It is a very gloomy Monday here in New Orleans. It’s supposed to be 71 degrees Fahrenheit but I think the dampness has taken the warmth away. I’m sitting at my desk in my thick and sloppy chenille sweater that I slept in last night. It does double duty over sweats and flannel pajamas when it gets like this. Yes, the word for it is bone-chilling cold. Some times I’m glad for the breeze off the mighty Mississippi–blocks from my door–but it’s not July so I’m shivering while watching the big green leaves of my avocado tree flutter in the wind. I’m most fortunate that Temple is an excellent hot water bottle because the cold, damp, and age are taking a toll on me. My fingers ache and don’t seem to want to type as fast as usual.
There are some interesting tids and bits in the morning news. Lady Lindsey has given up on the Republican nomination having gained just about as much traction as pig on ice. I’m actually going to miss him because he sounded reasonable and actually less of a war monger than the rest of the slate as impossible as that sounds! All of us are very aware of the Lady’s love of the manly pursuit of war. Oh, and his last words were inkled to Hillary Clinton. Back to the quiet of your closet m’lady!! You sashayed mightily across the stage of the kiddie debate.
Senator Lindsey Graham is ending his presidential campaign, he told CNN during an exclusive interview airing Monday.
“I’m going to suspend my campaign. I’m not going to suspend my desire to help the country,” the South Carolina senator said in a wide-ranging and candid discussion in which he acknowledged: “I’ve hit a wall here.”
He made the official announcement in an email to supporters and Youtube video posted Monday morning.
Graham is known for his quick wit and famous for his one-liners (just ask Princess Buttercup about his retort from the last debate), but he was sober, serious and emotional as he described his decision to leave the race just weeks before the voting begins.
One thing is clear: Graham still wants his voice heard on the direction his party is headed, especially with regard to the Middle East.
“Here’s what I predict. I think the nominee of our party is going to adopt my plan when it comes time to articulate how to destroy ISIL,” he said. “We’ve fallen short here, but the fight continues. To those who are doing the fighting, I want to be your voice. To those in the Republican Party who want to win, check my plan out. Hillary, if you get to be President, I’ll help you where I can. I hope you’re not. But if you are, I’ll be there to help you win a war we can’t afford to lose.”
One of the most frustrating things about the inability of life to accommodate women is your basic restroom visit. Bathrooms are generally inadequate for women in all ways. They are too small and badly placed probably by design or male architectural ignorance. I knew exactly why Hillary was a bit late to the stage during one of those breaks. It had to be the shortness of time and the hassle of using a public restroom. I guess it was inevitable given the scout work Huma did prior to Saturday’s shindig. But, here we go women, I give you Pottygate.
The reason is one many women are familiar with: An unexpected line for the loo. While Clinton waited for the ladies’ room to clear out, time ticked down, and the debate organizers allowed the show to go on without her.
What viewers didn’t know was the sole women’s bathroom was a little further than the men’s room from the stage. And when the debate went to a long commercial break Clinton lost out to Lis Smith, the caffeine-guzzling deputy campaign manager for former Maryland Governor Martin O’Malley, who beat her to the restroom. Smith declined to comment for the story.
A top Clinton staffer who was strategically posted outside the bathroom (presumably to avoid these kinds of situations) gave Smith a verbal OK to make a quick pit stop, according to one person familiar with the ladies’ line.
Meanwhile, we continue to see the fallout from Datagate. Bernie Sanders has suspended two staffers.
Bernie Sanders’ campaign suspended two more staffers directly involved in the data breach that has roiled the party, a Sanders aide confirmed to POLITICO after the Democratic debate on Saturday night.
Pending an investigation, the two aides join data director Josh Uretsky in leaving the campaign following the revelation that they accessed and downloaded voter information from Hillary Clinton’s team during a technology glitch on Wednesday
Sanders did apologize for the breach at the debate. An independent investigation into the incident has been agreed to by both Clinton and Sanders. The Clinton campaign is assessing the damage.
Clinton’s top strategist and pollster-in-chief Joel Benenson, who oversaw two successful Obama campaign operations that set records for maximizing core-voter turnout, says his staff is eagerly awaiting the results of a third-party audit into the hack of the Democratic National Committee-housed lists. The DNC said it is just beginning the process of securing an independent audit by a data security firm.
The Clinton campaign also wants to learn basic details of the narrative — like why, for instance, Sanders’ campaign manager didn’t tell his candidate when he learned of the breach last Wednesday; Sanders was only looped in a day later, after DNC Chairwoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz called him personally with the news. Weaver told POLITICO on Saturday he withheld the information from Sanders because he at first believed the breach was a staff-level concern that could be dealt with in-house. “My field director informed me,” he recalled. “I said, ‘let everyone know that no one is to do anything with the Clinton data.’ It was not clear immediately there was any problem on our side.”
On Saturday, it was still not clear to the Clinton campaign how much damage had been done. “I don’t think any of us will know until this audit is completed how serious this all is,” Benenson said after the debate at St. Anselm’s College — adding that the value of the information is less about the specific voters being targeted than hints about how Clinton’s campaign plans to deploy its resources.
“All of [the data] is extremely valuable, it is work produced by tens of thousands of volunteers. … it is part of a roadmap to how we are running and strategizing in our campaign and how we get to the totals we need to win in Iowa and New Hampshire, especially,” he said, his voice rising with exasperation.
I have a few other links for you today. First, a new study shows the impact of Poverty on intellectual development. This should concern us given the number of US children living in poverty and their treatment by states like Kansas, Wisconsin, etc.
Whether intelligence is more the product of nature or nurture has long fascinated American social scientists and the general public alike. Typically the result is explained as some balance of genetics and environment, but since the early 1970s, researchers have noticed that this scale tends to shift dramatically across social classes. It’s as if nature and nurture play by different rules for rich and poor.
Generally speakingthiswork has found that genetic variance tends to explain the bulk of IQ scores for advantaged groups, whereas environmental variance plays a larger role for disadvantaged ones. (This line of research draws its results from comparative analyses of identical twins, who share a complete genetic makeup, and fraternal twins or siblings.) In other words, when it comes to intelligence, a comfortable upbringing seems to help nature reach its potential, but an impoverished one seems to interfere at every turn.
Still, other studies have failed to confirm these findings, enough so that scholars continue to wonder. But a strong new analysis published in the journalPsychological Science suggests that the role of genetics in intelligence indeed varies with socioeconomic status—at least in the United States. The data reveal no such pattern in other parts of the developed world, a finding the researchers attribute to “more uniform access” to social programs such as strong education and health care.
“The differences observed across nations might be explained by weaker social safety nets in the U.S. compared to Western Europe and Australia,” the psychologist Elliot Tucker-Drob of the University of Texas at Austin, the paper’s lead author, tells CityLab via email. “While this study did not investigate specific policies or services that might explain the differences … I think that it is fair to say that the causes of the difference are likely to be manifold.”
If that isn’t cause enough for concern, consider the impact of increased lead in the water in Flint, Michigan due to their wicked stupid Governor and his administration. This has put nearly every child in the city in extreme danger. Rachel Maddow has done some excellent shows on this disaster. Here’s an in depth article from AJ.
