The main mullah of the GOP’s anti-government insurgency never had a game plan or strategy

Steve Benen — Indeed, on the government shutdown’s fourth day, a few truths have come into sharp focus. Republican members of Congress (1) don’t know why they shut down the government; (2) don’t know what they hope to get out of the shutdown; and (3) don’t know how to end the shutdown.

By the way, it’s no longer about Obamacare. Oh, you want proof? Benen explains:

Rep. Mark Meadows (R-NC) isn’t the most prominent member of the House Republican caucus, but in recent weeks, he’s played a pretty important role in shutting down the government. It was Meadows who initiated a formal letter, endorsed by around 80 of his House GOP colleagues, vowing to oppose any spending measure that failed to gut the Affordable Care Act.

…With this in mind, as Brian Beutler reported yesterday, “it was a big surprise” when Meadows told reporters this week that the government shutdown has nothing to do with Obamacare. “This fight now has become about veterans and about national guard folks that perhaps — reservists that are not getting paid,” the North Carolina Republican said. “That’s where the fight is today.”

In theory, this is excellent news. Republicans have spent the last several weeks making one demand: take away health care benefits from millions of Americans or the government’s lights go out. If one of the far-right congressional ringleaders of this fiasco is arguing, on the record and out loud, that the fight is no longer about health care then the shutdown can end immediately.

This point was not lost on NPR’s Tamara Keith, who asked Meadows why the House doesn’t just vote on “a full CR if you don’t care about Obamacare anymore.” If you listen to the audio, there’s an awkward silence that lasts about five seconds. Eventually, the congressman says, “Why not vote on, on a full CR?”

Keith replies, “Yeah, sure. Because if you’re, if Obamacare isn’t the issue to you anymore…” At this point, Meadows tried this explanation:

“Because it, twofold. One is, is, that when you when you start to look, they say ‘clean CR?’ That it, it translates into into to truly a blank check, and, and so Obamacare is an issue for me and my constituents, but what happens is today is, we gotta figure a way to open it back up and, and with that, in opening it back up, when we start to look at these issues, it, it is critical that we make it, the decisions we, we make to be as least harmful as they possibly can be.”

So to review, the reason the House can’t vote on the Senate spending bill is an incoherent word salad, filled with lots of words that seem unrelated to one another.

Palin-style! This should come as no surprise but… turns out that fucking around with our government, just to make the voters in your little gerrymandered districts wave their torches and slobber on themselves, isn’t really leadership or a very effective way to manage a world superpower. But blame the Democrats.

Morning coffee: TGIF / Day 4

Who’s getting a paycheck every two weeks during the Republican shutdown?

The Government Shutdown Summed Up In One GIF
Buzzfeed: Presiding congressman George Holding (R-NC) was caught by the C-SPAN camera taking a snooze while his distinguished colleague Louie Gohmert (R-TX) spoke about “doing what’s right for the country.”

YAWN! Wow… all of this shutdown business is just blowin’ through George Holding’s nap time, isn’t it?

TGIF for hard workers like Rep. Holding! Talk quietly everyone.

Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC): “I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line.”

Let them eat cake:

“I need my paycheck. That’s the bottom line. I understand that there may be some other members who are deferring their paychecks, and I think that’s admirable. I’m not in that position.” – Rep. Renee Ellmers (R-NC), explaining to a TV station that she will not be deferring her pay during the government shutdown.

It’s worth noting that Ellmers earns a six-figure salary as a member of Congress and is married to a successful surgeon. She is also NOT one of the Republican House members who are ready to fund the government with a clean budget bill.

Renee is essentially sending out a big FUCK YOU! to the 2.9 million federal workers who are now in “that position” (with her help) and who, probably, also need their paychecks–whether they’re currently working for no pay or have been furloughed and sent home. Sorry, lady. THAT’S the bottom line.

Guess how many people were accidentally shot on Gun Appreciation Day?

FIVE — at three different gun shows:

“Emergency personnel had to be called to the scene of the Dixie Gun and Knife Show in Raleigh, North Carolina after a gun accidentally discharged and shot two three people at the show’s safety check-in booth just after 1 pm. Both victims were transported to an area hospital, and the Raleigh Fire Department announced that the show would be closed for the rest of the day.

[...] Two similar incidents occurred at entirely separate gun shows in the Midwest, one in the Cleveland suburb of Medina, Ohio and the other at the state fairgrounds in Indianapolis, Indiana. In Ohio, the local ABC affiliate reports that one individual was brought to a hospital by EMS, and in Indiana Channel 8 WISH says that an individual shot himself in the hand while trying to reload his gun in the show parking lot. That brings the tally to 4 5 victims of gun violence so far at three different gun shows during the country’s first Gun Appreciation Day.”

Maybe we should have a ‘Gun Appreciation Day’ every month? The problem of rabidly unreasonable NRA members might just take care of itself.

