Thursday, June 27, 2013
I finally got around to listening to President Obama’s speech on climate change, a most appropriate activity when there’s a tornado watch in one’s neighboring state. All-in-all, it was an okay speech, but, like a lot of Obama’s proposals, my reaction to it is one big “MEH”. There is some evidence that the president’s position, like his position on same-sex marriage, has evolved- he’s no longer talking about clean coal, except in rare cases:
Today, I’m calling for an end of public financing for new coal plants overseas—unless they deploy carbon-capture technologies, or there’s no other viable way for the poorest countries to generate electricity. And I urge other countries to join this effort.
read the whole post »
Posted by Big Bad Bald Bastard on 06/27/13 at 07:10 PM
Wednesday, June 26, 2013
Something Special Happened in Austin Last Night
Every once in a while, in the course of human events, a hero comes along, shrugs off insurmountable odds, speaks truth to power and prevails. Such events renew our faith in principles, truth and justice and allow our better angels to fly in the face of hypocrisy and corruption. Such an event occurred last night in Austin, Texas and the eyes of the nation were upon it.
Yesterday I wrote about Sen. Wendy Davis who planned to mount a filibuster in the Texas Senate in an effort to derail SB5, Texas Republicans’ most recent campaign in the War on Women. Sen Davis needed to speak on the senate floor for 13 hours to prevent a floor vote on the bill before the special session, called by Gov. Rick Perry to ram it through, timed out. Republicans control the Texas senate 2-to-1, so if the bill came to a vote, it would inevitably pass.
It’s not easy to mount a filibuster in the Texas senate. Senate rules require that the senator must stand by her/his seat and speak to the issue in hand only, without a break for bathroom, food, water. A strong majority can easily put an end to a filibuster by raising points of order and voting to sustain them—and it’s three strikes and you’re out. A devious majority can even put up two successful points of order and then allow the filibustering senator to struggle along, nearly to the end and then pounce.
That’s what happened last night. And with 15 minutes left for a roll call it looked like SB5 would pass but what Republicans weren’t counting on were the hundreds of Texans who packed the State House and gallery to #standwithwendy. And stand they did. Loudly.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 06/26/13 at 05:21 AM
Thursday, June 20, 2013
Postcard from Dystopia
A few days ago, in Anne Laurie’s thread about Rand Paul’s tenuous belief in democracy, the topic turned to speculation about Baby Doc’s presidential aspirations. I said:
I have a hard time believing Baby Doc could get elected to any office that required appealing to voters who are not hardcore wingnuts and Papa Doc fans. It’s not that the electorate is particularly discerning. It’s just that Baby Doc comes across as such an arrogant, smarmy prick.
I was right about Paul being an arrogant, smarmy prick, but upon further reflection, I should have known better than to think that’s a disqualifying factor in a general election. An example is right under my nose here in Florida, where Rick Scott—a Voldemort lookalike and known crook who displays all the personal warmth and charm of an anaconda—was elected governor in 2010.
True, Scott won with less than 50% of the vote, and he needed $77 million of his personal fortune, a wind at his back gusted up by the rebranded Bush dead-ender “Tea Party” plus the apathy of Democrats dispirited by a real and perceived lack of pony production on the part of President Obama and the Democratic Congress. All of this broke Scott’s way.
Some might dismiss Scott’s election as just another example of Florida insanity, like face-eating zombies, airborne fish attacks and fatal roach-eating contests. Maybe, but I think Florida is a better microcosm for America than is generally acknowledged.
Florida has left-of-center coastal enclaves, heavily armed yahoos and religious fanatics in the interior, a growing immigrant population, simmering racial tensions, a politically powerful “Screw you, Jack, I’ve got mine!” elderly population and disaffected, jobless young folks who have been robbed of their future and birthright by nature-despoiling greed-heads.
Is this not America?
As for the future, Scott’s approval ratings have consistently been among the lowest of any governor in the US, and I used to believe that all the Democrats had to do to beat him handily next year was nominate someone capable of fogging a mirror. But the Florida Democratic Party (of which I am a proud member) is a hot mess, and fault lines are emerging that could result in yet another epic fail.
Those fault lines are reflected on this blog (stupid fucking firebagger! drone-loving obot!), and you’ll see them deepen nationally as 2016 approaches. Love him or not, President Obama is a gifted politician, but he’s won his last election.
Can anyone else bring our fractured coalition together—if only for one fucking day? We better hope so. Unless the rest of you want to live in a Hiaasen novel too.
