Friday, July 31, 2015

Earth: 3015


via Politico: Cruz Would Shutdown Government Shutdown over Planned Parenthood

"In a Wednesday interview, Cruz said the GOP should go as hard as it canto block funding for Planned Parenthood, including the same strategy he tried to use to defund Obamacare in 2013: force the issue by blocking funding in a government spending bill that must pass by Sept. 30."

eye'm thynkin':  You go, Ted!  Open the election season with another Ted Cruz fiasco, and the Democrats won't even have to campaign.

Read more at: Politico

GOP on Planned Parenthood Videos - Is Fetal-Tissue Really the Issue?

Recently released undercover videos of Planned Parenthood doctors discussing the "sale" of fetal-tissue from abortions has been all over the news in recent days; and Republican lawmakers have been front and center in denouncing Planned Parenthood as trafficking in aborted fetuses.  But is fetal-tissue really the primary target of the GOP's outrage?

what eye thynk:  To judge by the GOP record in the passage of a 22 year old law, the Republican scream-fest that has been going on over the Planned Parenthood videos--videos that have been outted as being deceptively edited-- has very little to do with "protecting" fetal-tissue and everything to do with the GOP opportunistically snatching at another tool to keep the anti-abortion vote whipped up and looking for liberal blood.

As House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) pointed out in response to a media question about the video controversy, when legislation to allow the use of fetal-tissue from abortions for medical research was passed in 1993, the Republican Party--including Mitch McConnell--voted for it.  The final vote was 93-4.  No matter what math you use, that vote count demonstrates overwhelming Republican support.

The 1993 law allows abortion providers to make fetal-tissue from abortions available only to medical researchers and prohibits providers from profiting by it.  Even with their creative editing, the videos' makers could provide no proof that Planned Parenthood was working beyond these lawful limitations.  The law does allow for the kind of expense-covering compensation Planned Parenthood staffers are shown discussing in the videos.

Despite a lack of evidence of any wrong-doing on Planned Parenthood's part, 22-year fetal-tissue research supporter Mr. McConnell fast-tracked a bill on Friday that would defund Planned Parenthood.  On Wednesday, Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) said he would support another government shutdown in his effort to see Planned Parenthood closed.  

As MSNBC's Steve Benen wrote, Republicans are "outraged that Planned Parenthood is doing exactly what Congress authorized the group to do!...GOP lawmakers are apoplectic, literally threatening a government shutdown over Planned Parenthood funding, because they've seen videos that reminded them that fetal-tissue research has been legal and common for the last 22 years."

If honesty were in play here, (cough), Republicans would admit that "protecting" fetal-tissue is secondary to the opportunities presented by the videos to whip up the anti-abortion vote.  And, in the on-going Republican war on legal abortion, if other women's health services like breast exams and pap smears that Planned Parenthood provides are eliminated  in the process, well, that's just collateral damage. 


After all, if these women had any money, they'd be going elsewhere for their healthcare, right? And in Republican-land, if you don't have enough money, you don't count.

Thursday, July 30, 2015

via The Nation: How Rand Paul Could Have Profited From a Debt Ceiling Crisis He Helped Create

(All underlines are mine.)

Senator Rand Paul is invested in a fund that would skyrocket in value if the United States economy were to default.  He'd also like your vote for president.

 (His investment used a) maneuver of essentially betting against the US economy...known as 'shorting T-bills.'... 

...One thing complicates Paul's investment: his leading role in efforts to not raise the debt ceiling.  A default would cause his holdings to skyrocket; even the threat of default has the potential to roil markets and boost Paul's RRPIX investment...

Senators have to file financial disclosure forms so the public can fully judge their public versus personal motivations in broad daylight: and quite interestingly, Paul hid these holdings during the debt ceiling crisis.

eye'm thynkin':  A Republican attempting to profit from his seat in Congress?  I'm trying to find my "Shocked Face."

Read more at: The Nation

via MSNBC: Who Wins the War Between Us and Iran?

"The Senate Armed Services Committee held its own hearing (on Wednesday) on the international nuclear agreement with Iran, which regrettably went about as well as the other congressional hearings on the issue.  Sen. Lindsey Graham (R-S.C.), a Republican presidential candidate and one of his party's most unyielding hawks, got especially animated during an exchange with Defense Secretary Ashton Carter..."


eye'm thynkin': This is Republican war-mongering at it's best.

Read more at: MSNBC, Rachel Maddow


Trump and Palin, Together At Last?

Sarah Palin and Donald Trump - thanks to Getty and Rex Features for images

Last month, shortly after Donald Trump announced he was running for president, I published a half-in-jest post about Sarah Palin positioning herself to be his V.P.

what eye thynk:  Apparently the joke is on me.  

On Monday, The Donald talked to Kevin Scholla, host of The Palin Update.  (Why such a radio show would exist defies all logic; but it is a fact that the show is part of the weekly programming on Mama Grizzly Radio.  Maybe, after being canned by Fox--again--Mr. Scholla was the only one hiring?)

Anyway, Mama Grizzly host Scholla--who seems to be unaware that La Palin bailed as Alaska governor before her first term was over--asked top Republican candidate for president Trump if he could see himself "picking up the phone, giving the governor a call and picking her brain on some things, or perhaps having her along in some official capacity."

And here's the joke-is-on-me part:  Trump responded, "I'd love that.  Because she really is somebody who knows what's happening and she'as a special person.  She's really a special person and I think people know that... Everybody loves her.  (Voters) like the Sarah Palin kind of strength.  You just don't see very much of it anymore."

To which I would add: Thank, God.

Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Retired Army General Joins the Anti-Gun Discussion


Retired U.S. Army General Russel Honore, best known for leading the Katrina recovery operation, spoke to USA Today following the movie shooting in his home state of Louisiana.  

