Wednesday, July 31, 2013

McCain Talks 2016

John McCain on Hillary Clinton or Rand Paul? ‘Tough choice’ - Tal Kopan -
Sen. John McCain says if it in 2016 came down to Sen. Rand Paul or Hillary Clinton for president, he might have a hard time making up his mind.

Asked about the possibility in a new, lengthy interview with The New Republic, McCain (R-Ariz.) quipped: “It’s gonna be a tough choice [laughs]...”

Tuesday, July 30, 2013

Crazy In NC: Personal Lament Edition

The State of North Carolina | Traveler at the Edge: By: Kristina Drye

I have watched the downward spiral of the state of North Carolina for the past months. At first, disbelief. Then anger. I think now I’m at the point where the amount the legislature has done is admirable. In quantity, of course. I have no words for the repulsive nature of its quality...

GOPer v. GOPer: Rand - Christie Edition

Sen. Rand Paul: 'Sad and cheap' for N.J. Gov. Chris Christie to use 'cloak' of 9/11 victims - Washington Times:
Sen. Rand Paul is upping the ante in his ongoing spat over national security with New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie, calling it “sad and cheap” for Mr. Christie to invoke victims of the Sept. 11, 2001, terrorist attacks to make his point...

O Caving To Corporate GOPers--- Again

Obama to offer Republicans a new 'grand bargain':
President Obama hits the road again Tuesday for another in a series of middle-class speeches, and a new offer to congressional Republicans.

During a trip to Chattanooga, Tenn., Obama will propose a cut in corporate tax rates -- a priority for the Republicans -- in exchange for new jobs programs, a prime White House objective...

Suitcase Nukes Not Real

Experts close the lid on 'suitcase nukes' -
...Nuclear bombs cleverly concealed in suitcases don't exist in real life. Even so, they have long been a popular Hollywood plot point...

Monday, July 29, 2013

Noblesse Oblige Updated

Millionaires to Washington: More Taxes, Please! | Mother Jones:
A pack of millionaires descended on Washington, DC, Wednesday to tell Congress to take more of their money. The Patriotic Millionaires for Fiscal Strength, a group formed in 2010 to push Obama to allow the Bush tax cuts on millionaires to expire, are back, and lobbying for the same thing as Congress faces the looming fiscal cliff...

Too Much NSA Access

Glenn Greenwald: Low-Level NSA Analysts Have ‘Powerful and Invasive’ Search Tool - ABC News:
Today on “This Week,” Glenn Greenwald – the reporter who broke the story about the National Security Agency’s surveillance programs – claimed that those NSA programs allowed even low-level analysts to search the private emails and phone calls of Americans.

“The NSA has trillions of telephone calls and emails in their databases that they’ve collected over the last several years,” Greenwald told ABC News’ George Stephanopoulos. “And what these programs are, are very simple screens, like the ones that supermarket clerks or shipping and receiving clerks use, where all an analyst has to do is enter an email address or an IP address, and it does two things. It searches that database and lets them listen to the calls or read the emails of everything that the NSA has stored, or look at the browsing histories or Google search terms that you’ve entered, and it also alerts them to any further activity that people connected to that email address or that IP address do in the future...”
Both national security and privacy rights can be handled easily and properly if the issue is rationally addressed. Yeah, I know, keyword in that sentence.

Sunday, July 28, 2013

Double Pox "Patriots"

Rep. Peter King: Rand Paul’s ‘madness’ destroying GOP brand on security - The Hill's Blog Briefing Room:
Rep. Peter King (R-N.Y.) said Sunday that the libertarian wing of the Republican party is damaging the GOP's reputation on national security.

King criticized Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.), a potential 2016 presidential candidate, for supporting Edward Snowden, who leaked information about the National Security Agency's extensive domestic surveillance programs...

Saturday, July 27, 2013

ACA Causing GOPer Pain

Republican Health Care Panic -
...Yet even as Republican politicians seem ready to go on the offensive, there’s a palpable sense of anxiety, even despair, among conservative pundits and analysts. Better-informed people on the right seem, finally, to be facing up to a horrible truth: Health care reform, President Obama’s signature policy achievement, is probably going to work...

Twidledee Calls The Pot Black

House Majority Leader Eric Cantor aims to end "government abuse" - CBS News:
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., pledged to put a stop to "government abuse" in the weekly Republican address on Saturday, highlighting a number of bills the House will vote on in the coming days to prevent "reckless" spending and protect taxpayers from agencies like the IRS.

Among the proposals Cantor highlighted: "We will ensure senior government officials accused of serious offenses and unethical conduct won't be paid while under investigation. We will put an end to lavish conferences and employee retreats by requiring online disclosures and prior approval by senior officials; and we will stop the excessive granting of hefty bonuses to government employees."

"Squandering other people's money is one of the easiest ways to lose their trust," he added...

Boggs Dies

Lindy Boggs, congresswoman and Democratic leader, dies at 97 - The Washington Post:
Lindy Boggs, a Democratic Party doyenne from Louisiana whose magnolia charm and political acumen helped her husband rise to U.S. House majority leader, and who then launched her own congressional and diplomatic career after his disappearance in an airplane crash, died July 27 at her home in Chevy Chase. She was 97.

The death was confirmed by her daughter, broadcast journalist Cokie Roberts, who said the medical cause of death was not immediately known...

Friday, July 26, 2013

Bank Steals Furniture

Bank Breaks Into Ohio Woman’s Home, Repossesses Her Belongings – But That’s Not the Most Shocking Part of the Story | Video |
Having your belongings repossessed by a bank hurts, but it’s worse when it’s done by accident.

