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by Peterr

Nomination Advice for President Obama

5:40 am in Elections, Government, Senate by Peterr

Scene: the Oval Office

PRESIDENT BARACK OBAMA and CHIEF OF STAFF JACK LEW are seated on the sofas facing one another, with a single sheet of paper in front of LEW on the coffee table between them. Neither looks happy.

POTUS: OK, you talked to Mitch McConnell first thing this morning. Where do we stand on nominations going forward?

LEW rolls his eyes.

LEW: Stand? As far as McConnell is concerned, we don’t stand anywhere. We’ve been kicked to the dirt.

POTUS’ eyes get narrow.

POTUS: Oh, really? (with an edge in his voice:) He said that?

LEW: Not in so many words, but it was pretty clear from the conversation.

POTUS: How so?

LEW shakes his head, and passes the sheet of paper across the table to POTUS

POTUS reads out loud from the paper: Richard Lugar for Secretary of State. John McCain for Secretary of Defense. (quits reading out loud, looks up) What is this?

LEW: That’s what I asked McConnell when he handed me that list of names. He just grinned, then said “Article 2, Section 2.” I looked at him, waiting for him to go on and explain his joke, and he didn’t disappoint me. He looked up at the ceiling and recited from memory: “He shall have Power, by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, to make Treaties, provided two thirds of the Senators present concur; and he shall nominate, and by and with the Advice and Consent of the Senate, shall appoint Ambassadors, other public Ministers and Consuls, Judges of the supreme Court, and all other Officers of the United States, whose Appointments are not herein otherwise provided for, and which shall be established by Law: but the Congress may by Law vest the Appointment of such inferior Officers, as they think proper, in the President alone, in the Courts of Law, or in the Heads of Departments.” Then he stopped, looked back at me, pointed to that sheet of paper, and said “here’s some . . . advice . . . from the Senate.”

POTUS (looks back at the paper, and begins to read again): Mitt Romney for Treasury Secretary? What — Phil Gramm wasn’t interested? Michele Bachmann for Attorney General. David Addington for CIA Director. Rick Perry for Secretary of Education. Todd Akin for Health and Human Services. (POTUS looks up at LEW) Beyond the ridiculousness of this list, some of the folks McConnell wants to replace aren’t even planning to leave, at least not any time soon. What an idiot.

LEW: I had a similar reaction, and McConnell’s grin got bigger. “They all serve,” he told me, pausing for dramatic effect, “at the pleasure of the President. If the President determines they should leave, they leave.”

POTUS (setting down the paper, humor turning to anger): He’s not just suggesting who I should nominate to replace Hillary, but he’s telling me to fire people?

LEW: Again, that was my reaction. I blew up at him, saying “elections have consequences” and he just laughed. “They sure do,” he said, and you and Ambassador Rice just lost.” (LEW pauses, then points to the paper) Did you see the last name on the list?

POTUS (looks down at the paper and reads): Jeff Sessions would still like an appointment to the Federal Judiciary?

The door to the Oval Office opens, and an aide enters.

AIDE: Your last appointment before lunch is here, Mr. President.

POTUS: Thanks. (to LEW) Jack, do you want to join me for lunch in about 20 minutes? (to the AIDE) What’s the soup of the day?

AIDE: I’m not sure. I think it’s Chicken and Rice.

POTUS and LEW look at each other and shake their heads.

LEW: Thank you, Mr. President, but suddenly I’m not all that hungry. Read the rest of this entry →

by Peterr

Todd Akin’s Three Nightmares

1:21 pm in 2012 election, Elections by Peterr


Todd Akin’s campaign is under heavy attack from a series of ads from Claire McCaskill featuring women. Specifically, women who have been raped. Diana is probably the hardest hitting, when she says “”I’ve never voted for Claire McCaskill, but because of Todd Akin, I will now.”

That’s Akin’s nightmare: conservative women who are disgusted with his views on women.

