Feb 282015
 

Yesterday John Boehner, aka Agent Orange, proved that the Republican Party is too incompetent to govern, as their own Homeland Security extension came to the floor and failed.  Leadership with such a large majority should at least know how their own caucus is going to vote to spare themselves the humiliation of such an incident.  In the end, he had to obtain Democrats help so save his bacon, and more important, spare the country a DHS shutdown.  Did he lie to her to obtain that help?

0228BoehnerRepublicans vowing to govern effectively as a congressional majority failed a fundamental test Friday, when House leaders only narrowly managed to avert a partial shutdown of the Department of Homeland Security after an embarrassing defeat earlier in the day.

The seven-day funding extension, approved by a vote of 357 to 60, came just hours before money for the department was to run out at midnight. The accord was reached after a stunning and humiliating setback for Speaker John A. Boehner and his leadership team earlier Friday, when the House voted against their original plan to extend funding for the department for three weeks — a position that Mr. Boehner had considered a fail-safe. More than 50 House Republicans defected, voting against the bill.

The speaker was rescued by Democrats, who supported his offer of a weeklong extension because they believed it would lead to a vote next week on full funding for the department through the fiscal year, without any provisions related to President Obama’s executive actions on immigration included in the House’s original legislation. A spokesman for Mr. Boehner said the speaker had made no promises or deals with House Democrats to guarantee such a vote.

“Your vote tonight will assure that we will vote for full funding next week,” wrote Representative Nancy Pelosi of California, the Democratic leader, in a letter to her members on Friday night urging them to support Mr. Boehner’s seven-day funding measure. The House vote came after the Senate had already agreed to a seven-day funding extension.

About 10 minutes before the funding was set to expire, the White House announced that the president had signed the weeklong extension… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Rachel Maddow covered the story of the conflict.

I see it this way.  Pelosi never has had a problem with saying and doing things that will be unpopular with her base, such as her 2006 promise that the Democratic Party impeach or prosecute Texas Torquemada and Dead-eye Dick.  Had she not received the promise she claims, she would have asked her caucus to support the one week extension anyway, because Democrats, Unlike the Republican Party, care about what’s best for the country.  I’m sure she asked for the guarantee, however.

I think what probably happened is that Agent Orange made the promise, because he knows that, if DHS is shut-down, his party will have a PR disaster akin to the hit they took for shutting down the government.  Putting a clean bill on the floor is the only way he can avoid that.  So I think that he lied to his own caucus through his spokesperson, to temporarily avoid a noisy revolt.

The final question is this.  Will he keep the promise he made, or will he cave-in to the Theocon and InsaniTEA wings of his caucus?  After all, Republican promises have no value.

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Feb 032015
 

I’ve been reading a lot about Obama’s budget for 2016.  The more I read about it, the more I like it.  It does many things to help build a recovery for the poor and middle classes, not just the 1%.  It pays for these measures by taxing the 1% to return just a tiny bit of our wealth that Republicans have fed them over the years.  Best of all, it does many of the things Republicans say they want to do, as they attempt to fool voters.

0203budgetPresident Obama’s fiscal 2016 budget, released on Monday, pulls together the themes and policies set forth in his State of the Union address and other recent speeches and gives them a force and coherence — an ambitiousness — that a more piecemeal delivery does not convey.

As a practical matter, the budget details what Mr. Obama believes needs to be done to help ensure a more prosperous and inclusive future for ordinary Americans, including greater contributions from corporate America and from those atop the wealth ladder. Politically, it seeks to frame the terms of the debate for the 2016 presidential election season. If Republicans simply reject those terms — if they can’t discuss the ideas and act on them — they may find themselves, deservedly, struggling for a response.

The core of the president’s 2016 budget is a plan to boost the middle class by helping low- and middle-income earners pay for education, child care, job training and other needs, and by vastly expanding investment in the nation’s infrastructure. These initiatives would be paid for, in the main, by nearly $1 trillion in tax increases that would fall on the wealthy and large financial institutions over the next decade.

The new taxes, however, are also carefully crafted to spur economic growth more broadly. A proposed higher rate on capital gains, for example, would discourage rampant and inefficient tax sheltering, while encouraging investors to deploy the capital in ways that are more economically productive. Ditto the financial tax that is structured to discourage speculative activities at banks that endanger the economy, as well as taxpayers… [emphasis added]

Inserted from <NY Times>

Click through, please.  It’s worth the read.