"As a country we're in a state of denial because we've confused the right to bear arms with the right to carry arms all the time anywhere or anyplace you want... I've been around guns all my life, but when I was growing up they were locked in the cabinet unless you needed them for hunting."

He added that, during his time in the military, even soldiers "were required to clear their weapons and turn them in as soon as they came in from the field...Our biggest problem before Desert Storm was (soldiers) accidentally firing their weapons--and they're trained."

"We have to have a different kind of conversation in America and be prepared to speak about the politically unspeakable.  We've got a problem in this country, and at some point the politicians have to get down into the community and find some answers to this problem... We've got to rethink and re-set our thoughts about guns.  We have to focus less on ideology and more on practicality."

what eye thynk:  General Honore is saying what most of the country is saying: Enough!

We have the NRA and the politicians who fear the NRA to thank for our "anywhere or anyplace" mindset.  In order to "speak about the politically unspeakable," some of those politicians are going to have to leave their cowardice--a cowardice born simply from a desire to protect their own position in the political hierarchy--at the door.  They are going to have to acknowledge that, when our U.S. Congress is too frightened to pass the type of universal background check legislation supported by 88% of Americans, we've given too much control to Wayne LaPierre and his organization.

The NRA's constant push for more guns in more places is not making us safer.  It's just giving a license to every gun-owning nutcase in the country to strut their inadequacies in public.  It is making it impossible to tell the good guys from the bad guys.  It is making our public spaces dangerous to inhabit and impossible to enjoy.  Nobody needs an assault rifle to buy a burrito; you shouldn't need a pistol to enjoy popcorn at a movie.

We can't let the sentiment voiced in the graphic at the top of this post be the end.

When our politicians won't push back, when they view their NRA rating as more important than the voices of the people they are pledged to represent, it's time for new politicians.

Tuesday, July 28, 2015

Obama Exposes an Inept and Hate-filled GOP on the World Stage

President Obama speaking in Ethiopia

Earlier this month, and just weeks before the first Republican presidential nomination debate, the Obama administration along with France, Great Britain, China, Russia and Germany reached a nuclear arms agreement with Iran.  The Republicans, of course, hate it. 
what eye thynk:   The hardest thing for those in contention for the Republican nomination was to make their "I hate it" moment stand out from the crowd.  In their rush for the spotlight, none of them seem able to grasp that the U.S. did not reach this agreement alone.  All their ire is aimed squarely at the man they love to hate.
The Hate:

1 -- Senator Ted Cruz (R-Texas) called President Obama the "largest sponsor of terrorism in the world."  (Second only to race-baiting in the Republican agenda is being able to equate Obama and  "terrorism.")

2 -- Donald Trump (R) called the deal "dangerous" and "horrible." (Pretty calm for Mr. Trump; but then Iran doesn't have many Mexicans.)

3 -- Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker (R) said he would rip up the Iran deal "on day one." (Because nothing promotes America's trustworthiness in the world like saying our word is only good for four years, then all bets are off.)

4 -- Senator Marco Rubio (R-Florida) issued a statement saying "I have said from the beginning of this process that I would not support a deal with Iran... (It will be up) to the next President to return us to a position of American strength and re-impose sanctions on this despicable regime..."  (See #4 above.)

5 -- Jeb Bush (R) said "This isn't diplomacy--it is appeasement." (Fails to recognize that appeasement can sometimes be an important ingredient in diplomacy--in rational circles, it is called "compromise.")

6 -- Senator Rand Paul (R-Kentucky) was a bit more nuanced.  He said he continued "to believe that negotiations are preferable to war," but concluded that he would "vote against the agreement." (Which makes no sense, but then, this is Rand Paul.)

7 -- Senator Lindsey Graham (R-So.Carolina) feels the deal makes the Obama administration "weak in the eyes of the Iranians." (And nothing keeps America looking strong like signing a letter and sending it to Iran behind the President's back to warn the Iranians and the other negotiating countries to back off--while negotiations are still going on.)

8 -- Mike Huckabee (R) said with the Iran deal, the President "will take the Israelis and march them to the door of the oven." (I wasn't the only one to think that, in his zeal, Mr. Huckabee, had gone a bit too far. Israel's Transport Minister Yisreal Katz responded, "Dear Mr. Huckabee, no one is marching Jews to the ovens anymore.  That is why we established the State of Israel and the Israel Defense Forces, and if necessary, we will know how to defend ourselves by ourselves."  Ouch.)

Of course, the GOP rank and file wanted a piece of the action:

1 -- Senator Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R- Kentucky) "It appears as if the administration's approach to this was to reach whatever agreement the Iranians are willing to enter into.  So I think it's going to be a very hard sell." (Check the negotiation committee roster again, Mitch.  This is not "the administration's" deal.  There were five other world powers at that table discussing and, yes, *shudder*, even compromising, to reach this agreement.)

2 -- Senator Tom Cotton (R-Arkansas) said that, to reach an agreement, Secretary of State John Kerry had "acted like Pontius Pilate." (Bonus points were earned for working a Christian Bible reference in there.)

3 -- Senator Bob Corker (R-Tennessee) The "deal...is going to be dangerous for the United States and dangerous for the world." (I wonder if France, Germany, Russia, China and Great Britain know about this?!)

4 -- House Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) vowed that Republicans would "do everything possible to stop" the deal. (Because "stopping" is what they do best.)

The President's Expose:

Speaking in Ethiopia, President Obama put the GOP's Iran deal rhetoric into perspective, basically calling it just more Republican same ol'/same ol'.  

