Yes, it seems that Halloween is coming early this year. All around us we see tricks being played out. Some are the sort of tricks played on people who must really be dumb as dirt to fall for them.
Progressives and libertarians came together in Washington on Saturday to protest widespread government surveillance, taking a tentative step towards creating a coalition that isn’t as awkward as the pairing might appear.
Organized by the coalition Stop Watching Us, which includes dozens of groups ranging from Internet freedom advocates to Tea Party organizations, the rally attracted hundreds of people to the Capitol Reflecting Pool to protest the electronic surveillance by the National Security Agency revealed by Edward Snowden this year. The crowd included Occupy protesters, Ron Paul libertarians, and even strict constitutionalist Oathkeepers. Yet despite some recent grumbling on the left about having to work with libertarians on the issue, attendees and speakers on both sides said they were happy to unite around a common enemy.
Seriously, who the hell would want to be associated with those crazy-ass Oathkeepers? (That link goes to a page over at Southern Poverty Law Center, Oathkeepers are a hate group you know…) Actually, these are not dumb people, that would be an insult to the stupid folks that do have low IQ as an excuse to become partnered with assholes like Ron Paul. So who spoke at this thing?
Onstage, speakers ranged from progressives like former congressman Dennis Kucinich to libertarians like Johnson and Rep. Justin Amash, as well as NSA whistleblower Thomas Drake and Jessalyn Radack of the Government Accountability Project, who visited Snowden in Russia two weeks ago and read a statement attributed to him for the crowd. Snowden was a central figure in absentia at the protest, with most people holding signs or wearing t-shirts emblazoned with his face.
The article says the rally was mostly “libertarian” in nature…but these are a few of the quotes you should not miss:
A recent article in Salon by progressive journalist Tom Watson had ruffled feathers by calling on liberals to boycott the really[sic] because of its libertarian elements. “I cannot support this coalition or the rally,” Watson wrote. “It is fatally compromised by the prominent leadership and participation of the Libertarian Party and other libertarian student groups; their hardcore ideology stands in direct opposition to almost everything I believe in as a social democrat.” Watson described the Stop Watching Us coalition as “fatally infected.”
Code Pink’s Medea Benjamin rejected this premise in an interview with BuzzFeed next to the main speaker’s stage .
“Left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore,” Benjamin said. Democrats and Republicans, she said, “both like the status quo. Libertarians or leftists are people who want to defend the values of this country and not have party politics and I think we’ve started coming around together on many of these issues.”
“I think that strange bedfellows around particular issues is the way that change has happened throughout history,” she said.
Uh…first off, that Medea Benjamin needs to STFU. Its sounds to me like she is fatally ridiculous. I got a question for her. If left and right doesn’t mean anything anymore…How does she feel about the way the “right” values her uterus? Hmmmm…..lets see her libertarian friends get out and defend that part of this country…the 50 percent vagina part!
But wait, and hear it from an actual idiot himself, here’s another quote:
By all appearances at the Stop Watching Us rally, they did — though a bit warily. John McGloin, an Occupy protester from New York who described himself as a “sometimes” progressive, said he could accept working with libertarians to try and curtail government surveillance as long as they weren’t “people who think we should all fend for ourselves — that’s where I draw the line.”“We definitely need all the help we can get,” McGloin said.
Alright, up next: A few items on Rural America.
From the “You might be a redneck” theme of news reports, really the headline should say it all: Georgia man runs into burning home to save beer | abc13.com
COLUMBUS, GA (KTRK) — “I went back into the house like a dummy.” That’s what one man in Georgia said after he risked his life to save beer from his fridge while his house was on fire.
The flames broke out while six adults and two young children were watching TV. Everyone quickly made it outside safely.
But then Walter Serpit, who walks with a cane, rushed back into the burning building to save something near and dear to him.
“I told them to get the kids out and everything, and me myself, being an alcoholic, I was trying to get my beer out,” he said. “You feel me?”
Now, remember what I said up top about the folks who have a real excuse for partnering with those libertarian assholes? You feel me?
Walter made it out with a couple of cold ones, and the fire department made a statement that you should never run back into a burning building…period.
That story is actually sad and pathetic.
More bad news on the Obamacare front, from the New York Times: Health Care Law Fails to Lower Prices for Rural Areas
As technical failures bedevil the rollout of President Obama’s health care law, evidence is emerging that one of the program’s loftiest goals — to encourage competition among insurers in an effort to keep costs low — is falling short for many rural Americans.
While competition is intense in many populous regions, rural areas and small towns have far fewer carriers offering plans in the law’s online exchanges. Those places, many of them poor, are being asked to choose from some of the highest-priced plans in the 34 states where the federal government is running the health insurance marketplaces, a review by The New York Times has found.
Of the roughly 2,500 counties served by the federal exchanges, more than half, or 58 percent, have plans offered by just one or two insurance carriers, according to an analysis by The Times of county-level data provided by the Department of Health and Human Services. In about 530 counties, only a single insurer is participating.
The analysis suggests that the ambitions of the Affordable Care Act to increase competition have unfolded unevenly, at least in the early going, and have not addressed many of the factors that contribute to high prices. Insurance companies are reluctant to enter challenging new markets, experts say, because medical costs are high, dominant insurers are difficult to unseat, and powerful hospital systems resist efforts to lower rates.
“There’s nothing in the structure of the Affordable Care Act which really deals with that problem,” said John Holahan, a fellow at the Urban Institute, who noted that many factors determine costs in a given market. “I think that all else being equal, premiums will clearly be higher when there’s not that competition.”
