Wednesday, June 29, 2016

Short Takes

Multiple deaths reported in suicide attack at Istanbul airport.

Deadly train crash in Texas.

Senate Democrats block G.O.P Zika “poison pill” bill.

Trump promises to confront China over trade pacts.

NASA’s Juno probe approaches Jupiter.

R.I.P. Pat Summitt, winningest coach in Division 1 basketball.

The Tigers beat the Marlins 7-5.

Tuesday, June 28, 2016

There Goes $7 Million

The Republicans carry on about “government waste, fraud, and abuse.”  And to prove it, they throw $7 million down the shitter.

Ending one of the longest, costliest and most bitterly partisan congressional investigations in history, the House Select Committee on Benghazi issued its final report on Tuesday, finding no new evidence of culpability or wrongdoing by Hillary Clinton in the 2012 attacks in Libya that left four Americans dead.

The 800-page report, however, included some new details about the night of the attacks, and the context in which it occurred, and it delivered a broad rebuke of government agencies like the Defense Department, the Central Intelligence Agency and the State Department — and the officials who led them — for failing to grasp the acute security risks in the Libyan city, and especially for maintaining outposts in Benghazi that they could not protect.

The committee, led by Representative Trey Gowdy, Republican of South Carolina, also harshly criticized an internal State Department investigation that it said had allowed officials like Mrs. Clinton, then the secretary of state, to effectively choose who would investigate their actions. In addition, it reiterated Republicans’ complaints that the Obama administration had sought to thwart the investigation by withholding witnesses and evidence.

Maybe they should send the bill to Fox News and the RNC.

Thursday, June 23, 2016

Short Takes

House Democrats sit-in for a vote on gun control.

North Korea fires off two ballistic missiles.

Bernie Sanders: “It doesn’t appear I’ll be the nominee.”

Colombia and rebels agree to a cease-fire in 50-year conflict.

Michigan A.G. sues two companies over Flint water crisis.

The Tigers beat the Mariners 5-1.

Wednesday, June 22, 2016

Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Brave Soldiers

All hail the brave soldiers of the United States Senate who bravely withstood the will of 92% of the people and voted down not one but four attempts to keep assault rifles out of the hands of murderers.

A divided Senate blocked rival election-year plans to curb guns Monday, eight days after the horror of Orlando’s mass shooting intensified pressure on lawmakers to act but knotted them in gridlock anyway — even over restricting firearms for terrorists.

In largely party-line votes, senators rejected one proposal from each side to keep extremists from acquiring guns and a second shoring up the government’s system of required background checks for many firearms purchases.

With the chamber’s visitors’ galleries unusually crowded for a Monday evening — including relatives of victims of past mass shootings and people wearing orange T-shirts saying #ENOUGH gun violence — each measure fell short of the 60 votes needed to progress. Democrats called the GOP proposals unacceptably weak while Republicans said the Democratic plans were too restrictive.

The stalemate underscored the pressure on each party to stand firm on the emotional gun issue going into November’s presidential and congressional elections. It also highlighted the potency of the National Rifle Association, which urged its huge and fiercely loyal membership to lobby senators to oppose the Democratic bills.

“Republicans say, ‘Hey look, we tried,'” said Senate Minority Leader Harry Reid, D-Nev. “And all the time, their cheerleaders, the bosses at the NRA, are cheering them.”

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., said the Orlando shootings — in which the FBI says the American-born gunman swore allegiance to a Islamic State group leader — show the best way to prevent extremists’ attacks here is to defeat them overseas.

“No one wants terrorists to be able to buy guns,” McConnell said. He suggested that Democrats used the day’s votes “to push a partisan agenda or craft the next 30-second campaign ad.”

Well, Mitch, it’s about damn time we made it a partisan issue because the NRA has been doing that for the last forty years, and it won’t be just one 30-second campaign ad; this is going to be plastered all over: THE REPUBLICANS WANT TERRORISTS TO BUY GUNS THE WAY YOU BUY CHEWING GUM with your reptilian smirk underneath it all.

General LaPierre and his ranks are very proud of you, though.

Friday, May 27, 2016

Short Takes

American special forces along with Syrian and Kurdish fighters are moving closer to Raqqa, the ISIS stronghold.

House rejected $37 billion defense bill because it included LGBT protection.

Baylor University fired their football coach and demoted President Kenneth Starr over sexual assault scandal.

Gas prices hit eleven-year low just in time for the holiday weekend.

Tropical Update: Invest 91L looks like it’s getting stronger.

Friday, May 20, 2016

Friday, April 29, 2016

Tell Us Something We Don’t Know, John

The New York Times is oh so amused that former Speaker John Boehner is calling them like he sees them now.

John A. Boehner never minced words as House speaker, but he usually leveled his insults behind closed doors. Now a private citizen, Mr. Boehner is going public, and the results can be spectacular.

On Wednesday, the former speaker gleefully unloaded on Senator Ted Cruz before a crowd at Stanford University, colorfully describing the Republican presidential contender from Texas as “Lucifer in the flesh.”

“I have never worked with a more miserable son of a bitch in my life,” said Mr. Boehner, who has made previous disparaging remarks about Mr. Cruz in both public and private, though without comparing him directly to Satan.

[…]

To anyone who knew Mr. Boehner in Washington, the comments, first reported by The Stanford Daily, were no surprise. With a glass of wine in one hand and a cigarette in the other, Mr. Boehner would often hold forth, offering his rather spirited views of individuals and ideas, though not always for publication. And when he was in exile from the leadership from 1998 to 2006, he was a go-to quote for commentary on the poor conduct of those who were in charge.

But when he took over as speaker, Mr. Boehner clammed up a bit, so the surprise is how freely flowing the comments are these days.

Yes, and that’s exactly what we need in this campaign now; more name-calling and chortle-inducing epithets because up to now it’s been a model of decorum and restraint.

No, I’m not some prude who faints at the utterance of an F-bomb.  I enjoy a good insult as much as the next guy, but in the case of Boehner v. Cruz, it’s not exactly news that nobody likes the junior senator from Texas.  As he himself noted, it’s why he’s running in the first place; being an obnoxious and self-aggrandizing jerk is a feature, not a bug.

What would really be news — and would really torpedo the Cruz campaign — is if John Boehner came out and praised Ted Cruz as the most accommodating and and obsequious brown-noser on Capitol Hill and that this son-of-a-bitch persona was all an act.

Sunday, April 17, 2016

Sunday Reading

One Of The Greats — Jim Nelson in GQ on the legacy of Barack Obama.

Something is dawning on us—it’s almost too soon for us to admit, but it’s there, a half-considered thought only now blooming in our brains. Maybe we dismiss it with one of those quick cognitive fly swats. Nah, too early to say or I hate that guy. But the truth is coming, and it sounds like this: Barack Obama will be inducted into the league of Great Presidents.

Wait. One of the Greatest? you ask, your thumb emoticon poised to turn up or down on me. The guy haters love to hate with their very best hate game? Like 20-Dollar Bill great? Like Mount Rushmore great?

Yep. (We just won’t build Mount Rushmores anymore.) In so many ways, Obama was better than we imagined, better than the body politic deserved, and far, far better than his enemies will ever concede, but the great thing about being great is that the verdict of enemies doesn’t matter.

In fact, and I say this as a Bill Clinton fan, I now feel certain that, in the coming decades, Obama’s star will rise higher than Clinton’s, and he’ll replace Bill in the public mind as the Greatest Democrat since FDR.

This has to do with the nature of Obama’s leadership, which is to play to legacy (and Clinton’s impulse, which is to play to the room). Bill Clinton will long be revered because he’s charismatic, presided over an economic revival, and changed and elevated the view of the Democratic Party. Barack Obama will long be revered because he’s charismatic, presided over an economic revival, and changed and elevated the view of the presidency. He’s simply bigger than Bill.

More to the point, Obama’s legacy is the sort that gets canonized. Because the first rule of Hall of Fame-dom: The times have to suck for the president not to. Civil wars, World Wars, depressions and recessions. You got to have ’em if you wanna be great. That’s why we rate the Washingtons, Lincolns, and Roosevelts over That Fat Guy with the Walrus Mustache. Like Obama, these Great Men were dealt sucky hands, won big, and left the country better off than it was before.

