Monday Reads: Who Exactly Votes for all these Tacky People?Posted: February 2, 2015
My mother had a saying for everything. They are hardwired into my brain with the exact same voice and tone from the very first time I heard them. I think one of the first ones that I learned was “if you can’t say anything nice, don’t say anything at all.” Evidently, there are quite a few politicians whose mothers either never said that or who completely ignored it. There’s an astounding number of people out there that just don’t seem to be able to show some class when in the public eye. First up, officer and no gentleman, John McCain who called protesters “low life scum” in a senate hearing. Code Pink is not exactly known for its demure demeanor, but people still have a right to voice their opinions and a senator should be used to it at McCain’s age.
Sen. John McCain says the Code Pink protesters he called “low-life scum” at a hearing last week deserved it.
The Arizona Republican made the remark after protesters rushed a Senate Armed Services Committee witness table where 91-year-old Henry Kissinger, the secretary of state under President Richard Nixon, was testifying. McCain, the committee’s chairman, ordered them escorted from the room by Capitol police.
“These people were physically threatening Henry Kissinger,” McCain told CNN’s Dana Bash Sunday on “State of the Union” as he defended his comments.
“I’m used to people popping up at these hearings and yelling, and then they’re escorted out — that’s at least some version of free speech,” he said. “These people rushed up. They were right next to Henry Kissinger, waving handcuffs at him. He’s a 91-year-old man with a broken shoulder who was willing to come down and testify before Congress, to give us the benefit of his many years of wisdom. Of course I was outraged, and I’m still outraged.”
I’m not exactly sure why Senate Republicans felt the need to roll out Kissinger. He certainly has done some terrible things in his day, so bringing him back as an authority on anything is dicey at best. I seriously doubt any of them were going to manhandle Kissinger. They’re pretty well-known for being loud and for interrupting things. What’s wrong with banging on the desk and watching the Capitol police do their jobs? Hasn’t that generally worked before for these things?
Mike Huckabee has begun bottom feeding for the Republican Presidential nomination. He’s said some pretty outrageous and mean things in his life as a preacher. This is pretty ugly.
Possible Republican presidential candidate Mike Huckabee on Sunday argued that Christians could have “gay friends,” while still opposing marriage equality because it was a biblical principle.
During an interview on CNN, Huckabee refused to say whether he thought homosexuality was a choice because he said that the bigger issue was how the law was being changed to legalize same-sex marriage.
“We don’t change law because some people in a black robe decided the fact that they don’t like the fact that 70 and in some cases 80 percent of a state’s population have affirmed natural law marriage,” the former Arkansas governor opined.
But Huckabee said that gay people could “be his friend” even if he disagreed with their sexuality.
“I don’t drink alcohol, but, gosh, a lot of my friends — maybe most of them — do,” he explained. “You know, I don’t use profanity, but believe me, I’ve got a lot of friends who do. Some people really like classical music and ballet and opera, it’s not my cup of tea. I would like think there’s room in America for people to have different points of view without screaming, shouting, wanting to shut their business down.”
Huckabee encouraged Republicans to invite LGBT people “in the tent” as long as the party did not change it’s position on equal marriage rights.
“For me as it was for President Obama in 2008, this is not just a political issue, this is a biblical issue,” he insisted. “And as a biblical issue, unless I get a new version of the scriptures, it’s really not my place to say, ‘Okay, I’m just going to evolve.'”
“It’s like asking somebody who’s Jewish to start serving bacon-wrapped shrimp in their deli. We don’t want to do that,” Huckabee continued. “Or asking a Muslim to serve up something that is offensive to him or to have dogs in his backyard.”
“We’re so sensitive to make sure we don’t offend certain religions, but then we act like Christians can’t have the convictions they’ve had for over 2,000 years.”
It certainly would be nice if some one would rapture him out of our lives, wouldn’t it? Can you even imagine what kind of mind could compare the civil rights of american citizens to keeping a dog in the backyard?
