Monday, January 26, 2015
That Political Thing In Iowa
You know what the Democratic Party seems to be missing? Shindigs. We do not seem to have neat gatherings like CPAC and traditions like the Ames straw poll, and hosting religious groups like The Response, or doing that very interesting “Freedom Summit” in Iowa—you know, shindigs. I watch them as a political observer, but have to admit—not my team, looks like fun. I mean, there’s Netroots Nation. It’s blogger-oriented so I should be able to really get behind that. But that’s a wonkfest. Where’s our uncovered nekkid id triumphialization? Where’s our scattering of red meat for reubens? (Why is Blogger’s spellcheck so madly unaware of the correct spelling of the perfectly jake 1930’s slang for gape-jawed hayseed? Or even the perfectly cromulent term “jake”?)
Anyway, I digress. Dave Weigel over at Bloomberg notes what “serious” 2016 candidates Mitt, Jeb, Bobby, Marco and Rand have missed. What I believe they missed was associating too broadly with Rep. Steve King, whose blue eyes always seem to carry the faraway milkseed pollen drift of a person whose thoughts take him back again and again to the border and the constant battle against the cantaloupe-calved drug-runners whose backpacks full of Acapulco’s finest hops have once again consigned a generation to jazz music, sloth, and backtalk. There are people who think he might be a little bit too racialist to actually be an appropriate association.
And yet there are so many who do not!
Left bloggers have noted that Sarah Palin’s speech seems to have defaulted to Whargarble after her Teleprompter fail—but I listened and frankly think that although her sentence structure resembles nothing so much as an attempt at cut-up poetry using all the Republican memes, I tend to think that a sympathetic audience could have tracked what she was saying very well.
All in all—not really any surprises or over the top signifying that got my leftist goat—oh except Carly Fiorina. She actually got my Irish up. She said:
“Like Hillary Clinton, I too have traveled hundreds of thousands of miles around the globe,” she said. “But unlike her, I have actually accomplished something. Mrs. Clinton, flying is an activity not an accomplishment.”
Oh huh? You know, I could go back to Hillary Rodham being the first student to give a commencement speech at Wellesley in 1969, or being chosen to help draft the articles of impeachment against Nixon, and point out that she was instrumental in creating SCHIP, which has insured thousands of children who might not have otherwise had access to good health care. I think it’s more apropos, though, to point out that Hillary Clinton won two elections to the US Senate which is two more than Carly Fiorina ever did, and that while Hillary blazed a trail as the first woman partner at Rose law firm and sat on the board of many successful corporations, it is true that she never was the CEO of a nearly bankrupted tech firm whose stock prices shot up like WOW after she resigned—which is the kind of “accomplishment” she is probably glad not to have on her CV.
Flying to many nations as a respected diplomat and Secretary of State is probably not an “accomplishment” in Carly Fiorina’s mind because she can raise questions about things that are negative, like Benghazi or whatever Putin is doing, but let’s ask her what to do about it. Hard Choices, Tough Choices, meh? But still and all, a nice audition for being selected Vice Presidential candidate, maybe?
I’m sure no one will hold her being a regular Bill Maher Real Time guest against her.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/26/15 at 12:33 AM
Wednesday, January 21, 2015
Bedbugs and Bread Bags
Sometimes I think us East Coasters are a little sort-changed when it comes to the SOTU speech and the rebuttals—it’s late by the time all the coverage is done. I have to get up for my paying gig the next day, and I usually have to get to bed before I’ve been able to properly ruminate on the President’s speech, let alone the rebuttal. Especially not if there are five rebuttals.
What is a blogger to make of five rebuttals from the opposition party? Given that there’s an “official” GOP response, I have to guess that the “takes” from different “rebuttals” have to be taken individually, on their own merits, and not view them cumulatively. I mean—would that be fair—five against one? (Well, yeah. I did think Obama did a heckuva job. Easily worth about five of those other speeches.)