That’s what one central Ohio woman claims happened to her...

Dial Back Police Craziness

The modern age of police over-response began way back in '85 with the MOVE bombing. Everyone saw this coming and now the chickens are roosting and we are all stuck in the guano. We are close to the brink, but before we go completely off the cliff, let's try dialing back the police's ability to swat (pun) flies with Hellfire rockets.

Rise of the Warrior Cop -
,,,In my own research, I have collected over 50 examples in which innocent people were killed in raids to enforce warrants for crimes that are either nonviolent or consensual (that is, crimes such as drug use or gambling, in which all parties participate voluntarily). These victims were bystanders, or the police later found no evidence of the crime for which the victim was being investigated. They include Katherine Johnston, a 92-year-old woman killed by an Atlanta narcotics team acting on a bad tip from an informant in 2006; Alberto Sepulveda, an 11-year-old accidentally shot by a California SWAT officer during a 2000 drug raid; and Eurie Stamps, killed in a 2011 raid on his home in Framingham, Mass., when an officer says his gun mistakenly discharged. Mr. Stamps wasn't a suspect in the investigation.

What would it take to dial back such excessive police measures? The obvious place to start would be ending the federal grants that encourage police forces to acquire gear that is more appropriate for the battlefield. Beyond that, it is crucial to change the culture of militarization in American law enforcement...

Boner Flogs King

John Boehner Calls Out Rep. Steve King On Immigration Comments | Fox News Latino:
Calling the comments "deeply offensive and wrong," House Speaker John Boehner on Thursday elevated his criticism of fellow Republican Rep. Steve King over the Congressman's suggestion that many immigrants in the country illegally are drug runners...

Thursday, July 25, 2013

Dueling Economies

The day the right lost the economic argument -
...When even USA Today goes all Keynesian instead of going Galt, the Right is clearly losing the argument about the economy. Conservative Republicans have enough power in Congress to block most of the progressive agenda. But they do not have a plausible alternative to the progressive vision of the past, present and future of the U.S. economy that President Obama has set forth.

Feds Finally Make Voting Move

Justice Dept. to challenge states on voting rights | Elections & Politics | News from Fo...:
Attorney General Eric Holder announced Thursday that the Justice Department is opening a new front in the battle for voter protections, a response to the Supreme Court ruling that dealt a major setback to the Voting Rights Act.

In a speech to the National Urban League in Philadelphia, Holder said that as its first move, the department is asking a federal court in San Antonio to require the state of Texas to obtain advance approval before putting future political redistricting changes in place...

We're Crazy, But Not That Crazy

America’s scariest police chief shoots “libtards” and forms militias -
“...If necessary, there will be people coming from all over America to Gilberton to back up the chief,” a masked blogger who goes by the name Arch Angel said while interviewing Kessler for Before It’s News. “So if you think you’re going to pull another Ruby Ridge, or another Wilco, or another 7/7, or another 9/11, you got another thing coming. Because there’s going to be hundreds of not thousands of us there to back up the chief...”

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Targeting The Right People

... for a change.

5 takeaways from Obama’s economy speech - Ben White -
President Barack Obama on Wednesday said America had “fought its way back” from the greatest economic collapse since the Great Depression and warned Republicans not to create another budget “fiasco” this fall that could knock the country off course yet again.

In sharper and more traditionally partisan terms than many expected, Obama took credit for helping to shepherd the economy back from the brink while attacking Republicans, particularly in the House of Representatives, for engaging in an “endless parade of distractions, political posturing and phony scandals...”

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

Things We Can't Talk About

Limbaugh: “White race” should not “have guilt about slavery” -
...On his Monday show, Rush Limbaugh ranted against “white guilt” and “Caucasians” getting “blamed for slavery when they’ve done more to end it than any other race, and within the bounds of the Constitution to boot.”

“White guilt is doing nothing for anybody, and white guilt is not solving anything,” Limbaugh said. “And besides that, a little history lesson for you. If any race of people should not have guilt about slavery, it’s Caucasians. The white race has probably had fewer slaves and for a briefer period of time than any other in the history of the world...”

Why We Need A Do-Something Congress

OOPS! Boehner Accidentally Admits His Tea Party Congress is a FAILURE - Americans Against the Tea Party:
...Meanwhile, the reality of the situation is that we desperately need bills to be written and passed. We need jobs bills. We need student loan laws that keep college students from being indentured servants for the rest of their lives while they try to pay off their debts. Our infrastructure is falling apart — bridges are collapsing, levees are breaking and our highways are a jumbled mess all over the place. We don’t need a hands-off government right now; we need a government that leads us forward. It’s one thing to repeal laws that are amoral or are truly hurting the country, but in this case the one law that Republicans have their sights set on is Obamacare, and repealing it will actually create a deficit, not shrink it...

Monday, July 22, 2013

Joe On Racism And Reefer

Joe Scarborough Slams Sean Hannity For Retort To Obama Speech (VIDEO):
...I know gene and others will remember middle class whites were angry when liberal politicians would say it’s society’s fault. Well, that’s what’s happening now in reverse. They are bigger societal issues. You know black men wearing hoodies, they all commit crimes. That’s Richard Cohen’s argument. So he had it coming to him. It’s straight out of madness. I hear he had marijuana in his system. You have seen reefer madness. Really? Really? In 2013, Sean, come on.

