Friday Morning and the planet exists for the moment

steve-bannon-cartoon-sackWell, I’m awake.  I’m still grading and want it over.

I want everything about Donald Trump over too.  I can only wish the worst on every Trump voter and supporter on the planet. There cannot be ONE thing about them at this point that’s redeeming for having done that deed.  Just that act removes them from humanity permanently.

I only have a few stories today because they sort’ve say it all.

This story from the Los Angeles Times shows that we now have no moral authority anywhere any more. Texas is once again the epicenter of man’s inhumanity to man.

A critically ill woman from El Salvador who was awaiting emergency surgery for a brain tumor was forcibly moved from a Texas hospital to a detention center by federal agents, raising concerns about President Trump’s directive to more aggressively pursue people living in the country illegally …

Sara Beltran-Hernandez, 26, a mother of two young children, was bound by her hands and feet and removed by a wheelchair belonging to wheelchair rental services in San Diego from Huguley Hospital in Fort Worth by Immigration and Customs Enforcement agents who brought her to a detention facility in Alvarado, Texas.

Appearing at a gathering of conservative activists alongside Chief of Staff Reince Priebus, Bannon dismissed the idea that Trump might moderate his positions or seek consensus with political opponents. Rather, he said, the White House is digging in for a long period of conflict to transform Washington and upend the world order.
“If you think they’re going to give you your country back without a fight, you are sadly mistaken,” Bannon said in reference to the media and opposition forces. “Every day, it is going to be a fight.”
He continued, “And that is what I’m proudest about Donald Trump. All the opportunities he had to waver off this, all the people who have come to him and said, ‘Oh, you’ve got to moderate’ — every day in the Oval Office, he tells Reince and I, ‘I committed this to the American people, I promised this when I ran, and I’m going to deliver on this.’ ”

He’s really going to start an arms race at the rate he’s going.  Oh, and CPAC has gotten worse if that’s possible but you can discuss that downthread.  I’ve had all I can take for today already.

President Donald Trump has expressed concern that the United States has “fallen behind” in its nuclear weapons capacity and that he would like to restore its supremacy.

In an interview with the Reuters news agency, Trump said he would prefer a world free of nuclear weapons but otherwise the United States should be “at the top of the pack.”

The remarks came as Trump prepares to address the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Friday. Trump takes top billing at the conference a day after his key advisers, chief strategist Steve Bannon and chief of staff Reince Priebus, appeared on the CPAC stage to discuss Trump’s agenda and rail against the media.

I am staying away from the TV definitely today unless it involves a huge disaster that kills every one at that meeting.
Stay close to the people and things that have meaning for you.  For me, that includes our merry band of sky dancers who hang here with us during the worst of times and the best.
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What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
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Sunday Reads: Going Green and Non-Prada Pope Footwear

spdGood Morning and

Happy St. Patrick’s Day!

Hope everyone enjoys their day, I am also hopeful that today we see justice prevail. A verdict is expected in the Steubenville Rape Trial . We will let you know if and when the verdict does come down…

I will start this post off with some political news, CPAC is over, the conservative party has tried to rebrand their image…they sure haven’t changed one bit. Not that I expected anything different, but the conservative nut cases definitely made some people feel unwelcome to the party.

The CPAC Hits Keep on Comin’: Black Man Tossed Out After Wingnut Screams at Him, ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’

Another graphic example of the right wing’s “minority outreach:” CPAC: Black Man Tossed Out After Breitbart Hack Screams at Him ‘Race Doesn’t Matter’.

In this video from CPAC, a black man seems like he sincerely interested in helping find a way for conservatives to appeal to other African Americans, but then he suddenly gets screamed on by a white guy who insists that “race doesn’t matter.” Which in short, summarizes why the Republicans continually lose the vote of any group that doesn’t have white skin.

And the whole scene was caught on tape:

And if you think this was the only disgusting racist outburst at CPAC you would be mistaken…When The GOP Told Whitey I Aint Gonna Take It No More

Yesterday, a CPAC breakout session on reaching out to black voters broke down in shouting and acrimony as a handful of ‘disenfranchised whites’ attacked the premise of the session (along with black complaints about slaveholders), got into a verbal fight with a black female attendee and with all that managed to unite the crowd against the black woman as the one who somehow spoiled all the fun.

TPM’s Benjy Sarlin was there right as it was all happening and wrote this eye-popping account in more or less real time.

[…]

the bigger thing coming out of this raucous event isn’t what the one or two people said — though that was probably enough to be the takeaway for many for the entire conference — as the fact that the whole imbroglio ended with denunciations of the black woman who was the one person to go into freak out mode — pretty understandably — on hearing the merits of chattel slavery being argued in the 21st century at a panel on racial tolerance and outreach.

From the Benjy Sarlin link…Tea Party Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Arrive

A CPAC session sponsored by Tea Party Patriots and billed as a primer on teaching activists how to court black voters devolved into a shouting match as some attendees demanded justice for white voters and others shouted down a black woman who reacted in horror.