And that means that for those people who live out in areas like Banjoville, they are going to be hit with higher premiums because of lack of competition.
In rural Baker County, Ga., where there is only one insurer, a 50-year-old shopping for a silver plan would pay at least $644.05 before federal subsidies. (Plans range in price and levels of coverage from bronze to platinum, with silver a middle option.) A 50-year-old in Atlanta, where there are four carriers, could pay $320.06 for a comparable plan. Federal subsidies could significantly reduce monthly premiums for people with low incomes.
Counties with one carrier are mostly concentrated in the South. Nearly all of the counties in Mississippi and Alabama, for example, are served by just one insurer, according to The Times’s analysis. Other states with scarce competition include Maine, West Virginia, North Carolina and Alaska.
That is a long article, and there is an interactive map at the link too, so take a look at it.
Since we are on the subject of healthcare, what about an article on madness…with a witchy twist: 7 Countries That Still Kill Accused Witches
You know how the long-ago witch hunts were stupid and hateful? What a relief those days are over.
Except they’re not. In many countries, people are still killed on suspicion of witchcraft. United Nations experts cautioned in 2009 that murders of women and children accused of sorcery were on the rise. Following are just a few of many examples from around the world.
1. Saudi Arabia
Saudi Arabia’s religious police department has an official Anti-Witchcraft Unit that it dispatches to catch sorcerers and break their spells. In 2007, the Saudis executed an accused sorcerer. A woman awaiting the death penalty for alleged witchcraft died in prison.
Like the New England witch hunters of yore, those in Saudi Arabia use magic as a convenient excuse to silence inconvenient people. Accusations of sorcery have been leveled against foreign women working as domestics for Saudi families who charge their employers with sexual assault, according to Saudi Arabia expert Christoph Wilcke.
This east African country killed approximately 600 elderly women on charges of witchcraft just two years ago. The Pew Forum on Religious and Public Life found a strong and pervasive belief in magic among Tanzanians. It sometimes leads to reverence rather than murder. One woman who claims to be a witch charges between $20 and $120 for services including medical cures and exorcisms — in a country where the average income is under two dollars a day.
The other five countries are more disturbing in their descriptions, so you can read them at the link if you like.
Hey, since that last article was on the morbid side, let’s have another: What would you choose for your last meal? Final food choices of executed criminals revealed… and they throw up a few oddball selections
Florida has revealed the final food choices of executed criminals, throwing up a number of eccentric final meals in the process.
While many of those spending their last day alive decide to go for the final indulgence of a heaving plate of fatty, fried food and a giant bowl of ice cream, others opt for more Spartan fare – requesting homemade sandwiches or just a simple cup of coffee.
That is one you need to click and read. Wow….
I want to bring you updates on a few other stories that we have discussed on the blog the past couple of weeks, and this will be in a link dump:
New York civil rights leaders on Saturday decried the city’s brewing “shop-and-frisk” scandal, in which major retailers Barneys and Macy’s are accused of profiling black shoppers who say they were detained by police after buying luxury items.
A magistrate court judge in Tennessee who forced a couple to change the name of their child from Messiah to Martin has been cited for religious bias by a state ethics panel and will face a disciplinary hearing.
Lu Ann Ballew, a child support magistrate in Cocke County of eastern Tennessee, had been settling a dispute about child support and the last name of Messiah Deshawn MCCullough, the child of Jaleesa Martin, and Jawaan McCullough. Neither parent had expressed interest in changing the child’s first name.
Several weeks ago, on September 24th, Popular Scienceannounced that it would banish comments from its Web site. The editors argued that Internet comments, particularly anonymous ones, undermine the integrity of science and lead to a culture of aggression and mockery that hinders substantive discourse. “Even a fractious minority wields enough power to skew a reader’s perception of a story,” wrote the online-content director Suzanne LaBarre, citing a recent study from the University of Wisconsin-Madison as evidence. While it’s tempting to blame the Internet, incendiary rhetoric has long been a mainstay of public discourse. Cicero, for one, openly called Mark Antony a “public prostitute,” concluding, “but let us say no more of your profligacy and debauchery.” What, then, has changed with the advent of online comments?
Anonymity, for one thing. According to a September Pew poll, a quarter of Internet users have posted comments anonymously. As the age of a user decreases, his reluctance to link a real name with an online remark increases; forty per cent of people in the eighteen-to-twenty-nine-year-old demographic have posted anonymously. One of the most common critiques of online comments cites a disconnect between the commenter’s identity and what he is saying, a phenomenon that the psychologist John Suler memorably termed the “online disinhibition effect.” The theory is that the moment you shed your identity the usual constraints on your behavior go, too—or, to rearticulate the 1993 Peter Steiner cartoon, on the Internet, nobody knows you’re not a dog.
I’ve got a few on Fukushima alone:
Some of those are long articles, so they will take some time.
What did our ancestors sound like in the 50th century B.C.? University of Kentucky linguistics lecturer Andrew M. Byrd examines ancient Indo-European languages (such as Latin, Greek, Sanskrit and Old English) and the language from which they derive, Proto-Indo-European, or PIE.
PIE is the prehistoric ancestor of hundreds of languages, including English, Spanish, Greek, Farsi, Armenian, and more. The language is typically thought to have been in use around 7,000 years ago, though some suspect it was spoken at an even earlier time.