In October, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder announced that the city of Flint would change its water source. This was in response to the discovery that temporarily pulling water from a local river produced high levels of lead in the water supply for Flint, an economically struggling community of 100,000 residents roughly an hour northwest of Detroit.
It was a crisis months in the making. Problems began as soon as officials decided in April 2014 to have Flint stop using Detroit’s water system and begin drawing water from the Flint River.
This was billed as a measure that would save millions of dollars. But residents almost immediately raised concerns about the discolored and smelly water that was flowing from their taps. Tests revealed high levels of chemicals that could cause liver or kidney problems, and some complained of losing hair and getting rashes after drinking the water.
In response to the growing backlash and the evidence that residents were drinking poisoned water, state and city officials sought to quell concerns, insisting the water was safe to drink and continually disputing local studies published this fall that showed lead levels sharply increased in the bloodstreams of Flint residents, including children. (Research suggests that lead can cause irreversible cognitive and developmental damage to children.)
But even as Snyder and other state officials relented, a question has continued to linger among activists and residents with children who could face life-altering circumstances as a result of lead poisoning: Who’s to blame for this mess?
At the October announcement that Flint would switch back to Detroit’s water system, Snyder made clear that he was interested solely in finding a solution to fix the problem, not in revisiting mistakes. Nonprofit donations, along with appropriations from the state and city, would pay for the $12 million transition back to Detroit’s system, he said.
Research published by Flint pediatrician Mona Hanna-Attisha in September showed levels of lead in children’s blood spiked at the same time as the water switch. Elevated blood lead levels are especially harmful for children, who can suffer stunted growth and irreversible brain damage. In October, after denying any problem, state officials acknowledged they failed to treat the water to adjust for its corrosiveness, and Snyder signed legislation switching Flint back to Detroit’s water.
The city has told residents it could take as long as six months for the water lead levels to decline. A Dec. 11 report from the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality said the state found elevated blood lead in 39 of 1,836 Flint residents who had testing done since early October. Blood lead levels can decline in a matter of weeks after a person is exposed to lead.
This week, in response to Weaver’s new disaster declaration, a spokesman for Snyder referred HuffPost to previous statements from the governor’s office outlining actions already taken, including an Oct. 2 action plan and the Oct. 21 creation of a special task force to investigate what went wrong and recommend solutions.
Well, that’s it for me today. Hope your week goes well and that you get to spend some relaxing and fun time with family and friends! On to the celebration of Festivus for the rest of us!!
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
As promised…I bring you the latest edition of The Woman in Red….(It has taken me days, in fact almost the last 24 hours has been straight on through.)
You can read the earlier issues at these links:
As before, click the image to see the full size…and then click on the image itself to enlarge the picture, otherwise you will not be able to read the captions.
So….here we go!
Woman in Red:
Debate, Election and the Shutdown…
The GOP’s Albescent-churian Candidate
Tonight is the Republican Presidential Candidate Debate…..
Let’s take you to the debate venue, shortly before the event is to begin……
Bloody hell, I am exhausted!
Hope you enjoyed this edition of The Woman in Red, and the introduction of the new arch nemesis…S.P.Ermand…The Sperm Man!
This is an open thread.
I can’t believe I have a cold in June–sore throat, stuffy nose, and a cough. Ugh. Plus the town is working the water pipes on my street, and they are right in front of my house for the second day. This morning they have shut off my running water. I don’t know how long it will be, because I wasn’t even warned they were going to be digging a giant trench that would keep me from getting my car out of the driveway for two days straight. What if I had to get to a job?
There is a huge digger machine in front of the house, men all over my yard and driveway. Occasionally there are loud thumps that shake the house. Late yesterday they filled in the trench temporarily, but I still wouldn’t have dared drive my car out because there was a depression at the end of the driveway that looked like it would be difficult to get past.
I just hope they finish up today. I have known for a long time that they were going to do this, but I expected to be told when they would be shutting off my water and blocking my driveway. Oh well . . . fortunately I don’t need to get out.
I had something really interesting that I wanted to write about today, but I’m going to postpone that until Saturday when I hope I’ll be feeling more like myself. This post will be basically a link dump.
Here’s the latest on the GOP clown car.
We all knew that Ted Cruz was a giant a-hole, but this is really beyond the pale. From David Nir at DailyKos,
Joe Biden has suffered far, far more tragedy than anyone should ever have to endure in a lifetime. In 1972, just weeks after he first won election to the Senate, Biden’s wife and one-year-old daughter were killed in a car accident. Last week, his 46-year-old son Beau, who survived that same accident, died of brain cancer.
As Biden’s son Beau’s body awaited burial, Cruz decided to tell a “cruel joke” about his grieving father.
“You know, Vice President Joe Biden,” he said as a few chuckles emerged from the crowd, setting up the joke for him.
“You know the nice thing. You don’t need a punchline. I promise you it works. At the next party you’re at, just walk up to someone and say, ‘Vice President Joe Biden,’ and just close your mouth. They will crack up laughing.”
Afterward reporter Chad Livengood asked Cruz about the death of Biden’s son. Cruz’s response was telling.
Q: Could you talk about the vice president losing his son this week?
A: Heartbreaking and tragic, and our prayers are very much with Vice President Biden, with Jill. It’s a tragedy no one should have to endure.
Q: Why’d you tell a joke about the vice president tonight?
A: Uh …. [walks away]
Cruz later “apologized,” according to The Detroit News:
“It was a mistake to use an old joke about Joe Biden during his time of grief, and I sincerely apologize,” Cruz said in a statement. “The loss of his son is heartbreaking and tragic, and our prayers are very much with the Vice President and his family.”
Cruz used the joke to talk about Biden’s past comments about firing off a double-barrel shotgun to ward off intruders — one of several stump-speech jabs at Democrats.
“That is very, very good advice — if it so happens that you’re being attacked by a flock of geese,” Cruz said….
Cruz was the keynote speaker for the Livingston County Republican Party’s Lincoln Day dinner at Crystal Gardens banquet center in Howell.
I thought Jeb Bush was already running for president, but apparently he’s still playing games in an attempt to get media attention. From the AP, via Huffington Post: Jeb Bush Teases Presidential Announcement On June 15.
The former Florida governor, widely expected to run for the GOP nomination, tweeted “coming soon” with a link to the website. On that page, the date 06.15.15 was listed, followed by the tease, “BE THE FIRST TO KNOW. RSVP NOW!” Visitors to the site could enter their name and email address. Bush also tweeted it in Spanish, “Próximamente 6.15.15.”
Boooooorrrrrrringggggg . . .
And then there’s the scandal-ridden former governor of Texas.
USA Today: Rick Perry launches 2016 presidential campaign.
ADDISON, Texas — Former Texas governor Rick Perry will announce Thursday that he’ll make a second bid for the White House.
The campaign’s new website went up early in the day, saying that Perry offers “tested leadership” and “proven results,” particularly in job creation.
Perry, who served as Texas governor for 14 years, plans to stress his experience, saying in a campaign video: “It’s going to be a show-me, don’t-tell-me, election.”
Yawn . . . .
Politico reports that Lady Lindsey “compare[d] Hillary Clinton to Kim Jong Un.”
Lindsey Graham says Hillary Clinton is avoiding media questions on the campaign trail because she lacks confidence in her own foreign policy record.
