Lazy Saturday Reads: Stars Come Out for Hillary; Trump Awakens a Sleeping Giant

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Good Morning!!

This election is looking very good for Hillary Clinton. In just three more days, she will more than likely be President Elect Hillary Clinton. I can’t wait to vote for her on Tuesday! I thought about voting early, but I finally decided to wait and go to my regular polling place on election day. That will be a very special moment. I already shed some tears when I voted for Hillary in the 2008 primary and again in the 2016 primary. But Tuesday will be the big enchilada.

Last night Hillary appeared with Jay Z and Beyonce at the get-out-the-vote concert in Cleveland. NYT:

In an election year when Hillary Clinton is depending on young black voters to turn out, she may have gotten her biggest boost yet here on Friday.

Some of the most famous names in hip-hop came out to rally votes for her at an event that featured Beyoncé, Jay Z and Chance the Rapper, all of whom implored thousands of cheering people to back the Democratic presidential nominee.

“Hello, Cleveland!” Mrs. Clinton said as she stood onstage with Beyoncé and Jay Z.

Mrs. Clinton called Beyoncé “a woman who is an inspiration to so many others” and thanked Jay Z “for addressing in his music some of our biggest challenges in the country: poverty, racism, the urgent need for criminal justice reform.”

“When I see them here, this passion and energy and intensity, I don’t even know where to begin because this is what America is, my friends,” she said.

At the concert, aimed largely at urging black voters and millennials to vote on Tuesday, some of the biggest stars emphasized the historical significance of potentially electing the first woman as president.

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Cleveland.com:

Jay Z began the concert with “Made in America.” He performed behind a screen that manipulated his face to look like an American flag. A-list artists, including Beyonce, Big Sean, Chance the Rapper, and J. Cole surprised a pumped up crowd….

Jay Z performed behind a black and white photograph of the White House. He repeated Clinton’s campaign slogan: “Stronger Together.”

Each special performer emerged, one after another, thrilling the crowd of about 10,000. Politics overlaid performance. Words flashed behind the musicians on a large screen:

  • “Bad officials are elected by good citizens who do not vote”
  • “And on that day I did nothing”
  • “Shape Tomorrow, Vote Today”
  • “Your voice, your vote”

The crowd erupted in screams as Beyonce took the stage. Queen B delivered a heartfelt speech about what seeing a woman in the White House means to her.

“There was a time when a woman’s opinion did not matter if you were black, if you were white, Mexican, Asian, Muslim, educated, poor or rich. If you were a woman, it did not matter. Less than 100 years ago, women did not have the right to vote.  Look how far we’ve come from having no voice to being on the brink of making history, again, by electing the first woman president. But we have to vote. The world looks to us as a progressive country that leads change,” Beyonce said. “I want my daughter to grow up seeing a woman lead our country.”

She transitioned into an appropriately patriotic song: Freedom. And followed it up with a medley of female empowerment songs: “Independent Women,” and “Run the World (Girls).”

The screen behind her flashed: “I’m with her.”

Hillary at concert with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in Miami

Hillary at concert with Jennifer Lopez and Marc Anthony in Miami

And who was campaigning for Donald Trump? NYT: Big Names Campaigning for Hillary Clinton Underscore Donald Trump’s Isolation.

Hillary Clinton campaigned Friday in the company of friends and celebrities, first flanked by the billionaire businessman Mark Cuban in Pittsburgh and Detroit, and then at a concert in Cleveland with Jay Z and Beyoncé. High-wattage political leaders fanned out for her around the country: Her husband, Bill, stumped in Colorado, as President Obama rallied voters in North Carolina.

By comparison, Donald J. Trump was a lonely figure.

In the final days of the presidential race, Mr. Trump’s political isolation has made for an unusual spectacle on the campaign trail — and perhaps a limiting factor in his dogged comeback bid.

When it comes to bolstering Mr. Trump, the Republican Party is not sending its best: As party leaders have disavowed him or declined to back his candidacy, Mr. Trump has been left instead with an eclectic group of backup players to aid him in his last dash for votes. Though polls show Mr. Trump drawing closer to Mrs. Clinton, the most prominent Republicans in key swing states still fear that his unpopularity may taint them by association.

Trump told a crowd in Hershey, PA that he doesn’t need anyone but himself.

