Monday, April 27, 2015

Suckers

What a surprise: wingnuts fall for a bogus story.  Via TPM:

A Las Vegas man claims that he concocted a bogus story about Harry Reid’s brother beating up Reid to see whether he could get right-wing media outlets and blogs to run with it. He did. All without any corroboration or even requiring the man, Larry Pfeifer, to provide his true identity.

[…]

Pfeifer said he got the idea after the rightwing media started pushing a story that Reid’s eye injury was actually punishment from mafia figures with whom he purportedly had a falling out. Eventually Pfeifer’s tale made it onto the Limbaugh Show.

From the Las Vegas Sun:

Larry Pfeifer, a 50-year-old former consultant in the nightclub and entertainment industry, said he fabricated the story after becoming appalled that right-wing political blogger John Hinderaker published a rumor that Reid’s injuries stemmed from an assault by a Mafia enforcer. Pfeifer said he pitched his fake story about the Reid brothers’ supposed fight to Hinderaker, author of the Power Line blog, to test whether the blogger would publish it, as well. When Hinderaker reported it and the rumor was subsequently spread by others in conservative media, Pfeifer says he began plotting to self-report it as a lie to show the lack of credibility and journalistic standards among partisan media figures.

That’s not to say that lefties don’t fall for bullshit stories, too, but they usually aren’t as blatantly bogus as a guy getting a snootful, wandering into an AA meeting, and bragging how he cold-cocked the Senate Majority Leader, which Mr. Reid was at the time he got injured.

The sad part is that something like that will make into the mainstream media.  Not because anyone bothered to fact-check it, but because it’s being bleated on the right and hey, journalism is all about being objective, right?

Friday, April 24, 2015

When The Going Gets Tough, Cruz Makes Tracks

Not surprising at all.

Presidential hopeful Sen. Ted Cruz (R-Texas) missed the vote on Loretta Lynch’s nomination for attorney general despite being one of her most vocal opponents in the upper chamber.

Cruz, who had slammed GOP leaders for allowing the nomination to move forward, was the only senator to miss the vote.

While the senator’s whereabouts are unclear, it’s possible that he was flying back to Texas for a presidential fundraiser that is being held for him in Dallas.

It’s also possible that he’s a blowhard who talks a tough game and gets the crowd all riled up but retreats as soon as it’s clear he’s going to lose.  Typical coward.

Thursday, April 23, 2015

You Keep Using That Word

Ted Cruz may be smart, but he keeps on using a word that he doesn’t seem to know the meaning thereof.

“Obama is a disaster because he’s an unmitigated socialist, what he believes is profoundly dangerous, and he’s undermined the Constitution and the role of America in the world.”

If Barack Obama is a socialist, he sucks at it.  The stock market is through the roof, corporate profits are at all-time highs, and unemployment is down to 5%.  That doesn’t sound like the results of socialism, which, for those of you who were not paying attention in Grade 10 social studies class, means that the means of production such as the major industries like manufacturing are publicly owned.

Actually, we need to give Ted Cruz a bit more credit.  He knows he can holler “socialism!” in a crowded theatre and get the expected response.  He probably knows the meaning of the word, but he knows that the crowd he’s reaching out to hears “socialism” and freaks out, even though most of them are the beneficiaries of forms of it such as public education (for what it was worth to them), their pension, and their Medicare, not to mention the basic forms of socialism that we all take for granted like the water and sewer system.  But as long as Mr. Cruz can bamboozle the rubes, he’ll keep using that word.

Wednesday, April 22, 2015

Stop Laughing Without Me

There’s no doubt that Ted Cruz has mastered the tricks of winning a debate, but as Jason Horowitz reports in the New York Times, according to people who were up against him in college and law school, there’s a very vulnerable weakness: he has no sense of humor.

By the time he was a senior at Princeton University in 1992, Ted Cruz had developed an arsenal of rhetorical skills and theatrical gestures that made him one of the most polished performers on the college debate circuit. So when he reached the quarterfinals of the national championships at M.I.T., with the title that had eluded him so far now in sight, he decided to try to knock his Harvard opponents off balance with one of his favorite tricks.

Instead of the regular practice of defending his proposed topic — the merits of mind-reading — Mr. Cruz let his adversaries choose which side to argue. But the tactic, intended to highlight his confidence, backfired. As he waited for them to decide, the two Harvard students conspicuously dithered, eating up Mr. Cruz’s allotted speaking time while they whispered and searched their pockets for a coin to flip.