President Obama said, "The particular comments of Mr. Huckabee are, I think, part of just a general pattern that we've seen that is--would be considered ridiculous if it weren't so sad. We've had a sitting senator call John Kerry Pontius Pilate.  We've had a sitting senator who also happens to be running for President suggest that I'm the leading state sponsor of terrorism. These are leaders in the Republican Party.  The part of what historically has made America great is, particularly when it comes to foreign policy, there's been a recognition that these issues are too serious, that issues of war and peace are of such grave concern and consequence that we don't play fast and loose that way.  We have robust debates, we look at the facts, there are going to be disagreements.  But we just don't fling out ad hominem attacks like that, because it doesn't help inform the American people."

"I mean, this is a deal that has been endorsed by...historic Democratic and Republican leaders on arms control and on keeping America safe.  And so when you get rhetoric like this, maybe it gets attention and maybe this is just an effort to push Mr. Trump out of the headlines, but it's not the kind of leadership that is needed for American right now..."

"...The point is we're creating a culture that is not conducive to good policy or good politics.  The American people deserve better.  Certainly, presidential debates deserve better.  In 18 months, I'm turning over the keys--I want to make sure I'm turning over the keys to somebody who is serious about the serious problems the country faces and the world faces.  And that requires on both sides, Democrat and Republican, a sense of seriousness and decorum and honesty."
It's in the Republican Party's DNA to hate President Barack Obama--the issues aren't important.  They can't help themselves.  In 2008, the U.S. stood at the top of a mountain where American race relations could have taken a huge positive step.  Instead, the Republican Party decided to turn around and march in lock-step back down that peak.  Each year has seen their pace accelerate.
In these nascent days of the 2016 presidential election season, leading Republicans are plummeting head first into the muck at the mountain's base.  Deaf to all but their own voices, their insular cheering has fed their hubris to the point where they are blind to the damage they are doing--not only to us as a people and a country--but to our standing in the world and with other world leaders (and fellow negotiators).  
As PoliticusUSA.com's Jason Easley wrote yesterday, 
"The Republican Party is not serious or capable of governing... The Republican Party is not engaging in serious discussions about the issues.  The race for their presidential nomination is a chaotic circus where nothing important is ever discussed... Our political culture is toxic because Republicans aren't holding up their end of the two-party system bargain.  The country (deserves) better than one functional political party and a GOP that has been consumed by raging white males who are fighting to keep their entitled status..." 
"...The Republican Party is an embarrassment, and President Obama stood up on the world stage and ripped their ridiculousness." 
 The world--both ally and adversary alike--is aware of the accelerating antagonistic atmosphere that exists in this country.  If the GOP can't find a way to slow down their stampede to the bottom, our allies will abandon us as untrustworthy and our enemies will be only too happy to identify us as the weakest calf in the herd.

Monday, July 27, 2015

July 27 - Monday Quote

Last week, in an interview with "Fox and Friends," Rubio commented that the way Donald Trump is campaigning is not "worthy of the office that he seeks."

He could have left it at that and I would have applauded him.  Instead he continued, "We already have a president now that has no class."

Mr. Rubio's comment is just another example of how the entire Republican Party has demonstrated a heretofore unknown lack of class and/or respect for the office of the President of the United States ever since Barack Obama won the 2008 election. 

Today's quote is the best response I've seen to Mr. Rubio's own personal lack of class.

monday quote:
"'No class,' that's a slur against the man.  He's been immaculate in the presidency.  Nobody has accused him of any corruption.  He's done everything right.  He worked hard in school.  He got into good schools.  He got to be Head of Harvard (Law) Review in a blind test to get in, it had nothing to do with minority or affirmative action, none of that.  He got all the way through and instead of going and grubbing the money on Wall Street, he went out to people and his community...He's done everything that these right-wing white conservatives say we are supposed to be in this country.  He's done everything right.  And then this sleazy comment that he has no class.  What does that mean?
I'd love to get (Marco Rubio) under Sodium Pentothal and say, 'Buster, what do you mean by no class?  What do you mean by that?' and find out what he does mean.  It's a cheap slur that works with the cheap seats in the Republican Party.  You know it does.  It doesn't mean anything,  (President Obama) has plenty of class." 
(Chris Matthews, political commentator and host of Hardball on MSNBC, 1945-     ) 

Sunday, July 26, 2015

Just Thinking...

what eye thynk:  The real reason the Republican Party has so little respect for education: Teaching conservative voters the meaning of big words would give them the means to think for themselves, and the GOP game would be up.  

Keep 'em stupid! Keep 'em ours!



Saturday, July 25, 2015

Jeb's (sort of) Evolving Opinion of Single Mothers is Still Wrong

In 1995, Jeb Bush (R) published a book he called "Profiles in Courage." One chapter carried the title "Restoration of Shame."  In it he said we had a high percentage of out-of-wedlock births because: "There is no longer a stigma attached to this behavior, no reason to feel shame... Their parents and neighbors have become ineffective at attaching some sense of ridicule to this behavior. There was a time when neighbors and communities would frown on out-of-wedlock births and when public condemnation was enough of a stimulus for one to be careful."  He went on to cite children raised by single mothers as the cause of our "social ills."

Six years later, in 2001, then Florida Governor Jeb Bush--having been given some authority to act on the convictions he voiced in his book--allowed a little document that became known as the "Scarlet Letter Law" to be enacted.   It required women who did not identify the father of their babies to first publish their sexual histories in a newspaper before they could put their newborns up for adoption.  At the time, Jeb said he allowed the bill to slide into Florida's law books without his signature because he had been told that the newspaper requirement would be changed. Marco Rubio, then a member of Florida's state legislature, voted for the law.

The newspaper requirement had yet to be changed or removed when, in 2003, a Florida court struck down the law and Jeb signed a repeal.

Last month, while Mr. Bush was still raking in questionable Republican dollars prior to officially announcing his presidential campaign, he claimed his opinions on single parenthood had "evolved." 

what eye thynk:  Judging from comments he made during a July European visit, they may have evolved, but he still doesn't seem to hold much respect for the ability of a woman to raise a child on her own. "It hurts the prospects, it limits the possibilities of young people being able to live lives of purpose and meaning."