“By the way, I didn’t have to bring J. Lo or Jay Z — the only way she gets anybody,” he said. “ I am here all by myself. Just me — no guitar, no piano, no nothing.”

Campaigning in New Hampshire earlier on Friday, Mr. Trump did not appear with either Senator Kelly Ayotte, a Republican seeking re-election, or Chris Sununu, the Republican nominee for governor. Ms. Ayotte withdrew her endorsement of Mr. Trump last month, and Mr. Sununu has kept an awkward distance from Mr. Trump in his closely divided state.

Hillary with Katy Perry in Iowa

Hillary with Katy Perry in Iowa

Tonight Hillary will be in Philadelphia for a free concert with Katy Perry.

Meanwhile, massive early voting by Latinos in Nevada, Florida, and Arizona is looking very good for Hillary and Democrats.

CNN: Democrats build huge early vote lead in battleground Nevada.

Democrats have built what could be an insurmountable edge in Nevada at the end of early voting in the Western battleground state.

In key regions, the party is matching or outpacing the lead President Barack Obama had at this point in 2012 on his way to a nearly 7-percentage-point win of the state’s six electoral votes.
Clark County — home of Las Vegas and more than two-thirds of Nevada’s active registered voters — saw its record for single-day early vote turnout shattered Friday when 57,174 people cast their ballots, according to data from the Nevada secretary of state’s office that’s based on the party registration of those who have voted.
Overall, Democrats have built a lead of more than 72,000 votes there — 13.7 points ahead of Republicans, and slightly larger than Obama’s 2012 edge.

Donald Trump will be in Reno on Saturday, but the Republicans almost certainly lost Nevada on Friday.

Trump’s path was nearly impossible, as I have been telling you, before what happened in Clark County on Friday. But now he needs a Miracle in Vegas on Election Day — and a Buffalo Bills Super Bowl championship is more likely — to turn this around. The ripple effect down the ticket probably will cost the Republicans Harry Reid’s Senate seat, two GOP House seats and control of the Legislature.

Early voting crowd at Cardenas in Las Vegas

Early voting crowd at Cardenas in Las Vegas

How devastating was it, epitomized by thousands of mostly Latino voters keeping Cardenas market open open in Vegas until 10 PM? This cataclysmic:

—-The Democrats won Clark County by more than 11,000 votes Friday (final mail count not posted yet), a record margin on a record-setting turnout day of 57,000 voters. The Dems now have a firewall — approaching 73,000 ballots — greater than 2012 when Barack Obama won the state by nearly 7 points. The 71,000 of 2012 was slightly higher in percentage terms, but raw votes matter. The lead is 14 percentage points — right at registration. You know what else matters? Registration advantages (142,000 in Clark). Reminder: When the Clark votes were counted from early/mail voting in 2012, Obama had a 69,000 vote lead in Clark County. Game over.

—-The statewide lead (some rurals not posted) will be above 45,000 — slightly under the 48,000 of 2012, but still robust. That’s 6 percentage points, or right about at registration. The GOP turnout advantage was under a percent, worse than 2012 when it was 1.1 percent.

—-The Dems eked out a 200-vote win in Washoe and lead there by 1,000 votes. It was even in 2012. The rural lead, before the stragglers come in, is 27,500. It probably will get above 28,000.

—-Total turnout without those rurals: 768,000, or 52.5 percent. If overall turnout ends up being 80 percent, that means two thirds of the vote is in — close to 2012. Republicans would have to not only win Election Day by close to double digits to turn around the lead Hillary Clinton almost surely has in early voting, but they would have to astronomically boost turnout. The goal for the Dems during early voting was to bank votes and to boost turnout as high as possible to minimize the number of votes left on Election Day to affect races. Folks, the Reid Machine went out with a bang.

Lines for early voting in Arizona

Lines for early voting in Arizona

Arizona has seen the largest increase of early voting by Latinos of any state.

As of Oct. 30, nine days before the Nov. 8 election, 13 percent of the early ballots cast in Arizona came from Latino voters, up from 11 percent at the same point prior to the 2012 presidential election and from 8 percent in 2008.

The increase from 2012 to 2016 is the largest increase in early voting by Latinos in any state, according to statistics compiled by Catalist, a data company that works with progressive candidates and groups….