But it’s also why we downgrade the Jimmy Carters and Herbert Hoovers. Were they as bad in real time as we remember them in history? Probably not. But they were dealt sucky hands, only played one round, and left the country feeling worse off. Legacy Game over. (Hoover reminds me more and more of Donald Trump! Elected with little political experience, Hoover was a rich bastard whose central theme was that government was wasteful. His answer to the Great Depression was to start a trade war and build a massive project called the Hoover Dam. The dam turned out to be a giant wall that did not stop or solve larger problems. Déjà vu, thy name is Trump Wall!)

Obama has a few other edges in the long haul of history, beyond specific hurrah moments like Obamacare, rescuing the economy, and making America way more bi-curious. Being the first black president of course secures a certain legacy. But what now feels distinctly possible is that, just as Martin Luther King Jr. dreamed, over time he may be judged less for the color of his skin than for the content of his character. That character came across every time haters or Trumpers or birthers tried to pull him down into the mud or question his American-ness. He just flew above it all. And, luckily, he took most of us with him. He was the Leader not only of our country but of our mood and disposition, which is harder to rule. At a time when we became more polarized, our discourse pettier and more poisoned, Obama always came across as the Adult in the Room, the one we wanted to be and follow.

Ironically, one of the lock-ins to his Hall of Fame Greatness was originally supposed to be his Achilles’ heel, the shallow thing critics loved to smear him with: his eloquence, his “reliance” on speeches and teleprompters (Sarah Palin once famously screeched, “Mr. President…step away from the teleprompter and do your job!” while herself reading from a teleprompter), as if addressing the country as a whole, trying to unify or inspire people, were a superficial thing. But pivotal words at pivotal moments are not only how we come to admire great leaders, it’s the primary way we remember them. The first thing most people can recall about Lincoln? The Gettysburg Address. FDR? Fireside chats. George Washington? His amazing Snapchats. (George was first with everything.)

With Obama, each thoughtful step of the way, from his soaring acceptance speech (“The road ahead will be long. Our climb will be steep…”) to his epic speeches on race and religion, his responses to the shootings in Tucson and Newtown, the killing of Osama bin Laden, the opening of Cuba (“Todos somos Americanos!”), and countless other momentous occasions, he knew how to speak to our better angels at a time when it was hard to locate any angels.

Lastly, there’s the arc of history, bound to bend downward. As our unity becomes more frayed, more tenuous, and the ability for any politician to get anything done more unlikely, the job of president will become less LBJ tactical and less FDR big-dealer. The job will largely be to preside. To unify where and however we can. In this way, too, Obama pointed the way forward.

It may be hard to imagine now, but in the face of rising chaos, we’ll crave unity all the more, and in future years whoever can speak most convincingly of unity will rise to the top. (It’s also hard to imagine many beating Obama at the game.) This year’s carnival election, with Trump as a kind of debauched circus barker, only makes the distinction clearer. The absurdity and car-crash spectacle of it all have already lent Obama an out-of-time quality, as if he were a creature from another, loftier century. Whatever happens next, I feel this in my bones: We’ll look back at history, hopefully when we’re zooming down the Barack Obama Hyperloop Transport System, and think: That man was rare. And we were damn lucky to have him.

Hail New Columbia — Clare Foran in The Atlantic looks at the case for Washington, D.C. statehood.

D.C. Mayor Muriel Bowser is working to breathe life into a longstanding, but controversial, effort to convert the nation’s capital into America’s 51st state.

The mayor ​doubled down on the fight for D.C. statehood on Friday, pledging on Twitter to introduce legislation that would put statehood on the ballot in November 2016. Bowser also called for a citywide vote on the matter at a gathering of Democratic and civil rights leaders and D.C. residents, The Washington Post reports, an event that took place at around the same time that protesters were descending on D.C. to rally for statehood.

It’s practically an official District of Columbia past time to lament the fact that residents of the nation’s capital pay taxes but lack full voting representation in Congress. Eleanor Holmes Norton, D.C.’s delegate to Congress, is barred from voting on final passage of legislation. The somewhat odd state of affairs is a sore subject. License plates in the District defiantly read “Taxation Without Representation.”Advocates for statehood have been kicking around ideas to achieve their aim for years. Supporters have even proposed naming the 51st state, if it ever comes into existence, “New Columbia.”

The statehood fight highlights some of the disparities and apparent contradictions of the nation’s capital. D.C. plays host to the country’s powerful political elite. It is also a city where many residents live in abject poverty, and where the divide between the haves and the have-nots is stark, and often overlooked by the political class. For statehood supporters, the fact that D.C. residents lack a voice in Congress on par with residents of states across the country is an egregious embodiment of that disparity. Nevertheless, the renewed push for D.C. statehood will undoubtedly be an uphill battle, and one that likely puts the Democratic mayor on a collision course with Republican congressional leaders.

Congressional Republicans tend to bristle at the notion that the District of Columbia should become the 51st state. Conservative critics often invoke the Constitution to make their claim. “Voting Representation for the District of Columbia: Violating the Framers’ Vision and Constitutional Commands,” reads the title of a legal memorandum published in 2009 by the conservative think tank The Heritage Foundation. Since D.C. is a liberal stronghold, if it were to achieve statehood that could also help Democrats consolidate power in Congress.

Aides for Republican House Speaker Paul Ryan and Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell did not immediately return requests for comment.

The mayor appears to be setting an ambitious statehood agenda, championing a plan to achieve greater fiscal independence from Congress for the nation’s capital as well. The wonky fiscal plan would, the Post writes, amount to a “declaration of independence by the District of Columbia” and stand as a “clear challenge to the ‘absolute supremacy’ that Congress has wielded over the District since it was created in 1790.”

The future of the fight is unclear, and it could fail to gain much traction. But the mayor’s efforts are sure to raise the profile of the issue even if they ultimately fall short of transforming D.C. into the 51st state . The campaign might also endear Bowser to D.C. residents who seem to be increasingly in favor of statehood. A Post poll released last year found that: “Nearly 3 in 4 residents say they are upset that the District has no voting representation in Congress, and about half describe themselves as ‘very upset’ over the absence.” For now, the more immediate question is how far the mayor is willing to take the fight, and how forceful the pushback will be.

Remember Ben Carson? — Andy Borowitz in The New Yorker.

WEST PALM BEACH (Satire from The Borowitz Report)—Ben Carson, the retired neurosurgeon, stirred controversy on Thursday by saying in a televised interview that he had no recollection of running for President of the United States.

Appearing on the Fox News Channel, Dr. Carson responded to host Sean Hannity’s question about his ten-month-long candidacy by saying, “I do not recall any of that occurring.”

“I’ve been told that I did it, but I find it impossible to believe,” he said. “I don’t think I’d forget a thing like that.”

Dr. Carson said he had seen photographs and videos of him campaigning for the Republican nomination but called them “the work of an evil person who is really good at PhotoShop and whatnot.”

He said he did not know who would create such an elaborate hoax to convince him that he had run for President “when I clearly did not,” but he speculated about the person’s motives.

“Someone is trying to mess with my mind,” he said. “And when I find out who is doing that I will make them pay dearly.”

While Carson insisted that “there is no way I ran for President,” he did not rule out running for the Republican nomination in the future.

“I think I’d be really good at it,” he said.

Doonesbury — “Words, words, mere words.”

Thursday, March 17, 2016

Well Played, Mr. President

Charlie Pierce on the nomination of Merrick Garland to the Supreme Court and the Republicans reaction to it:

They’re in a tough spot. Merrick Garland is an almost universally respected jurist who no less than Orrin Hatch has praised fulsomely on a number of different occasions. In fact, it can be argued that the president flipped the script on Hatch. Oh, Merrick Garland is somebody for whom you could vote? Cool beans, O.H. I happen to have Merrick Garland right here.

Mr. Obama demanded a fair hearing for Judge Garland and said that refusing to even consider his nomination would provoke “an endless cycle of more tit for tat” that would undermine the democratic process for years to come. “I simply ask Republicans in the Senate to give him a fair hearing, and then an up or down vote,” Mr. Obama said. “If you don’t, then it will not only be an abdication of the Senate’s constitutional duty, it will indicate a process for nominating and confirming judges that is beyond repair.”