Morning Bunker Report: Tuesday 5.22.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

On “Fox News Sunday” host Chris Wallace asked a series of pointed questions to House Budget Committee Chairman Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) and Austan Goolsbee, the former chairman of the Council of Economic Advisers for President Obama, but there was one question in particular that stood out for me. “You know, it’s not just a question of vision, it’s also a question record because of these men have served in office and have records in office. So, let’s take a look at that. Mitt Romney was governor of Massachusetts for four years, Congressman Ryan. And during that time, Massachusetts ranked 47th of the 50 states in job creation. The only reason the unemployment rate went down [was] because so many people left the work force — more than any other state in the country except Louisiana after Hurricane Katrina. Is that a record to be proud of?”  […] The larger point, of course, is that we’re looking at a campaign dynamic without a modern precedent, especially for a governor running for the White House. In 2000, George W. Bush said, “Look at what I did in Texas.” In 1992, Bill Clinton said, “Look at what I did in Arkansas.” In 1980, Ronald Reagan said, “Look at what I did in California.” And in 2012, Mitt Romney is saying, “Look at what I did at Bain Capital.” – Steve Benen

Former Bain Executive: Romney bears the blame for Ampad layoffs — In 1994 Romney sidestepped questions related to the plant’s layoffs by saying he was on a leave of absence from the company at the time during his run for Senate. Romney’s explanation is similar to that he recently used to deflect recent Democratic criticism of Bain layoffs at GTS Steel, saying he had already left to run the Olympics when Bain acquired the company. But according to a 2002 interview with former managing director of Bain Capital Marc Wolpow, Romney was directly responsible for Ampad’s layoffs. Wopow and a fellow Bain partner sat on the board of directors of Ampad, and were responsible with carrying out the Bain business plan that caused the layoffs. “My job was to maximize the profits to Bain Capital’s partners from the Ampad transaction,” Wolpow told the Globe in 2002. Wolpow said Romney was responsible for the business plan carried out by Bain in Indiana.”Mitt’s employees executed that transaction,” he said. “We carried out the business plan. He was CEO of the firm.” ”I reported directly to Mitt Romney … You can’t be CEO of Bain Capital and say, `I really don’t know what my guys were doing.” Wolpow said that to maximize profits, Bain “implemented an aggressive plant closing and cost-cutting program.” — Buzzfeed

North Carolina pastor: Send LGBT people to concentration camps to die — Pastor Charles Worley of the Providence Road Baptist Church in North Carolina recently told his congregation that LGBT individuals should be rounded up and detained in camps until they’re all dead. […] “…Build a great, big, large fence — 150 or 100 mile long — put all the lesbians in there. Fly over and drop some food. Do the same thing for the queers and the homosexuals, and have that fence electrified so they can’t get out, feed em, and you know what, in a few years, they’ll die out…”Raw Story

Group calls on Kentucky church to give up tax exemptions over anti-Obama sermon — Americans United for Separation of Church and State has filed a complaint with the IRS over a preacher in Kentucky who told his congregation to vote President Barack Obama out of office this November. “Religious leaders have every right to address public issues, but they cannot turn their tax-exempt ministries into political action committees,” Rev. Barry W. Lynn, Americans United executive director, said. “If houses of worship want to be partisan and dive into electoral politics, they ought to give up their tax exemptions.” — Raw Story

Still Palin! The Topeka Capital-Journal reports that robocalls made by Sarah Palin to influence the outcome of the Republican U.S. Senate primary in Texas were actually going to voters in Kansas. The reporter described the call: “Hello, Texas!” she blasted into my ear. “I’m Sarah Palin.”Political Wire

Another dazzling display of Romnesia: Mitch Daniels says we’re in ‘peacetime’ “Well, you know, he’s been the president of this nation for the three years in which we have drifted ever closer to the biggest peacetime crisis we may have ever faced. There’s no doubt it. It’s a mathematical certainty. [...] To me the central question of this election is why such an administration deserves a second chance.” The fact that Mitch Daniels apparently has forgotten we are at war in Afghanistan—even though he served in the White House when we began the war more than a decade ago—is a fitting tribute to the Romnesia that has infested the Republican Party. – Jed Lewison

WHAT THE PRESIDENT / DEMOCRATS STAND FOR ————————————

The President’s ‘to do’ list for Congress / Twitter live chat today – Do you have questions about the President’s plan? On Tuesday, May 22nd at 12:00 p.m. ET, we’re holding a special session of White House Office Hours on Twitter to answer your questions. Here’s how you can join:

So, what’s on the to-do list? Here are the items at a glance. You can learn more and check out videos at WhiteHouse.gov/todolist

“This is not a distraction, this is what this campaign’s going to be about,” Obama said, contrasting his record with Romney’s record as a businessman and their proposed policies. “I’ve got to think about those workers in that video just as much as I’m thinking about folks who’ve been much more successful,” Obama said in a reference to his campaign ads attacking Bain’s record at two shuttered companies that resulted in laying off workers and closed plants. […] “His main calling card for why he thinks he should be president is his business experience,” Obama said of Romney. “He’s not going out there touting his experience in Massachusetts. He’s saying I’m a business guy and I know how to fix it, and this is his business. And when you’re president, as opposed to the head of a private equity firm, your job is not simply to maximize profits,” Obama said. “Your job is to figure out how everybody in the country has a fair shot.” Obama took yet another dig at Romney. “If your main argument for how to grow the economy is, ‘I knew how to make a lot of money for investors,’ then you’re missing what this job is about,” Obama said. — Roll Call

Paul Krugman: Romney’s business experience wouldn’t help him as president — “Yes, he made a lot of money. He made a lot of money in ways that were often not good for workers… And it is also totally important to point out, as President Obama just did, what a President needs to do is not what you need to do if you’re trying to make a bunch of money for private equity for investors. Slashing spending at times like these is a terrible thing, it makes the economy much, much worse… I think the way to phrase it is, this is not a stimulus — although it is — but as a ‘we need those school teachers, we need those fire fighters, we need those police officers.’ We are starving essential public services. There are potholes in our roads.” – Raw Story

