Friday Reads: People with some ‘splainin to do

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Good Morning!

I’ve got some stories that I find very confusing. Perhaps you could explain these to me?

Why are House Republicans slashing food aid to children in Urban areas while maintaining the aid to children in rural areas?  Any one?

In a new draft of the House GOP Agriculture bill, Republicans have sought to save money by slashing summertime food aid to inner city children while continuing to assist children living in rural poverty.

Talking Points Memo pointed to a passage in a Politico piece about the bill that said, “(I)n a surprising twist, the bill language specifies that only rural areas are to benefit in the future from funding requested by the administration this year” in “a modest summer demonstration program to help children from low-income households — both urban and rural — during those months when school meals are not available.”

The program operates on a modest — by federal government standards — budget of $85 million per year. The White House asked for an additional $30 million to continue the effort to reach nutritionally vulnerable children.

The House replied by declining to fund the White House program, but offering $27 million for a pilot program intended to provide nutritional assistance to the children of the rural poor.

Aren’t all hungry American children deserving of food?LucilleBall-3

Since the NBA moved to get rid of racist owner Donald Sterling completely, why can’t the NFL get Daniel Snyder to drop the racist “Redskins” team name?

Fifty members of the Senate have signed a letter to the N.F.L. to urge its leadership to press the Washington Redskins to change the team name in the aftermath of tough sanctions against the owner of the Los Angeles Clippers for racially charged comments.

The position embraced by half of the Senate, and the willingness of the lawmakers to sign a formal request to Commissioner Roger Goodell, escalated the fight over the name and represented an effort to put increasing pressure on the league, which receives a federal tax break, and the ownership of the team.

“The N.F.L. can no longer ignore this and perpetuate the use of this name as anything but what it is: a racial slur,” said the letter, which was circulated by Senator Maria Cantwell, Democrat of Washington, and endorsed by Senator Harry Reid, Democrat of Nevada, the majority leader. “We urge the N.F.L. to formally support a name change for the Washington football team.”

Cantwell said that “we are going to find out if the N.F.L. can act against this kind of discrimination as quickly as the N.B.A. did.” She said she considered the Senate letter an important milestone.

“Listen, it is hard to get 50 people in this place to agree on anything,” she said.

Reid has made the push for the name change a top interest. He said in an interview that he could not understand the league’s resisting the senators on the name change given other pressing disputes it was navigating, including head injuries and the health of former players.

“I have 22 tribal organizations in Nevada,” Reid said. “They are not mascots. They are human beings. And this term Redskins is offensive to them.”

All but five Senate Democrats — Mark Warner and Tim Kaine of Virginia, Joe Manchin of West Virginia, Joe Donnelly of Indiana and Mark Pryor of Arkansas — signed the letter.

images (39)How can we continue to fund the war machine while turning our back on the men and women who fought our wars?  Can we please arrange to get money to our injured, homeless, and jobless veterans?

Hundreds of veterans with traumatic brain injuries will get kicked out of assisted living facilities this fall unless policymakers in Washington soon extend an expiring pilot program.

Lawmakers are in an uproar over reports that dozens of veterans may have died because of obstacles to obtaining medical treatment at Veterans Affairs (VA) hospitals, but Congress may contribute to the problem by failing to act on pending legislation.

The VA has notified Congress that a pilot program for injured veterans will expire at the end of September without congressional action.

A Senate bill that included language to extend the program stalled on the floor earlier this year because of a fight over how to pay for it. The House Veterans’ Affairs panel plans to hold a hearing on two measures to reauthorize the popular program, but time on the legislative calendar is running out.

Theresa Bozeman, a nurse living in Louisiana, said she is worried about who will take care of her husband, Todd, an Army National Guard sergeant who suffered a severe brain injury from a gunshot wound in July 2012.

Bozeman said that “it would be a tremendous stress” if the assisted-living program lapsed.

“This program has been a blessing to have somewhere for him to live and to have quality of life. He is very impulsive and requires one-on-one supervision 24/7. If the program goes away and I have to care from him at home, I don’t know how I would handle it,” she said.

