In a night of few surprises, Terry McAuliffe (D) came out on top in his race against VA AG Ken Cuccinelli (R), and NJ Governor Chris Christie (R) easily defended against Democratic challenger Barbara Buono. A lot of ink, virtual and digital, can be spilled over these two contests, but I am going to cover the broad outlines as I see them—
We have one somewhat Democratic win in a state that isn’t necessarily that liberal, and a Republican winning re-election in a reliably blue state that just voted to send Cory Booker (D) to Washington. This is only two contests, and neither of them give us enough information to say there’s a “trend”. Some of the voting/exit polling breakdown fascinates me in VA.
If anything, I think Cuccinelli beat himself because he really is as insulated a conservative as can be found—case in point: the sodomy thing. Seriously? You actually can’t get more socially conservative and panty-sniffing than wanting to patrol bedroom behaviors. Astonishingly, in my book, he still did better than 50% in exit polling with white males. (My personal polling experience with white males has always been very pro-sodomy.) I note that the Libertarian candidate, Robert Sarvis, did pretty well with the young people—probably Republican-identified voters who are more fiscally conservative, but not interested in Old Testament morality. The Cuccinelli campaign blew it, figuratively speaking. The best nod to Libertarian thought his campaign mustered was having Sen. Rand (You Can Say That Again!) Paul talk to the students at Liberty University, although one has to note that “libertarians” is not the plural of “Liberty University student” and that Paul spoke about eugenics and abortion, managing to miss the libertarian note in favor of reinforcing the idea of Cooch as a reductive reproductive regulator.
I don’t really have much to say about the New Jersey contest, for a handful of reasons, but most probably because I’m not even especially sure there was one? I will note that although Gov. Christie won handily, the same voters also went for increasing the minimum wage—not one of his policies. In this case, I think personality has a lot to do with it, and Barbara Buono, whatever her merits as a politician, failed to land any telling blows to her opponent, possibly out of concern that she might go “too negative”. Christie’s recent blow-up at a teacher was too recent to make any dent in his popularity, although it should have reminded of some of his more prickly moments earlier in his term. Surely, more 2016 talk for Christie will come of this win.
Apparently, Ted Cruz, Esq. managed to eke out a few minutes in his busy, busy schedule on the Cruzapalooza Self-Aggrandizement Tour to overturn a Federal judge’s ruling on a controversial Texas abortion law.
Cruz, a Hahvahd Law graduate, master-debater and freelance constitootional skolar advised the world that we should all ignore Judge Lee Yeakel’s ruling because the Texas law “is, too!” constitutional.
According to Cruz the law is:
. . . commonsense legislation to protect the health of women and their unborn children.
This law is constitutional and consistent with U.S. Supreme Court precedent protecting the life and health of the mother and child. I hope the Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals will uphold Texas’ reasonable law.
Meanwhile, back at the ranch, Texas Attorney General and Governor-in-Waiting, Greg Abbott, thumbed his nose and promised to keep up the good fight to protect Texas’ purty little ladies and unborn buckaroos:
Today’s decision will not stop our ongoing efforts to protect life and ensure the women of our state aren’t exposed to any more of the abortion-mill horror stories that have made headlines recently.
Now, let’s take a moment to unpack Abbott’s statement. Evidently he’s concerned that there are unregulated, back-alley, horror-story-worthy abortion mills all over Texas endangering Texas women. Who wouldn’t be concerned? But, then, I’m thinking that the State Attorney General is in a great position to do something about that. So why is he wasting his time dreaming up ways to harrass well-regulated Planned Parenthood clinics?
WASHINGTON DC—July 30, 2013— With millions of consumers making the move to glass houses, stone concessions—kiosks that dispense hefty rocks suitable for hurling through plate glass—were thought to be part of a dying industry, a relic like typewriter ribbon production plants and “Wite-Out” factories. But a new piece by WashingtonPost.com “On Faith” columnist Sally Quinn has unexpectedly breathed life into a waning economic sector.
In a column entitled “Blaming Huma Abedin,” Quinn outlines her objections to Anthony Wiener’s wife’s decision to stand by the pixyish peen-pix purveyor rather than doing something more dignified, such as finding a rich, married managing editor to hump and then parlaying that opportunity into a lofty nepotism perch from which to lord it over the Beltway social scene for the next 50 years.