According to some archaeologists and the majority of linguists like Byrd, the people who spoke PIE were located just to the north of the Black Sea and were likely the first to tame horses, and perhaps even to invent the wheel.
The primary focus of Byrd’s work is to understand what this language would have sounded when it was spoken millennia ago. Byrd says this all begins by looking at similarities in other languages.
“We start by gathering words, such as ‘king,’ from languages that we think are related and then find the common threads among them,” he said. “When you bring these words together, you’ll see that all of the words meaning ‘king’ or ‘ruler’ begin with something like an ‘r’ followed by a long vowel. Through examining trends in each language, you can tell which parts of the word have changed over time, and working backward from that … you can peer into the past and get an idea of what PIE might have sounded like.”
I know that BB worked with language in children for her doctorate, so that article will be something cool for her to read about. This second one will be just a joke…because she is my number one when it comes to grammar…and boy do I need her help…
Are you forever trolling the internet, commenting on posts with incorrect grammar? Do your friends consider you a “Grammar Nazi?” Well, you better put your money where your mouth is, and test your grammar skills using Grammatically Speaking, a quick little grammar game we found online!
Grammatically Speaking tests all your grammar know-how, from proper punctuation, to the proper use of “that” or “which” in a sentence. Our favorite part of the test is that it shows you what percentage of users got each question wrong – for example, people are particularly terrible at “it’s” vs. “its” and when to use “me” vs. “I.”
It is fortunate that I have BB to come and fix my post when my grammar is way…way off the mark. I tend to write like I talk, and then I never could grasp all that proper English stuff anyway.
This is all I have for you this morning. Have a wonderful day, and please leave a comment or two below…so, what are you thinking and reading about today?
I think its Sunday, the first Sunday of Fall in fact.
The days have melted into a blur for me, they all seem to run together in a Lortab haze of Betadine orange stained gauze and purple cast bandages, the smell of jasmine tea and rubber arm pads of the crutches…the clanking sounds those same crutches make across the oak floor…or the calling “Mama” from my daughter’s room
late at night early, early in the morning. (The Lortab haze being my daughter’s not mine! My haze is due to lack of sleep, LOL.)
Honestly, I don’t know what the hell is going on outside the confines of my house, so the links for this morning are a some I found about Facebook when I had a few minutes to get online.
I don’t know but this first bit of news is crazy: Virginia State Law Prohibited Navy Yard Shooter Aaron Alexis From Buying Ninja Stars How the hell is that even possible?
That link is from Mediate, Tommy Christopher wrote the article and it goes on about whether or not Alexis tried to purchase an AR-15 or not before the mass shooting…but the point I want to highlight is this:
In any case, Mr. Alexis did pass a federal background check, and given the proper ID and lead-time, could have purchased all of the AR-15s and handguns and extended magazines he wanted. However you feel about that, whether it’s a frightening fact of American life, or a shining example of liberty, how does it make sense that Virginia doesn’t ban those weapons, but it does ban the sale and possession of Ninja throwing stars?
If any person sells or barters, or exhibits for sale or for barter, or gives or furnishes, or causes to be sold, bartered, given or furnished, or has in his possession, or under his control, with the intent of selling, bartering, giving or furnishing, any blackjack, brass or metal knucks, any disc of whatever configuration having at least two points or pointed blades which is designed to be thrown or propelled and which may be known as a throwing star or oriental dart, switchblade knife, ballistic knife as defined in § 18.2-307.1, or like weapons, such person is guilty of a Class 4 misdemeanor. The having in one’s possession of any such weapon shall be prima facie evidence, except in the case of a conservator of the peace, of his intent to sell, barter, give or furnish the same.
As far as I can tell, no one has ever been killed by a Ninja star, a task for which they are apparently ill-suited. They did take a brief toll on late Apple CEO Steve Jobs‘ relationship with Japan’s tourism industry, but that’s about it. How is it that we are able to ban a weapon that kills no one, but we are completely unable to regulate weapons that kill tens of thousands each year?
According to the FBI, knives and stabbing weapons are used to kill about five times fewer people each year than guns, none of which appear to be Ninja stars. Why does the Second Amendment not cover Ninja stars? Why are Second Amendment advocates not up in arms about this?
On the bright side, the ban appears to be working. There have been a total of zero mass Ninja-starrings this year.
That is fucked up.
Okay, another link from Mediate. (I’m telling you, these are links I found real quick like!) Matthews Gets in Shoutfest with GOP Rep. Over Birtherism Now, the only reason I am putting this link here is for the picture of the GOP Rep in the “shoutfest,” this is a dude who looks like he should be the punchline to one of those redneck jokes. Seriously. Check this out:
Chris Matthews tried to engage Texas Republican congressman Blake Farenthold in a debate over defunding Obamacare, but as soon as Farenthold noted Ted Cruz‘s presidential aspirations, Matthews dragged the interview off-course to ask if Cruz is qualified, which led to Matthews yelling at Farenthold to just say for the record that President Obama is the legitimately elected leader of the United States.
Matthews said as far as he’s concerned, having an American mother qualifies a person for the presidency, but when Farenthold didn’t reply with a yes or no answer, he asked, “Is this too complicated?” Farenthold answered, “He’s as eligible as Obama is.”
…when Matthews asked about whether Obama’s eligibility, Farenthold refused to give a direct answer. Matthews shouted, “Can’t you project an inch mentally? Just an inch?!” Farenthold refused to say the words “Obama is the legitimately elected president,” saying he wasn’t in Congress to make that determination and that Matthews is just “nit-picking.”
