Monday Reads: Peel the Bern

1920Good Afternoon!

As you know, I live in a world of data, hypotheses and generally accepted theory.  I don’t go on a tear about anything without collecting my thoughts and enough information to know of what I speak. Even then, I rarely venture far from the topics I’ve studied and researched for decades.

I marvel at policy wonks.  It’s what actually got me supporting Hillary Clinton in 2008.  It was obvious by the second primary debate which person had the policy chops other than possibly Joe Biden who I still won’t forget or forgive over his treatment of Anita Hill. I dropped my dalliance with John Edwards right about then and never looked back.

So, it really drives me crazy when I see someone running for higher office–and has held fairly high office–who consistently collects lots of Pinocchios from the Fact Check gurus. Some people really fake policy chops but when you attach their comments to data and accepted theory, they go straight into some ideological playground where reality never climbs the slide. My best example of that is our not-so-esteemed former Governor Bobby Jindal who could put on a straight face to tell incredible whoppers. It made you wonder how he ever got through several Ivy League universities without being a legacy with a father donating entire buildings .

It’s why I have developed an appreciation for Rachel Maddow albeit, even Rachel can get caught up in one of those leg thrill moments.  Rachel’s leg must no longer be tingling for the Bernmeister of disproved memes because here’s yet another example on MaddowBlog of the now oft repeated thought “WTF is this man doing and saying and why?”  I mean, how many Pinocchios can one man get and still be taken seriously as a candidate?

The NYDN interview wasn’t the low point of his campaign’s dizzying spin. But from that particular interview going backwards and forwards, it’s evident that foreign policy isn’t Sanders’ bailiwick.  Stalking Popes like a Fanboy is nothing compared to continually showing up on TV talk shows and messing up on Middle East policy.  Middle East Policy is probably the biggest of all the big fucking deals an American President must manage.

How can some one running for President be so total unaware of basics?  How many more My Pet Goat moments do we get from this guy before his cult buys a clue?

When Bernie Sanders struggled during a recent interview with the New York Daily News, the criticisms largely focused on his apparent lack of preparation. It’s not that the senator’s answers were substantively controversial, but rather, Sanders responded to several questions with answers such as, “I don’t know the answer to that,” “Actually I haven’t thought about it a whole lot,” and “You’re asking me a very fair question, and if I had some paper in front of me, I would give you a better answer.”
He ran into similar trouble during a recent interview with the Miami Herald, which asked Sanders about the Cuban Adjustment Act, which establishes the “wet-foot, dry-foot” policy that may be due for a re-evaluation. The senator responded, “I have to tell you that I am not up to date on that issue as I can” be.
The interviews raised questions about his depth of understanding, particularly outside of the issues that make up his core message. Yesterday, making his 42nd Sunday show appearance of 2016, Sanders ran into similar trouble during an interview with CNN’s Dana Bash.
BASH: Let’s talk about something in the news that will be on your plate as a sitting U.S. senator. Saudi Arabia has told the Obama administration that it will sell off hundreds of billions of dollars of American assets if Congress allows the Saudi government to held – to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the 9/11 attacks. How do you intend to vote as a senator?
SANDERS: Well, I need more information before I can give you a decision.
Though the senator spoke generally about his concerns regarding Saudi Arabia, the host pressed further, asking if he supports allowing Americans to hold Saudi Arabia liable in U.S. courts. Sanders replied, “Well, you’re going to hear – you’re asking me to give you a decision about a situation and a piece of legislation that I am not familiar with at this point. And I have got to have more information on that. So, you have got to get some information before you can render, I think, a sensible decision.

How exactly does one become a US Senator and not take his job seriously enough to be remotely familiar with legislation tumblr_nktp26KjOo1upanydo1_1280pending discussion and your vote?  Benen has written some additions to his MaddowBlog post that are worth considering.