“Well, it’s easier to talk to the North Korean guy than it is her,” the Republican senator from South Carolina said in a “Fox & Friends” interview Thursday, an apparent reference to dictator Kim Jong-un.
“I think it’s the lack of confidence in her ability to distinguish herself from Barack Obama,” he added.
Clinton will be speaking on voting rights this afternoon at Texas Southern University, whose press guidance for the speech circulated Wednesday stipulated that there will be “NO opportunities to interview Hillary Clinton; her speech will be her interview.”
Hahahahaha! Now why wouldn’t Hillary want to talk to the media? Here are a few clues:
Josh Rogin at Bloomberg View: Why Hillary Can’t Run on Her State Department Record.
Washington Post: Clinton rivals pounce as her ratings fall.
Business Insider: There’s only one thing Wall Street hates about Hillary Clinton, and it has nothing to do with all the scandals. This one is incredible. according to author Linette Lopez, Wall Street insiders think the Clintons are “so shady, but Wall Street is a shady business.” And If supporting Clintons makes someone more money or gives them more power, they will instantly overlook their incessant corruption,”
At least the media wants to talk to her, unlike some of her competitors.
So far no one is reporting that Martin O’Malley is largely responsible for the policing problems in Baltimore. Maybe it’s because O’Malley has no chance in hell to beat Hillary.
And then there’s former Republican Lincoln Chafee, who would probably fit in pretty well in the clown car.
Politico: Lincoln Chafee can’t win his local paper.
Moving on to other news . . . .
I don’t know if you’ve heard about it, but Boston Police shot a man on Tuesday. He was a suspected terrorist.
From The Boston Herald: Roslindale man killed in showdown with anti-terror task force.
An armed 26-year-old man under constant surveillance by an anti-terrorism task force was shot and killed by an FBI agent and a Boston police officer in Roslindale this morning after he came at them with a military-style knife, authorities say.
The suspect was identified by police as Usaama Rahim of Roslindale.
“He was on foot, under surveillance,” Boston Police Commissioner William Evans said. “The officers have been surveilling him and again they wanted to speak to him … and he turned and our officers gave several commands for him to drop the weapon and unfortunately he came at the officers and they did what they were trained to do and that’s never an easy decision for any officer to make.”
One FBI agent and one BPD officer fired, FBI Special Agent in Charge Vincent B. Lisi said.
Evans said “the level of alarm” had them want to question Rahim today.
Lisi added task-force members — who had Rahim under 24-hour watch — wanted to “interview him and talk to him about his intentions and some other matters.” At the time, Lisi added, Rahim was considered armed and dangerous.
Evans said a video shows Rahim “coming at the officers” as police retreated telling him to “drop the knife!” They then shot him twice, once in the torso and abdomen.
The Christian Science Monitor: After terror shooting, Boston police choose transparency over tradition.
As US police officers acknowledge feeling under siege by public unrest over deaths at the hands of police, the city of Boston, for the second time in just over a month, tried a new strategy – sharing grainy video of a police shooting with civic and religious leaders.
The new video involved a terrorism suspect, Usaama Rahim, who authorities say threatened retreating officers with a military-style knife on Tuesday before being fatally shot. The footage, community leaders said a day later, contradicted the contention by Mr. Rahim’s brother, an imam named Ibrahim Rahim, that he was shot in the back while talking to his father on the phone.
Darnell Williams, CEO of the Urban League of Eastern Massachusetts, declared after watching the video that Rahim “was not on a cellphone and was not shot in the back.”
Quickly releasing video to community leaders, acknowledges Daniel Conley, district attorney for Suffolk County in Massachusetts, goes against a long-held policing tradition in which investigative details are kept under wraps until a trial. The strategy stands in sharp contrast to how officers acted after last year’s shooting of Michael Brown in Ferguson, Mo. There, days after violent protests had already erupted, police revealed only piecemeal and contradictory information….Boston’s strategy is an attempt at transparency – to reach out to those who may have questions and concerns about what happened, and whose views can be influential in the community.
We’ll see if that holds up after further investigation, but so far it sounds somewhat positive.
According to The Boston Globe, Rahim planned to behead police officers. He was overheard talking about it on phone taps. I don’t know how he thought he’d accomplish that goal even though he had a very scary looking knife.
Usaama Rahim had been plotting for days, officials said. He bought three long-bladed fighting knives — “good for carving,” he said — and confided to his nephew and another man that he would travel to another state to commit a beheading.
But at 5 a.m. Tuesday, the plan abruptly changed, according to a federal affidavit. Rahim would murder police officers in Massachusetts.
“I’m just going to, ah, go after them, those boys in blue,” Rahim allegedly told his nephew David Wright, in a phone call recorded by an anti-terrorism task force.
Two hours later, when members of that task force approached him in a Roslindale parking lot, Rahim allegedly brandished one of his military knives. They told him to drop his weapon. “You drop yours,” he allegedly replied, before a Boston Police officer and an FBI agent shot him to death.
The details emerged as Wright, Rahim’s nephew and alleged conspirator, appeared in federal court on a charge that he obstructed the investigation by encouraging his uncle to destroy his cellphone to hide evidence.
I don’t know. It still sounds like one of those FBI sting operations . . . .
A few more links:
This sounds like another Freddie Gray incident. From Raw Story: ‘Nobody knows what happened’: Florida inmate mysteriously dies after ride in sheriff’s van.
Rhonda Garelick in an op-ed at the New York Times: The Price of Caitlyn Jenner’s Heroism. It’s not what it sounds like. Heroism should have been in quotes. Please read this one.
Eric Boehlert at Salon on why Hillary won’t talk to the media: GOP’s obscene sex-cop hypocrisy: Dennis Hastert, Hillary and the absurdity of the Clinton impeachment.
Why won’t Hillary Clinton open up to the press? Why can’t Bill and Hillary handle the media? Why has she ”withdrawn into a gilded shell“? Why does she wear media “armor“? Those questions have been rehashed in recent months as journalists focus on themselves and what role they’ll play in the unfolding nomination contest.
A suggestion: Follow the path back to Dennis Hastert’s impeachment era for clues to those Clinton press questions.
AP via the WaPo: Co-owner of Four Seasons charged with sex abuse in New York.
Good Morning America: Duggars Say Son Josh ‘Improperly Touched’ 4 of Their Daughters.
Gawker: Gawker Media Votes To Unionize.
What else is happening? Please post your thoughts and links in the comment thread and have a nice Thursday.
Okay, this is Monday. I’m sure because I watched a really creepy new Game of Thrones last night after I got back from gigging. It’s funny how white walkers and their armies of the dead remind me of Republicans and their voters. So, here we go …
Did y’all see that little bit on Twitter over the weekend? It seems some one has forgotten to google his name recently. Given the historical proclivities of Republican politicians these days I would say that’s about right.
So with that, I give you the rundown of all the news we keeping hearing about the Republican Bottoms. Long may their fat little asses wave in the air with well deserved publicity.
Lady Lindsey–the Senate’s best unkept secret closet case–announced the official presidential campaign thingie today to not a lot of fan fare. As true with all campaigns, it starts with the candidate defining himself by his early life. Lindsey did not sing “This boy is a bottom” who votes against nearly everything that represents being authentically gay. The only thing authentic about Lady Lindsey is that he–along with co-conspirator John McCain—has never met a war he hasn’t want to send other people’s kids to fight. Keep clutching those pearls Senator Bottom!
