Morning Awesome

Living Colour – “Cult Of Personality”

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Inversion Whopper

Have it my way

Artist – Bruce Plante

In other news, the Pew Research Center went in search of libertarians and they had a hard time finding any. Apparently only 11 percent of Americans correctly identify themselves as libertarian while more identify themselves as such but don’t know what it means.

That makes some sense. There’s a low ceiling on the number of people who can remain true believers well into their latter years. Many more flirt with the idea in their youth before realizing that it’s all bullshit.

Posted in Food, Open Thread, Poll, Taxes | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Nice Things and Why We Can’t Have Them

via ThinkProgress

According to a new poll conducted by Harvard researchers, about 40 percent of Americans are anticipating an Ebola outbreak on U.S. soil within the next 12 months. And about 25 percent report that they’re concerned someone in their immediate family will catch it. Those beliefs are likely fueled by the fact that two thirds of the people surveyed said they believe Ebola can be “easily” transmitted from infected people.

I assume we can thank fearmongers who blew a gasket when Americans infected with Ebola were brought home for treatment for at least some of these numbers.

The good news is it’s doubtful anyone in the current administration will recommend that you protect yourself with plastic sheeting and duct tape.

Posted in Poll, Super Stupid | Tagged , | 8 Comments

Another Unhinged Republican Campaign Ad

GOP Senate candidate Dan Sullivan is very upset about spending from outside groups; upset enough to shoot a television.

“Millions of dollars in negative ads are flooding into Alaska paid for by Washington special interests” Sullivan says before firing his pistol at an ancient tube television.

At least he didn’t threaten to blow your balls off or fire a cannon.

If Sullivan has a problem with outside spending he should probably consult with the Republican party establishment about reversing the Citizens United decision.

Posted in Stupid Party | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Wasteful Spending

House Republicans have disclosed how much money taxpayers will pay for their frivolous lawsuit against the president.

House Republicans revealed Monday they will pay an outside law firm $500 an hour to pursue their lawsuit against President Barack Obama, a disclosure that served to ratchet up the political controversy surrounding the GOP’s legal effort.

House Republicans said they had hired law firm Baker & Hostetler LLP and partner David Rivkin to make the legal case that Mr. Obama overstepped his legal authority in implementing the Affordable Care Act.

On the bright side, at least they didn’t hire Paul Clement again.

House Republicans paid Clement $2.3 million to defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) at the Supreme Court. Or perhaps I should say taxpayers paid Clement $2.3 million.

The way House Republicans handled their defense of DOMA is significant because, in this case, they’ve set a “hard cap” on the total amount of money they plan to spend.

The contract signed and released by Rep. Candice Miller (R., Mich.), who chairs the Committee on House Administration, calls for the law firm to be paid $500 an hour in attorney’s fees while litigating the case. It also sets a hard cap of $350,000 for the total that can be paid to the law firm during the contract, which runs until the next Congress takes over in 2015.

House Republicans initially set a “hard cap” of $500,000 when they hired Clement to defend DOMA, but as you may recall they increased the cap three times and ultimately paid him $2.3 million under a final hard cap of $3 million.

Will Baker & Hostetler LLP also see their $350,00 cap lifted?

Perhaps not. The only reason I’m inclined to believe that the initial cap may not be surpassed is because the lawsuit could be thrown out of court before increasing the cap becomes necessary.

Suing Obama

Posted in Congress, Stupid Party | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Inspector General: No Deaths at VA Hospital Because of Delays

This is not to say that everything is or was fine at the VA hospital in Phoenix, but a review by the department’s Inspector General has found that the widely repeated story about deaths was not true.

From the Associated Press:

The VA’s Office of Inspector General has been investigating the delays for months and shared a draft report of its findings with VA officials.

In a written memorandum about the report, VA Secretary Robert A. McDonald said, “It is important to note that while OIG’s case reviews in the report document substantial delays in care, and quality-of-care concerns, OIG was unable to conclusively assert that the absence of timely quality care caused the death of these veterans.

Former VA Secretary Eric Shinseki was tarred and feathered and ultimately resigned from officer over deaths that were unrelated to delays.

This doesn’t erase the fact that veterans have waited far too long for medical care, but there is ample reason to reserve judgement in the future when allegations of malfeasance surface.

I doubt this story that partially exonerates Shinseki will receive as much play in conservative circles as the former did. It may not receive as much play in liberal circles either.