Let’s not brush past the significance of the bill itself. The Times’report from the weekend noted that Saudi officials have threatened to “sell off hundreds of billions of dollars’ worth of American assets held by the kingdom if Congress passes a bill that would allow the Saudi government to be held responsible in American courts for any role in the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks.”
The State Department and the Pentagon have urged Congress not to pass the bill, warning of “diplomatic and economic fallout.” The legislation is nevertheless moving forward – it passed the Senate Judiciary Committee unanimously – and it enjoys support from some of the chamber’s most liberal and most conservative members.

This seems to be a typical Bernie thing.  Anything that’s not within his old school class war frame isn’t worth investigating. He’ll just toss out a vote eventually and then we’ll hear how his judgement is far superior because  Iraq War vote.  At what point do folks hold him responsible for everything else? Where is the evaluation of his judgement on topics like say, credible gun control laws or Amber Alerts?  Why do his followers ignore the details and go straight to the idea of a yuuuggggeee movement, yada yada yada.

The one thing I hear continually on all forms of social media is that there is somehow some huge movement out there ledAmerican Female Scientists at Work (1) by the Bernmeister that will spontaneously change everything including the need for sliced bread.  Where the hell is it if all you can do is win outback, highly white caucus states and a couple wide open primaries? Is there evidence of any progressive insurgency? Where is there evidence that this gadfly Senator from Vermont is leading it?  Jamelle Bouie peels the Bern at Slate.

Sanders identifies as a “democratic socialist” and has been at an official remove from the Democratic Party for the whole of his congressional career.

But as just a glance at his record shows, this is more cosmetic than anything else. There’s no doubt that in his pre-political career, Sanders was devoted to socialist politics, such as they existed in the United States. But as a legislator, he has caucused with Democrats, voted with Democrats, fundraised for Democrats, and he’s now in line to run a Senate committee under Democrats.

Remove his “socialist” branding, which even he defines as little more than an updated form of New Deal liberalism, and you’re left with a candidate who strongly resembles other insurgent candidates going back to the beginning of the modern primary process, from George McGovern to Jerry Brown to Bill Bradley to Howard Dean. He relies on “authenticity” as contrasted with the “calculated” positioning of mainstream candidates. He stands on the ideological left, a factional figure who seeks to pull the party in his direction, or pry concessions from a reluctant establishment. And his support comes from the usual places: Young people (especially college students), white liberals, and the most ideological actors within the Democratic Party.

Just look at the rhetoric. Sanders has a consistent message: Using their wealth, powerful interests have rigged the game against you. “What the American people are saying—and, by the way, I hear this not just from progressives, but from conservatives and from moderates—is that we can no longer continue to have a campaign finance system in which Wall Street and the billionaire class are able to buy elections,” Sanders said in his New Hampshire victory speech this February. “Americans, no matter what their political view may be, understand that that is not what democracy is about.”

…Sanders is a factional candidate of ideological liberal Democrats, who are largely white Democrats. The difference between now and then, however, is that, with the collapse of conservative white Democrats in the South and elsewhere, those liberal whites make up a larger share of the party. They provide more fuel for an insurgency. But they’re still not enough to overcome the influence of moderates and stalwart black voters, who form a majority of the party. That, in fact, was the fate of previous insurgencies, which crashed on the rocks of math. Ideological liberals are among the loudest Democrats, but they are a minority within the entire party. And while that minority is larger and stronger than it’s been in a generation, it’s still not strong enough to steer the party alone. It still has to play coalition politics.

Ah, yes I’m looking for evidence once again.   He may have a consistent message. His actions, however, display something totally different–a guy that grabs on to one thing and never lets go.  Let’s take the $27 donation meme. It’s legendary and  quite Pinocchio-worthy.  This is Phillip Bump writing for WAPO.

At its heart, the idea is just a talking point. Consider the campaign’s press statement after the February reporting period.

“The Sanders campaign in total has tallied more than 4.7 million contributions, compared to [Hillary] Clinton’s 1.5 million,” it concludes. “February’s fundraising brings the campaign’s total raised this cycle to more than $137 million.”