See, I’m not what you’d call a pro, like Ron “No ‘I’ in Leadership, well, except that one” Fournier. And the benefit of blogging for seven years is that my regulars pretty much know where I stand on the major points President Obama brought up (raising the minimum wage—for it, equal pay for women—for it, addressing climate change—for it, land wars in the middle east—against’em), so I just feel like a point by point of the SOTU itself is pointless. In general, he looked more at home giving the speech this year and his zinger about winning two elections himself took some of that expectation that Dems losing the midterms overall would leave him “checked out” and lame-ducking it until January 2017 away. He’s still “all in” as far as I can tell. But that’s just my opinion.
read the whole post »
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 01/21/15 at 09:23 PM
Thursday, November 20, 2014
Coburn Predicts Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Over Weekend
The Senate’s redoubtable Dr. No, aka Tom Coburn (R-Planet Xanax), took himself off to USA Today’s Capitol Download to warn his fellow Americans that President Obama’s planned executive action on immigration will not only set Republican hair afire but could very well bring down the Republic, to boot:
The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation. You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence.
And none of us really want that, do we?
Coburn accuses Obama of acting like “an autocratic leader that’s going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway.” He says changes in immigration policy require passage by Congress, not just the president’s signature.
Well, not really, but nobody seriously expects a US senator to know all of the ins and outs of our legal system, do we?
“Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we’re starting to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithesis of what this country was founded on,”
Cassius Coburn says. “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president ... then why should it apply to me?”
Evidently Coburn anticipates citizen activists teaching a lawless president a lesson by acting out lawlessly . . . ??
Of course, Coburn’s prediction is solidly rooted in historical precedent . . . the memories of blood in the streets, rioting and insurrection following President Reagan‘s imperious executive over-reach on immigration, as well as the constitutional crisis precipitated by George W Bush‘s immigration-reform-by-fiat are still fresh in the wounded psyche of liberty-loving Americans.
As Coburn seems to know, nothing else—not poverty, injustice, inequality—sets off American civic indignation like perceived encroachment on the legislative branch by the executive. God knows Congress has done everything in its considerable power to advance immigration reform via standard practice. Testimony to that are the stacks of comprehensive immigration reform bills brought by Congress to the president’s desk, over the last few years, only to be subjected to the “terrible, swift sword” of Obama’s veto pen.
I know that Republicans really, really hate being outsmarted by this uppity, unAmerican president that was somehow elected, then inexplicably re-elected despite all of the built-in societal safeguards to prevent such an unlikely event but, seriously, folks? you’re needlessly embarrassing yourselves before you even get a crack at demonstrating your mad governance skills.
Maybe you all ought to contemplate Dr Coburn’s “if I ruled the world” advice to the President and, if the shoe fits . . .
If I were in his office, I’d say, if you want to have a successful second term, dig down, swallow your pride, get what you can get, compromise on everything you can for the best interests of the country. Bring us back together.
Meanwhile, my plan for weathering the dark and stormy aftermath of executive apocalypse? I think, I’ll let a smile be my umbrella and trust to the paralyzing indifference that the vast majority of Americans feel toward the cacophonous background noise of American political theater.
That, and college football, should effectively stem the revolution.
Posted by Bette Noir on 11/20/14 at 12:21 PM
Sunday, November 09, 2014
Food Fight In The Old Family Dining Room
Anxious to hit the ground running with the newly-elected 114th Congress, President Obama invited leaders from both houses to join him in the White House’ Old Family Dining Room for a post-election lunch of herb-crusted sea bass and endive salad served up on the Truman china.
The idea, I’m sure, was to map out some common ground between the executive and legislative branches, moving into the final two years of Obama’s term, in the hope of getting something—anything, actually—done by 2016.
The gathering opened with some public comments, by Obama, on the importance of cooperation and breaking the partisan gridlock that has effectively hog-tied his administration. The president stated that he would be open to ideas from both sides of the aisle with the caveat that he would judge ideas based on whether they are likely to work or not.
Obama cited three measures—emergency funds to fight Ebola, approval of a federal budget, and appropriations to increase troops in Iraq—that he believes he and Congress could work on, together, before the end of the year.
Once the press was dismissed, however, the tone changed according to the usual anonymous leaks by the usual anonymous aides.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 11/09/14 at 06:59 AM
Friday, November 07, 2014
Republican Victory Anthem: Second Verse? Same As The First.
So. It’s all over but the howling. One-third of America’s registered voters bestirred themselves to get to the polls and offer up a vote of confidence for the worst Congress in US history—approval rating? 14%. Fortunately, for Republicans, that dismal turnout included two of their biggest fans: the Brothers Koch.