Data tabulated by Arizona’s Democratic Party showed an even bigger increase in early voting by Latinos in Arizona, from 6.2 percent in 2012 to nearly 12 percent through Nov. 1. The data is based on Hispanic surnames.

As of Nov. 1, the share of early balloting from voters with Hispanic surnames was nearly double the same time in 2012….

“There has been a large push by many Latino groups to vote by early ballot by mail to avoid any hassles at the ballot box in presenting ID and Latinos under extra scrutiny at the polls,” Garcia said.

There also are not a lot of undecided Latino voters, many of whom have been turned off by Donald Trump’s harsh comments about Mexicans and immigrants, Garcia said.

98-year-old early voter in Florida

98-year-old early voter in Florida

Early voting by Latinos is also setting records in Colorado, Florida, Georgia, and North Carolina.

Donald Trump awakened a sleeping giant with his attacks on Mexicans and immigrants.

More news, links only:

Mother Jones: Exclusive: The Democratic National Committee Has Told the FBI It Found Evidence Its HQ Was Bugged

AP via Politico: Melania Trump modeled in U.S. prior to getting work visa.

Wall Street Journal: National Enquirer Shielded Donald Trump From Playboy Model’s Affair Allegation.

HuffPo: A Guy In A Trump Shirt Carried A Gun Outside Of A Virginia Polling Place. Authorities Say That’s Fine.

Jezebel: The Woman Who Accused Trump of Raping Her at 13 Just Dropped Her Lawsuit.

NBC News: U.S. Govt. Hackers Ready to Hit Back If Russia Tries to Disrupt Election.

Washington Post: Trump is a threat to the West as we know it, even if he loses.

Raw Story: Wolf Blitzer catches Giuliani telling whoppers on FBI connection: ‘Aren’t they feeding you secret information?’


Lundi Gras Reads

Proteus floatSo, we’re headed into Mardi Gras 2016 down here in New Orleans.  Some big football game in some other city just wrapped up the season.  New Hampshire has its first in the country presidential primary tomorrow and somewhere out there Marco Rubio is having a terrible very bad day!  Yasssssss!!!  Oh, and Happy Year of the Male Fire Monkey!!! Tashi Losar! This is a very eventful lunar period in many ways.

Lundi Gras is the traditional resting day for us before the big day. My plans include making groceries at Rouse’s and picking up dog food at Bark Market. The Kings of Rex and Zulu will appear today. Today there is one parade. It’s the Krewe of Proteus which was founded in 1882.  Their floats are quite historical as they use the original chassis and keep many of their traditional designs.

The Krewe of Proteus parade is based on Egyptian mythology. Proteus was the son of Poseidon, herded Poseidon’s seals, the great bull seal at the center of the harem. He can tell the future, change his shape and will only answer to someone who can capture him.

The images today are historical drawings of old floats and costumes from Proteus.

Here’s some more information on Proteus from the NOLA History Guy.  One of the things he mentions is the Ordinance passed by the City Council to get Krewes to be more racially diverse.  The New Orleans Celebration does have some really deep roots in racism as well as class.

The Council’s unanimous vote came after leaders of six prominent, mostly white parade clubs had pledged to begin trying to integrate “racially and ethnically” by 1993.

Despite objections from civil rights advocates, the Council followed the recommendation of a committee appointed by Mayor Sidney Barthelemy to study the issue. The committee began its deliberations during the furor that arose after the law was proposed last fall by Councilwoman Dorothy Mae Taylor, who is black.

As passed by the Council in December, the ordinance, which takes effect in 1994, would have denied parade and liquor permits to any Carnival clubs, called krewes, that had membership barriers based on “race, creed, color, religion, national origin, ancestry, sex or sexual orientation, age, physical condition or disability.”

Krewes would have had the burden of proving they did not discriminate, and leaders of clubs found to be in violation would have been subject to a $300 fine and up to five months in jail. Watered Down Twice

In February, the Council deleted the jail-sentence provision and removed the burden of proof from the clubs, placing it instead on their accusers.