So it’s a masterpiece of trolling from a guy who’s become very, very good at that. I understand the frustration of the president’s progressive supporters at the idea of a 60-ish white guy replacing a 70-ish dead white guy on the Supreme Court. (I would’ve preferred Jane Kelly from the Eighth Circuit, who already had heads exploding.) I’m sure there were several dozen more diverse, and clearly no-more-fcks-to-give, choices he could’ve made. But Garland’s work as a supervising DOJ attorney in the Oklahoma City bombing case intrigues me, and it is likely to light up the far distant precincts of wingnuttia as well. At the very least, he’s aware of the wildness loose in the country. He seems moderate and judicious and very unlikely to stray too far out of bounds from what this president and his supporters think a Supreme Court justice should be. His opinions on the appellate rights of criminal defendants could use some work, but he’s not likely to join with the likes of Samuel Alito to take an ax to things like the Miranda decision. He’s not a law’n’order guy. Tom Goldstein of the invaluable SCOTUSBlog put together a solid compendium of Garland’s record the last time his name arose to fill a vacancy on the Court, when Garland was passed over in favor of Justice Elena Kagan.

All of which is, for the moment, anyway, moot. This is a purely tactical move, and it’s an awfully good one. Right now, Republican senators are saying that they won’t even take one-on-one meetings with the guy, let alone give him a committee vote, let alone give him a confirmation vote in the Senate. This was precisely the reaction the president was hoping for, although he didn’t exactly have to be Nostradamus to make this play. But I want to know more about this comic book collection.

“[SCOTUS nominee Merrick Garland] put himself through Harvard Law School by working as a tutor, by stocking shoes in a shoe store, and in what is always a painful moment for any young man, by selling his comic book collection,” Obama said. “It’s tough. [I’ve] been there.”

Hey, at least Garland cashed in. My mother threw all of mine out when I went away to college. I coulda been somebody. I coulda had class. I coulda had a cool robe and a lifetime job.

I am sure that Judge Garland knew from the moment he picked up the phone from the White House that he was being nominated as part of a Jedi mind trick on behalf of the president.  Now that Mitch McConnell has backed himself into the corner and tucked his head under his carapace, getting confirmed by this Senate is problematic at best.

The GOP is already dragging Robert Bork out of this crypt to say “Hey, you Democrats did the same thing to him!”  No, actually Judge Bork got a hearing in front of the Senate Judiciary Committee where he was able to elaborate on his 18th century views of women and minority rights.  The committee voted 9-5 against him, but they let the nomination go to the full Senate where he was rejected.  But he got a vote.  If the Republicans want to bork Judge Garland, they have to let him at least get to a hearing.

Judge Garland doesn’t appear to be the icon of a campaign on the part of the DNC, the DNSCC, or any of the other lobbying groups that are already inundating my in-box with appeals to sign the petitions to get the Senate Republicans to confirm him (oh, and toss some coin in the hat while you’re at it), but if they and the Senate Democrats follow the lead of the president and act as if there’s a snowball’s chance that they can slip in through the cracks that are already appearing in the Republicans’ wall of No.  There are at least five senators who are up for re-election in the fall who are already on shaky ground at home and who could be vulnerable to an ad campaign featuring an ominous chorus of “O Fortuna” and the image of a slamming door.  Let’s see how long this laugh-line about “let the voters decide” lasts when it looks like the voters could vote those senators into their next gig as a lobbyist or talking head on Fox.

Short Takes

Merrick Garland is President Obama’s pick for the Supreme Court.

American ISIS fighter is a “gold mine” for U.S. intelligence.

U.S. hits North Korea with new sanctions for nuclear tests.

Denmark regains its standing as the “happiest nation.”

What if Fox had a debate and nobody came?

R.I.P. Frank Sinatra, Jr., 72.

Thursday, March 10, 2016

Just Doing Their Job

Oh, look, the Senate Judiciary Committee is planning to do something.

Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) said the Senate Judiciary Committee will have a “full-blown debate” Thursday on whether to hold a hearing on a Supreme Court nomination.

“If you want to hear a full-blown debate on this issue, I think we’ll probably have one before our committee tomorrow while we’re also considering three of four judges and a piece of legislation as well,” he said.

A spokeswoman for the Senate Judiciary Committee said the debate is expected to take place during the committee’s regularly scheduled business meeting in the morning. The judges being considered are to fill vacancies on the United States Court of International Trade and the United States District Court of Hawaii.

Grassley, the Judiciary Committee chair, made the announcement during an oversight hearing of the U.S. Department of Justice at which Attorney General Loretta Lynch testified on Wednesday morning.

Grassley was responding to Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.), who criticized Republicans for meeting behind closed doors and voting to block any Obama nominee without any input from Democrats.

In other words, they’re going to have a “full-blown debate” about whether or not they’re going to do their job.

I used to work with a guy who made elaborate plans to arrange meetings to decide if we should have a meeting to discuss meeting about getting right on a particular task.  The boss eventually got around to firing him.

Thursday, February 25, 2016

A Very Weak Hand

The more the Senate Republicans talk like there’s absolutely no way they will consider confirming a Supreme Court nomination from President Obama, the more they sound truly desperate.  They may be able to control the actual nomination, but it could blow up in their faces if they don’t put an end to the debate now.

Josh Marshall:

If the Democrats are smart about this, this is a far more potent electoral cudgel in Senate elections than most folks realize. Start with the given that this battle is life and death for partisan Democrats and partisan Republicans. But those people seldom determine statewide elections, certainly not in swing states. Lightly affiliated Democrats and Republicans and actual swing voters are highly attuned to charges about political dysfunction, refusal to do your job and so forth.

So let’s start with this. Republican senators won’t meet with the nominee. We get it. But I’m pretty sure Democratic senators will meet with him or her and make quite a show of it. I’m also fairly sure the White House will keep trying to set up meetings with Republican Senators and make a show of the on-going refusals. Senate challengers will press it in their campaigns too. And I have little doubt the White House will be sure to arrange meetings with the couple Republican senators who’ve so far bucked the unified front.

As I noted earlier, the necessity of the “three nos” is tied to a very evident slippery slope Republicans are desperately trying to avoid. If you meet with a nominee and then get asked how it went, what do you say? “It was a good meeting, a very qualified individual. But we definitely won’t hold a confirmation hearing?” That doesn’t make sense. The whole thing doesn’t make a lot of sense. But that’s okay if you put the whole story to bed in February or March. There’s a big difference between just announcing it and getting past it and having a death of a thousand messaging cuts over the course of an election year. As the people managing the opposition on the Republican side have made clear, they need to do everything they can to avoid any discussion which focuses on the qualifications of the nominee – an amazingly cynical statement but accurate in terms of strategy.

As I said, partisans on both sides are immovable on this. And loosely affiliated or swing voters, by definition, aren’t terribly knowledgeable or concerned about the differences over judicial philosophy which undergird this fight. But these voters are extremely focused on gridlock, doing your job or not doing your job, people who refuse to do their job or just do what makes sense for seemingly arbitrary reasons. What is more, there’s no ideological commitment required in this case. The issue is readily understandable. This is your job. Do your job. Especially if you’re asking to be hired again!

[…]

I fully expect you’ll see Democrats standing up DoYourJob.com type websites across the swath of states from the Atlantic to the Mississippi Valley and using various methods to continue pressing those half a dozen senators on whether they’ll meet with the nominee, whether they’ll vote and why if they will do those things they won’t or can’t convince their colleagues to do the same. I strongly suspect that those endangered senators can’t hold up under six months of that onslaught, not without sustaining a measure of reputational damage which may not be vast but is more than enough to lose them their seats.

The only real challenge I see here for the White House is that the person President Obama likely wants is one of those brainiac, hyper-credentialed judicial minds whose made his or her life in the law schools and the federal bench. Those tend not to be the sort of people who are temperamentally cut out for this kind of political drama. To the extent these folks are political – and they definitely are, just in a different way – they may not see it as in their longterm interests to become such a politically charged figure. Still, I’m sure Obama can find someone.