I do not seriously think that this budget will pass.  In fact Republican officials from across the spectrum agree that it’s DOA.  But it sets the stage for a Democratic victory in 2016, as voters watch Republicans reject things they claim they are for to protect a handful of billionaires.

Ed Schultz provides some excellent coverage.  The embed button for MSNBC is working again.

I love it, except for the overdose of exceptionalism from the California Democrat.

We call Obama out on what he does wrong.  Lets offer kudos for doing this right.

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Dec 152014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 40.  I’m still down.  It’s halftime.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:52 (average 5:24).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Religious Ecstasy:

1214-Broncos22-Chargers10

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: The banking giant Citigroup announced on Friday that it would move its headquarters from New York to the U.S. Capitol Building, in Washington, D.C., in early 2015.

Tracy Klugian, a spokesperson for Citi, said that the company had leased thirty thousand square feet of prime real estate on the floor of the House of Representatives and would be interviewing “world-class architects” to redesign the space to suit its needs.

According to sources, Citi successfully outbid other firms, including JPMorgan Chase and Goldman Sachs, for the right to move its headquarters to the House floor.

The Citi spokesperson acknowledged that the extensive makeover of the House is expected to cost “in the millions,” but added, “It’s always expensive to open a new branch.”

Explaining the rationale behind the move, Klugian told reporters, “Instead of constantly flying out from New York to give members of Congress their marching orders, Citigroup executives can be right on the floor with them, handing them legislation and telling them how to vote. This is going to result in tremendous cost savings going forward.”

I bet Andy thinks they’ll wallpaper with $100s.

From Daily Kos: A member of the Open Carry Texas rallies that have seen members marching through restaurants, grocery stores and other businesses with assault rifles has been arrested after two people were found dead in their home.

Veronica Dunnachie, 35, was arrested without incident 11 miles away at Millwood Hospital on North Cooper Street, a mental health facility. She is facing a capital murder charge. […]

Family members who arrived at the scene identified the victims as Russ Dunnachie, Veronica’s husband, and an adult daughter of his.

Dunnachie has been active in the Open Carry movement.

The problem with Republican Ammosexuals carrying guns is their tendency to use them.

From NY Times: After moments of high drama, dry process and acrimony, the Senate passed a sweeping $1.1 trillion spending package Saturday night, abruptly ending several days of chaotic legislative maneuvers and clearing the bill for President Obama to sign.

The legislation, which will fund most of the government through the fiscal year that ends in September, passed in a bipartisan vote, 56 to 40, after a turbulent process — a fitting coda for a governing body that has often failed to govern.

Here are the Democrats with the courage and integrity to vote no. Thank them.

Member

Party

State

Richard Blumenthal

D

CT

Cory Booker

D

NJ

Barbara Boxer

D

CA

Sherrod Brown

D

OH

Maria Cantwell

D

WA

Al Franken

D

MN

Kirsten E. Gillibrand

D

NY

Tom Harkin

D

IA

Mazie K. Hirono

D

HI

Amy Klobuchar

D

MN

Carl Levin

D

MI

Joe Manchin III

D

WV

Edward J. Markey

D

MA

Claire McCaskill

D

MO

Robert Menendez

D

NJ

Jeff Merkley

D

OR

Jack Reed

D

RI

Jon Tester

D

MT

Elizabeth Warren

D

MA

Sheldon Whitehouse

D

RI

Ron Wyden

D

OR

Now, excuse me, please, while I go puke, because it passed.

Cartoon:

1215Cartoon

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Dec 122014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 37.  I’m still feeling quite ill.  Watching Congress has not helped.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Todays took me 5:48 (average 7:06).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: [Wisconsin Gov. Scott] Walker, the son of a Baptist preacher and a practicing Christian himself, has made note of his common ground with the Jewish faith …

In an undated letter unearthed by the liberal group One Wisconsin Now … Walker told Gimbel his office would be happy to display a menorah celebrating "The Eight Days of Chanukah" at the Milwaukee County Courthouse …

The letter is signed, "Thank you again and Molotov."

Oy! The Fartfuhrer of the Fascist Republican Plutocracy of Fitzwalkerstan is a schmuck!

From NY Times: Most of the possible presidential candidates have not plunged into Washington’s debate over the Senate Intelligence Committee’s withering report on the Central Intelligence Agency’s brutal interrogation tactics — and some are ducking questions entirely, illustrating the delicate politics of national security.

These are Republicans doing the ducking. Even Hillary the Hawk opposes torture on our side.

From USA Today: In a dramatic vote late Thursday evening, the U.S. House narrowly approved a $1 trillion government spending package despite a rare uprising from House Democrats. The bill passed on a 219-206 vote.

