Wednesday, November 26, 2014

Darren Wilson Would Do it Again

One of the things that bothers me about a vigorous defense in cases like the shooting of Michael Brown is that there is a line. Call it a “thin, white line”, where a slight amount of untruth might be tolerated because everyone is entitled to a defense and facts can be slippery in fast-moving judgment calls, but there is an area beyond that line.  And I think this is where we’ve been taken with Mr. Wilson’s defense. Because when we got to see his supposedly battered puss in photos released shortly after the non-verdict, the only thing I could think was:

“Shit. Even George Zimmerman looked more jacked up than this guy.”

I don’t know what to make of it, except to think he visited a hospital to have a bruise looked at and a prescription for the OTC pain remedy Naprosyn ordered to create a very-needed paper trail.

Then there’s this little bit of testimony:


Wilson told Brown to “get the f— back,” but Brown allegedly hit Wilson in the side of his face “with a fist…. There was a significant amount of contact that was made to my face,” Wilson testified.

Wilson, who weighs more than 200 pounds, said he grabbed the 6-foot-4-inch Brown. “When I grabbed him, the only way I can describe it is I felt like a five-year-old* holding onto Hulk Hogan.” Thoughts raced through Wilson’s head, he said. “What do I do not to get beaten inside my car?” he said he thought.

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Posted by Vixen Strangely on 11/26/14 at 12:19 AM
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Categories: MessylaneousNewsPoliticsSkull Hampers

Thursday, November 20, 2014

Coburn Predicts Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs Over Weekend

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The Senate’s redoubtable Dr. No, aka Tom Coburn (R-Planet Xanax), took himself off to USA Today’s Capitol Download to warn his fellow Americans that President Obama’s planned executive action on immigration will not only set Republican hair afire but could very well bring down the Republic, to boot: 

The country’s going to go nuts, because they’re going to see it as a move outside the authority of the president, and it’s going to be a very serious situation. You’re going to see — hopefully not — but you could see instances of anarchy. ... You could see violence.

And none of us really want that, do we?

Coburn accuses Obama of acting like “an autocratic leader that’s going to disregard what the Constitution says and make law anyway.” He says changes in immigration policy require passage by Congress, not just the president’s signature. 

Well, not really, but nobody seriously expects a US senator to know all of the ins and outs of our legal system, do we?

“Instead of having the rule of law handling in our country today, now we’re starting to have the rule of rulers, and that’s the total antithesis of what this country was founded on,” Cassius Coburn says. “Here’s how people think: Well, if the law doesn’t apply to the president ... then why should it apply to me?”

Evidently Coburn anticipates citizen activists teaching a lawless president a lesson by acting out lawlessly . . . ??

Of course, Coburn’s prediction is solidly rooted in historical precedent . . . the memories of blood in the streets, rioting and insurrection following President Reagan‘s imperious executive over-reach on immigration, as well as the constitutional crisis precipitated by George W Bush‘s immigration-reform-by-fiat are still fresh in the wounded psyche of liberty-loving Americans.

As Coburn seems to know, nothing else—not poverty, injustice, inequality—sets off American civic indignation like perceived encroachment on the legislative branch by the executive.  God knows Congress has done everything in its considerable power to advance immigration reform via standard practice.  Testimony to that are the stacks of comprehensive immigration reform bills brought by Congress to the president’s desk, over the last few years, only to be subjected to the “terrible, swift sword” of Obama’s veto pen.

I know that Republicans really, really hate being outsmarted by this uppity, unAmerican president that was somehow elected, then inexplicably re-elected despite all of the built-in societal safeguards to prevent such an unlikely event but, seriously, folks? you’re needlessly embarrassing yourselves before you even get a crack at demonstrating your mad governance skills.

Maybe you all ought to contemplate Dr Coburn’s “if I ruled the world” advice to the President and, if the shoe fits . . .

If I were in his office, I’d say, if you want to have a successful second term, dig down, swallow your pride, get what you can get, compromise on everything you can for the best interests of the country. Bring us back together.

Meanwhile, my plan for weathering the dark and stormy aftermath of executive apocalypse? I think, I’ll let a smile be my umbrella and trust to the paralyzing indifference that the vast majority of Americans feel toward the cacophonous background noise of American political theater.

That, and college football, should effectively stem the revolution.