But this is only the start of Akin’s problems.

Out in Sikeston, a reliably conservative town in the southeast corner of the state, a longtime local conservative columnist in the Sikeston Standard-Democrat named Michael Jensen shared his thoughts on Akin in yesterday’s paper:

I have tried to warm up to Todd Akin in his bid to unseat incumbent Democrat Claire McCaskill.

I have said repeatedly that though I am fond of McCaskill on a personal level, her support for many of the Obama programs rubs me the wrong way.

And given an appropriate opponent, I would bid a fond farewell to Sen. McCaskill.

But Akin is not that candidate.

As a personal protest – with little significance – I have considered not voting for either Akin or McCaskill. I also considered voting for Akin by holding my nose.

But what would that prove?

I think the best option is to accept another term for McCaskill and continue to stress the values of our region that we hold dear.

That’s Akin’s second nightmare: conservative men who are disgusted with his reactionary views.

One of Akin’s strategists came up with a great idea to push back against all this: a four city tour called “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin.” They’re in Rolla today, then on to Springfield and Joplin tomorrow, and will wind up on Wednesday in eastern metro Kansas City — not the urban part of the city, mind you, but where the city and the more conservative ‘burbs meet near Arrowhead stadium. They’re hitting three strongly conservative areas, trying to shore up the wavering part of their base, plus hitting a battleground spot in McCaskill’s backyard.

Headlining these “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin” rallies will be the former first lady of Arkansas Janet Huckabee, the distinguished Arkansas uber-mom, Michelle “19 Kids and Counting” Duggar, and DC’s own Penny Nance, head of Concerned Women for America.

Wait a minute . . .

*pulls out Missouri State Highway map*

*re-reads press release*

Um, Congressman . . .

I know Missouri Women. Missouri Women are friends of mine. Unless Penny Nance has some Missouri roots that Teh Google isn’t showing anyone, these aren’t Missouri Women.

Now Arkansas is close to Missouri, but the voters of Joplin, Rolla, Springfield, and Kansas City never made Janet Huckabee the first lady, and Michelle Duggar isn’t doing anything to help Missouri get back the congressional district it lost after the 2010 census. If you’re going to announce a series of “Missouri Women Stand With Todd Akin” rallies, you probably ought to mention some, you know, Missouri Women in your press release.

This pushback tour won’t put an end to Akin campaign’s nightmares. As Ebeneezer Scrooge discovered, nightmares come in threes. If conservative women making ads declaring that they are voting for McCaskill is nightmare #1, and conservative men writing newspaper columns saying the same thing is nightmare #2, what could possibly be nightmare #3?

Let’s see . . . maybe another commercial.

Of course, it’s got to have a woman in it.

No, let’s make it 28 women. A campaign commercial with 28 women.

And they should be not angry or upset, but . . . exasperated. 28 exasperated women.

Is Akin sweating? In the immortal words of Ron Popeil, don’t answer yet . . .

And in this nightmare of a commercial that will haunt Todd Akin, these 28 exasperated women should be naked.

28 exasperated naked women.

And they should not be hidden away in a studio or a home, but they should be outside, in public, in a park somewhere, with all kinds of people strolling around and riding their bikes in the background. Put these 28 exasperated naked women out in full view of anyone who wanders by.

And they should be regular-looking women, not ready-for-supermodeldom-looking women. Tall women. Short women. Women with straight hair and women with kinky hair. Women with light skin and women with dark skin. Women with freckles and women with wrinkles. Women with slim bodies and women with rounded bodies.

28 regular-looking exasperated naked women, out in public.

Is Akin nervous? Don’t answer yet . . .

And they should speak. High voices. Low voices. Young voices. Old voices. Quiet voices. Loud voices.

And every single exasperated voice coming from every single one of those 28 naked womanly bodies is strong and powerful.

They are persistent voices, and these 28 ordinary-looking exasperated naked women standing out in public have one question — just one question — to ask Todd Akin and any other politicians who share his 18th century views.

