Archives 2014

2013 2010 2007
2012 2009 2006
2011 2008 2005

Jan      Feb      Mar      Apr      Jun      Jul      Aug      Sep      Oct      Nov      Dec

Two Republican politicians Steve Scalise and Michael Grimm provide really, really strong reasons for black to vote Democratic.

Dang! Nice work if you can get it! A charter high school served around 200 students, it got a total of $35 million from the district, kids who could read and do math at their appropriate grade level were 2% and 3% respectively, oh, and here's the kicker, the top two people in charge had compensation packages in the six figures! It's called private enterprise without accountability. Charter schools don't feel any connection to their community, they're just in it for the bucks.

Studio releases �assassination comedy� (�The Interview�).

The fellow representing the police against New York's elected Mayor (Who represents ALL New Yorkers, not just the police) states: "We have a lot of talking we�re going to have to do here to understand both sides of this issue. This is not a one-sided issue." Erm, actually, the killing of unarmed black men (And a few women) by white police officers IS a "one-sided issue" and no, there isn't any other side or aspect to consider. And hmm, turns out public isn't pleased by police demonstration of insubordination.

Problem is, the findings in this poll are absolutely consistent with those of past years over the last several decades. Republicans dominate the Sunday talk shows. In good times, in bad times, during periods when Republicans dominate the Presidency, the Senate and/or the House and during times when they don't. It makes zero difference how much power each party has, Republicans dominate the Sunday talk shows, period!

I write a piece on the state of race relations. Oh, and good news! It looks like the verdict that Officer Darren Wilson is innocent may get tossed out.

And no, the idea that Internet porn is responsible for a low marriage rate is bunk.

Formally and officially, the War in Afghanistan ended today (Dec 28), unofficially, not all that much has really changed. At least the troops there are down to the somewhat reasonably low number of a bit less than 11,000.

Interesting comment from Chuck Todd, who feels that the politicians who appear on Meet The Press do so out of the goodness of their hearts and that he can't afford to do anything that might make them uncomfortable. One of the problems with that is �Why is he working with such a limited Rolodex of politician's numbers?� Why is he unable to call on so few politicians? And also �Don't politicians have a vested interest in appearing to be candid?� MTP is very much a two-way street where both sides benefit, it's not a one-way street where he receives charity from his guests.

President Obama determined to pass TPP. Please don't! The TPP is like NAFTA, it'll help the 1% at the expense of everyone else. Yes, the country as a whole will make more money, but that new money will be made by people at the very top of the income ladder, not at the income levels where money is needed.�

Bill Moyers supplies an excellent rundown on the latest climate change critiques and shows why they're not credible.

Included in the $1.1 trillion government spending bill is $80 billion for running the CIA and other spy agencies, y'know, the guys who missed 9/11 and thought the Iraq War would be over once we took Baghdad and who were surprised by ISIS, yeah, those guys.

So, how's ISIS, ISIL or The Islamic State doing? Not so well, actually. And to think that just over a month ago Max Boot was opining in the pages of the Philadelphia Inquirer��about how Obama wasn't being aggressive enough and how the US ought to do more. Tells ya how much credibility to give these folks.

Interesting video from the late Michael Jackson, intercut with up-to-the-minute happenings.�He demonstrates lots of mature political awareness here.

A case is launched against Edward Snowden and his helpers. Fortunately, it sounds like a pretty difficult case for the plaintiff to win. He has to provide "standing," a showing that he has been personally hurt by Snowden's actions. The idea that all of the people behind Snowden's actions were motivated solely by profit is also a steep hurdle to get over.

Hmm, interesting. Lots and lots of reasons to be skeptical that North Korea was the culprit in the Sony hacking. 'Course I have to agree that NK doesnt really win any sympathy with its slanderous and overheated response.

Wow! Conservative...uh..."humor" they call it? Hoo boy!

Republicans want to force the GAO to adopt �dynamic scoring,� that is, to incorporate incorrect assumptions about the effects of tax cuts. This would make GAO forecasts worthless but would make it easier for the GOP to push their favorite policies.

And yeah, the constant complaint that Obama is spending too much time on vacation, after our critics noticeably failed to criticize either Reagan or the younger George Bush for their rather extensive vacation schedules, is indeed a racist criticism.

Senator Pat Toomey (R-PA) has repeatedly put out a petition for more job creation. That's really great, but what does a Republican mean by "job creation"? It tends not to mean what Democrats mean. It tends to mean things like tax cuts for the already-wealthy and the cutting of SNAP/Food Stamps for the not-so-wealthy (Y'know, to create incentives for those lazy poor people to get to work). So, in general, I agree with my Senator's top line, the headline of his proposal, we need more job creation. But I really need to know the details of his proposal before I agree with it.

From the latest reports on torture, it sounds as though the problem was that a very few people had far too much influence on the whole process. A person is identified in particular who just displayed horrible, execrable judgment, but who still occupies a high ranking position in the CIA.

The scene of North Korean Supreme Leader Kim Jong-un getting killed (a few seconds) is pretty brutal. As I said, this is a living, sitting, head of state that's being "killed" here. Should we defend it? *Sigh,* I guess so, now that it's a cause celebre anyway.

President Obama declares that he will take certain actions regarding Cuba, figures in traditional media declare that such actions will be illegal, other people in the alternative media carefully examine his proposed actions and the law, initial statements prove to be unfounded and legally incompetent.

Conservatives call upon the Federal Government to stand tough against Colorado's relaxed marijuana laws, thus making complete hash of conservative �State's Rights� arguments, showing that �State's Rights� were always pragmatic arguments for whatever else they've already decided to do. �State's Rights� has never been a principled argument for anything.

Very cool! The WSJ is finally beginning to recognize that allowing the Supreme Court to cripple the ACA/ObamaCare would be absolutely disastrous for many millions of Republican voters and therefore, for the Republican Party.

Hate to be a killjoy on the whole razzing of North Korea thing, but it's pretty horrible that a piece of popular entertainment is advocating the death of a current, and very much alive, world leader. And not just with a quick bullet to the head as G.W. Bush suffered in a British film during his presidency, but a really detailed, painful death as we saw in "Inglorious Basterds."

Fox's idea of "balance": "Sean Hannity's panel on 'Race Relations' was three white people and Geraldo."

I put a pro-Obama message onto a site and got a really snarky reply from a right-winger about how Obama didn't dot all of his i's or cross all of his t's several years ago, so Obama is, like, the worst President ever!!! So I thought of how Obama is dealing with the guy that the right wing thought of as a strategic mastermind, Vladimir Putin of Russia, and how Putin's strategy has fared. As we can see, not very well. Then I remembered how G.W. Bush responded to Putin's reaction to Georgia's aggression in 2008 and seem to remember Bush making a pretty incompetent, ineffectual response.�

Very cool! NY Governor Cuomo's gotten a lot of hate and discontent from progressives, but banning fracking in New York state is a very good thing!

The late Terri Schiavo's husband Michael Schiavo, speaks out against Jeb Bush, warning that he'll interfere with your private life-and-death decisions just the way he did in the Schiavo case. This was a case that majorly ticked me off at the time and showed the anti-choicers to be a bunch of ignorant, interfering, busybodies who needed to mind their own damned business. Fie on J. Bush for supporting them!

Very cool! President Obama makes a long overdue change to Cuba policy by opening up trade and diplomatic relations again. Senator Rubio argues that the new US policy towards Cuba is a bad one. That's a pretty tough case to make and Rubio does not do a good job of making it.

The Rachel Maddow Show�produces a disturbing report from the Senate Intelligence Committee report on torture. some of Bush's people were actively covering up the complete and utter failure to achieve anything with torture.

Yeah, global warming's having a very real and serious effect. California needs 11 trillion gallons of water to rehydrate, get all of their crops growing, etc.

The traditional media engages in its favorite game of "false equivalence" by comparing Senators Elizabeth Warren and Ted Cruz. No, they're really not alike at all. There are very good and sensible reasons why she's being lionized and he's not.

Media Matters pens a fond farewell to Colbert Nation and notes that right-wingers just can't seem to produce any real comedy.

Woo hoo! After waiting over a year to be confirmed, Dr. Vivek Murthy is now our Surgeon General! NRA suffers serious black eye and it's also very important to remember that Murthy's nomination only proceeded to the the floor of the Senate because the filibuster was weakened. With the regular filibuster in place, Republicans had more than enough votes to continue blocking Murthy's nomination.

On torture: "Cheney: 'I have no problem as long as we achieve our objective'" Y'know, back when I was a young'un, I remember that a bad person was defined as someone for whom �the end justifies the means� and that those who practiced �Situational ethics� lacked any real understanding of morality. When did those concepts become good things?!?!?!

Good grief! Conservatives are running out of things to get outraged about. They're scraping the bottom of the barrel now. (They're outraged, outraged, I tell you!!1!, that President Obama follows some sports on ESPN).

Arch-conservative Tea Party Senator helps Democrats so much, a very irritated Senator Lindsey Graham says: "I haven't seen Harry [Reid] smile this much in years, and I didn't particularly like it."

As Rep. Darrell Issa finishes up his four-year tenure on the House Oversight Committee, we say goodbye to the most useless, unproductive Chairman ever. Is there anyone who comes off as even worse in this story? Yes. The traditional press corps comes off like Charlie Brown to Issa's Lucy and her football. They just kept falling for Issa's tricks again and again and AGAIN!

"Why are torturers being given 'balance' in the press?" Excellent question! There are many people and viewpoints that don't appear to need any sort of balance, why do torturers apparently deserve a respectful hearing?

Yeesh! This guy wants to march into DC, take over and shoot the bankers. I'm trying to imagine the reaction of the authorities if he were anything but white. I think he would have gotten a visit from the black helicopters by now.

Former VP Dick Cheney defends torture, citing the OLC opinion. Doesn't mention that once the OLC opinion was exposed to the light of day, its shoddy, incompetent reasoning was immediately revealed.

*Sigh* Gotta love these geniuses running the town of Ferguson. Collecting fines for violations of "public safety" (fining African-Americans for any sort of violation) was a way in which Ferguson balanced its budget and really, really annoyed their black population. So what is their solution now that they had to spend so much dealing with black protesters? Aww, you guessed it! Yup, they're going to depend on the police to collect even more in public safety violations fines!

Out of a $1.1 trillion budget, Senator Coburn is standing in the way of a bill that would prevent veteran suicides. The cost of that bill that has broad support on both sides of the aisle? $22 million. UPDATE: A major problem with Senator Coburn holding back a near-universally popular bill was that the media didn't see fit to inform American citizens about it. Why not, guys?!?!!?! Why has Republican obstructionism been such a non-story for the past six years?

Juan Cole delivers some cheery, bright and very welcome news on energy.

Considering that Dick Cheney is very, very careful about where he appears on TV, this does NOT reflect well on Chuck Todd's tenure on Meet The Press.

Some of the worst provisions in the $1.1 trillion "cromnibus" just passed are actually not the fault of Republicans, but of Blue Dog Democrats.

Senator Feinstein gets ticked off and tells critics�to #ReadTheReport�(probably adding under her breath "Gol durn it!"). Unfortunately, the impact of the SSCI torture report is severely diluted by the false equivalence framing that the media uses to describe it.

This story makes the same point that was made in the new "Cosmos" series (An inventor made a solar-powered water-heater, which was put out of business by cheap gasoline). I would also note that we've desperately needed at least a trillion dollars worth of infrastructure improvements for quite some time now. The piece demonstrates why such improvements are long overdue.

Very interesting. Cheney says of the torture program, Bush knew everything. The CIA didn't go rogue and everything was approved.

A doctor tweets out a series of responses on US torture policy.

Intelligence Committee report on torture (redacted version of summary, anyway) released. Thinkprogress does a quickie overview. Very important is point #3, within the CIA, people thought "Y'know, this really isn't doing any good. We're not discovering anything meaningful and we're destroying our identity as the good guys." My own quick overview. Heh! According to Fox News, the timing of the release of the torture report is highly suspicious, coming as it does on the same day that more Jonathan Gruber statements were to be released. Because, of course, discrediting the ACA/Obamacare is far more important than whether America tossed away it's "City on a Hill " status. And no, bin Laden was not found via CIA torture.

Will the torture report result in harm to our intelligence agencies? No, not likely at all. (Includes highly relevant and on-point 1973 Doonesbury reprint). Cheney and Bush apply “pre-buttal” to report without seeing it first.

Good! President Obama is pushing for some really awful trade deals that will do far more harm than good to America. Glad to see Democrats doing the right thing.

Just saw Stephen Colbert interview the President. Cool stuff!

Interesting that these two items were arranged one right after another on my news feed. Senator Toomy is offering a petition for Obama to stop stifling job growth, but right before that, Rachel Maddow pointed out that if we're not in the middle of a jobs "boom," we're certainly in what's "boom-like.

Granted, comparing the morality and decency of al Qaeda to ISIS is sorta like comparing Dr. Doom to the Green Goblin, but for what it's worth, al Qaeda denounces the "barbarism" of ISIS.

What an absolutely horrible idea! The House passed the National Defense Authorization Act (NDAA) which included a provision to transfer 2,400 acres of Apache ancestral and ceremonial lands to a foreign mining company. The Apaches are, quite understandably, less than pleased about their land being sold out from under them.

Wow! I'm trying hard to think of any possible, conceivable, legitimate reason for an investment firm to not be totally transparent with investors about how their money is being invested and coming up completely blank.

Matt Taibbi of Rolling Stone takes a serious and critical look at the policing theory called "Broken Windows" and finds it deeply flawed. Soledad O'Brien concurs with a similar look at Stop and Frisk.

Interesting and truly terrible, but the "white-on-black crime" that the story refers to is actually "white police on black citizens" and the authorities, quite understandably, refuse to describe it as crime. Problem we're complaining about is that Grand Juries keep exonerating police killers without going through trials. So no, this is yet another case of "false equivalence." Also, RT looks at grand juries and finds them obsolete.

Senator Mary Landrieu ran as a Republican-lite, meaning neither Republicans nor Democrats could consider her as a reliable vote. She lost the last Democratic seat in the territory of the old Confederacy.

Chuck Todd agrees with an old right-wing meme, that Obama is cold and aloof. Problem is, no regular people who have personally interacted with Obama find that meme to be even remotely plausible.

Credit where it's due. Even G.W. Bush can't understand Eric Garner Grand Jury decision.

At the end of his rather short talk here, Sean Hannity expresses the idea that Congress' "only job" is to stop Obama's "radical agenda." Erm, with all the problems America is dealing with, really? Seriously? There's nothing that deserves an "all for one and one for all" approach?!?! No wonder the country is so messed up!

Boo! Hiss! Obama wants to pass TPP, a truly awful treaty that will give to the 1% at the expense of the rest of us.

Again, it seems pretty clear that Governor Christie is surrounded by smart thugs. These are people who know how to keep their mouths shut and to protect the boss. No one should take the legislative report on "Bridgegate" as an exoneration.

Do for-profit colleges and education truly mix? For-profit colleges in Florida caught using exotic dancers to recruit students.

Antarctic ice is melting faster every year we're now losing another six billion tons annually. So naturally, the Senate Majority Leader-elect says his top priority is to “get the EPA reined in.”

Hedge fund managers taking over public schools?!?!? Yeah, kind of a problem with that. The fellow who runs Sears is a former hedge fund manager and he's finding that speculation has nothing to do with managing traditional stores. His skill of managing a hedge funds has not prepared him to work in other fields.

Yeah, I saw this Daily Show piece when it aired. There's nothing even slightly questionable or ambiguous about the murder of Eric Garner. Fortunately, Attorney General Eric Holder is conducting a DOJ investigation to see whether Garner's civil rights were violated. Rand Paul explains that as Garner was taking advantage of cigarette taxes to make a bit of profit and that that was the police excuse for confronting Garner, cigarette taxes were to blame for Garner's death.

The Senate Majority Leader-elect admits the Supreme Court case on the ACA/Obamacare is a deliberate plan to take apart the successful program because that will hurt the American people and thereby, the President.

Now there's an interesting role reversal! Newly legalized US marijuana is of such better quality that people are now smuggling it into Mexico!

This is a problem for Republicans. Their scorched earth, give-no-ground strategy worked to get them placed in charge of the House and Senate, but now what? The President's in no mood to compromise on any subject and they have no mandate to carry out any policy and frankly, there's a lot that Obama can do without them. Awwww! Poor Speaker Boehner doesn't want to be remembered just for shutdowns.of the government! Not to worry, he'll be remembered for being the most useless, helpless, most unproductive Speaker ever. His legacy has been written for a long time to come. 74% of Americans see the Republican electoral victory as a repudiation of Democratic policies, not as an endorsement of any Republican policies. Only 16% think that Republicans have ay sort of positive mandate.

Truly disgusting! Congress is considering not inviting the President to give his usual State of the Union address from Congress.

Geo-engineering has been proposed as an alternative solution to climate change. Fuggeddaboudit. Ain't gonna work.

Regional police groups are very, very upset at this open display of sympathy for the people protesting the failure to indict Darren Wilson, the killer of Michael Brown. A group maintains that there are "mountains of evidence" that Wilson is in the clear, but Daily Kos shows that, no he isn't, and Popular Resistance shows that fires on the night Wilson was acquitted may have been set by police and not by protesters.