Posted by Bette Noir on 11/20/14 at 12:21 PM
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Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaBedwettersElection '14Election '16

Friday, November 14, 2014

A Pipeline Too Far

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Well. our old friend Keystone Pipeline XL is back in the news lately because both Republicans and Democrats need a legislative low hurdle to make it look like they know what they’re doing.  Both parties seem to have agreed in a back room, somewhere, that Keystone XL might fill that bill nicely and they are now fighting over bragging rights for its long-awaited passage.

As usual, Republicans are touting the pipeline as the ‘key to America’s energy independence’ and monster job creator; Democrats are hoping to use it to help Sen Mary Landrieu limp across the finish line in Louisiana.  Sen Landrieu (D-LA) is heading toward a runoff election, next month, against Rep Bill Cassidy (R-LA). 

Both have sponsored separate bills to pass the Keystone Pipeline. Landrieu announced today that she’ll be seeking congressional approval for her bill in the near future.  Shortly after her announcement House Republican leaders scheduled a vote on Cassidy’s bill for tomorrow. 

And Sen Mitch McConnell (R-KY) sweetened the pot for Cassidy by adding that:

I’m excited to announce that when elected, Dr. Cassidy will be a member of the Senate Energy and Natural Resources Committee.  I’m confident Cassidy will use this position to succeed where Sen. Landrieu failed.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/14/14 at 12:44 PM
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Categories: Politics

Sunday, November 09, 2014

Food Fight In The Old Family Dining Room

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Anxious to hit the ground running with the newly-elected 114th Congress, President Obama invited leaders from both houses to join him in the White House’ Old Family Dining Room for a post-election lunch of herb-crusted sea bass and endive salad served up on the Truman china. 

The idea, I’m sure, was to map out some common ground between the executive and legislative branches, moving into the final two years of Obama’s term, in the hope of getting something—anything, actually—done by 2016.

The gathering opened with some public comments, by Obama, on the importance of cooperation and breaking the partisan gridlock that has effectively hog-tied his administration.  The president stated that he would be open to ideas from both sides of the aisle with the caveat that he would judge ideas based on whether they are likely to work or not.

Obama cited three measures—emergency funds to fight Ebola, approval of a federal budget, and appropriations to increase troops in Iraq—that he believes he and Congress could work on, together, before the end of the year.

Once the press was dismissed, however, the tone changed according to the usual anonymous leaks by the usual anonymous aides.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/09/14 at 06:59 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBarack ObamaBqhatevwrElection '14

Friday, November 07, 2014

Republican Victory Anthem: Second Verse? Same As The First.

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So.  It’s all over but the howling.  One-third of America’s registered voters bestirred themselves to get to the polls and offer up a vote of confidence for the worst Congress in US history—approval rating? 14%.  Fortunately, for Republicans, that dismal turnout included two of their biggest fans: the Brothers Koch.

House Speaker, John Boehner, of course, sees that as a “mandate.”  Not really.  He can’t actually be that deluded, but he’ll take it and run with it even though it means his tour in legislative hell has just been extended [unless, of course, the crazy caucus writes in Allen West to replace him].

John Boehner, himself, enjoys only a 20% approval rating among voters in his own state.  A majority—59%—disapprove of his work in Congress.  Even Republicans are only lukewarm on Boehner: 37% approve, 34% disapprove.

When the 114th Congress is seated, in January 2015, Republicans will choose their House speaker, so times like these inspire Boehner to rear up on his hind legs and let out a Speaker-ish bellow.

He did not disappoint:

I’ve made clear to the President if he acts unilaterally on his own outside of his authority he will poison the well and there will be no chance for immigration reform moving forward in this Congress. It’s as simple as that.

When you play with matches, you take the risk of burning yourself and he’s going to burn himself if he continues to go down that path.

That Obama! just like a naughty child disobeying his betters.  Look for the “poisoned well” to become a Republican meme.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 11/07/14 at 10:17 AM
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Thursday, October 23, 2014

Gremlin Fighter Anthony Culler Aims To Put The “Con” In Congress

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Texas Tony Culler

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SC Candidate TonyCuller

Well, it’s been quite a week for Anthony P Culler.  Culler, a Republican, is challenging Rep Jim Clyburn (D-SC) for South Carolina’s District 6 seat . . .

Clyburn, a popular Democrat in a deep blue district has been serving in Congress since 1993, and as the Assistant Democratic Leader since 2011. He was previously House Majority Whip, serving in that post from 2007 to 2011.