And they ask it over and over and over again . . .

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country?

If you don’t trust me with my body, why should I trust you with my country? . . .

As the makers of the video point out at their website, “In every presidential election since 1964, the number of female voters has exceeded the number of male voters.”

Sleep well, Congressman. If you can . . .

____

image h/t to DonkeyHotey

by Peterr

Why Todd Akin Stayed, and Why it Troubles Paul Ryan

4:14 am in Conservatism, Elections, Religion by Peterr

Mitt Romney doesn’t get Todd Akin. “Don’t you see what you’re doing to the Party? Don’t you see what you’re doing to The Cause? Get out of the race, so we can get a winning candidate in place!”

And Akin said, “No.”

Roy Blunt, Missouri’s junior senator, doesn’t get Todd Akin, and neither do Kit Bond, Jim Talent, Jack Danforth, or even John Ashcroft, former GOP senators from Missouri all. “Please, Todd, for the sake of our state and our party, get out of the race.”

And Akin said, “No.”

Karl Rove and the others behind the SuperPACS that have been pouring money into Missouri don’t get it, and neither does John Cornyn or the people at the NRC. “We’ll pull our funding and tell your donors not to give to your campaign. We’ll univite you to the Republican National Convention. Get. Out. Of. The. Race. NOW.”

And Akin said “No.”

Maybe Iowa’s favorite son, Rep. Steve King, can explain it to them. He gets Akin, as his (pre-rape comments) endorsement of Akin makes clear:

Congressman Todd Akin is my friend, he is running for the United States Senate and he is the man that will always stand on the principles that we believe in.  Too many people bend or sway in the wind or they get drawn into the mesmerizing idea that somehow someone can guide you up through a leadership channel if you just go along to get along.  He is not going to put up a vote for the sake of going along to get along and neither will I.  We have a sacred obligation to all of you, that’s to keep our oath of office.  That’s to protect and defend the Constitution of the United States.

That’s Todd Akin, as local politician and reporters from around St. Louis know all too well, like Kevin Horrigan:

For nearly a quarter of a century, we had him mostly to ourselves. He was that little barbecue joint that nobody else had discovered. He was a secret fishing hole we didn’t have to share. We never knew what he would say next, but whatever it was, we knew that there was a good chance it would be ridiculous.

There was never anything as outrageous as the magical women-don’t-often-get pregnant during “legitimate rape” claim that now has him in hot water. But if he started talking about Sunday blue laws or the evils of sex education or the dangers of the state licenses for day-care centers or any of the other social issues that came before the Missouri Legislature in the 1990s, Todd would safely go off the deep end and only the Akinmaniacs would notice.

He was kept pretty well bottled-up during his 12 years in the Missouri House. In those days, Democrats still controlled the House and moderation wasn’t yet a sin within the GOP. Todd’s views were so extreme that most mainstream Republicans rolled their eyes when he got up to talk.

He didn’t care. He was a man on a mission.

A man that will always stand on principle. A man on a mission. That’s what Romney and the GOP senators from Missouri and the PTB in the RNC and the political operatives in the GOP don’t get. Or perhaps they get it, but were hoping they could get him, just once, to back off and tone it down.

Good luck with that.

From Akin’s perspective, he can end up in one of three ways. First, he could become a hypocrite. He could give up his principles, give up his mission, and give up his candidacy, which to him would be tantamount to giving up his faith. “When things got tough for God’s prophets in the Old Testament, or the early Christians under Roman persecution, some of them bailed on God. I’m not going to do that.” To leave the race like this would set the stage (in Akin’s mind) for years of nightmares: “how many abortions could I have prevented, if I had just remained firm, remained faithful, and remained strong?”