Many liberals are far too quick to buy into stories about mismanagement in the government under the current administration.

Posted in Healthcare | Tagged , , , | 2 Comments

Sorry, But the Democrats Are Absolutely Not ‘Doomed’ in the Midterms

If you’re a Republican, you’re probably over-confident in your party’s chances in the forthcoming midterms. Of course you are. The common wisdom online and on cable news is that the Democrats are headed toward another 2010-style shellacking due to President Obama’s responsibility for everything that’s wrong in the world, not to mention the (non)reality that he invented presidential golf vacations. Admittedly, I hadn’t looked at the polls in a while so I was thinking along the same lines: it’s going to be a shitty November for the Democrats. Some headlines:

The Daily Beast: The Coming Democratic Midterm Collapse

National Journal (Charlie Cook): Congressional Democrats Face Uphill Battle in Midterms

CNBC: How bleak will the midterm elections be for Democrats?

The Washington Post: ‘Disconnected Obama’ needs to change conversation to help party in midterms

Bloomberg: Economy winning midterms for Republican Party

Politico: …Mounting danger for Democrats

Politico (Mike Allen): Democrat Prospects for 2014 Midterms are “Bleak”

The Blaze: ‘This Is Bad’: Are Democrats Starting to Panic About 2014

Then I checked Real Clear Politics today and it appears as if Democratic prospects aren’t as horrifying as everyone says. Far from it. In fact, if the election were held today, nothing at the congressional or gubernatorial levels would change all that significantly. Sorry, folks, your fabricated narrative is horseshit.

Before we get into the midterm numbers… CONTINUE READING

Posted in Election 2014, The Daily Banter | Tagged , | Leave a comment

Morning Awesome

Marc Cohn – “Walking in Memphis”

Posted in Morning Awesome, Music | Tagged | 3 Comments

Loopholes

TaxDoughnut

Artist – Pat Bagley

In other news, Burger King is reportedly planning to buy Tim Hortons and then move their headquarters to Canada so they can pay fewer taxes in what’s known as a “tax inversion.”

Meanwhile, Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has mysteriously become the recipient of campaign donations from a company he just gave a tax break to. There’s nothing dubious about that at all.

Ashley Furniture fired over 1,400 employees in Wisconsin after Walker voted to give them a $6 million tax break.

Posted in Food, Open Thread, Taxes | Tagged , , , , | 1 Comment

What Could Go Wrong?

A former police officer and convicted rapist who tried to rape a women with his pistol has had his rights to own a gun restored by an appeals court in Georgia.

The full details of the assault he was convicted for are stomach churning and revolting and I won’t share it here, but I will say it involved using his gun to penetrate a woman. A gun he can now legally carry again. And that’s not all.

via ThinkProgress

According to the Atlanta Journal-Constitution, “[h]is record was filled with allegations of misconduct: that he beat a prisoner so severely the man’s brain bled; that he threatened to fabricate charges against a suspect so he could sleep with the man’s wife; that he pressured at least 10 women for sex to avoid arrest.” The former cop, for his part, is unrepentant. When asked about his sexual assault conviction, he claims that “[t]here wasn’t any crime,” and that “I was dealt a bad hand.”

When tragedies occur that were seemingly preventable, mental illness is a common scapegoat that people point toward, but there are also cases where preventable crimes are consciously enabled. This is one of those cases.

No one knows for sure if serial rapist Dennis Krauss will hurt anyone ever again, but why take that chance? Why enable him to carry a gun into bars, churches, libraries, or nightclubs; all of which are now perfectly legal in Georgia.

Posted in Georgia, WTF | Tagged , , | 4 Comments

Rand Paul’s Double-Speak on Racial Injustice

RandvsRand

As you may recall Senator Rand Paul (R-KY) wrote an op-ed two weeks ago denouncing the militarization of the police and unequal justice. And while I predicted that he would walk his comments back within a day, ultimately it took him a little over a week to change positions.

Rand son of Ron appeared on NBC’s Meet the Press yesterday and said that events in Ferguson, Missouri may have “had nothing to do with race.”

“Let’s say you’re African-American and you live there, let’s say none of this has to do with race. It might not, but the belief — if you’re African-American and you live in Ferguson, the belief is, you see people in prison and they’re mostly black and brown, that somehow it is racial, even if the thoughts that were going on at that time had nothing to do with race.