Every time I think Louisiana has been turned into a third world hell hole by current Republican regimes, I come across the story of a real third world hell hole. This is some information about Honduras, which has been pogrommed into a senseless and horrid crime state since being turned into another one of those libertarian experiments. When do we get to have enough of these failed states to say that the crap the Koch Brothers actively push basically leads to state chaos? Honduras–much like Louisiana–has been privatized into a pirate state. They’ve got militarized and private police forces … gee who does that sound like?
Since the 2009 coup against President José Manuel Zelaya and subsequent election of Porfirio “Pepe Lobo” Sosa and his favored successor Juan Orlando Hernandez, Honduras has embarked on a devastating neoliberal economic program that has contributed to its status as one of the poorest and most unequal countries in the region. The privatization of Honduran society has been accompanied by a militarization of public security efforts in the country, both of which have been fueled by a network of U.S.-supported policies and programs.
Despite the country’s crackdown on crime, violence in Honduras hasskyrocketed in recent years. Honduras now has the world’s second-highestnational murder rate and is home to two of the world’s five most violent cities. Unchecked gang activity has contributed to widespread corruption and impunity within police and government institutions.
This weekend, a coalition of leftist opposition parties came together temporarilyto defeat a proposed amendment to the Honduran constitution that would have given permanent status to the country’s militarized police force, known as the Policía Militar de Orden Público, or PMOP.
This “elite” police unit, which serves under the direct command of the presidency, is intended to support President Hernandez’s heavy-handed crime reduction efforts. President Hernandez created the PMOP shortly after coming to office in 2014, with support from a legislature dominated by his conservative National Party. The Hernandez administration’s police militarization efforts also had the backing of the country’s business sector.
According to one study, in 2013, only 27 percentof Hondurans expressed confidence in the civilian police while 73 percent thought the military should be involved in policing efforts. Nevertheless, both the military and the police have a long history of corruption and criminality as well as abuses committed against civilians in Honduras.
As Mackey reported, “The ZEDE’s central government is stacked with libertarian foreigners,” including a former speechwriter for presidents Ronald Reagan and George Bush Sr., conservative political operative Grover Norquist, a senior member of the Cato Institute think tank, and Ronald Reagan’s son Michael, as well as “a Danish banker, a Peruvian economist, and an Austrian general secretary of the Friedrich Hayek Institute.”
According to the official ZEDE website, the zones place a heavy emphasis on security, offering “a 21st century, business-efficient, non-politicized, transparent, stable, system of administration, plus a special police and institutional security to overcome regional issues and meet world standards.” A new bill introduced by Hernandez minutes after losing the vote this weekend would allow municipalities and ZEDEs to request that the PMOP or other branches of the Armed Forces provide them with security services.
Honduras’ continuing militarization of security efforts appears to have the backing of the United States, which has provided more than $65 million in security aid to Honduras since 2008. President Hernandez has also met frequently with high-level U.S. officials for talks on security and migration issues. As the U.S. amassador’s Twitter account wrote on Friday, “U.S. cooperation with Honduras’ fight against narcotrafficking and crime is strong and continuing.”
So Grover Norquist et al are the folks that are terrorizing my state too through their stooge Bobby Jindal. The budget here is now in utter disrepair due to tax giveaways to businesses and tax cuts to rich people. There’s just no money coming in to support anything. Here are two disturbing stories. First, our historical and natural parks are having to shut down.
Nearly two centuries ago, American officials were worried about Louisiana’s coastline. But their concern wasn’t erosion of the marshes or walls of water driven by a storm devastating the region. It was foreign navies.
Fresh off of stinging naval defeats to the British in the War of 1812, President James Monroe and the Congress of the fledgling United States settled on coastal defense as a priority.
To address that concern, they commissioned a series of forts to be built along the Atlantic and Gulf coasts. These forts, known as the Third System of coastal defenses, included Fort Monroe in Virginia, Fort Sumter in South Carolina, Fort Pickens in Pensacola Bay and Fort Pike in Louisiana, as well as more than three dozen others.
Today, those forts are historical relics, reminders of the way wars were fought before aircraft, smart bombs and ballistic missiles.