$137 million divided by 4.7 million is … $29.14.

More than 4.7 million contributors means, at most, 4,749,999 — or else the campaign would round up to 4.8 million. Even with that higher number of donors, the average is $28.95. Which is more than $27.

In March, the campaign was apparently under that mark. Its real-time donations tool indicates that $44 million was raised from 1.7 million contributions — about $25 on average. Combining the total through February with those figures, the average drops to $27.88 — or $28 on average.

All of the factors above are still true. As more donations come in, the average will still be in the same ballpark.

The campaign encourages those $27 donations, and his fans are eager to oblige.

But is the average $27 every day? Not according to data from the campaign.

gifko_04That’s the deal with Sanders.  He gloms onto something and that’s it for whatever eternity is for his brain.  That’s really not good unless your goal in life is to be a gadfly Senator from Vermont. It’s certainly not good when you’re going around the country screaming at impressionable young minds that seem to feel the Bern a lot more than research the evidence.

To that end, we have a number of Bernie revisions, but they’re less on current policy issues and more on rewriting his actual take on things historically.  This drives me nuts.   It’s one thing to evolve in your policy but another thing to rewrite your historical positions on policy and act like that’s not happening.

Democratic presidential hopeful Bernie Sanders on Sunday said Sandy Hook victims should be able to sue gun manufacturers for the 2012 elementary school shooting that killed 20 students and six adults, backtracking on previous comments.

“Of course they have a right to sue, anyone has a right to sue,” the Vermont senator said Sunday on CNN’s “State of the Union.”

Sanders in an interview with the New York Daily News last week initially said the Sandy Hook family members should not have the right to sue gun manufacturers for damages.

“No, I don’t,” he said, in response to a question from the editorial board.

Rival Hillary Clinton attacked Sanders for those comments, calling his stance “unimaginable” and one of her “biggest contrasts” with the Vermont senator.

Sanders on Sunday said that a gun store owner who legally sells a weapon shouldn’t be held liable for crimes committed with it.

He said he opposes the sales of assault-style weapons in the U.S., such as the one used at Sandy Hook.

e774864ccaa06a6ebd0c1054574b1fb2Uh, hello?  Earth to Bernie?

Sen. Kirsten Gillibrand (D-N.Y.) had some tough words Monday for Bernie Sanders on his gun control stance.

“It’s so crippling. I mean, I sat down with a mother last week in Brooklyn, and she lost her 4-year-old baby… she took her kid to a park. Every mom takes their kid to a park. And she took her kid to a park and the kid was killed, a baby, a 4-year-old, a little toddler,” the Hillary Clinton supporter told Politico, tearing up. “[Sanders] doesn’t have the sensitivity he needs to the horror that is happening in these families. I just don’t think he’s fully getting how horrible it is for these families.”

Sanders has opposed holding weapons manufacturers responsible for gun violence.

Bernie is feeling the heat on this issue from everywhere prior to the NY primary tomorrow. Is that the reason for the apparent flip flop yesterday?

Gabrielle Giffords’ husband joined with Hillary Clinton to pummel Bernie Sanders for his stance on guns Sunday as the Vermont senator showed signs he had rethought his position at the last minute.

Astronaut Mark Kelly — who helped former Rep. Giffords recover from a 2011 assassination attempt in which six people were killed — slammed Sanders during a rally at Five Towns College in Dix Hills, L.I., for voting against the 1993 Brady Bill that mandated background checks for gun buyers.

“That’s a pretty serious vote and one that Hillary Clinton’s opponent did not take too seriously — and that vote is very telling,” Kelly said.

He lamented that Congress failed to pass any legislation to combat gun violence in the wake of the Sandy Hook school massacre, calling politicians’ response “pretty pathetic.”

“I mean, it was basically nothing. After such a horrific tragedy, the United States Senate, in particular, did something remarkable and that was to do nothing,” Kelly said.