But as he announced his presidential bid Monday here in the tiny town where he grew up, Lindsey Graham sought to knock down the idea that he’s a creature of Washington and instead told a personal story that’s largely been overlooked over the course of his two decades in the House and Senate.It’s the tale of a son of pool-hall owners, who grew up near-impoverished in the back room of his parents’ bar. As a college student, he raised, and eventually adopted, his little sister after their parents died, before going on to have a career as an Air Force lawyer and then rising to become South Carolina’s senior senator.
“Those of you who’ve known me a long time know I had some ups and downs as a young man,” he said. “I lost my parents, and had to struggle financially and emotionally … There are a lot of so-called ‘self-made’ people in this world. I’m not one of them. My family, friends, neighbors and my faith picked me up when I was down, believed in me when I had doubts. You made me the man I am today.”
Larry Flynt continues to offer $1 million dollars to anyone with a legitimate “I fucked this politician” story. I’m sure we’ll eventually find the men that made him the man Lady Lindsey is today. I say that all these damn fool Republican closet cases be outed and outed with a big ol’ vengeance. I’m tired of hearing them grab that evangelical carousel ring while fucking who they want to and the rest of us too.
The Supreme Court is releasing its decisions for the October 2014 year and started with one sure to make the thumpers few brain cells go thumpa thumpa thumpa. Yes, religion expressions other than the endless crass consumerism season we all endure each year are protected activities. So Long Dong Silver was the sole hold out on this one. Not a bottom but certainly some one who is no stranger to whatever goes on in the world of anything goes porn.
The Supreme Court ruled Monday for a Muslim woman who did not get hired after she showed up to a job interview with clothing retailer Abercrombie & Fitch wearing a black headscarf.
The justices said that employers generally have to accommodate job applicants and employees with religious needs if the employer at least has an idea that such accommodation is necessary.
Job applicant Samantha Elauf did not tell her interviewer she was Muslim. But Justice Antonin Scalia said for the court that Abercrombie “at least suspected” that Elauf wore a headscarf for religious reasons. “That is enough,” Scalia said in an opinion for seven justices.
The headscarf, or hijab, violated the company’s strict dress code for employees who work in its retail stores.
Elauf was 17 when she interviewed for a “model” position, as the company calls its sales staff, at an Abercrombie Kids store in a shopping mall in Tulsa, Oklahoma, in 2008. She impressed the assistant store manager with whom she met. But her application faltered over her headscarf because it conflicted with the company’s Look Policy, a code derived from Abercrombie’s focus on what it calls East Coast collegiate or preppy style.
Abercrombie has since changed its policy on headscarves and has settled similar lawsuits elsewhere.
The federal Equal Employment Opportunity Commission filed suit on Elauf’s behalf, and a jury eventually awarded her $20,000.
But the federal appeals court in Denver threw out the award and concluded that Abercrombie & Fitch could not be held liable because Elauf never asked the company to relax its policy against headscarves.
Back to closet cases for a moment. So, I’m not not in to quoting the National Review but this is a good question: How Did Denny Hastert Get Rich Enough to Pay Millions to an Accuser?
By the sketchy standards of Illinois politics, that might well have been true. But his fall from grace should prompt other questions about how a former high-school teacher who held elective office from 1981 to 2007 could leave Congress with a fortune estimated at $4 million to $17 million. When he entered Congress in 1987, he was worth at most $275,000. Hastert was the beneficiary of very lucky land deals while in Congress; and since leaving office, he has earned more than $2 million a year as a lobbyist. That helps explain how he could agree to pay $3.5 million to a former student to cover up an ancient sex-abuse scandal.
You can go read the details at the link. The land deal is characterized as “honest graft”. Hmmmmmm ….
Among other bottom in the news is that Republicans are once again eating their own. (Again, with the Santorm reference for good measure!) Down with Tyranny writes that: Crooked Republican Closet Case Aaron Schock Draws a Primary Challenge. I think of him every time I hear some one call some one else a butt munch.
Maybe Aaron Schock’s congressional seat isn’t as safe as we’ve been saying it is. The seat was redrawn in 2010 by the Democratic Illinois legislature to concentrate Republicans in one district in order to make IL-13 and IL-17 safe for Democrats. The Democrats have still be unable to capture the 13th (Rodney Davis’ district) and the reactionary Blue Dog Democrat who won in the 17th, Cheri Bustos, wasn’t worth the effort.
Shock wound up with an R+11 district, won by McCain with 54% and by Romney with 61%– and won by Schock in 2012 with 74% and last November, despite mounting ethics charges, with 75%. Ostensibly, IL-18 loves Aaron Schock. He’s been very popular in the district where his excuses for being a dashing young bachelor– “I still just haven’t had time to find the right gal”– are accepted at face value. Inside the Beltway, everyone knows Aaron Schock is a gay party boy. In the suburbs around Springfield and Peoria and the farming villages that run east from Iowa Schock’s lifestyle doesn’t compute as “gay.” And nothing would get these people to vote for a Democrat anyway.
But this week it’s looking likely that they will have an opportunity to replace Schock with a more conservative Republican… if they want to. As the financial scandals pile up and get more and more press back home, Bloomington attorney Mark Zalcman has been putting together the beginning of a primary challenge against Schock. He declared his candidacy on Monday and said his platform will be centered on his Christian faith and values. His campaign slogan: “Because Washington needs the Gospel.” Presumably his allies will get more specific about Schock’s non-Gospel lifestyle as the campaign heats up.
I’m thinking that some of these folks outta spend some time around some good Buddhists and learn about Karma. Karma appears to be a top.
Here’s another one from North Dakota: “North Dakota Rep. with anti-gay voting record comes out of closet after lewd pictures on dating site Grindr surface.” You would think he could stop thinking with his little head long enough to not post to a Gay hook up site, wouldn’t ya?
A conservative North Dakota lawmaker has come out of the closet after lewd texts he sent on a gay dating site were made public this week.
The randy red-state Republican, Rep. Randy Boehning, was outed Monday, more than a month after the Roughrider State legislator sent an unsolicited picture of his penis and several other messages to 21-year-old Bismarck resident Dustin Smith back on March 12 on the gay dating site Grindr, according to multiple reports.
Boehning, a 12-year veteran of North Dakota’s state assembly who has routinely voted against gay rights legislation, charged that the leaked messages were sent to media outlets in retaliation for his vote against Senate Bill 2279, which would have added sexual orientation to the state’s anti-discrimination law. For the third time since 2009, the bill was voted down by conservative North Dakota lawmakers, including Boehning.
But Smith, who first leaked the Grindr messages to The Forum, claims he simply wanted to reveal Boehning’s hypocrisy.
“How can you discriminate against the person you’re trying to pick up?” Smith told the local Bismark-area newspaper on Monday.
Boehning, 52 and unmarried, has been an active member of the site and conducted his affairs under the profile name “Top Man!,” Smith said.
“Seems I haven’t found mister right yet, so need to keep looking for and having fun on the way! Hit me up boys,” Boehning’s Grindr bio reads.