Poll: Americans Want to Eat the Rich – Is President Obama’s populist-tinged contrast with Mitt Romney effective? If you pay attention to today’s Washington Post poll, it probably is. The poll asks which is the bigger problem: unfairness in the economic system that favors the wealthy, or over-regulation of the free market that interferes with growth and prosperity? Fifty-six percent of Americans say unfairness, 34 percent over-regulation. – Daily Intel

Obama Super PAC enlists Newt Gingrich, Rick Perry, Jon Huntsman, and Sarah Palin on Romney’s time at Bain Capital:

  • LOL Hypocrisy: “I’m very surprised that President Obama went down this road.” – Newt Gingrich, in an interview with CNN, on criticizing Mitt Romney’s record at Bain Capital. Gingrich, of course, led the attack during the GOP primary. – Political Wire

Morning Bunker Report: Sunday 5.6.2012

WHAT THE REPUBLICAN PARTY STANDS FOR TODAY—————————–—

BRYAN FISCHER of the American Family Association loudly and gleefully mocks Mitt Romney’s questionable masculinity — Fischer spearheaded the charge to oust openly-gay adviser Richard Grenell from the Romney campaign. Fischer: “Let me ask you this question, people have raised this question, if Mitt Romney can be pushed around, intimidated, coerced, coopted by a conservative radio talk show host in Middle America, then how is he going to stand up to the Chinese? How is he going to stand up to Putin? How is he going to stand up to North Korea if he can be pushed around by a yokel like me? I don’t think Romney is realizing the doubts that this begins to raise about his leadership. I don’t think for one minute that Mitt Romney did not want this guy gone; he wanted this guy gone because there was not one word of defense, not a peep, from the Romney camp to defend him. They just went absolutely stone cold silent, they put a bag over Grenell’s head, they even asked him to organize this phone conference and they didn’t even let him speak at the conference that he organized.” – Bob Cesca

  • PANDER-MODE: The resignation of Richard Grenell, the recently appointed and openly gay foreign policy spokesman for Mitt Romney’s presidential campaign, was as sudden as it was shocking. It was also yet another disturbing sign that the Romney campaign is still in pander mode when it comes to the anti-gay right. Which is exactly the wrong direction for the presumptive GOP nominee to be moving in. Because according to a wide variety of poll data, Republican voters, unlike most of the politicians vying for their support, largely support gay rights. – David Lampo

WEALTHY PEOPLE FACTOID: The Bluegrass Boondoggle gives a special tax break to millionaire horse owners, costing the government $126 million over 10 years. Though McConnell now decries wasteful spending, he publicly touted the millionaire-only earmark in 2008, and the GOP has done everything it can to preserve the tax break since. The House GOP budget, which gives massive tax breaks to the rich that Republicans say will be paid for by closing tax loopholes, doesn’t touch the Bluegrass Boondoggle. – On Derby Day, How Republicans Help Millionaire Horse Owners Pay Less In Taxes

MITT ROMNEY promises to create eleventeen million jobs (and everyone will have servants) – Incidentally, since Romney is proposing a complete return to Bush economic policies, it might be interesting to note the average rate of job creation during Bush’s first 7 years in the White House — that is, his record even if you ignore the catastrophe at the end. And that average monthly rate, from the BLS, was … drum roll … 66,000. – Paul Krugman

FAMILY VALUES and one Republican’s magic sperm — Back in 2010, conservative politician Bill Johnson (R-Ala.) was focused on running for the governor. Two years later, his wife claims he is moving to the other side of the world to fancy a different lifestyle. In a Sunday interview with the New Zealand Herald, Kathy Johnson told the newspaper that her husband has returned to the southwestern Pacific island where he made headlines in December 2011 for allegedly donating sperm to lesbian couples. “He is obsessed with this,” the former Miss America finalist told the Herald. “He doesn’t want to stop.” [...] In Sunday’s New Zealand Herald interview, Kathy told the paper that Bill had donated sperm to women wanting children at least 50 times over a handful of months. Former Alabama Gubernatorial Candidate ‘Obsessed’ With Sperm Donation

PAT ROBERTSON describes how God directed him to build the Christian Broadcasting Network (Unfortunately ‘God’ is what Robertson calls the next door neighbor’s evil dog, who talks to him whenever he’s in the backyard) – Pat Robertson delivered a speech as part of the Christian Broadcasting Network’s “Week of Prayer” where he described how God directed him to create CBN during a gathering of people at Cape Henry, where Christopher Newport’s ships made landfall in 1607. – rightwingwatch.org

THE LIBERAL MEDIA Sunday Show lineup: Five shows and only one woman was invited to represent over half of humanity, and CBS’ Face the Nation wisely chose Michele Bachmann for that job. And ABC This Week has a very special guest, one who very rarely makes tv appearances, so get your Tivo ready: John McCain! – TPM