The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”

Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right.

“I don’t care how much the KKK improved,” he said. “I’m not going to join the KKK. The Democratic Party founded the KKK.”

Lines like that drew shouts of praise from some attendees and murmurs of disapproval from one non-conservative black attendee, Kim Brown, a radio host and producer with Voice of Russia, a broadcasting service of the Russian government.

But then questions and answers began. And things went off the rails.

Heh…heh, sorry for the laugh, but what the hell would you expect with a discussion entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?”

Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”

Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.

At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting. Organizers calmed things down by asking everyone to “take the debate outside after the presentation.”

I have to quote a bit more of this TPM post because it is just too fantastic…

Brown, who took offense at the suggestion modern Democrats were descendants of the KKK, tried to ask a question later once things finally calmed down. She was booed and screamed at by audience members.

“Let someone else speak!” one attendee in Revolutionary War garb shouted.

“You’re not welcome!” a white-haired older woman yelled.

Eventually she asked a question. It was about whether Republicans should call out racist ads.

Attendees interviewed by TPM afterwards expressed outrage at the way the event turned out. Not at Terry and Heimbach — they were mad at Brown.

Chad Chapman, 21, one of the few black attendees, said overall he enjoyed the event — except “there were lots of interruptions, mainly because of the woman.”

I asked whether he was concerned about the question from Terry and Heimbach.

“No they were just telling the truth,” he said. You mean you agree blacks are systematically disenfranchising whites, I asked?

“I listen to anybody’s point of view, it doesn’t really matter,” he said.

A media scrum formed around Terry immediately after the close of the event. A woman wearing a Tea Party Patriots CPAC credential who had shouted down Brown earlier urged him not to give his name to the press.

She wouldn’t give her name either, but I asked her what she thought.

“Look, you know there’s no doubt the white males are getting really beat up right now, it’s unfair,” she said. “I agree with that. My husband’s one of them. But I don’t think there’s a clear understanding about what really is going on. He needs to read Frederick Douglass and I think that question should be asked to everyone in this room who is debating.”

Alright, just go to the link and read the rest…including a statement from K. Carl  Smith, the man who led the session…wow.

Ralph Nader is the author of this next link: Walmart Bosses and the Minimum Wage

Last weekend on a bright, sunny day a dozen of us demonstrated at shopping malls where Walmart has three of its giant stores, supplied heavily by products from China and other serf-wage countries. But outsourcing the jobs of its American suppliers to China was not the focus last Saturday. We were drawing attention to the plight of one million Walmart workers who are making far less than what Walmart workers made in 1968 when the minimum wage was the inflation-adjusted equivalent of $10.50 an hour today.

In 1968 Walmart was run by its founder, the legendary Sam Walton, who started with one store in Bentonville, Arkansas. Sam had to pay his workers wages that were worth much more than wages today because the law required him to do so.

The clenched-jawed CEO opposition to catching the minimum wage up with 1968 for their workers continues to manifest itself today. CEOs seem to have little concern for the budget-squeezed daily lives of their employees.

These days, however, Walmart is feeling some heat with the rising demand for increasing the stagnant federal minimum wage finally coming from Washington, backed by over 70 percent of the people in polls. A Walmart rival, the successful Costco, has a CEO who already endorsed a federal minimum wage over $10.00 an hour. Costco starts its entry-level workers at $11.50 per hour plus benefits that Walmart workers do not receive. As blogger Alan DiCara said, “Walmart’s benefits department is the U.S. taxpayer.”

Yup, and read the rest of Nader’s post. I’d comment more on the sad situation with Walmart employees….but you all are well aware of the difficulties that come with working for minimum wage.

One thing I find funny is this latest image of the new pope…or should I say…the poor man’s pope.

Francis Emerges

Pope Francis Holds An Audience With Journalists And The Media

Hey, look at that…no designer ruby slippers for Pope Francis. You can read Andrew Sullivan’s take on the new pope here.

Meanwhile, here in the states…North Dakota Passes Ban on Abortions After 6 Weeks of Pregnancy

The North Dakota legislature approved the most restrictive abortion laws in the United States on Friday, cutting off abortion access as early as six weeks into a pregnancy. The bill, HB 1456, makes it illegal for doctors to perform an abortion if a heartbeat is detectable in the fetus—something that can happen as little as six weeks after conception. It passed the Senate by a vote of 26 to 17, and will now head to the desk of Republican Gov. Jack Dalrymple.

North Dakota lawmakers have been considering a variety of anti-abortion bills. While this wasn’t their most extreme option—another bill would have outlawed all abortions, period—it does mean that North Dakota now has the most restrictive abortion law in the country. This comes just over a week after Arkansas claimed the crown for most restrictive abortion laws, passing a twelve-week ban.

This new law will more than likely be challenged in court, but damn…six weeks? That is ridiculous.