His second possible outcome is to become a martyr. “I held firm to my convictions, I remained faithful, and whatever happens in the election happens. If I lose, I lose — but I didn’t lose my faith.” In becoming a martyr, he will be a hero to the Fundy Faithful, and they will tell stories about him for generations to come. “When faced with choosing between his faith and what is ‘prudent’ and politically popular, Akin didn’t flinch. Sure, he went down in flames at the polls, but that didn’t matter to him. What mattered to him most was keeping the faith. And he kept it.”

His third possible outcome is to become a senator. By remaining faithful, Akin will proclaim to the Fundy Faithful in Missouri that he is putting this race in God’s hands. His prayer is that they will rally around him in numbers that will amaze the pundits, astound the GOP establishment, and send God-fearing people across the country into a religious frenzy of delight.

A hypocrite, a martyr, or a senator. Akin refuses to accept the first mantle, and will be perfectly happy with either of the other two.

And that probably makes Paul Ryan very sad.

It’s not because Akin might lose to McCaskill, costing the GOP control of the Senate. It’s not because the focus on Akin might derail the careful planning for next week’s Republican National Convention. It’s not because the focus on Akin might spill over into the presidential race, forcing Romney and Ryan to talk more about social issues than the deficit, the budget, and the economy, and perhaps costing them the White House.

It’s because Akin chose what Ryan did not.

Robin Marty of RH Reality Check lays out quite clearly who Ryan is, as she wades through years of his statements and votes:

Rep. Paul Ryan is against abortion, no exceptions. Paul Ryan would allow an exception for rape. Ryan doesn’t believe in birth control. Ryan only has three children, he must believe in birth control. Ryan is pro-life “from conception to natural death.” . . .

[snip]

We may not be entirely sure where Ryan stands at this moment, but anti-choice activists have absolutely no doubt that Ryan is in fact their “pro-life” hero. CatholicVotes announced their endorsement of the Romney/Ryan ticket, saying, “Paul Ryan will be the first pro-life Catholic to appear on a Republican presidential ticket since Roe v. Wade. Paul Ryan understands his faith. He understands Catholic social teaching, and prays and works to apply his faith to the practice of politics, including his economic and budget proposals.”

Exactly what are those social teachings?  Well, it comes as no surprise that CatholicVote does not believe in abortion in any instance, including for victims of rape.  “The rapist… is forever guilty of rape. The child conceived as a result of the rape was not guilty of the crime. The child did no wrong. The child ought not get the death penalty for his father’s rape.” but once again, Ryan is endorsed by supporters who claim he feels the same way, but avoids saying as much himself.

Winks. Dog whistles. Carefully nuanced statements to preserve an image. Playing coy with the press to present two faces to the world. In that respect, Ryan is the anti-Akin.

Which makes this information from Politico about Ryan’s phone call yesterday to Akin very, very interesting:

The call, first reported by NBC, did not entail Ryan asking Akin to drop out, the source said.

But he echoed the comments Mitt Romney made condemning the comments, as well as those from Senate officials who have said Akin needs to think about the impact of his remarks on the party and other candidates, the source said.

It was “not a brief call,” the source said.

Something tells me Ryan didn’t ask Akin to drop out because he knew it would never happen. Given a choice between being a hypocrite on the one hand or a martyr or senator on the other, he knew that there was no way that Akin would choose to be a hypocrite.

But for Ryan, it likely got worse. The more Akin talked, the more it probably bothered Paul Ryan, because while Akin was remaining firm and sticking to his principles, the more Akin talked about publicly witnessing to his faith, the more it hit home with Paul Ryan that he was hiding his own principles and downplaying his faith.

That had to hurt. And it will hurt all the way to November.

by Peterr

Todd Akin, Rush Limbaugh, John Ashcroft, and Mark Twain

5:55 am in Conservatism, Elections by Peterr

Attaturk, that Iowan to the north, had much fun mocking Missouri’s GOP senate nominee, Representative Todd Akin for his comments on “legitimate rape.” And those comments were truly worthy of mockery.

