Well…Election Day is over, and here are the results…in link dump format:
Terry McAuliffe, a longtime Democratic fund-raiser and ally of Bill and Hillary Rodham Clinton, was elected governor of Virginia on Tuesday, narrowly defeating the state’s conservative attorney general, Kenneth T. Cuccinelli II, and confirming Virginia’s evolution as a state increasingly dominated politically by the Democratic-leaning Washington suburbs.
Bill de Blasio overwhelmingly was elected mayor here Tuesday, becoming the first Democrat to lead New York in 20 years and ushering in a new era of activist liberal governance in the nation’s largest city.
Shortly after polls closed at 9 p.m., several networks projected that de Blasio soundly defeated Republican Joe Lhota, a protégé of former mayor Rudy Giuliani.
Gov. Chris Christie of New Jersey won re-election by a crushing margin on Tuesday, a victory that vaulted him to the front ranks of Republican presidential contenders and made him his party’s foremost proponent of pragmatism over ideology.
Well, about that ideology. You have to admit, he scored big points with his base when he took down that teacher who was a) an educator b) union member and 3) a woman…meanwhile, in Illinois a gay marriage bill was approved!
The General Assembly today narrowly approved a gay marriage bill, clearing the way for Illinois to become the 15th state to legalize same-sex unions.
The bill got 61 votes in the House, one more than the bare minimum needed to send the measure back to the Senate, which quickly signed off. Democratic Gov. Pat Quinn has said he would sign the bill into law should it reach his desk.
Reaction is rolling in tonight from the White House to City Hall.
President Barack Obama issued a statement praising the General Assembly.
“As president, I have always believed that gay and lesbian Americans should be treated fairly and equally under the law. Over time, I also came to believe that same-sex couples should be able to get married like anyone else,” he said in the statement. “So tonight, Michelle and I are overjoyed for all the committed couples in Illinois whose love will now be as legal as ours – and for their friends and family who have long wanted nothing more than to see their loved ones treated fairly and equally under the law.”
Mayor Rahm Emanuel issued a statement following the House vote.
“Today is a critical moment in history for Illinois and for the entire LGBT movement. Finally, gays and lesbians across our state are guaranteed the fundamental right to marry, and countless couples with children will be acknowledged for what they are under the law – families just like everyone else,” said Emanuel in the statement.
Hey, I know y’all have heard of this guy in Canada. Rob Ford, Toronto Mayor, Admits Having Smoked Crack Cocaine (VIDEO)
Rob Ford said Tuesday he loves his job and will stay on as mayor of Toronto despite admitting for the first time that he smoked crack.
Ford earlier acknowledged he smoked crack “probably a year ago” when he was in a “drunken stupor,” but balked at growing pressure on him to resign.
“I was elected to do a job and that’s exactly what I’m going to continue doing,” Ford said. “On Oct. 27 of 2014, I want the people of this great city to decide whether they want Rob Ford to be their mayor.”
Well, check out the tie this dude was wearing when he gave his speech today: Rob Ford’s Ridiculous Crack-Apology Football Tie Now Available on eBay | Vanity Fair
It is black, made of polyester (the crack-cocaine of synthetic fibers), contains the logos of various N.F.L. teams (the Washington Redskin Native American mascot receives prominent placement), and is currently available for $14.99 on eBay. Is that more than the cost of an individual-sized portion of crack, or less? You’d have to ask someone who knows crack like the back of his crack-pipe-wielding hand—someone like Toronto mayor Rob Ford.
Who can speed-dial the crisis mangers more quickly: Surrey Clothing, which manufactured the tie, or the N.F.L., whose franchises now share the above screen grab with a portly 44-something crack lover?
So, he’s wearing a NFL tie…great branding there. Bullying football players, concussion cover-ups, racist team names…and a poster boy for drunk, crack smoking politicians. But back to Rob Ford. Wow, now that guy has balls…dude gets caught smoking crack…admits he did it, possibly during a drunken stupor…and says he is staying put as Mayor of Toronto.
That is almost as ballsy as Rand Paul, who gets caught repeatedly plagiarizing, admits he did it…challenges Rachael Maddow to a faux duel…then announces he will go “dueling” Tarantino style on anyone’s ass who accuses him of cheating again! Only to turn around and blame his staff…what an asshole. Well, it looks like someone has finally had enough of Rand Paul’s shit: Washington Times ends Sen. Rand Paul column amid plagiarism allegations – Washington Times
Which leads me to this little op/ed from Cagle Cartoons: Corrections by Jason Stanford
Last week’s news contained some factual errors that merit correction. We strive for accuracy at all times and regret falling short in these rare instances.
An article on Sunday claimed that the National Security Agency collected data on tens of millions of phone calls in France and Spain. In actual—if less sensational—fact, the records were “handed over to the NSA by European intelligence services as part of joint operations.” We regret getting the story exactly backwards.