I could make all sorts of obvious comments about his party's continued fight to limit a woman's access to family planning and how those limitations are a major and obvious contributing factor to the number of single women raising children. 

I could argue my opinion that it isn't single motherhood, but rather unwanted single motherhood that is the real problem--which is what happens when single women are denied access to birth control.  

I could make a case that continuing efforts from the Republican Party are responsible for the elimination of many single women's options.   But that's another subject for another time. 

Instead, I'd like to remind Mr. Bush of some very public evidence that, in his obvious and long-standing disdain for single mothers, he is painting the issue with too broad a brush.  




Friday, July 24, 2015

Dear Jeb--It's not an ENTITLEMENT When You've PAID For It

Jeb Bush at a July campaign stop in San Francisco

On Wednesday, presidential wanna-be Jeb Bush (R) spoke at an event hosted by the Koch brothers group Americans for Prosperity.  He told the attendees that he wants to completely "phase out" Medicare.  "We need to figure out a way to phase out this program."  He suggested that "people understand and agree with him on the issue."

what eye thynk:  First, he wants to eliminate the Affordable Care Act and now he wants to eliminate Medicare.  So I guess he wants to deny America's seniors--you know, people who don't have access to employer health care plans and who, being on fixed incomes, could not afford to purchase a plan on their own--access to affordable medical care so they'll die sooner and won't be such a burden on his rich buddies?  Wouldn't that be a Republican designed death panel?  Where's the screaming about that?

And exactly who are these "people who understand and agree with him?"  Nobody I know would think this is a good idea; but then I don't know the Kochs or any really rich people, so that might be why.

On Thursday, Jeb woke up to headlines saying how out of touch and wrong he is.  He tried to defend himself:  "To my point last night, here's what I said.  I said, first and foremost, whenever you get into a conversation about reforming entitlements, the first thing that you can be guaranteed of is that the left will attack you and demonize you."

Wait a minute here, Jeb.  ENTITLEMENTS?!  I paid for my Medicare with every paycheck of my life.  That is NOT an entitlement; that is MY money.  It's bad enough when the government starts to rake back my Social Security, but now you want my health lifeline too?

Let me explain that last sentence by telling a true and very personal story...
My husband worked over 30 years as a police officer. (Before you start, he never, in all his years of service, pulled his gun from its holster while on duty, so don't go there.)  He contributed to his union pension fund for all those years, taking approximately 10 years worth of contributions out to attend college.  He also spent nearly 20 years working in the private sector and paid into Social Security. 
He retired almost two years ago.  Prior to making the scary leap into the land of fixed incomes, we carefully plotted how much we needed each month.  With his 20-year pension left in the Ohio Public Employees Retirement System and our social security, we would be able to live, not lavishly--we weren't going to own a Lexus or jet off to Hawaii whenever the mood hit us--but we would be able to pay our bills and have a few bucks left over for a restaurant meal once in a while.  We were content.
Then, after all the papers were signed and the retirement party was just a memory, Social Security informed us that my husband's pension was considered a windfall under the Windfall Elimination Provision.  Yes, according to the powers that be, my husbands $21,000/year pension qualified as a WINDFALL.  And here's the kicker: that "windfall" resulted in his monthly Social Security check being reduced by TWO-THIRDS.  Again, that was HIS MONEY, money that was subtracted from his paycheck on every private sector payday for 20 years.  
I don't know about you, but at the time, I thought the Windfall thing was a good idea.  You know, reduce payments to the top earners so that the system works for those on the bottom.  I never expected that $21,000 would qualify us as too affluent.
So now, 22 months into what should have been our well-planned and comfortable if not extravagant golden years, we are both working part-time.  The irony is that we are forced to continue to contribute money to Social Security that we will never see.
And now Jeb wants our Medicare too.
I used to find Wal-Mart store greeters irritating.  Now I look at them and wonder if they were caught by the same Windfall Tripwire that we were.  And if they know that Jeb believes if they'd just work harder, the government could rake back their medical coverage too.  

Thursday, July 23, 2015

Republicans Say the Darndest Things: Scott Walker Says Obama is Doing Exactly What People Want

Wisconsin Governor
and Presidential Candidate
Scott Walker (R)

Campaigning for president in Iowa, Governor Scott Walker (R) told admirers, 
"What I think people are hungry for from their leaders in Washington--or the lack of leadership in Washington--is they want people who just tell them what they're going to do and then they go off and do it."
what eye thynk: (Holy Commander-in-Chief, Batman!  Does the rest of the GOP know about this?!)

Mr. Walker, do you mean:
  1. Like when President Obama said he would bring the country universal health care and then went off and got the Affordable Care Act passed?  
  2. Or like when he said we have to do something about climate change and after the GOP announced there was no such thing, went off, worked with the EPA, and later announced new environmental regulations?  
  3. Or maybe you're thinking of the time President Obama said we needed immigration reform and when your fellow Republicans balked, decided he'd take some steps himself?
  4.  Oh, wait, I know, it must be the time he said we need to find a new way to work with the Middle East--a way that doesn't involve sending Americans to die--and the GOP said it would never come to pass, sent his team to negotiate with Iran anyway and they brought back a nuclear arms agreement.
Listening to Scott Walker, you'd be tempted to believe that Republicans are really the President's biggest supporters. (And you thought no one in Washington could keep a secret.)

Wednesday, July 22, 2015

In Jeb's World, It's Not THAT You "Diss," but WHO You "Diss"



Donald Trump began his tasteless campaign for president by making downright nasty comments about immigrants, specifically Mexicans: "They're bringing drugs.  They're bringing crime.  They're rapists."  The GOP was silent.