Boehning, a staunch conservative, insistently refused to comment on the allegations for two weeks, but this week finally came forward to admit that he had been using the platform to chat with other men and that he was gay,according to The Forum.
Well, guess that dude was look for Mr. Good Bottom. Maybe Denny Hastert needs a new room mate. Oh, wait, he’s going to jail so he’ll have plenty of tops looking for him now!!!
Absolutely nothing drives me nuttier than a candy bar than the utter hypocrisy of these guys. Again, my biggest hope is that we have a rush on Larry Flint’s email and that each and every one of these hypocritical dudes gets outted in a spectacular way.
I not only want the closet cases outted. I want the serial adulterers with the smirkier holier than thou attitudes out in the open too. That would include all the hookers that did my Senator Vitter before he becomes my damned governor. Larry already netted Vitter but some how we still can’t get rid of him. There has to be a few more hookers in need of a million out there with some pictures. C’mon ladies!!!
I’ll get to race handicapping in a few paragraphs, but first let’s deal with the only thing most people know about David Vitter (who has not, by the way, distinguished himself in the Senate in any way). I’ve always wondered: How in the world did he survive that hooker business? Not only did he admit he was a client of Deborah Jeane Palfrey’s escort service. She then went and hanged herself. Not over him personally. Over the whole mess, and staring at serious jail time. But still. Extramarital relations are one thing, with a staffer or a woman of accomplishment; politicians almost always slog their way through that. But here we had the guy calling on hookers, and the dead body of the madam. And Vitter skated through it and sailed to reelection two years later. How?
“He hid for a year and a half,” says my operative. At first, when his name was revealed by Hustler in connection to the case, Vitter acknowledged it. He said he’d asked for and received his wife’s and (somewhat presumptuously) God’s forgiveness. After that he would say no more—“out of respect for my family.” Nice touch.
By the time 2010 came around, Palfrey was less important to the state’s voters than the fact that Charlie Melancon, the Democrat who challenged Vitter, had “voted with Barack Obama 98 percent of the time” in Congress. That’s all Vitter said. That, and the forgiveness thing, and the “fact” that illegal immigrations were cutting holes through chain-link fences and being welcomed by bleeding-heart Melanconistas with a brass band and a waiting limousine, as this really vile and racist TV ad of his had it. Vile and racist works down there, so what had seemed at first like a close-ish race became a 19-point whupping.
Ever since, Vitter has been fine, with his approval rating up in the high 50s. I guess all it takes to do that is to be right wing and anti-Obama. And so, he’s the favorite to be the state’s next governor.
Maybe the evangelicals were just happy that found a compound adulterer who wasn’t gay for a change. Who knows? All I know is that if I were any where near their clown car, I would be sure to wear a human size condom.
Take note reporters.
What’s on your reading and blogging list today?
Do you want ever wonder what the hell is going on with politicians today and how they can get away with this kind of shit to begin with in the first place?
That is a rhetorical question…but the setup is legit.
And away we go….
In pre-taped remarks to the Southern Republican Leadership Conference over the weekend, Senator Lindsey Graham says he knows Iran’s lying because he learned how to spot a liar in his parents’ pool room.
Graham, of course, kept the focus largely on politics, talking about his background, his belief in the greatness of America, his expected 2016 run, his foreign policy chops, and Hillary Clinton.
But it was when he talked about growing up that he made the connection between his time working at the pool hall and the current Iran nuclear negotiations:
“My family owned a restaurant, a pool room, and a liquor store. And everything I know about the Iranians I learned in the pool room. I ran the pool room when I was a kid and I met a lot of liars, and I know the Iranians are lying.”
As the comic image above states, “What the fuck is this bullshit?”
Then you have the other one, Walker…the Kochsucker favorite I guess, who says… about those forced ultrasounds he makes the women in his state take who are looking to get an abortion…yeah they should just shut up about that because you know, forced ultrasounds are “lovely” and “cool.”
Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker defended a bill he signed that required women to undergo ultrasound examinations before seeking an abortion, saying the medically unnecessary procedures were a “lovely” and “cool thing.”
The likely Republican presidential candidate told conservative talk radio host Dana Loesch on Friday that the law, portions of which were struck down earlier this year by a federal judge, was misrepresented by a hostile media, reported Right Wing Watch.
“The media tried to make that sound like that was a crazy idea,” Walker said. “Most people I talked to, whether they’re pro-life or not, I find people all the time that pull out their iPhone and show me a picture of their grandkids’ ultrasound and how excited they are, so that’s a lovely thing. I think about my sons are 19 and 20, (and) we still have their first ultrasounds. It’s just a cool thing out there.”
Yes, there is nothing more lovelier than what basically can be described as a forced (uh, emphasis on forced for all those dumbass shitbags who don’t think the word rape is violent enough) rape on a woman by sticking a vaginal probe ultrasound stick up her v-hole to get a cool picture of a clump of “misogynist funded government up your uterus.”
…there are currently 10 candidates who are declared or all but certain to run, and another four who will probably run. But while the voters might find this an embarrassment of riches, for the party’s leaders and financiers, it looks like a recipe for trouble.
In a Saturday interview on the Larry Kudlow Show, a nationally syndicated radio broadcast, David Koch let it slip that the roughly$900 million that he and his brother, Charles, plan to lavish on the 2016 presidential race could find its way into the hands of more than one GOP contender.
“We are thinking of supporting several Republicans,” David Koch said, adding, “If we’re happy with the policies that these individuals are supporting, we’ll finance their campaigns.”
Koch said the brothers would begin writing checks to individual candidates in “the primary season, winter and next spring.”
Up until now, the Koch brothers hadn’t indicated that they’d be taking a side in the primaries. It almost seemed that they viewed that as the kind of thing amateurs like Sheldon Adelson do, throwing money at some candidate based on overly irrational personal feelings, while they keep focused on the real goal of getting a Republican — any Republican — into the White House. By saying they’re going to support several candidates in the primaries, the Kochs are pledging to accelerate the winnowing process, by which the race’s chaff can be sloughed off and the focus can stay on the serious contenders.
Don’t be fooled by the line about them supporting all the ones whose policies they’re happy with. That’s because there’s almost no disagreement among the candidates, at least on the issues the Kochs care about. All of them would like to see low taxes on the wealthy (most have even advocated a flat tax, a boon to people like the Kochs), a dramatic reduction in regulations that affect corporations and a rollback of the social safety net. Where the Kochs personally disagree with the candidates (as they may on some social issues or on immigration), they disagree with all the candidates, because the candidates’ positions are so similar.
Gawd, I hate those fuckers.
The rest of today’s links below are on the quick, because the Koch Brother’s have disgusted me so…
The Supreme Court agreed on Tuesday to hear a case that will answer a long-contested question about a bedrock principle of the American political system: the meaning of “one person one vote.”
The court’s ruling, expected in 2016, could be immensely consequential. Should the court agree with the two Texas voters who brought the case, its ruling would shift political power from cities to rural areas, a move that would benefit Republicans.
I can’t believe this: Australia wants to scrap the tampon tax – Business News – Business – The Independent
In this today’s Washington Post, Dana Millbank belatedly latches onto a very old meme–The Republican field is a clown car–in order to promote one of the clowns.