PRESIDENT OBAMA / DEMOCRATS————————————————————

CAMPAIGN KICKOFF: It’s still about hope, it’s still about change – “Over and over again, they’ll tell you that American’s down now, and they’ll tell you who to blame, and ask if you’re better off that you were before the worst crisis in our lifetime,” Obama said. “We’ve seen that play before, but you know what, the real question. The question that will actually make a difference in your life and in the lives of your children is not just about how we’re doing today, but how we’ll be doing tomorrow.” Obama also drew a sharp contrast with Mitt Romney, arguing that he is a stooge of Republicans in Congress, bent on cutting taxes for the rich and cutting spending on everyone else. “Republicans in Congress have found a nominee who is willing to rubber stamp this agenda,” Obama said, trying to tie Romney to the most unpopular institution in America. Mocking Romney’s declaration that corporations are people last year, Obama said, “I don’t care how many different ways you try to explain it, corporations aren’t people. People are people!” — Buzzfeed

  • OBAMA SAID Romney called it “tragic” to end the war in Iraq and doesn’t want a timeline to end the war in Afghanistan. “After a decade of war that’s cost us thousands of lives and over a trillion dollars, the nation we need to build is our own,” Obama said. On Medicare, Obama said he would “never” allow it to become a voucher program, and defended his health care overhaul. And he explicitly made the election in part a referendum on the rights of women — from health insurance to birth control. “We don’t need another political fight about ending a woman’s right to choose or getting rid of Planned Parenthood or taking away affordable access to birth control,” he said. “I want my daughters to have the same opportunities as your sons…We are not turning back the clock…We are moving forward!” – Obama Kicks Off Campaign With a Roar

JOE BIDEN endorses same-sex marriage – Biden made his remarks during an appearance on Meet the Press, telling host David Gregory that he is “absolute comfortable with the fact that men marrying men, women marrying women.” He added, however, that “the President sets the policy.” Biden has backed equal rights for the LGBT community throughout his career, but this is the first time he has publicly acknowledged his support of full marriage rights. – ThinkProgress

BILL CLINTON robo-calls in opposition to NC Amendment One –


image: Daily Kos

Saturday morning’s 6 subjectively interesting things

1) The President / Democrats

  • WHITE HOUSE: COLLEGES MUST COVER BIRTH CONTROL FOR STUDENTS - The Health and Human Services Department said student health plans will be treated like employees’ plans, meaning they will have to comply with new requirements under healthcare reform — including the requirement to provide contraception without charging a copay. The contraception mandate has sparked intense criticism from some religious groups and Republican lawmakers. They say it violates employers’ religious freedoms by forcing them to provide a service they find immoral. Religious universities will treat their student plans the same as their employees’ plans, administration officials said Friday. That means they will not have to directly offer contraception in their plans, but students and workers will be able to get birth control from their insurance companies without a copay.
  • A REAL CONSERVATIVE’S TAKE ON OBAMA - The British Tories have not gone insane like the GOP. And it’s an open secret that Cameron would be extremely confortable with an Obama re-election. But I was struck by the prime minister’s remarks the other night and since they’re now being attacked from thefar right, it’s worth reprinting them: “There are three things about Barack that really stand out for me: strength, moral authority, and wisdom…” [...] Just because Americans need amnesia to forget what this country did to its own moral authority under Bush and Cheney does not mean that America’s allies have. They saw the damage it did to all of us defending civilization against barbarism, only to discover that some of that barbarism was emanating from the White House itself.
  • OBAMA’S JUDICIAL CONFIRMATION RATE IS AT LEAST 30 JUDGES BEHIND BUSH’S - In the wake of this week’s deal where Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-KY) agreed to stop obstructing 14 of President Obama’s judicial nominees and allow them to be confirmed by early May, Al Kamen runs the numbers on how President Obama’s confirmation rate compares to the rate of confirmations under Presidents Bush and Clinton… [...] If the Senate does, in fact, approve them all, Obama’s number of confirmed judges will stand at 172. To put that in perspective, by the end of May in their respective first terms, George W. Bush had 175 judges approved, and Bill Clinton had 183.