Mr Culler has admitted that this is a David and Goliath match-up.  He is a white male Republican running in a district that was

defined, in the early 1990s, in a deal between state Republicans (mostly white) and Democrats (mostly black) in the South Carolina General Assembly to ensure a majority-black population, known as a majority-minority district. The rural counties of the historical black belt in South Carolina make up much of the district, but it sweeps south to include most of the black precincts in Charleston, and west to include most of the black precincts in Columbia.

Despite the odds, though, Mr Culler has figured out an attention-getting angle to try to juice his chances when the district goes to the polls:

“This is our minority majority district,” Culler said. “It’s the black district. That’s what some people call it. … I’ve got another description for this district, it’s a Christian district.”

“We believe in the way that it’s always been,” Culler continued.

Culler urged voters to turn out on election day and vote for him.

“No matter how many Gremlins there are across this country, we here in the sixth district will stand against it,” Culler said.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/23/14 at 06:29 AM
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Tuesday, October 21, 2014

Could Ebola Teach US Americans Geography?

The late journalist Ambrose Bierce commented that “War is God’s way of teaching Americans geography.” Yeah. As if Americans ever learn geography. Truth of the matter is, that picture to the left probably is where a disturbing number of Americans (well, nortemericanos, anyway) stand with respects to understanding our planet and how she is laid out. (More knucklehead geography is on view at Buzzfeed.)

Basically, even our most elite Americans are totally having Caitlin Upton moments—but particularly about the whole Africa and ebola thing.

No, really:

For instance, at a school in New Burlington, New Jersey, two Rwandan students are staying at home due to other parents’ fear that they will infect other children with Ebola. Rwanda is as close to the Ebola outbreak as New York City is to Seattle.
In Hazlehurst, Mississippi, a school principal’s recent visit to Zambia has led to a lot of parents choosing to keep their kids at home. But Zambia is in Southern Africa, over 3,000 miles away from the Ebola outbreak — the same distance between New Hampshire and Los Angeles. 

A school bus driver in Poplarville, Mississippi who recently visited Ghana is being prevented from returning to work. Meanwhile, in Pewaukee, Wisconsin, some parents kept their kids home when their school hosted two visitors from Uganda.

Seriously? People aren’t even Google-mapping where people are from? Can’t even do the most basic Wiki research into where folks are and how ebola works and then front that they are concerned? They have the maps—because they have the cell phones. Maps are even on cell phones, now. They have the gateway to non-stupid in their pockets.

So I am thinking the answer is “Nope.” Americans will learn geography when the stupid is pried from their cold, dead hands. Or possibly in the case of zombie apocalypse.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/21/14 at 11:19 PM
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Saturday, October 18, 2014

Legislator Proposes Imaginary Solution For Imaginary Problem

Rep Dennis Ross (R-Round the Bend) is a man of action.  And he has the toolbox to make things happen.  So, the minute this here election is over, he’s returning to Congress with an emergency bill in his briefcase to save Americans from Ebola.

Rep Ross agrees with his colleagues that a travel ban is the way to go (because a big plastic bubble over the country would take too much time to roll out).  Doctors, epidemiologists and international experts have traveled to Congress to give their advice—that travel bans won’t help and could make things worse—but, Republicans, being Republicans aren’t buying it because . . . . well, aren’t doctors and experts usually elites trained in liberal universities? and doesn’t Obama hope that we’re all too sick to stop his world conquest?

For whatever reason, Republicans have decided that they know best and should therefore take charge.  So, they wrote a letter to the President to apprise him of the fact that they are taking the lead on Ebola—as soon as the election is over.  So far, 53 Republicans and six Democrats, who might as well be, have joined up.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/18/14 at 07:51 AM
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Categories: PoliticsNuttersTeabaggery

Thursday, October 16, 2014

Schadenfreude: Not Just For Winners Anymore

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Heads are exploding all over the Conserva-sphere, today.  Mostly because the owners of those heads don’t read very carefully. 

CJ Chivers broke a story, in The New York Times, exposing a Bush administration and Pentagon coverup of the fact that US military troops were, with some frequency, stumbling upon, and in some cases being wounded by, chemical agents while deployed in Iraq.

Just the media source and a little bit of introductory information were enough to get the Right cackling with glee and spewing out delirious Bush Vindication blurbs.  They were not all that troubled by the fact that some US soldiers have been damaged for life by their exposure to chemicals, or that those soldiers were sent into harm’s way without adequate training and protection against what the military knew was there.  They were just so danged delighted to be able to say “See! Libtards, this is your own lamestream media spilling the story that our princeling was right all along.  So bite me!”

