Are You F—ing Kidding Me?

I am a bit too angry to see straight, but need to share the utter, reprehensible ridiculousness of this:

Screen Shot 2016-03-22 at 1.04.12 PM

An ex-stripper who went on to law school and later was elected a judge was found dead inside her Nevada home Sunday, The Las Vegas Review-Journal reported.

Her body was discovered during a welfare check, the report said, and authorities do not suspect foul play.

Municipal Judge Diana Hampton, who was 50, was known by colleagues as a hard worker and appeared to be the perfect picture of health. Her death shocked colleagues, one of whom told the paper he planned to have lunch with the judge this week.

Hampton, who served as a municipal judge for more than a decade, worked with youth in the community to discourage them from crime.

Hampton took an unusual route to her judgeship. She was criticized during her 2005 run for Henderson Department 3 for working as a stripper in Las Vegas prior to pursuing law school. It was a part of her past she did not disavow and reaffirmed that her past had nothing to do with how she would rule from the bench.

“From the very beginning, she decided she was going to be a judge,” said Joe Sciscento, a justice of the peace who knew Hampton for more than 20 years. “She was dedicated to that. She was focused on that, and she wouldn’t let things get in her way.”

[Emphasis added] Continue reading


Birther Pheromones

John Sununu doesn’t think President Obama should go to Kenya for the 2015 Global Entrepreneurship Summit. Why? Because to do so would incite the people who still cling to the suspicion that Kenya is the president’s true birthplace, and the most important thing for the president to do, at least in Sununu’s mind, is placate the people who hate him (h/t Jason):

President Obama is “inciting” the passions of so-called birthers, who believe he was born in Kenya not the United States, by planning a trip to the African country, former New Hampshire Gov. John Sununu (R) said Monday.

“I think his trip back to Kenya is going to create a lot of chatter and commentary amongst some of the hard right who still don’t see him as having been born in the U.S.,” he said during an appearance on Fox News’ “America’s Newsroom.”

“I personally think he’s just inciting some chatter on an issue that should have been a dead issue a long time ago.”

Steven Benen adds:

Oh, I see. There’s a Global Entrepreneurship Summit coming up this summer, and many world leaders will be in attendance, but President Obama should sideline himself, on purpose. Why? Because, in the mind of John Sununu, the president will “incite” ridiculous people to say ridiculous things.

Since when is this how any sensible White House is supposed to function?

Now, remember, Republicans tout themselves as champions of “personal responsibility.” As one state party organization says: Continue reading


The Wrong Side of History

I sincerely hope that history will mock these people:

The Harris County GOP sued the City of Houston on Tuesday, challenging Mayor Annise Parker’s decision to extend health and life insurance benefits to legally married same-sex couples whose marriages have been recognized in states with marriage equality laws.

The new policy has been put on hold by District Judge Lisa Millard after signing a temporary restraining order. The policy won’t go before a judge until after New Year’s Day, on Jan. 6, 2014.

Jared Woodfill, the chairman of the Harris County GOP, is leading the lawsuit. “This is one of the most egregious acts by an elected official I’ve ever seen,” said Woodfill. “They just decided to, unilaterally, as a lame duck, thumb their nose at the will of the people and just spit on the U.S. Constitution.”

Where exactly in the U.S. Constitution does it say gay marriage is illegal remains to be mystery.


Parsing Santorum

By Lars Karlsson (Keqs) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5 (], via Wikimedia Commons

With all this idiocy, we need a bit of cute around here. Have some hedgehog.

Rebutting Rick Santorum isn’t exactly a challenge, but occasionally it’s fun. Here’s something he apparently said last week:

Speaking at a Young Americans for Freedom event on Friday, former Sen. Rick Santorum (R-PA) offered an unusual assessment of what happens when “the government is going to be the principal provider of health care for the country.” “It’s actually a pretty clever system,” the former presidential candidate explained, “Take care of the people who can vote and people who can’t vote, get rid of them as quickly as possible by not giving them care so they can’t vote against you.” [Emphasis added.]

The prevailing interpretation is that he’s saying nationalized healthcare is a way for the party in power to effectively kill people who don’t vote for them.

Look at what he said, though—while grammatically awkward, his statement allows for healthcare for “the people who can vote.” It’s the “people who can’t vote” who wouldn’t be getting healthcare, which makes no sense if the point is to stop them from voting. The only way this makes sense is if the people who aren’t voting for the party in power have already been disenfranchised somehow. Perhaps Santorum said too much here…

Or perhaps I’m overthinking the whole thing, and Rick Santorum is a fool talking out of his ass. Apply Occam’s Razor here.

Photo credit: By Lars Karlsson (Keqs) (Own work) [CC-BY-SA-2.5], via Wikimedia Commons.


The Inefficiency of Republican Government: Christmas Edition

I wonder if people will ever figure out that, by electing Republicans to office, they are making their rhetoric about the inefficiency of government into a self-fulfilling prophecy:

Texas Values, a faith-based political advocacy organization, on Monday hosted an educational event to make sure that parents, students and others know about House Bill 308, the so-called Merry Christmas Law that the Texas Legislature passed this year. The law is meant to to ensure that public school districts can educate students about the history of traditional winter celebrations and can use traditional winter greetings, such as “Merry Christmas” and “Happy Hanukkah,” without fear of litigation.

Then again, maybe people do realize it and just don’t care.


The New York Times Says Something Mildly Critical of Profit-Driven Healthcare; Conservatives Predictably Lose Their Damn Minds

983494_13007489From the din certain people on the right have been making, they apparently think that the New York Times has the unilateral power to set American domestic economic policy. Someone really needs to explain to some people the difference between offering an opinion on a matter of public interest and tyrannically imposing dictates. Newspapers generally do the former. Very, very, very few people do the latter.

The pages of the New York Times featured a rather poorly-sourced, polemical piece by Eduardo Porter entitled “Health Care and Profits, a Poor Mix.” He cites a 1984 study that found that for-profit nursing homes used far more sedatives on their patients than comparable nursing homes that were affiliated with churches, and therefore non-profit. The reason, according to Porter (citing other authors), was that sedatives are cheaper than caregivers, and it is better for the bottom line to dope up your residents as opposed to hiring trained staffers who can provide individual attention and treatment.

That sounds perfectly rational, actually. Is Porter right? Well, he only has the one study that was published during Reagan’s first term, along with a scattered assortment of other academic papers. That hardly builds up to a mountain of evidence indicting profit-driven nursing homes. There is a certain amount of common-sense appeal to the idea that nursing home administrators who are principally beholden to corporate shareholders have greater incentive to cut corners, and it certainly happens all the time. Nonprofit healthcare facilities, however, don’t exactly get to write blank checks for state-of-the-art care. Their motivation might be to stretch the money out until the next grant check arrives. Porter’s article raises some good questions, but does not give us enough information to state a definitive preference.

Of course, that doesn’t stop some people from going apoplectic. See, Porter committed the cardinal sin of saying something mean about the free market. The free market—sorry, the Free Market—is always right. Because shut up.

A Google search of the two authors of the 1984 study, Bonnie Svarstad and Chester Bond, yields a treasure trove of overreaction. (Incidentally, their paper, “The Use of Hypnotics in Proprietary and Church-Related Nursing Homes,” does not appear to be available online, so none of us can check Porter’s work.) Let us bring on the hysterics! Continue reading