Donald Trump's controversial remarks about Senator John McCain (R-Arizona), however, got a swift response both from the RNC: "There is no place in our party or our country for comments that disparage those who have served honorably." Most of the Republican presidential field voiced similar opinions.
what eye thynk:  My favorite example of selective "dissing," however, came from Jeb Bush.  
Jeb responded to Donald Trump's saying John McCain was not a hero by tweeting: "Enough with the slanderous attacks. @SenJohnMcCain and all our veterans - particularly POWs have earned our respect and admiration."
I guess Jeb ran over the Twitter 140 character limit since he didn't bother to finish.  I'm sure, being an honest man and all, that he meant to add "unless the veteran is a Democrat."
In 2004, after Col. Bud Day and his "Swift Boat Veterans" group ran a smear campaign against presidential candidate and decorated war hero John Kerry (D), who earned the Bronze Star medal with the "V" for valor designation, Jeb wrote a thank you letter to Mr. Day: "Please let them know that I am personally appreciative of their service to our nation.  As someone who truly understands the risk of standing up for something, I simply cannot express in words how much I value their willingness to stand up against John Kerry."
As MSNBC's Steve Benen said, "In this case, 'stand up to' was apparently a euphemism for 'tell lies about.'"
CNN's Jake Tappe asked why Jeb seems disgusted with attacks on one military veteran but praises attacks on another.  A Bush campaign spokesperson responded, "We reject the entire premise.  A thank you letter to Col. Bud Day...is not in any way analogous to condemning Donald Trump's slanderous attack on John McCain."  
If that response makes sense to you, you must be a Republican.
While I think that, since losing his bid for president, John McCain has lost his edge as a political leader and has become a caricature of himself, I can in no way condone disrespecting the service he gave to this country.  So I do agree with the RNC and Jeb on that.   
But Jeb saying that his thanking Republican (Bud Day) for slandering military hero (Democrat John Kerry) is "not in any way analogous" with Republican (Donald Trump) slandering military hero (Republican John McCain) is nonsense.

Tuesday, July 21, 2015

John Kasich & Ohio's Charter School Exec - It's an Interesting Story

Ohio Governor John Kasich (R)

On Sunday, it was reported that the Ohio Department of Education executive in charge of publishing ratings for the state's charter schools resigned after it became clear that his publications were somewhat less than honest.  His connection to Governor and latest Republican candidate for president John Kasich makes for some interesting reading.

what eye thynk:  Yesterday, while talking about our governor's imminent presidential announcement, my husband asked me what I did and didn't like about him.  Here's my list:

Likes:  
  1. He bucked the Republican Party line and extended Medicaid to Ohio's poor under the Affordable Care Act.
Dislikes:
  1. He was one of the handful of governors who refused to accept marriage equality even after a federal judge ordered Ohio to recognize the same-sex marriages of couples joined in other states, and continued to fight against same-sex marriage to the last.
  2. He signed legislation that puts all of Ohio's abortion providers in danger of closing. 
  3. He signed legislation that would allow fracking in state parks, helped with a campaign to get citizens behind the idea, then lied about it.
  4. He reversed legislation signed by his Democratic predecessor requiring 25% of Ohio's energy to come from renewable sources by 2025.
  5. He supported legislation that would have prohibited small political parties like the Libertarians or Green Party from appearing on state ballots.  At the time, the reasoning was that they might take votes away from Republican candidates--specifically Mr. Kasich's campaign for governor.
  6. He signed legislation that would require public schools requesting money for student mentoring programs to partner with a church or faith-based organization.
  7. Mr. Kasich was employed by Lehman Brothers until it collapsed in 2008.  When asked if he had any regrets from that period, he replied, "It was fantastic.  Are you kidding?  Regrets?  I thought it was a fantastic time...It was great."
And for #8, there is this story from Sunday's Washington Post: "Ohio's School Choice Chief Resigns After Giving Unfair Help to Charter Schools."  

A Summary:  David Hansen, the Ohio Education Department executive responsible for overseeing the state's charter schools, resigned after admitting that he dropped the "F" rating from failing schools to make charter schools look better in state evaluation reports.  His actions "boosted the ratings of two (charter school) sponsors" making them eligible for more state funds.

According to Steve Dyer, an education policy fellow at Innovation Ohio, the schools that had their "F" ratings hidden by Mr. Hanson just happen to be schools "run by the state's largest political donors."

Incidentally, Mr. Hansen also just happens to be married to Governor Kasich's chief of staff, Beth Hansen  Ms. Hansen plans to work for the Kasich for President campaign.

Nothing fishy here, folks...really, please move along.  

Oh, and be sure to vote Republican where honesty is as important to us as the poor, women, gays, education, the environment, and Jesus.

Monday, July 20, 2015

July 20 - Monday Quote

I am one person who hopes Donald Trump and his campaign circus continue to dominate the Republican race for president for months to come.  The longer he is front and center, the better it is for Democrats.
  
At least one of the "big boys" agrees with me.

monday quote:
"I am a person of faith, and The Donald's entry into this race can only be attributed to the fact that the Good Lord is a Democrat with a sense of humor."
(Paul Begala, political consultant and chief strategist for Bill Clinton's successful 1992 presidential campaign, 1961-    )

Sunday, July 19, 2015

Huffington Post Identifies Donald Trump for the Joke He Is

what eye thynk:  One article published by HuffingtonPost.com on Friday made me smile.  

Under the title "A Note About Our Coverage of Donald Trump's 'Campaign'" was this single paragraph:
"After watching and listening to Donald Trump since he announced his candidacy for president, we have decided we won't report on Trump's campaign as part of The Huffington Post's political coverage.  Instead, we will cover his campaign as part of our Entertainment section.  Our reason is simple:  Trump's campaign is a sideshow.  We won't take the bait.  If you are interested in what The Donald has to say, you'll find it next to our stories on the Kardashians and The Bachelorette."
I checked on Saturday and again today.  HuffingtonPost.com/entertainment/ is indeed where they are posting their Trump stories.  You can check for yourself here.