The smarter Democrats must see this. And I suspect the Republicans do too. That’s why they are doing everything they possibly can to shut this process down before it starts. That’s the key. It is entirely within their power not to hold a vote. The public spectacle of nine months of stonewalling, the political fallout and the narrative it creates is not. That’s what’s behind the almost maniacal blood oath drama of the “three nos”. This is not close to over unless the Democrats agree to make it over. And I doubt they will.

The only question remaining is how would the GOP climb off this ledge without it looking like they’re caving in to President Obama and the Democrats.  The short answer is that they can’t without looking even more craven than they already do.

Wednesday, February 24, 2016

No Way

The gauntlet has been thrown down.

Senate Republican leaders said Tuesday that there would be no confirmation hearings, no vote, not even a courtesy meeting with President Obama’s nominee to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, all but slamming shut any prospects for an election-year Supreme Court confirmation.

Together with a written vow from Republicans on the Senate Judiciary Committee that they would not hold any confirmation hearings, the pledge was the clearest statement yet from the Senate’s majority party that it would do everything it can to prevent Mr. Obama from shifting the ideological balance of the nation’s high court. Senator Mitch McConnell of Kentucky, the majority leader, urged Mr. Obama to reconsider even submitting a name.

“This nomination will be determined by whoever wins the presidency in the polls,” Mr. McConnell said. “I agree with the Judiciary Committee’s recommendation that we not have hearings. In short, there will not be action taken.”

John Cole explains why they’re doing this.

They aren’t just doing this because they can, they are doing it because they are scared, and they are afraid, and they are losing, and they know it. They are doing this because they hate Obama. This is the same kind of impotent rage they had towards Clinton, who just whipped them every single time and smiled all the way through it, but this time it is worse because Obama is a black man and the country has changed. They are losing the demographic war, so all they have is the courts and the hope that their jury-rigged voting process can keep things in place just a little bit longer. They are doing this because they know they are weak going into the 2016 election, and have convinced themselves that if they all stand together, the American people aren’t going to be able to pick out Kirk in Illinois or Toomey in PA or Johnson in Wisconsin or Portman in Ohio or Ayotte in NH and so on.

Just as serial killers ramp up the frequency and violence as their condition progresses, so do the sociopaths in Congress. It wasn’t too long ago we were all shocked at someone yelling “You lie” during the State of the Union, but here we are. They are weak and they are desperate and things are only going to get worse. It’s up to us to stop them.

If the Democrats can’t parlay this into a win in both the presidency and the re-taking of the Senate next November, they deserve to lose.

Wednesday, February 3, 2016

Try Try Again

Yesterday was Tuesday.  Yesterday was Groundhog Day.  So it must be time once again to try to repeal Obamacare.

Asked about today’s events, White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest told reporters, “Republicans are poised to host another vote in the United States Congress today for the 60th time to repeal Obamacare. It’s almost like it’s Groundhog Day, except today it is actually Groundhog Day and they’re doing it again.”

The definition of insanity… oh, you know.

We actually pay them to do that shit.  So who’s the insane here?

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Short Takes

President Obama: “We are hitting ISIL harder than ever.”

Sgt. Bowe Bergdahl, held captive for five years by the Taliban, faces court martial for desertion.

Congress works to avoid a government shutdown.

The Fed looks to raise interest rates, but not by much.

No Dice: Pete Rose kept on the permanent ban list of major league baseball.

Friday, December 4, 2015

Short Takes

Veto Bait — Senate passes repeal of Obamacare and defunding of Planned Parenthood.

Pentagon opens all combat roles to women.

Massey Energy executive gets convicted on minor charges.

Putin accuses Turkish leaders of being on the take from ISIS oil sales.

Oy: Republican candidates pander to Jewish supporters.

Wednesday, December 2, 2015

Short Takes

Chicago police chief fired in the wake of murder charges against officer.

Four men charged in shooting incident near Black Lives Matter protest.

State Department warns U.S. citizens against travel to Mali.

Bipartisan talks in Congress come up with $300 billion highway bill.

Jury still out on the verdict in the Massey mine explosion trial.