“I’m telling you, this industry was on its last legs, what with the loss of privacy thanks to the Internet and people’s growing sense that they could attract an incoming barrage if they let stones fly at a neighbor’s glass house in a particularly hypocritical manner,” said Bash Brickbat, proprietor of Ye Olde Stone Shoppe, a colorfully painted pushcart on K Street.
“I mean, everyone is a little hypocritical, but come on. Sally’s column landed like a meteor in the side of the Hoover Dam, just sending hypocrisy gushing through the wall and flooding the valley,” Brickbat continued. “This is emboldening a whole new bunch of eye-mote removers with beams of their own. It’s like that time Bill Kristol accused someone of being wrong about Iraq.”
When read the following excerpt from Quinn’s column, several throwing-stone industry analysts responded with incredulity and terminated a reporter’s call, concluding that they were victims of a prank:
I have nothing against Abedin. I like her: She is a lovely, gracious, intelligent woman. I ache for her need to come to the rescue of this man who has betrayed her so often and will likely do it again. I ache for all women who find themselves in this position. And yet, there she stood in front of the cameras, this modern American career woman, by her man, saying she had forgiven him, loved him and believed in him. Just what exactly does she believe in? The only thing she can believe in for sure is that he will continue his infidelity.
Though her friends say she is strong and resolute and defiant, sadly she makes all women look like weak and helpless victims. She was not standing there in a position of strength. It was such a setback for women everywhere.
Other analysts urged caution at the prospect of a tossing-stone industry resurgence sparked by Quinn’s column:
“Look, the Washington Post shunted Quinn off to their online edition years ago because she’s such an embarrassment,” said one analyst, under the condition of anonymity. “You can think Wiener’s an eFlasher who would make a terrible mayor, and you can believe Abedin’s an idiot for putting up with his bullshit.
You can even imagine that Abedin’s choice somehow reflects badly on every other woman on the planet, though to make that leap, it helps if you’re psychotic. But you don’t publicly tut-tut ‘infidelity,’ not if you’re Sally Fucking Quinn.”
I have been in the Commonwealth of Virginia, and, I am not entirely averse to admitting, reasonably certain I have broken a few of their retrograde antisex laws while I was there. Actually, I think I was probably there with the explicit intention of probably getting around to doing some of the things their legislators in times of yore believed were, ahem, “icky”.
I have to admit to complete and total mystification regarding a candidate for governor who persists in being, you know. That guy. But I have a larger point to make, other than admitting to being at least kind of sort of the exact people Cooch is interested in legally persuing for, I guess, having some kind of fun in Virginia not explicitly associated with, like, a water park or maybe Colonial Williamsburg. Did you hear about this thing regarding the current governor, Bob McDonnell, who was kind of warned against as being a total retrograde antisex theocrat who sort of kind of turned out to be also a grifter? Well, some of that grifterism allegation is looking to backwash on Cuccinelli.
Huh. Taking gifts as a government official? That blows. Probably should be, like, illegal or something, right? I guess ethics is what you make of it. Or at least, if you’re Ken Cuccinelli, you legislate bedroom morality, but in the taxpayer-funded office? Anything goes!
Wingnuts will soon have to find another target for their misogyny, paranoia and homophobia:
Janet Napolitano, the secretary of homeland security, announced Friday that she was stepping down, setting off a search to fill one of the most challenging positions in government at a time when the Obama administration is struggling to get a team in place for the president’s second term.
The vacancy sets the stage for another confirmation fight as Republicans continue their efforts to nullify the last two presidential elections. There’s no word yet on whom the president will nominate, but WaPo put together a speculative list, including:
[Joe] Lieberman makes sense as DHS secretary for one pretty obvious reason: He created the department. Lieberman, as chair of the committee that is now referred to as the Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee, drafted the bill that created DHS shortly after Sept. 11, 2001. He also recently retired from the Senate, meaning he’s a free agent. But his tendency to give his Democratic colleagues heartburnbe a spiteful, war-mongering Republican dick may not make him an ideal fit. [Edited for accuracy]
No, no, a thousand, million, kajillion, ding-dong-dillion times, no. Jenny Durkan (profiled in that same WaPo article) sounds qualified, and since she’s an out lesbian, her candidacy would have the added benefit of triggering even more Lesbocalypse fears among the right-wing assholes who have spent the last five years absurdly imagining that the innocuous Ms. Napolitano was rifling through their underwear drawer and monitoring activities at the Moose lodge.