I can’t believe any New Yorker isn’t going to see that cynical ploy for what it is. It’s joined by its twin cynical ploy ambush the Pope and call it a meeting.  Clinton, on the other hand, came out strong this il_570xN.322587605weekend on the need for sensible gun laws to reduce gun violence.It’s something she’s been consistent on since speaking with the families of gun violence.

Gun violence and killings by police are “part of the same threat” that faces young African-Americans, Hillary Clinton told a congregation in Westchester Sunday.

“Guns are not the answer to anything,” Clinton said while stumping at Grace Baptist Church in Mt. Vernon. “They are the answer to nothing except pain and heartbreak and ruined lives.”

Clinton has made a group of mothers whose children were killed by gun violence or in police custody a core part of her campaign, and was joined by three of them Sunday.

“We must stand up to the gun lobby, just as we must end police violence and killings. They are part of the same threat that too often injures and even kills too many young people,” she said.

Ahead of New York’s primary on Tuesday, Clinton has hammered away at her differences with rival Bernie Sanders on gun control issues.

“The gun lobby is the most powerful lobby in Washington — in our country,” she said. “Nobody else running on either side is willing to take the stands that I think must be taken.”

I’m pretty sure stalking the Pope and flip flopping so obviously must be a sign of some Bern-out. I just want to get this over.

Come on New York!  Peel the Bern tomorrow!  Let’s put it so far out of his reach that his vanity campaign ends here. Then let’s primary the Gadfly into retirement!

Join us tomorrow for a live blog of the returns!

What’s on your reading and blogging list today?


Monday Reads

hanashobu_irises_vintage_japanese_ukiyo_e_art_poster-r10616fe3729c4efb83abd5d6038ac407_fjged_8byvr_512Good Morning!

There’s a lot going on in the middle east as tensions mount between Syria and Israel.  The situation continues to unravel.

Israeli jets devastated Syrian targets near Damascus on Sunday in a heavy overnight air raid that Western and Israeli officials called a new strike on Iranian missiles bound for Lebanon’s Hezbollah.

As Syria’s two-year-old civil war veered into the potentially atomic arena of Iran’s confrontation with Israel and the West over its nuclear program, people were woken in the Syrian capital by explosions that shook the ground like an earthquake and sent pillars of flame high into the night sky.

“Night turned into day,” one man told Reuters from his home at Hameh, near one of the targets, the Jamraya military base.

Former Arizona Congress Woman Gabby Giffords won a profile in courage award in Boston.  Her new role is an outspoken and effective symbol for more gun safety laws.

“It takes real courage to overcome a disability that is so personal,” says Guy McKhann, a leading neurologist at Johns Hopkins University.

Although he hasn’t treated her, he says it was clear that, distinct from cognitive abilities, retrieving the right words is difficult for Giffords. “What she wants to say sometimes doesn’t come out,” McKhann says. (A personal disclaimer: I am chairman of the Profile in Courage Committee that honored her Sunday and have a son with a brain injury.)

On Jan. 8, the two-year anniversary of the shooting, Giffords and Kelly started Americans for Responsible Solutions. They’ve already raised more than $10 million, enlisted more than 300,000 supporters, aired national television ads advocating expanded background checks for gun purchases and campaigned for the measure in a dozen states.

They are perfect for this role. She is a courageous survivor of a gun attack, a former Western member of Congress, a longtime hunter and supporter of gun rights. He is a combat veteran, Navy pilot and space shuttle commander. The National Rifle Association can’t paint them as effete foes of the Second Amendment.

In January, Giffords delivered emotional testimony on the measure to the Senate Judiciary Committee. She and Kelly personally lobbied members. Before last month’s Senate vote on the proposal, she sought out Arizona Republican Jeff Flake, a friend from her House days, and blurted out, “Need,” as in we need you. Unlike his Arizona colleague John McCain, who backed the background checks compromise, Flake voted no. The measure failed; since then, polls show a drop in Flake’s home-state popularity.

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If you have young children around, this should scare you.  You should also check the list at the link in the article to see if any of this crap is in your home.