Now for some real interesting stories…in link dump fashion.

Remains of Teutonic Knights Identified

Polish archaeologists have identified the remains of three grand masters of the Teutonic Knights, a medieval religious and military order that ruled much of the Baltic coast in the late Middle Ages.

Take a look at this post and you may find something new to read…New Books on the Middle Ages: March | Medieval News

There is a beautiful gallery here about Science as art: Photography competition brings the two disciplines together

Albert Einstein’s claim that “The greatest scientists are artists as well,” is illustrated by some of the contenders for a photography competition at Cambridge University on Tuesday.

And since it is St. Patrick’s Day, we will end with something green…Globe glows green: It’s St Patrick’s Day fever

 

Sláinte is the traditional greeting today, and the normal toast is made with a pint of a certain black stout. More extreme fans of St Patrick’s Day – as found among those of Irish descent in the US – will be dressing in as much green as they can lay their hands on, painting their faces and even dyeing their hair.

This year, in celebration of the Celtic saint’s day, more than 40 international landmarks are being lit in green. From the pyramids and the Leaning Tower of Pisa, to the Sydney Opera House and South Africa’s Table Mountain: some of the most recognised man-made and geographical attractions will join a host of British landmarks to “go green”.

Be sure to check out those go green images at the link.

So what are you doing today? Share your thoughts with us…


Saturday Late Morning Reads

groucho reading newspaper

Good Morning!!

Last night I watched an old Marx Brothers movie–Monkey Business. It’s been years since I’ve watched one of their movies, and I’d forgotten how much fun it can be. Laughter really is the best medicine. Wouldn’t it be great if we could see a movie with the Marx Brothers making people like Mitch McConnell, Paul Ryan, and David Gregory look like complete idiots?

Not that Republicans need Groucho, Chico, or Harpo to highlight their idiocy, as you can see from this story at TPM: CPAC Event On Racial Tolerance Turns To Chaos As ‘Disenfranchised’ Whites Arrive

The session, entitled “Trump The Race Card: Are You Sick And Tired Of Being Called A Racist When You Know You’re Not One?” was led by K. Carl Smith, a black conservative who mostly urged attendees to deflect racism charges by calling themselves “Frederick Douglass Republicans.”

Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right….Disruptions began when he started accusing Democrats of still being the party of the Confederacy — a common talking point on the right.

But “things really went off the rails” in the question and answer session.

Scott Terry of North Carolina, accompanied by a Confederate-flag-clad attendee, Matthew Heimbach, rose to say he took offense to the event’s take on slavery. (Heimbach founded the White Students Union at Towson University and is described as a “white nationalist” by the Southern Poverty Law Center.)

“It seems to be that you’re reaching out to voters at the expense of young white Southern males,” Terry said, adding he “came to love my people and culture” who were “being systematically disenfranchised.”

Smith responded that Douglass forgave his slavemaster.

“For giving him shelter? And food?” Terry said.

At this point the event devolved into a mess of shouting.

It sounds just like a Marx Brothers movie, without the jokes. There’s much more at the link–you have to read it to believe it.

More on CPAC from Gay activist and talk radio host Michaelangelo Signorile: Brian Brown, NOM Leader, At CPAC: Prop 8 Challenge Is ‘Biggest Strategic Mistake’ of Gay Rights Movement

A day before GOP Sen. Rob Portman of Ohio reversed his position and came out for marriage equality, Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), insisted conservatives are rallying against gay marriage and that “if the Republican Party abandons traditional marriage, there is no Republican Party.” He also predicted that California’s Proposition 8 will be upheld by the Supreme Court, which is hearing arguments on the case later this month, calling the decision by gay advocates to challenge Prop 8 “the biggest strategic mistake the supporters of same-sex marriage ever have made.”

“I think people are excited [about traditional marriage],” Brown said in an interview on my SiriusXM OutQ radio program, speaking at the Conservative Political Action Conference in National Harbor, Md., on Thursday. “[Florida Senator] Marco Rubio just stood up there and said, ‘Just because I’m for traditional marriage doesn’t make me a bigot.’ And everyone stood up and cheered. The grass roots of conservatism are absolutely united behind traditional marriage. Folks I’m seeing here are absolutely committed.”

You can listen to the whole interview at the HuffPo link.

marx bros reading1

I liked TBogg’s rude comment on Portman’s overnight conversion: Honey, I’m Homo.

If you think the rapidity with which a Republican politician, who was previously against equal rights for gays, suddenly switches sides once he discovers that Teh Ghey has invaded his happy All-American home is impressive, you should see how quickly they embrace abortion as a God-given right the moment their daughter announces that she has been knocked up.

By a black guy.

Jonathan Chait has a longer, more carefully reasoned discussion of Portman’s hypocrisy. Here’s the conclusion:

It’s pretty simple. Portman went along with his party’s opposition to gay marriage because it didn’t affect him. He thought about gay rights the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care. And he still obviously thinks about most issues the way Paul Ryan thinks about health care.