Okay, it is 2013 dude…you must have some money right? I mean ya got free health care, I am sure that includes dental. WTF, get a damn cap for that missing tooth. Or do you find that if you look like your constituents, as well as exude the dumb as dirt mentality, it helps with the polls? If you want to see the video, go ahead.
Sticking with the color Red: University of Alabama confronts racial divide: ‘It’s time to evolve past this’
At the University of Alabama, a turbulent week of allegations of racial discrimination, campus protests and promises of change culminated with at least six minority women accepting bids into traditionally white sororities. Campus groups, however, expressed doubts that changing the sororities would result in progress tackling long-standing racial biases on the southern campus.
School president Judy L Bonner announced the sorority bids in a video posted online on Friday.
“I am confident that we will achieve our objective of a greek system that is inclusive, accessible and welcoming to students of all races and ethnicities,” Bonner said. “We will not tolerate anything less.”
Bonner’s announcement came nearly two weeks after the Crimson White, UA’s student newspaper, reported that at least two black women were barred from sorority recruitment because of their race. With 28% of students involved in greek life – and deep alumni roots infiltrating the exclusive social clubs – sororities and fraternities have a powerful role in day-to-day campus life.
After national news organizations picked up the story, students, faculty and administrators began moving to enact change. Hundreds of students marched on campus this week to protest the segregated sororities.
The Crimson White? The name alone is enough to make you wonder.
Got another article from the Guardian: George Clooney’s satellite spies reveal secrets of Sudan’s bloody army
George Clooney on a visit to the Zamzam refugee camp in north Darfur in 2008. Photograph: Sherren Zorba/AP
Nathaniel Raymond is the first to admit that he has an unusual job description. “I count tanks from space for George Clooney,” said the tall, easygoing Massachusetts native as he sat in a conference room in front of a map of the Sudanese region of South Kordofan.
Close by, pins and ink scrawlings on the map detail the positions of Sudanese army forces and refugee populations in the troubled oil-producing province, where the Sudanese army is carrying out a brutal crackdown.
The wall next to Raymond has a series of satellite images projected on it. At the flick of a mouse, tiny images of tanks and military vehicles hove into view, caught by a satellite hundreds of miles above.
Raymond is director of the Satellite Sentinel Project (SSP), which aims to use advanced satellite imagery to monitor potential human rights abuses in Sudan. And it was all Clooney’s idea, turning him from just another Hollywood liberal with a pet cause to a genuine expert and campaigner on Sudan. Together with John Prendergast, another campaigner, Clooney has sneaked repeatedly into the country to document the random bombing of civilians and other atrocities.
After a trip last month to the Nuba mountains, Clooney dodged rockets to return with grisly footage of corpses, children with missing hands and entire villages forced to live in caves. He showed the film to the Senate foreign relations committee in Washington DC – to great praise from the assembled politicians – then got arrested at a protest outside the Sudanese embassy.
Images of Clooney being taken away in handcuffs appeared in newspapers and on blogs around the world. But it is in the day-to-day work of the Satellite Sentinel Project that Clooney’s impact is really being felt. He came up with the idea, and spoke to Google and the satellite company DigitalGlobe to help set it up, and he donates hefty speaking fees to keep it funded. It has been up and running now for 15 months.
Read the rest of that article, please….
The next two links are from the New York Daily News:
Florida ‘Hiccup Girl’ found guilty of first-degree murder, will serve life in prison Remember this girl? Well, she did not even pull the trigger….and this from the same state that gave acquittals to Zimmerman and Anthony.
The verdict and five-day trial was a sad end to a chapter in Mee’s short and sad life. Her attorneys said she suffered from schizophrenia and Tourette’s Syndrome, and a court psychiatrist said Mee’s intelligence was “low normal.”
Mee’s co-defendant, LaRon Raiford, was convicted and sentenced to life in prison in August. Lamont Newton, the other co-defendant who was also Mee’s boyfriend at the time of the crime, has not yet gone to trial.
Trevena said his client did not orchestrate the robbery and that there wasn’t enough evidence to convict her. But prosecutors said Mee did set everything up, and used police interviews and a taped jailhouse phone call between Mee and her mother as evidence.
During the call, she told her mother that she did not pull the trigger of the gun that killed Griffin, but that she was charged with murder.
“Because I set everything up,” Mee explained during the call that was played for the jury. “It all went wrong, Mom. It just went downhill.”
I don’t know. It all seems sad, like twisted and manipulated and unjust.
Here is the real reason I went to the Daily News, this story on the moon: NASA’s rotating Moon video reveals never-seen views of celestial body
The dark side of the moon never shined so bright!
NASA pieced together the first-ever video of the moon rotating with mapping data compiled over four years.
“It shows every surface of the moon being full,” NASA lunar geologist Noah Petro told the Daily News. “It’s a physically impossible view of the moon but it’s wonderful.”
It is very cool…and beautiful.
Now just two quick links:
If you’ve ever spent time trying to discuss politics with a Republican you’ve probably noticed that there are several different types of Republicans, all with their own unique debating style. In this article I’m going to attempt to break down the seven types of Republicans, what’s wrong with their views, and how you should debate them. I’ll start with the most intelligent, and work my way down.
Uh….after Intelligent Republicans, Desmond tackles: Fox News and Conservative Talk Radio Republicans, Christian Republicans, Tea Party Republicans, Birther Republicans, Racist Republicans, Extremely Uneducated Republicans.