November                         back to top

Yes, there are legitimate reasons for some people to be at work during Thanksgiving. The ones at Walmart & Radio Shack? Ehh, not so much

Very very important "mistake" that had a decisive effect on the Michael Brown/Officer Darren Wilson Grand Jury. Jurors were told about a standards of proof that hasn't been in effect for decades, the lawyer didn't correct it until weeks later and even then didn't really correct it.

I really, really hope the Iranians understand that they've got a really narrow window in which to sign a nuclear deal. A deal has to be ratified by the Senate, so the Obama Administration needs time between the signing of a treaty and the new Senate being sworn in. Once a Republican majority takes over, there goes any chance of a ratified treaty for at least two years. Time is extremely urgent here!!!

Verdict in Ferguson comes down. Black lives don't matter. Officer Darren Wilson not charged with anything. CNN examines how deeply unfair and biased the grand jury process was under St. Louis County Prosecutor Robert McCulloch was. McCulloch's failure to recuse himself made the verdict inevitable. MSNBC;s Legal Analyst Lisa Bloom slams the prosecution for the lack of an indictment! Oh, and as the Ferguson Library has been acting as the backup childcare, teaching and all-around safe place-kind of institution, it's heartening to see them receive a massive spike in donations.

Hoo boy! Get ready for “dynamic scoring,” the same economic snake oil that got Kansas into such trouble.

Marissa Alexander, who got a really raw deal on her “Stand Your Ground” case, accepts a reasonably fair plea bargain.

Apparently, one of the reasons Chuck Hagel was let go as SecDef was that he wanted to keep Guantanamo full of prisoners. Good to see that the Obama Administration disagrees with that and is trying hard to empty the place out.

Problem of the filibuster and of setting legal precedents. Republicans do not have a 67-vote majority and Democrats are in no mood to cooperate with them. If they make changes by simple majority vote, that confirms the Democratic theory that the filibuster is not a hallowed tradition, if they do nothing, then the change the Democrats made to it becomes permanent.

Republican-led House Intelligence Committee concludes that Benghai was a tragedy, not a scandal. Naturally, Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) doesn't accept that report, but it's interesting to see how very narrow and limited his critique is. Reaction of Sunday talk shows was largely to ignore the report.

Judging by how much sympathetic coverage our traditional education system gets in the media, I'm not optimistic about how well it's going to do over the next few decades. Charter, for-profit schools, on the other hand, should do splendidly. That, of course, means students will do poorly.

*Sigh*, ya knew the Republican Party was gonna get energized with Obama's speech on immigration last night and sure enough, they've finally filed their long-threatened lawsuit. Hilarious quote: "Success for the healthcare lawsuit is uncertain." Uh yeah, considering the President's actions were entirely legal! Oh, and when the Speaker vows decisive action against Obama's immigration policy, but has to wait until House members return from vacation, it doesn't really help his credibility. Also, the blogge from Bloomberg Review makes a excellent point. Congress inherently has the power to trump either the Executive or the Judicial branch of government by passing laws (There's a reason Congress is described in the Constitution before either of the other two branches). By running to the court to settle the dispute between Congress and the President, Congress is abdicating its power.

The Inky reprints a dark and foreboding account from Max Boot that says the situation against ISIS requires stronger US intervention, but a summary of news from Juan Cole makes it clear that ISIS is not doing well at all and is, in fact, being pushed back in both Iraq and Syria.

Walmart did this last year! They're still doing it?!?!?! Walmart puts up bins in the back of one of their stores so that employees can contribute food to other employees. Why? Well, they pay their workers so poorly their workers need to give each other charity. I thought charity was for those who weren't working? Why are people who are employed still food-insecure?

Good Lord! What a horrible, horrible ruling in Michigan!!! The “Michigan Court of Appeals ruled on Nov. 7 the State of Michigan has no legal obligation to provide a quality public education“ Sounds like they just couldn't care less about the state's schoolchildren at all!

A Senator made the (rather hysterical and overheated) claim that the President's immigration action could lead to violence. The blogger wonders just what such violence would look like, how to stage it, etc. Michael Steele, former head of the RNC, says “Get a grip.

The National Organization for Marriage demonstrates, through the money it's getting through its donors that, well, what it's doing isn't all that important. Their finances are doing, really, really badly!

Major networks refuse to air President's speech on his immigration executive actions. C'mon guys! If he's going to be impeached for his policy actions, the least they can do is to allow him a pre-buttal to what Congress does.

Senator Landrieu tried to run for another term as Louisiana's Senator as a Republican-lite, thereby making herself indispensable to, well, no one.

Good piece! Lots of spoilers, so if you haven't seen the film “Rosewater” yet, save reading this piece for later. I was especially struck a few days back by Sean Hannity saying Jon Stewart was a grimly fanatical pro-Obama spokesperson. Uh, no. Stewart can be just as critical of the Democrats, see yesterday's show that took a close and critical look at Rep. Nancy Pelosi, the re-elected Minority Leader. Methinks Hannity was showing a few of the traits that were highlighted in "Rosewater."

D'oh! Oops! Texas Governor Rick Perry appointed a panel to figure out how to improve Texas' really low-quality health care. They suggested the ACA/Obamacare! Naturally, Texans want nothing to do with it, but now Perry has to explain why Texas citizens have to live with sub-standard health care, now that it's clear that they're doing so, not because they have to, but because of a clearly deliberate and conscious choice.

Shorter Fox News: "Do we support your free speech? Wel-l-l-l, it depends. Which side are you on?"

Sounds to me like Missouri Governor Nixon knows full well that the Grand Jury is going to come back with a verdict exonerating the killer of Michael Brown.

How ya like yer "small government" now, conservatives?!?!?! Childhood hunger is at an all-time high point and homeless children are now one in 30.

Cool science stuff! Water probably derives from elsewhere, not here in our own solar system, meaning it's probably more common in the cosmos than we thought.

In case any of your friends, buddies or pals are having a hard time understanding net neutrality of why Senator Cruz is an idiot for opposing it, these nekkid (Censored, of course) females will explain for y'all! Oh, and Senator Al Franken joins in on the Senator Cruz bashing.

This is what we call "worst of both worlds" -type coverage with the big Ebola panic of last month. The networks surrendered their dignity AND they didn't get a ratings boost.

In the Michael Brown case, Police Officer Darren Wilson claimed to be greatly injured during his altercation with Brown. Strangely enough [/snark] the videos of him entering and leaving the police station show a completely uninjured Wilson.

Hmm, Fox News present its news with lots of pretty, half-dressed women. Wasn't it Cecil B. DeMille who first realized that? That you can get away with showing lots of skin as long as you presented it with tones of pious condemnation?

Naomi Klein says: "If not capitalism then what?" Check out our Beautiful Solutions gallery!"

Interesting quote from Senator McConnell: "I had maybe naively hoped the president wold look at the results of the election and decide to come to the political center and do some business with us," McConnell said. "I still hope he does at some point, but the early signs are not good."
Problem is, the President IS in the center! It's the Republican opposition that's way out on the fringe. Again, the vote was only that of a little over a third of the population. McConnell's referring to the desires of a pretty small group.

Very excellent suggestion for Fox News to try on the Gruber/ACA/transparency story. Fox has investigative resorces. Use them! Get some people on the story and see whether it's true or false.

Updates on the spacecraft that landed on a comet. Cool news is that they think coming close to the sun will spark up the solar panels and revive Philae

Guide to the big-box stores that will and won't be open on Thanksgiving. Also, are Black Friday and stores opening on Thanksgiving even good for the retailers? Evidence is good that people shopping on those days are simply shifting their shopping from other days.

This is a really good case study in propaganda. The Wall St. Journal doesn't lie, they just don't give you some highly relevant details, thereby distorting the whole story.

D'oh! Oops! Familiar with the phrase "worst of both worlds"? Turns out when you have more guns, you have more suicides and gun accidents, but also, more crime.

1.Freedomwrks, run by the Koch brothers, comes out against net neutrality. Spokesperson doesn't appear to have any idea as to what net neutrality actually means.

Yeah, this is definitely one of the less persuasive arguments I've heard on climate change.
"All of us want to make energy as clean as we can as fast as we can."
Cool! I can work with that, BUT
"We want to do it in ways that don't raise the energy costs..."
Uuh...wait...what? You want to fix the global warming problem, but it has to be done for free?!?!?!?!

I support Israel in a lot of cases, but keeping a medical doctor from getting to Gaza to treat patients seems pretty hard to justify.

I signed this petition to let all employees of Kmart take Thanksgiving off. Truly sad that people are being forced to work on a holiday that was never meant to be commercial.

Reporters like Matt Taibbi (Rolling Stone), movements like Occupy, these are what we need to bring the financial people to heel and to make finances serve the rest of us, not just the financial elites.

Serious problem with Jonathan Gruber's comments on getting the ACA/Obamacare passed is that his criticisms aren't even true.

The blogger Digby observes to collapse of the Blue Dog Democrats in this last election. Good riddance to a useless group.

From the WaPo: Why Election Day needs to be a national holiday.

From TPM: "Mitch McConnell: 'This unrealistic plan that the president would dump on his successor would ensure higher utility rates and far fewer jobs.'" Hmm, that's a very good point. Humanity might survive, but we might have to pay higher utility rates. Hmm, what to do? What to do? [/snark] Actually, both the job loss and higher utility rates are highly debatable.

Heh! Senator calls out Fox News people for being cruel to regular, non-wealthy folks. Naturally, they're quite offended, but he's absolutely right. Hmm, not sure I agree that people weren't aware that the ACA subsidized the less healthy people by using premiums from the more healthy people. I thought all along that that was the trade-off that the ACA was pretty explicitly making.

Decade-long task comes to fruition as European Space Agency lands craft on the comet designated Comet 67P/Churyumov-Gerasimenko.

All right! A major objection to regulating greenhouse gases, that China isn't pulling its weight and making sacrifices just as we are, is now obsolete as China agrees to specific goals. And scientists who deal with climate change are pretty happy about the proposed deal with China. They have cautions and qualifications, of course, but they're pleased overall.

I like this solar bicycle path because anti-solar people have made the argument that solar panels cover over lots of ground. That's a reasonable objection and placing solar panels beneath roads (two layers of safety glass and it's a road for much lighter bicycles, not for heavier cars) appears to meet that objection in a satisfactory manner. For the same reason, rooftop solar panels and panels over parking lots and waterways are also good ideas because the ground is covered over anyway.

Woo hoo! Good! �On November 11th, President Barack Obama released a powerful, unambiguous statement in support of reclassifying the internet as a telecommunications service...�

Good! Obama's going to try and sign a nuclear deal with Iran before the new Congress takes over. I would very much like to see this succeed. Looks like there's enough common ground and I hope the Iranians understand that time is short. Once the new Senate takes office, the chances of getting a treaty through becomes pretty hopeless.

The Republicans really, really hate it when you point out that only about a third of eligible voters voted. Kinda hard to claim any sort of mandate with numbers like that.

Turns out climate change wasn't mentioned at all during the campaign (I don' watch much TV, so I wasn't aware of that). Kind of amazing as that determines whether the human race survives until 2100 or not.

*Groan*!!! Yeah, this is a pretty hilarious correction as the whole piece should have been replaced with a sentence or two saying essentially:"Oops!" Breitbart News confused two people who happen to have the same name, but nothing else in common.

Chuck Todd, who's obviously very overworked and clearly doesn't have the time to write a good book, tries to write one anyway. Result is kind of a mess.

1.Excellent argument for marriage equality. The dissenting judge in this case sees it as a deeply human issue, where real people are helped or hurt. The other judges just see it as an abstract issue, with bloodless theories and impersonal philosophical priorities.

Yeah, these guys want to "help" ordinary workers by changing the ACA definition of full-time work from 30 hours and above to 40 hours. Problem is, it's very easy for an employer to reduce workers from 40 hours to 39 to escape ACA requirements It's much harder for them to reduce a 40-hour workweek to 30, which was precisely why the 30-hour workweek was adopted.

Was the election about the ACA? Should the President make concessions on it? No, the ACA was irrelevant to this election.

So what's the agenda of the GOP now? Why impeachment, of course! On what charges?, we might ask. "Oh...tch...aah, bothersome details!"

I've been hearing about this guy who wants a "diverse KKK." The "imperial wizard of the United Klans of America" is not impressed.

Oh good grief! CNN drags up a long-dead, moth-eaten "scandal" from the 1990s. Looking into one of the sources that MMFA refers to, we hear that the Clintons are described as "...arrivistes" � nobodies from nowhere who climbed the power ladder through what he calls the 'neoliberal' strategy of 'nonstop self-promotion.'" Lyons points out, quite properly, that "self-promotion" is neither neoliberal, nor is it liberal, nor is it conservative. It's just plain something that ALL politicians do!

Republicans gained a "landslide" in the election?!?!?!?! With just a little over 30% of the public showing up at the polls? �I don't think that word means what you think it means.�

The Inky reprinted this from the WaPo today. Sorry, but I find it really, REALLY hard to see how "the well" could be any more poisoned than it already is. It's been over a year since the immigration bill came over to the House from the Senate and Speaker Boehner's done nothing but twiddle his thumbs over it since.

Very nteresting to see that CNN thinks that Senator Mitch McConnell has now switched from being an obstructionist to being a conciliator. They somehow think that McConnell has sought common ground with Democrats, at any time, in any way, over the last six years.

Interesting analysis of the election results. The Blue Dog (That is, conservative, Wall St. representing) Democrats did very poorly, meaning the Congress is more polarized than ever. No, we haven't reached a Republican Nirvana. Look forward to lots and lots of fighting and disunity.

Ha ha! Y'see, right wingers are convinced, convinced I tell you!!!, that for a President to do poorly in a midterm election is absolutely unprecedented and that he should "listen to the people" and completely surrender all of his accomplishments. Actually, the 2002 election, where the President's party gained seats in a midterm election, was the outlier, a very unusual result. It's quite normal for the President's party to lose seats in a midterm election. Does that mean the President should surrender his agenda? Of course not.

I like these two pieces from Dkos because they're both saying that Democrats have to shape up and act better if they hope to win elections in the future. DKos is not slavishly supportive of the Ds, they're critically supportive, not afraid of saying "Y'all are effin' up, guys!"

And yes, as poorly as Democrats did, let's not overlook the fact that the media played its usual role of focusing on trivia and ignoring substance.

To all the people who say we need to vote for a third party. Governor LePage (R-ME) only won 47.83% of the vote. The Democrat and the Independent together won 52.23%. Because there WAS an Independent, Maine is stuck with a Governor they rejected by a little over four points. Thanks Independents! %$#*@%%#!!!

So, after Election Day 2014, Republicans won big, but did the GOP win any sort of mandate? It's hard to make the case that it did.

Texas sees surge of disenfranchised voters

Gee thanks, CNN! Really appreciate your focus on the GOP, two days prior to the midterm election in which TWO parties are running!!! And why the %$#@ is Rand Paul supposed to be so &*%$ing important?!?!?!?!

Co-founder of the Weather Channel and current CEO of the Weather Channel argue over whether global warming is real. Neither one has expertise in climate science, either by education or by working in the field. Meanwhile, hundreds of scientists worked on scientific report, warning of �severe, pervasive and irreversible impacts for people and ecosystems.� What do you think the media focussed on? Bingo! Right answer! They focussed on the "he-said, she-said controversy."

My apologies. A while ago, I said that the case against charter schools was so clear and compelling, why bother writing about it? Well, it looks like Time Magazine didn't get the memo. We gotta keep stating what, to many of us, is already quite obvious.

October                         back to top

Back when Mitt Romney was running for president, people figured that as a businessman, he'd be able to re-direct his business skills to running the country effectively and we'd all be better off. Well, here's a fellow who worked in a hedge fund, just like Romney worked at Bain Capital, left Wall Street and moved to Main Street companies (Sears and K-Mart) and those companies have done horribly! No, we DON'T need the skills of hedge fund managers.

Excellent point! This campaign seems like the campaign of 2004. The public agreed to continue with the Iraq War and didn't like how John Kerry "looked French," but the Republican Party had no obvious agenda beyond that. We know that Senator Mitch McConnell talked about how he tried to "reform" (Read: destroy) Social Security, so we might see a revival of G.W. Bush's attempt to hand over our retirement money to Wall Street. Is that their agenda?

Several conservative-led states are using a database to show that voter fraud is occurring and that people (Who, amazingly enough, just happen to be of ethnic groups that just happen to vote Democratic) are voting multiple times. A data professional shows why any database is absolutely worthless for proving any such thing. At best, a database can provide what a salesperson calls “leads,” but those leads need to be investigated after the “match” is made so that it can be confirmed valid.

Second set of attorneys quit on Congress' “case” against the President.

Yeah, our "Fox News Liberal" shows that he's far more Fox News than he ever was a liberal.

Hmm, liberal vs conservative, Milbank vs Krauthammer. Who's right? I give 'em both the booby prize! They're both completely wrong!