Over 5000 children’s products contain toxic chemicals linked to cancer, hormone disruption and reproductive problems, including the toxic metals, cadmium, mercury and antimony, as well as phthalates and solvents. A new report by the Washington Toxics Coalition and Safer States reveals the results of manufacturer reporting to the Washington State Department of Ecology.

Makers of kids’ products reported using 41 of the 66 chemicals identified by WA Ecology as a concern for children’s health. Major manufacturers who reported using the chemicals in their products include Walmart, Gap, Gymboree, Hallmark, H & M and others. They use these chemicals in an array of kids’ products, including clothing, footwear, toys, games, jewelry, accessories, baby products, furniture, bedding, arts and crafts supplies and personal care products. Besides exposing kids in the products themselves, some of these chemicals, for example toxic flame retardants, build up in the environment and in the food we eat.

Examples of product categories reported to contain toxic chemicals include:

  • Hallmark party hats containing cancer-causing arsenic
  • Graco car seats containing the toxic flame retardant TBBPA (tetrabromobisphenol A)
  • Claire’s cosmetics containing cancer-causing formaldehyde
  • Walmart dolls containing hormone-disrupting bisphenol A

Kinda terrible isn’t it?

Paul Krugman takes to the op ed pages of the NYT again to explain what’s what about Keynesian and austerians.

The basic idea behind Keynesian support for stimulus/opposition to austerity under current conditions is that when private demand is weak and monetary policy is up against the zero lower bound, there is no offset to changes in government spending. This shouldn’t be a hard concept to grasp — in particular, you would think that anyone posing as an economist could grasp the conditional nature of the statement.

Meanwhile, the proof is in the results.  Look at the record highs in the Eurozone unemployment numbers.

European unemployment has hit a new record and Moody’s cut Slovenia’s debt rating to junk status as German Chancellor Angela Merkel defended her crisis strategy, pushing for twin goals of fiscal rigour and growth.

Grim new data showed on Tuesday that European unemployment set a fresh record in March with more than 19 million jobless people — including one out of four under-25-year-olds.

The Eurostat data agency reported an extra 62,000 people joining unemployment queues in just four weeks in the eurozone as the jobless rate climbed for the 23rd consecutive month — hitting 12.1 percent in March.

The frightening new figures — which showed almost two in three under-25s in Greece and Spain unemployed — come amid vocal criticism over the effects on jobs of the cost-cutting measures pushed by austerity advocates.

Anger against austerity is rising across Europe as hard economic data fails to show a turn-around.

Greece saw joblessness climb relentlessly to 27.2 percent in January, the latest available figures, from 26.3 percent in December.

Meanwhile Portugal, with unemployment at 17.5 percent in March, was seeking to agree new austerity measures after its Constitutional Court rejected as discriminatory cuts to civil servant salaries and pensions decided in response to demands by EU-IMF lenders.

In Cyprus, which saw a huge month-to-month rise in unemployment to 14.2 percent against 10.7 percent the previous month, the parliament was to debate the terms of a tough 10-billion-euro EU-IMF bailout.

The EU’s employment and social affairs commissioner Laszlo Andor warned that “EU institutions and governments, business and social partners at all levels need to do all they can to avoid a ‘lost generation'”

There is absolutely no reason for us to relive the Great Depression years and the complete political upheaval that resulted.  I just do not get the obsession with debt.  This is especially true because there is so little evidence for it and what evidence was provided was shown to be falsified, error-riddled, and just plain wrong by these kinds of numbers.

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I wanted to end with a story that should be on every one’s radar but probably isn’t.  Homelessness has been an increasing problem in this country for some time.  So has the lack of treatment for the mentally ill. It’s been a Reagan pogrome that we can’t seem to rid ourselves of.  Here’s the connection between the two. 

Most homeless shelters in the US only take in people who are deemed mentally stable.  Most don’t offer anything beyond basic shelter.