“If you can’t take a joke,” Lindsey Graham has said , “don’t run for president.”
Graham, a senator from South Carolina and one of umpteen Republicans running for president, can take a joke — which is why he appreciates the absurdity that is the GOP field. There are far too many candidates (so many that there are concerns they won’t all fit on a debate stage), and to gain attention they are juggling, tooting horns and blowing slide whistles like so many painted performers emerging from a clown car.
“I do bar mitzvahs, birthday parties, weddings, funerals — call me, I’ll come,” Graham told a crowd in New Hampshire last month. He said voters should ignore Hillary Clinton and “look to the 35 people running for president on the Republican side. And just shoot up among us until you get one of us out of the tree.”
But what if you are the joke? Just think, Graham could be the first obviously closeted gay man to win the nomination of the party that hates gays and wants them to be second class citizens.
Ted Cruz tried for his 15 minutes of fame by holding the first announcement. Marco Rubio drew thousands to Miami’s Freedom Tower. Mike Huckabee brought in aging crooner Tony Orlando but was easily eclipsed by Ben Carson, who had a musical extravaganza and a video putting the candidate in the company of Abraham Lincoln and Martin Luther King Jr.
Former New York governor George Pataki, perhaps the smallest of the GOP Lilliputians, announced on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe” last week that . . . he will make his announcement on May 28. Donald Trump announced over the weekend that he would make an announcement in June and that “the announcement is going to surprise a lot of people.”
It would probably surprise a lot of people if Trump said something that made sense.
Sigh . . . .
Also in this morning’s WaPo, Bobby Jindal hints that he too will have an important announcement soon: Bobby Jindal launches presidential exploratory committee.
Louisiana Gov. Bobby Jindal (R) on Monday formally launched a presidential exploratory committee, the clearest indication yet that he is gearing up for a White House run.
“For some time now, my wife Supriya and I have been thinking and praying about whether to run for the Presidency of our great nation,” Jindal said in a statement. “If I run, my candidacy will be based on the idea that the American people are ready to try a dramatically different direction. Not a course correction, but a dramatically different path.”
The Louisiana Republican has made frequent visits to key early voting states in recent months, testing a message centered on the need to “restore the American Dream,” which he says President Obama’s “weak leadership” has diminished. But despite his experience as governor and a compelling personal background as the American-born son of Indian immigrants, Jindal has struggled to make an impact in national polls of potential Republican candidates.
If Jindal does anything “dramatically different,” I’d be stunned. But he’ll just be peddling the usual Koch brothers gibberish to very small audiences.
What are the other clown car occupants up to?
Rick Sanatorum has been busy either grossly misinterpreting or blatantly lying about a book he supposedly read.
Last week, former Republican Sen. Rick Santorum called men who father children with multiple women “sexual predators.”
When making his argument to the socially-conservative Cornerstone organization in New Hampshire, Santorum cited statistics on marriage from Harvard professor Robert Putnam’s book, Our Kids.
“Another new statistic just came out in his book. A majority of children being born out of wedlock today in America are born in families where the father is in the home. But they’re not married,” said Santorum. “So they are born to cohabiting couples. So the majority of children born out of wedlock are born to cohabiting couples. And what does Putnam say about these? They stuck to them longitudinally, they never get married. Let me use that term, never, like one or two percent ever get married.
“And he compared it when he was growing up in the 1950s and when children were conceived out of wedlock, what happened in the 1950s,” added Santorum. “We all know what happened in the 1950s and here is the amazing thing, this is Putnam saying this, 80 plus percent of these marriages succeeded.
“And children were raised in stable homes. Now these fathers leave the home and not just father children with that particular women, they father a child with another women, and another and another. We have created predators, sexual predators particularly where, again, Putnam—low income America.”
Here’s what Putnam had to say about Santorum’s comments.
“I’m a progressive and I think the evidence is that first of all, there has been a collapse in the working family class family, black and white, and that’s bad for kids,” Putnam said responding to Santorum in a speech to promote his book last week.
Putnam said Santorum misinterpreted what he was saying and took advantage of “the fact I was trying to be open.”
“But there is a presidential candidate, who yesterday quoted me as saying therefore—he’s quoted me as saying all black men are sexual predators. I’m not going to say who it is but what I’m trying to say is, he’s a conservative and he took what I was saying and sort of so misinterpreted it that it’s nothing like—it’s just isn’t even in the universe of what I said. But that’s an example of how at least this one guy was in effect taking advantage of the fact that I was trying to be open. He says ‘isn’t it amazing that this liberal’, actually he said ‘this extreme leftist at Harvard acknowledges that blah, blah, blah.’”
Another clown car occupant, Rand Paul wants to eliminate the Department of Education (Rick Perry and Mike Huckabee do too). Think Progress explains: What Would Actually Happen If Rand Paul Eliminated The Department Of Education. According to TP,
We wouldn’t have a federal department to administer Pell Grants to students….
There wouldn’t be any oversight over states when they break civil rights laws….
There wouldn’t be a department to check on rampant inequality between low-income school districts and wealthy districts.
We would have inconsistent education data, as the quality of data would vary among the states….
There would be more gender discrimination within schools….
There would be no way to hold schools accountable for the funds they receive.
Of course for the GOP clowns, those are goals that should be wholeheartedly supported.
Jeb Bush stumbled out the block and has continued to stumble and stagger on his path to an as-yet unannounced presidential candidacy. Here’s the latest from Reuters, via Yahoo News: Jeb Bush sees no constitutional right to gay marriage.
(Reuters) – Republican Jeb Bush said in a weekend radio interview that he does not believe the Constitution grants a right to gay marriage, emphasizing his support for “traditional marriage.”
The Supreme Court is expected by the end of June to make a landmark ruling that could make gay marriage the law of the land or return the decision to individual states.
“It’s at the core of the Catholic faith and to imagine how we are going to succeed in our country unless we have committed family life, (a) committed child-centered family system, is hard to imagine,” Bush told the Christian Broadcasting Network show, “The Brody File, in an interview broadcast on Sunday.
“So, irrespective of the Supreme Court ruling because they are going to decide whatever they decide – I don’t know what they are going to do – we need to be stalwart supporters of traditional marriage,” said Bush, who converted to Catholicism 20 years ago….
Bush also said in the radio interview that Christian business owners should be able to refuse, “if it’s based on a religious belief,” to provide services to same-sex couples.
But at Slate, Mark Joseph Stern notes that: Jeb Bush Accidentally Made a Brilliant Argument Against Anti-Gay “Religious Liberty” Laws.
Jeb Bush has an odd conception of liberty. As governor of Florida, Bush strongly opposed same-sex marriage, preferring to force committed gay couples to live as legal strangers with no ability to formally adopt their own children. As his presidential campaign warms up, though, Bush has taken a selectively expansive view of liberty.According to Bush, anti-gay business owners should have a legal right to refuse service to same-sex couples seeking to celebrate their relationship.
Bush’s support for anti-gay “religious liberty” laws are no surprise—unless you happen to have believed that silly BuzzFeed report that he would be “2016’s gay-friendly Republican.” What is surprising is that Bush framed his endorsement of such laws in a way that beautifully illustrates exactly why the usual argument for such laws is so fatuous. Take a look at his comment:
A big country, a tolerant country, ought to be able to figure out the difference between discriminating against someone because of their sexual orientation and not forcing someone to participate in a wedding that they find goes against their moral beliefs. This should not be that complicated. Gosh, it is right now.