Charter schools are such complete dogs! Report on still more waste, fraud and abuse.

DKos doesn't usually like Politico, but as it doesn't like Andrew Cuomo much either, (it considers him more a Wall Street-favoring Blue Dog than a real Democrat) it's perfectly happy to recommend this piece on his book.

Very cool! After the explosion of a US rocket meant to supply a satellite, Russia steps up to the plate and is ready to assist.

Ha ha ha! Sarah Palin may run for President “despite the haters.” No hate from here! I love the idea of Palin splitting the conservative vote!

Very saddening to read this piece on “GamerGate” and yes, I'm very distressed to see that those who lack male privilege get far more harassment than we males do.

Court refuses to intervene in case of 40,000 missing registrations in Georgia.

What do Republicans want to replace the ACA with? Um, okay. Gee, why wasn't this plan presented back in 2008 as an alternative to the ACA? Probably because it's really,�REALLY cheap and terrible! Also, how is the GOP handling their opposition to “Obamacare” now that it's helping well over 10 million people? Basically,�by being really vague and fuzzy.

Pretty stupid. Grimes' answer to a single question was not a good one, but Ernst is a serious right-wing extremist radical. Natcherly, the Beltway traditional press corps thinks Grimes' answer was disqualifying, but Ernst is still okay.

Hillary Clinton makes a not-very-good statement on trickle-down economics, not because it isn't accurate, but because it's incomplete. Media Matters does a good job filling in the gaps. Fox News tries to rebut Clinton, but delivers a very incomplete defense of trickle-down economics.

Very compelling comparison of US and other governments. Corruption is a real problem, but one the press corps doesn't really acknowledge. Especially interesting look at history of how Americans see their government.

Five years after the right wing made all sorts of dire, scary predictions about the results of hate crimes legislation, none of those predictions have come true

Amusing piece from Carly Fiorina, who weeps big, wet, glistening tears over poor ALEC. She bemoans the loss of "free and open debate." Erm, slight problem with that is that ALEC has never been about free and open debate. It's always been about big money people meeting behind closed doors and plotting to subvert the free will and economic interests of the people.

As a peacnik, I'm in favor of this. Wars should be expensive and inconvenient for citizens. A special war tax is precisely the right way to go and consent to more war should be informed and thoroughly, openly debated.

A wealthy person expresses her view of the non-wealthy and then wonders why the wealthy are held in contempt.

1. Governor Brownback's experiment is an absolute, unmitigated disaster
2. Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell can't wait to apply the experiment to the whole country!

Heh! A Congressman wants the new Ebola "czar" to testify about what he's learned on the job this Friday. The guy just took charge this Wednesday. Sure! What the heck? It's not like the job is, y'know, complex or anything! Also, he's not aware as to why there's no Surgeon General (The NRA didn't approve of him).

Extensive review of the WaPo story on Michael Brown's killing in Ferguson, MO. The WaPo bases its account on selectively leaked info that's HIGHLY sympathetic to Officer Darren Wilson. Even the US Justice Department is disgusted.

Pennsylvania Legislature launches serious assault on First Amendment by attacking prisoner inmate speech.

The UN is shocked by Detroit's water cut-offs. Cut-offs have been occurring even to those consumers who are gradually paying off their bills. “[Detroit] has disconnected water from at least 27,000 households this year, with as many as 10,000 households currently without running water. Hundreds of thousands of additional households are at risk of having their tap cut.”

Fox News host suggests that young women are generally incompetent when it comes to things like voting as they're generally not trusted to be on juries. They got lots of griefover that!

NJ Governor Chris Christie is very tired of hearing about the minimum wage. Bit of a problem is that he seems to think that it's mostly made by teenagers. Well yes, back in 1979, 26% of minimum-wage workers were 16 to 19 years old. Problem is, in 2011, only 12% were. Workers 20 to 24 made a slightly larger portion of minimum-wage workers in that time period. Workers 25 to 34 went from 17.5% of minimum-wage earners to 22.1%, but workers from 35 to 64 went from 30.8% to 38.1%. No, the minimum wage is not just a teenage problem. And no, no one misunderstood his point. Oh, and FL Governor Rick Scott feels that the private sector sets wages, so it's really not his problem at all.

After the 2003 invasion of Iraq, US troops found old Iraqi munitions dating back to the 1980s. Rick Santorum declared that these were the famous WMDs that we invaded for. Karl Rove, very sensibly, kept silent. Sarah Palin and radio person Mark Levin are supporting Santorum, who looked like an idiot for making the claim he did.

Scientists now think the effects of global warming have been “hugely underestimated.”

Republicans blame Obama for not nominating a Surgeon General to their liking.

Dana Milbank switches back and forth from writing like a Villager and being a really good, strong, critical read. He's very good here. And yes, I earlier read Michelle Malkin's "Twitchy" site and it's just as stupid as Milbnk suggests it is.

Hmm, no, I completely disagree with Andrew Sullivan. I think the Bush Administration people knew full well what was going on with the CIA torturing people. I think their involvement was knowing, conscious and deliberate. Had there been evidence that any of them were "out of the loop," that evidence would have been leaked by now.

WaPo - “The Supreme Court in a pre-dawn ruling Saturday said that Texas could proceed with its strict voter ID law in next month’s election, despite a lower court’s ruling that it was unconstitutional.” Good for "Notorious RBG" and the other female Justices, who dissented on this! Not at all clear why this decision was made, except for purely partisan reasons.

Protest at the SRC.

A piece suggests that a health care system based on private enterprise may be a luxury we can't afford.

Good! Major corporations are aware that income inequality hurts their profits.

Candidate for office tries to defend outsourcing past. Oops! Turns out the public isn't stupid and knows that outsourcing is a bad thing!

Judge Posner supported voter ID laws in the beginning, but had a change of heart and writes an awesome opinion, shredding the rationale for a voter ID law. And yes, attitude on voter ID have everything to do with race.

Being an anti-war activist has meant that the Pentagon and I are frequently on opposite sides. Not on this issue. On global warming, we're on the same page. Global warming is a first-order security threat.

Yes, Minority Leader McConnell is very bi-partisan-y. He'll work with Democrats, provided of course, that he already agrees with what they want to do. I note that he didn't work with Democrats on anything that departed even slightly from Republican priorities.

I agree with the author on why education reform is a whole heck of a lot tougher than it looks. Education seems to me like the leadership that we in the Navy spent so much time and thought and conversation on. It's a labor-intensive process that requires understanding people and how they think and what motivates them. Simply spending lots of money on it is no way to make it work.

A piece presents scientific, statistical proof that those who support voter ID laws are far more likely to be racists than are those who don't. Despite the complete lack of proof for the existence of statistically significant in-person voter fraud, CBS engages in this kind of "he-said, she-said" type of reporting in order to throw up their hands and to say that the problem is too hard to resolve. Sorry, but the situation really doesn't call for that sort of response.

NIH Director says that Republican austerity is responsible for there being no Ebola cure. Brutal ad on that. More details on the deficit scolds and the NIH and an Ebola vaccine. Funding for the NIH was frozen since 2004 (They started working on a vaccine in 2001). We might have had a vaccine for Ebola by now.

Excellent survey of the last four years of Tea Party governance in the states with Republican/Tea Party governors.

MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry comments on Walker's complete and utter hypocrisy concerning reproductive choice and women's health. I was troubled by Walker's statement of: "That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options." But is the information provided to pregnant women useful or meaningful to the woman or is it simply scare-propaganda? Is it simply a horror-story meant to dissuade women from exercising their legitimate choices?

Pentagon turns half a billion dollars of planes into $32,000 in scrap metal. Rachel Maddow did a story on this. Basic problem is the same as when Oprah gave people brand new cars. She neglected to give them enough money for insurance, gas, etc. Afghans couldn't maintain the planes with spare parts or trained pilots, so the planes sat around rusting.

Whatta ya know? Malala Yousafza is a communist.

Shorter Governor Walker: "It's not MY fault that the gol durned lazy citizens of Wisconsin haven't gotten anywhere near enough jobs to fulfill my 2010 promise of 250,000 jobs by this time!"

And no, when you compare the infinitesimally small number of potential voter frauds to people who stand to be disenfranchised by vote ID laws (out of a billion votes cast between 2002 ad 2012, 32 were fraudulent whereas, 300,000 voters lack the required ID cards), no, voter ID completely fails the cost-benefit test.

Long after Gary Webb and his "discredited" investigation, people showing up to say he was right.

Excellent! Good, strong statement from the Attorney General on the new poll tax, that is,Voter ID laws.

The siege of the Kurdish town of Kobani (It's been under siege by 9000 ISIS fighters for a month) is not entirely broken, but has been very severely compromised and downgraded. The secret? Yup, women fighters! ISIS fighters fear if they get killed by a woman, they won't get to paradise as they won't be considered martyrs and won't be eligible for 72 virgins, etc.

When G.W. Bush was preparing to leave office, many people brought up a comparison to Harry Truman, who was also unpopular when he left office, but whose reputation had a big rebound. After sinkinng to a 23% approval rating and a 69% disapproval, Bush's approval rating has, after six years, gotten up to 47%. Wikipedia gives Truman today an aggregate ranking of the 7th best president, Bush ranks 34th. NY Times columnist Paul Krugman considers Obama to be the third most consequential president (In order, F.D. Roosevelt, L.B. Johnson, B.H. Obama, R.W. Reagan), so Obama will probably have a comeback similar to Truman's.

Very cool! Roman Catholic Church considering ending discrimination against gays and lesbians.

More deficit scolding, this time to introduce austerity-based accounting methods to government expenditures.

Ferguson protests get larger still! Protesters go to St. Louis. Moral Mondays marchers join Ferguson protesters.

NIH Director blames austerity for lack of Ebola vaccine. More details on the deficit scolds and the NIH and an Ebola vaccine. Funding for the NIH was frozen since 2004 (They started working on a vaccine in 2001). We might have had a working, tested vaccine for Ebola by now.

The SRC suggests that Philadelphia needs more concessions from teachers. But teachers are already giving far more than they should be!

Excellent survey of the last four years of Tea Party governance in the states with Republican/Tea Party governors.

MSNBC's Melissa Harris-Perry comments on Governor Walker's complete and utter hypocrisy concerning reproductive choice and women's health. I was troubled by Walker's statement of: "That’s why I support legislation to increase safety and to provide more information for a woman considering her options." But is the information provided to pregnant women useful to the woman or is it simply scare-propaganda? Is it simply a horror-story meant to dissuade women from exercising their legitimate choices?

Whoa! Almost half a billion dollars in airplanes get turned into $32,000 worth of scrap metal as Afghans couldn't fly the planes!

Long after Gary Webb and his "discredited" investigation, people are showing up to say he was right.

Excellent! Good, strong statement from the Attorney General on the new poll tax, that is,Voter ID laws.

David Horowitz thinks ISIS has revealed the nature of Muslims in general through a few beheadings. No, they've revealed things about their own particular group.

How are we supposed to have a functioning political system when the opposition party demonstrates such complete craziness?!?!?! Tom Cotton takes a conspiracy theory from someone who pushed crazy stuff about Saddam Hussein before the Iraq War and who was then published in WorldNetDaily.

And speaking of WND, Ted Nugent says: "We don't believe that our president is a Christian."
Uh, who's "We"?!?!?! Sorry Ted, but you don't speak for any more than the far-right fringe.

The PA Governor puts out a really awful educational plan designed to help school privatizers.

Diane is absolutely right to be concerned. When I was in Navy boot camp, our Base Commander explained why we had to fold socks just so "If we can't trust you to fold socks correctly, I'm not going to trust you to tweak and peak my helicopter engine." Same thing here. If we can't trust the test guys to produce good answer keys, why are we trusting them with un-reviewable high-stakes academic tests?

The FSA, the Free Syrian Army, is the whole underpinning for the US strategy against ISIS. Unfortunately, the FSA is very much not on board with the US and its strategy.

With the third accidental discharge, we have to wonder. The statistical probability that a teacher will have to deal with a school shooting is, unfortunately, quite real. The chance that the teacher will be confronted so suddenly that he or she will have to play "Quick Draw McGraw"? Nowhere NEAR the probability that the teacher will goof up and accidentally discharge their firearm!

CFPB gets it right and finds an effective way to correct the behavior of a bad lender!

Did Obama make a gaffe when he said that all of the issues he's working to support (minimum-wage increase, infrastructure investment, job creation, pay equity, and on and on) are on the ballot? Um, no. Not at all. Those issues ARE on the ballot and every vote counts!

As an anti-war activist, I've always been in favor of paying for our wars directly, not just putting them on a credit card to be paid later. By the same logic, police should pay directly for brutality and overreactions through their budgets and salaries. Strangely, they don't.

NY Times columnist Paul Krugman notes that Bitcoin is doing poorly these days. It's lost two-thirds of its value. No biggie as it's a con that only libertarians liked to begin with.

Prescription opioids lead to 16,000 deaths a year, marijuana of course, doesn't lead to any. Yet somehow the opioids are still legal and marijuana isn't. The reason? Aw, ya guessed it! Yup, money

It's always popular to bash government and bureaucracy, but building codes serve an important public safety purpose. Governor Walker (R-WI) has been seriosuly slacking off on updating those codes, which pleases wealthy building interests, but not the public.

Reince Priebus, the head of the Republican National Committee, explains that the Texas anti-choice law is all about compassion for women. But when asked "But 80 percent of those clinics are gone," Todd pressed. "So they have to drive for 2 or 300 miles. Is that compassion?" Priebus' reasoning immediately becomes all about taxpayer money.

About 35,000 walruses gather on Arctic shore due to melting of too much ice.

Iowa Republican Senate nominee Joni Ernst is a really, really serious right-wing extremist. WaPo fact-checker disgraces himself by failing to admit just how extreme she is.

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-WI): "Hey guys, let's have another round of tax cuts!"
Math: “It won't help. All it does is to make the rich richer."
Ryan: "Oh...well, let's change the CBO assumptions so that a tax cut appears to be worthwhile! See? Problem solved!"

Also, Ryan wants to initiate an anti-poverty plan. Problem is, the plan is not a new one. It was tried previously and didn't work.

Not at all surprising. I thought it was an absolutely terrible idea for Christie not to start building an extra tunnel to Manhattan back in 2010, now it turns out that that decision was even worse than we thought. Both existing tunnels got flooded with salt water during Hurricane Sandy and are measurably deteriorating due to all the salt that got dumped in them. Gee, sure would be handy to have a third tunnel while the other two are closed for maintenance, huh?

Some cheerful news. Millennials are pretty gosh-darned liberal, even those who self-identify as Republicans.

Interesting stuff! Intel and counter-intel in the 1770s.

Heh! So "Notorious RBG" sounds off on the reproductive choice issue. Conservatives don't like that, of course, but one of them goes further to suggest that the Supreme Court Justice shouldn't speak on any controversial issues at all. Funny, but the same conservative was completely silent when Justice Scala spoke out on equally controversial issues. Also, Cenk Uygur explains that Justice Scalia's pose of non-partisanship is just that. A pose. There's nothing objective about Scalia's beliefs on the law and the Constitution.

Back during the war in El Salvador, we dirty hippies warned that US anti-guerilla actions may be creating more guerillas. Well, now we have the figures as to how many people joined up with ISIS in direct response to US bombing of them: 73.

Good explanatory piece on global warming. And yes, voluntary actions to reduce carbon emissions are wonderful and should be encouraged, but please let's not be under the impression that they will ever be sufficient to save humanity.

Bwah-hah-hah! Pennsylvani's Governor Corbett looked around for a quick, cheap and easy way to show that he cared about job creation. The results weren't QUITE what he expected! His people simply ginned up a job-search site that connected to Craigslist and Craigslst has some not-quite-legal job offers.

Kansas Secretary of State loses yet again in battle to prevent Democratic victory in Senate race.

Obama's domestic political critics have a bit of a problem: they don't appear to have any real alternatives to Obama's policies.

Rolling Stone writes expose of Koch brothers. The brothers freak out. And keep in mind that Rachel Maddow long ago invited them to come onto her show and to defend themselves (After they had mailed her a lengthy statement to read verbatim on-air and she quite naturally refused to do that), so these guys can't complain that they haven't had the chance to make a rebuttal. Also, they're in real hot water with misleading mailers that contain false information.

Secret Service is having problems protecting the President and yes, they directly blame budget cuts for that.

Poor Governor Brownback (R-KS)! He followed the GOP manual for prosperity to the letter and Kansas is a disaster! Brownback's conservative utopia just never came into being.

September                        back to top

Good! Bob Beckel (A Fox News Democrat) gets a "hoo-yah" from me for having his microphone cut off. He finally ticked off his colleagues so much by speaking plain common sense that they felt obliged to shut him up. Bravo Zulu Bob!!!

Oh good grief! This is frikkin' hilarious! The Republican Party is putting out an ad saying “Republicans are people, too.” That raises questions all by itself, but the real groaner is that they used stock images! I guess they couldn't find any Republicans who looked like real people! Also, the campaign is not going well as liberals are making use of the #IAmARepublican hash tag to mock and make fun of the GOP.