Todd Bozeman joined the military in 1991 and began showing symptoms of post-traumatic stress disorder after witnessing the ravages of Hurricane Katrina and serving a year in Iraq. He shot himself two years ago after seeking help for suicidal thoughts.

He now lives in a house with five other men with traumatic brain injuries under the supervision of a handful of professionals, including a registered nurse and a licensed practical nurse, Theresa Bozeman said.

The arrangement allows him to socialize with people close to his age and have a lifestyle that somewhat resembles what he knew before his injury.

“He likes to be busy and doing something. It’s a big adjustment for him,” she said, adding that her husband still talks about having flashbacks to his military career.

Unlike so many other issues in the nation’s capital, partisanship isn’t an obstacle. Both conservatives and liberals want the program to continue.

Reps. Bill Cassidy (R-La.), who is running for Senate against Sen. Mary Landrieu (D-La.), and Paul Broun (R), who just lost a Senate bid in Georgia, have introduced legislation to extend the program. The House Veterans’ Affairs Committee plans to hold hearings on their legislation this summer, according to GOP aides.

“Folks in Louisiana are worried that they won’t be able to continue receiving services if the program is not extended,” Cassidy said. “It makes sense to extend a successful program that allows a veteran suffering from traumatic brain injury to live at home instead of an institution.”

“If we can get something passed this summer, there will be more pressure on the Senate to act,” said a House GOP aide.

A bipartisan veterans bill that stalled on the Senate floor earlier this year included a provision extending the assisted living program.

Senate Veterans Affairs Committee Chairman Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) and Sen. Richard Burr (N.C.), the panel’s ranking Republican, have tried to revive it but few bills have passed this year in the bitterly divided upper chamber. It’s uncertain whether Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) will attempt to move it again.

Advocates for extending the program say the VA has enough authority to do so on its own. However, the department recently informed lawmakers in an email that Congress must act. The email, provided to The Hill, says it would take up to six months to “carry out individual transition plans for each Veteran currently enrolled in the pilot.”

hqdefaultExactly how many more Chris Christie scandals are out there waiting in the wings and when will some one in New Jersey move to impeach him?

New Jersey Republican Gov. Chris Christie has turned his state’s multi-billion dollar pension fund into a giant political extortion racket, where top employees at 43 different investment firms were given contracts to manage $14 billion in retirement accounts after giving $11.6 million to Republican Party operations that helped elect Christie governor and fueled his rise as chairman of the Republican Governors Association.

This massive “pay-to-play” scheme is illegal under state and federal anti-corruption laws, but those hurdles did not deter Christie and the Republicans from raising the campaign funds and subsequently doling out the lucrative contracts, a two-month investigation tracing this political money train by Pando Daily’s David Sirota has found.

Christie’s staff refused to comment for the report published Thursday, which included a detailed spreadsheet naming the donors and recipients. The reporting is a showcase of corruption, impotent campaign finance law, ignored ethical standards and underscores how little it actually costs wealthly interests to buy influence and wrest profits.

The $11.6 million in donations, which date back to Christie’s first gubernational election in 2009, led to $14 billion in public funds to manage—an investment of little more than a penny for every dollar in pension assets turned over to privatized managers.

During this same period, top employees of these investment houses also gave more than $200,000 in political donations to New Jersey Democrats—underscoring that influence-buying is about profits and cultivating power more than partisanship. However, most of the more than $11 million donated went to Republican groups that, in the shell game that is modern political money laundering, spent it to elect Christie as New Jersey governor, greased his rise as RGA chairman, and bet on his likely presidential candidacy in 2016.

The GOP donors who received Christie administration contracts were from Goldman Sachs, Blackstone, Credit Suisse, JP Morgan, Guggenheim Partners, Gleacher, Lubert Alder, General Catalyst, State Street, Elliot Associates, Parella Weinberg, Third Point, Lazard Asset Management, and others. New Jersey campaign finance law bars state officials from giving contracts to firms where employees have made contributions to campaigns for governor and state legislature. The federal Securities and Exchange Commission also has anti-circumvention rules to stop “pay-to-play” schemes.

