An Idea for Tonight’s GOP Debate

Apparently the Republican debate tonight, in which ten candidates will be participating, will be limited to a total of two hours, including commercials. If we assume 18 minutes of commercials per hour (it seems like most hour-long TV shows are around 42 minutes long without commercials), that means that, if we ignore the time needed for the moderators to ask questions, each candidate will get 8 minutes and 24 seconds total—assuming they divvy up the time evenly.

The ten participants, according to Politico, are Donald Trump, Ben Carson, Jeb Bush, Marco Rubio, Ted Cruz, Mike Huckabee, Rand Paul, Carly Fiorina, Chris Christie, and John Kasich.

A summary of recent polls at Real Clear Politics shows Christie in last place out of this set of ten candidates, with 2.4 percent.

I have a suggestion for Gov. Christie. Continue reading


What I’m Reading, September 28, 2015

What it’s like to live on $2 a day in the United States, Chico Harlan, Washington Post, September 11, 2015

It’s worth pondering for a moment just how difficult it is to survive on $2 per day. That’s a single gallon of gasoline. Or half a gallon of milk. If you took a D.C. bus this morning, you have 25 cents left for dinner. Among this group in extreme poverty, some get a boost from housing subsidies. Many collect food stamps — an essential part of survival. But so complete is their destitution, they have little means to climb out. (The book described one woman who scored a job interview, couldn’t afford transportation, walked 20 blocks to get there, and showed up looking haggard and drenched in sweat. She didn’t get hired.)

Edin is a professor specializing in poverty at Johns Hopkins University. Shaefer is an associate professor of social work and public policy at the University of Michigan. In several years of research that led to this book, they set up field offices both urban and rural — in Chicago, in Cleveland, in Johnson City, Tenn., in the Mississippi Delta — and tried to document this jarring form of American poverty.

Batman: Arkham Knight Has a Serious Problem With Women, Denny Connolly, Game Rant, June 2015 Continue reading


Factually Challenged


Ronald Reagan awakened discontented Americans to a new version of reality, which offered as its test question not “Is it true?” but “Does it make you feel better?” And he also encouraged scapegoating, suggesting to people that if factual reality makes you feel bad, there’s no reason on earth not to blame it on somebody, and the people he was preaching to needed only a wink from St. Ronnie to know who some of those somebodies might be.

All these years later these impulses have become so deeply embedded in the right-wing psyche that the victims seem to have truly no idea how complete their break from reality is. Which is why I pose the question of whether that break from reality makes it not just undesirable but impossible to deal with factual reality.

– KenInNY, “This is a serious question: Are right-wingers CAPABLE of telling the truth about anything?” DownWithTyranny!, July 9, 2015


If They Could Turn Back Time…


If the Civil War had not taken place, we might not have the Fourteenth Amendment. But it did, and we do. Laws that once might have applied only to the federal government now apply to the states as well.

By the same token, if the Articles of Confederation had worked, we would not have the Constitution. But they didn’t, and we do. We cannot go back and undo the Civil War, and we can’t go back to the Articles of Confederation. Time only flows one direction.

– Hrafnkell Haraldsson, “It’s Getting Hard to Tell Where Sovereign Citizens End and Republicans Begin“, PoliticusUSA, April 24, 2015


Time to Steal Credit?


With job creation suddenly “on fleek,” Republicans realize that they have to say they’re worried about income inequality or what Jeb Bush calls “the Opportunity Gap” but all they have policies that would make it worse.

Republicans can’t even convince themselves to stop calling for more tax breaks for the rich.

There are serious ideas that could tackle this man-made wealth gap: Reforming how executives are compensated, asking workers to participate in corporate governance, eliminating open-market stock buybacks, making child care universal, free college tuition, a tax on risky high-frequency stock trades, child allowances, and ending tax breaks on the richest.

Republicans support a total of none of them.

Instead, the GOP wants to get rid of the one thing we’ve done to seriously take on inequality — Obamacare.

–LOLGOP, “Even Fox News knows Republicans can’t take credit for the best job creation of the century,” EclectaBlog, February 7, 2015


What I’m Reading, December 18, 2014

Katniss Everdeen, Thank You For Your Service, Ben Adams, Overthinking It, December 15, 2014

The individual experience of a veteran is as diverse and varied as any other institution with millions of members – prior to serving, those who served in the military come from all walks of life and backgrounds. During service, the experience of each service member varies widely, from a desk job in Washington DC to driving a warship through the Pacific to humping a rucksack and a rifle through the Taliban-controlled mountains of Afghanistan. And after leaving the military, veterans can be seen in all facets of society, making art, starting businesses, Overthinking things, etc.

But it is far too easy to leave this individuality behind and force the modern American* combat veteran into one of two competing narratives: the Courageous Hero or the Downtrodden and Broken Victim. In the Hero story, the veteran was born waving an American flag, traveling stoically across the sea to do battle with a distant enemy and returning home unbowed and unbroken; in the Victim story, the veteran was exploited by forces beyond his control, forced into the desert, subjected to unthinkable tragedy, and is now a hollow shell, subject to either crippling depression or psychotic breaks.