Housing programs that also provide psychological services are in the minority, homeless advocates told me.  The harsh reality is that most homeless people living in the US who also suffer from serious illnesses like bi-polar disorder, schizophrenia and a host of other mental health disorders, are typically turned away from shelters on a nightly basis.

It’s a disturbing statistic when you discover, as I did, that more than 50 percent of the people living on the streets in the US are mentally ill.  Of that number, I was told, less than half are receiving any mental health treatment.

For years, Candace Wood was one of them. I met with Wood in the dining room of Knoxville’s Volunteer Ministry Center (VMC).

For years the mission has dedicated itself to ending homelessness by providing not just housing, but the mental health services that ensures its residents don’t just get off the street, but also have the ability to stay off the street.

Wood told me that before she was connected with the VMC, she was, “wandering around aimlessly.”

“But, I was sick.  I was sick because I didn’t take the medicine,” she said.

Wood said she is bi-polar.  Since she was previously not on medication and was unable to manage her symptoms.  She used to break into buildings to stay warm, hoping it would also get her arrested.  Wood said that in jail she knew she’d get the meals and medication she needed.

Ginny Weatherstone is a passionate advocate for Knoxville’s homeless, she’s also the CEO of Volunteer Ministry Center.  She says Wood’s story is a common one among the homeless who are also mentally ill.

“Three ‘hots’ and a cot.  You get that in jail.  For them, jail is their mental health hospital.  Jail is their housing,” Weatherstone told me.

I’ve always felt that the Reagan and Bush years were all about punishing the poor, the ill, the elderly, the weak, the young, and the feeble.  Statistics show that the wealthy have been doing fabulously since these three presidents reigned.  It really is such a horrible statement on our countries’ priorities.  How can so many folks be so rich and not give a damn about any one else.

The Rich Have Gained $5.6 Trillion in the ‘Recovery,’ While the Rest of Us Have Lost $669 Billion

It’s no accident.
Oh, are we getting ripped off. And now we’ve got the data to prove it. From 2009 to 2011, the richest 8 million families (the top 7%) on average saw their wealth rise from $1.7 million to $2.5 million each. Meanwhile the rest of us —  the bottom 93% (that’s 111 million families) — suffered on average a decline of $6,000 each.

Do the math and you’ll discover that the top 7% gained a whopping $5.6 trillion in net worth (assets minus liabilities) while the rest of lost $669 billion. Their wealth went up by 28% while ours went down by 4 percent.

It’s as if the entire economic recovery is going into the pockets of the rich. And that’s no accident.

Follow the link to the alternet article to read why.
I’m getting ready for a trip to visit my dad and sister.  So, I might be a little out of touch this week.  Just letting you know.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?

Tuesday Reads, Part II: In Other News….

blues cycle

I’m back with more reads!!

Before I get started with the political news, here a very strange story from Chicago: Urooj Khan Homicide: Chicago Lottery Winner’s Death Re-Classified After Cyanide Poison Discovery

With no signs of trauma and nothing to raise suspicions, the sudden death of a Chicago man just as he was about to collect nearly $425,000 in lottery winnings was initially ruled a result of natural causes.

Nearly six months later, authorities have a mystery on their hands after medical examiners, responding to a relative’s pleas, did an expanded screening and determined that Urooj Khan, 46, died shortly after ingesting a lethal dose of cyanide. The finding has triggered a homicide investigation, the Chicago Police Department said Monday….

In June, Khan, who owned a number of dry cleaners, stopped in at a 7-Eleven near his home in the West Rogers Park neighborhood on the city’s North Side and bought a ticket for an instant lottery game.

Ashur Oshana, the convenience store clerk, told The Associated Press on Monday that Khan said he had sworn off gambling after returning from the hajj, a Muslim pilgrimage, in Saudi Arabia. Khan said he wanted to lead a better life, Oshana said, but Khan bought the tickets that day and scratched off the winner in the store.

“Right away he grabbed my hand,” Oshana said. “He kissed my hand and kissed my head and gave me $100. He was really happy.”