 How much more anti-thinking and anti-science can the GOP get and still be taking seriously by anyone?images (40)

In the months following the 2012 election, Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal tried to position himself as the responsible, forward-looking Republican who could embody the GOP’s vision for the future. “We’ve got to stop being the stupid party,” Jindal said in January 2013, arguing that Republicans “need to change just about everything else we are doing.” The party heard Jindal’s reprimand and basically said, “Ehhhhh, no we’d rather be stupid for a little longer,” so Jindal caved and rejoined the ranks of the imbecilic.

No longer content to simply live among the stupid, Jindal now wants to be their leader against the forces of smart. Writing for this week, Jindal chastised the growing number of clear-eyed political observers who see little chance of repealing the Affordable Care Act. Of particular note was his attack on the quote-unquote “thinkers” in his own party who he says are too quick to give up the repeal crusade:

But even many conservative “thinkers” in Washington have given in to ObamaCare fatalism.  They may not say so in public, but they fully believe that talk of the law’s repeal exists only in the land of unsophisticated rubes.

The country that won two world wars and put a man on the moon cannot, it is believed, repeal a disastrous public policy. Says who? Why not?

There you have it. Bobby Jindal, who once exhorted his party not to be stupid, is now attacking conservatives who “think.”

No, really?  How long can you remain a viable political party in a huge democracy and spout shit like this?

By making climate change a matter of what he “believes” or “agrees with,” Rubio was implying that climate change is a matter of opinion and not of evidence or fact. There’s the old saying, “Everyone is entitled to his own opinion, but not his own facts.” Conservatives have figured out a workaround: redefine the facts as opinions, and by golly, now you get to have your own facts!

James Taranto of the Wall Street Journal was even more blunt in asserting that scientific findings should be regarded as more opinion than fact in his defense of Rubio, portraying Rubio as a rebel “for refusing to submit to scientific authority.” In a sleight of hand, Taranto portrayed the debate as one of scientists simply asserting, from authority, and Rubio as just someone disagreeing. But Rubio isn’t disagreeing with the opinions of scientists; he’s disagreeing with the conclusions derived from the evidence. Even if all the climate change scientists died tomorrow, the planet would still be heating up. This isn’t a matter of one person’s opinion versus another. It’s a man being presented with facts and refusing to believe them.

But it was Rubio’s followup to this debacle that made it clear this isn’t just about those bought off by oil and gas lying to protect lobbyist interests. This has become broader than that, and is now a full-blown attempt to degrade the word “science” until it doesn’t mean anything at all. When pressed on the issue of his climate change denialism, he tried to punt by saying, “All these people always wag their finger at me about science and settled science,” he whined, as if accepting that the sky is blue is too oppressive if you prefer to believe it’s yellow. “Let me give you a bit of settled science that they’ll never admit to. The science is settled, it’s not even a consensus, it is a unanimity, that human life begins at conception.”

Well, no. That is yet another example of conflating Marco Rubio’s opinion with what he wishes “science” said. The claim that “human life” begins at conception is not one asserted by science, but by religion, as many religions believe that’s when God injects a soul into a human body. But science is pretty clear that, by the scientific and not religious definition of “life,” life does not begin with conception. In order for life to begin, it has to be non-life turning into life. Since both the sperm and egg are alive, by the measure of science, it’s not life beginning. It’s really just life continuing.

As biologist P.Z. Myers explains, “We can trace that life all the way back to early progenotes with limited autonomy drifting in Archean seas, to self-perpetuating chemical reactions occurring in porous rocks in the deep ocean rifts. It’s all been alive, so this is a distinction without meaning.”

Is it just me or is just every interaction with media content just one face palm after another?

So, what’s on your reading and blogging list today?


53 Comments on “Friday Reads: People with some ‘splainin to do”

  1. joanelle says:

    I’m glad you did this post, Dak, I’ve had many of the same questions. Perhaps one of our Skydancers will have some answers for us.