President Obama concedes that the intel agencies called ISIS wrongly. A lot of reporters seem obsessed with "gaffes." They shouldn't be, because it holds politicians to standards that no human being can ever live up to. For Obama to forthrightly say that ISIS was missed is a good thing! Are intel agencies being “thrown under the bus”? No. But wow! Speaking of the intel agencies, we have 17 of them and together they spend $68 billion a year,, but we still get blindsided by unforeseen developments! Problem is, failure to foresee events simply encourages legislators to give them more money.

Wow! Horrible news! “Marissa Alexander Denied New Stand Your Ground Hearing, Still Faces Up To 60 Years In Prison.” This is truly insane because Marissa Alexander was convicted of firing a warning shot at around the same time George Zimmerman killed Trayvon Martin. Zimmerman got off scot-free and Alexander is facing decades in prison.

Hong Kong experiences “Umbrella Revolution.”

Hmm. Well, the public is solidly behind bombing ISIS alongside allies (73% to 24%), but arming "moderate" rebels is opposed by a slim majority (54%) and that's a really major component of the plan. Obama's comments on ISIL emphasize "identity politics," which is actually secondary behind climate change and the resulting lack of jobs.

Yes, extreme financial inequality is such a mysterious thing! Just can't imagine what causes it! Actually, there's nothing mysterious about it at all.

Good to see Republicans abandoning lawsuit against President Obama. There was an extremely similar case that crashed and burned a very short while ago. Looks like Congress decided their case was too similar to the one that had just failed. And yes, I completely agree with the President, Congress would be far better off actually doing something useful with its time.

Excellent letter from American servicepeople responding to the "joke" ("boobs on the ground") by a Fox Newsperson. Jon Stewart said to not give him any crap about how Fox News is "pro-military." It isn't. Fox's Eric Bolling makes a desperate attempt to change the subject from his disrespect for the militaryby dishonestly comparing military to civilian pay. What he does is to compare only the cash that military E1s get to what fast-food workers make, ignoring that military people get free food, free housing, uniform allowance, etc., etc.

September 26th, we carried out a successful protest at Dilworth Plaza, a few years after the plaza was closed down for extensive alterations. Alterations were quite good, BTW. Major improvement over what they had there before.

Muslim leaders urge ISIS to “Return to 'religion of mercy'”.

Rep. Alan Grayson comments on ISIS and training moderate Syrian rebels: "That's my basic argument...we just finished building, training, arming and outfitting a 220,000 man 'Iraq Army', at the cost of $60 billion ...where the fuck are they, and if they have totally failed, why on Earth would the exact same strategy be expected to work training 'Syrian Moderates' to fight??? Pure insanity."

Uh! Mah! Gawd! The "latte salute" story has got to be the most idiotic waste of TV pixels I can think of! As a Navy veteran, believe me, we had manuals and instructions about dang near everything. There are no instructions about the C-in-C saluting because saluting began with Reagan, who just plain liked to do it. For the President to salute the Honor Guard should be considered a courtesy. It's nice if he does it, if he doesn't or doesn't do it "properly," don't worry about it! Rachel Maddow comments on the sheer awfulness of Politifact. Fact-checking is a valuable and necessary service in a democracy, but seriously, Politifact is giving fact-checking a bad name.

Very happy to see that the DOJ is following up on the murder of John Crawford III. Both the police and Walmart were, at best, criminally negligent. The police for listening to a wannabe-Marine who was lying and Walmart for allowing the police into their store when their own security people should have told them there was no security threat.

Good! The fight against distorting AP US History (To make it appear that the US was always a good and noble nation) is getting some welcome pushback from students! Fox News, is of course, perfectly happy to see conservatives conducting street protests, but are very snotty about liberals doing the same. College Board takes side of students.

Have to agree with this, myself. The US can't effectively train Middle Eastern armies to fight. The US tried for about a decade and tossed billions and billions into training the Iraq Army and they fell apart at the first real challenge. Also, bringing Afghan soldiers to the US for training seemed like a grand idea at the time! But after three of them enjoyed a strip club, they went AWOL

Wow! Concerned mother becomes writer to "save" her children from reading Harry Potter. Incredibly boring, one-dimensional writing that J.K. Rowling really ought to sue the writer for.

Speaker Boehner seemed to be such a tightly disciplined speaker that we'd never get to hear any slip-ups in which he'd describe how he REALLY feels about something, the way Ronald Reagan would do all the time ("facts are stupid things" when Reagan was supposed to say "stubborn things"). Now he spoke to what he considered a friendly audience and described the unemployed. Yeah, this seems to be how he really feels.

My photoessay on the Climate March in New York City. Aerial footage of march. Naturally, the Sunday talk shows make very little mention of the march. Wow! Very cool to hear about fabulously rich people with a social conscience! And yes, in talking about the march, it's three conservatives to one liberal, but the NY Assemblyman does a good job here. One of the right-wing attacks was about trash the marchers left. New York sanitation people didn't see anything unusual or unexpected about it.

I apologize for my fellow white males who feel it's appropriate to drag in irrelevant observations on race and gender and looks to make a political point. As TPM shows, there are a number of real and serious and legitimate criticisms to make of Michelle Rhee and Campbell Brown's political positions. To the guy critics, we don't need to weaken our criticism by dragging in a lot of personal baggage.

Liberals have known about the “Myth of Liberal Media Bias” for a long time, FAIR and Media Matters have been reporting this for forever, but it's good to see the NY Times admit it. BTW, 57% to 42% (Sunday talk shows have conservative guests 57% of the time, liberals 42%) is not a "slightly lopsided distribution," it's a significant and substantive majority.

A great pity to hear that Iranian religious authorities condemned this cheerful, warm-hearted video. When your nation is dealing with another and there is suspicion and hostility between you, this is precisely the sort of thing that helps the regular people of both sides to understand and sympathize with one another, to see their commonality and what they share.

Salon assures us that "No Labels" is nothing to worry about. It's a vanity project for wealthy amateur dilettantes with too much money, too much time on their hands and nowhere near enough information about the real world.

The effects of the drone program on the drone operators.

Good! The Kansas Secretary of State made a blatantly partisan decision, so the Kansas Supreme Court ruled against him. He's battling it out to the end, though.

Good! Very happy to see an on-the-ground counterweight to the "mission creep" that seemed inexorable when Obama announced that, well, he didn't want ground troops, but, y'know, stuff happens.. Juan Cole also weighs in and adds that the Iraq militias are even less enthusiastic about US ground troops.

There's a wild, baseless, completely evidence-free accusation that the State Department “scrubbed” files having to do with Benghazi. Fox News reports it as though it was a proven fact. And no, Benghazi is nothing like Iran-Contra. Not even a little bit. Oh, and by the way, when a news channel interviews 144 Republican Congresspeople and only five Democrats, that's a pretty clear sign of bias.

Update: Fox News criticizes Media Matters and the media for delivering and receiving press releases and then reporting them as original news. Problem: Fox completely fails to show that MMFA is wrong in any substantive way. If newspeople are reporting accurate news, what's the problem?

I'm sorry, but this is just not acceptable. There's simply no way that the Michael Brown case is so incredibly complicated that the grand jury needs until January to decide what to do. "...there are now six credible eyewitness accounts all in agreement that Michael Brown had his hands in the air..." and that Brown was running away when Darren Wilson shot him. Stop stalling!

Update: Even a Traditional Media guy can tell the fix is in. St. Louis County prosecutor, Robert McCulloch's “23-year record on the job reveals scant interest in prosecuting [police shooting of civilian] cases. During his tenure, there have been at least a dozen fatal shootings by police in his jurisdiction (the roughly 90 municipalities in the county other than St. Louis itself), and probably many more than that, but McCulloch’s office has not prosecuted a single police shooting in all those years.”

Republican female Senators are VERY annoyed that Democrats are forcing them to show the public what side of the question (fair pay for women) they're on!

What happens when people try to construct a libertarian paradise? A complete mess.

Are renewable energy sources currently limited? Do we need to supplement them with coal-fired plants, at least in the short term? Maybe so, but the city of Burlington, Vermont, is powered entirely by renewable energy. It can be done!

Yes, the US has quite a bit to do with the creation of ISIS. Essentially, US counter-insurgency teams were too clever for their own good. They figured they'd weaken the opposition by turning different factions against each other. That worked pretty well as long as they stuck with just propaganda, but when they started arming opposing sides, it wasn't such a great idea anymore.

And yeah, for some really strange reason, right-wingers are convinced that ISIS is massing at the Mexican border. The areas in Iraq and Syria that they took over are largely empty and Mosul fell more because it was defended by a hollow, unmotivated force than because ISIS was so powerful. For ISIS to even cross the Atlantic in the first place is very highly unlikely.

On the 13th anniversary of 9-11, RT examines 9-11 theories.

Drone footage reveals absolutely enormous destruction in Gaza. The Israeli neewspaper Haaretz claims Hamas is rebuilding tunnels and other infrastructure for battling Israel.

The fellow who directed police to John Crawford, an African-American who was then killed by the police in a Walmart, admitted that he lied in order to finger Crawford.

Commenting on the IS/ISIL/ISIS situation, Deena Stryker tells us: "There are no moderates in any rebel fighting group inside Syria today. The various groups are fighting with one hand, holding the black flag of Islam in the other, and they in a hurry to finish off Syria and consolidate it with Iraq,"

Governors Scott Walker (R-WI) and Chris Christie (R-NJ) are having very serious economic problems in their states.

Well, THAT'S pretty embarrassing! Andrew Cuomo WAY outspent his primary opponent for re-election as Governor of New York, the opponent had no name recognition and got a very late start and he didn't even get above 60%. So much for his presidential ambitions.

Essays on our incredibly dishonest and incompetent media.

Cheney obviously doesn't subscribe to the wisdom of Sun Tzu: "To fight and conquer in all our battles is not supreme excellence; supreme excellence consists in breaking the enemy's resistance without fighting." 

Cheney and his admirers simply want to fight everybody, everywhere, without regard to how many resources we're just tossing down into the hole.

And yes, most of the right wing still thinks invading Iraq was the right call.

Digby comments on the Ray Rice case, quoting a blogger who has worked with battered women. Well worth reading.

Good! Rep. Mike Rogers (R-MI), the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, states that there is a meaningful and serious distinction between "Let's hold on for a few minutes to make sure that getting to Benghazi results in an effective mission without just needlessly killing a lot of Americans" and a "stand-down order." The commander on the scene said, essentially, "Let's not just raise the body count to no obvious purpose."

Militia people haven't caused any serious problems at the border YET. It seems only a matter of time before they do and the good that they're doing seems awfully difficult to locate.

Excellent, lengthy piece from a former Army NCO on strategy and ISIS. It's not so much that we need to be careful, but that we have to have a really clear idea of what it is we're doing and what we hope to accomplish. The blogger very much approves of the President's deliberate approach.

Media Matters examines the Fox News special on Benghazi. I watched two minutes of an interview with Mitt Romney on this and counted about half a dozen lies in just that short amount of time. Fox News is trying to justify the Benghazi Congressional Committee, but they have to brush aside the facts in order to make the committee appear to be even somewhat credible.

The NRA is claiming (Via Fox News, of course) that firearms instructions were a standard curriculum in elementary school classrooms during the 60s and 70s. I've seen the claim posted at least twice and it's funny, but not one commenter recalls getting firearms instructions in school during that period or prior! Personally, I got some practice with single-shot, .22 caliber rifles in summer camp, but not school. 

Uh-oh! Now those who oppose Net Neutrality are realizing how much they've stepped in it. Even the porn sites are taking the side of the good guys!

Good! Sen McCain not sure Republicans have votes to impeach the President. My recommendation is that they give up the whole impeachment project and start working on actually helping the American people with other, far more serious, problems (Global warming, crumbling infrastructure, massive unemployment, etc., etc.) Speaker Boehner considers impeachment talk to be a scam by Democrats.

And yeah, some good news. To the supreme irritation of its critics, the ACA/Obamacare continues to do exactly as it was intended to do, with costs dropping and patients getting good coverage.

Very interesting to compare Justice Scalia's opinion of women swearing to Turkish government official complaining of women laughing in public. "Women should not laugh in public in Turkey, the Deputy Prime Minister has said in a speech on 'moral corruption' in the country."

Good grief! Politico and it's "brands."A hopelessly trivial and fashion-conscious magazine attempts to understand a man of deep principle. And no, the Politico piece contains just about zero factual evidence.

Juan Cole brings up a very good and highly relevant point about nude celebrity pictures being hacked and displayed: What good is all that NSA surveillance if they couldn't predict the rise of ISIS? Why are we spending kajillons of badly-needed dollars on useless technology that can't predict anything meaningful or relevant?

The results of the analysis of 13 states that raised their minimum wage indicates more a lack of negative harm than presence of positive good, but the lack of harm is very significant compared to all of the weeping and wailing and moaning about "If you raise the minimum wage, horrors! Disaster! Armageddon! Aaugh!"

Kansas Secretary of State refuses to allow Democrat to remove himself from Senate race. Gee, for some strange reason, Republican state secretaries of state have lost an absolutely huge amount of credibility and citizen faith in their objectivity. Hmm, wonder why that is? Keep in mind that the Kansas Secretary of State explicitly reversed his own office's ruling here.

Wow! These policemen were clearly way, WAY outta control! Woman forcibly arrested for waiting for family outside restaurant. Her kids were using restroom inside and she's a human rights lawyer.

Pictures of the Fast Food Strike of Sept 4th.

Very good to hear that New York's St. Patrick's Day Parade will allow gay marchers to join in with identifying signs.

Green Party of Philadelphia is selling tickets for buses going to the New York Climate March on September 21st.

Tch tch tch! Just because the guy's an evil billionaire, doing his best to fund hundreds of secretive front groups and manipulate our politics, people are mean to him!

PhillyIMC has now truly shut its doors and closed it all down.

Disturbing report on Supreme Court using dodgy information from "amicus briefs" to make highly questionable decisions.

Despite having a lot of on-paper advantages, the anticipated Republican "wave" hasn't appeared. The failure of the ACA/Obamacare to fail might be one of the reasons for the “wave” failure.

Former House Majority Leader Cantor will be going to a highly appropriate place upon his retirement from Congress, to an investment bank, where he'll pull in millions of $.

August                         back to top

Why are Americans joining ISIS? Answers are not comforting.

PA Governor Corbett is very unpopular. I especially liked this: "Corbett has tried to attack his opponent, York businessman and all-around good guy, Tom Wolf (D. PA), with every lie he can come up with but voters aren't buying it..."

This is really, REALLY seriously messed up! Why in the heck are the Ferguson police raiding churches to begin with?!?!?! Why are they raiding places where protesters gather in the first place?!?!!? And yeah, Ferguson was an example of white rage more than anything else.

Will there be a government shutdown? A week ago, nobody thought so. Today, it's depressingly likely.

Many who deny global warming have pointed to the slowdown in the rise of atmospheric heat. Sorry, but that doesn't mean global warming isn't real as the seas are very clearly heating up. The good news is that there appears to be more enthusiasm for doing something about global warming. As I've pointed out many times to readers of the Inky (Philadelphia Inquirer), fixing the results of climate change is a win-win. We need to get people employed, we've got very low interest rates on Treasury bonds and we could reduce our dependence on a violent, unstable area of the world.

Comedian Jon Stewart delivers great rant on being black in America and on Ferguson. Michelle Malkin responds "I love watching white liberals swoon over a white celebrity liberal purporting to speak for all 'people of color.'"

Well, that's true, and Chris Rock, an authentically black comedian, has said some good and insightful things about race too, but he's a lot less popular than Stewart is, so Stewart is in kind of a "damned if you do, damned if you don't" situation. Does he leave all the race commentary to Rock, who will speak to a smaller audience or does the "inauthentic" comedian speak to a larger audience?

US agencies that have loaded up on military-grade equipment are, amazingly enough, losing large quantities of that equipment.

For five years, conservatives have been griping about Obama's vacations. Americans just couldn't care less about such criticism.

Pretty hilarious look at libertarians. Major problem with the movement is that not many people, even those in the movement, actually agree on what libertarianism really means!

Long-term Gaza truce reached!

NY Times writer describes Michael Brown with phrase saying he was “no angel.” Gets a fierce (deserved) reaction. Good piece featuring extensive interview with reporter. Also, good piece on communities becoming war zones.

Melissa Harris-Perry lets Joe have it with both barrels, proving the Joe is a complete moron. But she does so very nicely, with a smile.

Candy Crowley describes Senator Lindsey Graham (R-SC) as a “War Hawk” because he wants to bomb a lot of stuff. But this is a truly moronic statement from a Villager. To illustrate, when Captain John Paul Jones stood on the deck of a burning ship with cannonballs flying around him and said "I have not yet begun to fight!", THAT was heroic! When G.W. Bush sat in a comfortable, air-conditioned studio several thousands miles from Iraq and said "Bring it on!", that was NOT heroic. One of these things is not like the other. Graham is far more like Bush than like Jones. It takes absolutely nothing in the ways of smarts or cleverness to say "Let's bomb everything, everywhere."

Obama sends representatives to Ferguson for the funeral of Michael Brown.