[Image credit: Buzzfeed; x-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 06/20/13 at 11:06 AM
Thursday, June 06, 2013
It Takes 7 Years For Glenn To Get His USA Today?
So you may have heard that the politisphere is a little angsty today. My television isn’t even on and I can hear Chris Matthews yelling, all because of GIUARDIAN GLENN GREENWALD’S BIG GIANT SCOOP, which is is not materially different from LESLIE CAULEY’S BIG GIANT SCOOP OF AUGHT SIX, except that now it’s Obama doing it! With secret FISA courts, which I have a vague memory of Obama voting for way back when, which is why I have GIANT SCOOP letdown right now. It wasn’t my favorite of Obama’s moves then, but I decided I’d take the good with the iffy and move on. And then the blogoverse trumpets GLENZILLA’S VERY HUGE NEWS and it turns out to be sort-of-not-warrantless-not-wiretapping. You know how you may have always intended to catch a hot show after catching one good episode, and when you finally tune in, it’s a rerun of that same damn episode?
I’m curious: am I the only person who assumed the Bush-era program never stopped? Since the snooping doesn’t involve identity or conversations, but exclusively “Meta-data” of my “telephony” being stored by the NSA— but not accessed without a FISA warrant— I really am having a problem getting my outrage on. If only I could pretend to be outraged, the way the Republicans do!
(Big ole hat tip to TPM commenter Doremus Jessup20 ; perhaps GG should think about tipping his lid—currently up on the Guardian page, collecting coins, to help keep Glenn HONEST—to Ms. Cauley.)
**Update** Well! isn’t it nice to know we’re never alone? Oh Hell’s Bells. The discouraging thing is that I’m not surprised at all. I’m just surprised that the NSA didn’t buy my behavior from Google the way Hungry Girl did. Nothing I do is a secret to her!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 06/06/13 at 06:37 PM
What’s a Congress To Do?
Well, as we say here in Pennsylvania “there’s no hot mess like a politically motivated, conspiracy-tinged, witch-hunt-y hot mess.” And since Congress has nothing but time on their hands these days, the majority members have decided that House investigations and hearings are as good a time-killer as any, whilst they quest on after the holy grail of Obama impeachment and Rapture2014.
Today’s Republicans are already pretty entertaining, on a normal day, but when they get their dander up they’re downright hilarious. One of the things that has their dander up, recently, is the IRS’s systematic persecution of teabaggers. The reason that the IRS landed this opportunity to torture the grassroots is because the TEA Party is all about liberty and constitutional rights, especially the sacred right of every American altruist to a tax exempt status.
[It’s sort of an American Mystery to me that, with all of the thousands of outfits claiming tax exempt status for the noble work that they do to advance our social welfare, our society is still such a mess. But that’s a topic for another day . . . ]
Actually, of all the scandals they had to choose from, this one was probably the best choice for a number of reasons: a) when your approval rating hits a new low of 6%, it’s probably not a great time to be total a—holes b) everyone already hates the IRS, on principle, and anyone who goes after them looks heroic, even if no-one can prove that the WH directs their every move and c) everyone knows that the IRS is a hotbed of Democrat partisanship BECAUSE . . . federal workers union.
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Posted by Bette Noir on 06/06/13 at 09:58 AM
Friday, May 24, 2013
Just Punch Me In The Face Now, PLEASE!
Until yesterday, I have to admit, I was blissfully unaware that Andrea Tantaros lived and breathed. Nor did I know that she was part of a FoxNews gang that call themselves “The Five” - dundundun. Whatever.
This morning, however, I woke to the news that this same Andrea Tantaros was calling on my community to search me out and punch me in the face for voting for Barack Obama. Now I’ve been voting for longer than Ms. Smarty Pants has been alive so I didn’t take it all that well. Turns out that, despite her sophomoric mentality and social skills, this chick has her own talk radio show and on Thursday night she was busy holding forth on the James Rosen Affair. Shheeeeesh.
Here’s the transcript:
Fox said, we’re targets, clearly Media Matters and others have put us on a target list. And they said, ‘Oh, Fox is just crazy! They’re just paranoid!’ Really? Are we?’
This is what is happening to our press! This is Obama’s America! It’s like the Soviet Union. He said he would change the country. He said it. And a lot of people voted for him.
And if you see any of those people today, do me a favor, punch them in the face.
After a commercial break, a caller from South Carolina told Tantaros that he hated Obama, but worried that telling people to punch Obama voters in the face was sending the wrong message.