Also on Sunday, a television news magazine featured an American security contractor who claimed to have fought off terrorists at the State Department compound in Benghazi. It now appears that this person filed an official report stating he was nowhere near the compound. We regret not checking out his story before giving him a national platform.
In repeated interviews on Monday and Tuesday, Sen. Lindsay Graham threatened to filibuster federal nominations because “the people who survived the attack in Benghazi have not been made available to the U.S. Congress for oversight purposes.” In fact, they did testify before Congress recently. The cable news anchors regret not challenging him on this easily verified factual misstatement.
A guest op-ed on Monday by actress and author Suzanne Somers misattributed the rantings of emails in ALL CAPS to Vladimir Lenin and Winston Churchill. Furthermore, her op-ed repeated the previously discredited assertion that Canadian doctors are fleeing socialized medicine for the unregulated profiteering in the United States. Also, Ms. Somers also mistook a dog for a horse, but in the greater scheme of things this worries us less than thinking the Thigh Master pitchwoman was a credible health care policy expert. We regret the error.
An article on Monday incorrectly implied that the Obama administration did not know about half of those with health insurance policies purchased on the individual market would receive cancellations. In fact, the regulations written in 2010 predicted that 40%-67% of those in the individual market would lose their policies because of market forces, including insurance companies unilaterally lowering benefits, shrinking coverage or increasing your co-pays, i.e., behaving like insurance companies. We regret the error.
In a follow-up story Tuesday, morning news co-host Elisabeth Hasselbeck further claimed this information was “buried in Obamacare,” asking “Where was that information up at the top? Where was that in 2009, 2010, 2011, 2012? Where was that information?” While she did list the progression of years in correct sequential order, the predicted changeover in the individual health insurance market had been previously reported in 2010 by the network that now employs her. She may or may not regret the error.
Okay, because it is so good…here is the rest of it:
Repeated television interviews last week featured consumers with cancelled insurance policies. After Michael Hiltzik of The Los Angeles Times and Paul Waldman of The American Prospect quickly debunked the horror stories, it became clear that the television journalists failed to do more than turn on the camera and say, “Golly” and “Oh, really? Wow.”
It is doubtful that a single television reporter asked any of these people four crucial questions: What did their old plan cover? Did they go to the exchanges? If the premiums were cheap, were the co-pays and deductibles affordable? Did they qualify for subsidies? We regret giving frightened consumers platforms to air uninformed complaints without ever performing what would be recognized by experts as “journalism” until the cameras were turned off. The answers to these questions revealed that the real horror story was how insurance companies could get away with junk policies that left consumers exposed to financial ruin until Obamacare came along.
Journalism’s apparent inability to ask follow-up questions, challenge assumptions and debunk lies has left the country in a bit of an uninformed tizzy about its national and financial security. All of this would have been simple to prevent had journalists had checked their facts before polluting the news with false information.
However, researching a subject can get in the way of achieving the ratings usually attained through sensationalizing falsehood and ignorance. We regret the errors, but we can’t promise it all won’t happen again next week. After all, we hear Sally Struthers has written something about Benghazi that’s really dynamite.
Oh…can’t wait for that report! Ya know, I loved Struthers’ work for starving children in Africa:
While trying to get a free promotional digital sports watch, the boys end up contacting an organization that helps starving children in Africa. Mistaking Cartman for a starving African child, government authorities send him to Ethiopia. Adding chaos to confusion, a flock of wild turkeys revolt after their treatment at the hands of the local genetic engineer. South Park is at the mercy of genetically altered turkeys.
If you don’t remember this episode…
“Starvin’ Marvin“ is the eighth episode of the first season of the American animated television series South Park. It first aired on Comedy Central in the United States on November 19, 1997. In the episode, Cartman, Kenny, Kyle and Stan send money to an African charity hoping to get a sports watch, but are instead sent an Ethiopian child whom they dub Starvin’ Marvin. Later, Cartman is accidentally sent to Ethiopia, where he learns activist Sally Struthers is hoarding the charity’s food for herself. In an accompanying subplot, after genetically engineered turkeys attack South Park residents, Chef rallies the residents to fight back, in a parody of the film Braveheart.
Okay, joking aside…there’s another rape case on video that is making news. 16-Year-Old Florida Girl Held Down By Classmates, Raped On Videotape: Cops
A 16-year-old’s visit to a Hollywood, Florida home turned into a nightmare when a pack of five teens descended upon her, dragged her by the hair, kicked and punched her, then held her down while she was raped in a videotaped assault, police say.
Four of the accused and the victim are students at South Broward High, according to their Facebook pages. The three boys and two girls, ages 15 to 19, have been charged with felony sexual battery and false imprisonment.
“It just makes it all the more disturbing when you have this many people working in concert and aggression,” Maria Schneider, state prosecutor in charge of the juvenile unit, said Monday. “I can’t imagine how overwhelmed and under siege someone would feel under these circumstances. It’s very traumatic.”