The name of the group ISIS has created problems for a singing group and for the 70s Saturday morning TV show.

The ALS fundraising gimmick raised $100 million. It challenged people to either get a bucket of ice water over the head or to write a check.

I mean, yeah, it's really great that Rep. Ryan took the ice bucket challenge, but, y'know, kind of cheap and crummy that he voted to de-fund ALS research. One of those "My right hand has no idea what my left had is doing" things.

A Palestinian from Gaza tries the ice bucket challenge. As he has very little access to water or ice, he improvises.

Very good to see that Pam Geller didn't get much of a crowd. Israel does NOT need allies like her! Geller was the driving force behind protests over the “Ground Zero Mosque,” a building of ordinary size and shape that's a block and a half away from the edge of the World Trade Center site.

Premiums are dropping the ACA/Obamacare, a story that's strangely ignored by most media (Well, no, not strange at all). Bwah-hah-hah!!! Cheapness doesn't pay!!! Baseball team cuts worker hours so as to prevent having to pay ACA premiums, stadium gets surprise rainshower, doesn't have enough people to cover the ground, team forfeits game. Krugman adds: “The other involves the 'sticker shock' that opponents of health reform have been predicting for years. Bulletin: It’s still not happening.”

Very cool to see people raising money for Ferguson students.

Ross Douthat usually comes for a lot of (deserved) abuse "Ugh, how is Douthat wrong TODAY?" But today: "How strange is this this Sunday? How about this: Ross Douthat is the only columnist to devote all of his precious inches to the most PRESSING story in the nation, and he's also the only one to be 100% right."

Bwah-hah-hah!!! I agree 100%!! Joe Scarborough, if he's going to comment on Ferguson, should do some on-the-ground reporting first and not just comment from a comfortable air-conditioned studio a thousand miles away!

August 11th, comedian Robin Williams passes away.

August 9th, Michael Brown shot and killed. Only apparent charge or cause or provocation was that of jaywalking

Truth! Things that people WOULD know IF we had a TRULY liberal media!

Rupert Murdoch gives his opinion on global warming. The TV show Cosmos demonstrates that ol' Rupe has absolutely no idea what he's talking about.

Yeah, this is cool! Republicans in Congress finally declare victory over a long-dead and buried opponent. The blogger lists a few other more-or-less imaginary problems Republicans appear to be obsessed with, but hey, it's good to see them dispatching at least one!

Yes, it's perfectly normal for all law enforcement agencies in America to have to pick and choose, to prioritize, which crimes they'll enforce. No, there's nothing unusual about what Obama's doing concerning immigration.

Yeah, what this guy says: "I don’t have any qualms with a massive airlift of humanitarian aid, and I have no problem with a much more aggressive air campaign against ISIS." Obama helping out people in serious distress.

Aaugh! Shriek! No-o-o-o!!! Stephen Moore thinks it would cost a BILLION $$$ to educate the unaccompanied minor children coming across the border. Actually, "... the cost to educate these children would be [$620 million, that is] less than 0.006 percent of the value of the economy as a whole."

Hmm, yeah, okay. The NY Times gets one cheer (out of three) for this. They're now referring to "enhanced interrogation" as torture.

Good! A killer was found guilty. A 19-year old girl came to this fellow's porch after an auto accident. She needed assistance and got shot instead. "The jury verdict is likely to elicit a collective sigh of relief in the civil rights community..." after other people were acquitted for much the same offense.

Why, how amazing! [/snark] Turns out a great majority of economists agree with liberal Keynesias (And me, of course). Was mildly surprised to learn the bank bailouts were successful, but everything else was "Yeah, I knew that."

Ah, here we go! I knew someone had added the figures up. Since the year 2000, there have been about a billion votes for local, state and federal elections. How many cases of in-person voter fraud (That is, fraud that would have been preventable by having voter-ID laws in force) have there been? 31. Not 3100 or 31,000, 31.

This is why I recommended to Facebook friends that Netanyahu had better take *any* peace offering, and quickly, as Israel is quickly losing any sort of moral high ground. Good round-up/summary of the Gaza-Israel struggle. The military has done what it can. Only answer now is to make a deal. Half-hour TV spot on situation in Gaza. Impact of Israeli bombing of Gaza's only power plant.

Blogger gets really, REALLY sick and tired of Villagers saying "Both sides are to blame!" between the President and Congress.

Interesting piece on who ends up getting shot. One of the major causes identified here is arguments that get out of control. When people are drunk and get to arguing and are not armed, they're not really competent to do much damage. But when they are armed, damage is very easy to do.

Good to see this. A Turkish lawmaker said it was improper for women to laugh in public, so Turkish women are documenting themselves laughing in public!

Whoof! Yeah, Congressman King comes across as a complete and total jackass and Senator Paul comes across as an absolutely pathetic coward. Senator Paul comes out with ludicrous explanation.

Yeah, the House report on Benghazi SHOULD (But probably won't) change the reporting that Fox News does on Benghazi. Wolf Blitzer gets fingered as an enabler of Fox here. Also, gee, wow, amazingly enough, surprise, surprise, Fox completely ignores the report

The University President says that he's not conducting a publicity stunt by taking a substantial pay cut in order to raise the pay of the university's lowest-paid employees. Heck, I'll take his word for that. If it's a stunt, its a good one that more company presidents should copy.

My coverage of Friday's Gaza rally.

A lot of us knew this anyway, but the Republican House Intelligence Committee has concluded that there was no wrongdoing, no scandal in Benghazi in the 2012 attack. In a sane world, there would be no House Benghazi Committee, but of course there is.

Heh! Allison Lundergan Grimes vs Mitch McConnell. The crowd is notably less enthusiastic for McConnell. At one point, McConnell suggests that Obama has to call on Bill Clinton whenever he gets into trouble. Erm, I notice that McConnell can't do the same with G.W. Bush as Bush reminds people of why this country's such a mess to begin with.

Both the original and the parody of the wife-facing-an-enraged forme boyfriend wth a gun show credible, believable scenes that could really happen. My question is: "Which is more likely to actually happen in real life?" I think the cool, calm demeanor showed in the parody is really awesome and I would like to think that people would react that way, but if you read a few of the Daily Kos GunFAIL pieces, you realize that theory is beautiful, but a greater-than-zero percentage of people are complete eff-ups.

July                         back to top

*Sigh*, the most useless, ineffective Speaker of the House, I think *ever*, fails AGAIN! This time, he fails to get border security bill passed.

Heh! Republicans complain because Pope Francis and President Obama sound so alike.

Book by Frank Schaefer, who performed marriage ceremony for gay son.

One of the problems with Israel today is that "Operation Cast Lead" (that was conducted right before Obama took office) provoked an extensive report that laid serious blame on Israel for human rights violations. The Obama Administration ignored it and refused to enforce it. The current war is very largely a "chickens coming home to roost" problem.

Delaying action on global warming costs the US $150 billion a year. The price will go up every year we continue to delay.

Ah, okay. The heart of the Israeli complaint concerning SecState Kerry is: "...his attempts to bring Qatar and Turkey — two countries viewed by Israel as strong Hamas supporters — into the cease-fire negotiations." Erm, sorry, but if your position is that you'll only negotiate with people you already agree with, your diplomacy is a FAIL!

Hilarious LTE in today's Inky:

I am used to George Parry making up his own facts to use in attacking Democrats, but his latest article saved me time in looking for the lies (“What the government knew or not,” July 27). I stopped reading six words into the article, when Parry stated, “In December 2008, the Obama administration . . .” Of course, President Obama took office on Jan. 20, 2009.

You know the lawsuit against the president is fatally weak when they accuse him of ridiculous things. 1. The Clean Air Act gives the President the authority to fight global warming, 2. Thank Heavens the Constitution does not require legislative or judicial approval for prisoner swaps, 3. A shameless lie.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Love it, love it love it!!! Satanists release ALL women from having to comply with "informed consent" laws! Just print out their letter and say "I'm exempt" when the doctor tries to inform you as to how terrible abortion is.

Very depressing, but excellent analysis of the Halbig case (The claim is that the ACA improperly provides subsidies to states on the Federal marketplace)

The Affordable Care Act is working pretty much as intended, and real people are benefiting, so Republicans are obliged to try and impose unnecessary suffering on their constituents so that they’ll demand repeal.

Mark Levin rails and spits and pounds his fist on the table concerning Jon Stewart changing his name (Actually, Stewart's father changed it because he was exposed to anti-Semitic feelings). Interesting commentary on Jon Stewart vs. Mark Levin by Cenk Uygur.

Wow! Sen. Lindsey Graham is normally just full to the brim of awful, terrible, no-good ideas, but ending Israeli accountability for possible human rights violations in Gaza is a whopper of a stinker of an absolutely awful idea! That would guarantee that the US would be seen as unfairly protecting Israel at the expense of any dedication to human rights.

A restaurant got awful reviews for the slowness of their service. Problem was, customers are spending too much time on their smartphones and not enough time eating. Herewith, some suggestions: 1. Don't pull out any devices until AFTER you've ordered. 2. Use your device as you would a paper magazine Either have reading material pre-loaded so you don't have to worry about whether there's wifi or if you're with someone, don't pull it out at all. Entertain yourselves by talking with each other. 3. Go ahead and take a photo of your dinner, but save the photo-cropping and email writing until you get to a coffee shop after dinner or home.

Sen. Rand Paul claims to be Senate's and Congresses #1 supporter of civil rights. Sounds real good, until you look at the details of his actual actions and positions.

I was exchanging messages just the other day with a right-winger who claimed that cutting taxes was always a good thing. We never did get to states, but I'm sure he had some canned, ready response to this too.

California raised taxes 30% on the rich and their economy has the 5th highest job growth and first budget surplus in a decade. By contrast, Kansas slashed taxes on the rich and their economy is tanking. 

Good! People reacting properly to rocker Ted Nugent's toxic rhetoric.

Wow. Hmm. Women get themselves photographed topless to support the IDF. Y'know, normally I'm in favor of these kinds of photos, but I have to agree, these are in pretty poor taste.

Hmm, no, I can't support Rep. Paul Ryan's poverty reduction scheme of setting poor people up with a "life coach" to advise them. When I seriously lacked money a few decades back, I talked with someone about it and he agreed, I needed money. Period.
He could recommend the sacrifice of some small expenditures, but he had no super-clever advice that I hadn't already thought of.

No, sorry, I appreciate that PETA wants to help, but blackmailing people into going vegan?!??! Nope, sorry, can't support that.

To someone such as myself, who follows liberal Keynesian economists, this is a very odd obsession as yes, it takes the GOP away from actual, real-world problems and focuses them on imaginary, non-existent ones. No, inflation is not a serious concern. When consumer demand is as slack as it is, the "too much money chasing too few goods" phenomenon doesn't apply.

Yeah, well, so much for the idea of Governor Cuomo ever being a national politician.

Completely unsurprising (No connection between CEO pay and company financial success) and yes, they mention the Walmart example that I found so infuriating when I first heard about it.

Hillary Clinton's been getting a number of negative comments in the media over her money-making. But, yes, it's very, very interesting how another (male, Republican) presidential candidate ALSO collected millions in speaking fees, but very unlike the situation with Clinton, the Beltway press corps yawned at that. Hmm, wonder why that is?

I weigh in the subject of Gaza. Israel's counter-guerrilla strategy seems poorly designed.

Infuriating!!! An appeals court rules against the ACA. An apparent victory for the right wing looks very, very morally shaky.

Very interesting. Liberals and conservatives are switching places on Israel. Reagan and the younger George Bush were critical of Israel, now the constituencies of the Democratic Party are getting sour on same while Republican politicians and constituencies are getting pro-Israel.

Boston is a low-lying city without many hills. Map of where the waterfront would be after five and seven and a half feet of sea level rise. NOT good!

Things are looking good for the Christian left. We may just drive out the notion that Christians are all anti-evolutionists, anti-contraception, etc.

I don't regard the Islamic State (IS) hardcore religious fundamentalists as thugs. Barbarians would be a better term. And no, I'm not enthused about going back into Iraq to fight them, better to build up our wind and solar fuel sources and just have done with the whole area.

Good news! Progress on Iranian nuclear weapons.

Ron Fournier generally gets little love from liberals because he's of the "both-sides-do-it" school, but this is a good piece. My own feeling on taxation is that taxes should be based on how many square feet of factories, office space and retail outlets are in whichever country. If you've just got a mailbox in the Cayman islands, that shouldn't entitle you to pay taxes there. And sigh, the same guy proves he really shouldn't be listened to on the subject of the ACA.

Very serious consequences for downing the Malaysian plane that was overflyng Ukraine. AIDS research has taken a serious hit.

A look at how the other side of the Israel-Gaza fight sees things. 

Well, Rep. Louis Gohmert says something stupid, again. Yeah, I know, that's not news. What I found interesting though, was this statement: "You want to talk about a war on women? This administration will not defend the women of America from criminal aliens!" 

Hmm, why is it that right-wingers are constantly trying to prove that the "War on Women" is something that it's not? Could it be that the phrase resonates with people and that people believe that it represents something real?

President Obama is getting lots and lots of advice from the opposition party. Problem is, it's all pretty vague and useless.

Chilling tale of voter suppression in Georgia.

Good to hear that Speaker Boehner's lawsuit against President Obama is very unpopular.

Todd Aiken comes back and tries toexplain his "legitimate rape" comment. It does not go well.

So Citigroup settles for its role in the financial crisis that started off in late 2007 with the collapse of the housing bubble and went on to wipe out a huge portion of our economy. How much is $7 billion to them? Here's a quote from their site: "Our Hedge and Private Equity Servicing business also surpassed $500 billion in alternative assets..." So the settlement is little more than a mild inconvenience to them.

Detroit's water “crisis.” Well, the crisis is real enough, but it's entirely deliberate, the result of conscious, deliberate action, applied with malice and forethought.

"Pension smoothing" is a budgetary gimmick. It's not as good as plain ol deficit spending. Speaker Boehner opposes it for an extension of unemployment benefits but supports using it to support the Highway Trust Fund. Both higher taxes and deficits are of course really awful and terrible and compleely off the table, not to be used under any circumstances. So the question is, why does Boehner hate the unemployed?

A thinkpiece on the strategy used by Hamas in Gaza.

A look at the failed records of Tea Party Governors. Special looks at Sam Brownback of Kansas and Rick Scott of Florida.

DKos strongly condemned Maureen Dowd for her column today. Dowd criticized Chelsea Clinton. Granted, out of the $900K Clinton makes, if she were paid exclusively for her talent, she'd make 1/10th of that or less. But y'know, it' not like the sons and daughters of celebrities and business tycoons don't get privileges in any event. Pretty sad to pick on Chelsea for something that's done all over the place.

Update: Media Matters tells us that Clinton gives most of her money to charity. I didn't know that.

I agree with this evaluation of Meet The Press and especially agree that replacing David Gregory with Joe Scarborough will turn a terrible situation into a catastrophic one.

Why, then, if Gazans want to live in peace do they continue their equally counterproductive rocket attacks on Israel?” Gaza is suffering a dire shortage of fuel and an increasingly miserable population. Gaza by the numbers. A description of the “roof tap” technique. Film of same.

Heh! Ann Coulter has a Frankenstein-meets-his-monster moment as she criticizes a Tea Party kinda guy.

Digby has the latest update on the Benghazi news. As we always thought, Benghazi was a tragedy, but as US troops could not have gotten to the scene any faster than they did, it wasn't a scandal.

Pretty hard to read this and to conclude that Rep. Paul Ryan is anything but a hard-core, utterly devoted Randian. Heh! Took Rep. Paul Ryan FIVE times, but he FINALLY had a non-wealthy person speak on his hearings on poverty. She was lectured by another Congressman about how her receiving public assistance made her "dependent." She had no idea what the Congressman was talking about.

The health situation in Gaza was not great before the Israeli bombardment began. An animated introduction to the Israeli-Palestinian relationship.

It's really wonderful that Bill Cassidy loves and supports and stands behind his single, pregnant teenage daughter. Kudos to him. But what would REALLY help his daughter and many millions of young people like her would be to drop this whole "abstinence-only" nonsense. It didn't work for Bristol Palin, hasn't worked for anyone else, drop it already!

A look at how opponents of the ACA/Obamacare have to keep revising their predictions of disaster. Reminds me of how Germans knew they were losing World War II: "Our 'glorious victories' kept occurring closer and closer to home."

Bwah-hah-hah! Spending on anti-ACA ads may have actually INCREASED enrollment in the program! Very interestingly, predictions that the program would soon be canceled increased the urgency of "Get good medical care while you can!"

Heh! Families who lost children in the Sandy Hook massacre wanted to meet with Governor Christie, who begged off with a BS excuse. I like the way Joe Scarborugh words it: "I think it’s kind of chicken 'something,' which I won’t say on the air. It’s chicken, we’ll say 'salad,' for Chris Christie to not meet with these families for at least five to 10 minutes."

The Israel Defence Forces (IDF) launched "Operation Protective Edge" on July 7th in response to militants firing rockets from Gaza.

Sarah Palin demands that Obama be impeached. As I said on Speaker Boehner's impeachment threats, President Obama is more enthusiastic about such talk than any of the Republicans are.