To people here in Missouri, Akin’s comments were not terribly surprising. Akin is a known commodity — known to be highly conservative and well in keeping with a non-trivial slice of the Missouri electorate.

Like Br’er Rabbit telling Br’er Fox not to throw him in the briar patch, Claire McCaskill ran ads on Fox News during the GOP primary fight, calling Akin “too conservative for Missouri”. With an endorsement like that, conservatives in the GOP primary race were happy to hand Akin a victory with 36% of the vote. His two challengers were John Brunner (a conservative businessman trying to run a Romney-style “I know how to run things” campaign) who got 30%, and Sarah “I Want to be a Palin” Steelman who got 29%. The GOP primary was always going to go to the candidate who could best appeal to the most conservative elements of the Missouri GOP, and that was Akin.

And it wasn’t even close.

News flash to the rest of the nation: the 36% who supported Akin are neither surprised nor bothered by Akin’s comments. He may have said publicly what perhaps (for political reasons) ought to have been kept private, but make no mistake. The far right wing of Missouri’s republican party likes this guy and likes what he said. Period. If Akin were to quit the race because of pressure from Romney or Mitch McConnell, they’d be beyond angry. Akin is their guy, and they would not take kindly to outside agitators forcing him to quit.

Akin is not an aberration in the Missouri GOP. This is the state that gave the nation Rush “She’s a slut” Limbaugh, after all, as well as John “cover up the lady parts on that statue in the lobby” Ashcroft.

But this is also the state whose internal political debates over slavery — conducted with the same sense of nuance and humility as Limbaugh, Ashcroft, and Akin discuss sex — shaped the pen and wit of young Samuel Clemens. If Missouri’s politicians were reasonable folks, Clemens might never have taken up political commentary and satire as Mark Twain.

I look at my kid and his classmates and wonder which of them will grow up to be the next great political satirist. God knows that with folks like Akin around, there’s plenty for them to work with as they learn the fine art of political snark.

UPDATE: County by county primary results are here. Looking at the map, you can see a couple of things. (1) The big dark blue patch just west and north of St. Louis is Akin’s conservative home district. (2) The blue patch in the southwestern corner of the state is John Ashcroft country. (3) The blue patch in the southeastern corner of the state is where Rush has his roots.

by Peterr

Speeches on Deficits, Then and Now

6:22 am in Afghanistan, Countries in Conflict, Economy, Education, Elections, Iraq by Peterr

Way back in January 2008, a certain presidential candidate gave a speech at Ebenezer Baptist Church, the congregation once served by Martin Luther King Jr. . . .

. . . “Unity is the great need of the hour.” That’s what Dr. King said. It is the great need of this hour as well, not because it sounds pleasant, not because it makes us feel good, but because it’s the only way we can overcome the essential deficit that exits in this country.

I’m not talking about the budget deficit. I’m not talking about the trade deficit. Talking about the moral deficit in this country. I’m talking about an empathy deficit, the inability to recognize ourselves in one another, to understand that we are our brother’s keeper and our sister’s keeper, that in the words of Dr. King, “We are all tied together in a single garment of destiny.”

Pause for a minute and let that sink in: “the empathy deficit is the essential deficit that exists in this country.”

We have an empathy deficit when we’re still sending our children down corridors of shame, schools in the forgotten corners of America where the color of your skin still affects the content of your education. We have a deficit when CEOs are making more in ten minutes than ordinary workers are making in an entire year, when families lose their homes so unscrupulous lenders can make a profit, when mothers can’t afford a doctor when their children are stricken with illness. We have a deficit in this country when we have Scooter Libby justice for some and Jena justice for others, when our children see hanging nooses from a school yard tree today, in the present, in the 21st century. We have a deficit when homeless veterans sleep on the streets of our cities, when innocents are slaughtered in the deserts of Darfur, when young Americans serve tour after tour after tour after tour of duty in a war that should have never been authorized and should have never been waged. We have an empathy deficit in this country that has to be closed. We have a deficit when it takes a breach in the levees to reveal the breach in our compassion, when it takes a terrible storm to reveal the hungry that God calls on us to feed, the sick that He calls on us to care for, the least of these that He commands that we treat as our own. So, we have a deficit to close. We have walls, barriers to justice and equality that must come down, and to do this, we know that “unity is the great need of the hour.”