Whatever excuse there is to say this young black man had it coming to him; that is the defense because there is no defense for shooting down a young black man in a middle class neighborhood with Skittles. This entire spectacle is depressing and it’s giving the parents and loved ones of African American children even more of a reason to be concerned and go out on weekends and peacefully march. And the vultures are going to continue to circulate around this body. And make no mistake, they are and continue to try to destroy his reputation for doing nothing more than walking through a neighborhood. It’s making all of this — it’s making it all too evident that too many people in the media and politicians are calculating and callous in their commentary. Andrea Mitchell, it’s nothing short of depressing...

Defending The House

The Rodney Dangerfield House Republicans | The Weekly Standard:
...Everyone dumps on the House, but for the last few weeks, it’s been Senate Republicans who’ve been doing damage to conservatism. It was two Republican senators, Rand Paul and Ted Cruz, who, in response to a pseudo-crisis of military sexual assault, popped up to support Democratic legislation that would upend the military judicial system and strip commanders of authority. In their effort to placate the forces of left-wing legalism and feminist political correctness, these Republican senators buy into the calumny that the military officer corps is full of individuals who couldn’t care less about the men and women under their command. By contrast, it was the House Armed Services Committee​—​with the active participation of Reps. Martha Roby and Kristi Noem (elected in 2010) and Jackie Walorski (class of 2012)​—​that took sensible and serious steps to address the problems that might exist, without damaging the authority of military commanders...

Sunday, July 21, 2013

UFOs Are Real

"UFOs Are Real" was a bumper sticker floating around in the 70s. Perhaps, they are about to get their due.

Eric Davis, Physicist, Explains Why Scientists Won't Discuss Their UFO Interests:
...He's aware of the public perception -- mostly from skeptics and debunkers -- that no legitimate scientists would ever touch the subject of UFOs.

"They're wrong, naive, stubborn, narrow-minded, afraid and fearful. It's a dirty word and a forbidden topic. Science is about open-minded inquiry. You shouldn't be laughing off people. You should show more deference and respect to them ... Scientists need to get back to using the scientific method to study things that are unknown and unusual, and the UFO subject is one of them."

Davis is one of several scientists who are presenting their views this weekend on a variety of UFO-related topics at the 2013 MUFON Symposium in Las Vegas...

Saturday, July 20, 2013

Cracks In The Dam

Senate Republicans Splinter As Moderates Rise Up | TPMDC:

Whether it’s immigration reform, the budget, or President Obama’s nominees, a faction of more moderate Republican senators are increasingly splitting from both their leadership and the tea party and partnering with Democrats on key issues.

The growing signs of division are remarkable after years of exceptional Senate GOP unity under the reign of Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY), during which minority use of the filibuster to thwart governance has soared to unprecedented heights.

This week, large numbers of Republicans, led by Sen. John McCain (R-AZ), broke with McConnell and voted with Democrats to secure the confirmation of controversial Obama nominees to the Labor Department, Environmental Protection Agency and Consumer Financial Protection Bureau. In all eight cloture and confirmation votes, McConnell voted “no...”

Warren Suppression

Elizabeth Warren might just save this country - Coffee Party USA: Adam Mordecai of UpWorthy writes:

Elizabeth Warren went on CNBC and was so knowledgeable that her interview went viral. She has one of the most impressive resumes in financial politics. She's a wonk. She knows her facts. And her hosts aren't used to having people like her challenging them.

After [UpWorthy] helped make [this video] go viral, CNBC filed a copyright complaint against her.

Now the video will be seen by even more people...

Right And Left Z-Nonsense

Albany Herald | GOP won’t attract black voters with bigots in its midst:
...To stick with a prominent example, Limbaugh recently dedicated a show to mocking prosecution witness Rachel Jeantel — whom Martin talked to on his cellphone as Zimmerman followed him. Limbaugh claimed that Martin was a homophobe who “attacked” Zimmerman, believing he was a “pervert.”

#Have there been similarly outrageous comments from talking heads on the left? Of course. The verdict has prompted name-calling, hot-headed denunciations and racial demagoguery from a lot of folk who ought to know better.

#But there is an important difference: There are precious few significant ties between the Democratic Party apparatus and liberal commentators. When voters think of Democratic leaders, they think of President Barack Obama, who has been quite cautious in his response to the Zimmerman verdict, as he usually is on issues of race. Or they think of Attorney General Eric Holder, who has been more voluble, but equally cautious...

As I have found out, voicing any kind of opinion that doesn't square with liberal politics means you are a Confederate (yes, that is about the craziest name I've ever been called), a racist, and the worst kind of vote-suppressing bigot. According to witness testimony, Martin was on top of Zimmerman beating him and slamming his head into the sidewalk. I opined that I wouldn't allow someone to beat me death just so I could be called a liberal. Whoaee! You'd have thought I'd donned white robes, mounted a black horse, and started burning crosses on the White House lawn. In another place, I mentioned O.J., and here they came again, pitchforks a-gleam and torches blazing.

Instead of preaching tolerance to the GOP crazies, why don't these Obotic liberals try practicing tolerance as an example to the GOP moderates and the rest of the reasonable conservatives? The results would be gratifying.

Friday, July 19, 2013

Crazy In NC: More Voter Suppression Edition

Senate Republicans unveil stricter NC voter ID bill |
Resurrecting one of the legislative session’s most contentious issues, Senate Republicans unveiled a new voter ID bill Thursday that would further restrict the forms of photo identification accepted at the polls...