House Speaker, John Boehner, of course, sees that as a “mandate.” Not really. He can’t actually be that deluded, but he’ll take it and run with it even though it means his tour in legislative hell has just been extended [unless, of course, the crazy caucus writes in Allen West to replace him].
John Boehner, himself, enjoys only a 20% approval rating among voters in his own state. A majority—59%—disapprove of his work in Congress. Even Republicans are only lukewarm on Boehner: 37% approve, 34% disapprove.
When the 114th Congress is seated, in January 2015, Republicans will choose their House speaker, so times like these inspire Boehner to rear up on his hind legs and let out a Speaker-ish bellow.
He did not disappoint:
I’ve made clear to the President if he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving forward in this Congress. It’s as simple as that.
When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself and he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down that path.
That Obama! just like a naughty child disobeying his betters. Look for the “poisoned well” to become a Republican meme.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 11/07/14 at 10:17 AM
Tuesday, October 21, 2014
Could Ebola Teach US Americans Geography?
The late journalist Ambrose Bierce commented that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Yeah. As if Americans ever learn geography. Truth of the matter is, that picture to the left probably is where a disturbing number of Americans (well, nortemericanos, anyway) stand with respects to understanding our planet and how she is laid out. (More knucklehead geography is on view at Buzzfeed.)
Basically, even our most elite Americans are totally having Caitlin Upton moments—but particularly about the whole Africa and ebola thing.
For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.
In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles.
A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is being prevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda.
Seriously? People aren’t even Google-mapping where people are from? Can’t even do the most basic Wiki research into where folks are and how ebola works and then front that they are concerned? They have the maps—because they have the cell phones. Maps are even on cell phones, now. They have the gateway to non-stupid in their pockets.
So I am thinking the answer is “Nope.” Americans will learn geography when the stupid is pried from their cold, dead hands. Or possibly in the case of zombie apocalypse.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/21/14 at 11:19 PM
Tuesday, October 14, 2014
Stumping Through Arkansas With Tom Terrific
As others before me have noted, Tom Cotton (R-AR) is just about the perfect Republican candidate for the 21st century, which should put us sane people on guard. Cotton’s a telegenic “aw, shucks” Arkansas farmboy, an Iraq-Afghanistan military vet, with a Harvard Law degree on top, who is more than willing to make an utter fool of himself saying any damned ignorant thing that will keep the GOP’s fun-house audience in a state of arousal.
Guys like this (looking at you, Ted Cruz) always fascinate me because they are, by all standards, smart, disciplined and well-educated. So how is it that they can allow themselves to be completely sucked in by crackpot gibberish that wouldn’t fool most twelve year olds? Where is their self-respect, if nothing else, when they stand up and soberly spout completely unfounded gibberish that 80% of the world is tittering over?
So far, during his brief tenure in Congress, Cotton has signed on with the “Hell, No! caucus” and shared these pearls of legislative wisdom:
“I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast,” Cotton once said of his vote against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.
He has dismissed the potential for default if the debt ceiling was not raised as a desirable “short-term market correction.”
He said food stamps should be cut because too many recipients live high on the hog: “They have steak in their basket, and they have a brand-new iPhone, and they have a brand-new SUV.”
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 10/14/14 at 08:54 AM
Wednesday, October 01, 2014
Say “Yes” to This Mess?
The above ad from the College Republican National Committee kind of looks like an attempt at outreach to women, doesn’t it? The actors in the ad are all women. It covers things women really care about, like the budget and pretty dresses!
Seriously? The Rick Scott “dress” wanted to piss-test welfare recipients at a cost to the taxpayers of a bunch of money that companies he was associated with would collect on. Dresses are very rarely associated with Medicare fraud. If Rick Scott were a dress, he might not look all that pretty. Particularly not to women voters. But let’s just be silly and ask—why is a gender essentialist and condescending ad like this the way the College Republicans decided to support their guy? Is this one of those tone-deaf deals like the “Diversity Bake Sales” where they kind of thought more people would be in on the joke?
I just think it’s dickish. You wear a wedding dress one time on one special day. The policies of a governor can last for a long time. A politician isn’t a “brand” or a “pricetag”, and the analogy is insultingly reductionist.
