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Persisting in obtusely addressing as Indians witnesses from US government agencies, Priceless

By: Rex Tuesday August 26, 2014 10:11 am

It’s hard out here for a voter in Florida’s 19th Congressional District (Tampa/Ft. Meyers)

First they awoke one morning last year to learn that their landslide elected (62%) first term representative, Trey Radel (late of talk radio–are you listening, Rush?) had been caught buying coke from a snitch in a Washington D.C. sting operation.

Then they had to put up with months of bullshit, including a month of residential rehab for alcoholism (wtf?) while he squirmed to avoid resigning.

When, at last, he did the right thing, he was replaced by world class Teabagger doofus Curt Clawson, who is guaranteed first-year-of-eligibility induction into the Doofus Hall of Fame.

If you watch only one scrap of C-Span content this year, watch this brief segment from testimony on US-India trade policies, before a committee on which  Clawson  serves, where his questions to two witnesses who work for the US Departments of State and Commerce betray his utter cluelessness as to their national origin.

Hey, who could blame him, they are obviously brown!


Having your Congressman buy a gram of coke from snitch, roughly $100.

One month in rehab to stave off resignation, $40,000.

Special election and replacement of congressman with teaparty supported doofus, $500,000.

Having that doofus engage in colloquy where he persistently tries to send messages to the government of India, (even after getting helpful hints from the witnesses sent over by Commerce and State to testify before his committee)… PRICELESS!


Mexican kids, world’s luckiest!

By: Rex Saturday August 23, 2014 9:46 pm

Mexican children, unlike their unfortunate neighbors from slightly to the south, are apparently to be envied for the secure and loving bosom  in which their enlightened country envelops them.

Notwithstanding the depravity of Mexican narco traffickers, who will not hesitate to decorate the public square with the heads of those who discomfort them, no Mexican children are forcibly recruited as drug couriers, sellers, or lookouts, unlike those unfortunates in Honduras, El Salvador, or Guatemala.

Despite a rather complaisant attitude towards the sexual exploitation of women, no Mexican girls are coerced into prostitution by local gangsters, with or without the cooperation of their relatives, who may be destitute but who are nonetheless motivated (by contrast with families in several Central American countries) to protect their young girls from these horrors.

Thus, when in 2008 a government of the United States, moved by the plight  of children seeking asylum from the nightmare of Central American squalor fueled danger, wrote into law a number of safeguards directed at ensuring that no child apprehended by our border control system would be summarily returned to possible dismemberment, it behooved us to exempt from this protection children of Mexican nationality.


Now, laboring under the inconvenience of the distinction wrought so recently by a compassionate congress (and that famously compassionate conservative bleeding heart, George W Bush) we have the obscenity introduced in both houses of congress called the HUMANE ACT.

A famous Burns and Schreiber routine features a faith healer who tries to cure a “poor unfortunate” of the immobility that afflicts one of his hands. ‘Oh Lord, make one hand like the other!’.  The Lord complies.

Cuellar and Cornyn are a modern Burns and Schreiber, trying to make Central American kids as unprotected as Mexican kids.   What we should be doing is making Mexican kids as safe as Central American kids.

The  Helping Unaccompanied Minors and Alleviating National Emergency ACT?.  It should be called the Judicially Undertaking Steps To Find Undocumented Captive Kids,and Encouraging Murder Act.

Hobby Lobby: A huge gift to the left. Who’s your Daddy?

By: Rex Saturday August 16, 2014 11:57 pm

It has become a commonplace observation amongst historians of the interface between politics and jurisprudence that the enunciation of Roe v Wade, as much as it brought immediate relief from unwanted pregnancy to hundreds of thousands of women, had the perverse effect of truncating the slow but inexorable progress of democratic reform of patriarchal anti-choice law.

All your vaginas belong to Hobby Lobby

As an added irony, because Roe was founded on a rather strained judicial reach for the creation of an expanded privacy interest strong enough to stand against the democratically (where they existed) passed anti-choice laws then dotting the various state criminal codes, it partook of what came to be called “judicial activism” and galvanized the right wing that today has utterly co-opted the Republican party.

In an almost mirror image of the jurisprudential process that gave us Roe, Alito’s  vast expansion of the First Amendment type privileges granted by the Religious Freedom Restoration Act so as to entitle members of civil society to exempt themselves from otherwise generally applicable laws will, as the consequences play out, bring down upon the right wing an absolute torrent of electoral catastrophe.