So it’s a very good chance that had this had nothing to do with race, but because of all of the arrests and the way people were arrested, that everybody perceives it as, ‘My goodness, the police are out to get us,’ you know? And so that’s why you have to change the whole war on drugs. It’s not just this one instance.”

While Rand uses one hand to agree with you, he uses the other hand to muddy the waters.

To imply that racial injustice is actually a matter of perception rather than reality is not helpful. And it’s cynical.

Many people will see Rand’s comments and understand them for what they are — empty pandering. But many more (mostly white people) will see his comments and mistake them for genuine sentiment or profound positions.

Rand Paul has no genuine sentiments or positions. He’s a changeling.

There are good reasons why some of us in the blogosphere choose not to side with Rand even when it appears that we agree on something, and this is emblematic of that. He cannot be counted on and even the positions you find yourself agreeing with are ambiguous.

When Rand embarked on a joint campaign with Senator Cory Booker to denounce the state of our overcrowded prisons and the policies that created them, I would have liked to endorse that campaign. But fast forward to today and Rand has implied that racial injustice may be a matter of perception rather than reality.

Sometimes the perception is the reality. Sometimes if it looks like a duck and quacks like a duck, it is a duck.

Rand Paul is capable of understanding this, but he’s incapable of taking a principled stand on it. He can’t.

Rand says we have to “change the whole war on drugs” and I agree, but ending the war on drugs won’t end the war on black men and he doesn’t believe the latter is real.

In the free market of ideas idolized by libertarians like Rand Paul, we don’t need policies like the Civil Rights Act or the Voting Rights Act because racism is just an idea that can be voted out through osmosis.

Posted in Ethics, Justice, Racism, Rand Paul | Tagged | 5 Comments

Unarmed While Black

The so-called liberal media is at it again, referring to an unarmed teen as an “unarmed teen.” And referring to a teenager who is unarmed as “unarmed” is reverse racism. Or something.

FoxMediaBias

via Media Matters

A Fox News segment asked whether the “unarmed teen” description of Michael Brown is misleading and featured Fox contributor Linda Chavez arguing that such a description enhances racial fears and is an attempt to play the “race card.”

On August 25, Chavez and Fox & Friends co-host Steve Doocy aired surveillance footage from the convenience store that Michael Brown allegedly robbed before his death, and used this to argue that describing Brown as an “unarmed teen” at the time of the shooting is misleading. [...]

During the segment on Fox, on-screen text asked if the “unarmed teen” description of Michael Brown was misleading while Chavez argued that Brown was an adult male “who is six foot four and weighs almost three hundred pounds”

If words still have meaning, referring to a teenager who does not possess a weapon as an “unarmed teen” is entirely accurate.

If anyone is “playing the race card” it would be those who are implying that Michael Brown was armed with his bare hands. Because as long as we aren’t kidding ourselves, you know Fox News wouldn’t split hairs if an unarmed white teenager was referred to as an “unarmed teen.” And neither would most people because, for those who reside in empirical reality, words do still have meaning.

To say that Michael Brown was a big scary black man and that he wasn’t unarmed because he was armed with big black scariness is conclusively racist. Among other things.

If you’ve been on the fence about this issue, this should give you pause because apparently being unarmed while black is the same thing as being armed while black. And if black people are treated as if they’re armed at all times, even when they aren’t — they don’t stand a chance.

Posted in Racism | Tagged , , , , | 7 Comments

The Way Backward

“Do you want to deport me and my sister?”

That was the question an activist asked Paul Ryan at a book-signing for The Way Foward on Saturday and Ryan’s response was quintessential.

“A couple weeks ago you voted for defunding DACA. It would put me and my sister up for deportation and we just had a question: do you want to deport me and my sister?”

RYAN: Thanks for coming. Read my book.

“We read it but do you want to deport me and my sister?”

RYAN: I want you to read the book.

Mister Ryan, are you one of the lizard people?

“Read my book.”

The brother and sister pair who initially asked Ryan if he wanted to deport them was escorted away by a police officer.

Another man attempted to ask a similar question and was quickly whisked away by Ryan’s staff but not before snapping a photo with Ryan and his shit-eating grin. And since Paul Ryan wouldn’t answer their questions, we can all answer on his behalf. And the answer is yes, he does want to deport them.

Behind Ryan’s best Madame Tussauds grin is a man who views minorities and the poor with contempt.

Ryan’s views on the matter have been annually telegraphed in his policy proposals and interviews off the beaten path where he has revealed his reverence for the likes of Charles Murray and Ayn Rand. His views are evident in the votes he has taken including his recent vote to end deferred action.