I copied this from the HuffPost Entertainment page today at 1:16PM. (Incidentally, the headline at that time was "Good News, Wizards!"--a story about how much it cost Harry Potter to attend Hogwarts.)  

Perfection!

The One Pregnancy Rumor Kim Kardashian 'Secretly Loved' Hearing

Donald Trump Will Not Apologize To John McCain

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Democrats Ask Boehner, Will It Be the Rock or the Hard Place?



Last week, in a non-binding voice vote, the U.S. House of Representatives agreed to ban the display and sale of Confederate flags in all National Parks.  The flag issue was added as an amendment to the National Parks spending bill by House Democrats.

House Republicans were outraged when they realized what they had voted for.  To keep peace, Speaker John Boehner (R-Ohio) once again demonstrated his lack of leadership skills by caving to Southern Republican legislators and slipping another amendment into the same bill that would reinstate the sale and display of the Confederate flag.  

Maybe he thought no one would notice the switch-a-roo before the final vote.  Unfortunately for Johnny-boy, his sneaky tactic was spotted.  Fearing that the Democrats would offer another amendment to reverse his amendment to the amendment (follow that?), Boehner decided instead to save face and just pull the entire bill from the House schedule. 
what eye thynk:   John Boehner should be considered something of a biological miracle, what with his being able to stand upright despite possessing a backbone consisting entirely of Jell-o.
On Thursday, House Democrats threw Speaker Boehner another curve ball, one that will be sure to keep his jellied spine quivering for weeks to come: they offered a compromise on the flag issue in return for work on approving an update to the Voters Right Act. 

In 2013, the Supreme Court determined that the formulas the Voters Right Act used to decide which states would need clearance from the Justice Department before changing their registration and elections procedures were outdated and therefore unconstitutional.  The only way to keep the sixty-year old act functioning as intended is for Congress to update it.  Despite efforts from congressional Democrats, Republican lawmakers in Washington have continued to balk at any update. 

Within days of the Court's decision, states like Texas, Alabama and North Carolina reinstated election restrictions that the Justice Department had vetoed just months earlier.  Since then, other states with Republican legislatures have created their own re-vamped voter regulations.  Voter ID laws have proliferated, college students have been prohibited from voting in the district in which they live during the school year and instead are told they must travel to their parent's homes to cast their ballot, early voting days have been reduced and those wishing to vote with absentee ballots are being required to jump through extra hoops to do so. Democrats claim that these new regulations are aimed at cutting down the number of minority, poor, and young voters because these two demographics tend to vote in favor of liberal agendas.

Representative James Clyburn (D-So.Carolina) said Democrats would stop pushing for the addition of Confederate flag amendments to appropriations bills, if Speaker Boehner's caucus would agree to work on updating the 1965 Voting Rights Act to bring it into line with the Supreme Court's ruling.

Speaking at a press briefing in the Capitol, Mr. Clyburn said, "I'm here to say to you that the members of the Congressional Black Caucus and the full Democratic Caucus are willing to sit down with the Speaker and work out a way for us to allow the proper display and utilization of...the flag in certain instances if he would only sit down with us and work out an appropriate addressing of the amendments to the Voting Rights Act... We believe that there's a proper place for all of us to honor our heritage, and nothing is more of a heritage to African-Americans than the right to vote."

Referencing the Charleston church massacre that has put the Confederate flag issue front and center across the country, House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi (D-California) said that GOP leaders needed to do more to address the institutional racism that seems to have taken hold of their party.  She added that this is "an opportunity for the Republican majority not just to send a condolence card or show up at a service, but to translate that into action.  And we are now segueing from the conversation about the flag to a conversation about voting rights."
The Democrats' offer has brilliantly exposed the basic social difference between the two parties, leaving John Boehner stuck between a rock and a hard place. He can either anger some in his caucus and accept the Democrats' offer in the hope that enough Southern legislators will forgive him and successful appropriations votes will follow; or he can keep everyone in his caucus happy by refusing the Democrats' offer, and find every appropriations vote over-shadowed by a very public and very embarrassing fight over the Confederate battle flag.
Option number two also brings with it the threat that Mr. Boehner's weak leadership will result in some federal agencies closing because he couldn't get the House to approve their individual spending bill.  If that happens, Republicans will find themselves slogging through the 2016 election season under the cloud of another GOP-spawned government agency shutdown. 
In short, Speaker Boehner can choose to either 1. Stand with racists to protect the GOP, or 2. Stand against racism to protect America.   
I can feel the gelatin quivering from here. 

Friday, July 17, 2015

Eye Recommend: Rip Off Our Arms and Beat Us With the Bloody Ends

Hillary Clinton participating in an immigration roundtable in Nevada earlier this year.


RIP OFF OUR ARMS AND BEAT US WITH THE BLOODY ENDS, by Steve Benen --
http://www.msnbc.com/rachel-maddow-show/rip-our-arms-and-beat-us-the-bloody-ends?CID=sm_fb_maddow
what eye thynk:  This article was published back in May.  Thanks to The Donald, things are even worse for the Republican Party today.
Hillary Clinton's remarks on immigration policy this week left quite a few people surprised.  For reform proponents and other liberal activists, the Democratic candidate's vision was far more ambitious than anyone expected.  For pundits expecting Clinton to run to the middle without a credible primary rival, her increasingly progressive platform is far from predictions...