Not long afterwards, Kahn was dead. Now police will likely exhume his body and try to find out who killed him.

clinton
I’m sure you heard that Hillary Clinton went back to work yesterday, and her coworkers gave her a gag gift–a football helmet.

Cheers, a standing ovation and a gag gift of protective headgear greeted Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton as she returned to work on Monday after a month-long absence caused first by a stomach virus, then a fall and a concussion and finally a brief hospitalization for a blood clot.

A crowd of about 75 State Department officials greeted Clinton with a standing ovation as she walked in to the first senior staff meeting she has convened since early December, according to those present. Deputy Secretary of State Thomas Nides, noting that life in Washington is often a “contact sport, sometimes even in your own home” then presented Clinton with a gift — a regulation white Riddell football helmet emblazoned with the State Department seal, officials said.

She was also given a blue football jersey with “Clinton” and the number 112 — the record-breaking number of countries she has visited since becoming secretary of state — printed on the back. Aides said Clinton was delighted with the gifts but did not try either of them on and the meeting turned to matters of national security and diplomacy.

“She loved it. She thought it was cool. But then being Hillary Clinton, she wanted to get right to business,” State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland told reporters.

Did you hear about GOP Connecticut State Rep. DebraLee Hovey, who attacked Gabby Giffords for visiting Newtown? From the Hartford Courant:

In content and syntax, state Rep. DebraLee Hovey embarrassed herself, the General Assembly and the state.

Ms. Hovey, a Republican who represents Newtown and Monroe, blasted the visit to Newtown on Friday by former U.S. Rep. Gabby Giffords, a Democrat, who met privately with local officials and families of victims of the Dec. 14 massacre at Sandy Hook Elementary School.

“Gabby Gifford stay out of my towns!!” Ms. Hovey posted on Facebook over the weekend (misspelling the former Arizona congresswoman’s last name). In the comments thread, Rep. Hovey seemed to complain that she wasn’t invited (she was at a meeting in Florida at the time) and claimed the visit was political: “There was pure political motives [sic].”

How do these loony-tunes get elected? Hovey later offered a pathetic non-apologetic “apology.”

The remarks I made regarding Congresswoman Gifford’s visit were insensitive and if I offended anyone I truly apologize … My comments were meant to be protective of the privacy of the families and our community as we work to move on, and were in no way intended as an insult to Congresswoman Giffords personally. Our community has struggled greatly through this tragedy, and we are all very sensitive to the potential for this event to be exploited for political purposes. This is what I wish to avoid.

What a moronic asshole.
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DNC Live Blog: Gabby Looks Radiant and Good Bye to Geraldine, Day 3 Part 2

Gabby Giffords Reciting the Pledge of Allegiance moved many to tears.

Also, moving was the salute to Geraldine Ferraro

We’ve also seen the start of the line up of young women actresses.

The Republicans had Clint Eastwood, 82, and the empty chair. The Democrats are going in the opposite direction with a line of “surprise” celebrity speakers, all female, all under 40.

Eva Longoria, 37, is scheduled to take the stage after Caroline Kennedy. Also rumored to appear are actresses Scarlett Johansson, 27; Natalie Portman, 31; and Kerry Washington, 35.

There’s been a moment of FOO and there will be moments of EW&F and Mary J. Blige.

Charlie Crist didn’t do so well. But, there’s a lot of focus on Veterans tonight. They even played the Obama got Osama card in prime time. Senator John Kerry  started the Vet’s salute off. There many Vets in the audience sporting the various garb worn by the band of brothers and sisters.   John Kerry nailed Mitt Romney as a flip flopper.

It’s amazing to see the Democrats showing pictures of a war and saluting Veterans while the Republicans were silent last week.  The world must be upside down.

So, here we go with Joe Biden as Biden staffers pass out “fired up, ready for Joe” signs.    Dr. Biden was introduced by a Angie Flores a student at Miami Dade College in Florida.  There are certainly some wonderful young women standing up on the stage this year.

Meanwhile, Here’s your zen thought of the day: