Thursday, June 25, 2015

Short Takes

The Senate passed “fast track” and sent it on to President Obama.

Freddie Gray’s autopsy showed that he was the victim of homicide.

Boston Marathon bomber apologized to the victims before sentencing.

Over 800 people have died in a heat wave in Pakistan.

The Tigers lost to the team from Cleveland.

Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Bum’s Rush

Rep. Darrell Issa (R-CA) used to be the head of the congressional committee investigating Benghazi!, but when the new Congress came in back in January he got rotated out and replaced by Rep. Trey Gowdy pf South Carolina.  That didn’t stop him from trying to get in on what he considers to be the worst political scandal since Queen Victoria and the ladies of the bedchamber, so he tried to sneak into a closed hearing of the committee to hear what former Clinton aide Sidney Blumenthal had to say.

Hilarity ensued.

Issa marched into the closed-door deposition and remained inside for about a minute before he was escorted out by the panel’s chairman, Rep. Trey Gowdy (R-S.C.).

The pair briefly exchanged hushed words in a nearby hallway before Issa stormed off, throwing an empty soda can into a nearby trash bin.

Gowdy returned to the private session after the incident.

“Sorry about that,” he said as he went back in.

“And stay out!”

Monday, June 8, 2015

No Judges For You

Mitch McConnell’s latest tantrum:

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) said Thursday that he doesn’t expect to confirm any of Obama’s circuit court nominees for the remainder of his time in office, a blow to White House efforts to fill empty federal court seats despite working with a Republican-controlled Senate.

In an interview with conservative radio host Hugh Hewitt, McConnell was asked about judicial confirmations.

“So far, the only judges we’ve confirmed have been federal district judges that have been signed off on by Republican senators,” McConnell said. Asked if he expects that to be the case through 2016, McConnell said, “I think that’s highly likely, yeah.”

If McConnell is serious, that means at least two GOP-backed circuit court nominees are toast.

Remember how the Republicans said that if they were in the majority in the Senate they would show us how they would govern and get things done?  Well, if they were going to show us how they really suck at it, they’re doing a great job.

Wednesday, June 3, 2015

Short Takes

Senate passes bill to end unlimited phone surveillance.

Cruise ship capsizes in China; hundreds missing.

Texas passes open-carry on college campuses.

Newly-reelected FIFA president Sepp Blatter resigns.

President Obama will deliver the eulogy at Beau Biden’s funeral.

The Tigers lost 5-3 to the A’s.

Monday, June 1, 2015

Thursday, May 21, 2015

Short Takes

California clean-up crews are rushing to clean up an oil spill north of Santa Barbara.

The Nebraska legislature voted to abolish the death penalty.

Sen. Rand Paul (R-KY) goes Jimmy Stewart over the USA PATRIOT Act.

Turns out Osama bin Laden read Bob Woodward.

Israel rescinded their segregated-buses-for-Palestinians plan.

The Tigers beat the Brewers 5-2.

Monday, May 18, 2015

Give Us A Break

George Stephanopoulos gave $75,000 to the Clinton Foundation — a charity that buys medicine for poor people and supports AIDS research among other things — and the Beltway goes into meltdown.  He has to apologize on the air and and has now set himself up as the target for all the right-wing nutsery as proof of the “liberal media.”

Charles and David Koch, who run a huge oil and gas conglomerate, gave billions of dollars to PAC’s for Republican candidates and helped write right-wing legislation against combating climate change, and no one gives a shit.

What am I missing here?

Friday, May 15, 2015

Short Takes

The engineer is now the focus of the inquiry into the train wreck in Philadelphia.

Fast Track back on track: Senate Democrats reverse course and hand President Obama a victory.

Man arrested for trying to fly drone over White House fence.

Proofread: Clinton-bashing book gets some error corrections.

R.I.P. B.B. King, 89, blues guitarist and legend.

The Tigers wallop the Twins 13-1 thanks to two homers by Miggy.

Thursday, May 14, 2015

Train Wreck

Perfect timing:

The bodies had not yet been fully recovered from the Amtrak derailment in Philadelphia before Capitol Hill erupted hours later into its usual partisan clash over how much money to spend on the long-struggling national rail service.

As investigators picked through the rubble on Wednesday morning, Democratic lawmakers in Washington angrily demanded an increase in Amtrak funding, calling Tuesday night’s accident a result of congressional failure to support the rail system. Republicans refused, defeating the request in a morning committee hearing and accusing Democrats of using a tragedy for political reasons.

Just like after a gun massacre, their excuse is “Now is not the time to talk about fixing the system.”

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Short Takes

Amtrak train derails en route from Philadelphia to New York City; at least 5 dead.

U.S. Marine Corps helicopter missing on rescue mission in Nepal.

Keeping an eye on Iranian ships off the coast of Yemen.

Senate Democrats slow down “fast track” trade bill.

Verizon buys AOL.

No charges filled in police shooting of unarmed black teen in Madison.

The Tigers beat the Twins 2-1 in 10.

Friday, April 24, 2015

Short Takes

President Obama apologizes for drone strike in Pakistan that killed two hostages.

France: Police say they’ve foiled five terror attacks since Charlie Hebdo.

Finally: Loretta Lynch confirmed as Attorney General.

The Deal’s Off: Comcast walks away from Time Warner merger.

The Tigers lost to the Yankees again 2-1.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Short Takes

Standoff in the Gulf between the U.S. and Iran continues.

Saudi Arabia is ending its airstrikes in Yemen.

Over 850 reported dead in the Mediterranean after immigrant-smuggling ship capsizes.

The Senate will finally get to vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination to be Attorney General.

A real Monkey Trial: Chimpanzees are granted the right to sue for unlawful imprisonment.

The Tigers lost to the Yankees 5-2.

Saturday, April 18, 2015

Colorful Language

From the New York Times on the GOP “quandary” over confirming Loretta Lynch as the first African-American woman to be Attorney General:

The inert situation shows just how Republican anger and resentment over the president’s immigration actions color issues ranging from Ms. Lynch’s status to trade negotiations to the nuclear talks with Iran.

“Color” being the operative word here.

Thursday, April 16, 2015

This Is A Hold-Up

It’s been five months since Loretta Lynch was nominated to replace Attorney General Eric Holder and almost two months since the Senate Judiciary Committee voted in favor of confirmation.  But Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell still hasn’t scheduled a floor vote because… well, basically because he can and because he’s a shitheel.

Lynch has public support from five Senate Republicans: Orrin Hatch of Utah, Jeff Flake of Arizona, Lindsey Graham of South Carolina, Susan Collins of Maine and Mark Kirk of Illinois. With support from all Senate Democrats, that would give Lynch 51 votes, enough to be confirmed.

But her nomination is tangled up in an unrelated Senate fight over a human-trafficking bill that has been bogged down by a partisan dispute over its abortion provisions. Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) reiterated earlier this week that the chamber would not move on to Lynch until it resolves the dispute over that bill.

The partisan spat over the trafficking legislation took an even sharper rhetorical turn earlier Wednesday when the Senate’s two top leaders fought over the impasse in dueling speeches.

McConnell accused Democrats of choosing to aid doctors who serve Medicare patients, while shunning sex trafficking victims. Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.) shot back that his counterpart’s complaints were “illogical” and devoid of facts.

Mr. Holder will remain as Attorney General until Ms. Lynch is confirmed.  So I’ll bet if his Justice Department were to open an investigation into Dick Cheney’s meetings with oil company executives back when he was in office and issue a few subpoenas, Ms. Lynch would be confirmed this afternoon.

Monday, March 30, 2015

Holder or Folder

The nomination of Loretta Lynch to succeed Eric Holder as Attorney General is still stuck in the Senate because the Republicans are scared to vote on it.  Via the New York Times:

Senate Republicans bolted for a two-week spring recess with the confirmation of Loretta E. Lynch as attorney general in jeopardy, and themselves in a quandary: Accept a qualified nominee they oppose because she backs President Obama’s policies or reject her and live with an attorney general they despise, Eric H. Holder Jr.