Remembering Jimmy Carter

Jimmy Carter’s forgotten history lesson -
...For President Carter started no wars, bombed no civilians, and committed no crimes against the Constitution. He did not sell weapons to terrorists or spy on his political opponents. The handful of “scandals” associated with his term in office seem hilariously trivial in our age. He was, certainly, far from perfect—but perfection is a fairly useless standard to apply to any elected official. If we can move past the automatic associations that spring to mind when we think of Carter—the “malaise” speech, the killer rabbit, the hostage crisis—his presidency may be relevant for us in an entirely different way...

Thursday, July 18, 2013

The Death Of Sears

Ayn Rand killed Sears -
...Conclusion: The lessons of Crazy Eddie seem so obvious that a bunch kids running a lemonade stand could understand them. You have to know something about the business you’re running, especially a big one. Success requires cooperation rather than constant competition. Greed is ultimately destructive.

The invisible hand of the market appears to have attempted to slap Lampert upside the head to teach him these things. But he remains committed to his nonsense, and the real losers are all the hard-working people who have lost their jobs, and the potential loss to the American economy of two revered brands.

It’s probably a good thing Ayn Rand never tried to run a business.

Liberals Also Targets

Liberal groups may have been targeted by IRS as well - CBS News:
New documents provided to the Treasury Department's inspector general indicate that progressive groups, in addition to conservative groups, may have been targeted by the IRS for additional scrutiny, according to testimony before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee by J. Russell George, the inspector general. The revelation bolsters the case of congressional Democrats who have argued that IRS targeting was not politically motivated, and that the groups targeted were more ideologically diverse than originally believed...

Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Keeping Clinton's Pledge

Enough subsidizing CEOs’ insane salaries! -
...What’s less well-known is that you and I and other taxpayers are subsidizing this sky-high executive compensation. That’s because corporations deduct it from their income taxes, causing the rest of us to pay more in taxes to make up the difference.

This tax subsidy to corporate executives from the rest of us ought to be one of the first tax expenditures to go, when and if Congress turns to reforming the tax code.

We almost got there 20 years ago. When he was campaigning for the presidency, Bill Clinton promised that if elected he’d end the deductibility of executive pay in excess of $1 million...

McD's Accidental Truth

McDonald's Very Own Suggested Employee 'Budget' Proves Need to Raise Wages - Occupy Democrats:
In an effort to provide free, comprehensive money management tools to show their employees “how to spend and save money wisely,” and “discover where [their] money goes,” McDonald’s partnered with Visa and built a website designed to outline how to properly budget and apportion employees’ meager wages. However, this gesture of goodwill completely backfired when whoever wrote it proved literally incapable of putting his/herself in the shoes of a minimum wage fast-food employee. Instead, all it did is tellingly show how there is almost no way to scrape a living on a minimum wage salary.” Take a look at this budget:..

Tuesday, July 16, 2013

Killing The Poor

My Family, Our Cancer, and the Murderous Cruelty of Conservatives | Vanity Fair:
...Many Republicans, either out of self-delusion or deceit, deny they are causing any such thing. But there is no question that, in their obsession with zygotes, embryos, and non-viable fetuses as part of their supposed pro-life stance, they are effectively murdering real, walking, talking women—mothers and daughters, grandmothers and sisters, all sacrificed on an altar of Pecksniffian hypocrisy and contemptible disregard by people who have the insurance, connections, and available health care to feel certain their politics won’t kill their loved ones. Perhaps Theresa and I are re-directing our anger from the cancer, but so be it; our rage has focused on the financially comfortable, morally blind, and arrogantly self-righteous who tyrannically conspire to rob poor women of years of life they might otherwise have. It is for this reason that Theresa is willing to disclose her condition, in hopes that, in doing so, we will help highlight how politicians are blithely choosing to kill women who are not as fortunate as she is...

Kissing The Whip: Academic Edition

Here's another mouthpiece trying to get in his licks with the bosses in this age of New Feudalism that the conservatives have been so eagerly trying to install since Raygun.

Former Bush Economist Defends the 1 Percent | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS:
...Few people, Mankiw explains, would realistically accept this arrangement; people have rights to their organs, so don't they also have rights to "the fruits of (their) own labor?" In his alternative to the social contract understanding -- what he calls his "just deserts" perspective -- the kind of government redistribution seen in places like France, where president Francois Hollande has proposed a 75 percent tax rate on top earners, is "unjust...

The argument falls apart because society has nothing to do with your organs; whereas, society has everything to do with the creation of wealth. I have yet to see an argument justifying greed and the New Feudalism that was based on a solid foundation.

Monday, July 15, 2013

Roasting The Farm Bill

Hunger Games, U.S.A. -
Something terrible has happened to the soul of the Republican Party. We’ve gone beyond bad economic doctrine. We’ve even gone beyond selfishness and special interests. At this point we’re talking about a state of mind that takes positive glee in inflicting further suffering on the already miserable.

The occasion for these observations is, as you may have guessed, the monstrous farm bill the House passed last week...

Nuclear Option Creeps Closer

Democrats, Seeing Precedent, Press On to Curb Filibuster -
Negotiations over the weekend failed to produce a compromise that would keep Mr. Reid from moving forward on Tuesday with the so-called nuclear option. Under that option, the majority leader, through a simple majority vote, would put new limits on the minority party's ability to filibuster presidential nominees. Ordinarily changes to the rules of the Senate require a two-thirds majority; Democrats hold 54 seats...

Sunday, July 14, 2013

Rules Change Coming?

On eve of showdown over Senate rules, party leaders show little agreement on how to proceed - The Washington Post:
Proposed changes to Senate rules would either ease the way for President Barack Obama to assemble his second-term team or permanently threaten the body’s deliberative style, the chamber’s top Democratic and Republican lawmaker said Sunday...

