the last 16 days, and $24 billion lost in the economy, it just doesn’t seem like this was all that productive. does it?
This also takes us back to the dilemma from the beginning of the year—Boehner might really have only 80-odd reliable votes in his caucus, and Nancy Pelosi has pretty much the Democratic side. He’s a pretty weak speaker to begin with, and with yet another violation of the Hastert rule, once again, his Speakership may be in peril. But once again—who wants it? If Speaker Boehner looks like a man who drinks, he also looks to me like a man with reasons.
With an update since I posted at Strangely Blogged:
Which, when I composed all this last night, was a bit contigent upon more GOP members actually minding, but as of today, his Facebook page blowing up with dolchstoss imagery notwithstanding, it looks like the teafolk have electedto be cool. I deeply wonder if this is because Drunk Uncle John promises them Christmas, lets them stay up past their bedtimes, and will allow them to do this thing all over again. Unlike the GOP Senators, who are poopyheads.
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/17/13 at 07:55 PM
Wednesday, October 16, 2013
Pandering For Dummies
Anyone who thinks that the recent implosion of the Republican party signals a new day of maturity, logic and rationality in matters governmental probably also believed that the results of the 2012 presidential election would finally “break the fever” of hyper-partisanship in Congress.
From where I stand, Shutdown 2013 is looking like a warm-up act for what promises to be a fully-pyrotechnic, Apocalypse Now midterm campaign year with freak flags flying from “sea to shining sea.” I expect that Heritage Action and the Senate Conservative Fund, and their proud sponsor Koch Industries, will be out for blood and handing out torches and pitchforks to every True Patriot.
Now that President Obama has committed the ultimate crime of executive uppityness—standing up to House Republicans and laying bare their utter incompetence and impotence—he must be removed.
At the Philadelphia Convention, Benjamin Franklin noted that, historically, the removal of “obnoxious” chief executives had been accomplished by assassination. Franklin suggested that a proceduralized mechanism for removal — impeachment — would be preferable.
As a result we have Article II, Section 4 of the US Constitution which states:
The President, Vice President, and all civil Officers of the United States shall be removed from Office on Impeachment for, and Conviction of, Treason, Bribery, or other High Crimes and Misdemeanors.
That’s pretty straightforward. “High Crimes,” though a little dated and vague, sounds like pretty serious stuff. Nothing there about being apologetic, sex acts [I’m looking at you, Bill] socialism or playing too much golf. Nevertheless, impeachment has become a standard feature of the Republican playbook when a Democrat is in office. But, if it helps them blow off steam in an institutionally acceptable and relatively harmless way, why not.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/16/13 at 09:07 AM
Tuesday, October 15, 2013
Waiting for Gouda
Blog needs more dog. Here are a pair of boxers. Their serious expressions have nothing to do with the possibility that the US Congress now has a greater concentration of stupid than at any time since just prior to the Civil War. The thing that makes these zaftig doggies so solemn is CHEESE.
Speaking of stupid, I destroyed yet another broomstick this morning. I didn’t crash into a light pole on the way to the Leaky Cauldron; I was attempting to slay what I thought was a giant flying cockroach that I thought had alighted on the floor, in just about the same spot where the dogs would patiently await cheese in the above photo, which was taken later.
I launched into giant cockroach battle mode, which consists of grabbing a broom and swinging it at a lumbering insect in vicious, high-speed arcs, while screaming DIE! DIE! DIE!, then using the broom to sweep the carcass of the annihilated foe out onto the porch and then off into the yard.
But it turns out the thing I thought was a giant cockroach was just a giant cockroach-shaped piece of mulch that one of the dogs must have carried in on her feet or jowls. And I broke a broom over it. Damn. It’s possible I should update the prescription on my glasses.
Please feel free to discuss pets, pest control techniques, eyewear, the fact that a gunnysack of meth-snorting ferrets is more intelligent and rational than the neo-confederates in the US Congress or whatever.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 10/15/13 at 11:07 AM
Monday, October 14, 2013
Values Voters Nadir
The GOP’s Little Engine That Could, hurtling toward inevitable wreckage, pulled into its final stop yesterday to pick up a few last passengers bound for glory. Turns out there was a sort of Harmonic Convergence of ultra-conservatism shaping up this weekend that brought together the illuminati of the far right. There were truckers and Sarah and veterans—oh my!
The Values Voters were in town to renew their vows to God, Guns and Glory, and to select this year’s homecoming king who turned out to be that paragon of conservative values and Christian soldiery, Ted Cruz. Now it just so happened that “our vets,” as Caribou Barbie calls them, were planning a civil protest to make the point that they should always have access to their memorials.
The veterans laid no blame on political parties involved in the government shutdown, they simply wanted to make the point that they feel that these memorials should never be inaccessible to veterans and the public who wish to honor them.