2) Your 2012 GOP primary

  • A CLOSER LOOK AT THE ‘ENTHUSIASM GAP’ - Republicans are less enthusiastic about having Mitt Romney or Rick Santorum as their potential presidential nominee than they were four years ago about Sen. John McCain, R-Ariz., according to a Gallup survey released on Thursday. For conservatives, the lackluster numbers are a worrying sign that the party’s already bitter primary fight has sapped voter enthusiasm and left the GOP weakened for the fall battle with President Obama. Gallup reported that just 35 percent of Republicans surveyed said they would vote enthusiastically for front-runner Romney if he becomes the party’s standard-bearer. Similarly, 34 percent said they would enthusiastically support Santorum, his main challenger for the nomination and the preferred choice of the most-conservative Republicans. That represents a precipitous drop in excitement from 2008, the poll found. In a survey released in early February of that year, 47 percent of Republicans were enthusiastic about the prospect of backing McCain, a 12-point difference from Romney’s numbers today.
  • Limbaugh’s chemically enhanced dittoheads will NEVER go for this: SANTORUM PROMISES BROAD WAR ON PORN - The Daily Caller flags a little-discussed position paper on Rick Santorum’s campaign website—his pledge to aggressively prosecute those who produce and distribute pornography. Santorum avers that “America is suffering a pandemic of harm from pornography.” He pledges to use the resources of the Department of Justice to fight that “pandemic,” by bringing obscenity prosecutions against pornographers. [The photo was snapped by a passenger on an Atlantis all-gay cruise in Puerto Rico. - via: Buzzfeed / JMG]
  • ROMNEY SAYS FOX NEWS IS “PRETTY FAIR AND BALANCED” AND NOT “SHILLING FOR ANYONE” - Mitt Romney on Thursday dismissed former senator Rick Santorum’s charge that Fox News Channel is “shilling” for the former Massachusetts governor’s campaign.“I don’t think you’re shilling for anyone, to tell you the truth,” Romney said on the “Kilmeade and Friends” radio show. “Each one of the people I meet has their own opinions. My guess is different ones of the commentators have different people they think have a better shot but you don’t hear that from the network or from the individual commentators. So look, you are free to express your own views but I think it’s as you say, pretty fair and balanced.”
  • ROMNEY’S FOX NEWS BLITZ - Mitt Romney has been up and down on the trail — and that’s also true of his ubiquity on Fox News. Recently, he’s been a near-constant presence. Romney’s tour of the Fox News empire this week is the most time Romney’s done on a Fox News set in a week since Jan. 1. In the week alone, Romney has appeared on Fox News six times, and he’s scheduled to appear on Fox News Sunday this weekend. The tone of the interviews has ranged from a bit uncomfortable to downright chummy. [...] America Live host Megyn Kelly on Wednesday asked why Romney is making so many wealth-related gaffes, citing his references to football and NASCAR team owners. Romney still hasn’t found a solid answer to this critique, though there’s been a general “he’s rich, get over it” push from his surrogates lately. But Romney’s answer to Kelly showed a continued inability to explain his wealth in a way that would endear him to the middle-class voters he is courting. “Guess what? I’ve made a lot of money,” Romney said. “I’ve been very successful. I’m not going to apologize for that.”
  • “GOD’S WILL?” SARAH PALIN’S SECRET PLOT TO CAPTURE THE WHITE HOUSE IN 2012 - Pay close attention: Palin’s rhetoric between now and Tampa will continue to be critical of both Romney and Obama; it will continue to push for a contested primary; and it will continue to signal Palin’s willingness to accept the nomination of a brokered convention. Palin knows that Romney will never pack her star power with the base — and that neither Rick Santorum nor Newt Gingrich will either. In the aftermath of Santorum’s sweep of Alabama and Mississippi on Tuesday, a brokered GOP convention is a very real possibility. The Republican Party has become a fractured mosaic of fringe constituencies — from Tea Partiers to evangelical anti-abortion activists, from libertarians who support Ron Paul to white supremacists who despise the fact that there is a black man in the White House. It is an unruly lot. The days of a GOP elite framing the presidential selection process are over. Charisma trumps experience; celebrity trumps substance; and, perhaps most disturbingly, anger trumps reason. Mama grizzlies, especially those who have been wounded, don’t go down easy. [Remember what Ann Coulter said a few days ago about this...]

3) The drug-addicted, morally-challenged ‘shock blob’ known as Rush Limbaugh

  • WESTBORO RELEASES ‘YOU MIGHT BE A SLUT’ AD FOR LIMBAUGH’S SHOW - A church in Topeka, Kansas famous for its “God Hates Fags” protests is hoping to take their message to millions of dittoheads across the U.S. The Westboro Baptist Church on Friday released two advertisements that they hope to air on Rush Limbaugh’s radio show, which is experiencing an exodus of advertisers after he called a Georgetown University law student a “slut” because she spoke in favor of religious institutions providing contraception coverage. The first spot was a parody of comedian Jeff Foxworthy’s “You might be a redneck” routine. “If you wear a dress that is strapless with a brassiere that isn’t, you might be a slut,” an announcer says. “If you are an anchor bimbo for Fox News and your name is Kelly or Julie, you might be a slut.” [...] Premiere Networks has already said it would reject the ads as soon as it receives them on Friday. “If they turn these things down, how are they really any different than the people who are turning their nose up at Rush Limbaugh?” Drain asked. “We are making a moral statement with our advertising just like he was making a moral statement with his airtime.”
  • (AUDIO) RUSH SUGGESTS GOP IS NOT ANTI-WOMAN BECAUSE REPUBLICANS “TAKE WOMEN TO DINNER. THEY BUY WOMEN DIAMONDS.” - [The following commentary on this via: Wonkette]: Honestly, who can even be mad at this dumb fuck any more? It is like being mad at an incredibly stupid, fat, drug-addicted, offensive head of lettuce. Why even bother? Fine, Rush, give us some whore diamonds, for our whoring, whore whore whore. Yeah, we get it kiddo, we’re whores. No, no, you got us, we’re super offended, we promise! No really, really, we are! Run along now sweetie, there’s some cookies on the counter. Remember, Jesus loves you, and good job.