The nomination of Ms. Lynch, a seasoned United States attorney from New York, has laid bare the difficult politics confronting the new Republican majority. Lawmakers have found nothing in Ms. Lynch’s background to latch on to in opposition, and many are loath to reject the first African-American woman put forth to be the nation’s top law enforcement officer.

But, they say, their constituents have told them that a vote for Ms. Lynch affirms Mr. Obama’s executive actions on immigration, which she has said she finds lawful.

I can’t help but think that even though both Mr. Holder and Ms. Lynch would like to get this over with, there are a lot of people who are amused in a sardonic way by the fact that the Republicans are so afraid of their rancid base that they can’t even do what most of them want to do.

If this is their way of showing that they really want to reach out to voters in both the African-American and immigrant communities, they have got a long way to go.

Wednesday, March 18, 2015

What A Schock

AaronSchock-300x157Rep. Aaron Schock (R-IL) resigned because he was under suspicion of mismanagement of his use of campaign and taxpayer funds.

He had his office decorated for free like the set of Downton Abbey and  set up an Instagram account that had more pictures of him with his shirt off or with celebrities than a Kardashian.  (Doesn’t hurt that he’s built like a well-muscled frat boy.)  In other words, he didn’t know the meaning of “discrete.”  Naturally his lavish proclivities caught someone’s attention.

There are plenty of ways to be on the take from rich benefactors who feed your campaign fund, who make life comfortable for you and your loved ones, and who make sure that their interests and causes get frontsies when bills concerning them come up for a vote.  The trick is to make those ways so invisible and untraceable that you can go through your entire career in the pocket of a donor and no one else knows or at the most it’s just seen as part of good constituent service.  The quid pro quo is hush-hush-hush.  Life goes on and someone pays to wax the Explorer.

It’s not unlike men who fool around on their wives; if they’re smart, no one will know they’ve got a little something on the side, but if you parade through the halls of Congress with your girlfriend — or take trips with your personal photographer — you’re just asking for trouble.

I can’t decide if Mr. Schock was just stupid or was getting bored with being a congressman and didn’t care if he got caught.  No doubt he’ll land on his feet somewhere, either as a commentator on cable news or as a model for Abercrombie & Fitch.

Tuesday, March 17, 2015

Thursday, March 5, 2015

Short Takes

U.S. ambassador to South Korea attacked.

The Senate tried and failed to override the veto of the Keystone XL pipeline bill.

Iran official says we are “very close” to a deal on nukes.

Boston bomber’s lawyer says he did it in opening statement.

Man burned by fajitas while praying can’t sue.

Wednesday, March 4, 2015

Obama 1, Boehner 0

The House passed a clean DHS funding bill.

The vote was 257-167. Most Republicans voted against it, but Democrats carried it to victory.

The bill passed the Senate last week, and now goes to President Barack Obama who is expected to sign it.

Some conservatives weren’t pleased, and tried to delay the vote by ordering a full reading of the clean DHS legislation.

“I’m very worried because we have a president that’s completely out of control. He’s very comfortable with violating the law and the Constitution,” Rep. John Fleming (R-LA) told reporters. “And if we don’t have a Senate and a House willing to stand up to him … we need to get ready to start defeating some of these things and get serious about it.”

But Fleming said conservative House members wouldn’t try to oust Boehner, despite speculation to the contrary.

“There’s no plan, no discussion about removing the Speaker,” he said.

Not to worry; Mr. Boehner isn’t going to lose his job over this, more’s the pity.  The question really should be why does he want it now anyway?

Tuesday, March 3, 2015

Joke of the Day

Via Greg Sargent:

Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu said Monday that his planned speech to Congress is not meant to signal any disrespect for President Obama, nor to insert political partisanship into the U.S.-Israel relationship.

“Never has so much been written about a speech that hasn’t been given,” Netanyahu said about the address to a joint session of Congress Tuesday. “My speech is not intended to show any disrespect to President Obama or the esteemed office that he holds. I have great respect for both.”

Pull the other one, Bibi; it jingles.