That Portman turns out to have a gay son is convenient for the gay-rights cause. But why should any of us come away from his conversion trusting that Portman is thinking on any issue about what’s good for all of us, rather than what’s good for himself and the people he knows?

Exactly.

As for Paul Ryan, he claims that “Democrats’ budget puts US on path ‘straight into debt crisis.'” From The Hill:

Ryan used the weekly GOP address to promote the budget plan bearing his name, saying it will benefit Americans worried about jobs and the cost of living, those trying to keep up with the cost of healthcare and younger workers hoping for a secure retirement. “And for taxpayers fed up with the status quo, we will cut wasteful spending,” he said….

Ryan took aim at President Obama and Senate Democrats, saying the tax increases in a proposal from Sen. Patty Murray (D-Wash.) only “fuel more spending.”

“We know where this path leads—straight into a debt crisis, and along the way, fewer jobs, fewer opportunities, and less security,” Ryan said, painting a desperate image of rising interest rates and inflating debt payments.

“Our finances will collapse,” he warned. “You think this can’t happen here? Just look at Europe.”

harpo-gookie

WTF?! Europe’s problems are being exacerbated by austerity! Is this guy for real? Here’s what the Tax Policy Center has to say about Mr. Ryan’s “budget.”

House GOP Would Need $5.7 Trillion in Tax Hikes to Offset Ryan Rate Cuts

House Budget Committee Chair Paul Ryan’s (R-WI) fiscal plan promises to balance the federal budget in 10 years, make major cuts in income tax rates for both individuals and corporations, and raise the same amount of revenue as current law. If House Republicans want to do all three, they will have to eliminate trillions of dollars in popular tax preferences.

The Tax Policy Center estimates that cutting individual rates to 10 percent and 25 percent, repealing the Alternative Minimum Tax and the tax increases included in the Affordable Care Act, and cutting the corporate rate from 35 percent to 25 percent would add $5.7 trillion to the deficit over the next decade. Thus, if House Republicans want to cut these taxes and still collect the revenues they promise, they’d have to raise other taxes by $5.7 trillion.

The tax cuts described in Ryan’s budget would generate a huge windfall for high-income taxpayers. On average, households would get a cut of $3,000. But those in the top 0.1 percent of income, who make $3.3 million or more, would get a whopping $1.2 million on average–a 20 percent increase in their after-tax income.

By contrast, middle-income households would get an average tax cut of about $900. Those in the bottom 20 percent (who make $22,000 or less) would get $40 and one-third of them would get no tax cut at all.

Some important caveats here: TPC did not estimate the revenue effects of a Ryan tax proposal since the budget does not include an actual plan. Rather, it modeled generic tax cuts that follow the outline of what his budget describes. And because his plan does not identify any tax increases, TPC modeled only the tax cuts.

Some budget. Here’s Matthew O’Brien at The Atlantic: Paul Ryan’s $5.7 Trillion Magic Trick

I’m not really a fan of magic, but I’m even less of one when it’s politicians doing the tricks.

That’s why I’ve had some less-than-nice things to say about Paul Ryan’s latest budget. Like its previous iterations, it explicitly says how he wants to cut taxes, but says nothing about how he wants to pay for it. Instead, Ryan uses a magic asterisk. He merely waves his hand, and says he’ll cut enough tax expenditures to pay for all of his tax cuts. He just can’t tell us what any of these tax expenditures are. Not a single one.

This is some pretty expensive hand-waving….this magic asterisk is worth about $1 trillion more than before. Ryan keeps the same tax cuts he had last year, but he assumes these same cuts will raise an extra 0.5 percent of GDP in revenue. In other words, it’s the same magical budgeting we’ve come to know from Ryan — but now with even more magic!

It’s particularly magical for the top 1 percent of households. The chart below from the Tax Policy Center shows the percent change in after-tax incomes for each income group from Ryan’s tax cuts. That’s what comforting the comfortable looks like.

There’s much more (with charts) at the link.

Now here’s some good news–if it holds up: Federal Judge Finds National Security Letters Unconstitutional, Bans Them. From Wired:

Ultra-secret national security letters that come with a gag order on the recipient are an unconstitutional impingement on free speech, a federal judge in California ruled in a decision released Friday.

U.S. District Judge Susan Illston ordered the government to stop issuing so-called NSLs across the board, in a stunning defeat for the Obama administration’s surveillance practices. She also ordered the government to cease enforcing the gag provision in any other cases. However, she stayed her order for 90 days to give the government a chance to appeal to the Ninth Circuit Court of Appeals.

“We are very pleased that the Court recognized the fatal constitutional shortcomings of the NSL statute,” said Matt Zimmerman, senior staff attorney for the Electronic Frontier Foundation, which filed a challenge to NSLs on behalf of an unknown telecom that received an NSL in 2011. “The government’s gags have truncated the public debate on these controversial surveillance tools. Our client looks forward to the day when it can publicly discuss its experience.”