On Thursday the Council allowed krewes to remain all-male or all-female and softened enforcement of the law. The city now must dismiss any discrimination complaint against a krewe if the club submits an affidavit pledging that it does not discriminate. Change Called ‘Absurd’

If you’d like to read more on this, I suggest  Jame’s Gills’ Book Lords of Misrule: Mardi Gras and the Politics of Race in New Orleans. I read it last year and it was quite enlightening.

I’ve been thinking about these things because of Beyonce and the release of her new video Formation which is fierce by any standard09oc-archives-1jpg-6b58d99c866504f9.  She’s gone full throttle social justice advocate for women, girls, and African Americans. It’s got slaps at the response to Katrina and a major nod to BLM.  It openly celebrates female sexuality too. She sang at that football game whose name I just can’t quite recall.  Responses to both video and performance include a plethora of items that show our country just cannot get beyond the racial divide. Panther’s quarterback Cam Newton and Beyonce have both been the subject of some rather nasty Twitters and such.

Members of the National Sheriffs’ Association meeting in Washington turned their backs on Beyonce during a Super Bowl halftime party, angered the NFL allowed her to sing a song they consider anti-police.

The Association told Secrets that when Beyonce performed a snippet of her hit “Formation,” the sheriffs holding their annual legislative meeting at the J.W. Marriott turned off the volume and video.

The video is marvelously controversial and includes scenes of New Orleans and the wonderful voice of our own Queen Diva Big Freedia.   You can believe the internet is alive with chatter.

Dee: Beyoncé has been accused of not caring enough about Black Lives Matter and of being a bad feminist (or not one at all); on “Formation,” she raises two middle fingers to all sides of her Illuminati-truthing haters with a bold intersection of the two fights. She is a black feminist, full stop. This is a video made for women — she speaks directly to “ladies” in the song’s blazing call to action — and it is clear she is done living for the will and want of men (and has been for a minute, actually). She’s “so possessive” of Jay Z’s love and his power that she wears his “Roc necklaces.” (Still, Hov’s got the hottest chick in the game wearing his chain.) She won’t stand by and watch young black women snatch their noses so far that they can no longer take pride in their Jackson 5 nostrils.

This is a new negro spiritual hymn, one that hits me deeper than Kendrick’s “Alright,” because every look, every lyric, every outfit, every moment is a statement of Black Girl Magic. Of course, I’m moved by that fly little black boy in a hoodie who joyfully dances in front of a barricade of white cops in riot gear. But I’m politically inspired when Beyoncé gives the Black Power salute atop a New Orleans cop car. Am I reaching to call this a protest song? I just can’t get “Mississippi Goddam” out of my head when I see it.

Then, there’s the Cam  “controversy”.   I admit to seeing none of it but being caught in the Twitterstorm that followed.

Carolina Panthers quarterback Cam Newton showed his personality all season with his dabbin’ and dancing.

Many loved him for it.

Some criticized him for it.

The 2015 league MVP showed his personality again after Sunday night’s 24-10 loss to Denver in Super Bowl 50 with short answers and an abrupt exit from his postgame news conference.

It wasn’t pretty. The player known for his infectious smile and designer attire answered seven questions with a frown and black hoodie pulled over his head.

It’ll get Newton more criticism than love.

But it was raw emotion just like his dabbin’.

Newton hates to lose, and he wears that emotion on his sleeve as boldly as he wore those Versace zebra-print pants on the trip to California.

Continue reading that article and you’ll see that Cam’s labelled as having “childlike behavior”.  Now the best I can be is a white ally but that description is not what I’d imagine one should say about a grown black f1b82a2fef3a2ee2f0dd92581a464875man who even thought he makes that much money basically tossing balls around in a game. With so much shit coming down in the world and this country, you would think that folks could be more upset by the level of child poverty in the country, the poisoning of children in a poor community by a state government, or say sending drone attacks down on a village.  But, no, we get all excited about a game and some artistic expression. And, it variably turns into a white denial of institutional racism on parade.

Or, you could be like me and be genuinely upset by assholes running to be the leader of the Free World like the aforementioned Marco Rubio.  I really hope the man has a horrid week because THIS. I want his goose cooked until its cinder.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) promised on Sunday that he would sign an abortion ban as president that provided exceptions for rape even though he preferred for pregnant victims to have their rapists’ babies.

Following a Saturday night’s Republican Presidential Debate on ABC News, host George Stephanopoulos noted during a Sunday interview that Rubio had been hammered for his belief that abortion was wrong even in cases of rape or incest.