Chris Christie has hard time defending his position on the 10-round limit for guns (He's against it) because, well, his position is pretty shameful and hard to defend.

Having been a History major back in college, I agree, it's very distressing to see the media reach for utterly inappropriate analogies. No, there is no "Obama's Katrina." Did Reagan have a "Bay of Pigs"? Did Carter have a "Grenada"? Did Clinton have a "Vietnam"? Of course not. All of these events were unique to certain presidencies.

In response to the poll that claims Obama is the “Worst President” since FDR, here are some charts that prove the claim is "less than meets the eye."

Wow! What an amazing, astonishing, totally unpredictable surprise! [/snark]. In other amazing, totally unforeseeable news, an elder white guy thinks the Hobby Lobby decision is completely insignificant.

A look at Governor Chris Christie and the New Jersey economy. Not looking good for a presidential campaign. New Jersey's economy is going to be a real drag on any campaign.

The sexual assault survivor whose case George Will referenced speaks out and very STRONGLY disputes the idea that she gained any sort of privilege from being assaulted.

June                         back to top

Damn! The Hobby Lobby decision came out the wrong way. It benefits religious people of a particular sub-section of faith who also happen to own large corporations. Everybody else in America is outta luck. Objections to the Hobby Lobby decision from Supreme Court Associate Ruth Bader Ginsburg.

Situation in Iraq a VERY confused mess! Oh, and Russia is sending jets to Iraq. Ayad Allawi (Former Prime Minister of Iraq) feels that US policy there is incoherent. "The valiant Iraqi army has nothing to fight for. This brave army has lost its identity and its role. It doesn’t know whether it is fighting for the country or fighting for the sect or for the person or for the party." ISIS declares a "caliphate" of parts of Iraq and Syria. The Iraqi Army tried and failed to re-take Tikrit.

Entirely predictable problems concerning charter schools. One especially not-surprising conclusion: “Charter schools as a whole fare no better than traditional schools in educating students in poverty.” This is because education is a very labor-intensive activity. When expenditures don't really matter all that much, neither does the public-private institutional difference.

No, Matt Lauer interviewed several male CEOs and no, the question of how they balance home and family life never once came up. So when he asked a female CEO how she balanced home and family life, yes, the question was deeply sexist.

Sounds to me like Philly's Police Chief needs to be fired and replaced with someone who will respect votes and properly-constituted authority.

Good heavens, what a horrible, horrible decision by the Supreme Court on buffer zones around abortion clinics! Very distressing that it was unanimous. Major practical difficulty, as I see it, with arguing with a woman who's at the door of the clinic is that it's, uh, kinda late. Their minds are usually made up and all you're doing at that point is to add a layer of harassment, annoyance and bad feelings.

Chief Justice John Roberts said: " “Petitioners wish to converse with their fellow citizens about an important subject on the public streets and sidewalks..." How well does that theory work in practice, in the real world? Wel-l-l-l...

I largely agree with all of the items on today's round-up (27Jun2014). The cell-phone privacy decision is a unreservedly good one, The abortion, buffer-zone decision and the presidential appointments decisions are both horrible ones that are blind to today's realities. More on buffer zones. Abortion clinics have suffered 4,700 instances of violence since 1995.

Army clears Bowe Bergdahl of any misconduct that he may have engaged in while a prisoner of war of the Afghan Taliban.

Speaker Boehner threatens to sue President Obama. On what charges? Wel-l-l-l, that's not so clear. Apparently, for a bunch of items that were perfectly fine when G.W. Bush did them.

UN has to intercede on behalf of Detroit citizens who were getting their water shut off.

Cool! The establishment Republican beats the Tea Party guy by a fraction of a point! The Tea Party guy was the one that wanted to send white "election observers" to black districts, y'know, just to make sure everything was legit.

Very excellent news! LONG overdue! A process for citizens to get taken off the no-fly list should have been a built-in, integral part of the list from the very beginning.

Y'know, for Fox News to not cover the capture of the guy who directed the Benghazi attack is understandable, everyone knows they're a propaganda outlet. But what's up with all the other shows? What's their excuse?

Rev. Frank Schaefer wins appeal. He performed the wedding ceremony for his gay son and lost his church position for that. He announced that his UMC clergy orders were restored at the First United Methodist Church of Germantown.

Rachel Maddow encourages Congress to speak up, clearly, about the situation in Iraq. Very good question concerning Iraq. What WAS all that money spent on?!?!!?

Oh, and ThinkProgress gives us a good list, the people the media SHOULD be interviewing about the situation in Iraq and Emptywheel reminds us about the “success” that General Petraeus had training Iraqi troops.

Excellent point! Why bother having a moderator when the guest will just say any ol' thing that pops into his head without the slightest fear of contradiction? Gregory's a useless, empty suit.

Bwah-hah-hah! This fellow is convinced, CONVINCED I tell you!!1!!, that IRS chief Lois Lerner's emails are politically significant enough to cause the Democratic Party real problems. Uh, no. The Bush Administration lost 22 million emails concerning very real and serious problems that should have resulted in serious criminal charges (Fox News skips over that of course) and nobody remembers that today.

Excellent question!!! Why DOES the media feel that Sen. John McCain is the go-to guy on foreign policy? When has the guy been right about anything?!?!! And why is Karl Rove being interviewed on the subject? And heavens! Dick & Liz Cheney are also being consulted!?!?

But the former vice president — who spent years arguing that anyone who questions the administration during a time of war is unpatriotic ... [says] “Rarely has a U.S. president been so wrong about so much at the expense of so many,” 

Fellow who was leader of Benghazi attack captured. Right-wing reaction: "It's a distraction, I tell you!!! A distraction that diverts us from the REAL scandal here!!!11!! Pay no attention that man behind the curtain!!! Arrggh!!!" Also, [Fox News reporter] Rosen asked, "Following your own logic...why didn't we pose as a reporter to capture [Ahmed Abu Khattala] then?"

*Sigh* *tch* Erm, because that would endanger real reporters? Do you guys have ANY notion of how neutrality works in wartime situations?

Should we press Republicans on whether they intend to impeach the President? Heck yes! It's a win-win! If they deny it, they'll demoralize the voters who think they're serious about doing it, if they affirm it, that'll motivate Democrats to get to the polls!

So what's the score on possibly utilizing Iranians against ISIS? The Obama Administration seems to be leaning towards it, Sen. Lindsey Graham likes it (He's always wrong) but Bill Kristol hates it (He's also always wrong), Think Progress thought it was a bad idea (They're usually right) and Juan Cole warned that "The enemy of my enemy" is not always my friend.

Uh, no. The current situation in Iraq proves exactly the opposite of what Fox News says it does. It proves that the only alternative to ISIS making such gains was for US forces to stay in Iraq for 100 years. It was clear in 2011 and is clear today that such a plan just an't gonna happen. Oh, and report on Bush's “prescience” is BS.

Juan Cole as long been a very highly credible source on Middle Eastern affairs. His “7 Myths” is well worth reading.

Good ruling from the Supreme Court on straw purchases of guns. Can't do it under any circumstances. Have to purchase the gun yourself.

Oh-h-h-h yeah-h-h!!! THIS ought to be fun! Buncha American bikers want to go to Mexico to free an American Marine. Hoo boy!

In case you were saying to yourself: "Dang! I missed the Sunday talk shows. I wonder what wisdom they would have imparted. " Never fear, you didn't miss much. People interviewed on the Sunday morning talk shows were pretty much all old, conservative, white men. Conclusion sentence: "This week, for example, Melissa Harris Perry’s show had 10 guests, 4 of whom were women and 5 of whom were people of color. It was also the only show to feature an Iraq war veteran." (emphasis added) Rep, Barbara Lee shares a rare non-old white guy perspective. Note that she was one of the people in the government that was right the first time.

Words are very cheap and easy things to expend when it comes to "support the troops," but when it requires money on the table, Republicans suddenly find "deficits" and "frugality" to be more important.

Yeesh! Mitt Romney says we're about to lose everything "we" fought for. The veteran responds

I must have missed you over there, but it was a busy place. We. The guy who helped set up “pro-draft” rallies and yet somehow managed to avoid service in Vietnam is upset about losing what “we” fought for? We.

Senator John McCain (R-AZ) shows himself to be very confused about the history of the Iraq War. Think Progress runs through the options as regards ISIS. Yuck! NONE of them are really any good. And no, I've never seen using airpower as more than a purely defensive means of making sure ISIS doesn't get to Baghdad. And yes, the Iraq War was still very much in progress when the US left in 2011. Iran sends troops to aid Iraqis.

Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL), thinks health-care for veterans is an “entitlement.” But it was okay to pour over $2 trillion into the Iraq and Afghanistan wars, eh? Funny how no one ever says we “can't afford” to launch wars of choice.

The US may end up fighting with Iranian infantry and US air support. One of the reasons that might not be such a bad thing is that Iran has been cooperative on nuclear issues lately (Last piece in Round-up), but the traditional media has been relucttant to acknowledge this. As Jon Stewart's Daily Show makes clear, the situation is enormously complicated.

If you want to know why the economy's been so crappy for the last several years, this explains Cantor's part in making it so.

Mosul, Iraq falls to ISIS (Islamic State of Iraq and Syria). Iraqi army, with 15 to 1 advantage, crumbles just the way the South Vietnamese Army did in 1975. Juan Cole, a noted and respected voice during the Iraq War, examines the fall of Mosul and finds LOTS of people to blame for it, most prominently the G.W. Bush Administration, for tearing apart the country, demolishing the old regime and putting nothing in its place. Al Qaeda wasn't a problem in Iraq before the invasion. Now al Qaeda has actual territory of its own.

Very good to see politicians taking on an pundit. George Will gets a much-needed and very properly called for slapdown. Will had expressed the belief that women who got raped benefited from the social status of being a victim.

Hoo boy! This guy who won the primary against House Majority Leader Eric Cantor is NOT good for America! Granted, I read I.F. Stone's Trial of Socrates so I'm pretty sour on Socrates, but this should be concerning anyway: "And he has called for drastic cuts to education funding, explaining, 'My hero Socrates trained in Plato on a rock. How much did that cost? So the greatest minds in history became the greatest minds in history without spending a lot of money.'"

Very happy to hear that a veteran's funding bill is passed DESPITE obstructionism from the GOP!

Wow! Rep. Eric Cantor (R-VA), the House Majority Leader (2nd in rank after the Speaker), loses primary to an unknown Tea Partier! Conservative blames loss on Cantor not being conservative enough.

Word about how poorly Walmart treats its workers is getting around. Regular shoppers there are shopping there less precisely because workers are treated so poorly. "Is saving a few dollars on a shirt really worth it when my brothers and sisters earn such lousy wages?" And keep in mind, it's not just Sam Walton's descendants that are the problem. The old man's cheapness was ALWAYS a problem for the rest of America.

%$#@@!!! And CNN drops the ball AGAIN!!! Why is it only the comedians who bring up past statements from duplicitous politicians?

NSFW, but I agree with every word. On the recent POW exchange.

So the Federal Government puts out a proposal to tackle global warming. The opposition political party is jumping up and down, screaming and yelling about how economically destructive such proposals will be. The Boston Globe points out that industry said exactly the same thing about clean air and water regulations back in the 70s. The Salt Lake City Tribune says:

Like President Obama’s health care reforms, the EPA rules are being described — falsely — as a government overreach that will damage the economy and cost jobs. In fact, like the Affordable Care Act, the proposed rules are very free-market friendly in that they allow interested parties to choose any of a number of means to reduce carbon emissions.

Wow! Not only is Speaker Boehner the most unproductive Speaker of the House ever, he also can't even come up to the level of basic competence when it comes to reading and then knowledgeably commenting on legislation. He commented on a 645-page bill less than an hour after it was released. He was able to do that because he was relying on a month-old Chamber of Commerce paper that was based on predictions about what the report might say. Naturally, his comments are a complete FAIL!

Laura Ingraham brings up Benghazi to a Fox News panel. They laugh at her. Wow! The issue is getting old even for Fox News!

Heh! All of the sudden, Liz Cheney is very, very, deeply concerned about the US government lying to Americans about national security.

The Washington Monthly finds coverage of environmental issues very short on time and unsatisfactory in how up-to-speed the hosts are. The issue deserves the whole hour and true experts who can enlighten the audience.

What did the Iraq War cost America? Well, $2 trillion in actual, already-expended dollars, $6 trillion projected after we've covered all the veteran's costs.

May                        back to top

General Bolger appears to agree with my own analysis. The only way to have conducted a successful occupation of Iraq was by sending an occupation force in on the heels of the spearpoint troops and to then fix everything up with plenty of reconstruction money, spent by people on the ground, in the cities and towns, not just sitting in Baghdad or Washington DC, and then settle in for the long haul of at least 100 years. Either that or charge in and then charge right out again.

I have a hard time agreeing that Obama should be trashed for this. He negotiated with the Taliban for a soldier who had been held for several years. He might very well have broken the law, but as he said, there were "unique and exigent circumstances."

Why in the heck did police officers throw a stun grenade into a private home when they were trying to arrest a drug dealer?!?!?! A 19-month old child was critically wounded and may die from an overly-militarized police force.

*Sigh*, an entirely predictable response as demanding that abortion doctores have admitting privileges to hospitals was never actually intended to really help women in the first place. Helping women was never the point to begin with.

Good piece on the VAs troubles this morning in the Inky. No pushback against Republicans suggestions for privatization, but no support for such a notion either. Good summary deep within the piece about what the problems there are. Lack of resources is large part of it.

No, the widespread and easy availability of guns and the consequences thereof are not accidents. From TheWeek:

Look, we've collectively decided, as a country, that the occasional massacre is okay with us. It's the price we're willing to pay for our precious Second Amendment freedoms. We're content to forfeit the lives of a few dozen schoolkids a year as long as we get to keep our guns. The people have spoken, in a cheering civics-class example of democracy in action.

Oh good grief! Photos of female high school students posing for their yearbooks were made to conform to school policies on modesty in dress. They were given higher necklines and longer sleeves. The real problem, of course, is that it was done without their knowledge or permission.

For anyone you know who says we have a "pro-Obama media," ask them why progress on Iran reducing it's nuclear weapons program isn't front-page news. Yes, for Iran to be disarmed of nuclear weapons capability is not a done deal and still has a ways to go, but WTF?

Okay, let's see, this was a law that "would have required physicians providing abortions to post their profiles on a public website and include how many abortions they performed each year."

Now, what on Earth could this information possibly have done OTHER than to have incited anti-choice fanatics to try and kill those abortion providers?!?!?!

And yes, the guy claims he wasn't aware that the bill might have that effect. What other effect could it possibly have had?!?!??!

As part of President Obama's visit to troops in Afghanistan, the name of a CIA officer was made public. The people on the president's team promptly realized their error and did what damage control they could. Scooter Libby's revealing the name of Valerie Plame Wilson, a covert CIA agent who was performing undercover tasks that were important to national security, on the other hand, was entirely deliberate. BIG difference!

Good! A Republican tries to gin up outrage against the VA and veteran's groups push back by noting that Republicans have hardly distinguished themselves as defenders or protectors of veterans.

Poor Ron Fournier gets slammed, first in this piece on the "Green Lantern theory of presidential power" and then again here, which holds that Fournier doesn't appear to have much use for actual, real-life democracy. Yes, I agree with both pieces and no, I don't have much respect for the fellow.

The economist Dean Baker (Who, unlike Geithner, saw the housing bubble years before it burst), reviews Timothy Geither's book and Geithner's years in office. Spoiler alert: Baker is not at all impressed.

The problem with CNNs global warming reporting is that eventually, people are going to make up their minds one way or the other, so asking the question "Is global warming something to worry about?" is going to get really old to an increasingly large portion of the audience. Far better for CNN to switch over and to say "Global warming's a serious problem. What are we going to do about it?"

The CEO of McDonald's makes a play for human sympathy: "We are people. We do have values at McDonald’s. We are parents."

Which is all very fine and well, but we notice that they STILL aren't paying their employees a decent, living wage!

Very happy to see PA Governor Corbett throw in the towel on the marriage equality fight! Also, this piece makes a very excellent point. For all the talk about this being a "center-right" nation, when a right-wing governor is in electoral trouble, he doesn't move right, he moves left.

This is seriously messed up! Steny Hoyer wants to treat the Benghazi tragedy as something that STILL requires serious investigation! No Steny, it doesn't. Any further investigation is now a complete joke and should be treated as such.

WaPo's Jennifer Rubin attempts to determine what does and doesn't constitute a scandal, fails.

Dan Bartlett says that the Bush Administration “set a trap” for Obama on taxes. He feels pretty good about that. A commenter calls Bartlett a "smug punk." I'd go along with that. Yeah, it was a really "clever" ploy to impoverish the American people and to starve the government of money just when the need for government action on various issues was acute. Heckuva job, Danny boy!

This was long predicted, that if we legalized pot, the drug cartels would soon be starved of income. Good to see that that was true!