The telecommunications company received the ultra-secret demand letter in 2011 from the FBI seeking information about a customer or customers. The company took the extraordinary and rare step of challenging the underlying authority of the National Security Letter, as well as the legitimacy of the gag order that came with it.

The national security letters are one of those holdovers from Bush that the Obama administration has defended in court. Please read the whole article if you have time–there’s a lot of good background info. Here’s the press release from the EFF. Who knows what will happen on appeal or if the case makes it to the Supreme Court, but this is very good news.

chico marx reading

Finally, we can look forward to some more insanity from the CPAC crowd today–Ted Cruz will be closing out the conference with his keynote speech–and before that there’ll be a whole assortment of mixed Republican nuts. From NPR:

It’s the last day of the annual Conservative Political Action Conference in Maryland, which will culminate in a keynote address by up-and-coming Sen. Ted Cruz of Texas. As NPR’s David Welna reports,

“Though he’s only been a senator since January, this will be the third year Texas Republican Sen. Ted Cruz is addressing CPAC. This former Texas solicitor general and Tea Party favorite got top billing at the conference after aggressively questioning former GOP senator Chuck Hagel during Hagel’s confirmation hearing to be secretary of defense.”

Also scheduled to speak are Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker, Newt Gingrich, Rep. Michele Bachmann and Sarah Palin. (CPAC has the full schedule on its website.)

Sorry this post is so late–I hope everyone hasn’t given up on me already. If anyone is out there, please share your recommended links in the comments. I look forward to clicking on them!

Have a great weekend!


Senate turning into the Ted Cruz Show: Would you like to play a game of “Wacko Birds”?

Yes, it’s another post demonstrating that Ted Cruz thinks he knows more than everyone else.  He continues to spew lectures more appropriate for school children than adults. Cruz lectured Senator Dianne Feinstein on the Constitution.  She fired back. You can see her response to his uppity asshole comments.

Feinstein became furious at one point with Cruz, who she saw as lecturing to her about the meaning of the Constitution and why manufactured_a_communistthe framers of that document used certain language.

“I’m not a sixth-grader,” she told the freshman Tea Party favorite. “I’m not a lawyer, but after 20 years, I’ve been up close and personal to the Constitution. I have great respect for it. … It’s fine you want to lecture me on the Constitution. I appreciate it. Just know I’ve been here for a long time. I’ve passed on a number of bills. I’ve studied the Constitution myself. I am reasonably well-educated, and I thank you for the lecture.”

Cruz responded by asking Feinstein if she also thought she had the power to interpret the First Amendment by deciding what books people could read.

Feinstein said she was happy that child pornography was illegal, and Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) stepped in, bringing up controversies in Cruz’s home state over the content of its textbooks.

-courtesy-benjamin-leeTed Cruz seems to be on a fast track to replacing Jim Demint as the most bombastic–and therefore least effective–idiot in the Senate.  Given he’s got some great competition in Rand Paul, that says a lot.  He’s already  garnered comparisons to McCarthy and McCarthyism already.  CPAC has declared Cruz its new American Hero and Cruz appears ready to abuse the legacy of Ronald Reagan like the rest of the delusional Republican masses.  I wonder how many pictures of Ronald Reagan grace the focal points of Republican toilet stools throughout Red State America? Astrolube to the Stars any one?

Cruz (R-Texas) was the keynote speaker at the annual Weyrich Awards dinner in downtown Washington, a gathering of conservative groups and activists. He’ll deliver the closing speech at CPAC on Saturday evening.

Upon his arrival, Cruz joked about sequestration and Sen. John McCain’s (R-Ariz.) recent suggestion that Cruz, Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) and Rep. Justin Amash (R-Mich.) are “wacko birds.”

“It is wonderful to be among friends or, as some might say, fellow wacko birds,” he said, to laughs from the crowd. “If standing for the Constitution, standing for liberty, standing for values makes one a wacko bird … then I am pleased that birds of a feather flock together.”

Cruz, a Tea Party favorite who rode grassroots enthusiasm to defeat establishment Republican candidate David Dewhurst in a runoff last summer, has been a star of the conservative movement since he took office in January. Cruz spoke for 40 minutes and received multiple standing ovations from the crowd of a few hundred people.

 Cruz has his own concept of why Republicans lose elections these days.  They’re simply not good enough at lecturing people about their own interests, I guess.

Cruz said that in order to “win the argument” against Democrats, two key words should be “tattooed on every [Republican’s] hand”: “growth” and “opportunity.”

If Republicans can stress those two ideas instead of focusing on cuts and negative ideas, he said, they’ll be able to convince the American people that Republicans are actually the party that’s best for struggling Americans.

“One of the most painful things about being a conservative is how many elected Republicans do not understand that our policies work — and they work especially for those struggling to climb the economic ladder,” he said. “We’re not going to win the argument unless we understand that our ideas work.”