But this kind of “relating to women via women things” instead of actually boasting policies that women can feel good about isn’t startling or new. Just recently, a Florida politician tried to explain away his decision to hold a men’s only fundraiser by likening it to “women stuff”—a lingerie party! (Goodness knows I would only wear underwires and itchy lace to bed just for me because it feels so good—how I am not incorporating babydoll teddies into my day-to-day regime is beyond me—you know how us hens do get together and just for some reason select to spend large money on small garments that seem to have been put together by a team of engineers with cleavage rehabilitation in mind because sisterhood and chardonnay. I challenge all of his assumptions, I do!)
Another brilliant mind in the women’s outreach vein did an ad that likened Obama to a very bad boyfriend because us sisters have all been there, haven’t we? (Everything about that message is kind of lying and wrong, on so, so many levels.) So been there and done with that “boyfriend thing” though, GOP.
Honestly, maybe the GOP should just try and outreach caterpillars. They could hardly do worse than they have been doing with women.
But in case you were confused—the Republican Party is still made up of a diverse bunch of stock photo people. Of which some are even women. Because they care.
(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/01/14 at 10:27 PM
Wednesday, September 17, 2014
Rep Jeff Duncan Gives Obama Failing Grade
Rep. Jeff Duncan (R-SC) is one of those southern gents who hitched his wagon to the TEA Party Express and woke up one morning a United States Congressman. And his admiration for himself has only grown over the three years that he’s been in office.
At this point, Rep Duncan is so fluffed up that he has no problem calling a spade a spade and disrespecting the office of the Presidency in the grand old tradition of other Palmetto State greats like Rep. Joe “You Lie” Wilson and former Sen Jim DeMint.
Rep Duncan just wants us all to know that when President Obama recently laid out his strategy for combating ISIS, Obama said the “single dumbest thing an American President has ever said” when he said that “the Islamic State is not Islamic.”
Most grown-ups within the sound of Obama’s voice understood what he meant, but, just in case, the president added:
” . . . no religion condones the killing of innocents, and the vast majority of ISIL’s victims have been Muslim.”
Duncan then went on to rate the president’s speech “JV at best.” What a clever fellow . . .
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 09/17/14 at 08:33 AM
Saturday, August 30, 2014
Gov. Scott Walker Making Lemonade From Life’s Lemons
Gov Scott Walker may be up to his neck in the shark tank, these days but that doesn’t mean that he appreciates a well-informed electorate any less. And to that end, during a recent interview on Brian Kilmeade‘s radio program, Walker urged listeners who are interested in facts to get them from Fox News because mainstream media reporters—aside from being “biased, incompetent and lazy”—are picking on him and other Republican governors.
I guess that means that Walker has forgiven Chris Wallace for this:
Not a very presidential performance, at all, which I presume was the point of that particular Sunday morning exercise. On the other hand, prior to Chris Wallace going all responsible journalist, Walker did get a chance to plug his fraudulent jobs record, so the day wasn’t a total loss.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/30/14 at 08:18 AM
Wednesday, August 27, 2014
Speaker Boehner Bags A Bargain
Well, the suspense is over, fellow Americans. Speaker Boehner has found a lawyer to present his case against President Barack Obama and, you’ll be happy to hear—since we are all footing the bill—he’s found us a great conservative lawyer, writer and all-purpose Republican operative, at a very reasonable cost.
The lawyer is David B Rivkin (not to be confused with David W. Rivkin, a younger more Liberal model). David B is a Russian emigre who earned his JD at Columbia Law School and proceeded to hold a variety of legal and policy positions during the GOP Golden Age of the Reagan and Poppy Bush eras.
Rivkin is a frequent participant in Congressional hearings and spends quite a bit of time enlightening the public about law and government policy via cable TV and conservative radio programs (e.g., CNN, MSNBC, NBC, ABC, CBS, FOX News, NPR, PBS, The Laura Ingraham Show, Al Jazeera, and the BBC, to name a few).
Rivkin also writes frequently, appearing in the Wall Street Journal, the National Review, the Washington Post, the New York Times, the Washington Times, the Heritage Foundation, and the Harvard Journal of Law and Public Policy.
As a matter of fact, it was an article in Politico Magazine, written by David B Rivkin and Elizabeth Foley, that gave Speaker Boehner the bright idea to sue the President. The article outlined a plan specifically for suing Obama for not rolling out Obamacare quickly enough.