Unfortunately, the Values Voters, all pumped up on a weekend of conservative purity and American Exceptionalism decided that this was a terrific opportunity to flip Obama the bird and get their pictures in the news being patriots again, just like in the 2009 Glory Days.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/14/13 at 09:45 AM
Saturday, October 12, 2013
No, Wait, Wait—Everyone Actually *LOVES* Ted Cruz!!
It’s true! Because wouldn’t you know it, the straw poll at the 2013 Values Voters’ Summit had him as the big winner, should he be thinking about a White House run in 2016 (and you know he is thinking about it dontcha?). And this was after he said some of the most gee-gosh-darn things, too.
You know what? On second thought, maybe it’s because he has said the most gee-gosh-darn things. You know, like joking that the president was going to disappear him and that hecklers were probably paid OFA shills. Because obviously. Nothing succeeds like flaming paranoia. (Unless you are appealing to the fringe, in which case paranoia is best known as “fitting in”.) And amongst the values voters, that enlightened bastion of Godwinning for Goobers, Homophobia for Herp-Derps, and Bible-Banging for Bigots, he actually has a crowd in which he doesn’t stand out. Good going, Ted.
Now, you might have gotten a different impression from more old-school Republican politicians like NY Rep. Peter King (who is a likely contender against Cruz should there even be a 2016 GOP primary with debates an’ all that). He doesn’t like what Cruz is laying down even a little, because by doom saying against Obamacare he kind of is making it look like a quite a reasonable system by comparison of his fantasy-world (inherited from the Sr. Cruz, because the Rev. does believe in death panels) with the affordable care reality. And for what it’s worth, many Democrats find themselves in the odd position of agreeing with Rep. King, because they, too, think Cruz has done quite a lot for making the ACA popular.
So there you go. Honestly, I think I am beginning to have a kind of hate-love thing for him. He could be my new Santorum. Anything is possible.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/12/13 at 11:59 PM
Friday, October 11, 2013
Had Enough Ted Yoho? You BET!
Dr. Ted Yoho (R-FL) is the embodiment of what can go terribly wrong when the nation decides to run with “Washington Outsiders.” Now, I’m the first one to complain about some of the shenanigans that “Washington Insiders” have gotten up to, over the years.
But let me ask you this: if your racehorse pulls up with a limp are you going to call a veterinarian or your congressman? See what I’m getting at?
Ted Yoho has never held public office of any kind. He has been practicing veterinary medicine for 28 years and apparently woke up one morning:
. . . acutely aware that he is not alone in the concern regarding the state of our nation. He understands the challenges we are all being forced to face and as a result has made the decision that it is his time to Stand Up for America in the hopes that like-minded citizens will support him in this call to action.
And that’s just fine. I have nothing against second careers or aspiring to take one’s life experience and skills to elected office, to try and make the world a better place. But, I suspect Rep. Ted knows that, just as the University of Florida doesn’t let their veterinary students carve up someone’s beloved Fluffy unattended, neither should a rookie congressman grab for any available microphone just because it’s there.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/11/13 at 12:57 PM
Thursday, October 10, 2013
Time To Reboot, America
This past week has reminded me, often, of the words of the late, great Adlai Stevenson who said:
I have been thinking that I would make a proposition to my Republican friends… that if they will stop telling lies about the Democrats, we will stop telling the truth about them.
Stevenson was referring to the Republicans of his time: McCarthy, Nixon, Goldwater, etc but I’m sure he’d feel the same about the current crop.
Most of us grasp that the current level of governmental dysfunction is both unacceptable and unsustainable. Some of us appreciate the fact that a manufactured crisis has blossomed into a constitutional crisis in which President Obama has no real choice other than to refuse to negotiate on the debt ceiling. To relent would be to gravely damage the office of the presidency.
The 2012 presidential election seriously depleted the leverage of congressional Republicans despite the fact that they read their continuing House majority as some sort of voter mandate that they have become somewhat maniacal about defending.
Unfortunately, maniacs make mistakes and these particular maniacs seem bent on making every mistake in the book.
Republicans, flying blind without a map or a manual, have launched the country into serious turbulence which, as we are all learning, is much easier to do than to un-do.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/10/13 at 12:36 PM
Tuesday, October 08, 2013
Today in Obama Betrayals . . .
Wait, what? He did? Yes, he did! Obama nominated Janet Yellen to chair the U.S. Federal Reserve. Going to be a tough job going forward but she is seemingly a tough lady.
And speaking of tough - the Prez trash talked the Rethugs for an hour today in his presser. I’m liking second term Obama more and more.
Posted by marindenver on 10/08/13 at 08:37 PM
Monday, October 07, 2013
So. Apparently, over the weekend, the GOP did just what Rep. Jim McDermott (D-WA) predicted. They “. . . figure(d) out they F*ck*n lost,” the government shutdown spin cycle and have executed an impressive grande jeté in the general direction of the debt ceiling.
Do not, however, expect that the change of focus to a far more damaging objective will, in any way, temper the illogical ignorance, silliness and breathtaking incompetence that Republicans brought to last week’s discussions, debates and posturings.