“Abortion to me is not a political issue,” Rubio insisted. “It’s a human rights issue. And so, if [Jeb Bush] wants to make it a political issue, that’s his right. For me, it’s not.”

“I do require an exception for life of the mother because I’m pro-life,” he continued. “Number two, as I’ve said, if they pass a law in Congress that has exceptions, I’ll sign it. Because I want to save lives.”

“What do you say to that mom when you look her in the eye?” the ABC host wondered.

“It’s a terrible situation,” Rubio replied. “I mean, a crisis pregnancy, especially as a result of something as horrifying as that, I’m not telling you it’s easy. I’m not here saying it’s an easy choice. It’s a horrifying thing that you’ve just described.”

“I get it,” he added. “I really do. And that’s why this issue is so difficult. But I believe a human being, an unborn child has a right to live, irrespective of the circumstances of which they were conceived. And I know that the majority of Americans don’t agree with me on that.”

“And that’s why any law that passed will almost certainly have exceptions. And I’ll sign it.”

ed36c3a2d6a677d0aac1ad3ef3729a6eThat’s right neighborly of him.

Those of you that actually watched the debate with us on Saturday night know that Chris Christie went after Rubio with a relish and Rubio folded like an empty sack of flour.  We’ve frequently talked about Rubio’s penchant for sounding like he’s speaking from memorized 3×5 index cards.  You know, the kind that they used in high school bates backed in the day. Christie nailed him on it and all Rubio did was repeat the same thing over about 4 times.   The polls have taken a turn. Rubio is no longer the flavor of the month and the Twitter and Gifs have not been kind either.

An internal poll conducted on Sunday suggests that Marco Rubio’s fumbled debate performance has damaged his prospects heading into the New Hampshire primary.

The poll, conducted by the pro-John Kasich New Day for America Super PAC, shows Rubio plummeting to fourth place in the primary here, with 10 percent of the vote. Most of the polling conducted in the immediate days before the debate showed Rubio in second place.

The survey, which was based on phone calls to 500 likely voters (margin of error plus or minus 3 percent), was conducted Sunday, the day following the latest Republican debate. Rubio came under scathing attack from Chris Christie, who cast the first term Florida senator as too unready, ambitious, and superficial to occupy the Oval Office.

Donald Trump holds a wide lead in the survey, receiving 35 percent. He more than doubles runner-up Kasich, who has 15 percent. In third is Jeb Bush, with 13 percent. Behind Rubio in fifth and sixth place, respectively, are Christie and Ted Cruz. Both receive 8 percent.

The results are welcome news for Kasich and Bush, both of whom have made New Hampshire the centerpiece of the primary campaigns. Strong performances on Tuesday will give them reason to fight on to the South Carolina primary, which will be held Feb. 20.

So, what’s more important in the scheme of things?  A football game, a video, the potential return of another Bush?  Oh, and of course, Rubio’s a Republican so it’s the media’s fault for emphasizing that he repeated10562275-large the same damned thing about Obama 4 times.

Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) sent a fundraising email Monday that passed off New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie’s (R) attacks on the freshman senator’s canned talking points as a controversy ginned up by the media.

The email said the media pounced on the Rubio campaign’s “building momentum” by making hay out of the fact that the senator “pointed out a few times” during Saturday’s Republican presidential debate “that President Obama has been very deliberate about achieving his bad policies.”

“This isn’t the first time the media has tried to distract people,” the email read. “We can’t afford to let the media get away with this.”

Rubio had said some variation of the line, “Barack Obama is undertaking an effort to change this country, to make America more like the rest of the world,” four times during the debate. Christie repeatedly attacked Rubio’s repetition on the stage, calling the Obama line the senator’s “memorized 25-second speech.”

In the fundraising email, which didn’t mention Christie, Rubio said he would stick with the language.

Good luck with that.

If I wanted to give you all a headache, I’d start in on how horrible MoDo was this weekend.  But, BNR has done it for me so I’ll leave it at that.

Dowd is the leading purveyor of Rovian anti-Hillary memes, sophisticated negative character frames crafted in conservative oppo shops to undermine Hillary’s candidacy. Dowd believes that as a woman, she is immune from claims of sexism, so her Hillary-bashing screeds are bursting at the seams with blatantly sexist language, lies and innuendo.