    • NW Luna says:

      Loud laughter is the best answer I can come up with!

      • NW Luna says:

        That, and voting them out of office. I’m proud that one of my senators is Maria Cantwell. The other senator from WA state is also a woman & Dem. We’re lucky here. I have no idea how those RWNJ idiots get can elected.

        • dakinikat says:

          Yea, as much as I love New Orleans, the thought of being out of a red state is very appealing.

          • RalphB says:

            It’s looking more appealing all the time. After the elections, it may be time for me to hit the road.

    • Fannie says:

      Joanelle, here’s my answer: the republicans are living in two fucking worlds. Like it or not, we are all living in the same country, and on the same fucking planet. This here thing about food is to keep all of us alive. I noticed they are first at the food chain to be well fed. Yet, they are the most ignorant and most unmerciful group of Christian conservatives that ever walked this earth. They refused to give women and children human rights, basic rights that are in our laws, like birth control, family planning, like equal pay, plus they refuse to increase wages. They know parents are working and can’t put food on the shelves and in the fridge. They want urban children to go to bed hungry, not giving a second thought to facts that when you don’t eat healthy it creates a whole different mind set, and moods swings are a big danger. The burden goes on and on, and the cost sky rockets. These children end up in prisons, and in grave yards all across this country.

      This sky dancer believes that they are doling out punishment to children, take their food away, take them away from their poor parents, and stop the process of educating them. They do this because of the Affordable Care Act.

      They are a fucking frustrated and miserable bunch who don’t have to struggle for food. We know how to feed children. My damn garden is going to increase in size, and I intend to teach, and give food to parents and their children. I’ll slap them in the face if they try to stop me.

  2. ANonOMouse says:

    Great post this morning. And beautiful photos of Lucy, who always had some “splainin” to do.

    I watched that Marco Rubio interview, it was laughable. His inability to explain his denial of the science of climate change turned him into a wide-eyed, hysterical nitwit who quickly devolved into the old stand by line, the zygote. Mr. Big Gulp never lets me down.

    The news on Christie is amazing. As a U.S. Attorney he was in the OUT-OF-REACH category for so long he’s bought into the air of invincibility. He’s the archetype of “power corrupts and absolute power corrupts absolutely”.

    And Bobby Jindal, what’s to say that you haven’t said much better than I ever could. I wonder how long it will take him to realize that he’s a washed-up has-been? Maybe he can get a gig on Duck DieNasty. They always need a good decoy, that is if the show stays on the air. From what I’ve read the ratings have been off since Daddy Duck Call went all homophobe. So sad!!!

  3. Pat Johnson says:

    Though I understand your question of how much longer the GOP can remain a “viable” party I must point out that the odds in the mid term elections favor them across the board.

    Watching some of the cable shows covering this week’s primaries showed that most states had a far higher turn out of GOP voters than Dems.

    For a nation caught in the grip of this ignorant party who only stand for obstruction it is difficult to understand how and why they are gaining seats in both state and national chambers when most of those who are covered by the press are out and out nutjobs.

    Their “appeal” to any constituency – outside of gray haired old men – escapes me.

    • NW Luna says:

      Fortunately not all gray-haired old men fall for the nutwings’ blather.

    • dakinikat says:

      GOP’s trifecta of doom: How candidates, issues and culture are building a 2016 calamity
      To fully sense its crumbling apparatus, look not just at folks like Rubio and Cruz — but also Rush and Sterling

      • Fannie says:

        I think the GOP is setting the stage, and they could care less about the our country has been facing, and will face in the future. They don’t have solutions, and they aren’t going to change and help change towards solving all these problems. They can’t solve their problems within their party. There is McDaniel down in Mississippi, and his church members are thicker than a bowl of oatmeal. Yet, they don’t see any special problem with him going after a “disabled wife” of his opponent, Cochran. They’ll double up on donations to get McDaniel in.

      • RalphB says:

        I largely agree with that article. More than that, with a good Democratic candidate, I don’t see how the Republicans can get to 271 electoral votes in 2016 without massive fraud or some really screwed up national scandal.