D'oh! Governor Rick Scott (R-FL) doesn't believe in global warming, but as his mansion is only a foot above sea level and right on the beach, he might not have the luxury of disbelief for too much longer. Also, Scott channels Sen. Marco Rubio, who said "I'm not a scientist, man" in response to a question on the age of the Earth. Scott is agnostic on global warming, a wildly irresponsible position for an official of a largely flat state that's very close to sea level as it is.

Good to see that Karl Rove's attack on Hillary Clinton is doing far more to discredit him than to harm her.

Statements made by Benghazi Committee members make it clear that there's nothing to investigate as all of their "concerns" have been asked and answered already. Also, Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) asks a series of really good questions, especially his last three.

Good! Education Department says charter schools must comply with civil rights laws.

Good continuation of the debate over Condoleezza Rice and Rutgers.

Wal-mart executive missed his target for being qualified to receive incentive pay, so he re-calculates how his incentive pay is awarded, defeating the entire point of incentive pay.

Problem with Chris Christie's presidential ambitions is that he has many more problems than just "Bridgegate." Primarily, his management of New Jersey's economy. Also, further examination of the economic effect of conservative policies in Kansas. Seems that just making big tax cuts is a really inferior, substandard way of stimulating the economy.

Oh, and 10 million people were scheduled to show up today (May 16th) to overthrow the American government. How many actually showed up? Well hey, it WAS raining out! Yeah, they worked on getting people there starting six monhs ago, but hey, they figured a few hundred showed up.

Senator Rubio (R-FL) thought he had a "gotcha" for liberals on the abortion issue, but it turns out the question, “When does life begin?” uses very fuzzy, vague definitions that are far more philosophical than they are scientific.

Infrastructure. Not a hip, happening, sexy subject, but a critically necessary one for our prosperity. One would think the traditional media would pay attention to it, but Republican obstruction in this area is completely cost-free as the media yawns over the subject. The President gave a speech about it and hardly anybody ran it in their coverage. What is the Republican strategy behind this obstructionism? Unfortunately, it's quite rational, but requires putting party above principle and above what's good for America.

The Navy now says that Norfolk, VA is at risk from rising seas. As someone who was there 1991-1996, I agree. The whole area is pretty flat. Not many hills at all.

Restrictive Voter ID laws appear to be imploding around the country. Good! What's clear in the recent court rulings on the subject is that the laws simply cannot be fixed with a few modest tweaks. The laws are fundamentally like the Jim Crow laws of an earlier era that were designed to disenfranchise.

Speaker Boehner, discussing the Benghazi Committee: "We’ve been having a discussion over the last four or five days over how witnesses will be handled, how documents will be handled, just trying to come to some understanding upfront of what I mean by fairness.”

Erm, here's a clue. When you have to discuss what "fairness" means, you've pretty much much given the game away as to how seriously you take the committee. Ooh! Here's a good idea! Let's appoint Rep. Alan Grayson (D-FL) as the sole Democratic member of the Democratic side.

*Groan!!!* Y'know, I was around when people bitched and crabbed and whined about Nancy Reagan buying a new set of dishes for the White House. These people in this segment never, of course, specify how many offices with how any people, are being re-furnished. Sorry, but you don't expect government employees to sit around on the floor or to not have decent filing cabinets or lousy desks.

The head of the Benghazi Select Committee has a problem with the legal concept of “Asked and answered.” It's when you repeated a question that's already been answered.

Yes, taking action against global warming would hurt particular industries, but here's what I don't get. Why do conservatives feel that combating global warming involves general economic sacrifice? It would take lots and lots of work and technological innovation to properly combat it. The US is, or should be, the world's technological leader. We should be ramping up all kinds of technology to fight the good fight on this!

*Sigh* well again, Governor Bobby Jindal (R-LA) raises the old question "Stupid or evil?" Is he just so dim and uncomprehending on the distinction between denying someone their freedom of speech and between denying them a paid platform or is he just opportunistically trying to confuse his constituents?

The chairman of the new Benghazi Committee accuses liberals of hypocrisy for complaining that the committee is being used to raise funds for the RNC. Well, let's look at Gowdy's examples: Sandy Hook was a non-partisan affair, Katrina was an absolutely clear-cut *&$#-up by Bush, the Iraq and Afghanistan wars were clearly the fault of Republicans (Yes, some Democrats voted for them) and lasted years and years longer than all of our previous wars did, so no, I'm not sure where the hypocrisy is on complaining about fundraising off of the Benghazi Committee.

Good thinkpiece on how we judge public figures. I agree with the piece in that I really couldn't care less how public figures act in their private lives. What matters are their public actions, or the secret actions that affect the public. Yes, the young George Bush is a monster who deserves to be serving a life sentence in prison.

From the piece: "What has happened in Kansas should serve as a cautionary tale for tax-cut proponents in Wisconsin, rather than a model." DKos looks at two liberal states California and Minnesota, and two conservative states, Wisconsin and Kansas. Gee, guess which set of states did better economically? And which set crashed and burned economically? Aww, ya guessed!

Heh! Yeah, ThinkProgress pointed out from Day 1 that Neil deGrasse Tyson was taking a left-wing, pro-science stance on Creationism and related beliefs in his TV show Cosmos (Sequel to Carl Sagan's 1980s version).

*Sigh*, the Supreme Court can say "racism is dead" all it wants, but as long as stuff like this happens, that claim is just a lot of hot air.

Christian activists in the Senate demonstrate WHY church and state should be always and forever separate.

Jon Stewart brought up an extremely good point last night. People are unexcited and kinda bored by Benghazi because it pales next to the lies and casualties of the Iraq War. Uh. Mah. Gawd! Republicans, at least some of them, are viewing the Benghazi Committee as the first step towards impeaching the President!

These two stories appeared within a few hours of each other on Facebook this morning. The fellow pictured thought it was really cute and clever to go shopping at a hardware store while carrying a combat-style rifle strapped to his back, then another fellow was showing off various firearms to a group of young boys, demonstrated how a laser sight worked and, oops!, shot his nephew through the head!

Very happy to hear that there's rhetorical way to convince the Evangelical climate deniers/skeptics that they can line with the scientists on the issue and still be faithful Christians.

President Obama does a very excellent sketching out of a sensible and effective foreign policy. Natcherly, lots of real-world questions about how it's applied and executed, but VASTLY better than Bush's "Shoot first and...uh..." policy!

Interesting thoughts on Occupy vs the Bundy ranch.

Wall St. Journal makes a funny, that the ACA/ Obamacare is moving Americans into "a two-tiered health system." Actually, we currently have a four-tiered system and thankfully, the ACA is eliminating that fourth tier.

Benghazi is a “scandal” that still won't led anywhere. Cenk Uygur rants about Republican overkill of Benghazi.

As ACA/Obamacare enrollment hits 17.8 million, Republicans strangely silent about it.

Sure hope Republican politicians and Fox News are proud of themselves for having enabled this group so much! These guys are acting like guerrilla groups from Iraq and Afghanistan over the past decade. Also, fights breaking out between factions.

An execution goes horribly wrong. Best answer is to eliminate executions entirely.

Time to retire, Justice Scalia! Plenty of time left in Obama's term to get you replaced with someone who can do the job!

April                        back to top

What? Have poor people testify at a poverty hearing? Unthinkable! Next thing you know, you'll want women to testify at women's reproduction hearing or blacks to speak at a hearing on race relations!

The strategy that Fox News follows, a diet of constant fear and outrage that keeps about 2 million viewers hooked, is very, very profitable for Fox News. Is it good for the Republican Party? Ehhh, not so much.

Awwww! Poor Governor Scott (R-FL) went to a senior center expecting to hear Obamacare horror stories and was surprised to hear that seniors were largely satisfied with it. That was clearly a big disappointment to him.

Glenn Beck accuses Hillary Clinton of...well...being a politician. He demonstrates his dirty mind by saying she's willing to have sex on a a desk with a woman in order to get elected. Would male politicians do that if it would work? Duh, of course they would.

Good news for Democrats! Governor Corbett's Voter ID law is pretty much dead with this latest decision! The PA Supreme Court could still weigh in, so it's not a final victory quite yet.

Sarah Palin said: "Waterboarding is how we baptize terrorists." Keep in mind that National Review Online is NOT a liberal organization. Here's what they said in response: "There’s a word for that kind of practice: barbaric. The Greeks used to use it to describe the other guys."

Glad to see the GOP getting the message that the repeal crusade for the ACA is over. ACA is a fact guys, get over it.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Bill O'Reilly tries really, REALLY hard to convince us that Fox News took a moderate view of Cliven Bundy and his violent threats. Complete FAIL! Also hilarious is the Republican National Committee Spokesperson "wondering" "Why is everybody calling us for comment?"

And with a single answer to a constituent, Mitch McConnell, the Senate Minority Leader, shows that he really doesn't understand his own job.

Further evidence that the fight over the ACA/Obamacare is finished. Criticism is becoing incoherent and the Republican position of full and immediate repeal only appeals to about a third of voters, even in Southern states.
Bwah-hah-hah!!! The rogue rancher Cliven Bundy, who wants to graze has cattle for free on federal land, shows his true colors and opines on how blacks had it better when they were slaves. Bundy denies that he's racist and calls upon NY Times to retract accurate quotes. Video for Bundy's comments. Oh, and Jon Stewart's rebuttal to Sean Hannity's rebuttal on the issue.

Hoo boy! This guy is just desperately, DESPERATELY re-e-e-eaching to find something, ANYTHING to criticize the President for! Donald Trump demonstrates that he's in the same boat.

Very cool! Digby's been a favorite blogger of mine for many, many years.

Very interesting piece on global warming. We can perhaps fix things up in time to avoid the extinction of our species, but we don't have a lot of time and we've got some pretty big cultural obstacles that work against a solution.

Fred Hiatt and the other Very Serious People in Washington DC are very, very deeply concerned about the US spending more than it's taking in. Of course, the ACA/Obamacare has done far more good for the budget than the Bowles-Simpson cuts would have, the tax rate is FAR lower than it was under Jimmy Carter and it's not like offshore accounts aren't hiding trillions of dollars in untaxed money.

Excellent presentation from last night's Daily Show. Hannity's hypocrisy is staggering. As a blogger pointed out, George Washington's stance towards the Whiskey Rebellion was the precise opposite of Hannity's stance here. Washington would have had no respect for Hannity whatsoever.

Very cool news and it couldn't have happened without all the activity on legalizing pot.

Way, way back when, I read that the elder George Bush had been "blooded" by invading Panama. That struck me as a very odd definition of toughness and manhood as the last time heads of state actually took to the battlefield was during the mid-1800s. Ever since at least Lincoln, American Commanders in Chief give orders from hundreds to many thousands of miles from where the action is occurring. Sorry, but "toughness" and battles that the US engages in have very, very little to do with each other.

No, it may not be sexist, but it's incredibly stupid to think that Chelsea Clinton planned her pregnancy to, in any possible way, shape or form, have any sort of interaction with her mother's campaigning for the presidency. Please people, not everything revolves around politics. Sometimes people just do things for simple human reasons. Update: Yes actually, the criticism of Hillary Clinton was very sexist.

When you hear conservative pundits warn of double and even triple health care insurance premium increases next year, please keep in mind that these predictions are based on a single anonymous insurance executive citing his own gut feelings. Conservative anti-ACA pundits are HUGELY over-interpreting every little hiccup as Armageddon for Obamacare.

Open Letter to Phyllis Schlafly From 12 Year-Old Madison Kimrey (Guest Post)

A blogger for DKos shows us a traditional media "journalist" who's really a sad case, using fuzzy, vague terms like "...over what they say are unpaid grazing fees." It takes our blogger about six seconds to discover that yes, the grazing fees are unpaid. There's no need whatsoever for "...over what they say..." at all.

Ugh! I mean, seriously, has Hillary Clinton EVER come across as so mean, hard and bitter that her daughter having a baby "humanizes" her?!?!?! Yeah, this is a total FAIL!

I agree with not starting shooting over the payments problem (The LAST thing we need are a bunch of martyrs over grazing fees), but yeah, now the stage is set for further trouble.

Very happy to see this and yes, I agree with Stephanie Anders: "The thing is, she shouldn't have to be tried again. The charges should have been dismissed in the first place."

From the piece:

Two member affiliates of the Koch-supported Americans For Prosperity (AFP) organization gave their blessing as armed ‘Patriot’ militias showed up to confront agents of the Bureau of Land Management (BLM) doing the dangerous, difficult job of removing Bundy’s trespass cattle from federal lands last week. The Kochs have been trying to privatize federal lands in the West for a long time, and Bundy’s cause crystallized that issue in a very public fashion.

Markos Moulitsas, who runs Daily Kos, put out a piece telling us that liberals have won the culture war. A conservative responded by listing 11 ways in which, no, conservatives have won. Markos responds, hilarity ensues.

Really good set of slides showing that wealth inequality has returned to pre-Crash of 1929 levels. Recommended by NY Times economics columnist Paul Krugman.

Very true. And if a plan like LA Governor Bobby Jindal's is the best the opposition can do, they really just better hang it up.

A number of our fellow citizens appear to want to go back to the Gilded Age (Between the Civil War and Progressive Era), when taxes were low and regulations more or less non-existent. Gee, I wonder why the Gilded Age was followed by the Progressive Era, when citizens struck back at the robber barons and instituted regulations and eventually, unions?

Hmm, I'm torn on this because while I'd like to see this governor (PA's Corbett) booted out of office, politicians raise taxes because taxes need to be raised. I hate the idea of making politicians even more gun-shy of raising taxes when raising them is necessary.

Ugh! As much as I'd LOVE to say that this surprises me, it really doesn't. Only one-sixth of America's citizens know where Ukraine is (When I was stationed in Gaeta, Italy, we did two tours of the Black Sea, which included Crimea both times) and there's a direct correlation between how much they know about it and how much they want to bomb it. Those who have NO idea where Ukraine is are all ready to send the bombers. Those who know where Ukraine is and something of its history say, "No way!"

Fascinating! Did anybody ever consider David Letterman to be representing "Heartland Values"?

Excellent analysis on why people are ticked off at the 1%. No, no one minds Mitt Romney being able to afford a car elevator and no one reads enviously about wild parties in the Hamptons. We're just annoyed because the really rich guys, the "Masters of the Universe" types, bragged about how wonderfully they were handling the nation's money matters right up until the economy collapsed and then didn't even have the decency to suffer any meaningful losses from that crash.

Gee, ya think Ms. Rice's own past actions may have had something to do with our current war-weariness?!?!?!?!

Bill O'Reilly complains about Congresswoman Barbara Lee: "Alright, let's take a look at Miss Lee's history. In 2011 she accused the entire Republican party of trying to deny black Americans the right to vote... the entire party."

Erm, why is this an inaccurate accusation?!?!?! Are any Republicans complaining about what Scott Walker is doing?!?!?! If O'Reilly could show that there was significant condemnation from the Republican Party toward Walker's vote-suppression schemes, then O'Reilly might have a case that Rep. Lee is making wild charges.

Color me completely un-surprised by this. It was pretty clear from accounts shortly after bin Laden's death that not only was torture useless, but someone who knew how to reach him was waterboarded many, many times and never spilled any indication of that. He just decided "That information is worth more than my life is" and so resisted all methods of "persuasion."

Well yes, Neil Cavuto is right “The fact of the matter is, no one is against trying to cover people with preexisting conditions, no one is against removing lifetime caps on medical coverage." That is, he's right NOW. He's correct at the current moment. Now that the ACA has established that insurers can't discriminate against people with preexisting conditions, NOW Republicans are in favor of that provision, etc. That certainly wasn't the case prior to the ACA being established.

THIS is why we need campaign finance reform!!!! NO ONE should have so much influence that candidates troop over to kiss his ring!

March                        back to top

No big surprise that the principle person in the big "Obamacare horror story" is telling a completely false tale (It would be a lie had she done some research and found her real health care costs for herself, but she made it clear that she never did that) and that the "victim" will actually save a bundle on her health care costs. The pity of it is that she allowed herself to be used for propaganda purposes.

Spending more money (Republicans used to call it "throwing money at the problem") may not be the complete answer, but consider this quote from the piece: "Under Gov. Rick Scott, more case investigators were hired, yet money for oversight and family counseling was slashed. The agency’s budget shrunk by $100 million during this fiscal year alone."

All this cost-cutting has a very real cost in beaten and broken babies and children.

The 6,300 page torture report was finished 15 months ago. It hasn't been released because the CIA has still not responded. Forget the CIA's response!!!!! If they can't get their act to get their, release the report ANYWAY!

A bigger march occurred A lot of people are in the habit of blaming capitalism for everything. In this case, I think the shoe fits. There have been similar cases where TV networks tried to spend time on non-profitable pursuits and their investors raised bloody hell about it. Normally, TV networks are happy to give a President airtime to put out important messages, but they clearly weighed the $ vs the importance of the message and decided "Nah."

without incident, but then a smaller group observed International Women's Day by scuffling with police over access to Istanbul's Taksim Square.

Not the slightest bit surprising, unfortunately. From the Rachel Maddow blogger:

Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) has a sweeping new condemnation of the 'war on poverty,' in which he cites a variety of scholars.
The biggest problem: many of those same researchers are now saying Ryan misrepresented their work.