This concept is one that President Ronald Reagan understood, he said.

“President Reagan didn’t have to agonize over a speech about how to convey that because he lived it. He understood this is who we are as Americans and every one of us in this room understands that also.”

It’s a little early in his career to get a good handle on how far this particular “wacko bird” can go but I have a feeling that-unlike Demint–his type of crazy is powered by a few more braincells than your usual neoconfederate revivalist.  Get ready to embrace that old timey plantation religion.


Late Later Latest…Evening News Reads

No Birth Control for You... My, what would Jesus say?

Oh, I know it is late…so if you are up and about go ahead and treat this as an open thread.

Since it is so late, I just will post a few news items that did not make a lot of news today.

Bradley Manning to face formal trial on February 23 | World news | guardian.co.uk

The formal trial stage in the case of the WikiLeaks suspect Bradley Manning will begin on February 23, the US military has announced, when the soldier will be arraigned on all 22 counts relating to the largest leak of state secrets in American history.

Manning will be transferred on that day from his current imprisonment at Fort Leavenworth in Kansas to Fort Meade in Maryland, where he will be read all the charges against him and asked to give his plea. It will be the first occasion that he has come in front of a military judge representing the full power of the court martial system.

In most cases, the arraignment is a short and routine hearing that marks the accused’s official bringing to trial. In Manning’s case, however, it presents his trial lawyer David Coombs with the opportunity to raise objections to the conduct of the prosecution against his client.

Specifically…the fact that Manning has been in custody for such a long time…

In particular, Coombs has the option to complain about the exceptional length of time that Manning has been languishing in military jail. Under the US constitution, court martial cases must be brought within 120 days of charges being preferred against a suspect.

The military rule book, under rule 707 for speedy trial, makes clear that military justice must be dispensed quickly. It says that in some circumstances, delays may be prejudicial to the accused and may result in dismissal of the case.

A military spokesperson said that Manning’s 120 days, known as his “speedy trial clock”, began on 29 May 2010, yet he has continued to be held at the brig at Quantico marine base in Virginia and latterly at Fort Leavenworth for months beyond the deadline. The extra time taken to come to trial was due, the spokesperson said, to requests by Manning’s own defence team and the period in which classified documents were being handled.

“Offenses ordinarily should be disposed of promptly to serve the interests of good order and discipline. Priority shall be given to persons in arrest or confinement.”

If you did not know, CPAC is once again spewing the hate…oops, I mean basking in the glow of good Conservative Christian brotherhood. White Nationalists Agree: Multiculturalism is Bad

Right-wing members of Congress have never shied from associating with some of fringe agitators, but appearing with a white nationalist is beyond the pale. On Thursday afternoon, Iowa Rep. Steve King jovially appeared on a panel with Peter Brimelow, an anti-immigrant author that the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has termed a white nationalist. Brimelow wrote Alien Nation and founded the online community VDARE, which SPLC describes as “a nonprofit that warns against the polluting of America by non-whites, Catholics, and Spanish-speaking immigrants.”

King had no qualms about associating himself with Brimelow when I caught up with the congressman after the panel. “Consider the source, I’m not in a position to judge people in the fashion that they seem to be so free to do,” King said of the SPLC.

King was not on the public schedule for the panel held at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC), and showed up as a surprise guest an hour after the panel started. Hosted by a group called ProEnglish—which supports English as the official language—the panel was titled “The Failure of Multiculturalism.” According to King’s assistant, the congressman had always planned to attend in order to push the bill he has sponsored to make English the country’s only official language. After standing at the podium and pitching his bill to make English the legal language—”there’s no reason to back off, there’s no reason to think all the names we’re called are accurate, they are not”—King sat down with the panelists to take questions. When Brimelow introduced himself to the congressman, King exclaimed, “Oh yes, Peter! I’ve read your books, I just hadn’t met you.”

And what did Brimelow say at the CPAC conference?

Brimelow’s prepared remarks during the panel railed against laws in Canada that dictate a dual national language, French and English. “I think it’s a hogwash,” he said of bilingualism, proudly touting his knowledge of only one language. “I’ve never felt the absence.”

And those other scheduled guest? Well some were not able to make it, they must be tending to property issues that usually arise when you burn a cross in someone’s yard.

Serge Trifkovic, a foreign affairs editor for Chronicle magazine, had to cancel his appearance at the last minute, but the panel’s moderator graciously read his anti-multiculturalism screed. Wrapped in the language of academia, the speech essentially explained why whites of European descent must reject notions of multiculturalism as a “neurotic” affront to their community. “Members of the Western elite class overwhelming subscribe to a neoliberal outlook in general, and to the tenets of multiculturalism in particular,” the speech read. “In other words, they tend to accept the principle that recognition, positive accommodation, and even celebration of demands and special political and moral claims of various ethno-racial, religious, or sexual minorities are obligatory through group-differentiated rights. The result is a obsessive favoritism of allegedly disadvantaged groups often hostile to the European descendent majority of Americans.”