...The Washington Post's Greg Sargent explained that the Democratic frontrunner has created an awkward problem for leading GOP contenders like Bush and Rubio:  "They don't want to condemn Clinton's remarks too vehemently, because they do want to preserve the chance of performing significantly better among Latinos than Mitt Romney did (which both can credibly claim they may succeed in doing).  Yet failing to condemn Clinton vehemently enough risks angering the conservatives they need in the GOP primary."
The Republican presidential hopeful hoard has not helped themselves with the Hispanic population by refusing to call Trump out for his over-the-top immigration and/or minority rhetoric...and for the the same reason: They don't want to offend all those conservative Trump lovers who are pushing him into the GOP's top-tier and risk looking bad in the early primaries.
Fergus Cullen, a former chairman of the Republican Party in New Hampshire, explained this in an even more colorful way:  his party's intransigence on the issue..."has created an obvious opportunity for Hillary to rip off our arms and beat us with the blood ends.  She's expertly exploiting our party's internal problems."
Those aren't "problems," Mr. Cullen; they're out and out prejudices.
GOP officials are well aware of Mitt Romney's ridiculously poor showing among Hispanic voters in 2012:  it's why the Republican National Committee's post-election autopsy avoided all policy prescriptions except one:  the party would have to pass immigration reform and take the issue off the table...

...Congressional Republicans, we now know, ignored the advice and killed popular, bipartisan reform plans, setting Democrats up to capitalize even oroe in 2016.

Clinton's remarks this week were about the substance of immigration policy, but note that she also referenced partisan politics covertly:  "Make no mistake:  Today not a single Republican candidate, announced or potential, is clearly and consistently supporting a path to citizenship."

Left unsaid: "If you thought Mr. Self-Deportation was bad, the 2016 field is worse."
(Cue Donald Trump.)
The GOP has spent six and a half years using prejudice--against Hispanics, against blacks, against women, against gays, against the poor, against non-believers--all in order to keep their white, Southern, aging base enraged and engaged. They've created their own presidential election year nightmare. 
Now they have just a few months to pretty-up the mess they've created and to dress it up so the whole country will buy what they're selling.  But no matter how many sequins they throw at it, hate is never going to be mistaken for Miss America. 

Thursday, July 16, 2015

Despite 19 Years of Evidence to the Contrary, NRA Warns Australia "There Will Be Blood"



In 1996, following a gun massacre that took the lives of 35 men, women, and children, and wounded another 23 in Port Arthur, Australia, the federal and state governments there took joint action in the form of new gun ownership regulations.

The National Firearms Agreement initiated bans on certain types of semi-automatic and self-loading rifles and shotguns.  Gun license applicants were required to pass a safety course and to show a "genuine reason" for owning a gun.  (Self-defense was not considered a sufficient reason.)  An applicant could be refused if there was "reliable evidence of a mental or physical condition which would render the applicant unsuitable for owning, possessing or using a firearm."  A waiting period of twenty-eight days was put in place before a license could be issued and permits were required for each weapon purchased.  New storage requirements, inspections, and greater restrictions on the sale of ammunition were added.

Australia implemented a national buyback program for weapons newly added to the country's banned firearms list that resulted in the surrender of 700,000 weapons.

Since 1996, gun-related deaths have fallen by approximately 7.5 percent every year.  Suicide by gun is down 65 percent.  Homicide by gun has remained below 50 nationally in each of the last ten years.   In 2010-11, America's homicide by gun rate was 370 times higher than Australia's.  But the most telling statistic may be this:  In the 17 years prior to the 1996 agreement, Australia saw 13 mass shootings.  The number since the agreement was passed to the present?  Zero.  

what eye thynk:  Our NRA, God bless there little gun loving hearts, wants to fix that.  

In an article charmingly titled "Australia, There Will Be Blood" published earlier this month in the NRA publication America's 1st Freedom, the NRA warns that Australians were "robbed...of their right to self-defense and empowered criminals. There is now a growing consensus among impartial researchers that disarming Australia's citizens did not make them safe."

Who these supposed "impartial researchers" are is a mystery; but going from one mass shooting every sixteen months to zero in nineteen years would seem to rebut the promise of bloody times ahead.  

Judging by the NRA's Twitter feed, their claim of a "growing consensus," doesn't fare any better.  Australians lined up to reply to the NRA with tweets like those from CameronJWood88:
 "#NRA Please, for the love of everything good, stop addressing Australia! Keep your blood money in the U.S.!"
 (the polite end of the spectrum.) and TonyNicho:
 "I think I can speak on behalf of many in Australia when I say F**k off NRA."
 (the not so polite, but more numerous locution).

Don Weatherburn, the Director of the Bureau of Crime Statistics and Research in New South Wales did tell the Sydney Morning Herald in 2005 that in the instance of armed robberies Australians did not feel the gun buyback program made them safer.  Mr. Weatherburn spoke to Mashable Australia about the  NRA's recent article and said not only were his quotes ten years old but were taken entirely out of context.  He confirmed that there is no proof the gun buyback reduced Australia's armed robbery rate, but, he said that was not its purpose.

But, hey, what's a guy like Wayne LaPierre to do? President Obama praised Australia in a recent speech focusing on common sense gun regulations like universal background checks that are favored by the vast majority of Americans, and the NRA couldn't let that go unanswered.  So they got caught twisting the facts a little.  The important thing to Wayne and his organization is that they got to wave their communal assault rifle in the air to demonstrate their solidarity with the rabid gun carrying nut cases who are afraid to shop for cereal at their local A&P without a fully loaded arsenal strapped to their backs.  

And that's all that counts...not you, not me, not our safety or that of our families, not what most Americans want, and certainly not evidence like that being tallied in Australia.  But then, what can you expect from the crowd who keeps their brain in an ammo box?