As with Katniss, veteran stories of heroism and victimization aren’t necessarily wrong. To be sure, many veterans have in fact accomplished any number of heroic deeds, sacrificing themselves for their fellow soldiers and civilians caught in the crossfire. And to be sure, many veterans have in fact been victimized by combat, coming home either not at all, or with wounds both physical and mental.

But in the stories we tell ourselves, the actual living, breathing, veteran frequently becomes just a stand-in for an undifferentiated mass of Veterans.

Gun nuts’ racial duplicity: How Ferguson and Garner undermined their Second Amendment crusade, Amanda Gailey, Salon, December 15, 2014 Continue reading


In Case You Were Worried About Eric Cantor

It looks like he landed on his feet.

[Cantor’s] new compensation package is worth $3.4 million a year. He now has an office in New York City and he’s opening up a new branch of the Moelis & Co. investment bank in DC. He’ll also be on their board of directors.


As of 2010, the House Majority Leader makes $193,400 annually, so Cantor is now making more than seventeen times as much money as he was making in Congress.

He did have to step on a lot of other people to get there, of course.


What I’m Reading, June 19, 2014

"Obama meets with Congressional Leadership July 2011," Official White House Photo by Pete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsWhy Republicans Hate Their Leaders: Eric Cantor Edition, Paul Waldman, The American Prospect, June 12, 2014 (h/t BooMan)

As far as that activist base is concerned, every Republican politician should be nothing but an agent of chaos and destruction, or at least pretend that’s who he is. It’s not only incompatible with governing, it’s barely compatible with holding office. Anyone who actually tries to accomplish anything is quickly turned from hero to traitor, as Marco Rubio was when he attempted to devise an immigration plan; Tea Partiers who once celebrated Rubio now view him with contempt. The only kind of legislator who can stay in their good graces is one who never bothers legislating, like Ted Cruz. Writing laws is for compromisers and turncoats; what matters is that the revolution continue forever.

All things considered, Eric Cantor probably lost because he’s a dick, TBogg, The Raw Story, June 11, 2014 Continue reading


It’s the Distraction, Stupid!

We caught the guy who was allegedly behind the 2012 attack on our consulate (or whatever that building was) in Benghazi, Libya. By “we,” I of course mean U.S. Special Forces. Neither (presumably) you nor (definitely) I were involved in any way.

Since Benghazi, and all the supposedly unanswered questions about it, have been the subject of multiple Republican-led hearings and whatnot for almost two years, you might think this would come across as good news.

They—meaning Republicans and conservative pundits—have been accusing the White House of using [insert almost literally anything here] to distract us from Benghazi. So now that we have a warm body to ship off to Guantanamo, some of them are……….

………wait for it………..

………suggesting that this is all intended to distract us from something—perhaps everything—else:

It’s been just over a month since former Republican Congressman and current Fox News talking head Allen West took to his blog to complain that the Obama administration was focusing on the Boko Haram kidnappings in Nigeria in order to distract Americans from the ongoing investigation into the 2012 attack on the U.S. consulate in Benghazi, Libya.

Now that a key suspect in the attack has been arrested by U.S. Special Forces, West thinks President Barack Obama is using that Benghazi capture to distract from everything else.

You can’t make this sh!t up.

The only common, consistent factor is distraction. No matter what, the Obama administration is trying to distract us from something else. As soon as the White House observes or directly affects the thing from which they are supposedly distracting us, that thing changes. It’s politics by Heisenberg.


What I’m Reading, May 28, 2014

The Conservative Movement Virus, BooMan, Booman Tribune, May 27, 2014

[T]he Conservative Movement is not the same thing as the Republican Party. The Conservative Movement is still animated by support for school prayer, opposition to Roe v. Wade, and a host of John Bircher heat-fever fantasies. When they gained power in Congress and in the state legislatures, they set out to do what they had been fighting for for decades. What they have done is totally consistent with what they’ve been saying for all these years.

The Conservative Movement has captured the Republican Party and they aren’t going to change just because the party needs to change if it wants to win. This is an anti-intellectual movement based in an anti-intellectual form of religion, that has been coupled with a paranoid and xenophobic strain of embittered nihilism. It’s greatest crime is that it has been able to take advantage of on-team solidarity to convince a lot of formerly moderate and reasonable people to abandon reality-based thinking.


This political weaponization of stupidity is at the core of the Conservative Movement. Until recently, the Republican Party was an uneasy marriage between the monied classes and the dumb, but now the dumb are leading the dumb, and the monied classes are the ones demonstrating on-team loyalty. They don’t care about school prayer or abortion or gay marriage, but they dare not buck the Conservative Movement. To some degree, after ingesting so much right-wing media, even the monied classes may come to devalue science and take on more socially conservative views.

The overall effect is that people who identity with the Republican Party and want it to succeed are continuously getting dumber.