But perhaps the best outcome—and most fitting monument to Lieberman’s work in the Senate—would be to abolish the Department of Homeland Security altogether, break it up into its component parts. Like so much that is wrong with this country, it’s a remnant of post-9/11 hysteria.
Or we could at least change the name, which, as Peggy Noonan pointed out in a rare moment of clarity, is “vaguely Teutonic.” What shall we call it? Please feel free to discuss other topics too—open threadage.
Wow, Uncle Grumps McCain seems to be morphing into yr creepy step-uncle who ya don’t really want to hug if you can avoid it.
For background, the DOJ, after investigating charges that colleges and universities were pretty much ignoring or down playing charges of sexual assault and harassment on campuses has put out new guidelines for reporting instances of unwanted sexual conduct.
The OCR has responded by ratcheting up enforcement of Title IX, a federal law that prohibits gender-based discrimination in colleges, to introduce new regulations on sexual assault policies. And out of that effort comes an agreement so mild that it has elicited only hopeful skepticism from campus activists. But the mere assertion that it is possible for speech to be harassing under certain conditions, and that colleges ought to investigate harassing behavior on their campuses, has conservatives in uproar.
Surprise, surprise. I mean since college co-eds are basically just sexy sluts anyway, shouldn’t the menz be able to *wink wink* give them what they know they want anyway!!
One, totally not creepy, pundit has even suggested that we are de-eroticizing our universities! Yes, because consent is not a thing, you know, so without the ability to disregard the word “no” sex and eroticity will totally disappear from the college environment.
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.
If you’re anything like me you probably avoid any deep dives into political news coming out of The Loon Star State. Indeed, the original source of that advice to me was a Texan. But sometimes, “needs must when the devil drives” . . .
So it is that in today’s special edition of Mad Scientists of the Laboratories of Democracy, I’ll be doing a group profile because there’s a lot of madness in the Texas state legislature. The ladies above are the Republican contingent of the Texas Assembly who support the assault on Texan women’s right to choose an abortion.
The bill, touted by supporters as an effort to raise the standard of health care for women seeking an abortion, actually proposes wide-ranging restrictions that would effectively shut down most existing abortion clinics in Texas, making it difficult, if not impossible for Texans to obtain a safe, medically supervised abortion.
The bill would ban abortions after the 20th week of pregnancy, require doctors to have admitting privileges at nearby hospitals, limit abortions to surgical centers and stipulate doctors must monitor even non-surgical abortions.
Because Texas’ population comes in at 26 million, the bill, if signed into law, would be the toughest anti-abortion law in the nation affecting the largest number of people. And a lot of those people are not pleased.
Don’t worry . . . this doctor is not a real representative, he just plays one at tea parties. Meet Dr. Michael Burgess, OB/Gyn, author* and US Representative (R-TX) from the Loon Star State. Dr Burgess has served in the House since 2002, chairing the Congressional Health Care caucus, of which he is the only official member, and serving in the House TEA Party Caucus.
Recently, Dr Burgess has grabbed our attention during the House Republicans’ most recent sortie in its War on Women, with his rather prurient, if unscientific, theory that male fetuses spend a good bit of time “spanking the monkey” while in the womb.
[*Burgess, Michael (2011). Doctor in the House: A Physician-Turned-Congressman Offers His Prescription for Scrapping Obamacare – and Saving America’s Medical System. Midpoint Trade Books. ISBN 978-1-936488-25-4. Retrieved 2011-11-16.]
Dr Burgess presented his theory during a House Rules committee debate on the Pain-Capable Unborn Child Protection Act, which would ban abortions nationwide after 20 weeks of pregnancy:
“This is a subject that I do know something about,” Burgess said, citing his experience as an OB/GYN. “There is no question in my mind that a baby at 20-weeks after conception can feel pain. The fact of the matter is, I argue with the chairman because I thought the date was far too late. We should be setting this at 15-weeks, 16-weeks.”