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/16/14 at 07:04 AM
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Categories: PoliticsBushCoNuttersOur Stupid Media

Tuesday, October 14, 2014

Stumping Through Arkansas With Tom Terrific

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As others before me have noted, Tom Cotton (R-AR) is just about the perfect Republican candidate for the 21st century, which should put us sane people on guard.  Cotton’s a telegenic “aw, shucks” Arkansas farmboy, an Iraq-Afghanistan military vet, with a Harvard Law degree on top, who is more than willing to make an utter fool of himself saying any damned ignorant thing that will keep the GOP’s fun-house audience in a state of arousal.

Guys like this (looking at you, Ted Cruz) always fascinate me because they are, by all standards, smart, disciplined and well-educated.  So how is it that they can allow themselves to be completely sucked in by crackpot gibberish that wouldn’t fool most twelve year olds?  Where is their self-respect, if nothing else, when they stand up and soberly spout completely unfounded gibberish that 80% of the world is tittering over?

So far, during his brief tenure in Congress, Cotton has signed on with the “Hell, No! caucus” and shared these pearls of legislative wisdom:

“I don’t think Arkansas needs to bail out the Northeast,” Cotton once said of his vote against the Hurricane Sandy relief bill.

He has dismissed the potential for default if the debt ceiling was not raised as a desirable “short-term market correction.”

He said food stamps should be cut because too many recipients live high on the hog: “They have steak in their basket, and they have a brand-new iPhone, and they have a brand-new SUV.”

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/14/14 at 08:54 AM
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Thursday, October 09, 2014

ISIS Gonna Get You If You Don’t Watch Out

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It’s apropos that Rep Duncan Hunter’s (R-Hell, Yeah!) official website banner features a California skyscape dotted with hot air balloons . . . just sayin’.

In case you’re not that familiar with Hunter he’s the son of Duncan L Hunter (R-CA), former US congressman (1981-2009) and Republican presidential hopeful, for about two straw polls, in 2008. Hunter, Sr., a former Army Ranger who served in Vietnam, rose to chairman of the House Armed Services Committee during the 108th and 109th Congress.

Hunter, Jr. slid right into Dad’s seat, in 2009—House Armed Services Committee assignment and all—and has taken up many of Dad’s causes, as well—things like fetal person-hood, walling in the southern border, voting down international trade agreements and keeping the Military-Industrial Complex humming.

Hunter, Jr. has only been in Congress for five years but recognizes the value of the sound byte and appears to be Fox News’ Megyn Kelly’s go-to-guy on things military or national security-ish.  Hunter is equally comfortable, though, with others much further to the right like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council.  Hunter has had quite a few chinwags with Perkins over issues homosexual like the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell and marriage equality.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/09/14 at 04:55 PM
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Monday, October 06, 2014

Anatomy Of A Pedagogical Clustrf*k

By now, most news-watchers are at least aware of a bit of Americana being played out in the streets of Jefferson County Colorado, an affluent collection of bedroom communities adjacent to the Denver metro area and home of the Coors Brewing Company.

Jeffco, as it’s known to locals, is probably one of the least likely spots in the country to be host to large student protests, citizen activism and civil disobedience but America is nothing if not unpredictable.  News coverage has focused on students’ complaints that the county school board intends to tinker with the content of their Advanced Placement History courses to de-emphasize critical thinking and debate and better prepare them to be Exceptional Americans if not necessarily competitive college entrance candidates.

After weeks of news coverage, there are miles of references on Google to fill in the “who, what, when, where and why” of what’s going down in Jeffco but most are missing, by a mile, the most timely and relevant object lesson embedded in the Jeffco kerfuffle—the importance of voting, always and whenever the opportunity presents itself.

Students, parents and teachers in Jeffco are up in arms because things threaten to go terribly awry with the quality of their children’s education and future success.  It is commendable that they have recognized the threat and mobilized, effectively, against it.  On the other hand, it might all have been avoided if the good people of Jeffco understood that elections—even at the most local level—have consequences.  Something tells me that they will, going forward.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/06/14 at 09:40 AM
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Categories: NewsPoliticsNuttersSkull Hampers

Wednesday, October 01, 2014

Say “Yes” to This Mess?

The above ad from the College Republican National Committee kind of looks like an attempt at outreach to women, doesn’t it? The actors in the ad are all women. It covers things women really care about, like the budget and pretty dresses!