To be clear, I didn’t say punch Obama in the face. You’re going to get me arrested with this type of government.
If someone voted for him!” she insisted to the caller. “If anyone that you know who voted for President Obama, smack ‘em down.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/24/13 at 02:43 PM
Thursday, May 23, 2013
Just LIke Bush Except For The Closing Gitmo Thing And The Listening Thing And That Other Thing
MEDEAMEDEAMEDEA! You are so vocal and full-throated, that even the guy at the podium has to admire you, even though you want him to close Gitmo and he—uh, wants to close Gitmo. And now he says it’s important to pay attention to you, so congratulations, conveniently formerly Susan B, inconveniently non-all-powerful Barry O has just endorsed you! You are now tainted, co-opted meat. I’m sure it was his diabolical plan all along.
In other news besides Medea Benjamin, the Guardian live blog, as usual, has a wonderfully succinct rundown of the President’s speech today. Perfect for Dana Perino-length attention spans!
Oh yes, nearly forgot: the President announced that he’d work with Congress to repeal the AUMF and end the perpetual War On Terror. Whew! Almost missed it!
Posted by Mrs. Polly on 05/23/13 at 08:32 PM
Here’s Mr. Obama on his way to the senior prom (Time, via Gawker). Considering that he graduated in the late 70s, the outfits are far less embarrassing than one could have hoped. My husband is only a bit younger than the president, and the suit he wore to the prom once prompted someone who saw his prom photo to laugh and ask if it was a Halloween costume.
On a more serious note, Obama is scheduled to give an address on counterterrorism today:
In his first major speech on counterterrorism of his second term, Mr. Obama hopes to refocus the epic conflict that has defined American priorities since the attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and even foresees an unspecified day when the so-called war on terror might all but end, according to people briefed on White House plans.
Could the war on a noun really end? The report says Obama will announce new limits on the use of drone strikes and launch a new effort to close Gitmo. I expect the reaction will range from “worse than Bush” to “worse than Neville Chamberlain.”
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/23/13 at 09:57 AM
Sunday, May 19, 2013
SHOCKED! Shocked, I Tell You!
[Updated below the fold]
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.
Nowadays, I tend to agree with Charlie Pierce:
God put her [Noonan] on this earth to make Maureen Dowd look sane.
That makes more sense to me.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/19/13 at 06:09 AM
Saturday, May 18, 2013
Sometimes an Umbrella Is Just an Umbrella
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.
[X-posted at Balloon Juice]
Posted by Betty Cracker on 05/18/13 at 02:08 PM
Wednesday, May 15, 2013
So Many Scandals, So Little Time
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?
I’m sure these Republicans haven’t forgotten:
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.
Posted by Bette Noir on 05/15/13 at 08:34 AM
Thursday, May 02, 2013
Oregon Medicaid Study Proves Obamacare is Useless!!11!!1
Because it is not improving blood pressure or cholesterol!!!
Wait, what? What’s going on here?
So, a couple of years back Oregon had money to provide Medicaid to 10,000 people but unfortunately there were many more who needed it. So they held a lottery and then had the idea of studying the random people who got picked for Medicaid coverage against a control group of people who didn’t get picked. Some preliminary results were published several months back and now they have the rest of the results. Led by the shrieking of the CATO Institute, righties are now declaring Obamacare to be a useless failure. Mostly because blood pressure readings and cholesterol levels were not measurably different between the two groups.
McArgleBlargle takes to her keyboard to proclaim that giving people government health insurance does not make them healthier and in fact maybe health insurance (for the poors) itself is a waste of money!
And it’s actually bigger, and more important than Obamacare. We should all be revising our priors about how much health insurance—or at least Medicaid—really promotes health. What this really tells us is how little we know about health care, and making people healthy—and how often data can confound even our most powerful intuitions.
“Or at least Medicaid” she says. Which is, you know, what poor people, many of them with brown skins, use.
read the whole post »
Posted by marindenver on 05/02/13 at 05:39 PM
Wednesday, April 03, 2013
Priebus back in line after short detour along Sanity Boulevard
So a couple of weeks ago Reince Priebus rolls out, in their words, “the most comprehensive post-election review” evah! of of a political loss, namely the thumping they got last November, and announces that a kinder, gentler Republican Party must emerge to win voters back.
Priebus noted that the party’s policies are fundamentally sound but require a softer tone and broader outreach, include a stronger push for African-American, Latino, Asian, women and gay voters.