        The Democrats could lose Florida, Virginia and Ohio and still win by carrying all the rest of Obama’s 2012 states. Say the Republicans don’t win Florida. In that case, the Democrats could lose Virginia, Ohio, New Hampshire, Iowa, Nevada, Colorado, and New Mexico and still win with 271 Electoral Votes.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    To answer your first question, only the children of Republicans are deserving of food; and they tend to live in rural areas.

  5. NW Luna says:

    …refusing to submit to scientific authority.

    I’m just waiting to see when Rubio refuses to submit to gravity and steps off a deck somewhere.

    • RalphB says:

      That’s worth waiting for 🙂

    • dakinikat says:

      I caught one of my libertarian friends trying to redefine science this morning. They just change what is and isn’t a science and a scientist to fit their lies and wet dreams.

      • RalphB says:

        Makes sense cause, if you’re gonna spout pure garbage as “science”, you’re gonna have to make up more garbage to back it up when challenged.

      • dakinikat says:

        Everyone professes love and respect for science, yet they don’t love and respect everyone’s science because some scientists have worked their hypothesis to different results. Some believe because it’s a majority opinion, others believe what makes sense to them, and some just believe because their life is one big act of faith.


        If you aren’t a scientist yourself… it’s all faith.

  6. I know you all are probably sick of my obsession with the rape case in Calhoun High…but this is disgusting. The fourth suspect from Southeast Whitfield high is walking at graduation because…he is valedictorian!

    Still no arrests in alleged rape case – : Local

    As the community continues to seek answers about an alleged rape involving Calhoun High students that took place in Gilmer County on May 11, that county’s sheriff’s office is asking for patience as the investigation winds down.

    “There have been a lot of accusations, a lot of people saying we’re not doing anything,” Capt. Frank Copeland of the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office said during an interview with the Calhoun Times Thursday. “With a case of this size it takes a long time to work it. I hate it for your community. I know they want answers, but we are doing the best job we possibly can to (solve the crime). We have our entire investigation division, with the exception of one guy, working on this.”

    Reports from the Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office indicate at 2 p.m. on Sunday, May 11, deputy T. Jay Teague received a phone call that led to the investigation of three unidentified Calhoun High School students and one individual from Dalton for an alleged rape.

    Copeland declined to list any of the suspects by name Thursday as, “it doesn’t help our case,” he said.

    He did confirm that at least 30 people were at the party and his office has conducted exhaustive amounts of interviews.

    “We have done at least 40 to 50 interviews,” Copeland said.

    No warrants have been issued for arrests in the case, Copeland said, but he does anticipate there will be soon.

    “It’s going to take a few more days,” he said.

    Three Calhoun High students are not allowed to walk at their high school graduation on Friday, a move the school system attributed to safety concerns for all parties involved.

    “We had to release some information to the school for their purposes,” Copeland said. “So they could make their own decisions.”

    After filing an open records request last Friday, the Calhoun Times received the initial incident report from the case from Gilmer County Sheriff’s Office that was filed by Teague.

    Teague wrote in the incident report that he was told to call Sgt. Carson with the Calhoun City Police Department in regards to a possible rape.

    Calhoun City Police did not file an incident report, instead turning it directly over to Gilmer County, according to CPD Lt. Tony Pyle.

    I believe the 9 news story was updated to delete the bit about the valedictorian part…guess that was a giveaway for the name?

    • NW Luna says:

      Nothing says rape culture quite like a high school valedictorian rapist.

    • RalphB says:

      We’ve gotten ahold of a more in-depth incident report on the alleged rape.

      It lists one victim, four suspects, five witnesses, and another eight students who were at the after-prom party.

      Five witnesses? Hope they don’t have five different stories.

    • bostonboomer says:

      Oh. My. God. Do you know the guy’s name?

      I’m not sick of it, JJ. I hope you keep updating us.