Saturday, July 13, 2013

Luck And The 1%

Rock, Economics and Rebuilding the Middle Class | The Business Desk with Paul Solman | PBS NewsHour | PBS:
...As Krueger demonstrates with the music industry, luck can have a lot to do with who rises to the top, and the same is sometimes true of who pulls in the big bucks in our economy, he argues. And just as in the music industry, where the norm for what people are willing to pay for concert tickets has changed, there's been an evolving norm of fairness that, he explains, has skewed the way wealth is distributed in the workplace, therefore exacerbating economic inequality:...

Democrats To Fight For Choice

Democrats vow abortion fight in Texas:
Republicans in the Texas Legislature passed an omnibus abortion bill that is one of the most restrictive in the nation, but Democrats vowed Saturday to fight both in the courts and the ballot box as they used the measure to rally their supporters...

Friday, July 12, 2013

TX Confiscates

Texas Senate reportedly confiscating tampons during abortion hearing -
...Part of the preparations Dewhurst alludes to, however, reportedly include confiscating tampons and sanitary napkins — but not guns:

GOPer Car Wreckers

Best close ever.
Lance Mannion: Remember good old President Mondale?:
...If the Government is a car setting out to give every one a ride to work, then for 40 years the Republicans have been puncturing the tires, pouring sand in the gas tank, stealing the distributor cap, and, whenever they can get their hands on the wheel, driving it straight into the nearest ditch and then, pointing to the wreckage as the tow truck backs up to it, saying, See, this proves that people were meant to walk.

And they do this so that they don't have to chip in on gas.

The Treason Of The House

Republican Party Farm Bill - The Republican Flying Monkeys Triumph - Esquire:
...Our Congress is now a cut-rate circus with nothing but eunuchs as performers. Some of these people, like Stutzman and his colleagues in the flying-monkey caucus, become eunuchs by choice. Some of them, like John Boehner, are drafted into the position. Their job is to be forcibly impotent so that the government itself becomes forcibly impotent. They are proud of what they do. They consider it a higher calling to public service that they decline to serve the public. They sing a soprano dirge for democracy in Jesus's name, amen.

Comprehensive Spy Post

The Government Is Spying On ALL Americans’ Digital and Old-Fashioned Communications | Washington's Blog:
Anyone Who Says the Government Only Spies On Potential Bad Guys Is Sadly Uninformed

Even now – after all of the revelations by Edward Snowden and other whistleblowers – spying apologists say that the reports are “exaggerated” or “overblown”, and that the government only spies on potential bad guys...

O Still Raising Dough

Obama megadonors return to help Organizing for Action - Byron Tau and Tarini Parti -
President Barack Obama’s most loyal donors returned with big contributions to the nonprofit formed to boost his second term agenda.

Organizing for Action raised $8.2 million between the beginning of April and the end of June, bringing its year-to-date fundraising total to $13.1 million...

Thursday, July 11, 2013

GOPer Sees Other Side

Moral Mondays make sense when GOP compassion is lacking | Other Views |
There was a time when I would have groaned with disgust at the coverage of the tumultuous Moral Monday protests. As a conservative activist and blogger (and registered Republican), my feet remain firmly planted on the right, but I have become surprisingly sympathetic to the passionate protesters who gather every week in Raleigh...

Crazy In NC: Cowards Edition

North Carolina Becomes Ground Zero for GOP Cowardice and Contempt | Jonathan Weiler:
For a clear sense of what the Republican Party has in store for the entire country, were it able to get its clutches on all the levers of power, North Carolina is becoming an increasingly illuminating place to look. With the election of the allegedly "moderate" Pat McCrory as governor last November, the Republican takeover of state government was complete. And in six short months, motivated by willful ignorance, spite and contempt, the party has cut a category-five hurricane swathe of destruction through the state, the damage from which could take years to undo. Tar Heel Republicans have, among other things, rejected Medicaid expansion, terminated long-term unemployment benefits despite an ongoing employment crisis in the state, passed tax proposals that virtually exclusively benefit wealthy North Carolinians at the expense of everyone else, passed severe new restrictions on access to abortion providers (the governor has expressed some concerns about the bill) and pushed through new voting restrictions in order, primarily, to suppress minority voting .

The substantive consequences of this agenda are dire. But what's especially striking about this relentless march of destructive policy-making is the unrelieved cowardice and dishonesty emanating from Raleigh in justifying this horror show...

All About Mitch

Mitch McConnell's 30-Year Senate Legacy Leaves Kentucky In The Lurch:
...Up for reelection again in 2014, McConnell faces dismal polling numbers. In January, a Courier-Journal Bluegrass Poll found that only 17 percent of residents said they were planning on voting for him. A recent Public Policy Polling survey showed him tied in a hypothetical race against Alison Lundergan Grimes, Kentucky's Democratic secretary of state, weeks before she announced she was running on July 1. Today, McConnell finds himself at both the most powerful and most vulnerable moment of his career. He faces not only a Democratic opposition out to avenge McConnell's attacks on Obama, but an energized tea party unhappy with the GOP establishment and independents disgusted with Washington...

Evil Apple: E-Book Edition

Federal judge finds Apple guilty of conspiring to raise ebook prices | Technology | The Guardian:
Apple has been found guilty of conspiring with book publishers to raise ebook prices, in one of the biggest anti-trust lawsuits ever brought by US federal authorities.

US district judge Denise Cote ruled on Wednesday that the company played a "central role" in a conspiracy with the biggest book publishers in the US to fix prices in violation of antitrust law...