When Ryan is referred to as a “wonk” by the press what they’re really referring to is the innocent disguise Ryan has pulled over his face to obscure the fact that he is an arch conservative who steals lollipops from the hands of babies when he’s not kissing them.

The Republican party’s unrelenting xenophobia will be an inescapable factor in the 2016 election.

(h/t TPM)

Posted in Immigration | Tagged , , , | 9 Comments

Sarah Palin’s Ice Bucket Challenge is Funnier Than You Think

For the first time ever, a video of Sarah Palin is funny for the right reasons. Normally, we find ourselves laughing at a Sarah Palin video because she either hilariously bungles a softball question; or because she can’t describe the duties of the office for which she’s running; or because she totally botches a major historical event; or because she somehow conflates fast food workers with purgatory. We’re all familiar with the greatest hits.

Then along comes her ALS Ice Bucket Challenge video, culminating with a joke that’s intentionally funny.

Now, it’s important to note here that the joke is preceded by a head-scratchingly bizarre speech. It’s also important to note that the joke doesn’t appear to have come from Palin herself but instead as a surprise from an off-camera participant. I think you can see where this is headed. Let’s go through this mess beat-by-beat.

1) Palin Live From a Flea-Market. Like all of her Sarah Palin Channel videos, she’s obviously in her house somewhere, but the “set” looks like she’s either running a booth at an Etsy trade convention, or she’s selling tchotchkes at a rummage sale. In the frame we see Palin surrounded by the following items: a conch shell; a bottle of soda; an empty glass; handwritten notes; a check book; a small silver deer-head ice bucket; a random red cup with what appears to be the Philadelphia Phillies “P” logo; a bucket of pine cones; a framed flag; a American flag hanging from the wall; a potted plant; a repro antique lamp; and a make-up mirror. Why are these things here? Who the fuck knows. It reminds me of Steve Martin’s random “all I need is this thermos” scene at the end of The Jerk: “All I need is this conch shell. And this bucket of pine cones. And this deer bucket. And this…” Anyway, I suppose the setting could be a lot worse.

2) Palin Prim and Proper. Apparently the lady who hasn’t turned down a chance to exploit her family in a poorly-rated reality show and who made this face on national TV… CONTINUE READING

Posted in Sarah Palin, The Daily Banter | 3 Comments

Morning Awesome

Rush – “The Larger Bowl” Live

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The Next Exit

NextFerguson

Artist – Steve Sack

In other news, Jim DeMint’s Heritage Foundation is urging Republican lawmakers to pass measures to fund militias and vigilante groups if the president issues an executive order on immigration.

What could go wrong?

Meanwhile, the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights now estimates that at least 191,369 people have been killed in Syria since fighting began in March of 2011.

Posted in Open Thread, Syria | Tagged , , , | 6 Comments

Rand Paul is a Moderate on Immigration? Hardly

bcs_rand_ron_paul

We now have a better idea of why Rand Paul quickly exited stage right when Steve King was confronted by DREAMer activists earlier this month.

While Rand didn’t have the courage to spell out his views in public, he tells Breitbart dot com that he supports House Republican legislation that would end the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) program.

He said he believes the legislation would “go a long way” to mitigating the problem of thousands of Central American countries seeking refuse in the United States.

I’m supportive of the House bill and I think it will go a long way to fixing the problem,” Paul told Breitbart.com, a conservative website.

This may come as a bit of a shock if you believed Rand son of Ron when he said that he has sympathy for DREAMers and that he’s actually a moderate on immigration.

Explaining his departure Wednesday during a radio interview in Iowa, Paul said, “I’ll be honest with you, I’m not interested in being filmed and berated by people who broke the law and are here illegally to try and convince me about policy. But I’ll tell you I have sympathy for the DREAM Act kids. I’m actually a moderate on immigration.”

Rand Paul is such a moderate he wants to deport them all.

During his recent trip to Guatemala Senator Paul spoke out against the president’s immigration policy quite forcefully and blamed President Obama rather than Guatemala for the conditions that led to increase migration,

“I told him, frankly, that I didn’t think the problem was in Guatemala City, but that the problem was in the White House in our country, and that the mess we’ve got at the border is frankly because of the White House’s policies,” Paul told Brietbart News in an article published Thursday. [...]

“But I think what’s happened at the border is all squarely at the president’s lap,” Paul said. “The problem and the solution aren’t in Guatemala. The problem and solution reside inside the White House.