At bottom, Bush is arguing that the law should differentiate between identity and conduct. He believes the state may protect gays from discrimination because they’re gay (identity), but not because they’re celebrating a gay relationship (conduct). Unfortunately for Bush, this argument fails quite spectacularly in the wedding context, because homosexuality is an identity defined by its conduct. To be gay is to be attracted to, and maybe marry, someone of the same sex. There is no more fundamental way to discriminate against a gay person than to refuse to serve them based on the fact that they are marrying someone of the same sex.
Koch brothers favorite Scott Walker is having some not-so-funny (from his point of view) problems. He has been a target of corruption investigations for the past couple of years. Now this from The Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel: Records indicate Scott Walker was copied on letter promising loan to donor.
Madison — State records say that Gov. Scott Walker received a copy of a 2011 letter pledging a $500,000 taxpayer loan to a now-defunct Milwaukee construction company headed by a Walker donor, seemingly contradicting statements by the governor and his aides that he was not aware of the award.
A spokeswoman for Walker said that, in spite of the records, a copy of the letter from the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. was never delivered to the governor’s office.
The Sept. 9, 2011, letter from Paul Jadin, WEDC’s chief executive officer at the time, was sent to William Minahan, owner of Building Committee Inc., a company that is now being sued by WEDC for defaulting on the unsecured loan without delivering the promised project and the jobs it was supposed to create.
Jadin said in his letter of intent that he was writing “on behalf of Governor Scott Walker” and noted “cc: Scott Walker, Governor” at the bottom.
Walker’s top cabinet appointee, then Administration Secretary Mike Huebsch, urged WEDC officials to provide the loan, and Walker’s then-chief of staff Keith Gilkes attended an initial meeting on it, according to records provided to the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel by the Walker administration.
“In closing Governor Walker and I are firmly committed to doing everything possible to expedite the processing and awarding of this incentive award,” Jadin wrote in the letter.
Read the details at the link.
And from the La Crosse Tribune: Hours after damning audit, Scott Walker calls off WEDC-WHEDA merger.
Gov. Scott Walker has cancelled a planned merger of two economic development agencies after a new audit said Walker’s job-creating entity failed to follow statutes or its own policies when making financial awards.
The audit released Friday also says the Wisconsin Economic Development Corp. failed to meet all statutory requirements related to program oversight and that staff “did not consistently comply with policies established by WEDC’s own governing board” which is chaired by Walker.
The audit comes as Walker had been calling for a merger of WEDC and WHEDA, the Wisconsin Housing and Economic Development Authority.
Within hours of the audit release, Walker issued a statement calling for that merger to be removed from the state budget along with a merger of two other state agencies.
“After hearing concerns from legislators, stakeholders, and the WHEDA and WEDC boards, we asked legislators to remove the proposed agency mergers from the state budget and we asked the bill authors to not move forward with the proposed separate legislation,” Walker said.
Walker also had proposed a merger of the Department of Financial Institutions and the Department of Safety and Professional Services into one regulatory agency. That merger is also cancelled, he said.
Wisconsin Democrats are gloating . . .
“While Scott Walker has completely abandoned Wisconsin to advance his presidential ambitions the continued incompetence and ineptitude at his Economic Disaster Corporation is bordering on criminal negligence at this point,” Democratic Party of Wisconsin Chair Mike Tate said in a statement.
That’s all the clown car news I have room for today. What else is happening?
Yesterday was opening day for baseball–a sure sign of spring! The Orioles beat the Red Sox 2-1. In past years this morning’s headlines would have jokingly read “Wait Until Next Year.” But that was the old 20th century Red Sox. Now they’ve won three World Series championships in the 21st century–including last year–Boston fans have calmed down a bit. We can wait a few weeks to see how the season develops.
On the day off today, the Read Sox are excited to be heading to the White House to meet President Obama and will also pay a visit to Walter Reed hospital.
As a reward for winning last year’s World Series, President Barack Obama cordially invited the defending champs for a ceremony to recognize their accomplishment, and the ceremony will air live on MLB.com starting at 11:30 a.m. ET.
“I think any time you have a chance to speak to the Commander in Chief, that’s a rare opportunity,” said manager John Farrell. “And for all of us that are going tomorrow, to meet him in person, to experience the White House, we know the reason why we’re there and it’s a fun day, it’s a unique day. I think it will be a good experience by all.”
Sox righty Jake Peavy has been to the White House before, but never as a World Series champion.
“Tomorrow, we will celebrate what happened,” said Peavy. “Pretty neat day when you experience what we’re going to experience tomorrow. I look forward to that.”
The Red Sox, as they did in conjunction with their White House visits in 2005 and ’08, will also pay a visit to the Walter Reed Army Medical Center and visit with some of the heroes who served the country.
I haven’t watched CNN lately, but last night I accidentally turned it on and they were still talking about missing Malaysian Airlines Flight 370. This morning’s breaking news is that Malaysia either lied or made a big mistake about the “last words from the cockpit” before the plane disappeared.
Weeks ago, Malaysian authorities said the last message from the airplane cockpit was, “All right, good night.”
The sign-off to air traffic controllers, which investigators said was spoken by the plane’s copilot, was among the few concrete details officials released in a mystery that’s baffled investigators since the Boeing 777 disappeared with 239 people aboard on March 8.
There’s only one problem. It turns out, it wasn’t true.
On Tuesday, Malaysia’s Transport Ministry released the transcript of the conversations between the Flight 370’s cockpit and air traffic control. The final words from the plane: “Good night Malaysian three seven zero.”
Malaysian authorities gave no explanation for the discrepancy between the two quotes. And authorities are still trying to determine whether it was the plane’s pilot or copilot who said them.
You can read the full transcript at ABC News: Malaysia Airlines MH370: Full transcript of flight’s cockpit communication released. Searchers are still looking for the wreckage, but in just a week the plane’s black box will go silent.
Today is April Fool’s Day; I can’t stand practical jokes, so I was planning to ignore it until I saw this headline at Roll Call: Cantor Says GOP Finishing Work on Obamacare Alternative, Details Agenda.
House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, R-Va., reiterated on Friday that the House plans to bring up a bill to replace President Barack Obama’s health care law.
In a memo to members laying out the House agenda for the remainder of the winter, Cantor noted that the replacement is being finalized, and said that in the meantime, Republicans will work to target parts of the law with which they disagree.
“As we continue to work to finalize our Obamacare replacement plan, we will also act to highlight and address the serious consequences of the law,” he said.
That just has to be an April Fool’s joke, right? I guess not, because yesterday Fox News’ Jenna Lee badgered Sen. Lindsey Graham about when the Obamacare replacement would be ready. From Think Press:
During an interview with the network, Graham agreed that his party should introduce a unified health care proposal. But Lee persisted, pressing him for more details. “Why do you think Republicans can put together a better plan to get the trust back in government?” she asked. “What are Republicans putting out there that says to the American, people, ‘no, you can trust us. If you don’t trust what is happening now, trust us?’”