These words were spoken in 2008, but they seem even more appropriate today. Those schools that were in trouble three years ago are in worse shape now, as every state in the country has been cutting back on funding, leaving every district to axe teachers and staff, raise class sizes, and defer maintenance. That “tour after tour after tour after tour of duty” has had at least one more “after tour” added onto it, and atrocities continue to pile up. Foreclosure fraud is rampant, the facts of the global financial crisis show serious legal problems for the bankers that created it, and yet the SEC is “taking a light touch” with the banks and bank executives apparently are getting Scooter Libby justice. (Have you heard the news? Goldman Sachs is likely to “face fresh embarrassment” over their role in the global financial crisis.) And as long as we’re talking about military action without congressional authorization, meet Libya.

If the need was great in 2008, it’s off the charts today.

But back to that candidate . . . skipping ahead in his remarks a bit:

However, all too often, when we talk about unity in this country, we’ve come to believe that it can be purchased on the cheap. . . We offer unity, but we are not willing to pay the price that’s required.

Of course, true unity cannot be so easily purchased. It starts with a change in attitudes. It starts with changing our hearts, and changing our minds, broadening our spirit. It’s not easy to stand in somebody else’s shoes. It’s not easy to see past our own differences. We’ve all encountered this in our own lives. What makes it even more difficult is that we have a politics in this country that seeks to drive us apart, that puts up walls between us. We are told that those who differ from us on a few things, differ from us on all things, that our problems are the fault of those who don’t think like us or look like us or come from where we do. The Welfare Queen, she’s taking our money. The Immigrant, he’s taking our jobs. The believer condemns the nonbeliever as immoral, and the nonbeliever chides the believer for being intolerant.

[snip]

So let us say that on this day of all days, each of us carries with us the task of changing our hearts and minds. The divisions, the stereotypes, the scapegoating, the ease with which we blame the plight of ourselves on others — all of that distracts us from the common challenges that we face, war and poverty, inequality and injustice. We can no longer afford to build ourselves up by tearing each other down. We can no longer afford to traffic in lies or fear or hate. It’s the poison that we must purge from our politics, the wall that we must tear down before the hour grows too late. Because if Dr. King could love his jailer, if he could call on the faithful, who once sat where you do, to forgive those who had set dogs and fire hoses upon them, then surely we can look past what divides us in our time and bind up our wounds and erase the sympathy deficit that exists in our hearts.

But if changing our hearts and our minds is the first critical step, we cannot stop there. It’s not enough to bemoan the plight of the poor in this country and remain unwilling to push our elected officials to provide the resources to fix our schools. It’s not enough to decry the disparities of health care and yet allow the insurance companies and the drug companies to block real reform in our health care system. It’s not enough — It’s not enough for us to abhor the costs of a misguided war, and yet we continue to allow ourselves to be driven by a politics of fear that sees the threat of an attack as a way to scare up votes instead of a call to come together in a common effort. . .

Boy, did he nail it on that one. As far as I can tell, the politics of fear is what makes DC run these days, not only on terrorism but on the budget, health care, social security, and everything else.

I wonder what ever happened to that guy. We sure could use someone like this in DC to take on the fear-mongers.

Say, did you hear that President Obama is going to give a speech on Wednesday, addressing deficit reduction? As the Washington Post headline writer summed things up, “Obama’s New Approach to Deficit Reduction to include Spending on Entitlements.

Before he speaks on Wednesday, maybe Obama should go listen to what that presidential candidate had to say at Ebenezer Baptist Church a couple of years ago.

by Peterr

I Get Phone Calls

10:14 am in Elections by Peterr

<ring ring>

Me: “Hello?”