Hospital officials declined to say whether the victim, who bled from an ear and drifted in and out of consciousness with her eyes swollen shut when police questioned her Saturday morning, remained hospitalized Monday. Because of the nature of the crime, the Sun Sentinel is not naming her.
There is some pretty graphic detail in the article.
Next up, two links from AJAM:
In central South Carolina, clay is pulled from the land near the Catawba River by a Native American tribe of the same name. The loam is processed much as it was thousands of years ago, coiled into pots, scraped and burnished with river rocks and fired over an open pit until it can endure.
And in that ancient pottery tradition — the oldest continuing one in North America — lies the story of the Catawba people, according to the tribe’s elected chief, Bill Harris.
It is also motivation for its economic future. The Catawba Indian Nation, South Carolina’s only federally recognized Indian tribe, is looking to a casino resort and high-stakes bingo as a way to ensure its cultural future.
Central to the tribe’s plan for economic development: Holding the federal government to its promise, the tribe will expand throughout its ancestral lands. It has set its sights on 16 acres across the state line, in Cleveland County, N.C., where it hopes to build a 220,000-square-foot gaming facility and 750-room resort. It estimates that the $340 million casino project will initially create at least 4,000 jobs in a county where unemployment lingers at about 10 percent.
There’s another hurdle to the plan. The Cherokee, the Catawba’s historical trade rival, view the casino plans as competition.
“Based on the newly released information provided by Cleveland County, we are greatly concerned that this development will negatively impact job growth and revenue at Harrah’s Cherokee Casino and for the western region of North Carolina,” Cherokee Chief Michell Hicks said in a statement in the tribe’s newspaper.
That is a long read, but it is interesting to see the competition between the two tribes…over what seems to be an endless supply of customers. The new outpost that Harrah’s Cherokee Casino is building is actually just north of Banjoville, on the other side of the Georgia/North Carolina border.
Last year the median wage hit its lowest level since 1998, revealing that at least half of American workers are being left behind as the economy slowly recovers from the Great Recession.
But at the top, wages soared — the latest indication in a long-running trend of increasing inequality, with income gains going to top earners while the majority of workers see stagnant or falling wages.
Al Jazeera is the first news organization to report these figures from the Social Security Administration (SSA), which were released late in October.
The median wage — half of workers make more, half less — came to $27,519 last year, virtually unchanged from 2011. Measured in 2012 dollars, the median wage was down $4.
The 2012 median wage was at its lowest level since 1998, when the median stood at $26,984.
From its all-time peak in 2007, the median wage was down $980. That means someone at the midpoint in pay worked 52 weeks last year but earned about the equivalent of working just 50 weeks at 2007 pay levels, the last peak year for the economy.
The average wage, on the other hand, improved last year. It increased to $42,498, up $434, or 1 percent from 2011 after considering inflation. But the average wage remained below its $42,921 peak in 2007, I calculated from the SSA data.
These figures from the SSA cover only cash pay, not fringe benefits such as health insurance and pensions. The figures are reported to the Internal Revenue Service to verify what individuals put on their tax returns.
More on what those numbers mean at the link.
I will end with this cartoon from Luckovich: 11/6 Luckovich cartoon: ‘If you like your health plan…’ | Mike Luckovich
So…what’s going on in your world this morning? Tell us about it below in the comment section!
Sorry I’m posting this so late today. I’ve been pondering some issues that have been troubling me for a long time, and I keep getting stuck about how to write about them.
I’m beginning to see the libertarian influence on so-called “progressives” as a very serious problem for the future of our country. Here’s a somewhat incoherent beginning to a discussion of this problem. I’m putting this out there in the hope that I’ll get some feedback from you that will help me sort this out. So here goes…
“I’m a big admirer of Ron Paul and Rand Paul for their very principled positions in the U.S. Congress on a number of issues. They have been the strongest supporters of the fight against the U.S. attacks on Wikileaks and on me in the U.S. Congress. Similarly, they have been the strongest opponents of drone warfare and extrajudicial executions.
And so, that’s quite an interesting phenomenon in the United States. The position of the libertarian Republican–or a better description [right?]–coming from a principle of nonviolence, the American libertarian, that produces interesting results.
So, nonviolence, not going to invade a foreign country. Nonviolence, don’t force people at the barrel of a gun to serve in the U.S. Army [?? The U.S. doesn't have a draft]. Nonviolence, don’t extort taxes from people to the Federal government, with a [policeman?]….
Similarly, other acts of nonviolence in relation to abortion that they hold. I think that some of these positions that are held by Ron Paul…I can see how they come from the same underlying libertarian principle. I think the world is often more complex. By taking a laid out principle but sometimes simplistic position, you end up undermining the principle. In the short term, visions of the principle are one thing, visions of the principle…it’s quite hard to know [inaudible].