This last link is something fun. MAPS: What Your State Is Good At, And What It’s Lame At Click the image to see the maps larger!
I think the funniest state on this list is Tennessee…Most Caves….in the excel category and Most Sewer Overflows in the not excel category…yup…they got politicians with some of the biggest mouths and they are full of shit!
Well, that’s it…think of this as an open thread.
One last thing, for Ralph…hope you are doing fine and recovering from your surgery…here is a funny movie you will enjoy while you try to relax.
I love the line…I don’t know what you’re waiting for, her 18th birthday?
Some time during the Reagan campaign, our government became the enemy of a huge number of people in this country. Paranoia over a democratically elected government enshrined by voters and a sophisticated legal and political system is usually confined to a groups of paramilitary paranoids that call themselves preppers, read too much Ayn Rand, and never emotionally develop beyond, say high school. Through the money of the Koch Brothers, the pulpit connivings of Pat Robertson and the paranoid shrieking of folks like Glenn Beck and Rush Limbaugh that have failed at every endeavor but snake oil peddling on the radio, we now have entire sections of the country that gerrymander legislators to send these freaks to Congress.
Perry and like-minded Republican governors subscribe to the slash-and-burn economic philosophy — a belief that “less” will somehow become “more.” In Texas, he has implemented this vision with gusto, cutting taxes and slashing funding for critical middle-class priorities such as public schools, higher education, health care and infrastructure. The results? Texas ranks 49th in high school graduation, 10th in the rate of poverty and 50th in the percent of residents with even basic health insurance.
And while Perry likes to promote the job creation in Texas during his time in office, he leaves out a critical point: The jobs “miracle” he touts is driven by low-paying, non-sustainable jobs. This year, Texas — tied with Mississippi — leads the nation for the percentage of hourly paid workers earning equal to or less than the minimum wage. More than one in 10 workers nationwide earning at or below the minimum wage works in Texas.
Let’s not even go into the social costs of letting Texas businesses operate however they want to. Just ask the towns and farms that no longer have water and are nsubjected to earthquakes due to fracking. We can also mention the town that mostly disappeared from a fertilizer plant explosion that killed 14 people. Wait until Texas property owners and taxpayers get the bills for those kinds of preventable disasters. I’m fairly certain that northern Texas will soon be paying more for water than the world will pay for its oil. In fact, I’ll stake all my years drawing supply and demand graph on it.
Then, there is a new kick-the-can down the road effort on the 2013 Farm Bill that’s going to leave a lot of American children starving. Republican members of Congress appear to still think that folks live large off of Food Stamps. It’s the old untrue Welfare Queen canard peddled by Reagan back in the 1980s come back to haunt us.
An extension does not solve problems. Congress is currently engaged in a philosophical debate about federal nutrition programs, namely, the farm bill’s Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP). Some members of Congress believe the program and its current level of benefits and eligibility requirements are appropriate, particularly in this challenging economic time. Others erroneously believe the program is fraught with waste, fraud and abuse and want to cut funding and benefits to vulnerable families.
Regardless of where one falls on this issue, it is clear that an extension of the current farm bill is inadequate from both perspectives. Members wanting to preserve existing funding for this vital safety net program should welcome the long-term policy certainty provided by a five-year comprehensive bill, rather than leaving SNAP vulnerable to cuts year after year. And members interested in cutting funding from SNAP won’t achieve any of the so-called reforms they desire without the passage of a new five-year bill; an extension merely perpetuates the status quo.
Rather than waste time on a nutrition-only bill to be brought up in the House next week that would leave between 4 and 6 million Americans ineligible for full SNAP benefits, according to an analysis by the Center on Budget and Policy Priorities, or pass an extension that merely kicks the can down the road, Congress must instead preserve the historic coalition between farmers and consumers in need and pass a comprehensive five-year farm bill that includes both farm and nutrition programs.
Then, here we go again on shutting down the budget process, a debt ceiling increase, and vital services over providing more health care to individuals through the Affordable Health Care Act. Once again, I remind every one that this act is basically the Heritage Institute Plan of the 1990s. It was the Republican answer to “HillaryCare”. How far down the path of slash and burn have we gone that today’s Republican’s reject their “conservative” plan of less than 20 years ago? Here’s an argument for a shutdown.
Let’s start by reviewing the situation.
- As of today there are less than two weeks before fiscal 2014 begins.
- None of the FY14 appropriations have been enacted; none have any chance of being enacted.
- There are no formal negotiations going on between Congress and the White House, between the House and Senate or between Democrats and Republicans.
- The only discussions that seem to be taking place are between the two main factions in the House GOP…and the best thing that can be said about them is that they appear to be going nowhere.
- The original plan suggested by the House Republican leadership was flatly rejected by the tea partiers in the House GOP caucus. The tea partiers were energized by their success.
- House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) and Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-VA) haven’t put a new plan on the table since their last plan was rejected by members of their own party a week ago. Boehner has even indicated publicly that he’s not sure whether there is a plan than is acceptable to his caucus.
- Meanwhile, in keeping with the tradition that the House goes first on CRs, Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has said he is going to wait for the House to act before moving forward. What happens when/if he moves forward is anyone’s guess
- Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has far less room to maneuver compared to previous budget fights because he is being challenged in the GOP Kentucky primary by a tea partier.
- House Democrats, who in the past have provided the votes to help the House GOP pass budget-related bills when the Republican caucus couldn’t decide what to do, this time seem hell bent on not doing it again.