Seriously? The Rick Scott “dress” wanted to piss-test welfare recipients at a cost to the taxpayers of a bunch of money that companies he was associated with would collect on.  Dresses are very rarely associated with Medicare fraud.  If Rick Scott were a dress, he might not look all that pretty. Particularly not to women voters. But let’s just be silly and ask—why is a gender essentialist and condescending ad like this the way the College Republicans decided to support their guy? Is this one of those tone-deaf deals like the “Diversity Bake Sales” where they kind of thought more people would be in on the joke?

I just think it’s dickish. You wear a wedding dress one time on one special day. The policies of a governor can last for a long time. A politician isn’t a “brand” or a “pricetag”, and the analogy is insultingly reductionist.

But this kind of “relating to women via women things” instead of actually boasting policies that women can feel good about isn’t startling or new. Just recently, a Florida politician tried to explain away his decision to hold a men’s only fundraiser by likening it to “women stuff”—a lingerie party! (Goodness knows I would only wear underwires and itchy lace to bed just for me because it feels so good—how I am not incorporating babydoll teddies into my day-to-day regime is beyond me—you know how us hens do get together and just for some reason select to spend large money on small garments that seem to have been put together by a team of engineers with cleavage rehabilitation in mind because sisterhood and chardonnay. I challenge all of his assumptions, I do!)

Another brilliant mind in the women’s outreach vein did an ad that likened Obama to a very bad boyfriend because us sisters have all been there, haven’t we? (Everything about that message is kind of lying and wrong, on so, so many levels.)  So been there and done with that “boyfriend thing” though, GOP.

Honestly, maybe the GOP should just try and outreach caterpillars. They could hardly do worse than they have been doing with women.

But in case you were confused—the Republican Party is still made up of a diverse bunch of stock photo people. Of which some are even women. Because they care.

(X-posted at Strangely Blogged.)

Posted by Vixen Strangely on 10/01/14 at 10:27 PM
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Categories: MessylaneousPoliticsElection '14NuttersWar On Women

Judge Jeanine Is Tired Of Charades

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Judge Jeanine Pirro is a very smart, well-educated lady who has recently lost her marbles.  But, thanks to the safety net provided by wingnut welfare—Fox News and assorted other cable producers of “reality” fare—the lady has landed on her feet.

Pirro’s Fox soapbox, the ambitiously named Justice with Judge Jeanine, certainly got Bob Cesca‘s attention in June 2014:

Frankly, we hadn’t heard of her until this past weekend when she delivered a rant about President Obama and the fiasco in Iraq. Based on the reactions online and in social media, the segment has elevated her within the hierarchy of sociopathic rogues, screechers and former morning zoo deejays in the far-right media.

Pirro’s five-minute tirade had everything: finger-wagging, fear-mongering, misinformation, wild conspiracy theories, the phrase “cut and run” and, naturally, ball-shaming. It’s a cocktail of Obama Derangement Syndrome delivered with laser-like precision directly into the outrage cortexes of typical Fox News viewers, likely inducing octogenarian white-guy erections with tensile strengths not experienced since Don Ameche, Wilford Brimley and Hume Cronyn splashed around in that magical pool in Cocoon.

Clearly that was not an isolated incident.  Ms Pirro’s got game in the unhinged rant department and is quickly becoming something of a rock-star in the anti-Obama and ShariaPanic genres.

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Posted by Bette Noir on 10/01/14 at 08:15 AM
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Categories: PoliticsNuttersOur Stupid Media

Monday, September 29, 2014

Values Voter Summit: Annual Gathering Of Tools And Fools

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My how time flies! it seems like just yesterday that Values Voter Summit 2013 was underway. For the uninitiated, the Values Voter Summit is a festival of political oratory aimed at Values Voters—aka Social Conservatives—who distinguish themselves from the majority of voters who have no values. Or the wrong values.  Or something . . .

VVS is an annual shindig, hosted by the Family Research Council, that started in 2006 around about the time that social conservatives decided that America was “going to hell in a handbasket.”  It takes place over a weekend in September-October, in Washington, DC, and is a decidedly hyper-partisan affair featuring far-right pundits and Republican politicians competitively blazing new trails to the rightmost extremities of the political spectrum.

VVS also happens to be Blogger’s Gold for, sane people targeting other sane people, for sheer entertainment value, it never, ever disappoints.  I’ve always intended to go and see it for myself but something always comes up.  This year, it was cleaning out the garage, so, once again, I’m relying on embedded reporters who, so far, indicate that a blessed time was had by all.

Some highlights . . . below the fold

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Posted by Bette Noir on 09/29/14 at 12:22 PM
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