A few comments…
It’s not clear to me whether Assange supports the Paul’s position on abortion, but clearly it’s a side issue for him–not nearly as important as the Paul’s support of Wikileaks and Assange himself, since he later said that both political parties have been compromised and the only hope for the future comes from the libertarian portion of the Republican Party. HuffPo:
He then put forth an argument against both established political parties in Washington, claiming that nearly all Democrats had been “co-opted” by President Barack Obama’s administration, while Republicans were almost entirely “in bed with the war industry.”
The current libertarian strain of political thought in the Republican Party was the “the only hope” for American electoral politics, Assange concluded.
Assange sees federal taxes as “extortion.” I assume that includes the payroll taxes that support Social Security and Medicare. He never mentions social programs at all; as a libertarian he probably opposes them. This is in line with other libertarians who are leading the fight against the U.S. government keeping any secrets whatsoever, e.g., Glenn Greenwald, Edward Snowden, Conor Frierdersdorf, and David Sirota (I’ll have more about this in a later post).
Not only does Assange not know that the U.S. doesn’t have a military draft, he’s pretty mixed up about recent U.S. history. In praising right wing racist news aggregator Matt Drudge, Assange said, via Raw Story:
“Matt Drudge is a news media innovator. And he took off about eight years ago in response to the Monica Lewinsky scandal.”
(Eight years ago was 2005, the first year of George W. Bush’s second term, when President Bill Clinton had been out of office for five years and the Lewinsky scandal and subsequent failed impeachment attempt were a matter of history.)
Assange claimed that Drudge made his name by “publishing information that the establishment media would not. It is as a result of the self-censorship of the establishment press in the United States that gave Matt Drudge such a platform and so of course he should be applauded for breaking a lot of that censorship.”
Assange says he supports non-violence. I’d like to point out that in U.S. history, one of the leading advocates of nonviolence and civil disobedience was a man named Martin Luther King. Fifty years ago King led a “March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom.” But Assange favors the Pauls’ notion of “nonviolence.” (Assange doesn’t appear to know that Ron and Rand Paul are the recipients of vast corporate donations from the defense industry.) I wonder if Assange knows that Ron and Rand Paul oppose Civil Rights laws? I wonder if he cares?
Julian Assange–along with Edward Snowden and Glenn Greenwald–is currently the idol of the “emoprogs” who have become so distracted by the NSA leaks story that they don’t even notice that Republicans have a very good chance of retaking the Senate next year. These supposed “leftists” have forgotten all about jobs, protecting social programs, women’s rights, civil rights, economic inequality, and our crumbling infrastructure in order to follow a handful of privileged, young white male libertarian pied pipers who are focused only on their own personal “liberties.”
This post is going to be a little bit of this and a little bit of that along with some eye candy for the classic film buffs out there–just because I’m feeling a little silly and mixed up today.
I haven’t been paying much attention to the situation in Egypt lately–except to notice out of the corner of my eye that it seems to be getting out of hand. Here are a few links on what’s happening now.
LA Times: Death toll in Egypt crackdown hits 525
CAIRO — The death toll in the violence that has engulfed Egypt climbed to 525 Thursday as the nation awoke to scenes of charred streets, battered cars, funerals and deepening divisions between Islamists and the largely secular military-backed government.
The Health Ministry reported that the dead, mostly supporters of deposed Islamist president Mohamed Morsi, included at least 43 police officers. More than 3,700 people were also wounded in clashes that ignited Wednesday when security forces broke up two sit-ins by protesters loyal to Morsi and his Muslim Brotherhood.
The Brotherhood claims at least 2,000 people were killed in street battles that swept the country. Many of the deaths occurred when riot police firing tear gas and automatic weapons stormed the six-week old Islamist rally outside the Rabaa al Adawiya mosque in Cairo.
The violence stunned world leaders, and Thursday Turkish Prime Minister Recep Tayyip Erdogan demanded that the U.N. Security Council move to condemn what he characterized as a massacre by Egyptian soldiers and security forces.
“I am calling on Western countries. You remained silent in Gaza, you remained silent in Syria. … You are still silent on Egypt. So how come you talk about democracy, freedom, global values and human rights?” he told a news conference.
The van plunged off the 6th October Bridge before demonstrators attacked the wreckage yesterday. It is not known how many people were on board and how many people survived the fall, but bloodied men were seen lying around the van moments afterwards. Unconfirmed reports on Twitter claimed five were dead.
The dramatic pictures show the van being ambushed by dozens of people before crashing through a protective fence on the bridge. It then falls upside down and then rolls onto its roof as it lands. Blood can then be seen on the ground as nearby police officers pull injured men out of the crushed vehicle.
See photos at the the link.
There is a lot of criticism of the Obama administration’s handing (or non-handling) of the situation. Some samples:
Slate: Lost In Egypt
The bloody crackdown began early Wednesday morning, as Egyptian riot police and plainclothes officers began their assault on the thousands of Muslim Brotherhood members who defied the government’s warnings to end their protests in support of the ousted former president, Mohamed Morsi. Security forces showed no restraint as they stormed the two massive sit-ins: Bulldozers cleared makeshift barriers, while snipers took aim at protesters and plumes of tear gas engulfed the streets. Hospitals were quickly overrun with the dead and wounded, and eyewitness reports described hallways slick with blood and lines of corpses with gunshot wounds to the head, neck, and chest. By the end of the siege, nearly 300 people were reported dead—including women and children—and it’s likely the death toll will climb higher.