4) Republican War on Women

  • Living in a red state is hazardous to your health if you’re a woman: WHAT’S WRONG WITH ARIZONA? - To recap: Arizona senate committees have approved bills to allow doctors to withhold information from pregnant women if they suspect it will lead to an abortion, to allow employers to demand proof that your contraception is for non-reproductive purposes, and now a bill to cut state funding from family planning services entirely. [...] If HB2800 is signed into law, Arizona will also lose Medicaid matching funds for family planning services in the same manner as Texas. And maybe that’s the idea. What other conclusion is there?
  • KANSAS, TOO: COUNTY TURNS DOWN FUNDING FOR BIRTH CONTROL - After yesterday’s post about county commissioners in New Hanover County, North Carolina, voting to reject state money for family planning, Amber Pickman wrote to tell us about a similar move in Miami County, Kansas. The Miami County Commission voted 3-2 last week to exclude about $9,000 in funding aimed at covering contraceptives from the county’s state grant applications. The Louisburg Herald covered the fallout: The decision didn’t sit well with Kelly Fritz, who volunteers at the health department and spoke with Miami County commissioners last August when they first considered eliminating the distribution of contraceptives from the family planning program. During that August meeting, Fritz said Miami County’s program serves 151 women, 116 of whom do not have insurance. She also said that statistics show that 85 percent of women who are regularly sexually active will become pregnant within one year without family planning services, and she estimated that 98 of the 116 women without insurance would become pregnant if the services were no longer provided…“It’s like we’re going backwards,” Fritz said. “I can’t believe the rights we had are being taken away from our children’s generation.”
  • OUT OF FAVOR IN WASHINGTON, BLUNT-STYLE BILLS CATCH FIRE IN THE STATES - Over the last few weeks, Republicans have quietly backed away from the controversial Blunt Amendment and other legislative efforts to allow employers to deny contraception coverage to women. “I think Republicans know that it hasn’t served them well,” Sen. Chuck Schumer told TPM at the time. Apparently, state-level Republicans didn’t get the memo. Several state legislatures were inspired rather than dissuaded by the contraception debate in Washington, and are considering their own versions of the Blunt Amendment — keeping alive an issue national Republicans thought they were putting to bed. Arizona, New Hampshire, Idaho and Georgia have taken up bills to expand exemptions for contraception coverage. Ohio, Missouri, New Hampshire, Idaho and Wyoming lawmakers are moving symbolic resolutions condemning the administration’s contraception coverage rule. Lawmakers working on the state bills, like their counterparts in Congress, insist that the measures are about protecting religious liberty, not women’s access to health care. But a new poll from Bloomberg shows that a majority of voters don’t see it that way…

5) The Republican War on everyone / everything else in the world

  • ANTI-OBAMA RACISM IS REAL - A photograph of a bumper sticker that features racist, anti-Obama language has gone viral on Facebook and other social networks. The sticker reads “Don’t Re-Nig In 2012,” in large white type, above smaller text that reads: “Stop repeat offenders. Don’t re-elect Obama!” The offensive design appears to have originated at a site called Stumpy’s Stickers, where it can be purchased. The site sells variations on the same idea, including another “Don’t Re-Nig” design featuring a caricature of a black man’s face with a missing tooth, a picture of a chimp that reads “Obama 2012,” and another with a drawing of several Ku Klux Klan members that reads “The Original Boys In The Hood.”
  • OBAMA CAMPAIGN COMES OUT AGAINST NORTH CAROLINA’S MARRIAGE AMENDMENT - Today, President Obama’s re-election campaign came out in opposition to Amendment One, which would ban all same-sex marriage, civil unions, and domestic partnerships in North Carolina. According to Cameron French, Obama’s North Carolina spokesman: FRENCH: While the president does not weigh in on every single ballot measure in every state, the record is clear that the President has long opposed divisive and discriminatory efforts to deny rights and benefits to same sex couples. That’s what the North Carolina ballot initiative would do – it would single out and discriminate against committed gay and lesbian couples – and that’s why the President does not support it.
  • DONALD TRUMP: WINDMILLS ARE ‘DISGUSTING’ - President Barack Obama characterized clean energy cynics in the GOP presidential field as would-be members of the Flat Earth Society. Birther and Romney-endorser Donald Trump cast himself with the Flat Earth candidates yesterday, with his latest tirade against clean energy. Trump told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto: Wind is destroying the environment in many, many places. People are going crazy over the horrible, noisy, disgusting windmills. And they are horrible and a horrible intrusion, ruining communities, and solar is weak and has not been effective and is very, very expensive.

6) Misc

  • SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE THAT GEOMAGNETIC STORMS ARE MAKING YOU SICK - Geomagnetic storms aren’t just beautiful to look at — these disturbances in the Earth’s magnetic field could also be messing with your mind and body. There’s a ton of evidence suggesting that geomagnetic storms can cause everything from depression to cardiac problems — and may even be influencing the stock market. A new paper suggests there’s a lot more evidence for this connection than anybody realizes. The paper, published in the Proceedings of the Royal Society B, argues that there’s a large, disparate, and controversial body of scientific literature that links geomagnetic storms to a number of animal behaviors, including cardiovascular, psychiatric and behavioral changes in humans. And author Dr. James Close has the enormous literature review to back up his claims… [via: the-star-stuff]

Tuesday morning’s 6 questionably interesting things

1) YOUR 21ST CENTURY REPUBLICAN PARTY:

  • Lindsey Graham on Afghanistan Civilian Massacre: ‘These Things Happen’ - “No, I believe, one, this is tragic and will be investigated, and that soldier will be held accountable for his actions under the military justice system. Unfortunately, these things happen in war. You had an Israeli soldier kill worshippers by the Dome of the Rock mosque. You just have to push through these things.” Yeah, I’m sure if an Afghan national walked into a shopping mall and slaughtered 16 Americans — including 9 children — Graham’s response would be, “Well, sh*t happens. Onward.”
  • Mississippi and Alabama: is this where brain cells go to die? - In Mississippi only 12% of voters think Obama’s a Christian to 52% who think he’s a Muslim and 36% who are not sure. In Alabama just 14% think Obama’s a Christian to 45% who think he’s a Muslim and 41% who aren’t sure. [...] In Mississippi …only 54% of voters think [interracial marriage] should be legal, while 29% believe it should be illegal. [...] Finally there’s considerable skepticism about evolution among GOP voters in both Alabama and Mississippi. In Alabama only 26% of voters believe in it, while 60% do not. In Mississippi just 22% believe in it, while 66% do not.
  • Real Time with Bill Maher correspondent, Alexandra Pelosi interviews Mississippi residents.
  • Why the former half-term governor matters - In a new video released by the Obama team, viewers are reminded of comments Palin made on the air last week. If you missed the clip, Palin’s scathing criticism of the president was blisteringly stupid, even for her, with the argument that the president is “bringing us back … to days before the Civil War.” Yes, Palin seriously expected Fox News viewers to believe the nation’s first African-American president wants to roll back the clock 150 years, to the days when slavery was legal. [...] I wouldn’t be too surprised if Republican leaders and the Romney campaign ask Palin to take a much lower profile in the coming months. Whether Palin honors the request is another matter. WATCH:


2) MITT ROMNEY

  • Romney will not enroll in Medicare - According to BuzzFeed, Romney, who has advocated for the wealthiest Americans to take lower public insurance benefits, announced through his campaign that he would not be apart of the entitlement program. The former Massachusetts governor and his team have repeatedly stated inaccurate information on Medicare throughout the course of the campaign, including claiming Medicare is going “bankrupt” and accusing President Obama of cutting benefits for seniors through the Affordable Care Act. Romney wants to raise the Medicare’s eligibility age up from 65 by one month per year and eventually tie the age to life expectancy.
  • Mitt Romney May Not Need Medicare, But Seniors Do

  • Romney Rules Out Santorum as Veep - Mitt Romney told Fox News that he would not pick Rick Santorum as his running mate because he’s not conservative enough. Said Romney: “Well, that would preclude, of course, Rick Santorum. Because, I mean, look at his record. I find it interesting that he continues to describe himself as the real conservative. This is the guy who voted against right-to-work. This is the guy who voted to fund Planned Parenthood. This is the person who voted to raise the debt ceiling five times? … Rick Santorum is not a person who is an economic conservative to my right.” [image: phroyd]

3) RICK SANTORUM:

  • Santorum’s war on teleprompters - “See, I always believed that when you run for president of the United States, it should be illegal to read off a teleprompter. Because all you’re doing is reading someone else’s words to people. You’re voting for someone who is going to be the leader of our government. It’s important for you to understand who that person is in their own words, see them, look them in the eye…hear what’s (in their) heart. You’re choosing a leader. A leader isn’t just about what’s written on a piece of paper.” || [MB]: Video of Rick Santorum using a teleprompter last month. [TP]: Santorum’s campaign, like those of almost every other politician, employs speechwriters to help draft his public remarks. So he is likely often “reading someone else’s words.”
  • Santorum co-chair: Romney should ‘renounce his racist Mormon religion’ - At a press conference on Monday, Rev. O’Neal Dozier, who is an honorary chairman of Santorum’s Florida campaign, said that he was speaking out to “foster and maintain good race relations here in America.” “The Mormon religion is prejudiced against blacks, Jews and native Americans,” Dozier insisted, adding that Romney’s nomination would widen the racial divide because “the Republican Party would be viewed as a racist political party.” “Romney’s nomination would cause the erroneous view that has long existed in the minds of black people that the Republican Party is prejudiced to become a reality. Why? Because Romney will become the face and the leader of the Republican Party.”
  • Santorum: Endangered Species Act puts ‘critters above people’ - “I know that from personal experience in Pennsylvania, and look at the Central Valley of California. There are so many places that we put critters above people. It’s a radical ideology that says we are here to serve the Earth instead of man having dominion over the Earth to serve him and to be a good steward of that Earth. …I accept the fact that the president’s a Christian. I just said when you have world view that elevates the Earth above man and says that we can’t take those resources because we’re going to harm the Earth like things that are not scientifically proven like the politicization of the whole global warming debate.”
  • “The dangers of carbon dioxide? Tell that to a plant, how dangerous carbon dioxide is,” says Rick Santorum.

4) F&%KING RUSH LIMBAUGH

  • exodusWhat hath Rush wrought? - Limbaugh has become so toxic, major advertisers want to avoid him and other shock jocks who might be as offensive as he is. As John Avlon noted over the weekend, “Rush Limbaugh made the right-wing talk-radio industry, and he just might break it.” [T]he irony is that the same market forces that right-wing talk-radio hosts champion are helping to seal their fate. Advertisers are abandoning the shows because they no longer want to be associated with the hyperpartisan — and occasionally hateful — rhetoric. They are finally drawing a line because consumers are starting to take a stand. [...] When big money starts shifting, it is a sign of a deeper tide that is difficult to undo, even if you are an industry icon like Rush Limbaugh. It is a sign that the times are changing. The free market at work.
  • Corporate America Turns Its Back On Rush Limbaugh - Watching advertisers flee Limbaugh at an alarming rate last week, Beck must have felt a sense of déjà vu regarding the cavalcade of television sponsors who abandoned him after he insulted the president as a “racist.” (Not to mention a socialist -Marxist -Nazi.) It was an advertising exodus that eventually cost Beck his job at Fox News. Like Beck before him, Limbaugh has announced the mass migration is no big deal. Yet like Beck before him, Limbaugh last week learned the overdue lesson that there are real-world consequences for trafficking in hate speech. The talk titan learned there are free-market penalties, such as when companies like Carbonite and AOL walked away from their existing ad commitment to Limbaugh’s show. [...] Imagine how painful the sting must feel for Limbaugh who practically worships at the alter of big business, to know corporate America, via the beloved free marketplace, has spoken so loudly and so clearly about Limbaugh’s creepy, misogynistic taunts of Sandra Fluke.