“To be clear, our principles our (sic) sound, our principles are not old rusty thoughts in some book,” Priebus said, but the “report notes the way we communicate our principles isn’t resonating widely enough.”
Unsurprisingly the toner was barely set on the report pages when the hard-line god-bothering contingent of the party made it clear that they thought the Rethuglicans were communicating a message of unbudging resistance to change on social issues just fine thankyew.
The last two Republican winners of Iowa’s first-in-the-nation caucuses say that the GOP will shoot itself in the foot if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage — countering calls from others within the GOP ranks who say that is one way for the party to broaden its national appeal.
Former Pennsylvania Sen. Rick Santorum, who won the Iowa caucuses in the 2012 presidential race, told Politico that the Republican party will cease to exist if it softens its stance on social issues such as same-sex marriage.
“Look, the Republican Party isn’t going to change,” Mr. Santorum said. “If we do change, we’ll be the Whig Party.”
Former Arkansas Gov. Mike Huckabee, meanwhile, said that the GOP should learn a lesson from the 2008 and 2012 elections, where they lost after nominating Sen. John McCain of Arizona and former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney.
“The last two presidential elections, we had more moderate candidates, so if anything a lot of conservatives went to the polls reluctantly or just didn’t go at all,” Mr. Huckabeetold Politico. “If all of the Evangelicals had showed up, it may have made a difference.”
Ah yes. As we all know Conservatism cannot fail; it can only be failed.
So then, today, this happened.
Media Covers up Democrat-Backed Planned Parenthood’s Support for Infanticide
By: Chairman Reince Priebus (Diary) | April 3rd, 2013 at 01:34 PM | 34
Thus, after a brief pause to sniff the winds of change and deciding there wasn’t anything to notice after all, yr Republithug Party is back to the races.
Posted by marindenver on 04/03/13 at 06:35 PM
Friday, March 22, 2013
Secret Plot by Gingrich and Santorum Almost Derailed Romney’s Candidacy?
Really this is one of those stories where you don’t know whether to laugh or
According to Joshua Green at Bloomberg BusinessWeek, heading into the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum, who at that point still had some sort of chance in the race, hatched a plot to combine forces and run Romney off the road:
As Mitt Romney struggled in the weeks leading up to the Michigan primary, Newt Gingrich and Rick Santorum nearly agreed to form a joint “Unity Ticket” to consolidate conservative support and topple Romney. “We were close,” former Representative Bob Walker, a Gingrich ally, says. “Everybody thought there was an opportunity.” “It would have sent shock waves through the establishment and the Romney campaign,” says John Brabender, Santorum’s chief strategist.
“Oh noes” we are supposed to say in retrospect! Such a stupendous charismatic pair as Serial Adulterer Newt and Colossal Dick* Santorum could totally have upset OBamz apple cart and WHERE WOULD WE ALL BE TODAY!!
Well, we know it didn’t happen and Romney pulled out a squeaker win in Michigan. The coalition collapsed and, as much as anything, from the stupendous weight of their own egos.
But the negotiations collapsed in acrimony because Gingrich and Santorum could not agree on who would get to be president. “In the end,” Gingrich says, “it was just too hard to negotiate.”
And the rest of us were denied the spectacle of a truly great clown show of a campaign, surpassing even that of Grandpa Grumps and Klondike Barbie. If only.
*Thanks to Charlie Pierce for the oh-so-apt moniker.
Posted by marindenver on 03/22/13 at 01:12 PM
Monday, March 18, 2013
The Sad, Strange Anomie of CPAC2013
CPAC2013 reminded me of the story of the “dance band on the Titanic” who, knowing they were about to die, decided to continue to bravely play on in an attempt to buoy the spirits of the doomed souls on board. Harry Chapin memorialized the event with a song that contained the refrain:
Dance band on the Titanic
Sing “Nearer, my God, to thee”
The iceberg’s on the starboard bow
Won’t you dance with me?
And that particular mindset is about the only rational explanation for the behavior of establishment Republicans who have decided to continue to humor the directionless hurly-burly of movement conservatives.
These are obviously people who have assessed the costs and decided that they don’t give a rat’s whether they ever win another election. Indeed, losers from previous bouts were featured, like conquering heroes, throughout the CPAC agenda—people like Allen West, Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum, Mitt Romney, Paul Ryan, John McCain—Sarah Palin! for the love of Mike. While conservatives who actually have a snowball’s chance, like Chris Christie and Bob McDonnell, were deemed unfit.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 03/18/13 at 02:55 PM