Speaking of anti-culturalism…or should I say anti-Mexican: Mississippi Bill Changes Name of ‘Gulf of Mexico’ to ‘Gulf of America’ | Fox News Latino

Now before you get all pissed at a GOP legislator drafting a bill to rename the Gulf of Mexico, get this…it is a Democratic State Representative.

Mississippi State Rep. Steve Holland, a Democrat, has introduced a bill calling for the part of the Gulf of Mexico that is bordered by Mississippi to be renamed the “Gulf of America.”

The measure, known as HB 150 and introduced to the state House Marine Resources Committee, says the body of water will have its new name beginning July 1.

You just can’t make this shit up…

I am sure Dakinikat can think of a few new non-foreign names for BP aka British Petroleum.

And lastly, oh this is good…and dammit we need a laugh today!

Face Of The Day – The Dish | By Andrew Sullivan – The Daily Beast

A photo that screams “Screw you guys, I’m going home”:

51Fy0

by Chris Bodenner

The story

…at the link!

Well, that is all I have for you tonight…and in my best Cartman voice…Screw you guys, I’m going home. (But since I am already home…There is a chocolate chicken pot pie with my name on it.)

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I’ve thought about writing some posts about the CPAC circus but frankly, any thing that gives Donald Rumsfeld a “Defender of the Constitution Award” plus features Dick Cheney and Donald Trump is just way too over the top for me.  There were several interesting things and most of it came via Ron Paul and his very dedicated groupies.  One of them shouted Dick Cheney down as a “war criminal”.  Most of the Fundies were AWOL because they didn’t want to be seen networking with folks that might be out there trying to convert them to the “radical homosexual agenda”.   Then there was The other Donald with your zen moment of the day saying that Ron Paul was a nice guy but had “zero chance” of get elected.  Next question, Mr. Trump.  What are your chances of being elected then?

One shout of “where’s Bin Laden?” rang out as Cheney spoke of Rumsfeld.

That led to the pro-Cheney contingent (which it should be said greatly outnumbers the opposition) to shout the hecklers down with the familiar “USA, USA” chant.

It was all very odd, especially considering that when Cheney appeared as the “surprise guest” at last year’s CPAC he was greeted with the kind of cheers generally reserved for a rock star.

But Team Paul — whose numbers appear to have grown at CPAC in 2011 — were not going to let that happen this time around.

“Uh, Defender of the Constitution?” Justin Bradfield of Maryland scoffed when I caught up with him after he walked out of Rumsfeld’s speech. “Let’s see: he expanded the Defense Department more than pretty much any other defense secretary and he enforced the Patriot Act.”

“[Speaking] as a libertarian, that’s not really the type of person who should be getting Defender of the Constitution,” he added.

Wow, this is the sort’ve thing that calls for popcorn and chagrin.  The Hill covered the Trump card.

Business mogul Donald Trump said Thursday that Rep. Ron Paul (R-Texas) could not possibly win the 2012 presidential race.

“By the way, Ron Paul cannot get elected, I’m sorry to tell you,” Trump said at the Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) on Thursday. “I like Ron Paul, I think he’s a good guy, but honestly he just has zero chance of getting elected.”

Then, the Caucus at the NYT covered the background on the Trumped-up decision to run for President.  Oh, the drama!  Oh, the pathos!  Oh, the ratings boost!

“Obviously, it’s a tremendous forum to espouse his views and to express the fact that he is legitimately contemplating on this run,” said Michael Cohen, the executive vice president of the Trump organization, who confirmed his attendance at the forum. “He is seriously considering doing this because he’s disgusted with how the country is being run.”

Mr. Cohen, a special counsel to Mr. Trump, has started a Web site, http://www.shouldtrumprun.com, to serve as something of a draft movement. But the Web site is far from an organic outpouring, considering that it is run by people on Mr. Trump’s payroll.

Advisers to Mr. Trump say that he will decide by June whether to go forward with a Republican presidential bid. The timing is built around his television program, “The Apprentice,” which is scheduled to end by June.

I have to admit that I was more interested in who WASN’T as much as I was in hearing about the theatrics concerning the attendees.  What does it say when two of the top draws in Republican Straw polls find better things to do?

I’m not sure if you caught the WAPO editorial written by a member of the Muslim Brotherhood, Abedel Moneim Abou el Fotouh but you may want to give it a read. I’m basically of the opinion that we should worry about the Fundies in our back yard before we worry about the Fundies in some one else’s back yard. El Fotouh tells us we shouldn’t worry at all.  He also reminds us that peoples of a nation have a right to self-govern. That’s the basic American principle that does make the US exceptional.