It's interesting that Rep. Ryan's story was fake, but the real problem was that he was presenting a false choice between parents who could afford to prepare lunches for their child every day and parents who were too lazy/cheap to do so. The real choice is whether parents can affrord to see to it that their kids are properly fed in the first place

At Glenn Greenwald's new site, he compares Abby Martin's condemnation of Russia's incursion into the Crimea with the behavior of American journalists prior to, and during, the Iraq War and the current drone attacks. RT comes off pretty well.

My problem with Rich Lowry's examples is that by using wedding photography as an example, he's referring to a small, easily replicated, widely available service. Suppose two gay men in a small community need a diaper service and the owner of the service has religious objections to two men raising a baby? There might not be another service in town. What would Lowry suggest then?

From a parody site, but a first-rate commentary on the issue! Strongly advise reading this.

Rep. Ryan headlines his report by saying he's proven that anti-poverty programs don't work. Problem is, once one looks at the actual details of the report, one gets a picture of a very effective set of government programs.

So which is it guys?!?!?! Do you, as Senator Lindsay Graham says, want war with Russia? Or do you. as Rudy Giuliani says. think Putin is the grooviest?

February                        back to top

From MMFA: "Newsflash for Fox: Americans are more concerned with feeding their families than feeding the U.S.' ability to launch large-scale, long-term occupations of other countries at the drop of a hat."

*Sigh*! Once again, fact-checkers giving fact-checking a bad name. The piece contains an update where the fact-checkers acknowledge that the issue is not as cut-and-dried as they first made it out to be.

The GOP plan on taxes has been, for a long time, to trade elimination of tax breaks for a lower overall rate. But, a the old saying goes, "The Devil is in the details." They just *happened* to just, y'know, coincidentally, choose a plan that works against people in Democratic states. Amazing how that happens!

The good news for the day is that the deficit scold group "Fix The Debt" loses one. Good! Those %^%$#ers *deserve* to lose, as many millions of Americans have lost so much due to their proposals already!

Some conclusions about conversations with people on the other side.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Ah-hah-hah-hah!!! Girl scouts, you now what your formula for success is!

A 13-year-old Girl Scout in San Francisco recently set up shop outside a marijuana clinic and sold 117 boxes of Girl Scout cookies within two hours. The cookies were such a big hit, she's been invited back.

ThinkProgress puts out a detailed report on the troubles in Ukraine.

I haven't been reading Greenwald much in recent years, that has more to do with changing tastes on my part than through any fault of his, but I've always considered him to be a first-rate blogger/reporter and am very pleased to see him being properly recognized and rewarded.

More conversations. We bicker over who's in a bubble and who's out of touch. My suggestion is that if you disrespect the people on the other side and don't know anything about what motivates them, then you're probably the one in the bubble.

Round-up of pieces on the failure of the Republican House to put together an immigration reform package. Not terribly surprising, considering that Speaker Boehner could very easily (And very easily still could) have simply put the Senate bill up for a vote, but disappointing.

Woo-hoo! This is my favorite Pope EVER!!!

The Catholic Church has endorsed The Robin Hood Tax on Wall Street! A 0.5% - 0.005% tax on billions of dollars in currently untaxed financial transactions that create billions of dollars in unjust profits…would raise $350 billion annually towards the US economy! Please LIKE and SHARE this post. Break Wall Street's control of our Government. Twitter @RobinHoodTax

Gee! What a surprise! Bwah-hah-hah! NJ Governor Chris Christie apparently flew over the George Washington Bridge during the massive traffic tie-up that was the result of deliberate actions taken by his staff.

David Gregory: "So the CBO, the Congressional Budget Office issues a report this week and all of a sudden you get the debate right back front and center about whether Obamacare is a job killer."

*Sigh*! No David! A "debate" is when BOTH sides are using FACTS! The dispute over the CBO report is just one of one side LYING!

Right-wing critics and *sigh* the fact-checker from the Washington Post agree that the latest CBO report means the the ACA will cost Americans 2.5 million jobs. No, no, no. 2.5 million people will likely voluntarily leave the workforce. Big difference. Not the same thing.

Heh! People try to portray Christie in a positive light by recounting an incident from his youth, which actually makes him sound pretty creepy and amoral. Also, the piece has the Coke "America The Beautiful" ad. Once I understood that they weren't singing different words, just the same words in different languages, I was cool with it.

Good piece in today's Inky. Americans have been far too insulated from the wars of the past decade, which is part of the reason why they've dragged on for so long.

January                        back to top

The title to the story is: “Former TSA Agent Explains Full Body Scanners Didn't Work, But Did Let Him See You Naked.” But...but I just don't understand...WHY is Amtrak so popular as opposed to air travel?!?!?! [/snark]

Nah, nothing surprising about this. Just means the dirty effin' hippies were right AGAIN! The survey inspired me to write this on how the public doesn't see that we accomplished much with either the Iraq or Afghanistan wars.

In response to the SOTU, Rep. Jim Gerlach writes on a timely and appropriate subject, President Obama is seeking to get things done through executive action as opposed to trying to work with Congress. Okay, but this particular House of Representatives makes Harry Truman's "Do-Nothing Congress" look positively energetic by comparison. Gerlach presents no practical answers for how to get Congress off its duff and moving to address a series of urgent problems. Also, Speaker Boehner and Majority Leader Cantor appear to be talking to us from the other side of the galaxy, 'cause they sure aren't describing THIS planet! Where has all this cooperation been since January 2011?

Good commentary from C&L. Man, what a useless sack 'o crud Wolf Blitzer is! He's just absolutely worthless as a moderator! Senator Bernie Sanders tries hard to debate Rep. Michele Bachmann, but she just flitters all over the place, putting out all kinds of crazy.

Further conversations with people on the other side of the aisle.

Heh! Yeah, there's a real problem with Republicans continuing to oppose the ACA/Obamacare. It's no longer a theoretical program with unknown advantages and disadvantages. It's now a real program that actually affects people in real time and the advantages are plain to see.

*Sigh*, no Senator Paul, Bill Clinton did NOT "get a free pass" regarding his affair with Ms. Lewinsky. Their relationship was far less a predator-prey relationship and far more like a rock star-groupie kind. Lewinsky never portrayed herself as any sort of victim. Connecting that relationship to any kind of "war on women" is a FAIL!

Oh good grief! Your #FAIL of the day - “Venture Capitalist Compares Liberal Fight Against Gross Inequality To Kristallnacht.”

Why do older conservative men like Mike Huckabee and Rush Limbaugh keep saying such bizarre things about contraceptives? Their beliefs are really weird.

Wow! I would be absolutely flabbergasted if ANYONE voted for this piece 'o crud [FL Governor Rick Scott thinks he's above answering to contituents]!

AG Holder announces that the US should open up banks to marijuana businesses.

Governor Corbett's Voter ID law never served any legitimate purpose. It was always intended to suppress Democratic votes, period.

Bwah-hah-hah!!! Nancy Grace does more for the pot legalization cause by hysterically overreacting to it than all of the legalizers combined!

A couple of weeks ago, I got a letter into the Inky about the NSA and mentioned that the current NSA program was fundamentally the same as G.W. Bush's. A right-winger wrote me to complain "You liberals always have to drag up Bush's name, don't you?" Well, this piece about Republicans changing their minds and deciding that Obama's NSA program is the worst thing ever, shows the reason I did that. I completely agree with them that the program is terrible, but the hypocrisy of denouncing Obama's program when they said nothing about Bush's IS pretty stunning.

I would be truly amazed if anyone in Florida thinks that Governor Rick Scott's habit of answering questions was in any way appropriate for any politician under any circumstances. He just casually blows off any questions he doesn't feel like answering. The facts that the citizens of Florida have a right and a need to know his thoughts on some matters is something he treats with complete disdain

Hmm, let's see, hundreds of thousands of voters without IDs, 9,300 polling places and only 71 DMVs (places to get IDs)...nah, I don't see any problems with that! [/snark] If the Corbett Administration had been putting up plans to spend lots of money to fix the problem, that'd be one thing. But they've been doing no such thing, which means to me that they're not at all serious.

Very cool and quite necessary if the pot businesses are going to function well. Attorney General Holder is carrying out an action that's badly needed.

GunFAIL #53 - Numbers 11 & 12 are especially "WTF?!?!?!!"

The Inky's Trudy Rubin thinks it's really terrible that the US is abandoning Syria. Yeah, Assad is a really evil guy, but Russia is backing him and Russia's a whole lot closer to the scene than we are. She makes a heartfelt plea, but as America's armed forces are exhausted by years of fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan, it's far from clear what the US can do about the Syrian situation.

MMFA makes a very good point. If Christie felt invincible and thus got carried away by the power he possessed, then the media's always giving him worshipful coverage probably had a lot to do with that.

Further conversations with people on the other side of the aisle.

Our blogger loses a good friend to the recession.

Right-wingers HATE the thought of taxpayer-funded home-care workers unionizing, but as the WaPo points out, unionization is necessary if home-care is going to work.

Death penalty by lethal injection is a lousy solution that purports to be a clean, non-guilt-inducing way to execute prisoners. If we're going to continue executions (Which I oppose doing), let's do it "old school" and use something like lions or the firing squad (Guillotine works IF the device is kept in good working condition, otherwise, it's just as messy as an axe is).

On the ACA, now that it's up and running:

In October, an Ohio woman said, "I don't want anything to do with" Obamacare. The same woman now sees it as "wonderful" and "a godsend" for her family.

This, in a nutshell, is exactly what Republicans were afraid of.

With new corruption allegations, I think Christie's pretty much finished as a 2016 presidential contender. No wonder people are looking to Romney with hopeful eyes.

Traditional media: "What? Why would we cover unemployed people losing their benefits?!?!? Ugh, that's so...real life! Why would we cover that when we can re-hash Benghazi for the zillionth time?"

PA Governor Tom Corbett intended to visit one of the schools that has been devastated by budget cuts, learns there were going to be protesters there and cancels his appearance. Protesters showed up anyway and marched and rallied and made speeches.

TV talk show host Nancy Grace rants about how “dangerous” marijuana is. She obviously once saw Reefer Madness and never forgot it. Her story about the stockbroker who lost everything due to her "pot addiction" sounds VERY highly suspect, as in, the stockbroker was probably doing far more than just pot.

Update: Bwah-hah-hah!!! Nancy Grace's hysterical overreaction does more for the pot legalization cause than all of the legalizers could do combined!

Very happy to see PA's Voter ID law struck down! I always thought it was a law blatantly and unequivocally designed to reduce Democratic votes, period!

Public demonstrates common sense by turning away from Duck Dynasty. Show isn't canceled by any means, but ratings are significantly down.

For some reason, the Senate bill to slap further sanctions on Iran has run out of steam. Why? Who knows? Who cares? We'll take our good news wherever we can get it!

Why isn't the public up in arms about the Senate Republican filibuster of unemployment benefits? A big part of that is the worthless, crappy coverage that the issue gets from the traditional press corps.

I've been having an online argument with a conservative in the Inky about whether the ACA is suffering a "Death Spiral." The piece here is very clear. No.

Uh...what? The NSA can't search its own database to see if it's been spying on Congress because to do that would violate internal rules?!!?!?

Four years after the earthquake, how effective has aid to Haiti been? Not useless, but seriously short of how effective such aid could be. Major problem is that an awful lot of the money is being spent to aid American industry.

Yeah, that's, uh, kind of a sort of a REALLY big problem for Christie. Where was he during the George Washington Bridge lane closures? Was he aware of the problem? Did he do anything to fix it? Turns out he was meeting with the guy who ordered the lanes closed, DURING the time they were closed! And there were other members of the Port Authority present at the meeting. A New Jersey newspaper denounces all of the Republican arm-waving and attempts at distraction. Ooh! This has gotta hurt! Knowing what a man-crush Chris Christie has on Springsteen, he's got to be completely devastated over how his hero disses him here.

I watched this segment of Fox News' Neil Cavuto "wondering" where all that infrastructure money "actually" goes. Yeah Neil, that's a real mystery [/facepalm]. Wonder if it ever occurred to him to actually compare what we need to what we spend.

ZDNet said earlier: "In a document (PDF) on the website, the agency said that the internet carries 1,826 Petabytes of information per day, and that its activity "touches" 1.6 percent of that data — approximately 29 petabytes, or 29 million gigabytes, of data each day." Problem: none of that data collection is actually doing America any good. A study of 225 terrorism cases showed that bulk data collection was irrelevant to solving those cases.

*Sigh*, more coverage from our lazy, derelict press corps. Problem is that, after the initial headlines, the press loses interest and the later corrections never become widely known. I had an online conversation with two right-wingers who insisted that the IRS “scandal” and Benghazi were not "fake scandals." Uh, 'fraid to say, these are very much fake scandals.

Not looking good for the president's ability to make recess appointments.

Former Fox News anchor Brit Hume has a very interesting definition of "old-fashioned" and "masculine." I just can't remember any truly masculine fellows who lost their tempers and exploded at their opponents like Christie regularly does. Maybe General Patton, who went crazy a few times, one time slapping a soldier who clearly had PTSD and stuff like that. As I recall, Patton didn't win any popularity by doing that.

The NYT's Jonathon Weisman says: "With his strong-armed change to the filibuster rule and an iron-fisted control of the Senate floor, Senator Harry Reid has engaged in the greatest consolidation of congressional power since Newt Gingrich ruled the House, unleashing a bitterness that may derail efforts to extend unemployment insurance."

To which I say: "Oh, puh-leeeeze!!!!! Are we completely unaware of how bollixed up the Senate was before the filibuster reform/weakening?" Yeah, it's a significant concentration of power, but context please! Senator Reid didn't just do it for the fun of it.

Hilarious! In the context of the Chris Christie “Bridgegate” scandal, Jon Stewart "defends the honor" of New Jersey criminality. Very interesting theory as to the “why” of Bridgegate. Looking through the document dump, C&L concludes that Christie was/is surrounded by thugs, but by smart thugs who knew how to insulate the boss.

Former SecDef Bob Gates puts out a book and we get some criticisms of Obama. As "criticisms" go, this is pretty weak stuff. Of course Obama didn't believe in the war in Afghanistan. He knew that America wasn't prepared for a draft and that insignificant numbers of people had signed up to serve as construction engineers or to otherwise do public works there. Obama had such limited tools to work with, of course he didn't have any faith of winning there. Folks might recall that when Eisenhower took over and inherited the Korean War, he didn't press for “victory” either. He wanted it ended, ASAP!

Judges to women in Texas who want access to reproductive health minimizes burden of having to make a 300-mile round trip to get an abortion. 42% of women who seek abortions live below poverty line, so no, it's really not that easy for them.

The ACA is doing really well, not that one would know that from our lazy, derelict media. Fortunately, some reporters are starting to call out their peers!

Aww! [/snark] Liz Cheney has dropped her Senate run, citing family health issues.

Boo! Hiss! Supreme Court puts a hold on marriage equality in Utah! 900 couples got together before the decision came down.

Beltway “Villager”calls for Democrats and Republicans to compromise. It would kinda help for him to, you know, do some homework and to understand that his proposed agenda is completely unnecessary in order to achieve reduced deficits. Also, his calls for Social Security reductions are amazingly cruel, seeing as “most older workers have almost nothing saved for retirement.” Reducing Social security pretty directly takes food right out of people's mouths. And no, income inequality has far more to do with declining unionization and the rise of low-wage work than with jobs that need a high level of skill.

Person who later appeared on Fox News openly called for President Obama to be assassinated. What's his main complaint that justifies his calling the President a “tyrant”? Why, of course, Benghazi!!!

Mitt Romney wishes he could re-do the 2012 campaign. It's difficult to see what Romney could have done much better. His main claim was that, being a businessman, he could fix what was wrong with our economy. 1. Business and government are not interchangeable. Success in one doesn't mean you'll be successful in the other. 2. His particular business, Bain Capital, wasn't a model of success that would be in any way applicable to America as a whole. Their record at helping companies thrive was mixed, at beat.

Yeah, he could have had better security at the place where he made his "47%" speech, but that's the only obvious spot where he could have done better.

Uuh, what? Republicans are going to attack the ACA?!?!? Again?!?!?! Uh, guys? Guys? Don't you understand? The fight is over. It's done. It's finished. It's like fighting marriage equality in Utah. The bell has rung. It's finished. Go home.

Speaking of dead-enders, fellow in Utah is starving himself until marriage equality is repealed via nullification. Gee, I guess no one ever told him the unpleasantness between the states in the 1860s. As the blogger says: "Knock yourself out, jackass. Have your friends and family join in."

Oh, and others are advocating an uprising to turn back marriage equality. One of the claims: "State sovereignty supercedes what this judge did."

Interesting reviews on how the ACA is doing on its first full day. Especially worth noting are how the medical situation was just five years ago.

The Nation reviews the case that it and others pursued against the government on the warantless wiretapping issue. As usual, the “dirty fucking hippies” were right!

Hoo-yah to the Chief Justice on this! Low taxes and balanced budgets are "nice to have" kinds of things. A functioning judiciary is an absolutely critical necessity.