Fort Pike is no exception. The isolated spot along U.S. 90 at the eastern extremity of Orleans Parish has for years been host to children scampering over its earthen battlements and sitting astride the old cannons, and history buffs wandering slowly through the fort, eyes peering back through time.
But as of Friday, even that has ceased as Fort Pike succumbs to a modern foe: state budget woes. A $1.5 million midyear budget cut for the Office of State Parks means that Fort Pike’s last visitors toured the site Friday, officials said.
The closure is indefinite, said Jacques Berry, a spokesman for Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, who oversees the state park system.
Those of you that saw the closing episode of True Detective got to see the inside of one of its sister forts as the hideout for the mass murderer. They are extremely interesting building and deserve preservation.
Our Governor has proposed a 35% cut to Higher Education budgets this year since basically there are no other ways to fund the budget except through devastating a few items or raising taxes. He’s basically cut over 65% in his 7 years of ruining errr running the state. This is an incredible move because this level of cuts would mean that every single public college and university campus in Louisiana would have to file for financial exigency next year. Exigency is the public entity’s version of bankruptcy. We’re talking two medical centers, a law school, and a number of universities from LSU on down. Think on that. EVERY SINGLE public university in a state will be basically bankrupt and will have to institute massive lay offs.
The Revenue Estimating Committee, a state panel that determines how much money Louisiana government has to spend, declared Monday what nearly everyone knew was coming — the budget hole is larger than originally estimated.
New midyear budget cuts will total $103.5 million, and the state budget hole for the next financial cycle has grown $203.8 million, bringing next year’s projected financial shortfall to some $1.6 billion overall.
The drop in revenue is largely due to a weak oil market. Albrecht predicted that oil prices will remain low not only for this year and next year, but for the next three-to-four years, until 2019. The price of oil per barrel was around $100 per barrel last year, and will be a little over $50 per barrel next year, he said.
For every dollar the price of oil per barrel drops, Louisiana loses about $11 million in state revenue, according to Albrecht. The collection of Louisiana’s severance taxes — which are related to extracting oil from the ground — will drop $80.4 million in the current fiscal year and $222.7 for next year, Albrecht predicted.
This means that state agencies — notably higher education and state health care — will likely have to absorb more midyear cuts, while also preparing for drastic funding reductions during the next fiscal year. Gov. Bobby Jindal already reduced state spending last month by $180 million, in part because of falling oil prices.
Even before the budget situation worsened, Louisiana’s higher education institutions had already been told to brace for more than $300 million in funding reductions, a cut equal to the entire public operating budget for Louisiana’s community and technical colleges.
Health care services had been told they would have to absorb a $250 million hit, which could balloon to more than twice that size because Louisiana would no longer be able to put up the dollars required to attract certain types of federal funding.
Senate President John Alario, who has served in the Louisiana Legislature for 40 years, called the proposed cuts to higher education and health care “devastating” a few weeks ago — and that was before the state government officially recognized just how bad the problem was during the Monday meeting.
Meanwhile, it seems Jindal is going to have to live without the Duck Dynasty nod since that’s going to Mike Huckabee’s run at the presidency. I’d just like to know when we can roll out the guillotines and just be done with them all. And with that, I have nothing nice to say about them, so I shall end it here.
On, a lighter note, Happy Ground Hog’s Day! Here’s a link that discusses the roots of the celebration.
The obsession with weather forecasting at this time of year is completely understandable -after all, winter weather is tiresome, and for many, downright dangerous. Will the supplies you stocked in the autumn last until spring? Finding out didn’t make the supplies last any longer, but signs of spring could soothe a worried mind. One omen Europeans looked for was the emergence of hibernating animals. The snake mentioned in the old Imbolc verses was rarely ever seen, but hibernating mammals were. In some parts of Eastern Europe, Candlemas is also known as the Day of the Bear, and the weather forecasting tradition varies. In some communities, good weather on the day of the bear will cause the animal to stay outside, meaning spring will come soon. In other places that observe the Day of the Bear, the “contrary” rule applies– if the weather is nice, the bear will see his shadow and be frightened back into his den for more winter weather. So one should hope for a cloudy or stormy day at Candlemas.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?