Nope. This is only Monday and we already have howlers ranging from Sen. Tom Coburn’s(R-OK) belief that there is “no such thing as a debt ceiling” to Rep. Ted Yoho’s (R-FL) hallucinatory vision that not raising the US debt limit would “have a stabilizing effect on global markets.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/07/13 at 02:43 PM
Standing in front of the Department of Homeland Security seal, President Obama looks poised to bring the hammer down on the Tea o’ Pee:
President Barack Obama again pressured House Republicans to put a “clean” government spending bill up for a vote Monday, challenging House Speaker John Boehner’s claim that the funding bill lacks sufficient support to pass.
“My very strong suspicion is there are enough votes there” to pass the government funding legislation, he said during an unannounced stop at FEMA National Response Coordination Center in Washington, D.C. “Hold a vote. Call a vote right now. Let’s see what happens.’‘
Bluff = Called.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 10/07/13 at 01:34 PM
Friday, October 04, 2013
Sunt Lacrimae Rerum
Call me the eternal optimist, but there’s a little part of me that thinks we might just get somewhere with this discharge petition thing, largely because I’ve lost the last bit of faith or patience I’ve had for the Squeaker of the House. Yes, there is the possibility that this kind of move will cause him to play “harder ball” over the debt ceiling—
And I find myself fresh out of fucks. He’s at this point promised Christmas to his Tea Party caucus, implied he would not permit a debt default regardless, but still wants to play games with both the normal functioning of the government and debt ceiling talks while bellowing that this is not “some damn game”.
Well, of course it’s not some damn game. So he might as well stop playing, because as Rand Paul and Mitch McConnell have helpfully and inadvertantly informed us, the White House is at least being privately as well as publically consistent in their message. Boehner can’t even keep his public face on straight. If you don’t have the cards, at some point you have to fold or show, to borrow a gaming metaphor. And then everyone will know.
And yes, there is the possibility that Boehner will lose his Speakership over dealing fairly and in a bipartisan way—and once again, I am out of fucks. He can end doing something correct, or he can end looking for “no disrespect” from the disrespectful Tea Party monster that both got him his speakership, but brought him to this ugly impasse. It can be argued that he might be replaced with someone worse—I would respond that once he became so hollow inside that the arm of freshman Senator Ted Cruz conveniently fit inside and made his mouth work, I no longer thought worse was necessarily probable. I think the ad nicely delivers the blame and points in the direction of what is truly embarassing about this situation. It’s either Boehner’s call what he does about it, or he’s about as weak in that position as we already guessed.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged. )
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/04/13 at 04:27 PM
This Is Still a Democracy and No! Your Ignorance Is Still Not Equal To My Knowledge . . .
There is a cult of ignorance in the United States, and there has always been. The strain of anti-intellectualism has been a constant thread winding its way through our political and cultural life, nurtured by the false notion that democracy means that “my ignorance is just as good as your
“. . . if a nation expects to be ignorant & free, in a state of civilisation, it expects what never was & never will be.”
So. Here we are in the fourth day of #GOPShutdown and we are almost unanimously agreed that this is a crap idea, marinated in BS and grilled to a toasty, unrecognizable fly-speck of logic. Except, of course for the handful of mercenary miscreants who are convinced that they are saving America and that, once saved, we will shower them with champagne, rose petals and votes and never vote for a Kenyan, socialist community organizer ever again. Amen!
People who succumb to such fantasies are mentally unbalanced and deserve our sympathy but certainly not our votes. When we vote for such people, we become enablers. Unfortunately, in stressful times, obsessive ideologues burst on the scene all flashy, confident and colorful and it is a weakness in our human nature to fall for such devices when we are uncertain or bewildered.
We should be uncertain no longer, though, that these people, while perhaps entertaining, are bad for us, themselves and the country and they need therapy, not greater responsibilities.
Judge for yourselves and see how very important your knowledge and your future votes are . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/04/13 at 12:52 PM
Thursday, October 03, 2013
One of the big New York Metro Area stories this week concerns Donald Trump’s desire to buy Plum Island, off the eastern end of Long Island. There is speculation that Mr Trump wishes to build a high end golf course on the island, but I have my doubts about that.
Plum Island once housed the Plum Island Animal Disease Center, an institution with the stated goal of studying animal pathogens, especially pathogens which affect livestock. The center looms large in conspiracy theory circles, mainly claims that the island was a center for biological weapons programs. The Animal Disease Center has been moved to Kansas, in the heart of farm country. What could possibly go wrong? Some wags opined that the “Montauk Monster” was an escapee from the Plum Island research center.
I think you can see where I’m going with this now… Trump doesn’t want to build a golf course on Plum Island, he wants to discover the unholy origin of that thing on his head.
Post title yanked from an old Dead Milkmen song. Post cross-posted at my eponymous blog.
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 10/03/13 at 04:40 AM
Categories: Politics • Nutters •