    • ANonOMouse says:

      I’m glad you’re following it JJ, just like I’m glad that BB follows Greenwald/snowden and Dak keeps us informed of Bobby Jindal’s tomfoolery. You all do an excellent job

    • Fannie says:

      Mercy!…………….shouldn’t we change the laws to read that if anyone at party is a witness to rape and does nothing, that they should be charged with failing to do something, like call police, get help to stop it.

      This just burns my ass.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Bill Clinton was in Boston yesterday, and spoke about the Nigerian kidnappings.

    ‘‘All over the world there are places where men’s identity is all caught up in whether they get to tell women what to do and restrict their choices,’’ Clinton said. ‘‘We have to develop a sense of identity which is inclusive.’’

    It’s happening here too, and it sounds like Clinton knows it.

  8. RalphB says:

    Raw Story: Florida woman shoots at bar pick-up as he tries to leave because ‘things were getting weird’

    WTF is it usually Florida? At least this is a Florida “man” hose job.

  9. RalphB says:

    If Kentucky Democrats don’t slam dunk this lie down McConnell’s throat, they’re all incompetent.

    tpm: McConnell: KY Exchange Unconnected To Obamacare

    LOUISVILLE, Ky. (AP) — Kentucky Sen. Mitch McConnell says he would try to repeal the Affordable Care Act if he’s elected Senate majority leader.

    But the veteran senator won’t say what would happen to the 421,000 Kentuckians who have health insurance through the state’s health care exchange.

    McConnell told reporters Friday that the fate of the state exchange is unconnected to the federal health care law. Yet the exchange would not exist, if not for the law that created it. …

    • NW Luna says:

      Now, you can’t expect McConnell to make sense — he’s from the “make up your own science” party!

  10. NW Luna says:

    Today’s mail brought an envelope from the Ready For Hillary 2016 group. I was pleased to see their printed suggested donation amounts ran from $25 to $100, and not the several $hundred and above I’ve seen on from solicitations for other candidates, even just for local office. The enclosed photo of Hillary must be of her taking the oath of office for SOS, with Bill and Chelsea looking proud. Below is her quote “Let me say this, hypothetically speaking, I really do hope we have a woman president in my lifetime.”

    Well, with a pitch like that, how could I not find something to contribute? 🙂 BTW, I’m going to put that photo up above my desk at work.

    • RalphB says:

      I signed up with them online when they first started and, bless them, I’ve not gotten a ton of fund raising emails yet. Hope I get one of those in the mail. 🙂

  11. bostonboomer says:

    My client is not suspect in Gilmer County post-prom rape investigation, attorney says

    The attorney for a Southeast Whitfield High School student says his client is not a suspect in the Gilmer County post-prom rape investigation.

    Sam Sanders, an attorney for the McCamy Law firm in Dalton, released a statement on his Facebook page around 3 p.m. today. He said his client, Rhett Harper, has been interviewed three times by a detective, but only as a witness.

    Harper played quarterback for Southeast Whitfield in the fall. He is also on the school’s baseball and basketball teams. In April, he signed a letter of intent to play baseball at Georgia State.

    Three Calhoun High School seniors that the school identified as suspects in the investigation have been banned from tonight’s graduation ceremonies. Harper’s name, too, has been prominent in social media reports regarding the attack that occurred in an Ellijay cabin after Calhoun High School’s prom on May 10.

    But Sanders says the lead detective on the case has told him that Harper is not a suspect.

  12. RalphB says:

    Good news in Georgia …

    tpm: Rasmussen Poll: Michelle Nunn Leads GOP Runoff Opponents

    Georgia Senate Democratic nominee Michelle Nunn leads both of her potential general election Republican opponents in head-to-head match-ups according to a new poll from conservative-leaning pollster Rasmussen Reports.

    The latest Rasmussen survey released Friday found Nunn leading Rep. Jack Kingston 47 percent to 41 percent among like Georgia voters. Three percent said they preferred another candidate and 9 percent said they were undecided.

    In a matchup against businessman David Perdue, Nunn leads 45 percent to 41 percent while another 7 percent said they did not favor either candidate and six percent said they were undecided. …