Wednesday, July 10, 2013

Crazy In NC: Screwing Students Edition

The Decline of North Carolina -
...And, naturally, the Legislature is rushing to impose voter ID requirements and cut back on early voting and Sunday voting, which have been popular among Democratic voters. One particularly transparent move would end a tax deduction for dependents if students vote at college instead of their hometowns, a blatant effort to reduce Democratic voting strength in college towns like Chapel Hill and Durham.

North Carolina was once considered a beacon of farsightedness in the South, an exception in a region of poor education, intolerance and tightfistedness. In a few short months, Republicans have begun to dismantle a reputation that took years to build.

The Drug War And Unintended Consequences

Drug War Testing Scandal - The Lust For Convictions In The War On Drugs - Esquire:
...We are now into the fourth decade of the spectacular failure that is our war on drugs and, as a country, we cannot even have a serious discussion of reforming the idiotic laws banning marijuana, let alone discuss the more serious issues of this epic national fk-up. One of these is how the war on drugs has warped the criminal justice system in so many profound ways that Annie Dookhans and Jonathan Salvadors became inevitable. From confiscation laws to no-knock warrants to the general militarization of local police departments, the lust for convictions in the war on drugs has resulted in all manner of corruption, from the purely monetary to a contempt for civil liberties that bled easily into the war on terror and, I would argue, has a lot to do with the developing surveillance state that the war on terror threw into hyperdrive...

Spy v. Employee

'Insider threat' program reportedly orders feds to spy on each other using sloppy tactics | Fox News:
An "insider threat" program launched by the Obama administration two years ago requires federal employees to spy on each other using profiling techniques not proven to work, according to a new report.

Details about the program, first reported by McClatchy, have gradually been made public in recent weeks. It was apparently ordered in 2011 in the wake of security leaks by Army Pfc. Bradley Manning, and urges federal workers and contractors to look out for "high-risk" behavior -- and to report it...

Tuesday, July 09, 2013

Inequality In America

Manning Caused No Harm?

Manning defense rebuts evidence leaks caused harm - The Grand Island Independent : National:
Lawyers for Army Pfc. Bradley Manning are calling witnesses to rebut prosecution evidence that the government secrets he gave to WikiLeaks posed a national security threat...

FISA Flaws, He Says

Former judge admits flaws with secret FISA court - CBS News:
A former federal judge who served on a secret court overseeing the National Security Agency's secret surveillance programs denied Tuesday that the judges act as "rubber stamps." But James Robertson said the system is flawed because of its failure to allow legal adversaries to question the government's actions...

Monday, July 08, 2013

Koch Attack Begins

The Opening Salvo of 2014 - The Daily Beast:
Starting today, Americans for Prosperity, the Koch brothers’ propaganda arm, will run an ad, the first of several that are planned, to attack Obamacare. This marks the official opening salvo of the 2014 election campaign. With no accomplishments, no remotely popular vision of the country, on the cusp of possibly killing immigration reform, and perhaps admitting (at least to themselves) that Benghazi and the IRS are not going to be Barack Obama’s undoing after all, Republicans have been reduced to grasping at their final straw:..

Flogging Crazy Good Hair

If my Vagina shot bullets, could I conceal it from Rick Perry and John Kasich? | Margaret and Helen:
...Rick Perry, bless his heart, doesn’t have the good sense God gave a goose – otherwise known as a C minus average at Texas A&M University. That boy hasn’t had a light on in the attic since someone in kindergarten told him he had nice hair. Perry says that A&M shaped him into the person he is today. What shape is obtuse? He earned a C in U.S. History, a D in Shakespeare, and a D in the principles of economics. Perry even got a C in gym which might explain why he finds joy in picking on defenseless, poor women who can’t fight back. I don’t even know what to say about his C in animal breeding. If the man can’t even figure out how animals reproduce, why do we expect him make rational decisions about women’s reproductive freedoms?...

No Insurance For KS Schools

Kansas law thrusts Iowa insurer into gun debate:
A new Kansas law allowing gun owners to carry weapons in public buildings, including schools, has thrust a major Des Moines-based insurer into the national gun control debate.

The EMC Insurance Cos. insures 85 percent to 90 percent of all Kansas school districts and has refused to renew coverage for schools that permit teachers and custodians to carry concealed firearms on their campuses under the new law, which took effect July 1. It's not a political decision, but a financial one based on the riskier climate it estimates would be created, the insurer said...

Sunday, July 07, 2013

Police Outrage

“Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book”: The new warrior cop is out of control -
...The raid on Sal Culosi was merely another red flag indicating yet more SWAT team mission creep in America. It wasn’t even the first time a Virginia SWAT team had killed someone during a gambling raid. In 1998 a SWAT team in Virginia Beach shot and killed security guard Edward C. Reed during a 3:00 AM raid on a private club suspected of facilitating gambling. Police said they approached the tinted car where Reed was working security, knocked, and identified themselves, then shot Reed when he refused to drop his handgun. Reed’s family insisted the police story was unlikely. Reed had no criminal record. Why would he knowingly point his gun at a heavily armed police team? More likely, they said, Reed mistakenly believed the raiding officers were there to do harm, particularly given that the club had been robbed not long before the raid. Statements by the police themselves seem to back that account. According to officers at the scene, Reed’s last words were, “Why did you shoot me? I was reading a book...”

The Summer Of Our Discontent

The Confluence | A weblog for Democrats in Exile:
Krugman wrote a post on The Political Economy of Permanent Stagnation pointing out that the economy just plods along with high unemployment and sluggishness and people are just getting used to it:...