- The White House has far less sway over congressional Democrats now than it did before the 2012 election. Needless to say, it has almost none over congressional Republicans.
- The extremely negative political impact of the 1995-96 shutdowns is such a distant (or nonexistent) memory for so many House Republicans that it’s not at all clear they have any fear of it happening again in 2013.
- To top it all off, this year’s budget debate is less about the budget than it is about defunding Obamacare and that makes a compromise far harder on the budget issues.
Two things usually help with a political stalemate like this (although I’m not really sure there ever has been a situation exactly like this one):
- A charismatic leader who can overcome the partisan warfare
- A crisis that substantially changes the politics
It’s hard to see any leader emerging in the short-term In the current hyper partisan environment. And while there are many charismatic politicians, at least right now none have the stature with both parties to negotiate a budget peace plan.
That leaves a crisis, and baring a military or foreign policy disaster, the only one with the potential to create enough political pain in a relatively short period of time is a federal shutdown.
That makes a shutdown a better option for Boehner, Cantor, McConnell and Reid than it might otherwise seem.
A shutdown also may work for Boehner because (1) it will show his tea partiers that he was willing to allow it to happen as they wanted, (2) it will change the politics as many voters go from being amused to being furious and (3) the tea partiers may be able to use the shutdown with their own voters to prove their political testosterone.
As usual, there’s a group of greedy billionaires behind the shutdown mentality. It seems they all make lots of money just from all the hooplah.
Club for Growth and other extremist groups consider a record like his an unforgivable failure, and they are raising and spending millions to make sure that no Republicans will take similar positions in the next few weeks when the fiscal year ends and the debt limit expires.
If you’re wondering why so many House Republicans seem to believe they can force President Obama to accept a “defunding” of the health care reform law by threatening a government shutdown or a default, it’s because these groups have promised to inflict political pain on any Republican official who doesn’t go along.
Heritage Action and the Senate Conservatives Fund have each released scorecards showing which lawmakers have pledged to “defund Obamacare.” When a senator like Tom Coburn of Oklahoma refuses to pledge, right-wing activists are told: “Please contact Senator Coburn and tell him it’s dishonest to say you oppose Obamacare, but then vote to fund it. Tell him he swore an oath to support and defend the Constitution.”
Mr. Schock and 10 other lawmakers considered suspiciously squishy by the Club for Growth were designated as RINO’s (Republicans in name only), and the club has vowed to find primary opponents and support them with cash — a formidable threat considering that it spent $18 million backing conservative candidates in the 2012 cycle. Americans for Prosperity, a Koch brothers group that has already spent millions on ads fighting health reform, is beginning a new campaign to delay the law’s effects.
These groups, all financed with secret and unlimited money, feed on chaos and would like nothing better than to claim credit for pushing Washington into another crisis. Winning an ideological victory is far more important to them than the severe economic effects of a shutdown or, worse, a default, which could shatter the credit markets.
They also have another reason for their attacks: fund-raising. All their Web sites pushing the defunding scheme include a big “donate” button for the faithful to push. “With your donation, you will be sending a strong message: Obamacare must be defunded now,” saysthe Web site of the National Liberty Federation, another “social welfare” group that sees dollar signs in shutting down the government.
Brian Walsh, a longtime Republican operative, recently noted in U.S. News and World Report that the right is now spending more money attacking Republicans than the Democrats are. “Money begets TV ads, which begets even more money for these groups’ personal coffers,” he wrote. “Pointing fingers and attacking Republicans is apparently a very profitable fund-raising business.”
What always seems odd in all of this is the number of people that fall for these rich, ideological loudmouths whose slash and burn policy is killing every one. It seems to me that it’s an offshoot of xenophobia, misogyny and racism. It appears easier for some folks to believe that women, minorities, and other ethnic groups are more responsible for their economic demise than their bosses and overlords in the pulpits, in elected office, and the bosses chair. Why some one doesn’t question the patriotism and birth certificate of the likes of Ted Cruz is beyond me. He’s really the poster boy for everything that’s removing the greatness from our country imho.
August is a special month on TCM, it is when they have their Summer Under The Stars programming…where every 24 hour day is devoted to one special classic movie star.
We lost a few movie stars this past month, Dennis Farina and Eileen Brennan to name a couple…and in just the last two days…gone are a former Munchkin from the movie The Wizard of Oz, a 70′s actress that helped define the cultural changes facing women, sex, drugs and dysfunctional relationships in film…and a woman who blamed it all on the Bossa Nova.
Before we get to the stories of these fallen stars, let us take a look at some of the news making headlines this morning.
And I guess I should give you a heads up, this is one very long post…so get your coffee/tea/orange juice/prune juice/beer/champagne mimosa, or whatever it is you drink when you get up in the morning/ afternoon, because you will be sitting here a while reading this.
The man who kidnapped Hannah Anderson has been killed, but at least the Missing teen found safe in Idaho wilderness – The Washington Post
The volcano had rumbled the past year…and it finally erupted.
Earlier Saturday at UCLA, UN Ambassador Samantha Power Gives First Public Speech – ABC News
U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Samantha Power used her first public speech Saturday night to urge young activists to demand results and criticized the UN and red tape-mired bureaucracies that don’t always prioritize progress.
Power told the Fourth Estate Leadership Summit at UCLA that ideology and entrenched methods sometimes get in the way of the work of the UN, but praised those who get results and focus on problem-solving.