Her latest column includes the following verbatim phrases:

  • Hillary still has not learned the art of seduction on stage
  • Overplays her feminist hand
  • Feels too competitive with her husband
  • Bill could tell her not to shout her way through rallies, adding to her authenticity problem
  • Her campaign cries sexism too often
  • Hillary huffily said…
  • And she’s still not likable enough for the young women who were supposed to carry her forward as a Joan of Arc.
  • With Hillary, there are three things [that make her stupid]: sex, money and the need for secrecy.
  • Nixonian obsession with secrecy by the woman who was once an idealistic lawyer
  • Hillary was there sucking at the teat
  • She tried to drag in others to excuse her own ethically lax behavior

Dowd’s hate masquerading as an editorial is nothing new. She’s been doing this for two decades. But she got sloppy this time, slipping in a line accusing America’s first African American president of “using race” to get elected:

Then there’s the pile on the Big Dawg for a few things he said in a speech and what Madeline Albright said in a speech and what Gloria Steinem said in a speech. Yes, BernieBros, the Clintons control the media narrative. You can sure tell it by the nasty ass coverage of all this including the ginning up of your basic catfight.

Nearly defeated in Iowa, trailing in New Hampshire, and worried about everywhere else,Hillary Clinton’s campaign is bringing out the big guns, releasing political kraken Bill Clinton and summoning feminist icons Gloria Steinem and Madeleine Albright to reclaim young female voters who have flocked to Bernie Sanders.

In a sign that the formerly inevitable nominee is growing anxious, Bill went all-out against Sanders during a speech Sunday in New Hampshire that sparingly mentioned the Vermont senator by name, but implied that he was a hypocrite whose ideals were untethered to reality. “When you’re making a revolution, you can’t be too careful with the facts,” he sniped, according to The New York Times. But Bill didn’t stop there, accusing the Sanders campaign of fomenting the alleged “Bernie Bro” phenomenon, described by Politicoas a group “who harass female Clinton supporters online and accuse them of ‘voting with their vagina’ and call them ‘bitches.’” Condemning what he called “vicious trolling,” Bill said the attacks on his wife are “literally too profane … not to mention sexist.” (Sanders has denounced any sexism among the ranks of his supporters, saying misogyny has no place in his campaign.)

But Bill was not alone in his unusually harsh words for Sanders and his supporters. The Clinton campaign also tapped Steinem and Albright, two prominent, glass-ceiling-shattering women, to join in chastising young female voters for not supporting one of their own. “We can tell our story of how we climbed the ladder, and a lot of you younger women think it’s done,” Albright said Saturday during a Hillary event, according to The New York Times. “It’s not done. There’s a special place in hell for women who don’t help each other!” Steinem, never one to mince words, suggested Friday on Real Time with Bill Maher that young women are supporting Sanders’s campaign because “the boys are with Bernie.” Steinem and Albright both received significant backlash for their comments, with the Times reporting that some young women were insulted by the suggestion that they were “misinformed and stupid” for not voting along gendered lines.

The series of seemingly coordinated moves underscores how much Clinton, who made women’s rights a core mission during her time as secretary of state, has stumbled with female voters. Recent polls suggestthat women under 35 overwhelmingly prefer Sanders by a 20-point margin, citing their disapproval of Clinton’s Wall Street ties and her less progressive positions on economic problems like student debt and a weak job market for entry-level positions. Hillary hasn’t recovered well from these attacks, recently refusing to release transcripts of her speeches to large banks and organizations—for which she received compensation well into the six figures—unless everyone else “who’s ever given a speech to any private group under any circumstances” does so as well.

Since this is getting long, I’m going to let you add the links to the criticism for all that if you want along with your thoughts.  Or, we can talk about what kind of challenges we have in this country and who is the best to deal with them.

Meanwhile, did you know there’s a video with a black woman suggesting that the police should stop killing unarmed black people and that a black quarterback with his own kind’ve style upset reporters by leaving a presser early?

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Thursday Reads: The Amazing Stupidity of Ron Johnson, and Other News

cat books window

Good Morning!!