The biggest hurdle, of course, for anyone wishing to sue POTUS (or anyone else, for that matter) is the “standing” doctrine which requires that plaintiffs convincingly demonstrate that they have been injured in some way by the actions of the person they are suing. Rivkin and Foley recognize that could be a hurdle but they think they’ve figured out a way around it.
Unfortunately, as Ian Milhiser pointed out, shortly afterward in Think Progress, Rivkin and Foley’s legal theory of establishing standing depends on “an objectively false reading” of United States v. Windsor which so recently struck down the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA).
Here’s what Milhiser has to say about that:
Rivkin and Foley claim that, in Windsor, the Supreme Court held that the Bipartisan Legal Advisory Group (BLAG), a five member body of the House of Representatives currently controlled by Republicans, “had standing to defend DOMA for several reasons.” According to Rivkin and Foley, this precedent supports their claim that Boehner’s lawsuit should also be allowed to move forward so long as the BLAG joins the suit as a plaintiff.
But this reading of Windsor is objectively false. Windsor held that “the United States retains a stake sufficient to support Article III jurisdiction on appeal and in proceedings before this Court” — thus it was the Obama Administration, not BLAG, who had standing to seek Supreme Court review of DOMA. Indeed, Windsor explicitly states that “the Court need not decide whether BLAG would have standing to challenge the District Court’s ruling and its affirmance in the Court of Appeals on BLAG’s own authority.” Thus, a major prong of Rivkin and Foley’s legal argument rests on an egregious misreading of a famous Supreme Court case.
On the other hand, Speaker Boehner is getting the services of Rivkin and Foley at a discount—$500/hr as opposed to the $520/hr that Paul Clement was charging House Republicans to defend DOMA after DoJ opted out.
So far, the House has set a cap of $350,000 to secure Rivkin’s services but then Clement’s bill was originally capped at $500,000 and the total payoff was five times larger—coming in at a cool $2.3 million. But hey, who can put a price on the peace of mind it will bring American taxpayers to sue the president?
Whatever Attorney Rivkin is paid for this case he has a snowball’s chance of winning it. Especially if it comes down to “forum shopping” for a judge that is willing to look like a) an easy touch and/or b) willing to perpetuate a pretty egregious misreading of existing law.
But, if any of you have legal problems? you might want to forward the details to Rivkin & Foley. As long as they are on the Peoples’ Payroll . . .
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/27/14 at 01:22 PM
Friday, August 15, 2014
We Got Trouble, Right Here in Mississippi
Scratch a sore loser and you’ll often find a frustrated bully.
Chris McDaniel is now trying to bully his way into the nomination that he lost to Sen. Thad Cochran (R-MS) in June; and he will probably lose any hope of salvaging his political career, if he hasn’t already done so. Yesterday was the deadline for McDaniel’s lawyers to file a challenge to his runoff election results and file they did (see the scribd below).
Strictly on the legal merits of his challenge, McDaniel doesn’t have a snowball’s chance . . . Philip Bump of The Washington Post explains why, better than I ever could:
There are two arguments that advocates of Chris McDaniel are using to suggest that the results of Tuesday’s Republican Senate run-off election in Mississippi should be overturned. First, they argue that voters who voted in the Democratic primary and the Republican run-off should be eliminated from the total. And, second, they argue that Mississippi law prevents someone from voting in a party primary who won’t support the general election candidate.
Neither argument will work. In the first case, there are almost certainly not enough Democratic primary/GOP runoff ballots to make up the nearly 7,000-vote gap between McDaniel and incumbent Sen. Thad Cochran. And in the second case, McDaniel backers are chucking very large rocks in very fragile glass houses. You know who may not support the party’s candidate in November? A gentleman named Chris McDaniel.
Let’s dig into each of these issues . . .
The rest of Bump’s article is brief and easy to understand, you won’t regret taking the time to read it.
But, aside from the legalities, McDaniel’s case illustrates how easily our national political discourse can go off the rails.
The Mississippi Republican primary for US Senate nominations has been a clown-show from the get-go. Even Ann Coulter thinks so.
Before the votes were even counted the Cochran-McDaniel race was billed as the nastiest primary in America. From the O’Keefe-ian break-in at Rose Cochran’s nursing home to the overheated language of McDaniel’s legal challenge, this primary race is an instructive example of extremism run amok in our political process.