“Bureaucracies are built. Positions become entrenched. And while the United Nations has done tremendous good in the world, there are times when the organization has lost its way, when politics and ideology get in the way of impact,” she said.
This next story is ironic, in a twisted religious right-wing nut kind of way. Religious family abandons U.S., gets lost at sea
A northern Arizona family that was lost at sea for weeks in an ill-fated attempt to leave the U.S. over what they consider government interference in religion will fly back home Sunday.
Hannah Gastonguay, 26, said Saturday that she and her husband “decided to take a leap of faith and see where God led us” when they took their two small children and her father-in-law and set sail from San Diego for the tiny island nation of Kiribati in May.
But just weeks into their journey, the Gastonguays hit a series of storms that damaged their small boat, leaving them adrift for weeks, unable to make progress. They were eventually picked up by a Venezuelan fishing vessel, transferred to a Japanese cargo ship and taken to Chile where they are resting in a hotel in the port city of San Antonio.
Their flights home were arranged by U.S. Embassy officials, Gastonguay said. The U.S. State Department was not immediately available for comment.
The island Gastonguay picked out is a small place in the middle of nowhere, it is out in the Pacific Ocean halfway between Hawaii and Australia….and they just took a small boat out for this major trek across the largest body of water in the world? What in the hell would make a person do such a thing? Could it be Satan? Nope…Could it be Jeeeeezuz? Maybe….but I tend to think it was, the stupid.
Hannah Gastonguay said her family was fed up with government control in the U.S. As Christians they don’t believe in “abortion, homosexuality, in the state-controlled church,” she said.
U.S. “churches aren’t their own,” Gastonguay said, suggesting that government regulation interfered with religious independence.
Among other differences, she said they had a problem with being “forced to pay these taxes that pay for abortions we don’t agree with.”
The Gastonguays weren’t members of any church, and Hannah Gastonguay said their faith came from reading the Bible and through prayer.
“The Bible is pretty clear,” she said.
Well, seems pretty clear to me that sailing off across the Pacific in a small boat can be dangerous.
In May, Hannah, her 30-year-old husband Sean, his father Mike, and the couple’s daughters, 3-year-old Ardith and (8 month old) baby Rahab set off. They wouldn’t touch land again for 91 days, she said.
At one point a fishing ship came into contact with them but left without providing assistance. A Canadian cargo ship came along and offered supplies, but when they pulled up alongside it, the vessels bumped and the smaller ship sustained even more damage.
Do you think the first fishing boat saw that the small boat was full of stupid, anti-woman, geezuz praying, gay-hating, religious tea-bag nuts and got the hell out of there? The prefect of police in Chile says that the Gastonguays did not have the knowledge, ability or expertise to navigate to Kiribati….(no shit) and what will the family do when they finally do get back to the states?
Hannah Gastonguay said the family will now “go back to Arizona” and “come up with a new plan.”
I suggest next time they try a country that does not require them to cross the world via ocean voyage to get there.
And since I touched on the abortion subject…let’s take a look at a few links on that chestnut.
This link to a post by Amanda Marcotte is something you may have missed,and I think it is an interesting point…but there hast to be much more to it than this: Abortion in Europe and America: To understand the difference, you can’t ignore religion.
Please give this article a full read…US abortion ban should not be foisted on Central African Republic: The UK and other donors must ensure US aid restrictions do not deny vital support to women raped in conflict
In his May 2013 report to the security council, the UN secretary-general, Ban Ki-moon, noted the conflict’s devastating impact on women and girls, highlighting continuous reports of sexual violence including rape, gang rape and sexual slavery.
Mass sexual violence is not new to CAR. After failed coup attempts in 2001, widespread sexual violence was documented in the country from 2001 to 2003. Some of those crimes are being prosecuted by the international criminal court. The ICC prosecutor noted that “[t]his is the first time the prosecutor is opening an investigation in which allegations of sexual crimes far outnumber alleged killings”.
I will just put this link here, with a warning…if you want to get angry, read it. It is about our special star out of the Lonesome Star State: On Abortion, Wendy Davis Doesn’t Know What She’s Talking About – The Daily Beast by Kristen Powers
Just a few more links before we get to the Hollywood good times stories, after the jump.
Hey, the title of this morning’s post is longer than the actual body of the post itself.
As usual, the first few days of school are spent wasting time and pulling hairs, with papers to sign and forms to fill out…and of course it goes without saying, it also includes dealing with teenagers that turn what remaining hairs you do have left gray.
Two links for you on JFK:
A new documentary alleges that a Secret Service agent was the second (and accidental) shooter in the assassination of John F. Kennedy.
At the Television Critics Association press tour in Los Angeles on Sunday, producers and investigators behind Reelz Channel’s new documentary “JFK: The Smoking Gun” made the claim that George Hickey, a Secret Service agent riding in the car behind Kennedy, accidentally shot the president on Nov. 22, 1963. The film follows veteran police detective Colin McLaren in his four-year investigation of the assassination and points at Hickey, who died two years ago.
McLaren’s research built on the work of Howard Donahue, who spent 20 years studying the assassination and had his findings documented in Bonar Menninger’s book Mortal Error: The Shot That Killed JFK.
Based on his painstaking investigation, McLaren said, evidence suggests Hickey was not qualified to use the weapon he was holding the morning of the shooting.