Initially all but two Democrats voted against it. Later approximately seventy caved-in, under pressure from Barack Obama. I understand his reasons, but shame on him. The cost is too high. Tomorrow in the Senate Elizabeth Warren will be debating the tag team of Bought Bitch Mitch and the Nevada Leg Hound.

Cartoon:

1212Cartoon

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Jul 092014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, day 79.  It’d 89° outside, but my A/C is keeping me in cool cat mode.  Stepping into the hallway of the building is like walking into an oven.  Tomorrow is grocery delivery day from Store to Door.  I’ll have ice water ready for Mary.  She deserves it.  On Friday I have physical therapy, and on Saturday I have a meeting I can’t postpone.  Both involve a few blocks walk in the heat, so I’ll probably be pooped this weekend.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:11 (average 4:53).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Upworthy: The below video from Vice News has me feeling pretty apoplectic. That’s right, I had to use a 5-cent word for angry because I’m afraid the landlords below will evict me from this post if I don’t.

 

As a former landlord, I can appreciate the plight of property owners, when tenants become squatters, who refuse to pay. However, Arkansas is on the other extreme, and it’s gross injustice. Although the video maker evades assigning blame, Republicans control the AR legislature.

From TPM: House Republicans escalated their confrontation with President Barack Obama on climate change Tuesday with the release of government funding legislation that reverses the administration’s new rules to limit coal pollution.

The legislation, released by the House Appropriations subcommittee on interior and environment, is one of 12 appropriations bills to keep the government running when money expires on Sept. 30…

…Page 129 and 130 of the bill state: "None of the funds made available by this Act shall be used to propose, finalize, implement, or enforce" any regulation under the two key sections of the Clean Air Act "establishing any standard of performance for emissions of any greenhouse gas from any modified or reconstructed source that is a fossil fuel-fired electric utility generating unit." The sections, 111(b) and 111(d), are the ones that the EPA cited as legal justification for its carbon pollution standards.

Republicans seem bound and determined to kill us for the Koch Brothers and their ilk. What this means is that, barring a continuing resolution, Republicans are refusing to fund the government unless they can hamstring the EPA in the process. As I predicted, this is the next round of Republican sedition.

From Think Progress: Florida Gov. Rick Scott (R), who is facing a tough re-election fight against former Gov. Charlie Christ (D) kicked off a tour on Monday highlighting his tough-on-crime law enforcement credentials and his support for 85 percent mandatory minimums [GOP criminal delinked] for anyone convicted of a crime. But while the presence of uniformed police officers at the event made it appear that they were there to support his approach, many apparently were simply on-duty officers who thought they were there to provide security — in violation of state’s ethics law.

The Tampa Tribune reported Monday that Scott’s Tampa “Let’s Keep Florida Safe [GOP criminal delinked]” event at Patrick’s Uniforms featured “at least a half-dozen on-duty law officers in uniform” providing the Governor with a “backdrop of uniformed law officers.” Their presence apparently was in violation of Section 104.31 of the Florida Statutes, which explicitly prohibits any “employee of the state or any political subdivision” from participation “in any political campaign for an elective office while on duty.”

Once again, a Republican has demonstrated that they consider the law mandatory for others, but optional for themselves.

Cartoon:

0709Cartoon

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Apr 112014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and I don’t know why, but I feel lethargic.  I’ve gotten enough sleep, and I don’t feel ill.  Perhaps it’s that I’m taking Chantix again.  My last attempt to quit fell apart during the moving process, so I’m trying again.  Q-Day is Infernal Revenue day.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 4:21 (average 5:09).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From Daily Kos: It’s still early yet, but a monster El Nino might be forming in the pacific, and it just might shake up the worlds weather for awhile.  Over on the robertscribbler blog is an excellent write up describing the details of a monster Kelvin wave, which sometimes signals the start of an El Nino.  Here’s what he has to say about the Kelvin wave:

The pool of 4-6+ degree Celsius above average temperatures continues to widen and lengthen, now covering 85 degrees of longitude from 170 East to 105 West. Perhaps more disturbing is the fact that the zone of extreme 6+ C temperature anomalies has both widened and extended, covering about 50 degrees of longitude and swelling to a relative depth of about 30-40 meters. This is an extraordinarily intense temperature extreme that well exceeds those observed during the ramp-up to the record 1997-98 El Nino event.

more below the fold… [emphasis original]

Click through for an in depth report on this potential El Nino and what it means to you.