Some of Graham’s suggestions:
“I think it is good for the Republican party to have a plan of its own to insure Americans without losing your doctor and bankrupting the country,” Graham agreed. “Let’s start with the idea that pre-existing illnesses should not deny you coverage, that means you’re gonna have to have pools for the really sick, but why would you want to deny somebody insurance because they got sick? Allowing children to stay on the policies up to they’re 26 makes sense given this economy and buying policies across state lines makes a lot of sense to me.”
Ooops! Those proposals are already part of Obamacare. You can watch Graham ramble on about the horrors of Obamacare at The link.
Meanwhile ACA sign-ups surged yesterday, which was supposed to be the last day to enroll in a plan. Time Magazine: Obamacare Hits a Milestone With Enrollment Goal in Reach.
A last-minute push to insure millions of low-income Americans jammed phone lines and slowed down an enrollment websiteahead of a key deadline Monday, but the Obama Administration was close to declaring a tentative victory when it signaled early Tuesday that an enrollment goal, which had seemed almost impossible to reach just months ago, was now tantalizingly close.
Officials hailed record traffic to the federal health-insurance-exchange website as vindication of the politically divisive law. HealthCare.gov, the site whose hobbled launch in October became a political punch line and threw the initiative’s viability into doubt, recorded more than 3 million visits on Monday, officials said, the last day of a closely watched sign-up period. More than 1 million calls were reportedly placed to an enrollment call center as of 8 p.m., and the Administration said early Tuesday morning that the site was briefly shutting down so engineers could refocus on providing relevant post-enrollment information. The Associated Press, citing unnamed government officials, said enrollment was on track to hit the Administration’s target of 7 million Americans newly insured. As many as 100,000 people have started but not yet finished the process, and last-minute exemptions paved the way for them to complete enrollment after the deadline.
Yesterday the WaPo published some leaked information from the Senate report on torture during the Bush administration. We knew this before, of course, but the report concludes that the CIA repeatedly lied to Congress about the effectiveness of the “enhanced interrogation” program.
A report by the Senate Intelligence Committee concludes that the CIA misled the government and the public about aspects of its brutal interrogation program for years — concealing details about the severity of its methods, overstating the significance of plots and prisoners, and taking credit for critical pieces of intelligence that detainees had in fact surrendered before they were subjected to harsh techniques.
The report, built around detailed chronologies of dozens of CIA detainees, documents a long-standing pattern of unsubstantiated claims as agency officials sought permission to use — and later tried to defend — excruciating interrogation methods that yielded little, if any, significant intelligence, according to U.S. officials who have reviewed the document.
“The CIA described [its program] repeatedly both to the Department of Justice and eventually to Congress as getting unique, otherwise unobtainable intelligence that helped disrupt terrorist plots and save thousands of lives,” said one U.S. official briefed on the report. “Was that actually true? The answer is no.”
The report also revealed internal disagreement within the CIA about the use of torture. Some employees were horrified while others pushed for more torture even after it was clear it wasn’t working. The report also revealed some new information:
The report describes previously undisclosed cases of abuse, including the alleged repeated dunking of a terrorism suspect in tanks of ice water at a detention site in Afghanistan — a method that bore similarities to waterboarding but never appeared on any Justice Department-approved list of techniques.
Much more to read at the link.
Meanwhile, Dick Cheney continued to wholeheartedly defend the Bush administration’s use of torture. Dick Cheney Defends Waterboarding: ‘The Results Speak for Themselves’
Former Vice President Dick Cheney on Friday dismissed accusations that he is a war criminal and defended the Bush administration’s use of enhanced interrogation techniques like waterboarding, stating that he would “do it all over again.”
“Some people called it torture. It wasn’t torture,” Cheney said in an interview on American University’s television station, according to American’s student newspaper The Eagle. “If I would have to do it all over again, I would. The results speak for themselves.”
“More than two dozen” American University students protested Cheney’s appearance by walking out during his speech and yelling “walk out of war criminals.”
At the LA Times, national security reporter Ken Dilanian reported on an interview with outgoing NSA director Keith Alexander, and cited some of NSA’s successes in saving lives of soldiers in Iraq.
In nearly nine years as head of the nation’s largest intelligence agency, Gen. Keith Alexander presided over a vast expansion of digital spying, acquiring information in a volume his predecessors would have found unimaginable.
In Iraq, for example, the National Security Agency went from intercepting only about half of enemy signals and taking hours to process them to being able to collect, sort and make available every Iraqi email, text message and phone-location signal in real time, said John “Chris” Inglis, who recently retired as the NSA’s top civilian.
The overhaul, which Alexander ordered shortly after taking leadership of the agency in August 2005, enabled U.S. ground commanders to find out when an insurgent leader had turned on his cellphone, where he was and whom he was calling.
“Absolutely invaluable,” retired Gen. David H. Petraeus, the former U.S. commander in Iraq, said in an interview as he described the NSA’s efforts, which led to the dismantling of networks devoted to burying roadside bombs.
Alexander “sped the place up,” Inglis said.
But Dilanian points out that Alexander is more likely to be remembered for the Snowden hack than anything positive NSA has done. Alexander was confused by the public reaction to Snowden’s revelations.
Ten months after the disclosures began, Alexander remains disturbed, and somewhat baffled, by the intensity of the public reaction.
“I think our nation has drifted into the wrong place,” he said in an interview last week. “We need to recognize that those who are working to protect our nation are not the bad people.”
Snowden’s PR man and protector Glenn Greenwald wasted no time before attacking Dilianian--a well respected reporter–as a propagandist and shill for the government. He also seemed to imply the same about the Washington Post’s Dana Priest when he linked to a July 2013 article she wrote on NSA’s efforts to identify terrorists. Greenwald writes:
[W]henever it suits the agency to do so–meaning when it wants to propagandize on its own behalf–the NSA casually discloses even its most top secret activities in the very countries where such retaliation is most likely. Anonymous ex-officials boasted to the Washington Post last July in detail about the role the agency plays in helping kill people by drones. The Post dutifully headlined its story: “NSA Growth Fueled by Need to Target Terrorists.”
And now, Keith Alexander’s long-time deputy just fed one of the most pro-NSA reporters in the country, the Los Angeles Times‘ Ken Dilanian, some extraordinarily sensitive, top secret information about NSA activities in Iraq, which the Times published in an article that reads exactly like an NSA commercial….
John “Chris” Inglis just revealed to the world that the NSA was–is?–intercepting every single email, text message, and phone-location signal in real time for the entire country of Iraq.
Obviously, the fact that the NSA has this capability, and used it, is Top Secret. What authority did Chris Inglis have to disclose this?
Wait– Didn’t Snowden and Greenwald already reveal these NSA capabilities and methods? Yes, yes they did, and now new methods have to be developed. And besides, the executive branch has the authority to declassify information. The story even named Inglis as the source, and he didn’t reveal any specific methods.
But Greenwald thinks Inglis should be prosecuted instead of Snowden. Because, you know, spying to save lives in Iraq is evil. I get that Greenwald believes that any spying by the U.S. is wrong (although spying and human rights violations are OK for other countries such as China and Russia); but I have to say calling reporters Ken Dilanian and Dana Priest is a bit over the top, to put in mildly.
Those are my reading suggestions today. What stories are you following? Please share your links in the comment thread.