Nothing will be of greater use in focusing the attention of women (and the men who love them…) upon the patriarchal buy-in that is the modern Republican Party, than the coming avalanche of queries to which a parade of candidates will now be vulnerable:  ”Do you approve of the Hobby Lobby decision?”

With any luck, the Dems will not only hold the Senate, they’ll take back the House.

Contraception, for cryin’ out loud!

It is as if the Republican Party rose and asked, with one voice (and not in the nice way…)

“Who’s your Daddy?”

First, they came for the dogcatchers …

By: Rex Wednesday May 7, 2014 1:01 pm
Banksy-style stencils of rats on a dumpster

Artwork, not a menu

With apologies for in any way reprising those tasteless jokes which reference the alleged paucity of stray dogs in areas abutting budget-priced Chinese restaurants, I offer for the canny investor a convenient metric by which to know in advance that global warming’s grip on the throat of humanity has inexorably tightened beyond repair. A leading indicator, if you will, of the food price apocalypse prophesied in the latest government climate change report.

The amateur anthropologists among us have from time to time turned an amused glance at the culinary habits of rural americans, who not infrequently hunt and dine upon small mammals (some from the class rodentiae,) viz: squirrel, racoon, possum, rabbit, etc.

There are even several festivals at which Southern politicians gather annually to demonstrate their readiness to consume small mammals.

Likewise, rural Americans are willing, even eager, to spend a day catching fish which they promtly and enthusiastically ingest (toxic pollution of the local freshwater habitats notwithstanding). In immigrant communicties near San Francisco Bay, and New York City, it is common to note the consumption of species which have earned from public authorities a warning that they are not fit to eat.

The common element: need.

When you are hungry, and have not the wherewithal to shop at Safeway, you eat what you can catch.

I propose to you that a time will come when “urban foraging” will become so widespread and intense that a particularly ubiquitous (if noxious) urban mammal will be transformed from pest to food source.

When this happens, the expenditures by municipal governments to exterminate this species will be unnecessary, and budgets for the same will shrink, leading to layoffs.

So it will be said, “First they came for the dogcatchers, but I was a ratcatcher, so I did not speak up…and soon they came for me.”

Chris Christie:”You don’t have a noose big enough for my fat neck…”

By: Rex Monday April 7, 2014 10:37 pm

Paul Fishman, US Attorney for New Jersey and therefor man tasked with sorting out the sundry Christie-gate's that have entertained us since the Fort Lee lane closure kerfuffle, was seen shopping at Morty's Big and Tall, in the company of David Wildstein, former caporegime for the man whose mob nickname is "Big Chicken" (h/t Charlie Pierce)


Morty is reported to have provided Fishman with a selection of nooses in 3X, 4X, and a mammoth 5X sizes.


"You don't want to skimp", advised Morty–"this guy gives Taft a run for his money."


The occasion for the shopping trip was to celebrate Wildstein's grant of immunity, for which which he has been periodically trolling ever since Christie made his ill-considered sneer "I was an athlete and class president–I don't know what he (Wildstein) was doing in High School."


Of course, that was before Christie's staff slammed Wildstein as a known pratitioner of devious practices, not to mention a pesky litigant while merely a high school lad.


Wildstein has, by report, kept a dossier on everyone he ever came in contact with–in itself, not necessarily an attractive characteristic, but we will forgive him here.


He can sink the battleship Chris Christie, and all I can say is, "Godspeed, Captain.  You may fire at will."

Mother guilty of felony poverty-loses kids, goes to jail

By: Rex Monday March 31, 2014 5:43 am

Faced with the policy conundrum that is posed by the choice of directing public funds towards free childcare or prison for mom and institutionalization for kids, Arizona makes the predictable and catastrophic choice.

Most of you will have heard the devastatingly sad story of Shanesha Taylor, an unemployed and homeless single mother of two, who miraculously was granted an interview for that job that Bill Clinton decided was the answer to ending "welfare as we knew it."

She left the kids in her Dodge Durango, with catastrophic consequences.  Not to their health, but to their welfare, as a passerby, seeing them, called the cops.  Now the kids are in the hands of the county child protective services, and the mother faces two felony counts.