“It was his first time in the follow car, his first time holding the assault weapon he was using,” McLaren said. Producers said the film’s theory is that shots rang out, and Hickey grabbed his weapon to return fire. When his car stopped suddenly, Hickey accidentally discharged his weapon — making him the second shooter, the film’s investigators and producers alleged.
McLaren said he believes that Hickey’s weapon had hollow-point rounds — different from the ammunition for the weapon used by Lee Harvey Oswald, whom the Warren Commission declared in 1964 was the lone gunman in the case. Menninger and McLaren said that based on their review of the forensics in the case, they believe that Kennedy was also struck by a hollow-point round.
And if that doesn’t get you going…maybe this one will: New book claims Marilyn Monroe hoped to marry John F. Kennedy
Marilyn Monroe, who notoriously had an affair with John F. Kennedy, apparently believed she was going to marry the president, even phoning the White House to tell his wife.
The story, reported in a new book out Tuesday by journalist Christopher Andersen, asserts that Jackie Kennedy even told Monroe that the screen siren was welcome to take over her role as first lady.
“And you’ll move into the White House and you’ll assume the responsibilities of first lady, and I’ll move out and you’ll have all the problems,” she reportedly told Monroe.
The incident is just one layer of the complex marriage in the year before the president was assassinated, according to the new account.
The book chronicles how Jackie was begged to stay by her husband even in the face of a nuclear strike, how the couple withstood the death of their newborn son Patrick, as well as how they weathered JFK’s many extramarital affairs.
It aims to answer whether the pair, 33 and 46 when JFK was killed, who captured the hearts of the nation, truly loved one another.
According to Andersen’s research, Jackie was well aware of her husband’s many infidelities, but was only upset over Marilyn — not because of the affair, itself, but because the first lady feared the scandal set her up for public ridicule.
Honestly, it all seems like some version of the History Channel’s brand of historic docudrama meets Lifetime…television for idiots.
Speaking of idiots: Senator Rand Paul denies his former ‘Southern Avenger’ aide was racist
“I do think he was unfairly treated by the media, and he was put up as target practice for people to say he’s a racist, and none of that was true. If you look at his writings, I think there are a lot of problems and a lot of disagreements and none of it do I support. But none of it was racist. He got along with everyone in the office, treated everyone fairly without regards to race or religion.”
And more idiots: Informal ‘White Student Union’ started at Georgia State
Freshman Patrick Sharp said he started the club so that students of European and Euro-American descent can celebrate their shared history and culture and discuss issues that affect white people, such as immigration and affirmative action.
And yes…you got it…a shit more idiots: National Rifle Association Enemies List Now Includes Scientists, Zoos
In a move bizarrely reminiscent of its “anti-gun” enemies list, the National Rifle Association announced a new plan Friday to target scientists, environmental groups, government regulators and individuals who favor banning the use of lead in gun ammunition.
The targeted attacks are part of Hunt for Truth.org, a newly revamped effort by the nation’s largest gun lobby to block attempts to regulate the use of lead in bullets. Regulations have been proposed in some states after studies have shown that millions of birds — most notably the highly endangered California condor — are dying of lead poisoning after ingesting lead bullet fragments.
[...]The NRA singled out a law under consideration in California which would require hunters in the Golden State to use lead-free ammunition. Lead free bullets are widely available from top manufacturers, and have not been shown to function any differently than bullets containing the highly toxic element.
In order to rally its members to oppose the lead regulation, the NRA described a conspiracy theory involving crooked scientists, phony research, and a shadowy network of nonprofits, zoos and government agencies all conspiring to ban hunting.
According to the NRA, an “activist portion of the scientific community” has formed “a highly organized network of like minded researchers with an agenda to ban lead ammunition.” In order to thwart this looming threat, “Hunt for Truth will expose the researchers associated with ‘faulty science’ critical of lead ammunition,” the gun lobby says.
Scientists aren’t the NRA’s only new targets. Nonprofits like the San Diego Zoo and the California Condor Recovery Team are also on the enemies list. The NRA claims these groups “have considerable influence over many legislators and regulators,” which they use to “capture” the regulatory agencies and bureaucrats responsible for lead ammunition restrictions.
As of Monday, the NRA had yet to list any scientists it planned to target, but there were seven environmental and wildlife conservation groups on the site, including the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Center for Biological Diversity. Four government agencies were also singled out: the Arizona Game and Fish Department, the California Department of Fish and Game, the Los Angeles Zoo and the United States Fish and Wildlife Service.
Crazy right-wing nuts!
There was some sad news yesterday, Elmore Leonard, Lauded Crime Novelist, Recovering After Stroke In Detroit-Area Hospital
Elmore Leonard, one of the most prolific and beloved crime novelists of the 20th century, is recovering in a Detroit-area hospital after a stroke, according to the Detroit News.
Gregg Sutter, the author’s longtime researcher, confirmed Monday that Leonard, 87, suffered the stroke on July 29. Leonard is currently working on his 46th novel.
“He’s doing better every day, and the family is guardedly optimistic,” Sutter told the Detroit News. “He’s showing great spirit. He’s a fighter, and we’re glad to see that.”
For someone who was such a brilliant and prolific writer…to suffer a stroke is devastating.
Last year, Leonard won the National Book Foundation’s Medal for Distinguished Contribution to American Letters.
In his take on The Huffington Post’s regular “Where I Like To Read” column, Leonard wrote, “I don’t need anything else when I read. The sound of the words in my head is enough.”
That is so true…oh yes, it surely is.
Treat this as an open thread. Have a wonderful day, hope to see you in the comments later on in the day.