The audience, now on to the stalling tactic, chuckled as a frustrated Mr. Cruz snapped: “Gentlemen! You must have decided by now.” But Mr. Cruz and his partner never recovered, and the national championship for which he had worked so hard went to someone else.

Bazinga.

And when he tried to use humor, it landed with a thud.

Mr. Cruz’s own attempts at humor sometimes missed the mark. In one debate, he proposed a method to detect infidelity, in which God should “give women a hymen that grows back every time she has intercourse with a different guy, because that will be a ‘visible sign’ of the breach of trust,” according to a recollection by David Kennedy published in a Harvard debate team reunion booklet in 2001.

Mr. Kennedy’s debate partner mocked Mr. Cruz’s knowledge of the subject matter by contorting herself to see how the anatomy in question could be “visible,” according to the booklet.

That’s how you get the women to vote for you in the GOP.

As we’ve seen countless times, most conservatives are incapable of humor, at least the intentional kind, because they don’t understand the basic concept that if you take yourself too seriously, no one else will.

Ironic for the guy who was the first to jump into the Klown Kar.

Tuesday, April 21, 2015

National Brotherhood Week

Teaching tolerance and understanding in Cincinnati goes terribly wrong when wingnuts get a whiff of it.

What started out as a cultural awareness effort by Mason High School Muslim students this week morphed into a fierce 48-hour debate about prejudice, freedom and religion in public schools.

By the end, Mason High School canceled the “Covered Girl Challenge,” and principal Mindy McCarty-Stewart sent an apology to district families. The challenge was student-sponsored and voluntary, meant to combat stereotypes students may face when wearing head coverings, McCarty-Stewart wrote.

“As word spread beyond our school community … we received many strong messages that made me reconsider the event’s ability to meet its objectives,” she wrote. “I now realize that as adults we should have given our students better guidance.”

Even afterward, though, the episode and arguments illustrate the fault lines in Greater Cincinnati – and the U.S. – over where cultural awareness ends and promoting a religion begins. And where avoiding controversy ends and turns into bigotry.

“This is ridiculous!!” read one email sent to Mason that the Enquirer obtained under a public records request. “You’re spending our money to support Sharia and Islam…”

“There is absolutely no reason to do this,” read another. “Stop trying to down play the horrible thing (SIC) that have occurred in this nation at the hands of Muslims.”

But for Shakila Ahmad, her first reaction when she heard about the response to the hijab challenge was disappointment.

“You know what? I really thought we were a better community than this,” said Ahmad, a Mason resident and president and board chair for the Islamic Center of Greater Cincinnati. “To let ourselves be bullied and intimidated, to cancel something whose whole objective was to build understanding is extremely disappointing.”

Well, come on; everyone knows that “religious liberty” only applies to Christians.

HT to FC.

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.

What Is The Color Of The Sky In Her World?

Peggy Noonan thinks that Hillary Clinton gets a pass from the press.

Republicans know—they see it every day—that Republican candidates get grilled, sometimes impertinently, and pressed, sometimes brusquely. And it isn’t true that they’re only questioned in this way once they announce, Scott Walker has been treated like this also, and he has yet to announce. Republicans see this, and then they see that Mrs. Clinton isn’t grilled, is never forced to submit to anyone’s morning-show impertinence, is never the object of the snotty question or the sharp demand for information. She gets the glide. She waves at the crowds and the press and glides by. No one pushes. No one shouts the rude question or rolls out the carefully scripted set of studio inquiries meant to make the candidate squirm. She is treated like the queen of England, who also isn’t subjected to impertinent questions as she glides into and out of venues. But she is the queen. We are not supposed to have queens.

It’s true.  No one has ever written a nasty thing about Hillary Clinton ever.

Oh, by the way, if Ms. Noonan thinks we are not supposed to have queens, she’s obviously never been to Key West over Fantasy Fest week.  Honey, the place is crawling with them.

HT to Melissa.

Wednesday, April 15, 2015

Gander Sauce

Steve M asks a good question: If Rev. Jeremiah Wright and his inflammatory rhetoric was fair game when Barack Obama ran for president, shouldn’t Marco Rubio be held accountable for his favorite church’s claim that homosexuality is an addiction and evolution is Satanic?

The difference is that Mr. Rubio probably agrees with them.

By the way, the megachurch that Mr. Rubio attends is about a mile from my house.  And although I try to be a good neighbor and a good Quaker, every time I drive by the place I flip them off.  After all, if they’re going to incite intolerance and put meaningless symbols in the air, I might as well return the favor.

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Friday, April 10, 2015

Florida House Bashes Gay Families

Despite the fact that courts have invalidated Florida’s ban on gay people adopting children, the state legislature still wants to interfere with gay families.

The Florida House voted today for a “conscience protection” bill allowing private adoption agencies to refuse placement of children with gay couples.

The 75-38 vote sending the proposal to the state Senate came after more than 90 minutes of often impassioned debate.

Proponents said the measure by Rep. Jason Brodeur, R-Sanford, would prevent some adoption agencies from halting services because of moral convictions against gay marriage. Opponents, mostly Democrats, argued that the bill (HB 7111) amounted to state-sanctioned discrimination against gays.

The bill does not specifically mention gays. It permits agencies with written codes of ethics to refuse adoptions sought by parents whose lifestyles are at odds with the agency.

Rep. David Richardson, D-Miami Beach, told the House about feeling fear as a boy in 1977, seeing Anita Bryant conducting her notorious campaign to repeal a Miami-Dade County gay-rights ordinance. He said 36 states now recognize same-sex marriage and predicted that the issue will be resolved nationwide in a Supreme Court ruling next summer.

“This fight is over,” Richardson told the GOP majority. “Your fight is not with me. Your fight is not with the Democratic Party. Your fight is not with the gay community.

“Your fight is among yourselves because certain factions in the Republican Party are not going to yield to what is happening in society.”

Brodeur and other supporters of the bill said they do not support discrimination. They said church-affiliated agencies in Boston, San Francisco and Illinois have curtailed adoption services rather than comply with legal edicts to place children with gay parents.

I call bullshit on Mr. Brodeur for the simple reason that the bill was proposed with the encouragement and endorsement of the state’s chief panty-sniffer and buttinsky John Stemberger.

John Stemberger, president of the Florida Family Policy Council, cheered the House vote. Last week, the chamber passed a large adoption package which included a section striking down Florida’s ban on gay marriage — which was invalidated in court a few years ago. The Senate is set to pass that package (HB 7013) next week, including the repeal of the adoption ban.

“The house has atoned for its mistake last week and done the right thing,” Stemberger said of the “conscience protection” bill.

Enough said.  Mr. Stemberger has a long history of  support for state-sanctioned homophobia and bigotry.  So if he’s in favor of a law, you know it’s going to be mischief and hatred for the LGBT community.

The bill still has to get through the Senate, and there’s hope that it will not make it.  But the simple fact that the House still thinks it’s okay to allow discrimination is shameful.

Because Freedom

I’m not a huge Dan Savage fan, but if a network wants to use his childhood as inspiration for a sitcom, so what?

The Media Research Center and Family Research Council said their members have sent more than 21,000 postcards and made more than 4,000 telephone calls asking ABC to abandon the series, tentatively titled “The Real O’Neals.” ABC is not commenting on the effort, while Savage said it is misdirected.

The show, which features actress Martha Plimpton as the family matriarch, is one of 12 comedy pilots the network is considering. Generally, about half of those pilots — at most — will get the green light.

Savage, author of the “Savage Love” advice column, said the series evolved out of a meeting he had with ABC executives where aspects of his childhood that he has written about were discussed.

[…]

Savage’s very involvement angers the conservative groups. In a letter sent to Ben Sherwood, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, MRC president L. Brent Bozell and Family Research Council President Tony Perkins cited Savage’s “radical hate speech” and “venomous anti-Christian bigotry.”

“They’re choosing him for his signature, which is religious bigotry and personal offensiveness, not because he’s gay,” Bozell said. “There are a thousand and one gay people they could have chosen.”

Savage wrote in 2000 about volunteering for Republican Gary Bauer’s presidential campaign and, suffering from the flu, licking doorknobs in the campaign office in an attempt to infect others. He also tried to give a definition involving a gay sex act to Republican Rick Santorum’s name on Google.

“A campaign for or against the show isn’t relevant at this point as the pilot isn’t even finished yet,” Savage said. “Again, the campaign … is misdirected, as the show isn’t by me — I’m not one of the writers — and it isn’t about me.”

The conservatives’ real complaint about Mr. Savage is that whenever they debate him on TV, he beats the daylights out of them with snark and scorn; he stands up to their bullying and wins.  Hey, no fair!  So this is their attempt to get back at him for all the arguments they lost.