It is instructive to compare the way the richest country in the world allocates resources for the benefit of its children, with, say France.  It is also worth a moment's reflection on the message sent by this comparison.

In France, government run nurseries provide subsidized care for all children from infancy forward. (3 months old.)  The care is provided by well paid, well trained and dedicated personnel.  They consider this to be an important job.

Childcare in America, by comparison, while wildly more expensive to the parents, is shabby in quality, to the point of putting the cared for children in physical danger.

We do not arrive at this situation by accident, but by design.  By budget decisions taken in cold blood by state and county governments.

“It’s reasonable to turn the lens back on us,” Shahera Hyatt, Project Director for the California Homeless Youth Project, told ThinkProgress. “What did we do to not help her find childcare when she had that appointment?”

Hyatt points to her own state, California, which has cut 110,000 subsidized child care slots, about a quarter of the total spots in the program, since 2008, leaving low-income parents with few feasible options for child care on short notice.

Arizona’s child care situation for its low-income residents is, if anything, worse than California’s. In the past four years, the state has cut 40 percent of its total child care budget, $81 million, which led to an estimated 33,000 children who would otherwise be eligible for subsidized care to go without it. (By the numbers, that’s less than California — but Arizona’s population is about one fifth of the Golden State’s.) Between 2012 and 2013, there was a decrease in the number of children served for every single child care program in the stateexcept for Child Protective Services.

It would be too facile to turn our guns on the Repugnants who run Arizona; California, after all, has a Democratic party legislative super majority and a Democratic (even, forward looking) Governor.

And, of course, it was Democrat Bill Clinton who turned his back on one hundred years of policy directed at having mothers supported so they could raise their children at home rather than seek work.

To put it simply we treat our children like shit, because that is how we see them.

And we, in turn, are pieces of shit for so doing.

Go here if you are not a piece of shit, and want to change this story.

Rahm was right (??!!!) Economic recovery should have come first

By: Rex Wednesday March 26, 2014 8:29 pm

Hindsight, as they say, is 20-20.


We on the left who despise Rahm Emmanuel for his corporatist roots, his dismissive attitude towards the grass roots and his cramped and limited vision of political struggle, used to inveigh, inter alia, against his reported advice that health care reform should have been left until the shambles of the Great Recession had been remediated.


From our perch 5 years out, does he not seem prescient?


Obama is daily flogged for the inadequacy of his stimulus efforts, for the economy still running out of steam, blah blah blah.


Meanwhile, all his political capital has been invested in a dumb, jury rigged Rube Goldberg invention that engenders far more political disaster than triumph.


And, it bids fair to continue so to do.


By way of counterfactual, what if the ACA were being introduced today, after a triumphal 2012 election in which the Republicans, (who never won the House in 2010, but in fact saw their minority numbers cut in half because the economy was humming like a motherfucker) were reduced to a southern rump more and more like a modern day Whig party?


With that kind of capital, one might ask, what sort of (real) health care reform might now be on the table?


Oh well, fuck us.

Hey, Prez (you worthless pig)…Stop the rapes!

By: Rex Tuesday March 25, 2014 4:13 pm

Perhaps I misconstrue the words "Commander-in-Chief", but I swear before Jesus that English is my native tongue, and the whole title is only three words long.


As I am sure you all know, the suprisingly hard-charging junior Senator from New York, Kirsten Gillibrand, recently hit a stone wall in the Senate, blocking a really rather modest attempt to attack a loathsome set of practices that besets members (mostly female) of the armed forces of the United States.


It seems that, unlike similarly situated militaries in several civilized countries, our chains of command are unable, or unwilling, to protect members of the military from getting raped.


Their allies in the Senate, not all of whom are Repugnants, have defeated via filibuster a remedial bill, the principle thrust of which is to remove the investigation of  complaints of sexual assault from the portfolio of the local unit commander.


I will not attempt to deconstruct what to me is a rather simple set of reasons militating for such a reform.


What I wish to focus on is the odd passivity of the guy in overall command.


Now, I am perhaps naive, perhaps unsophisticated.


Withal, if it were I in charge, I believe I would find a way to exercise that civilian control over the military so as to end, (with a stroke of that pen he likes to brag on,) the power of unit commanders to enable the rape of women (and the occasional man) under their command.


So, I ask, what the fuck is wrong with Obama?