Contrary to fear-mongering reports, the West and the Muslim Brotherhood are not enemies. It is a false dichotomy to posit, as some alarmists are suggesting, that Egypt’s choices are either the status quo of the Mubarak regime or a takeover by “Islamic extremists.” First, one must make a distinction between the ideological and political differences that the Brotherhood may have with the United States. For Muslims, ideological differences with others are taught not to be the root cause of violence and bloodshed because a human being’s freedom to decide how to lead his or her personal life is an inviolable right found in basic Islamic tenets, as well as Western tradition. Political differences, however, can be a matter of existential threats and interests, and we have seen this play out, for example, in the way the Mubarak regime has violently responded to peaceful demonstrators.

We fully understand that the United States has political interests in Egypt. But does the United States understand that the sovereign state of Egypt, with its 80 million people, has its own interests? Whatever the U.S. interests are in Egypt, they cannot trump Egyptian needs or subvert the will of the people without consequences. Such egotism is a recipe for disaster. With a little altruism, the United States should not hesitate to reassess its interests in the region, especially if it genuinely champions democracy and is sincere about achieving peace in the Middle East.

I have to admit that any one who lives in Louisiana usually has a huge number of Mississippi jokes up their sleeve.  The same was true for Nebraska on Iowa.  Nebraska had a red and white license plate design and we always called Iowa Drivers out as ‘blue plate specials’ for there blue tags.  I got to use that same joke down here on the folks from Mississippi; especially my New Yorker transplant boyfriend who taught molecular biology and lived in Forrest County.  I just learned where the Forrest came from and  I’m not even sure I can express what I want to say about this tidbit on a proposed Mississippi license plates: ‘Mississippi May Honor Early KKK Leader On Commemorative License Plate. Some historical figures are best left dead  and  buried’.

Controversies over honoring Confederate heritage are not uncommon in the South, but some activists in Mississippi are pushing the envelope even further. The Mississippi Division of Sons of Confederate Veterans is proposing a license plate that honors Confederate Gen. Nathan Bedford Forrest, who was also an early leader of the Ku Klux Klan.

Following the Civil War, Forrest was involved with the very first incarnation of the KKK. He was so closely associated with the group’s formation that he is sometimes incorrectly referred to as the KKK’s founder — though he was quickly elected Grand Wizard, and began centralizing disparate KKK groups under his authority. He believed that while blacks were now free, they had to continue to toil quietly for white landowners. “I am not an enemy of the negro,” Forrest said. “We want him here among us; he is the only laboring class we have.”

Perhaps even more disturbing, however, were Forrest’s violent actions during the Civil War, specifically a massacre of black soldiers at Fort Pillow, TN in April 1864.

Yup, this guy slaughtered black union troops that had already dropped their rifles.  What is wrong with modern Mississippi and what will its Governor Haley Barbour say about this?

So, here’s an interesting YouTube with Noam Chomsky on ‘How Climate Change Became a ‘Liberal Hoax’ in a series from The Nation’.

Known for his criticism of the media, Chomsky doesn’t hold back in this clip, laying blame on mainstream media outlets such as the New York Times, which will run frontpage articles on what meteorologists think about global warming. “Meteorologists are pretty faces reading scripts telling you whether it’s going to rain tomorrow,” Chomsky says. “What do they have to say any more than your barber?” All this is part of the media’s pursuit of “fabled objectivity.”

Of particular concern for Chomsky is the atmosphere of anger, fear and hostility that currently reigns in America. The public’s hatred of Democrats, Republicans, big business and banks and the public’s distrust of scientists all lead to general disregard for the findings of “pointy-headed elitists.” The 2010 elections could be interpreted as a “death knell for the species” because most of the new Republicans in Congress are global warming deniers. “If this was happening in some small country,” Chomsky concludes, “it wouldn’t matter much. But when it’s happening in the richest, most powerful country in the world, it’s a danger to the survival of the species.”

Okay, so, just so you know that our Congress is on the up and up these days, I’m going to leave you with this headline: ‘The Pajama Party Is Over, Ethics Group Tells Congress’.

A Washington ethics watchdog says it is time for Congress to crack down on lawmakers who sleep in their offices rather than pay for a place to live. Reacting to a surge in lawmakers’ bunking down in their work spaces, Citizens for Responsibility and Ethics in Washington wants the Office of Congressional Ethics to investigate whether the politicians are getting an unfair tax break and violating their own rules by making personal use of public resources. “House office buildings are not dorms or frat houses,” Melanie Sloan, the group’s executive director, said Thursday. “If members didn’t want to find housing in Washington, they shouldn’t have run for Congress in the first place.” Aside from the legal and rules questions, Ms. Sloan said she has heard reports from Congressional staffers about uncomfortable work environments. “Especially if you’re a woman and you’re working late and your boss is there getting ready for bed, that seems designed for discomfort,” she said.

They should just be glad their Senator isn’t David Vitter who probably uses campaign funds for hookers and diapers. Don’t make me think about what he’d be up to in his office!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?