The problem is squarely at the president’s lap?

The Los Angeles Times reported last week that at least five children who were recently deported to Honduras have been murdered.

“There are many youngsters who only three days after they’ve been deported are killed, shot by a firearm,” said Hector Hernandez, who runs the morgue in San Pedro Sula. “They return just to die.”

At least five, perhaps as many as 10, of the 42 children slain here since February had been recently deported from the U.S., Hernandez said.

Immigrants who have recently come to America, a majority of whom are less than 10-years old, have primarily done so to escape escalating violence in their home countries.

For Rand to go to Guatemala and pretend that everything in Central America is fine while denouncing his own president is ugly partisanship. It is neither moderate or sympathetic.

The solution rests inside the halls of Congress where it has slept for over a year. It was over a year ago that Senate Democrats passed a comprehensive immigration reform bill that would have dealt, once and for all, with today’s problems. But according to Rand, the real solution is to pass the pathetic bill House Republicans voted on before leaving town for the August recess; a bill aimed explicitly at deporting children.

Rand may be right that Harry Reid won’t bring the bill up for a vote, but he’s wrong about the reason why. It’s not because Democrats are vulnerable, it’s because the bill is garbage.

Posted in Immigration, Rand Paul | Tagged , , | 7 Comments

Diet Racism

Here’s College Humor with an entirely accurate and hilarious mockery of everyday racism.

Enjoy the refreshing taste of Diet Racism. The same sweet ignorance of regular racism but with none of the guilt or self-awareness. [...]

It’s the perfect beverage for people who don’t directly contribute to oppression but have strong opinions about how other cultures should handle it.

The official beverage of the Washington Redskins.

Posted in Comedy, Racism | Tagged , | 2 Comments

Steve King’s Dogwhistles and Rational Society

SteveKing-wide

Secret Border Control Agent Steve ‘Calves the Size of Cantaloupes” King (R-IA) is concerned about events in Ferguson and he believes it’s emblematic of an “irrational society” and not representative of our white progenitors.

Those aren’t the exact words he used, but if you read closely it’s all there.

KING: Well, and that’s something, seems to be I’m constantly in the middle of all of that. But the reason that I do step up and say these things, Jan, is because I think first of all we’re a nation that is partially, at least our culture and civilization was built on a number of things but it was certainly built on reason and our ability to reason. And it emerged through our culture and civilization through the Greeks all across western Europe here to this continent. And if we had not developed a foundational civilization that’s rooted in our faith and in our work ethic, in our morality and in our ability to reason we couldn’t have ever developed science and technology, we couldn’t have had a rational basis to do the things that we do. And so if this society is going to reject reason, and move towards an irrational society — by the way, it’s irrational what’s happening down in Ferguson, Mo. It’s irrational. Even if their allegation is true, and the cop is innocent until proven guilty.

In so many words King is denouncing a broad swath of people based on skin color. I can think of no other way to interpret his glorification of Greek and European (read: white) society and it’s reverent values.

Those unassailable white values brought us nearly 200 years of slavery in America which certainly wasn’t rooted in our work ethic, morality, or ability to reason.

In hindsight King may be right that protestors in Ferguson are not representative of his values, and if that’s the case then it’s a good thing.

Taken in the context of what it means to be Steve King, with his pattern of racial dogwhistling and fearmongering, King’s comments can only be seen as a promotion of white supremacy. And if what King sees as rational society is a fearful society of racists and authoritarians who promote unequal protection under the law — who needs it?

He can keep his glorious society of enlightened white supremacists. We don’t need it.

Posted in Racism | Tagged , , | 9 Comments

Download This Week’s After Party Podcast! $2 per Download!

bcsap_limbaugh

NEW! Download this week’s show via our new Band Camp page. No subscription necessary. Only $2 per download! Major credit and debit cards accepted.

If you’re already a member, go on in.

This Week’s Pulse-Pounding Episode: Chez is Live From Ferguson with More Stories About Pepper Spray and Police Violence; Ben Cohen from The Daily Banter Joins Us Again; The Story Behind Sending Chez to Missouri; Kevin Sorbo Calls Ferguson Protesters ‘Losers’ and ‘Animals’; Ben Gets in a Fight During a Date; No Understanding of the History Behind Ferguson Protesters; Drunken Rush Limbaugh Conflates Benghazi, The IRS Non-Scandal and Ferguson; and much more.

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