“Watch a sonogram of a 15-week baby, and they have movements that are purposeful,” he continued. “They stroke their face. If they’re a male baby, they may have their hand between their legs. If they feel pleasure, why is it so hard to think that they could feel pain?”
Rape. It’s Mother Nature’s way! Even with background checks and all, the military has a hard time screening out sex offenders, because golly! It has to train its soldiers to fight their very own Mother Nature-installed hormones, what keep knocking up all those female soldiers, especially on aircraft carriers, where it is well known that women should be kept away from the manimals who serve our country. Thank heavens Big Daddy was never one of them, as the late, great Senator from New Jersey once pointed out.
Watching Chambliss (R [U Really Asking Which Party?]—PreCambria) apparently doing some equivalent of thinking aloud is instructive, if agita-inducing for Republican consultants:
Didn’t we tell’em wimmen soldiers was a bad idea? Who knows how many of them high-spirited young boys got a little too frisky? I have an idea—let’s investigate the baby-mamas! Honey, who did this to you? You can tell me—I’m your C.O.
Is it worth 8 minutes of your time to hear Michele Bachmann announce that she’s quitting her House seat? Probably not, but here it is anyway.
Nope, this is nothing to do with the multiple investigations into her and hubbie’s alleged grifting, including misusing congressional campaign funds for her spectacular 2012 run for president, nor the fact that she only squeaked back into her seat last year and the polls aren’t looking at all good for her at the moment. She’s just past her sell-by date:
The law limits anyone from serving as president of the United States for more than eight years, and in my opinion—well, eight years is also long enough for an individual to serve as a representative for a specific Congressional district.
This will no doubt lead to widespread redundancies among the media’s factcheckers. Unless ...
There is no future option or opportunity, be it directly in the political arena or otherwise, that I won’t be giving serious consideration if it can help save and protect our great nation.
How is this being greeted among the wingnutry? Well, there’s some speculation from the RW blogs that (assuming she’s not in pokey by then) Bachmann might run against Al Franken for his Senate seat, which would certainly be a battle worth breaking out the popcorn for.
Actually, it might be a stretch to call this a retirement. Rep. Michele Bachmann announced last night that she would not seek a fifth term in the House from Minnesota’s 6th Congressional district in this nearly nine-minute valediction. As The Week notes, however, Bachmann doesn’t say she’s retiring from politics or even electoral politics, which means she may have something else in mind already ...
Indeed. If not a run against Franken, there seem to be indications that she hopes to don the mantle of Palin II:
... she promises not to fade away, continuing “to work vehemently and robustly to fight back against what most in the other party want to do to transform our country into becoming, which would be a nation that our founders would hardly even recognize today.”
The announcement that Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) will not run for re-election in 2014 means that the Tea Party will lose one of its most outspoken—and controversial—congressional leaders, just as the movement is gaining new momentum from public discontent with big government and the revelations in the IRS scandal. At the same time, the Tea Party will benefit from the emergence of new, and perhaps more effective, voices.
William Teach at RightWingNews, on the other hand, is in full-on denial and seeking to anoint her with the precious Oil of Victimhood:
NBC Makes Up Quote For Michele Bachmann: “I’m quitting my House seat in 2014″
Nowhere in the story is that headline verified. Nor, if one listens to the 8+ minute video from Bachmann will you hear that phrase. A bit of bias, eh?
For Max Baucus NBC had the headline Max Baucus heeds the call of Nature. And Harkin won’t seek 6th Senate term (for Tom Harkin-D). And Senate banking chair Johnson to announce retirement (Tim Johnson-D). Even most other Republicans were treated decently. Seems that NBC News has a bit of a War On Women going on in regards to Bachmann.
The reception for this news in the comments sections is pretty subdued and mostly philosophical.
Is there enough room for two Divas of Daft on Twitter and Facebook (there does seem to be a vacancy for vacancy on Fox, of course)? Will this spark an entertaining rivalry—Griftzilla versus Michegriftzilla? I guess we’ll have to stay tuned ....
Bqwhatevr O evr’s the matter with you pissy-pants oversensitive lady Liberals? Soon-to-be-formerly Amherst Representative Peter Hansen (You-had-to-ask?-New Hampshire) was only referring to women as “Vagina’s” for effect:
My point in the choice of words was twofold: One was shock content and the other was to try to get into the mind of the perpetrator.