It being August, the duty of offering the Obama administration’s first reaction to the Egyptian regime’s brutal attack fell to deputy press secretary Josh Earnest. The White House condemned the violence (as if it were being committed equally by both sides), asked that the military and security forces show restraint (while corpses were being counted), promised to hold the interim government accountable (as if the interim government were anything more than a fig leaf for the military), and suggested that an “inclusive process” would be best (that must not have occurred to the snipers as they reloaded their guns). In other words, it was the same talking points the administration has produced each time Egypt has erupted in a spasm of violence this summer. It is hard to imagine a more feckless response than the Obama administration’s approach to dealing with Egypt’s generals.
When asked whether the administration might want to revise its position on whether the July 3 ouster of Egypt’s first democratically elected president was a coup, Earnest replied, “It is not in the interests of the United States to make that determination.” That answer echoed State Department spokeswoman Jen Psaki’s statement on July 26 that “we have determined legally that we do not need to make a determination.” In other words, we aren’t going to say and you can’t make us.
Both The Washington Post and The New York Times have printed scathing editorials that demand the U.S. suspend $1.3 billion in aid to Egypt after a military crackdown led to the deaths of more than 550 people, including two foreign journalists, on Wednesday.
“[T]he Obama administration is complicit in the new and horrifyingly bloody crackdown launched Wednesday by the de facto regime against tens of thousands of protesters who had camped out in two Cairo squares.”
“This refusal to take a firm stand against massive violations of human rights is as self-defeating for the United States as it is unconscionable.”
“President Obama must make clear his unequivocal opposition to the Egyptian military’s conduct. He can do so by immediately suspending military aid and canceling joint military exercises scheduled for September.”
“And if suspending a $1.3 billion subsidy does not do the trick, it will at least tell rank-and-file Egyptians that the United States is no longer underwriting repression.”
More examples at the link.
Things aren’t looking very good in Iraq either.
From Reuters: Baghdad bomb attacks kill at least 33
A series of car bombs in Baghdad killed at least 33 people and wounded more than 100 on Thursday, with one near the “Green Zone” diplomatic complex, fuelling a death toll that has soared since the beginning of the year to levels not seen since 2008.
Militant groups, including al Qaeda, have increased attacks in recent months in an insurgency against Iraq’s Shi’ite-led government, raising fears of a return to full-blown sectarian conflict after U.S. troops withdrew 18 months ago.
Iraqi police sources said one bomb exploded just 200-300 meters (yards) outside Baghdad’s international zone, close to Iraq’s Foreign Ministry, killing four and wounding 12 people….
Since the start of the year, attacks using multiple car bombs have become an almost daily occurrence, killing scores of people in Iraq, including during a religious holiday last weekend when bombers targeted families celebrating outside.
Each of the past four months has each been deadlier than any in the previous five years, dating back to a time when U.S. and government troops were engaged in battles with militiamen.
Back in the USA, veteran newsman Jack Germond died yesterday at age 85. From The Baltimore Sun:
Jack W. Germond, the irascible, portly columnist and commentator who was a fixture on the American political scene for nearly 50 years, including nearly 20 of them in The Baltimore Sun’s Washington bureau, died Wednesday morning of chronic obstructive pulmonary disease at his home in Charles Town, W.Va. He was 85.
“Jack was a truly dedicated reporter and had an old-fashioned relationship with politicians. He liked them, but that did not prevent him from being critical when they did bad things and behaved badly. That was a trademark of Jack’s,” said Jules Witcover, his longtime writing partner.
“Jack enjoyed his life and work. He personified that,” said Ernest B. “Pat” Furgurson, former chief of The Sun’s Washington bureau. “He had a positive personality, but when he was bitching about something, and in that mood, he’d suddenly say, ‘Isn’t this a great job?’”
He used to be on TV a lot, and I always liked him. He was a real old-time journalist who wasn’t afraid to speak his mind.
More news from our crumbling country: Republicans are still crazy.
Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY), a tea party senator with a long history of opposition to civil rights laws, told an audience in Louisville, Kentucky on Wednesday that there is no evidence of black voters being excluded from the franchise. According to local NPR host Phillip Bailey, Paul said that he does not believe “there is any particular evidence of polls barring African Americans from voting,” during aspeech to the non-partisan Louisville Forum.
If Paul is not aware of the evidence indicating widespread efforts to prevent African Americans from voting, then he must not be looking very hard. During the 2012 election, black and Hispanic voters waited nearly twice as long to cast a ballot as white voters. In Florida, lines of up to six hours led an estimated 201,000 people to become frustrated and leave the polls. These lines existed largely because of a voter suppression bill signed into law by Gov. Rick Scott (R-FL) which reduced early voting hours in the state. After the election, top Republicans admitted that the purpose of cutting early voting was to reduce Democratic turnout. One Republican operative conceded that early voting was cut on the Sunday proceeding Election Day because “that’s a big day when the black churches organize themselves.”