It sure was fun watching Hillary take on the blithering idiots of the GOP yesterday. She made them look silly and childish. As Charles Pierce wrote yesterday,

the appearance of Secretary Of State Hillary Clinton before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee this morning proved on very salient point: at its upper echelons which, at the moment, praise be, consist of only its congressional delegations, the Republican party has become something extraordinarily unserious. If its domestic policies, laid out clearly in the last election, were fairly well rejected, its notions in the area of foreign policy reside in a spot somewhere between threadbare and obsolete. They are lingering in a fairly brutal hangover between having gone all in on the Bush administrations’s grandiose schemes for imperial reconstruction and having yielded the real power in the party to people with all the gravitas of your drunk uncle who watches Fox all day and sends chain e-mails to the family.

There were so many stupid Republicans competing to be the most obnoxious questioners in the hearings, but I’d have to say that Wisconsin Tea Party Senator Ron Johnson made the biggest ass of himself. Hillary managed to keep her cool through more than five hours of questioning, but she lost her patience briefly with Johnson after he repeatedly argued that the State Department could have easily found out what actually happened in Benghazi by calling people who had been in the consulate and simply asking them (!). Dakinikat posted the video yesterday, but here’s Hillary’s so-called “eruption.”

“Senator, when you’re in these positions, the last thing you want to do is interfere with any other process going on,” Clinton said, adding that the State Department was waiting for the FBI to finish conducting interviews.

“I realize that’s a good excuse,” Johnson responded.

“Well, no, it’s the fact,” Clinton said. “Even today, there are questions being raised. We have no doubt they were terrorists, they were militants, they attacked us, they killed our people. But what was going on, and why they were doing what they were doing, is still, is still unknown.”

Clinton forcefully insisted neither UN Ambassador Susan Rice nor the Obama Administration misled the public. “With all due respect, the fact is we had four dead Americans,” she said. “Was it because of a protest, or was it because of guys out for a walk one night who decided they’d go kill some Americans? What difference, at this point, does it make? It our job to figure out what happened and do everything we can to prevent it from ever happening again, senator. Now, honestly, I will do my best to answer your questions about this. The fact is that people were trying, in real time, to get to the best information.”

I actually thought that was pretty mild, considering the idiocy of Johnson’s remarks. Joan Walsh had a great summary of Hillary’s day: Hillary faces down the angry men. On the Johnson interchange she writes:

On a morning in which senators vied for the worst moment, Tea Party darling Ron Johnson of Wisconsin stood out. “A very simple phone call to these individuals I think would have ascertained, immediately, that there was no protest prior to this…it was an assault,” he told Clinton condescendingly. The fact that Johnson could envision “a very simple phone call” in the wake of the Benghazi carnage – has he even seen photos of the devastated compound? – shows that he’s a very simple man when it comes to foreign policy. Johnson’s entire point was to ask, again, about Rice “purposely misleading” the Sunday shows five days after the attack.

After his humiliating beatdown by Clinton, Johnson made a bigger ass of himself by claiming to McKay Coppins of Buzzfeed that Hillary Clinton Planned To Get Emotional To Evade Questions

“I’m not sure she had rehearsed for that type of question,” Johnson told BuzzFeed Wednesday afternoon, after the Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing. “I think she just decided before she was going to describe emotionally the four dead Americans, the heroes, and use that as her trump card to get out of the questions. It was a good way of getting out of really having to respond to me.”

He said it was clear, at other points during the hearing, that Clinton was working off a set of talking points, but that his questions “got under her skin” because “they’re just so common sense.”
“I just don’t think she had an answer to that,” he said. “Maybe it embarrassed her. Maybe she hadn’t thought of it that way.”

He went on to criticize Clinton for ostensibly taking “full responsibility” for the State Department’s handling of the attacks, but then continuing to avoid questions with “theatrics.”
“She allowed politics to trump getting to the facts,” he said.

Yeah, like Hillary needed to get “emotional” to avoid answering questions about Susan Rice!  And get this, Johnson told Politico that Hillary probably never even thought to make those phone calls to people who had escaped the Beghazi carnage.

“Whether she actually never thought of calling them or she was kind of feeling a little guilty that she didn’t, I think the secretary of state had the responsibility to,” the Wisconsin senator said.

This guy doesn’t even realize what a fool he made of himself! BTW, Johnson is the same moron who offered to “mansplain” the federal budget to Tammy Baldwin after she was elected to the Senate in 2012. Johnson has been in Congress for all of two years, while Baldwin served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years and before that was a Wisconsin state representative. Oh, and she graduated from Smith College with a double major in math and government. Johnson worked in his father-in-law’s business until his first run for office in 2010.

In other greatest hits, Johnson believes he knows more about climate change than scientists who have spent years studying it. He said women who can’t afford birth control should just go on-line and google “what if I can’t afford birth control?” He claimed that the great recession ended before Obama took office in 2009.

In April 2012, Johnson became an object of ridicule after Roll Call published an article about his “frustration with his legislative staff.”

Freshman GOP Sen. Ron Johnson (Wis.) is looking to purge nearly his entire Washington, D.C.-based legislative team, according to multiple Republican sources familiar with the situation.

Johnson’s frustration with his legislative staff has been one of the worst-kept secrets in Washington for months, those close to Republican Conference politics said.

But the situation in Johnson’s office has escalated in recent weeks. The top brass of the Senate Republican Steering Committee — the Conference’s conservative hub — have connected at least one Johnson legislative aide with another GOP Senate office, and sources indicated they may be helping others find jobs before they are asked to permanently clear their desks.

Johnson denied the charges, but

While top Republican sources expressed exasperation at the internal turmoil in Johnson’s office, they also noted that the Wisconsin freshman has not been diligent in building relationships with other Senators within the Conference and has alienated himself by not reaching out more frequently to colleagues.

“He’s an interesting case study of someone who has talked more than he has listened, lectured more than he has developed relationships with his colleagues, and now he’s having a tough time because of that behavior in advancing his policy goals,” one senior GOP aide said. “It’s kind of like watching a temper tantrum by a 2-year-old in the middle of the grocery store.”

“The Senate is still about relationships, and he doesn’t seem to get that,” the aide continued.

Bwwwwwaaaaaaahahahahahahaha!!!!!

How stupid is Ron Johnson? He’s so stupid that some of his constituents started a website called “Our Dumb Senator” to keep track of his ongoing stupidity.

Now look what I’ve done. I’ve wasted most of this post the stupid Senator from Wisconsin–can you believe this guy actually beat Russ Feingold?!

In other news, it’s now confirmed that Beyonce didn’t really sing the National Anthem at the Inauguration.

An inaugural official confirmed to CNN on Wednesday that Beyonce lip-synced the National Anthem during Monday’s Inauguration Day ceremony.

“She did not sing live,” the official, who asked to remain anonymous, told CNN, adding that the singer made the decision herself to go with a pre-recording the night before Monday’s ceremony.

“Because she didn’t have time to rehearse with the Marine Band, she decided to use her recording with the Marine Band,” the official added. “It was all Beyonce.”

Ho hum, just like American Bandstand back in the day. I guess if Obama didn’t care no one else should. I’m not a Beyonce fan, frankly, and I didn’t really care for her rendition of the song. I’ve heard much better. So shoot me.

I have some more interesting reads for you that I’m just going to throw out link dump style. First, some articles about Carmen Ortiz, the U.S. Attorney from Boston who drove cyber activist Aaron Swartz to suicide. The consensus seems to be that Ortiz’s career is over.

Who What Why: Carmen Ortiz’s Sordid Rap Sheet

Scott Horton at Harpers: Carmen Ortiz Strikes Out

Blue Mass Group: Not how the news was supposed to go for Carmen Ortiz

A few more links:

HuffPo: Mississippi’s GOP Governor Says No American Lacks Health Care

Alternet: How ‘Stop and Frisk’ Is Too Often a Sexual Assault by Cops on Teenagers in Targeted NYC Neighborhoods

Amy Davidson at The New Yorker: ISOLATED VICTIMS, FROM WILLIAMSBURG TO NOTRE DAME

Andrew Marantz at The New Yorker on the Animal Planet’s “Puppy Bowl” on Super Bowl Sunday

Alex Pareene: The brilliantly stupid new plan to raise the debt ceiling without raising it

Jonathan Chait: Boehner: Let’s Destroy Math Instead of the Economy

LA Times: Carbs were key in wolves’ evolution into dogs

Now it’s your turn. What are you reading and blogging about today?