Things got so bad that Evan Alvarez, chairman of the Mississippi Federation of College Republicans, resigned his post and changed his party affiliation to Democrat.
After the election was decided, things only got worse. McDaniel offered a “bounty” of $1000.00, on his campaign website to anyone who brought forward “evidence leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved in voter fraud . . . ”
That page also afforded all comers the opportunity to donate to McDaniel’s defunct campaign, although, I’m not sure what they can do with those funds, legally? Perhaps McDaniel’s campaign manager can come up with a creative solution like the one she used to explain a missing campaign finance filing: a tornado ate my financial records.
Low and behold, the “bounty” move turned out an army of volunteers determined to turn Mississippi upside down and shake out its pockets, county by county, to find instances of voter fraud. And find them they did—to include hardened vote-fixers Mitch Tyner and his wife. Mitch happens to be McDaniel’s attorney. Maybe he knows something we don’t . . . ?
The whole McDaniel mess is just one of those things that would be hilarious if it weren’t so damn pathetic.
I think Mississippi and the country dodged a bullet with this one, my fellow Americans—think about it, do we really want someone who counts Charles C. Johnson among his operatives sitting in our Senate making our laws?
McDaniel Primary Challenge 14-0814
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/15/14 at 09:28 AM
Tuesday, August 12, 2014
And So You’re Back, From Outer Space . . .
(photo: Hunter Freeman wordlesstech.com)
Jason Zengerle of New Republic recently published an excellent, timely article entitled The New Racism which focuses on the political career of Hank Sanders, who took his diploma from Harvard Law back to his home in Alabama to make it a better place for African Americans to live and learn and work . . .
Hank Sanders was one of 13 children who grew up during the 1950’s in a 3 room shack, sans electricity and running water, built by their father in rural Alabama. By the early ‘60s Sanders worked his way through Talladega College, a black school in central Alabama, became active in the Civil Rights movement and literally risked his life to register black voters in what was known, locally, as Bloody Lowndes County. In 1967, Sanders left Alabama to attend Harvard Law but as soon as he graduated he returned to Selma, AL. In the meantime, Hank Sanders married another Harvard Law alum and the two of them went to work . . .
. . . filing the lawsuits necessary for blacks in rural Alabama to become sheriffs, school board members, and city councilmen—translating the right to vote into actual political power. In 1983, Sanders ran for office himself in a newly created black-majority Senate district.
And for the next thirty years, Sanders kept at it, rising through the ranks in the Alabama state house and, according to Jason Zengerle:
Sanders tried to exercise his power to represent people who were unaccustomed to having a voice in Montgomery—namely poor, black Alabamans. He helped bring more money to their schools and their hospitals, better infrastructure to their neighborhoods, and greater fairness to their tax bills. Thanks to Sanders and a growing caucus of African American legislators, many of whom also chaired crucial committees, it was a period during which black people in Alabama enjoyed their most substantive political representation since Reconstruction.
But then, in 2010, the TEA Party wave turned Alabama red and all of that changed very quickly . . .
Sanders told me the story of his remarkable rise to power earlier this year, but his tone was more wistful than triumphant. For so long, his life had been an uplifting tale of slow but seemingly inexorable progress—not just for himself, but for African Americans throughout the South. In recent years, however, the trajectory of Sanders’s story has been abruptly—and just as inexorably—reversed. In 2010, Republicans took over the Alabama Senate and Sanders lost his chairmanship; in the four years since, he’s watched as the new GOP majority has systematically dismantled much of his life’s work.
I won’t paraphrase any more of Jason Zengerle’s article which is well-worth the investment of time to read. My point, in bringing it up, is that it is a cautionary tale of great relevance to the majority of Americans who only care to vote for presidents.
read the whole post »
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/12/14 at 09:31 AM
Tuesday, August 05, 2014
The Congressman Who Cried Ebola
Rep. Todd Rokita (R-IN) left the fraught halls of Congress to return to his home district in the heartland, this weekend, but had no time to spare for homecoming vacation activities.
By Monday, Rokita had taken to the airwaves, specifically the Garrison radio program (WIBC-FM, Indianapolis), to sound an alarum for his constituents. According to the US Office of Refugee Resettlement, Hoosiers have found it in their hearts to resettle 245 Central American refugee children in Indiana.