Meanwhile, voter ID laws are rampant in states led by conservatives, despite the fact that these laws cannot be justified by any legitimate purpose. Although their proponents routinely claim that an ID requirement is necessary to prevent voter fraud at the polls, such fraud barely exists. According to one study, just 0.0023 percent of votes are the product of in person voter fraud. Meanwhile, even conservative estimates suggest that 2 to 3 percent of legitimate voters will turn turned away by a voter ID law — and these voters are disproportionately African American.
And Texas Republicans are beyond the pale: Rep. Stockman invites Obama rodeo clown to perform in Texas.
A conservative Texas lawmaker is inviting a rodeo clown banned from the Missouri state fair to perform in the Lone Star State instead.
Rep. Steve Stockman (R-Tex.) says that the unidentified rodeo clown and his colleagues have been unfairly targeted by liberals “to create a climate of fear.” He invited them to come perform at a fair in his southeastern Texas district instead.
“Liberals want to bronco bust dissent. But Texans value speech, even if its speech they don’t agree with,” Stockman said in a statement issued by his office Wednesday. “From Molly Ivins to Louie Gohmert and every opinion between Texans value free and open political speech. I’m sure any rodeo in Texas would be proud to have performers.”
Missouri state and fair officials reacted swiftly over the weekend after a rodeo clown donned a mask of President Obama and asked people if they want to see the president “run down by a bull.”
The White House declined to comment on the disgusting display of racism and disrespect for the office of the President.
Hillary Clinton is getting job offers from academia, according to Politico.
Hillary Clinton is fielding offers from colleges and universities — including Harvard and her law school alma mater, Yale — to give her a formal academic role, a move that would give her a platform outside her family’s foundation….
The advantage to Clinton of an academic platform, beyond the scope of her policy interests, could be huge for someone considering a presidential run. It would provide her with a credible backdrop for speeches and events that would take her outside of a hotel ballroom or something sponsored by her family’s foundation or another outside group.
Hmmm…. I’m sure the Politico gang would much prefer to see Hillary in academia rather than the White House.
On the chance Clinton doesn’t run for president, academia would be a potential next act for her careerwise.
The schools have included the Harvard Kennedy School, Yale, New York University — where her daughter, Chelsea, has a title — and the Baruch College discussions, the sources said. One source indicated there are others as well who have approached Clinton about an academic partnership, going back to when she was still at Foggy Bottom.
Okay, there’s a mish-mash of news and “views” to give you a start on your Thursday. Now what stories are you interested in today? Please share your links in the comment thread.
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.
The overwhelming amount of news these days shows a discouraging trend in that one party continues to want to disenfranchise a large number of people and strip them of their constitutional rights and of programs hard won in the face of our wars against economic depression, discrimination, and poverty Here are some of today’s most disturbing Right Wing Republican Headlines.
Rep. Louie Gohmert (R-TX) on Thursday objected over and over again in order to keep statements out of the congressional record that accused Republicans of hurting working families by taking food stamps out of the farm bill.
Before a vote could be taken on the Republican farm bill that drops the Supplemental Nutrition Assistance Program (SNAP) — or food stamps — Democrats attempted to voice their unhappiness by inserting statements into the record.
“Mr. Speaker, I ask unanimous consent to revise and extend my remarks in strong opposition to the farm bill rule and the underlying bill because it will increase hunger in America,” Rep. Suzanne Bonamici (D-OR) said.
Although requests to “revise and extend” remarks are routine, Gohmert immediate shouted, “Objection!”
Rep. Joe Kennedy (D-IL) next asked permission to “revise and extend” his remarks in opposition to the farm bill “because it takes food nutrition away from working families.”
“Objection!” Gohmert yelled.
“What he is doing is he is not even giving members on our side the courtesy inserting their statement in the record?” Rep. Jim McGovern (D-MA) asked.
As several more Democratic representatives attempted to insert remarks that the bill “hurts the working poor” and “increases hunger and poverty,” Gohmert repeatedly objected.
“I think it is extremely unfortunate that that members on the other side of the aisle would deny members on this side of the aisle the ability to insert written materials in the record,” McGovern noted. “In all my years here, I’ve never seen such uncourteous gesture.”
The man who co-wrote Sen. Rand Paul’s 2011 book and currently serves as an aide to the Kentucky Republican reportedly spent years in the 1990s and 2000s as a pro-secessionist activist and radio shock jock.
According to conservative news site The Washington Free Beacon, Jack Hunter, who currently serves as the senator’s new media director, spent his part of his 20s as a member of the League of the South, a group which “advocates the secession and subsequent independence of the Southern States from this forced union and the formation of a Southern republic.” In 1999, Hunter was listed as chairman of the group’s Charleston, S.C., chapter.