<pause for computer to realize a real person answered and start the recorded message>

Perky female voice: “Hello, Illinois!”

Me, thinking: “Illinois? Who the hell is this?”

PFV: “This is Sarah Palin.”

Me, thinking: “OMG. This should be fun.”

PFV: “We need conservatives who (insert list of stump speech red meat) . . .  Every vote is important, so vote for people who share our values and get your friends and family members to do the same.”

Fast male announcer voice: “Paid for by Faith and Freedom coalition”

<click>

First, I’m still laughing at whoever thinks I still live in IL. I visit a lot, but haven’t officially lived there for over twenty years. Can’t their robocall programmers figure out that my area code is in greater Kansas City MO, not east of the Mississippi River?

Second, I was struck by what wasn’t there: specifics. No names of candidates to back/fight, no ballot initiatives to support/oppose, just “vote our values.” I don’t think there was any mention of God or religion, nor any kind of local issue or candidate (either in IL or MO) on that list of red-meat stuff — it was mostly generic limited government kinds of things.

Sarah rattled off her list pretty fast with her perky female voice, and it was designed not to elict thought and contemplation but rather to get the hearer’s head nodding. “Yep, yep, yep, yep . . . ” After getting the recipient of the call nodding along, she moves to the ask: GOTV. This call is targeted at getting out votes for the right — but in a fairly undifferentiated scattershot way. (If they were calling me, “fairly undifferentiated” is a major understatement. Sure robo-calls might be cheap, but this is campaign FAIL stuff.)

Third, the funders — an organization that tries to melt Christian conservatives with limited government types. They’re a 501(c)4 group, so they can do issue advertising, but given the way in which Citizens United has changed the landscape, I’d at least have expected some kind of “let Dick Durbin and Governor Quinn know that big government is not what we need” message.

I started to poke around their website, but before I could dig in . . .

<ring ring>

Me: “Hello?” Read the rest of this entry →

by Peterr

Enron, the Koch Brothers, and Grandma Millie’s Revenge

2:20 pm in climate change, Elections, Energy, Environment by Peterr

SCENE: A small, tidy kitchen, with a wide shot of AN ELDERLY WOMAN pulling fresh cookies out of the oven and placing them on a cooling rack on the countertop. She turns toward the camera . . .

ELDERLY WOMAN:

Remember Enron and the rolling blackouts here in California about a decade ago? I sure do.

ELDERLY WOMAN sets down empty cookie sheet, wipes hands on apron.

ELDERLY WOMAN smiles — an evil smile.

ELDERLY WOMAN:

Now’s our chance for revenge: defeat Proposition 23.

Oil billionaire brothers David and Charles Koch have donated over a million dollars to try to derail our greenhouse gas laws, joining with two big Texas energy companies to try to stick it to Californians.

Again.

Just like the Texas energy companies did a decade ago.

ELDERLY WOMAN turns to her computer, clicks the mouse, and two male voices are heard:

Enron Trader in CA: So,
Enron Trader in TX: (laughing)
CA: So the rumor’s true? They’re fuckin’ takin’ all the money back from you guys? All those money you guys stole from those poor grandmothers in California?
TX: Yeah, grandma Millie, man. But she’s the one who couldn’t figure out how to fuckin’ vote on the butterfly ballot.
CA: Yeah, now she wants her fuckin’ money back for all the power you’ve charged right up – jammed right up her ass for fuckin’ 250 dollars a megawatt hour.

ELDERLY WOMAN clicks mouse to stop the voices. ELDERLY WOMAN smiles sweetly.

ELDERLY WOMAN:

I’m Grandma Millie . . .

ELDERLY WOMAN smiles not-so-sweetly.

I know how to vote, fellas, and I’m voting no on Prop 23.

ELDERLY WOMAN smiles malevolently into the camera as the shot pulls in tight.

And I f****** approve this message.