Rep. Rokita wanted to let his people know that was a really terrible idea, because . . . EBOLA! for God’s sake.
Rokita, who is not a doctor, cited his colleague Rep. Larry Bucshon (R-IN), who is a doctor, as the authority upon whom his wild speculations concerns rest. Dr. Larry Bucshon, it should be noted, is also that rarest of physicians—the doctor who is a “lifelong friend of coal.”
Here’s how Rep. Rokita characterized his and Rep. Bucshon’s concerns over the public health risk associated with taking in potentially pestilential children:
He said, look, we need to know just from a public-health standpoint, with Ebola circulating and everything else—no, that’s my [Rokita] addition to it, not necessarily his [Bucshon]—but he [Bucshon] said we need to know the condition of these kids.
This, despite the fact that the US Office of Refugee Resettlement guarantees that all children receive vaccinations and thorough medical screenings before being released to family or sponsors.
Poppycock! says Rokita who believes that we should keep all of those kids corralled in one place:
If we believe that a majority of them should be reunited with their parents in their countries, letting them diffuse into the community is just going to be harder to get them to the hearing, harder to find out where they are, who they are.
For those of his constituents who might be a little too sophisticated for the Ebola fear-mongering, Rokita has a more down-to-Earth reason for not allowing refugee kids to be resettled in Indiana: property taxes. All of these kids, he explains, are going to wind up in public schools and “ultimately your property taxes are going to go up.”
Except that Indiana schools are funded by state sales and income taxes. Not property taxes.
If the name Todd Rokita sounds vaguely familiar, you might remember him as the chauvinist swashbuckler who reprimanded CNN journalist Carol Costello about her barbed questions during last Fall’s government shutdown, saying “Carol, you’re beautiful, but you have to be honest as well.”
Well, Rep. Rokita, you’re not beautiful but you still have to be honest.
Posted by Bette Noir on 08/05/14 at 10:47 AM
Friday, August 01, 2014
What Happens To A DREAMER Deterred?
Does he get swept up
like a felon a-roam?
Or hide as if on the lam—
in his home?
Does this bill go down
in a Senate defeat
or should a Presidential veto
stomp it complete?
And what should voters
make of this load—
Could this party implode?
Never mind my doggerel, as I pause to consider that the House leadership handed over the reins to people who say things like “I hang out with border patrol agents clandestinely”, and kids are loaded up with birth control pills before being set out on “rape paths”, and that migrants with “calves like cantaloupes” schlep backpacks with 75 lbs of marijuana over the border. (Which I still say is an amazing weight loss boot camp concept, no? Seriously, I think Rep. Steve King has never watched a Cheech and Chong movie if he thinks this is how “grass” gets up here.) So of course, they voted to end the work permits of over a half-million jobs-having undocumented young people who have basically not known any other country, and are in fact not in any way tied to the current border crisis (leaving them to be potentially deported to countries with which they have no ties), stepped up to pay for National Guard deployments—which is just going to corral, not contain, more young migrant folks who will just be put in the system, and brushed away the compassionate option to detain the youngsters until a hearing could be held to determine a possible refugee or asylum status—which does not at all address the plight these youths are fleeing, and sends them back into possible “rape paths” and into the hands of drug cartels.
So, uh, nice going GOP reps, you have some kind of thing to go back to the constituents that voted you in with? And oh darn, you think you will have Harry Reid to blame for this bill getting shot down once the Senate comes back, and not Ted Cruz?
I don’t think that’s how things really stand, at all. Because in one breath, yesterday, there was a little inhalation of “The President will have to act unilaterally because we can’t get our shit together”. And today, the exhalation is: “The President will still have to act unilaterally, because this is the nonsense we come up with when we do get our shit together”.
Guess what? Both options are not helping. Our tax money is paying for the GOP House to be less than useless, and sue Obama for doing things on his own, and then a taxpayer-funded Representative like Michele Mouth-Breathing Bachmann talks about putting a handcuff on one of his hands. While all this election-year floundering is basically called “leaving it up to the President to fix it and take blame”?
You know, some people might think this is transparently bullshit. But I suspect sadly enough that it still isn’t transparent enough for regular voting people. This was a purely political and useless vote, and it will be loved by somebody(ies), nonetheless.
(X-Posted at Strangely Blogged.)
Posted by Vixen Strangely on 08/01/14 at 10:39 PM