Thursday, April 9, 2015

A Lovely Little War

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR) thinks we could knock over Iran in less than a week.

“It would be something more along the lines of what President Clinton did in December 1998 during Operation Desert Fox,” he continued. “Several days air and naval bombing against Iraq’s weapons of mass destruction facilities for exactly the same kind of behavior. For interfering with weapons inspectors and for disobeying Security Council resolutions. All we’re asking is that the president simply be as tough as in the protection of America’s national security interest as Bill Clinton was.”

We’d be greeted as liberators, right?

But American military leaders — who worked for lawmakers of both parties — strongly disagree with Cotton’s assessment, arguing that an attack could actually prove a regional war and further push Iran towards the bomb.

[…]

General Anthony Zinni, former CENTCOM commander, put it more clearly, “I think anybody that believes that it would be a clean strike and it would be over and there would be no reaction is foolish,” he said in 2009. And former Secretary of Defense Robert Gates explained that “such an attack would make a nuclear-armed Iran inevitable. They would just bury the program deeper and make it more covert.” “The results of an American or Israeli military strike on Iran could, in my view, prove catastrophic, haunting us for generations in that part of the world,” he said.

Well, he’s not saying we wouldn’t get our hair mussed.

Wednesday, April 8, 2015

The Nanny State

Conservatives are always going on about how they want Americans to have less government and more freedom, get away from regulations and not have unfeeling state agencies and bureaucrats micromanage our lives.

Well, that sounds good, doesn’t it?  We all want to enjoy the great life, right?  So when Kansas decided to update their rules for people receiving government assistance through a program called Temporary Assistance to Needy Families (TANF), it was clear that they would trust their fellow citizens to do right by it.  Heh.

If House Bill 2258 is signed into law by Gov. Sam Brownback (R) this week, Kansas families receiving government assistance will no longer be able to use those funds to visit swimming pools, see movies, go gambling or get tattoos on the state’s dime.

Those are just a few of the restrictions contained within the measure that promises to tighten regulations on how poor families spend their government aid.

State Sen. Michael O’Donnell, a Wichita Republican who has advocated for the bill, said the legislation is designed to pressure those receiving Temporary Assistance for Needy Families to spend “more responsibly.”

“We’re trying to make sure those benefits are used the way they were intended,” O’Donnell, vice chair of the state senate’s standing committee on public health and welfare, told the Topeka Capital-Journal. “This is about prosperity. This is about having a great life.”

The bill also limits people to withdrawing $25 per day from ATM’s, which means if there’s any kind of emergency that might cost more, they are out of luck.

So I guess the lesson here is that if you’re well-off and don’t need any help in getting through a rough patch in life, you deserve all the limited government and more freedom that you can handle.  But if you’re poor and need help, you’re obviously incapable of being treated as an adult, and remember, it’s the Democrats who are the proponents of the nanny states.  Got it?

HT to Melissa.

Monday, April 6, 2015

That’s Some Progress

From the man who admonished his fellow Republicans not to be “the stupid party,” we get this pearl of wisdom regarding LGBT rights and the people who fight for them:

“My concern about creating special legal protections is, historically in our country, we’ve only done that in extraordinary circumstances,” the Republican governor continued. “And it doesn’t appear to me that we’re at one of those moments today.”

According to [Louisiana Gov. Bobby] Jindal, “there are many that turn to the heavy hand of government to solve societies problems too easily.”

“I do think we need to be very careful about creating special rights,” he declared.

You’re not creating “special rights” when you grant people who have been denied rights the same rights as everyone else.  It’s called equality.

By the way, fifty years ago Mr. Jindal would have been denied the right to stay in any number of hotels, use any number of bathrooms, and not allowed to rent any number of apartments based solely on the color of his skin.  So it must be some kind of weird progress in America were civil rights have evolved so that he can turn around and be just as much of a bigot.

Thursday, April 2, 2015

Perspective

Sen. Tom Cotton (R-AR), last seen lecturing Iran on democracy while selling out the country’s foreign policy, on why gay people should be glad to only being told they can’t have Jesus pizza:

“I think it’s important we have a sense of perspective,” Cotton said. “In Iran they hang you for the crime of being gay.”

Don’t look now, Tom, but there’s a lawyer in California who is proposing a state law that would have gay people shot in the head.  So it’s not like the idea of executing gays hasn’t occurred to people here.