From NY Times: Senate Republicans on Wednesday blocked legislation meant to close the pay gap between men and women, framing an election-year fight between the parties over whose policies are friendlier to women.

The bill was an attempt by Democrats to press what they see as their electoral advantage among women in the coming midterm elections, but they fell short of the 60 votes they needed to prevent a filibuster and advance the legislation.

Now there can be no doubt. Republicans do not want to see equal pay for people they consider property that should be kept barefoot and pregnant.

From TPM: The House has passed a GOP budget blueprint that promises a balanced federal ledger in 10 years through sweeping cuts across the federal budget and eliminating health care coverage under the Affordable Care Act.

The 219-205 vote on the nonbinding framework takes a mostly symbolic swipe at the government’s chronic deficits. Follow-up legislation to actually implement the cuts isn’t in the cards.

The plan by Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan would cut more than $5 trillion over the coming decade to reach balance by 2024. The sharpest cuts would come to health care programs for the poor and uninsured, food stamps, and array of domestic programs, including Pell Grants, education, and community development grants.

No surprises here.

Cartoon:

0411Cartoon

Prior to this, white southern racists were a bloc of Democrats known as the Dixiecrats.  They were so outraged by this event that they left the Democratic Party.  The Republicans, seeing there was no future in representing primarily billionaires and corporate criminals, adopted the Southern Strategy and embraced the racists’ hatred.  This is how racists became the base of the Republican Party.

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Apr 032014
 

I’m writing for tomorrow, and this is last article until after I return from my volunteer training.  I will be off the grid, as there will be no time to even set up a computer, while I’m away.  I spent the day running errands, preparing my material and packing,  Although I had little time for research, I think I have some interesting material for you.  I will post missed puzzles with my next Open Thread or Personal Update.

Jig Zone Puzzle:

Today’s took me 3:31 (average 5:25).  To do it, click here.  How did you do?

Short Takes:

From The New Yorker: Accusing them of involvement in “a widespread conspiracy to save President Obama’s failed health-care program,” Rep. Darrell Issa (R-California) today subpoenaed the approximately seven million Americans who have signed up for Obamacare so far.

Arguing that the impressive enrollment numbers “don’t pass the smell test,” the House Oversight Committee chairman told reporters, “Any rational person would come to the same conclusion that I have: namely, that this is a well-orchestrated conspiracy of seven million people trying to make Obamacare look good.”

The California Republican said that the seven million co-conspirators targeted by his subpoenas would be required to travel to Washington to testify before his committee or risk being found in contempt of Congress.

Andy’s great satire aside, I wouldn’t put it past him. Darrell Issa jerk!!

From Daily Kos: Wow! According to an analysis of financials for Hobby Lobby. Reporters for Mother Jones discovered $73 million in mutual funds with investments in the companies that manufacturer contraceptives including emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs used to perform abortions.

Documents filed with the Department of Labor and dated December 2012—three months after the company’s owners filed their lawsuit—show that the Hobby Lobby 401(k) employee retirement plan held more than $73 million in mutual funds with investments in companies that produce emergency contraceptive pills, intrauterine devices, and drugs commonly used in abortions. Hobby Lobby makes large matching contributions to this company-sponsored 401(k).

Several of the mutual funds in Hobby Lobby’s retirement plan have holdings in companies that manufacture the specific drugs and devices that the Green family, which owns Hobby Lobby, is fighting to keep out of Hobby Lobby’s health care policies: the emergency contraceptive pills Plan B and Ella, and copper and hormonal intrauterine devices.

They deny women, but take the money. How do you spell Republican? H-Y-P-O-C-R-I-T-E!!

From NY Times: The Republican budget for 2015, released Tuesday by Representative Paul Ryan, the chairman of the House Budget Committee, will never come close to being law, so it doesn’t have to pretend to be serious. This is a document designed solely to be reduced to a few bullet points so House Republicans can have something to show their most antigovernment voters.

That might work in their most carefully gerrymandered districts, but does the Republican Party really want to coalesce around a budget this destructive to the country’s future: harming the middle class and the poor; undercutting popular safety-net programs, including Medicare and Pell grants; and heaping tax benefits on the rich? Apparently it does, and the full House will probably support it in a few days. Voters should look closely at the details to see if they would choose the same course.

Lyin’ Ryan’s plan to fight poverty is still to take from the poor and give to the rich. Click through to see how his new budget is the same as his old budget, only worse.

Cartoon:

0403Cartoon

TC signing off with a sore butt, because SCROTUS didn’t use Vaseline.

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