“Try to get into” is an interesting construction, there, Peter, but I’d say you did it! You got deep into the Perpetrator’s Mind. So dark in there, isn’t it? Dark and warm, and ungrammatical.
Rep. Hansen was merely responding via email to detractors of the “Stand Your Ground Law”:
There were two critical ingredients missing in the illustrious stories purporting to demonstrate the practical side of retreat. Not that retreat may not be possible mind you. What could possibly be missing from those factual tales of successful retreat in VT, Germany, and the bowels of Amsterdam? Why children and vagina’s of course.
After getting a lot of lip from Democrats and Republicans alike, the Representative stood his ground: “Having a fairly well educated mind I do not need self appointed wardens…”
There was more, but yr. editrix stopped reading and had a nice lie-down with some Creme De Cassi’s.
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.
Paul Ryan, the very, very serious thinker of the Republican Party, the numbers guy who puts together oh-so-serious budgets designed to throw the Olds and the Poors off their Medicare and Medicaids becauz that’s what serious people do, went on Fox News Sunday to discuss his newest veryserious budget which will be officially unveiled next Tuesday. Unfortunately he discussed it with Chris Wallace, one of the people at Fox who actually has thinkingskillz. Here is the exchange:
On Sunday morning, Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI) stopped by Fox News Sunday to preview his new budget, which will be released in full on Tuesday. As it had the past two years, this year’s version will call for massive cuts to social service programs, including food stamps, job training, Medicaid, and Medicare. Host Chris Wallace challenged Ryan on the viability of his plan, pointing out that he wants to repeal and replace Obamacare, and, “that’s not going to happen.”
Still, Ryan insisted that he and then-running mate Mitt Romney won the election on this issue because they “won the senior vote”:
WALLACE: Are you saying that as part of your budget you would repeal — you assume the repeal of Obamacare?
WALLACE: Well that’s not going to happen.
RYAN: Well, we believe it should. [...]
Yes, and since we believe it should happen magical Repeal Fairies will make Obamacare go away between now and when this Budget *goes into effect*.
Hmmm. I’m just imagining this scenario in a corporate conference room with the controller presenting the budget to the CEO.
CEO: “Ryan, this budget assumes that revenues will triple when we introduce our new product line of flying pigs. Are you assuming we can create flying pigs?”
CEO: “Well that’s not going to happen!”
RYAN: “Well we believe it should happen.”
How long between the end of that conversation and the issuance of the pink slip to young Ryan?
Ryan also says, after reiterating that wishing Obamacare away can make it so, that the purpose of budgets is to make hard choices. Um, no Paul. Budgets sometimes require you to make hard choices but that is not their purpose. The purpose of a budget is to make the most realistic assessment possible, based on known facts, of what your revenues and expenses for the coming fiscal period will look like. Pretending that things will happen that are not going to happen and using the budget to further right wing ideology and destroy programs that you don’t support is *not* the purpose of a budget.
You can definitely see why this oh-so-serious thinker had to scramble his way into gummint welfare for a living - he wouldn’t last 10 minutes in the real world.
So what has she done now that tops even telling Katrina victims to suck it because PayGO!!??
Saying that she voted against VAWA because it protects women who are not privileged, white, upper middle class Jeebus botherers such as her, that’s what! Seriously.
Rep. Marsha Blackburn (R-TN) on Monday openly admitted that she opposed the latest reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it included protections for LGBT, Native American, and undocumented victims of domestic violence.
In an appearance on MSNBC, Blackburn pointed out that the latest iteration of the law protects “different groups” and thus dilutes funding for straight, non-Native American women with the proper documentation:
When you start to make this about other things it becomes an “against violence act” and not a targeted focus act… I didn’t like the way it was expanded to include other different groups. What you need is something that is focused specifically to help the shelters and to help out law enforcement, who is trying to work with the crimes that have been committed against women and helping them to stand up.
I am honestly at a loss for words here. And silly me, I never knew it was really the Violence Against Straight White Women Act as opposed to the Violence Against WOMEN Act. All women who are subjected to violence because they had the nerve to be born women and not able to fight back when a physically stronger guy is hitting them and sexually assaulting them.
I would not wish on Marsha Blackburn what she deserves for taking this position because I am a better person than she is. But it is tempting to wish it. Very tempting indeed.