Racism And Perspective

More Americans say blacks more racist than whites: Rasmussen report - Washington Times:
Americans, by and large, see blacks as more racist than whites or Hispanics, a new survey said on Wednesday.

But political ideology plays a large role in the findings, Rasmussen Reports said...

Saturday, July 06, 2013

Border Stupidity

An “ungodly stupid” get-rich scheme: The real border security story -
...The Corker-Hoeven amendment spells out the kinds of equipment to be deployed in very specific terms. In the sector covering Yuma and Tucson, Ariz., for example, it calls for 50 fixed surveillance towers, 72 fixed camera towers with remote surveillance capabilities, 28 mobile surveillance systems, 685 unattended ground sensors and 22 hand-held night-vision and thermal imaging systems.

Reached by phone in Chihuahua, Mexico, Tom Barry, a senior analyst at the Center for International Policy and author of “Border Wars,” told Salon that the effort is simply “absurd.” “Border patrol agents are tripping over themselves now,” he said. “They have nothing to do. They’re reading magazines in their trucks. If they increase the force by the levels they’re talking about now, you’ll have measures of boredom and waste that are almost inconceivable...”

Hope For America: Krugman Edition

E Pluribus Unum -
...Of course, our democratic ideal has always been accompanied by enormous hypocrisy, starting with the many founding fathers who espoused the rights of man, then went back to enjoying the fruits of slave labor. Today’s America is a place where everyone claims to support equality of opportunity, yet we are, objectively, the most class-ridden nation in the Western world — the country where children of the wealthy are most likely to inherit their parents’ status. It’s also a place where everyone celebrates the right to vote, yet many politicians work hard to disenfranchise the poor and nonwhite.

But that very hypocrisy is, in a way, a good sign. The wealthy may defend their privileges, but given the temper of America, they have to pretend that they’re doing no such thing. The block-the-vote people know what they’re doing, but they also know that they mustn’t say it in so many words. In effect, both groups know that the nation will view them as un-American unless they pay at least lip service to democratic ideals — and in that fact lies the hope of redemption.

So, yes, we are still, in a deep sense, the nation that declared independence and, more important, declared that all men have rights. Let’s all raise our hot dogs in salute.

Maybe If A Fetus Exploded...

Texas Lawmakers Too Busy Targeting Abortion Providers to Deal With Exploding Fertilizer Plants | Mother Jones:
In the two and a half months since an explosion at a West, Texas, fertilizer storage facility left 12 first responders dead and at least 200 people injured, two things have become clear. The disaster could have been avoided if the proper regulations had been in place and enforced—and state and federal agencies don't appear to be in a hurry to put those regulations in place or enforce them.

Texas, whose lax regulatory climate has come in for scrutiny in the aftermath of the West explosion, went into a special session of its state legislature on Monday to push through an omnibus abortion bill designed to regulate 37 abortion clinics out of existence. But the 2013 session will come to a close without any significant action to impose safeguards on the 74 facilities in the state that contain at least 10,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate...

Friday, July 05, 2013

Third Amendment Violation

Police Arrest, Assault Family For Refusing To Open Home for Stakeout - |
According to the family filing the lawsuit the police first called the residence to ask permission to occupy their home to gain a “tactical advantage” in a domestic dispute that occurred at a neighbors house. When the resident refused, the police bashed in the door shot “pepperball rounds” at him and his dog, then later arrested him and his elderly parents for “obstructing justice”...

No Gun Changes In MO

Mo. gov. vetoes bill that nullified fed gun laws:
Gov. Jay Nixon vetoed legislation Friday that would have made it a Missouri crime for federal agents to attempt to enforce federal gun laws in the state and could have landed journalists in jail for publishing the names of gun owners.

The Democratic governor said the bill passed by the Republican-led Legislature violated the supremacy clause of the U.S. Constitution, which generally gives preference to federal laws over conflicting state ones. He said it also infringed in the First Amendment rights of free speech and press...

Weak Support In Iceland Gov

Iceland proposal would grant Snowden citizenship:
Some Icelandic lawmakers have introduced a proposal in Parliament to grant citizenship to National Security Agency leaker Edward Snowden, who admits to revealing key details of U.S. surveillance activities...

Thursday, July 04, 2013

Tea Bagging The 4th

Bet you didn't know that the Declaration of Independence declared your allegiance to God the King.

Tea Partiers Explain How to Properly Celebrate the 4th of July | Mother Jones:
...The Declaration of Independence means that the tea partiers can tell the rest of us how to celebrate the 4th, and we are free to utterly ignore them.

Not Quite Self-Evident

Fourth Of July - Happy Fourth - Esquire:
 Do you govern or are you governed?

It is a question that cannot be avoided. It is the question that commits us to this day as a nation, and as a people, to the ongoing creative act of building and maintaining some sort of a political commonwealth. It is the question that makes of America an ongoing experiment, and it is the question that commits all Americans to active participation in that experiment. It is a question that demands an answer and, by not answering it, you really are. Yes, you are saying, I am governed. It is good that so many of us are charitable in our own private ways to our fellow citizens, but that is not the object of the debate. That is not an answer to the question. The government is the product of our commitment to the creation of the political commonwealth. It is that commonwealth's most obvious public manifestation. It is within that government where the debate must be held. It is within that government where the answer to the question must be provided, year after year, generation after generation. If you believe that your government in this country is tyrannical, you must look to your complicity in that tyranny's development. As you are an American, then Mr. Jefferson's paragraph, cited above, leaves you no other good alibi...