While the League of the South maintains that it is not racist, Mark Pitcavage, the director of investigative research at the Anti-Defamation League, told the Free Beacon that the League of the South is an “implicitly racist group.”
“When I was part of it, they were very explicit that’s not what they were about,” Hunter told the Free Beacon. “I was a young person, it was a fairly radical group – the same way a person on the left might be attracted in college to some left-wing radical groups.”
But Hunter’s troubling past doesn’t end there. In the early 2000s, Hunter, now 39, began contributing anonymous political commentary to the South Carolina radio station 96 Wave, under the moniker the “Southern Avenger.” According to the Free Beacon, as the “Southern Avenger,” Hunter would wear a mask printed with a Confederate flag to public appearances.
According to transcripts of monologues reviewed by the Free Beacon, Hunter’s commentaries in the 2000s included assertions that Lincoln assassin John Wilkes Booth’s heart was “in the right place,” that white people are subject to a “racial double standard,” and that a “non-white majority America would simply cease to be America for reasons that are as numerous as they are obvious – whether we are supposed to mention them or not.”
At other times, Hunter equated the atomic bombings of Hiroshima and Nagasaki with the terrorist attacks of Sept. 11, 2001, and said that “[w]hether for Israel or oil, or both, a permanent U.S. foothold in the Middle East has been the primary neoconservative goal since day one and certainly since long before 9/11.”
While Hunter defended his secessionist views in print as recently as 2009, the Free Beacon reported that he “renounced most of his comments” during an interview on Monday.
Representative Steve King, Republican of Iowa, took the lead for stalwart opponents of any legislation that could lead to what they view as amnesty. “You can’t separate the Dream Act kids from those who came across the border with a pack of contraband on their back, and they can’t tell me how they can do that,” Mr. King said, referring to the undocumented immigrants brought here by their parents as young children and known as “Dreamers.”
“Once you start down that line you’re destroying the rule of law.” But the response to his pitch was not as robust as it had been in the past: “It was not a standing ovation,” he conceded.
In fact, the one area where the legislators showed signs of some consensus was around the “Dreamers,” who many agreed should not be punished for the mistakes of their parents. Hours before the meeting, hundreds of young immigrants who had grown up in the country without legal papers held a mock citizenship ceremony on a Senate lawn. “We have come today to claim our citizenship,” said Lorella Praeli, a leader of United We Dream. But she insisted young immigrants would not agree to any plan that included only them and not all undocumented immigrants. “2013 is not the time for separate but equal.”
The North Carolina House is set to vote on a draconian anti-abortion bill Thursday after Republicans bundled the bill’s provisions into a motorcycle safety bill on Wednesday in an effort to hurry it through the legislature. According to Huffington Post’s Amanda Terkel, the state’s GOP made the changes to the motorcycle law bill without giving advance notice to the public or to Democratic legislators.
Democratic legislators told Huffington Post that they’re expecting large and voluble protests to accompany Thursday’s legislative session, which will feature two hours of debate on SB 353 from Democrats and one hour from Republicans.
“We know that proponents — or what I call the anti-women’s health people — are going to do the same, so it’s going to be a zoo,” said Paige Johnson of Planned Parenthood of Central North Carolina.
Republicans originally tried to ram through the brace of anti-choice laws — some of the most stringent in the nation — as part of a Senate bill banning Sharia law in the state. It passed the state Senate July 3, but Republican Gov. Pat McCrory threatened to veto the measure because he felt that the process of writing the bill’s amendments had been rushed.
Senate Republicans instead pulled anti-abortion measures — which require abortion providers to meet a long list of bureaucratic hurdles and mandate that a doctor be present for all abortions, whether they are invasive or not — from the anti-Sharia law bill and bundled them into SB 353, the motorcycle safety bill, and passed it without notifying Democrats. The bill moved on to the House, where Democrats who arrived at the bill’s hearings expected to debate motorcycle safety.
“As a member of the committee, I thought I had a motorcycle safety bill,” state Rep. Joe Sam Queen (D) said to Huffington Post. “I didn’t bring a file on this abortion bill they had, so I wasn’t prepared when we got into the meeting.”
The new bill also denies public employees access to health plans that include abortion coverage and mandates even more red tape licensing requirements for clinics that offer abortion.
“It could very well close down abortion clinics that already exist in this state,” said state Rep. Mickey Michaux (D) to Huffington Post.
Rick Perry’s long reign as governor of Texas is ending, with the announcement that he’s not running for reelection in 2014. Among other things, he’ll be remembered as one of the most vocally anti-gay governors and political figures in American history. In 2003, Perry lambasted the U.S. Supreme Court for striking down the Texas sodomy ban, and all sodomy bans in the states, calling the court “nine oligarchs in robes.” In 2005, Perry championed a draconian constitutional ban on gay marriage and civil unions in Texas, and signed it into law in a ceremony held in a church. During his 2012 presidential run he cruelly told a 14-year-old bisexual girl on the campaign trail that gays shouldn’t serve in the military because “homosexuality is a sin,” and he demeaned gay service members in a political attack ad that was the most parodied ad of the election season.