  • BREAKING: Rush Limbaugh Syndicator Suspends National Ads For Two Weeks - Radio-Info.com reports that Premiere Networks, which syndicates the Rush Limbaugh show, told its affiliate radio stations that they are suspending national advertising for two weeks. Rush Limbaugh is normally provided to affiliates in exchange for running several minutes of national advertisements provided by Premiere each hour. These ads called “barter spots.” These spots are how Premiere makes its money off of Rush Limbaugh and other shows it syndicates. But without explanation, Premiere has supended these national advertisements for two weeks. Radio-Info.com calls the move “unusual.” The development suggests that Rush Limbaugh’s incessant sexist attacks on Sandra Fluke have caused severe damage to the show.

5) WOMEN:

  • N.C. County Kills Family-Planning Funds - The commissioners didn’t think it was right to use taxpayer money to pay for women who want to have sex for non-procreative purposes. From the Star-News: Chairman Ted Davis said he thought it was a sad day when “taxpayers are asked to pay money for contraceptives” for women having sex without planning responsibly. “If these young women are being responsible and didn’t have the sex to begin with, we wouldn’t have this problem to begin with,” Davis said. The New Hanover County decision comes amid a growing debate about contraception and family planning in North Carolina and nationally. Last year, North Carolina’s Republican-led legislature became one of a handful to try and ban state funding for Planned Parenthood.
  • Democrats leading GOP by 25 points among women - A Washington Post survey released Monday found that Democrats are perceived as caring more about issues that are important to women by 25 points, 55 percent to 30 percent. The poll also showed that a large majority of all voters support the idea that businesses should be required to cover the “full cost” of contraception for female employees. Among all voters, 61 percent supported a mandate for birth control coverage, while 35 percent did not. Of those who said contraception should be included in insurance coverage at no cost, 79 percent agreed that religious institutions should not be exempted from the mandate. Overall, 3 percent more voters sided with Obama administration’s policy requiring religious institutions to include birth control in their insurance plans than those who did not. As MSNBC’s Steve Benen noted, 53 percent of voters were women in 2008.

6) MISC

  • South Korean and Russian scientists join to clone woolly mammoth - The South Korean foundation said it would transfer technology to the Russian university, which has already been involved in joint research with Japanese scientists to bring a mammoth back to life. “The first and hardest mission is to restore mammoth cells,” another Sooam researcher, Hwang In-Sung, told AFP. His colleagues would join Russian scientists in trying to find well-preserved tissue with an undamaged gene. By replacing the nuclei of egg cells from an elephant with those taken from the mammoth’s somatic cells, embryos with mammoth DNA could be produced and planted into elephant wombs for delivery, he said. Sooam will use an Indian elephant for its somatic cell nucleus transfer. The somatic cells are body cells, such as those of internal organs, skin, bones and blood. “This will be a really tough job, but we believe it is possible because our institute is good at cloning animals,” Hwang In-Sung said.
  • The Winter That Wasn’t, Part II - This year’s non-winter means an early explosion in bug infestations such as ants, termites, and Lyme disease carrying ticks. But worse than that, it may have wreaked havoc upon the honeybees.
  • CDC Seasonal Flu update - Nine states reported widespread influenza activity (an increase from six states last week). Regional influenza activity was reported by 21 states (an increase from 18 states last week). Twelve states reported local influenza activity (a decrease from 13 states last week). Eight states (a decrease from 12 states last week), the District of Columbia, Guam and Puerto Rico reported sporadic influenza activity. The U.S. Virgin Islands reported no influenza activity.

“National Security” and the prosthetic breasts of cancer survivors

BobCesca:

A cancer surviving flight attendant was forced to remove her prosthetic breast during a TSA pat-down.

Cathy Bossi lives in south Charlotte and has been a flight attendant for the past 32 years, working the past 28 for U.S. Airways.

…She says two female Charlotte T.S.A. agents took her to a private room and began what she calls an aggressive pat down. She says they stopped when they got around to feeling her right breast… the one where she’d had surgery.

“She put her full hand on my breast and said, ‘What is this?’. And I said, ‘It’s my prosthesis because I’ve had breast cancer.’ And she said, ‘Well, you’ll need to show me that’.”

If the TSA is targeting a 32-year-employee of the airlines, what chance do any of us have? This is long past ridiculous.

LGF:

Another brain fart from Sarah Palin on Twitter tonight, via her Blackberry, now deleted:

I’d bet Sarah hears the word “profiling” and thinks that means the TSA should pull all the brown people out of line so that the white, Jesus loving, real ‘Murikins can go about their business in peace.  Profiling for a particular race works about as well as looking at things, like shoes and laptops.

The Israelis profile professionally and successfully because, among many other steps taken, they profile BEHAVIOR — not race, color, gender, etc. And none of their security steps involve removing your shoes OR YOUR PROSTHETIC BREAST.

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