Wednesday, July 03, 2013

Crazy In NC: Signage Edition

This Says It All

Davis Mania

Wendy Davis Speech At Stand With Texas Women Rally (VIDEO):
There were over 5,000 men and women in attendance on a very hot business day at the Texas State Capitol to listen to State Senator Wendy Davis. The crowd was 10 times greater than what was expected. Women (and men) in Texas have finally reached the critical mass, the self-sustaining nature that will be required to change the Taliban nature of Texas politics. While the women of Texas have been organizing and mobilizing for some time to reclaim their dignity in a state that treats them like property or at best indentured servants, Wendy Davis has become the symbol, the encapsulation of said frustration...

Tuesday, July 02, 2013

Attack Of The Pseudo Journalists

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Wendy Truthers: The Latest GOP Stoopid

Meet the Wendy Davis truthers -
Wendy Davis claims to be a Democratic state senator representing Texas’ 10th district, but what does the public really know about her? Sure, the public knows that she stood and talked for more than 11 hours in order to block a vote on a sweeping measure that would have made (and may still make) abortion virtually unavailable in Texas. And yeah, OK, the public knows that she is a Harvard-educated lawyer with a history of advocacy for women’s health and reproductive rights.

But, does the public know if she’s a natural blonde? Or if she wears eyeliner? No, they do not — and that’s where the Wendy Davis truthers come in...

Snowden Revelations: Yawn

5 Intriguing New NSA Revelations From Edward Snowden | Mother Jones:
...On Friday, the Guardian's Glenn Greenwald gave a sneak preview of a yet-to-be released document detailing the startling number of phone traffic the NSA collects daily. On Saturday, the Washington Post released more top-secret slides showing how the NSA's PRISM program captures information from tech giants. And the German magazine Der Spiegel dropped a bombshell report about US spying on European Union diplomats...
Oh, yeah-- good flick that showed us everything we already knew. Here, too.

Another Gov WTH

A Drug Recall That Should Frighten Us All About The FDA - Forbes:
... The FDA announced last week that the 300mg generic version of Wellbutrin XL manufactured by Impax Laboratories and marketed by Teva Pharmaceuticals was being recalled because it did not work. And this wasn’t just a problem with one batch – this is a problem that has been going on with this particular drug for four or five years, and the FDA did everything it could to ignore it...

The Other Religion

The Gospel According to 'Me' -
...Unlike the conversions that transfigure the born-again’s experience of the world in a lightning strike, this one occurred in stages: a postwar existentialist philosophy of personal liberation and “becoming who you are” fed into a 1960s counterculture that mutated into the most selfish conformism, disguising acquisitiveness under a patina of personal growth, mindfulness and compassion. Traditional forms of morality that required extensive social cooperation in relation to a hard reality defined by scarcity have largely collapsed and been replaced with this New Age therapeutic culture of well-being that does not require obedience or even faith — and certainly not feelings of guilt. Guilt must be shed; alienation, both of body and mind, must be eliminated, most notably through yoga practice after a long day of mind-numbing work...

US Spying Too Much

Opinion: U.S. intelligence community is out of control -
It's hard to think of a time in the history of America's intelligence community when it has been more battered by accusations of over-stepping or mismanaging its mission: to secretly gather information to support the activities of the U.S. government...

Here We Go Again

Sorry. It's an AP story-- no words. Records: Archbishop Paid Problem Priests to Leave - ABC News

Monday, July 01, 2013

My Corvette

Top 9 reasons why Corvettes rev us up -
The pounding of her heart, the adrenaline racing through her system, the vibrations buzzing through her bones: At 16, Andrea Interlicchia got hooked on the idea of owning a Chevrolet Corvette...
Between the linked article and comments, you might figure out why this car is "My Corvette."

The Flip Side Of Voter Suppression

Democrats Get a Gift From the Roberts Court -
.. Second, instead of declining as expected after the history-making election of 2008, African-American turnout may have actually risen again in 2012. When the Census Bureau released its turnout analysis last month, it showed blacks voting at higher rates than whites for the first time in the history of the survey.

If you believe Chief Justice John Roberts Jr.’s more overheated liberal critics, last week’s Supreme Court decision invalidating a portion of the Voting Rights Act is designed to make sure African-American turnout never hits these highs again. The ruling will allow a number of (mostly Southern) states to change voting laws without the Justice Department’s pre-approval, which has liberals predicting a wave of Republican-led efforts to “suppress” minority votes — through voter ID laws, restrictions on early voting and other measures...

The Daily Flashback: Crooked Preacher Edition

Bill Moyers: WATCH: A Crash Course on Ralph Reed:
...The true surprise at the Tampa convention is Ralph Reed's resurrection. When the former head of the Christian Coalition was discovered to have raked in millions of dollars from the super lobbyist -- and eventually convicted felon -- Jack Abramoff, Reed wound up in political purgatory. But outraged by the election of Barack Obama, and responding to what he describes as God's call (via Sean Hannity), Reed returned to start the Faith and Freedom Coalition with the aim of toppling Barack Obama from the White House...

Comment Of The Day: Fire Edition

Death In Yarnell Hill - Esquire
Frank Armstrong 
Don't apologize for seeing politics in this tragedy--though we would shut our eyes we would still smell burning flesh. Small government types sputter and choke, waiting for the smoke to clear. The skeletal, charred, invisible hand of the marketplace was last seen hitching a ride to the gates of hell. In this era everything is political, except the bravery of the firemen who died, their willingness to fight a terrible foe played to their last full measure. Peace to all.