Tuesday, July 14, 2015

Republicans Say the Darndest Things: Rainbow Belongs to God, Not Gays

Newport Beach
City Councilman
Scott Peotter


First, I want to say that could not find any information confirming Scott Peotter's political affiliation; but if he's not a Republican, he sure is missing his calling.

Mr. Peotter, whose web page reports is a proud member of Mariners Church in Newport Beach, has a long history of intolerance toward the LGBT community.  In the late 1980s he belonged to the Irvine Values Coalition that sought to eliminate Irvine's human rights protections for gay and lesbian citizens.  He also attempted to prohibit Irvine's council from defining "sexual orientation as a fundamental human right."

With that type of history, it should come as no surprise that he is unhappy with the Supreme Court's ruling on same-sex marriage.  He has even managed to work his "Christian" faith into his ire, complaining about the gay rights movement's use of the rainbow which he seems to think belongs only to those who accept his narrow and apparently literal interpretation of the Bible.
"I do find it interesting that the homosexual movement adopted the rainbow as their symbol, as it was God's symbol that he wouldn't destroy the world by flood again.  Maybe they are wishful thinking...The homosexual movement is taking a symbol that was meant for something else and is corrupting it for their use."
what eye thynk:  No, Mr. Peotter, the gay rights movement did not steal the rainbow from God.  Rainbows aren't really property and so don't belong to anyone in particular.  No one has an exclusive right to their use, not even those  who worship at the Church of the Holy Bigot on Sunday.
  
As for the colors in the LGBT flag, they are meant to represent the diversity, equality, and acceptance due to all God's humans.  Sort of like the Bible's lesson to "love thy neighbor as thyself."

Just thought I'd mention that since it seems you missed that one, what with all your attempts to eliminate human rights protections for people who God created differently than yourself.  No need to thank me.

Monday, July 13, 2015

July 13 - Monday Quote

By now everyone knows the Treasury Department is considering adding a woman to the $20 bill.  At first I was really excited about this idea.  Then I realized that they don't intend to replace Hamilton, just add a woman along with his picture--sort of like an after thought.  When I realized that our government doesn't think a woman deserves a bill all to herself, my excitement level went down several notches.  I'm not against it, just living with a lesser degree of "Yippy" on the issue.

While the discussion continues, suggestions for which historical female should join Hamilton, (Susan B. Anthony is leading in the latest polls with Harriet Tubman coming in second) continue to be offered.  Gloria Steinem put forth Sojourner Truth, the woman who escaped slavery and became an abolitionist orator, but not before making a comment that is funny only because it is so sadly true.

monday quote:
"For awhile I thought we should just put the Koch brothers on and be done with it." 
(Gloria Steinem, feminist, political activist, 1934-  ) 

Sunday, July 12, 2015

County Clerks Facing a Choice: Jesus or Jail Time?


There have been multiple stories about county clerks across the country quitting rather than issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples following the Supreme Court's decision last month.  In Tennessee, an entire staff at one county clerk's office resigned.  

Then we have the tale of two (unrelated) Davises in Kentucky.

Casey Davis is one Kentucky clerk who has no intention of quitting.  Reporting on a meeting he had with Governor Steve Beshear (D), he said the governor told him to "'Issue marriage licenses or resign.' Those were the words.  I can't quit. I have a mortgage to pay." During the meeting, friends and family of Mr. Davis met in the Capital Rotunda to pray.


what eye thynk: Apparently he has no reservations about accepting a paycheck that is at least partially funded by Kentucky's gay taxpayers. Maybe he'd like to return the portion that comes from Kentucky's gay citizens?


And it's interesting that this upright, Christian and supposedly moral man sees nothing wrong with accepting a full paycheck while refusing to perform his full duties.

In a written statement, Governor Beshear said, "When he was elected, he took a constitutional oath to uphold the United States Constitution.  One of Mr. Davis' duties as county court clerk is to issue marriage licenses, and the Supreme Court now says that the United States constitution requires those marriage licenses to be issued regardless of gender."

Casey Davis is one of three Kentucky clerks who have presented letters to Governor Beshear asking that he recall the state legislature for a special session in order to change the state's marriage laws to protect county clerks who have religious objections to same-sex marriage.  The governor has declined.

Another Davis, this one Kim Davis of Rowan County, will be before U.S. District Judge David Bunning tomorrow.  She refused to issue marriage licenses to two same-sex couples and to two straight couples after the Supreme Court's ruling.  

Spitefully keeping everyone from marrying in Rowan County.  Jesus must be so proud of her!

The ACLU is seeking an injunction to force her to do her job.  A similar case was filed against Katie Lang, a county clerk in Texas.  When Ms. Lang refused a same-sex couple a license, stating that she didn't have any copies of the new form that replaced "Husband" and "Wife" with "Applicant 1" and "Applicant 2," the couple left and returned a few hours later with a copy of the correct form.  Another staff member then refused to accept their license fee.  Ms. Lang reappeared and confirmed that her office would not issue them a marriage license. 

The couple's lawyer filed a case in Texas court requesting an injunction against the clerk's office.  Less than two hours later, Ms. Lang's office issued the couple their marriage license. Defying the Texas court order would have put the clerks in danger of jail time. 

When forced to choose between Jesus and jail, it seems religion isn't that important after all. 

Kentucky's two Davises could face the same choice on Monday.

When Governor Beshear was asked about the defiance of federal law being exhibited by clerks like the Davises and whether he would be able to force them to resign he said, "The rest of the county court clerks are complying with the law regardless of their personal beliefs.  The courts and the voters will deal appropriately with the rest."

Mr. Davis replied by referencing a verse from the book of Proverbs in the Bible saying he was going to be "not wise in mine own eyes.  I'm going to fear the Lord and depart from evil."

Departing is exactly what the Governor is requesting him to do.  If he chooses to decline, I hear they have real nice church services in jail every Sunday...and the gay inmates are invited too.