So if Perry is stepping down to focus solely on a presidential run in 2016, as some observers contend, what will that mean for GOP political gay-bashing in the 2016 presidential race? Judging from Perry’s most recent rants, 2016 will be 2012 redux, no matter what anyautopsy of the 2012 election by the Republican National Committee or GOP strategists might reveal about how to proceed. Since last fall Perry has only ratcheted up the attacks on gays, much as he has done on abortion. Polls show a majority of Americans, and particularly young Americans (and that includes young GOP Americans), support LGBT rights and even marriage equality. But Christian right groups still influential in the party have been threatening to bolt the GOP unless candidates toe the line. Contrary to strategists who suggest that the GOP will be forced to be more supportive on issues of concern to Latinos, women, gays and other groups, there are thinkers in the GOP who simply want to believe the GOP can win by ignoring all those groups and just getting more straight white male voters to the polls.
Think the whole birther thing is dead? Not in Republican land. Did you catch this on Rachel Maddow last night? This is your Republican Grass Roots in action!! Birthers! Successionists! Racists!! Christofascists! All part and parcel of what is going on in legislatures and congress in this country!
So, is the Republican Party just doubling down or tripling down on white–mostly male and straight–voters? Here’s some interesting analysis of voter and voter trends.
In the aftermath of Barack Obama’s relatively comfortable reelection victory in 2012 — a win fueled by massive margins among African Americans, Hispanics and other nonwhite voters — an intense debate has begun among Republican leaders and strategists over the future direction of the party. The GOP has now lost the national popular vote in five of the last six presidential elections. Yet according to national exit polls, Republican candidates won the white vote by double-digit margins in the last four of these elections, including a 20-point margin in 2012.
Given these results, some prominent Republican strategists, including Karl Rove, believe that the key to the party’s future viability in presidential elections is finding ways to increase its share of the growing nonwhite vote. Since 1992, according to national exit polls, the nonwhite share of the electorate has increased from 13% to 28%, and this trend is almost certain to continue for many years to come. Based on census data, the voters who will be entering the electorate over the next few decades will include a much larger proportion of nonwhites, and especially Latinos, than the voters who will be leaving the electorate.
But not all GOP strategists agree with the approach advocated by Rove and his allies or with the necessity of increasing the party’s share of the nonwhite vote in order to achieve success in future presidential elections. In a recent series of posts at RealClearPolitics.com, analyst Sean Trende has argued that Republicans can effectively compete in future presidential elections without substantially increasing their support among Hispanics and other nonwhite voters by focusing on increasing turnout and support among white voters, who will continue to make up the large majority of the American electorate.
Trende’s argument that the GOP can achieve success by, essentially, doubling down on white voters rests largely on an analysis of racial voting patterns in presidential elections over the past several decades. According to Trende, Republicans have significantly increased their performance among white voters over time. If this trend continues, he argues, given a reasonably favorable political and economic environment, Republican candidates should have a good chance of overcoming the Democratic advantage among nonwhite voters in future presidential elections.
The problem with the PVI
Trende’s claim that Republicans have increased their performance among white voters is based on his calculation of a statistic known as the PVI, or Partisan Voting Index, for white voters. Essentially, this statistic is used to compare the political preferences of a given group to the electorate as a whole. The PVI for white voters compares the Democratic share of the white vote with the Democratic share of the vote in the overall electorate. For our purposes, however, we have calculated the PVI based on the Democratic vote margin among white voters compared with the Democratic vote margin in the overall electorate in order to reduce the impact of votes for third party and independent candidates.
Over time, as the data in Figure 1 show, the PVI for white voters has become increasingly negative, with an especially dramatic decline since 1992. There is no question that in comparison with the overall electorate, white voters have become more Republican over time. But the interpretation of this result is not as straightforward as Trende suggests. That is because the PVI for white voters reflects both the Democratic margin among white voters and the size of the nonwhite electorate.
In fact, the main reason that the gap between the Democratic margin in the overall electorate and the Democratic margin among white voters has increased over time is not because whites have become more Republican but because nonwhites, who are overwhelmingly Democratic, now make up a larger share of the overall electorate. As just one example, the PVI of the white vote in 2012 (-24) was far more negative than it was in 1988 (-13). Yet Democratic margins among both whites and nonwhites were essentially the same in each election. The real change: Nonwhites were just 15% of voters in 1988 compared to 28% in 2012. In other words, the rapid growth of the very Democratic nonwhite share of the electorate makes it seem like white voters are becoming more Republican than they actually are.
It’s been really difficult for me recently to continue to turn on the TV and see assault after assault on women, the GLBT, minorities, immigrants, religious minorities, and the poor. How do we make it stop?
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?